comments on Napoleon's Battles
are reactions from gamers about the original Napoleon's
Battles rules taken from various web chat rooms. We
have left the comments anonymous.
miniatures at auction on Ebay
have played numerous sets of Napoleonic Rules including
Empire, which drove all but the most dedicated new
guy away from Napoleonics. Because of the cleanly
written and well edited Napoleon's Battles, we have
more people playing and painting armies. Yes, NAPOLEON'S
BATTLES is a fine game and should not be belittled
by the arrogant and self-absorbed."
here in Europe, NB has meant a rennaissance in Napoleonic
Miniatures wargaming. Some players move on to other
rules, or make their own, but for most the taste for
it at all started with NB!"
Battles is quite popular down here in Australia, partly
because they allow for reasonable approximations of
Napoleonic grand tactics without too much stuffing
around with endless tables and charts so much favoured
by other rules that claim to be "realistic". Of course
they were not perfect, but they were a lot better
in their overall texture and feel than many others."
(Napoleon's Battles) sucks."
author drew the obvious conclusion: Legacy of Glory
was much better in the realism department, while Napoleon's
Battles was much better in terms of playability.
As a military historian, the author expressed a preference
for realism over playability, but acknowledged that
this was something of a personal matter. So Napoleon's
Battles seems to be much more playable than Legacy
of Glory or other games of the ilk. The question is:
Is it realistic, and, if not, would a few rules changes
fix things, or is it fatally flawed?"
Battles' standard rules raises the focus a level or
two and WON'T ALLOW the player to be concerned about
what a single battalion (much less a company) is doing...
assumes a level of "delegation" from the division
general to the brigadier (in some cases regimental
colonels) that entrusts them with the workings of
the battalion and company... For instance, it assumes
that one or more of the battalions in a regiment or
brigade space turned about to meet the threat on the
flank... It takes into account the reduction in combat
effectiveness through modifiers that are not referred
to as "flank modifiers" as in EMPIRE, but can have
the same effect on combat...
say the least, when I started playing NB after ten
years playing EMPIRE, I had to learn a new paradigm
have found that Napoleon's Battles, while tactically
frustrating (I have never played a game yet where
I was not reduced to a state of dice-hurling frustration
and declared a blood-oath that I would never, never
play this set of god-forsaken rules again), gives
me a very real strategic challenge that I find very
satisfying. So I always find myself coming back.
many "tactical" games I have played lay so many command/movement/activation
restrictions on a non-French or non-British commander
that it hardly makes it worth while to play the game
- I know about the history, I've read the books. And
the battle being played is not Napoleon versus Mack,
it is me versus you."
Battles - a failure at the tactical level, a success
at the grand-tactical level. I wouldn't want to try
to fight Eylau, Friedland, Wagram, Borodino, Lepzig
or Waterloo with any other rule set."
regard Napoleon's Battles as a game which maps to
solo play well, Alternate movement is good for solo
players. Also, the fact that Napoleon's battles abstracts
out most low level manoeuvre removes the burden of
having to micro-manage both armies in an honest way.
Finally, the command radius system (subject of much
criticism) is again good for solo play. It requires
little calculation or record keeping."
Battles - We've played this rule set a few times.
The inter- penetration rules and recalling cavalry
- If you have the 'Gods' (French Guard Heavy Cavalry)
with a decent (+2) officer you can recall these babies
almost indefinately! Sure wrecks any battle plans
the target of the recall charge has.
also have a problem with being able to charge a brigade
of cavalry throught two or more infantry brigades
in column with absolutely no penalties or chance of
mishap. This doesn't seem realistic to me at all -
regardless of the scale of the game. No troops were
club I belong to has begun to use Avalon Hill's "Napoleon's
Battles" for Napoleonics. Yesterday we had our second
game, and the first one modeled on a historical engagement
-- the Battle of Fleurus, 1794. This was one of the
largest battles of the entire period of the French
Revolution. The system handled it as well as we could
acknowledging that these rules are more abstract than
those in both battalion-level games, we are so far
generally satisfied with their ability to allow us
to refight large battles in a reasonable amount of
space and time.
I find the 3/4" deep stands much easier to handle
than the 1/2" deep stands typically employed in 1:60
games. Physical appearance is also enhanced by mounting
figures two-deep instead of in a single line. As we
begin to get other armies painted up, we expect to
continue using "Napoleon's Battles" to explore other
interesting nooks and crannies of the period."
"One of the most significant strengths of NB
is buried in the optional rules - supply wagons. My
own feeling is that if you don't use this rule, then
NAPOLEON'S BATTLES is just another not-so-hot 'big'
tactical game. But if you do use this rule (and beefed
up C3I rules), then NAPOLEON'S BATTLES becomes a state-of-the-art
simulation of grand-tactics in the Napoleonic era."
you have described is a serious problem with the Napoleon's
Battles rules. I call it "ambushing". However, if
all that you are peeved about is not being able to
fire with the infantry, then I think you have missed
a player who has an infantry brigade and a cavalry
brigade free during his movement phase can select
an enemy infantry unit and destroy it, with a high
degree (80%) of certainty.
infantry unit pins the enemy unit as described. The
cavalry unit then charges it. Unable to form square,
the infantry unit is doomed, barring an unlikely combinationn
of dice rolls. Being able to fire would not make any
difference to the target: it needs to shoot at the
cavalry to have any chance of surviving. Shooting
at the infantry would only be a petty sort of defiance.
our group discovered this tactic and put it to good
use, I challenged anyone to point out a historical
incident where the equivalent situation occurred.
No-one could provide an example and we now forbid
and cavalry cannot charge the same unit in the same
phase and infantry charged by cavalry can always attempt
to form square, regardless of the presence of enemy
in mind that Napoleon's Battles uses a completely
different scale than most other rule sets. ... Napoleon's
Battles is designed to refight big battles in a reasonable
amount of space and a reasonable amount of time. The
other rules sets are more detailed and less abstract,
but only permit (heroic efforts aside) refights of
smaller battles or portions of larger battles. You
pays your money and you takes your choice."
"Here in Australia, it seems to be divided into
two factions: Empire (whatever the latest edition
5? 6?) and Avalon Hill's Napoleon's Battles. Our club
prefers NapBat hands down. It is at a fairly high
conversion rate (1:120 from memory) but gives an excellent
flow and feel of Napoleonic warfare, much better than
Empire (in my opinion)."
use NAPOLEON'S BATTLES, modified to support event-driven
command-control. NAPOLEON'S BATTLES has easy-to-learn
and easy-to-use "fighting rules," and it adapts easily
to an event- driven system. However, NAPOLEON'S BATTLES
does not represent battalions (the smallest formation
is a brigade), so if you want battalion-level control
it's not the system for you. But if you want to recreate
large-scale encounters at an affordable price, on
an average-sized table, then NAPOLEON'S BATTLES using
6mm figures is my favorite rules set."
are no orders, no light or medium foot guns, no flanks,
no skirmishers, no battalions, no cavalry squadrons.
That was an interesting and clever design decision,
but not one that can be based on any historical argument.
Corps commanders certainly were aware of their battalions
- they could see them, lead them, adjust, them, etc.
can't do that in NB except in an abstract way.
me the most curious design decision was, that in eliminating
tactical clutter to focus on the Grand-tactical, Napoleon's
Battles should have had something to say about command
control. What it says is very problematic to me and
to many others. However, your sheer number of adherents
must make my criticisms fairly easy to bear."