Napoleonic Battles system


Motivation and the system idea

Napoleonic Battles system is a new way of playing simpler and older Napoleonic wargames like SPI’s Napoleon’s Last Battles, Napoleon At Leipzig, GDW’s Eylau and La Bataille de la Moscowa by Frank Chadwick, and similar games.

The originals being revised here depict a wide variety of classic Napoleonic grand tactical fights at different scales, but usually regiment and brigade units.  They had simple combat strength and movement allowance ratings of the pieces, minimal differentiation of unit types, “push” combat result tables on which the normal result was just a defender retreat of a single hex, and some very basic command rules.

Others “modded” some of these into “Last Battles of Napoleon” with the right core idea, to shift to a more attritionist combat system and sharper differentiation of unit types, but in my opinion went overboard on command and control systems, making the games a bit too complex.  The realism of the combat still left a lot to be desired, as well, since attackers were heavily favored just by ganging up in bigger stacks than the defenders.

The idea of my revised system is to create one way of playing all these games using the original components with a new combat system, one heavily informed by detailed wargames at the battalion level like Wellington’s Victory, but all kept playable and simple, with an alternating formation activation system that puts player decisions in charge of the action, not random chit pulls or elaborate “orders” mechanics.

There are a few scale specific differences needed for the more detailed regiment titles (GDW Eylau for example) and the larger brigade NLB games, but these are kept as limited as possible to share the basic design.

Sequence of Play

Initiative phase – determine the first acting player by highest 2D6 die roll, with bonus for overall commander’s command rating.  Last turn’s initiative player wins ties.

Reinforcements phase – Initiative player first, place new reinforcements arriving this turn on their eligible entry hexes, available for activation during the action phase.

Action phase – Initiative player first, each player conducts their chosen activations, alternating sides, until both sides pass in succession.

Impulse 1 (initiative player)

Impulse 2 (non-initiative player)

Victory phase – check formation demoralization levels, check for victory, then refresh all units and start a new game turn.

Action phase – activations

The core of the game is the action phase.  At any given time, one player has the chance to act and becomes the active player if he chooses to activate any of his formations or units.  If he declines to act when it is his turn to do so, then he has passed.  The other player may then perform an action instead, after which the first may decide to act.  The period of time in which one activation is occurring and running through its action sequence is called one impulse.  Eventually both players will run out of units to activate or choose not to activate any, and both sides will therefore pass.  When that happens the action phase is over, and units will refresh for the following game turn and thus become eligible to act again.  Each formation or unit can act only once in the full game turn, but acting is always voluntary.

Activations are either leader activations, in which a corps leader commands unspent units of his formation, or a unit activation, in which a small group of nearby unspent units of the same type from the same nation act together without a leader.  This only controls who activates, how many hexes full of units.  All activations are otherwise the same and run through the same action sequence until all of its phases are completed.  Play then passes to the opponent to activate any of his unspent units.

In a leader activation, the leader’s command rating plus any command bonus “lent” to him by a wing or army commander for this game turn are doubled, then added to a base “2” that all corps commanders get, as a total command rating for this activation.  That equals the number of hexes of units within that many hexes of the activated commander’s counter that may act together in this impulse.  For example, an unassisted corps commander with a “1” command rating can command up to 4 hexes of units within 4 hexes of his current location.

Wing and army commander activations are done a little differently in that they always use a corps leader as well.  Select the higher commander, and then you may first move him up to his full 10 point movement allowance, paying light cavalry costs.  To use his command ability, he must then be within his command rating hexes the Ready corps commander he wants to assist for this activation.  That corps commander then activates with the higher level commander’s command rating added to the corps commander’s rating for that activation, only.  Both commanders are Spent after this activation is fully resolved, so a given higher level commander will only Assist one corps commander per game turn.  If no Ready corps subordinate is available, all the higher level commander can do on his own activation is move his leader counter his full movement allowance.

These activation amounts are maximums, and the player may always choose to activate fewer hexes of units, closer to his leader, etc.  Each of the hexes must contain unspent units and only unspent units activate.  Each of the hexes must be able to trace a path in hexes from the activating commander to the unit’s hex with hex length (regardless of terrain, but not through enemy units or enemy controlled hexes) less than or equal to the command rating of the action.  In addition, all of the activated units must be part of the activating commander’s corps, though wing and army commanders can activate units from any controlled formation under their command.

A unit activation instead designates a lead unit and will activate all units in that unit’s hex.  It may also include up to 2 additional hexes within 2 hexes of the lead unit containing units of the same type, from the same nation and formation, for a total of 3 hexes of activating units.  In all other respects a unit activation is the same as a leader activation, it just generally activates fewer units.  This ensures that all units will have some chance to act during a given player turn, they just may have to give the opponent many chances to react or interrupt if they move in small groups at a time.

Whenever a player Passes without activating any leaders or units on his turn, he rolls to see if the Action Sequence as a whole ends.  It does so on a roll of “6” on 1 die.  Otherwise, play passes to the opponent.  If both players pass in succession then no roll is needed – the Action Sequence automatically ends.

Impulse Action sequence

Each impulse runs through the following steps in order –

Designate action type  – leader or unit, which leader, whether using any “borrowed” higher command points, and determine the command rating of the activation

Designate activated hexes and units – pick hexes of units acting this impulse

Artillery bombardment phase – activated artillery may fire at enemies in range and line of sight.  Artillery that fires in this phase will not move; it is one or the other.  Exception – horse artillery may move 1/2 their movement allowance after firing in the artillery bombardment phase.

Movement phase – all activated units may move their full movement allowance conforming to all the rules of movement.

Fire combat phase – all inactive units with active units in their primary fire zones may fire at those active units, and all active infantry units with enemy units adjacent may fire at those inactive units.  Results are considered simultaneous but inactive player goes through his shots first.

Melee phase – any active units adjacent to enemy units may attempt to take their hexes in melee combat.  Melee is always 1 hex trying to take 1 enemy held hex and is always voluntary.  The active player resolves these in any order he desires, applying the results of each before moving on to the next.

When all desired melee attempts have been completed, the impulse ends and play passes to the opponent.

Stacking and SP limits

Stacking is limited by unit types and number of SPs that may be present in one hex, and there are also limitations of the number of SPs that are fully effective in various roles.  Most of these systems are shared but a few differ in detail between the regiment scale 150 yard hex games like GDW Eylau and the brigade scale 480 meter hex games like Napoleon’s Last Battles.

In regiment scale games, no stacking of different unit types is allowed.  Every hex may only contain one unit type.

In brigade scale games, infantry may stack with foot or horse artillery, and cavalry may stack with horse artillery.  All other forms of mixed stack are prohibited.

The stacking limit for cavalry in 6 SP regardless of scale.  Horse artillery SP count as 1/2 each against this limit, round up, in the brigade scale games that allow them to stack with cavalry.

The stacking limit for artillery is 12 SP regardless of scale.  In the brigade scale games, this limit is shared with infantry and the 12 limit applies to the total of both combined.

The stacking limit for infantry is 12 SP in the brigade games, and 18 SP in the regiment games.

All these stacking limits are reduced to 1/2 those clear terrain levels in obstructed terrain, which includes village, woods, and orchard terrain.  Amounts in excess of these lower limits are ignored for all fire and melee combat purposes; they may be present but they don’t help with any form of combat.

Stacks may always be examined at any time by either player, and the order of stacking never has any effects on game play.  If active units are found in violation of stacking rules the active player may correct the violation during movement.  Violations found at other times must be corrected immediately by eliminating units at the owner’s discretion until there is no longer a violation.

Exception – the lower stacking limits in obstructed terrain may be violated while staying within the stacking rules for open terrain, including rules restricting which types may stack together, without penalty.  However, SP in excess of the lower obstructed terrain limit do not contribute to the combat capabilities of the hex in any way, while they suffer any combat results normally.

SP limits for various purposes

The maximum number of artillery SPs that may fire out of one hexside is 6 SPs.  Artillery may fire out of 2 hexsides in the same fire phase, but never more than 2.  If it divides its fire in this manner, the fire through each hexside is 50% of the full artillery SP in the hex, round fractions down.  Targets must be at least 60 degrees apart.  Note that the firepower of artillery SPs firing is halved at long range, and this is applied after the above limits.

The maximum number of infantry SPs that may fire out of one hex is 5 SPs.  Infantry never divides its fire; it may fire at only one target per fire phase.

Artillery SPs are worth 1/2 combat value each for melee defense, round fractions down.  Artillery never participates in melee attacks.

The first 6 SP of infantry in a hex contribute 1 each to melee strength on attack or defense.  All additional infantry SPs up to the hex stacking limit contribute 1/2 each to melee value.

Each SP of cavalry in a hex contribute 2 each to melee strength on attack or defense.

Optional – Heavy cavalry (“dot” units in Eylau e.g., speed 6 French heavy cavalry in NLB and 5-6 British cavalry in the same) get 1 column right on their melee attacks (not defenses) vs non-“dot” units of any kind.  Old Guard infantry (again, “dot” units in Chadwick games) receive the same bonus on their melee attacks.  Both types defend normally in melee and are normal in all forms of fire combat.

Movement procedures, facing and zones of control

Activated units may move individually or in stacks as the active player desires, in any order.  Only artillery units that fired in the artillery bombardment phase may not move.  Units may leave enemy front hexes at no extra movement cost, but may not move directly from one enemy front hex to another (“ZOC to ZOC”).  A moving unit must have a facing and moves into one of its 3 front hexes.  Turns are free, but upon entering any enemy front hex (ZOC), a moving unit must halt for this impulse, and may only change its facing by 1 additional hexspine after entering enemy ZOC.

A unit faces a hexside – not a vertex – and always has 3 front hexes, 2 flank hexes, and 1 rear hex.  It exerts a ZOC limiting enemy movement only into its 3 front hexes.  It may also only fire through its 3 front hexsides, describing a 120 degree arc.  Similarly, when it conducts a melee attack, it must do so through one of its 3 front hexsides.  After any advance after melee, a unit may turn 1 hexspine to adjust its facing.

All units in the same hex always share the same facing.  If new units just entered the hex, they adopt the facing of the units already there, which may in turn only change their facing as part of their own movement when they are activated, or by allowed reaction changes of facing as outlined below.

Units may conduct a reaction face change of 1 hexspine during an enemy impulse to present a front hex to an enemy unit that moves adjacent, provided that doing so does not turn a flank or rear hex to an existing adjacent enemy unit.  Units are limited to 1 reaction change of facing per enemy impulse.  If after a reaction change of facing the moving unit is in an enemy unit’s front hex, it will be forced to halt for entering ZOC.

Units may not retreat due to a lost melee through an enemy front ZOC hex unless that hex already contains a friendly unit.  If they have no valid retreat path in this sense when forced to retreat, they are eliminated.  Voluntary retreat before melee or withdrawal from fire by cavalry have the same limitations, but if they have no allowed route they simply cannot perform those actions.

Strategic movement

If all units moving in a given activation stay at least 4 hexes away from any enemy units, they may use “strategic movement” to increase their movement allowance.  MA 3-4 units increase to 6 MPs and MA 6-7 units increase to 10 MPs.  Leaders still get 10 MPs.  Stacking limits for units using strategic movement and using road or trail movement rates are reduced by 1/2 e.g. 6 infantry SPs.  Single units over the reduced limits are OK but may not stack with any other combat units.

Tactical movement

In any movement phase in which a unit starts, moves or end adjacent to any enemy unit, it pays a minimum of 1 MP per hex, regardless of road movement rates.  To benefit from 1/2 per hex movement rates along roads, a unit must not move adjacent to enemy units on that activation.  Roads can still be used to negate other terrain costs in such cases.

Fire phase procedures

Inactive units may fire at active units in their main fire range – in brigade games, range 2 for artillery or 1 for infantry.  Note that in brigade games, artillery fire at 2 hexes is allowed by inactive units, but is considered long range fire on the fire table.  In regiment scale games, 3 hexes for foot artillery, 2 hexes for horse artillery, and 1 hex for infantry. Active infantry (only) always fires at 1 hex only, resolved after the inactive player has resolved all of his shots but considered simultaneous with those shots.

Artillery may never fire over friendly or enemy units, regardless of position or elevation.  It need not fire at the closest enemy units overall, but for any given line it fires along, it must fire at the first enemy unit intercepted by that line, not one “deeper” into the enemy formation.  If an artillery unit’s line of fire lies along a hexspine and one of the two adjacent hexes is blocked, the fire is blocked.  It needs a clear field of fire, not a narrow window.

Fire resolution must be done from one end of the line of eligible firing units to the other. After all eligible units on both sides have fired, the hits marked on both sides take effect and any eliminated units are removed.

Infantry may fire with only 5 SP and only through 1 front hexside in a given fire phase. Artillery may fire with up to 6 SP out of up to 2 front hexsides in a given fire phase.

A given hex may be targeted multiple times in a fire phase only if the firing units are not adjacent to each other. So at range 1, if you are “3 hexes around” a target you may fire at it twice, if you are only “2 hexes around” a target you will only be able to fire at it once in a given fire phase.  To be clear, an additional unit may fire at the same target hex in the same fire phase only if it fulfills the “non adjacent” condition with respect to every other unit that has fired at that target in this fire phase.

Inactive cavalry fired upon by active enemy infantry may declared withdraw from fire before the shot is resolved.  The shot occurs at limited effectiveness (divide FP by 2 rounding down) but the inactive cavalry must immediately retreat 1 hex maintaining facing regardless of the fire result.  Cavalry never withdraws from enemy artillery fire and such fire at cavalry in never reduced.

Cavalry charge and defensive fire

Inactive player infantry fire at adjacent active cavalry is subject to limited effectiveness, meaning FP is divided by 2 and capped at a maximum 3 firepower, provided that cavalry “commits” to melee attacking after the fire phase. This is called charge and must be called during the fire phase before seeing fire results. Cavalry committed to charge must melee someone in their front hexes in the ensuing melee phase. Note that infantry will be limited to 2 FP effectiveness against charge (5-6 to score 1 SP hit); this reflects both limited time to fire at the proper range and forming defensive squares.  Artillery fire at charging cavalry is not reduced, and (in brigade level games allowing them to stack) may be combined with reduced infantry fire up to the 5 infantry fire maximum.  With 6 artillery SPs, they could fire on the top 6 column against charging cavalry.

Melee phase procedures

(Surviving) activated units only may but need not melee attack adjacent enemy units. Melee is always one hex vs one hex, only, never “convergent” melee and only one hex may attack a given enemy held hex per melee phase. Melees may be conducted in any order the active player desires, with the results of earlier melees fully applied before resolving the next.

Infantry may melee cavalry but the cavalry may retreat before melee at the defending cavalry’s option. It is automatic, just retreat 2 hexes and the attacking infantry takes the hex. If cavalry stands, the cavalry uses its 2xSP melee strength.

Artillery never melee attacks, it can only defend. In addition, any retreat result vs foot artillery defenders destroys the defending foot artillery unit completely. Horse artillery that retreats in a melee vs attacking cavalry is also destroyed completely. Horse artillery may retreat from lost infantry melees normally.

If all defending units clear the attacked hex by retreat or elimination, then the melee attackers must advance into the attacked hex.  The entire attacking force must do so.  After entering the won hex, they may change facing by 1 hexspine, starting from facing the direction they just entered from (not their previous facing but the direction that carries them into the won hex).

Optional – allow 1 column right shift for a melee attack delivered through the target’s flank or rear hexsides.

Combat results tables


The fire table columns are for total firepower, which is normally 1 per artillery or infantry SP firing at short range (1 hex in brigade games, 1 hex infantry, 1-2 hex horse artillery, and 1-3 hex foot artillery in regiment scale games) and 1/2 for long range artillery or other limited effectiveness situations  (obstructed terrain, charging or withdrawing cavalry, e.g.).  If artillery and infantry SP mix – only possible in brigade scale games at range 1 – then the lower maximum FP of infantry is used.  If the infantry fire is limited effectiveness but the artillery is not, they may combine fire up to the normal infantry fire 5 FP maximum.

Melee table columns are for percentages of defender strength, which will normally be an integer after rounding downward.  (Optional – retain fractions before determining the odds ratio and round only at the end – this is slightly more complicated but is more realistic).  The highest percentage column reached is used, rounding in favor of the defender e.g. 5 to 3 is 167% which rounds to 150%.  Defenders may receive defense factor bonuses for terrain; these are always applied after all SP calculations and rounding.  “Dot” units – heavy cavalry and some guards infantry – receive a 1 column right shift on their melee attacks if the defender is not also a “dot” unit.  If both sides are “dot” units or the “dot” unit is defending against a non-“dot” attacker, there is effect on the melee column.

Steps and losses

(Fast basic game) – Combat results are expressed in step losses.  One flip of a unit or removal of a reduced unit is required to satisfy each step loss.

(Slower advanced game) – track single SP losses instead, one for each combat result on fire or melee tables.  Use flips to record larger losses and strength markers below counters to record smaller SP losses.  Terrible Swift Sword, Great Battles of History etc can provide such markers.

In fire combat, the shooting player may choose how to assign the step losses he gets if there are more than 1 unit in the target hex.  In melee combat, the player losing the steps may choose how to allocate his losses.

Artillery and melee losses

Any foot artillery unit forced to retreat as a result of a lost melee combat is eliminated instead.  Its steps may be used to fulfill portions of any required step loss from the combat, but no foot artillery  can survive a forced retreat.  The same is true for horse artillery units forced to retreat as a result of a lost melee against enemy cavalry.  Horse artillery that loses a melee against enemy infantry may retreat normally.

Limited effectiveness fire

Various conditions may cause fire to be less effective, and any such conditions are implemented in the same manner.  The firepower of the affected units is reduced by half, fractions rounded down, after per hexside maximums have been applied.  Each of the following causes limited fire effectiveness –

long range artillery fire (range 2 in brigade scale games, 4-6 foot and 3-4 horse in regiment scale games)

inactive infantry fire at charging cavalry (active cavalry must commit to melee this impulse)

active infantry fire at withdrawing cavalry (inactive cavalry must retreat 1 hex to receive this defensive benefit)

fire into or out of obstructed terrain (woods, village, orchard)

Cover vs fire

terrain that gives 1 column left on all fire include –

across double slope hexside – -1
across single slope hexside for hilltop only – -1
in fleches, redoubt, or other field fortification – -1
behind hedge linear cover, in a sunken road, or similar – -1
infantry only in a fort hex – -1

Terrain effects on melee strength

The following give a defensive melee bonus of +1 defense strength after all other modifiers –

defending across double slope – +1 melee defense
defending crest from hilltop – +1 melee defense
defending inside field fortification – +1 melee defense
infantry defending inside a fort hex – +1 melee defense

Both sets of modifiers may be cumulative e.g. +2 for inside a redoubt across a slope hexside.

Note that woods and village have no effect on melee other than via lower stacking and not halved vs cavalry.  River, stream, ford, and bridge have no effect on fire or melee, other than melee only being possible from across the bridge or ford if the river or stream is otherwise impassible for the attacking units.

Optional morale and disorder rules

The rules already given are sufficient to play the game and keep to the simplicity of the brigade level originals.  But for players who want a somewhat more detailed and arguably realistic depiction of Napoleonic combat, the following morale and disorder rules may be added.  These rules make it more important to use fresh formations, ranks and reliefs.  These morale rules should be used in conjunction with the Advanced loss tracking system, with each combat outcome destroying only 1 SP, not a full unit step.

Most veteran units have a base morale of 4.  Guards dot units (both infantry and cavalry, but not all heavy cavalry) have 5 morale, and minor allies, militia, landwehr, inexperience armies, Russian cossacks have 3 morale. All units suffer -1 to their base morale once that specific unit has been reduced to 1/2 it original SP strength, or less.  If a formation or army is demoralized (see next section), all its units suffer an additional -1 to their morale.  Mixed stack hexes use the lowest morale in the hex.

In all fire combats, roll a second colored die along with the regular white “to hit” die.  If the shot causes SP loss and the colored die is above the target’s morale after applying those losses, then the target is disordered.  A hex that is already disordered is unaffected by additional fire combat disorder results.  Disordered units fire with limited effectiveness, and 1 shift left if already limited effectiveness.  Shots at a disordered unit are not affected.

In all melee combats, the side forced to retreat is automatically disordered, with no die roll necessary.  Neither side is disordered on an A1/D1 result.  In addition, a melee participant that is forced to retreat when already disordered before the moment of melee loses 2 additional SP (lost to rout) and retreats 1 additional hex, remaining disordered.  If one side is disordered at the moment of melee and the other is not, shift the melee odds column 1 column against the disordered side.  Shifts past either end of the table just use the last column.

At the end of each activation, any activated disordered unit that it not adjacent to an enemy unit at that time rolls 1D6 to rally from disorder.  Any roll equal to or less than its present morale succeeds and the disorder is removed.  If the roll is higher than the units present morale they remain disordered; there is no further effect.  Units adjacent to any enemy unit may not remove disorder.

Formation demoralization

Each corps level formation has an SP loss limit before it loses effectiveness for excessive losses.  In addition, players normally earn victory points for formations driven past their loss limits.  A formation is demoralized if it has lost total SPs greater than or equal to its demoralization loss limit, counting all fully eliminated units and all step losses of units still in play.  This is only checked in the Victory Phase at the end of the full game turn and does not take effect (other than victory determination) until the following turn.

Units in a demoralized formation may not conduct melee attacks, suffer -1 to their morale for disorder purposes, and (for army demoralization only) defend in melee at 50% of their normal melee strength.  They may conduct fire combat normally, actively and inactively, and continues to activate normally in all other respects.   Once a formation is demoralized there is no way for it to recover from that state.

Game and scenario specific rules

Napoleon’s Last Battles


Only corps commanders are used – this means many of the Anglo Allied division commanders are not part of the game.  Divisions are normally activated either with their corps or as a unit activation.

All allied corps commanders have a command rating equal to the leader rating on their counter.  All Prussian corps commanders have a command rating of 1.  All French infantry corps commanders have a command rating of 2 and all French cavalry corps commanders have a command rating of 1.

Wing and army commanders may lend their full command rating to 1 corps leader per game turn as an addition to that corps commander’s rating.  Only one higher commander may give command points to the same subordinate (e.g. Ney or Napoleon at Waterloo, but not both to the same corps on the same turn).

The command span of all corps commanders is 3 hexes plus their command rating e.g. The Prince of Orange may command 4 hexes of units within 4 hexes of his location.

Hanoverians and King’s German Legion units are considered part of the British army for all activation purposes.  The Dutch and Nassauers are similarly part of the same army.  All others have the usual cross nationality restrictions on unit activations, but may be activated together by their corps leaders normally.

Terrain effects

The road movement rate of 1/2 MP per hex cannot be used in any impulse in which the unit moving enters or leaves an enemy ZOC.  Infantry and cavalry units may not stack on road hexes in any turn in which any the involved units use the road or trail movement rates.  1 artillery unit (either kind) may stack in the same hex with infantry, and 1 horse artillery may stack in the same hex with cavalry while using road or trail movement.

Quatre Bras

Gemincourt (1711) is not village terrain, it is fort terrain, meaning +1 defense factor but not an obstructed hex.  It does not block LOS for artillery fire.

Kellerman may command any cavalry units on the French side in this fight, including Pire.  Pire can also be commanded by Reille as part of his corps.  He may only be activated once per turn however.

Historical option – there is some dispute over how much of Kellerman’s force was actually present for this battle, but it appears to be overwhelmingly likely he did not have his full force.  Neither the Carabinier half of Hurbal’s division nor the Dragoon half of Hertier’s division seem to have been present.  As such, I recommend removing one of the two starting heavy cavalry units of Kellerman’s force, leaving him just 1 such unit and his horse artillery.  The proper historical strength is probably to keep the 4-6 and remove the 5-6 heavy cavalry unit.

In addition, the Guards light cavalry present was not meant to be used.  It may not move adjacent to an Allied unit on its own activation until the 6 PM turn.

The Allies have only 1 corps present but he is assisted by Wellington, giving the Prince of Orange command of up to 8 hexes within 8 hexes of his location.  On his own he would only get 4 within 4.

The French will normally give Ney’s command point to Reille giving him the ability to command up to 6 hexes within 6 of his location, while Kellerman will command up to 4 within 4 of his location.

Additional force activations including all arriving Allied reinforcements will need to be activated by a unit move.  The Allied turn 1 reinforcements must be entered as 2 unit activations, Picton’s division first and the Brunswick contingent second.

The Allies have +3 on all initiative rolls starting with the first turn due to Wellington’s command rating advantage over Ney (4 vs 1).  Note that Merlen is out of command distance from Orange and will have to be activated by a unit activation, normally later in the turn.  The Dutch Belgians are quite vulnerable in their starting positions, so if the Allies win initiative  they will usually use it to pull them back somewhat.

Demoralization levels are 25 from the start for both sides and these are for the whole army on each side.  Demoralizing the enemy army is worth 10 extra victory points, and pushing the enemy army to disintegration is automatic victory for the side that does so, defeat for the first side that hits its disintegration level.

Napoleon At Leipzig

French Old Guard and Guards Cavalry units are moral 5. All other French and Polish units are morale 4.  Italians and German allies are morale 3.  Russians and the 3 units of the Prussian Guards are morale 4.  All other Prussians, all Austrians and all Swedes are morale 3.  All speed 6 cavalry in all armies are considered Heavy Cavalry and get 1 column shift in melee combat with Light Cavalry (speed 7), only.  French Old Guard infantry (only) are considered “dot” units earning 1 column shift right on their melee attacks.  Cavalry units with initial strength above 6 (e.g. one French Guard heavy cavalry division) may use their full strength for melee but may not stack with any other unit.

Various Prussian units from II Corps begin attached to other formations in Barclay de Tolley’s force southeast of the city.  These may be activated by the Russian and Austrian corps leaders they start with.  A unit activation may activate units from different corps only if they begin stacked together.   The Prussian Guard units are considered part of the Guard and Reserve Corps (mostly Russian).  All French minors may be activated along with French units of their corps even in unit activations.

On the night turns, units may not move adjacent to any enemy unit and no combat of any kind is allowed.

Allies automatically have the initiative on turn 1 in all scenarios.

Leipzig Terrain Effects

Melee attacks across major river bridges use obstructed terrain stacking limits for the attackers but not for the defenders.  Attackers also suffer 1 shift left on the melee table trying to cross a bridge.

Village and town terrain is obstructed terrain with a 1 column shift for fire combat (only) against those hexes.

Chateau / fortified terrain is obstructed terrain with 1 column shift for both fire and melee against them; this can be cumulative with bridges.

Swamp terrain is (1) obstructed, (2) impassible to artillery and cavalry except along a road or trail, and (3) artillery fire into it suffers 1 column left.

Forests are just obstructed terrain.

Melee across a stream suffers 1 column left but is not obstructed terrain, with or without a bridge.

Melee and fire attacks upslope suffer 1 column left; downslope is not affected.

Turn End

Use the rule that any Pass ends the Action Sequence on a roll of 6, and use all morale and disorder optional rules.  Various restrictions are in effect on French forces on the 14th, and no combat is possible at night or all day on the 15th.  See this BGG thread for 14th scenario start details  –

Leipzig 14th start rules

For the main 16th start scenario, make the following leader adjustments –

Schwarzenberg starts in hex 2513 (head of his column but with combat units, instead of ahead of it all alone).  Napoleon is not on the map, but instead appears at the start of turn 2 stacked with Murat wherever Murat is then (he didn’t arrive on the field until 9 AM).

Leipzig formation demoralization levels

Use the following demoralization levels for formations in the 16 start main scenario.

Army of Bohemia – 110 total

Klenau 12, Wittgenstein 16, Kleist 12, Meervelt  6, Homberg 15, Konstantine 35, Liechtenstein 6, Gyulai 8.

Army of Silesia – 55 total

Yorck 18, Langeron 17, Sacken 10, Priest 10

Grand Army – 220 total

II Victor 19, III Souham 22, IV Bertran 10, V Lauriston 16, VI Marmont 23, VIII Poniatowski 14, IX Augerau 11, XI MacDonald 18, Line of Operations 7

Old Guard 19, Guard Cavalry 11, 1st Young Guard 13, 2nd Young Guard 12

1st Cavalry Corps 10, 2nd Cavalry Corps 6, 4th Cavalry Corps 4, 5th Cavalry Corps 5

Napoleon’s Art of War variant

These games don’t have leaders but can be played using the system with minimal changes as explained below, or leaders can be created for them using blank counters.

For Eylau, the French get Soult as a “1” leader commanding Lev and Leg divisions, Augereau as a special “0” leader commanding Des and Hev divisions, Murat as a “1” leader for the Cav reserve, Davout arriving B4 as a “2” leader commanding Mor, Fri, and Gud divisions, and Ney arriving A9 as a “1” leader commanding Mar and Gar divisions.  They also get Napoleon as a “2 (2)” leader who can either lend 2 command points to any leader under him or act as the direct corps leader for the Grd and Sth divisions.  Augereau only has command points if Napoleon lends him some (he was so sick he could barely ride on the day of the battle).

The Russians get 4 corps commanders each rated “1” – Tut, Sac, Ost and Doc, the first 3 commanding their right, center, and left pairs of division with Doc commanding the reserve in second line, plus Bennigsen as a “(1)” leader with a single command point to lend to any of the others.  When the Prussians arrive they come with Lestoc as a “1” corps leader who can command the Prussians only.

All unit activations must be from units with the same division designation.

If you want the “no leaders” variant, it is just that all units sharing the same name label are from the same formation, and can activate together as long as each unit is within 2 hexes of another sharing that name.  At Eylau for example the 5 French cavalry units labeled “Mur” are Murat’s reserve cavalry and can activate as one group.  The 2 infantry, 1 artillery, and 2 cavalry Russian units labled “Ost” are Osterman-Tolstoi’s division and can likewise activate as one group.

For Dresden, the French can activate any number of units from the same corps (last part of the unit designation) as long as each is within 2 hexes of some other in the group.  The Allies may activate any number of units from the same nation (Russians, Austrians, Prussians) subject to the same restriction.

All other rules of the system are unchanged.

30 Years War Quad variant

This system can also be extended to cover the older military system of the 30 years war, as covered in the old SPI 30 Years War Quad game and its later Decision Games reprints.  The following changes are needed to do this.

Infantry firepower in this era is only 1 per 3 SPs, round to nearest, with a 3  maximum firepower rating out of one hex.  To be explicit about this, 1 SP has no infantry firepower, 2-4 have 1 firepower, 5-7 have 2 firepower, and 8 or more infantry get 3 firepower.  One column left for a disordered shooting, or infantry fire vs charging or withdrawing cavalry, up a slope or into entrenchments.  These modifiers can be cumulative.

Unlike the Napoleonic era, cavalry can also conduct fire combat in this era, but only at on 1 firepower column.  Cavalry with 1-2 SP do not get fire ratings, but any cavalry with 3+ SP gets a 1 firepower rating.  Any left shift against firing cavalry makes their fire ineffective (disordered shooter, up slope or into entrenchments).  Cavalry withdrawing before fire gets no shot because it “shifts off the left edge”.

The artillery units are single counters without SP tracking.  They get 3 firepower at range 1-3, 2 firepower at range 4-6.  Increase the melee rating of a hex containing an artillery counter by 1 if melee’d from the front, only.  Instead of making them completely immobile, allow them to be moved 1 hex and refaced if they are activated and don’t fire.

For melee purposes, all infantry are worth 1 per SP up to strength 6, 1/2 thereafter, to the stacking maximum of 18 SPs (would give 12 melee strength).  Cavalry are worth 2 per SP up to the stacking maximum of 6 SP or the full strength of cavalry units with larger starting strength (8 occurs in some battles).  Cavalry can decline melee if attacked by infantry, retreating 2 hexes and ceding the hex.  If it stands, its strength is calculated as above.  Ignore game specific rules about auto disorder of cavalry after charge (not appropriate on this time scale).

The normal cavalry stacking limit is 6 but cavalry units with 7 or 8 initial strength can still use all of it.  Infantry stacking limit is 18.

Use the “morale system” variant above, meaning roll 2D6 for fire attacks with disorder on 5-6 on the red morale die, 4-6  if reduced to 1/2 SP or less.  Some scenarios might deserve other morale ratings e.g. Protestants might realistically be “3” morale at White Mountain, Spanish infantry might realistically be “5” morale in some fights.  Any unit forced to retreat in melee is also automatically disordered.  Disordered units suffer 1 column shift against them in melee.

Leaders can rally disordered units they are stacked with, needing 1-4 for a 1 rated leader, with -1DRM for each rating beyond 1 for higher rated leaders.

Unit activations can activate up to 4 units sharing the same name designation provided all are within 2 hexes of the lead unit and each is adjacent to at least one other unit being activated.  If they don’t all share a name designation, 3 units within 2 hexes of the lead unit is the maximum unit activation.  Note this slight modification allows infantry “tericos” to activate together;  these are frequently 4 infantry units fighting in 2 ranks in these games.

Leader units also act as activation leaders, with initiative and command range ratings equal to 2x their game leader rating plus 2.  That is, a 1-8 leader activates 4 units within 4 hexes, a 2-8 leader activates 6 units within 6 hexes, and a 3-8 leader activates 8 units within 8 hexes.  Leaders with rating 2 or higher also provide a -1 DRM on morale checks for disorder from fire attacks in the hex where they are stacked.

For leader loss, whenever a fire combat attack rolls 6-6 (both dice 6), the highest ranking leader in the target hex is a casualty.  In melee combat, 6 causes defender leader loss if the defenders have to retreat (all columns above 50%) and 1 causes attacker leader loss if the attackers are forced to retreat (columns 125% and below).

30 Years War Quad terrain effects

All the movement effects of the original games can be used, except prohibited terrain for cavalry.  No terrain is prohibited to them, they just have the lower effective stacking of “obstructed terrain” described in the system above for things like woods or towns.  For entrenchments, allow them to enter and fight in them normally but with defender benefits as described below.

Fire combat through a slope hexside from a slope hex gives the side on the hill 1 shift left on all shots against them.  Fire downward is unaffected.  Fire combat into any entrenchment or fortification hex or across a fort hexside similarly gives 1 shift left, and this may be cumulative with the previous.

Melee combat upslope, into an entrenchment or fort, or across a fort hexside gives 1 shift left on the melee table.   Slope and either entrenchment or fort combine for 2 shifts.

Star palace in the White Mountain scenario is a fort hex that is also considered obstructed terrain for stacking and melee purposes, meaning its stacking limit becomes  9 SP, and likewise only that number can attack it in melee.  Infantry SP beyond that are ignored.