TITLE: A to Z Rules: Campaigns of Napoleon
AUTHOR: Phillip Spera and Andrew Zartolas, Jr.
PUBLISHER: Delphi Corp.
PUBLICATION DATE: 1996
WEB SITE/SUPPORT FORUM:
PRICE (with date): Out of Print
REVIEWED BY: Mark “Extra Crispy” Severin
PERIOD COVERED: The Napoleonic Wars 1796 - 1815
A to Z Campaigns of Napoleon (CoN) is a 50 page book with a color card stock cover. The interior is black & white, with a few simple diagrams illustrating play. The charts cover four pages, and a set of card stock player charts is included (the charts are also included in the actual book).
SCOPE: CoN covers the Napoleonic Wars from 1796 through 1815. According to the authors it can be played at the battalion, regimental or brigade scale.
ARMY SIZE: Units vary in size from 10 stands (Austrians) to 4 (British and others). Accordingly the game will require fairly substantial armies of at least a few hundred per side.
BASE UNIT: Can be played with units as battalions, regiments or brigades.
- Ground Scale: None listed. (The included scenarios give a ground scale of 24” = 1 mile, or about 73 yards per inch).
- Time scale 1 turn = None listed.
- Figure/Base Ratio: None listed, but infantry units vary from 4 to 10 bases each.
- Recommended Figure Size: None.
- Table Size: The two scenarios included feature a 6x10 and a 4x6 table.
- Game Length: Most games should be playable in one evening, with smaller scenarios playable in 3 hours or so.
BASING SIZES: CoN has no specific basing requirements other than both sides having the same basing system. The scenario deployment maps suggest a battalion should occupy about 4” of frontage.
- The Initiative Phase: Each side rolls 3D6 and winner may choose to move first or second.
- Impulse Phase: The active player calculates how many Impulses he has available.
- Action Phase: The Active player now “spends” impulses on units in order to have them perform actions, such as moving, closing with the enemy, etc.
- Fire Phase: All units eligible to fire may now do so.
- End of Turn Phase: Check for victory conditions otherwise the inactive player becomes the active player and spends his impulses and repeats steps 2 through 5. This ends one turn.
The Impulse System: CoN uses an “Impulse” system similar to command points or the infamous Pips. Each turn a player has a base number of Impulses. To this is added any Impulses from leaders. These Impulses are then spent to activate each unit. Armies receive between 2 and 5 base, with leaders adding as many as 3 or 4 more. Impulses are needed to move, change formation or launch assaults (but not fire). If your leader is killed, you obviously lose those Impulses. Single units may perform multiple actions provided the appropriate number of Impulses are spent.
Impulses “flow” through the commanders. Units within command radius of their commander may perform actions. Units outside the radius must pass a Morale Check to perform an action (but the Impulse is spent either way).
Movement & Formations: CoN provides for Line, Square, Assault Column, Open Order, Dirsordered, etc. Each formation has its own movement rate and limitations. Road columns may change facing at no cost but may not Close to Contact. As part of movement a unit may, at the beginning of movement, change facing up to 90 degrees or about face. Otherwise a facing change requires spending an Impulse. Units may only change facing at the start of movement. Units may oblique up to 45o
Fire Combat: Fire combat occurs twice per turn. Firing is done by stand. Each eligible stand rolls 1D6 scoring a hit on a 6. This “To Hit” number may be modified to a 5 or 6 for enfilade fire. The number of dice rolled is adjusted based on the firer’s formation. For each target the number of hits are summed and a die rolled for Fire Effect. Modifiers to this roll include defensive terrain and firer quality. This may halve or double casualties. Units track individual casualties, removing stands at three hits for infantry and cavalry, and at 6 hits for artillery. Units suffering 3 or more hits in one turn have suffered “Withering Fire” and must make an immediate Morale Check.
Artillery Fire: Artillery is similar to Fire Combat. Artillery roll one die for each “pound” of gun weight. This is modified for fatigue, hits etc. It may then be reduced for defensive terrain etc. Hits are scored on a 6, or a 4+ if within cannister range. Hits are applied (there is no Fire Effect roll for artillery) immediately. Artillery units that fire receive a Fatigue marker. (Fatigue is recovered by spending a turn idle).
Melee Combat: Closing with the enemy is a mini turn within itself. A unit that charges the enemy declares a target and moves to within one inch . It takes “pass through” fire from other nearby enemy units. It then checks morale to see if it closes, or pulls up 1” short. If it passes the target makes a morale check. It will either stand or retreat.
If the target stands, melee results. Each side rolls 2D6 subject to modifiers for unit quality, terrain, flanks etc. The difference between the rolls determines the casualties. The loser (low roller) takes that number of hits, the winner half as many. Each side becomes disordered, receives a Fatigue marker and must make a Morale Check.
Morale: Morale checks are made for a variety of reasons in the rules: to form square when chaged by cavalry, to close with the enemy, after melee, etc. The checks come in 2 kinds. In the first the check merely results in success or failure (i.e. forming square). The second results in either no effect or a morale failure followed by retreat or rout.
Units have a base morale which is modified by Fatigue, attached leaders, casualties, etc. The player rolls a D6 and must roll equal to or less than the morale. Missing by one results in a retreat, facing the enemy. Missing by two results in a double retreat facing away. Missing by 3 or more is a rout and the unit is removed from the table.
There is no “Rally” phase in the traditional sense. Units may rally from disorder, but Fatigue and Casualties drive Morale.
The rule book includes two scenarios for Corunna and Vimiero. There is a brief guide for determining unit sizes for each country, along with a few National Characteristics.
These rules show their age with several of their mechanisms - such as the morale check to close with the enemy and the weapon ranges (6” for muskets). The layout is a tad messy but the rules are very straight forward. One issue is the number of impulses. If I read the rules right, an army will typically have just 5 or 6 Impulses per turn. That means, for example, the British Army at Vimiero with 23 units will only move perhaps one quarter of those each turn.