TITLE: Napoleon At War: Wargame Rules for Napoleonic Battles
AUTHOR: Angel Saquero Hernandez and Ricardo de Prado Sanz
PUBLISHER: Man At War Miniatures Games
PUBLICATION DATE: 2011
WEB SITE/SUPPORT FORUM:
PRICE (with date): $35.00 (in 2013)
REVIEWED BY: Mark “Extra Crispy” Severin
PERIOD COVERED: The Napoleonic Wars
Napoleon At War is a 108 page hardbound book. The book features a color cover and full color throughout. The book contains a large number of photos of miniature battles, period artwork and excellent diagrams and illustrations.
NAW puts each player in command of a division-sized force. It is aimed squarely at the tournament player, with a points system and stylized scenarios for competition play (like Flames of War and other tournament rule sets, the accompanying figures are sold in units, complete with appropriate bases).
The book includes a sample French infantry army list. It includes 8 battalions of 24 figures, three cavalry units of 12 figures each, and two batteries. Accordingly players should expect to build armies of 250+ figures, based on the various options they want to be able to field.
In MAW units are infantry battalions, cavalry regiments and artillery batteries.
- Ground Scale: Not stated. Ranges are 6” for musketry, max 24” for heavy artillery.
- Time scale 1 turn = Not stated.
- Figure/Base Ratio: Not stated. Infantry battalions are 24 figures, cavalry regiments 12 figures.
- Recommended Figure Size: 15 mm (the company have their own range of figures packaged for the game).
- Table Size: 6 x 4’ table
- Game Length: Most games should be playable in 2-3 hours
The rule book does not state the base sizes used, as it is assumed you are using the bases provided with the accompanying figure range. A graphic available from the web site indicates the actual base sizes are:
- Skirmish Base: 30 x 15 mm
- Infantry Base: 26 x 32 mm (or 1” x 1 1/4”)
- Subcommander: 26 x 32 mm (or 1” x 1 1/4”)
- Cavalry: 45 x 40 mm
- Artillery: 45 x 40 mm
- Foot Limber: 35 x 120 mm
- Horse Limber: 35 x 159 mm
- Commander: 45 x 40 mm
- Initial Phase: In this phase the active player checks army morale and also check if one side or the other has satisfied their victory conditions.
- Movement Phase: The active player moves his units.
- Firing Phase: The active player fires, and his opponent may then return fire. Forces that have lost half their units must now check Force Morale.
- Combat Phase: Close combat and breakthroughs are resolved now.
- Reserve & Support Move Phase: Reserves may enter the table, and eligible units may move again.
- the inactive player now assumes the active role, repeating steps 1-5. A game lasts 6 turns at which point victory is determined.
NAW uses a few game concepts worth calling out separately.
Favorable/Unfavorable: The game uses a number of dice rolls with a target to equal or exceed. In certain situations the roll is favorable, meaning you may roll two dice and choose the better roll. So if you need a 4+ and roll two dice resulting in 2, 5 you have succeeded (you would obviously choose the 5 in this case). Likewise the roll may be Unfavorable. In this case roll two dice, but BOTH must equal or exceed the target number.
Committed/Uncommitted: Units in NAW may become committed, limiting the player’s control over that unit. A unit is committed when it is within 6” of any enemy unit (even if that enemy unit cannot fire at it).
Engaged/Unengaged: If a unit is within 12” of enemy cavalry, or is within the fire zone of enemy artillery it is Engaged. In addition, all Committed units are Engaged as well.
Unit Ratings: All units are rated for Valeur and Discipline. For each rating there is a target number for checks against the rating. For example, Brave units (Valeur) pass a valeur test on a 3+. Raw units, when checking Discipline, need to roll a 5+.
Zone of Control: All units exert a 4” zone of control. Normally you may not pass or retreat through an enemy ZOC. in some cases you may do so but with a penalty (for example, for every ZOC crossed during a retreat the unit loses one stand).
During the movement phase, the active player selects one force (usually a brigade) and moves all of the units in that force. He must complete the movement of one force before moving on to another, and may not go back.
Movement rate account for both formation and terrain. Units that remain unengaged throughout the phase use a “Maneuver Move.” In this case the command stand is moved up to the unit’s movement allowance, and the remaining stands then moved. Units may freely change formation at the start of their move, and may freely interpenetrate friendly units.
Units that are enagged but not committed may check Discipline and if successful may move just as for a “Maneuver Move.” Otherwise they may change formation, but may only move forward in a straight line. This is called a “Siple Move.” Committed units may only perform simple moves.
Artillery must limber or unlimber to move. Limbering or unlimbering takes half a move. Foot artillery may perform two of: limber/unlimber, move half or fire. Horse artillery get three actions (so they may move half, unlimber and then fire, for example).
As with moving, firing is done one force at a time. Units use a certain number of dice for each stand in the unit. This may be modified by formation, terrain, leadership, etc. Units that moved fire at half dice. You must roll a 4+ to hit. Elite units get extra dice while raw units must re-roll hits.
For every four hits scored a base is removed. For excess hits the target makes a saving throw. Rolling a die it must roll higher than the number of hits. If successful it negates those hits. Otherwise it loses a base. For example, a unit is fired on taking three hits. It must roll a 4+ to save. If a unit takes 9 hits, it loses two bases and makes a save at 2+.
In NAW skirmishers are somewhat abstracted. Each skirmish base attached to a unit reduces the enemy’s dice by one. When firing at the enemy’s front, if you have three dice with the same number the enemy must remove a skirmish stand (for example, rolling 5 dice and you roll 1,2,5,5,5 - triple 5s kills a skirmish base.
Artillery have a fire zone such that they may score casualties against multiple units when firing round shot. For each hit scored on the target unit, roll one die. For every 6 rolled a hit is scored on a unit behind the target.
Return and Support Fire: Units fired on by a unit to their front may return fire using the normal firing procedure. Units that were not fired on but have an eligible target to their front may fire on that enemy unit, or they may add dice to a friendly unit’s fire if eligible.
Firefights: If a unit fires on the enemy without moving during it’s turn, a firefight results. Fire and return fire are carried out and losses compared. The unit losing the most stands has lost the firefight. The losing unit retreats one move away from the enemy.
The melee phase is called Combat in NAW.
To engage an enemy in close combat you must declare a charge and move into contact with an eligible unit. Units that changed formation may not charge. The target unit may react by evading or with fire. Infantry charged by cavalry may attempt to form square. Artillery may fire or withdraw or some combination of the two. In any case a Discipline check is made to see if the target unit is successful.
Once in contact each side must pass a Valeur test. A unit that fails the test retreats so as to be 4” away from the enemy, and a Firefight results.
Units will roll a number of dice based on how many stands they have, terrain, and what kind of enemy unit they face. Dice are rolled and each roll of 4+ eliminates an enemy stand (there is no saving throw). The attacker rolls first and casualties removed. The defender must now pass a Valeur check. If it does so it rolls dice and causes hits in the same way. Otherwise it must retreat.
If both sides have caused hits, the side causing more losses wins the combat (ties go to the defender). The defender must retreat, and the victor may reorganize by making a full move, so long as it ends the move at least 4” from all enemy units.
Rallying in NAW is treated as a special support move. A unit in command and that is neither committed nor engaged may attempt to recover a stand by passing a Discipline Test. Both line and skirmish stands may be recovered in this way.
Command and Control:
Units are required to be within 12” of their force subcommander. Units outside this radius suffer penalties for both movement and morale (they may not recover lost stands, for example). Some units may be independent and have no need to obey this restriction.
The book contains two sample army lists and six generic scenarios geared to tournament play.
Making minor allowances for the translation, NAW is well written and easy to follow. There are lots of excellent diagrams throughout the book explaining all of the mechanisms in detail. It is clear NAW is aimed squarely at the tournament player.
The company promises to publish additional books which will contain army lists, painting guides etc. for various theaters, using the now familiar Flames of War model of theater-specific army books. Further details may be found at NapoleonAtWar.com