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General de Brigade (1999)

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TITLE : General de Brigade 2nd Edition (1999)General De Brigade

AUTHOR: David Brown

PUBLISHER: Partizan Press



  • The author provides updates and errata on his web site located here.
  • The author is active on the forums located here.

PRICE (with date): $30.00 (in 2008)

REVIEWED BY: Mark “Extra Crispy” Severin


  • Napoleonic Wars


General de Brigade (GdB) is a nice glossy staple bound book. It runs 68 pages not counting several pages of ads. There are extensive illustrations throughout. The interior is black & white.


GdB is a tactical rule set for Napoleonic warfare.


Units in GdB tend to be fairly large (this is often cited as one of the appeals of the game). For example, a French line infantry battalion has 36-40 figures. The French army from the Vimiero scenario (included in the rules) totals 270 infantry figures, 12 cavalry figures and 3 guns with crew.


Basic units are battalions for infantry, companies or squadrons for cavalry and batteries for artillery. In addition officer figures are required.


  • Ground Scale 1” = 25 meters
  • Time Scale Not Specified
  • Figure/Base Ratio: 1 figure = 20 men
  • Recommended Figure: 15/20mm
  • Table Size: Not Specified
  • Game Length: 2-4 hours


In all cases base depths should simply be kept as small as needed to mount the miniatures.

15mm Figures

  • Infantry: 8mm to 10mm wide per figure, mounted in two ranks, six or eight figures per base.
  • Cavalry: 10mm to 12mm wide per figure, two or three per base
  • Artillery: 30mm to 40mm wide per gun model

25mm Figures

  • Infantry: 15mm wide per figure, mounted in two ranks, six or eight figures per base.
  • Cavalry: 20mm wide per figure, two or three per base
  • Artillery: 50mm to 60mm wide per gun model


Initiative Phase: Initiative is decided by a die roll. The winner (called the Phasing Player) may move first or make his opponent do so.

  • Command Phase: C in C’s issue orders to their brigades.
  • Compulsory Movement Phase: Units that are retreating, pursuing or routing move. Broken units also move in this phase.
  • Charge Phase: The player with initiative declares his charges followed by his opponent. Then the phasing player resolves his charges followed by his appointment.
  • Normal Movement: The phasing player moves his units followed by his opponent.
  • Firing Phase: The phasing player fires followed by his opponent. Fire is not considered simultaneous.
  • Melee Phase: All units in melee now fight (melee is assumed to have been going on throughout the turn).
  • Morale & Pursuit Tests: Unit and brigade morale are checked, as are pursuit tests resulting from melee.


Command and Control: GdB is an order driven game. Orders are issued by C in C’s to their brigades. Once ordered, a brigade must act on those orders unless given a new order by the C in C or by initiative (one brigade per player per turn may attempt to change orders).  Orders are written and must include specific objectives. Orders and order changes are affected by C in C quality, distance etc.

Fire Combat: Fire Combat is fairly straight forward. A firing unit rolls 2D6, applies a number of modifiers for cover, enemy formation, firing unit formation, and unit quality. The result is cross indexed with the number of figures firing. The result is a number which is the number of casualties caused. Artillery fires in exactly the same way, but uses a separate set of tables.

Melee Combat: Melees are resolved by opposed 2D6 die rolls. The high roll is the winner. The difference between the two rolls determines the extent of the victory. Modifiers include troop type (Cuiraissers get +3), morale (conscripts -1), and situations (-6 for retreating units, +2 for being in buildings). If the difference is big enough, the loser can break and be pursued by the victor. The die rolls also determine how many casualties each side inflicts on the other.

Double Sixes: In many situations, if you roll 2D6 and roll box cars, you have to consult a Double Six chart. Results of this chart focus primarily on leader casualties, but extra casualties, morale results and retreats can also result. It is also possible for a leader to gain an inspirational bonus, or be killed owing to owning a cheap pocket watch (first rate pocket watch owners are safe and continue in the battle).


Included in the rule book is a section on OOBs with scattered selections from the era, as well as three scenarios: Vimiero (1808), Borodino – The Great Redoubt (1812) and Waterloo – The Guard’s Last Attack (1815). A simple points system for generating “what if” battles is also included.

There are also books of scenarios available separately.


General de Brigade is arguably one of the most successful rules sets ever published. The rules themselves are well written, with copious examples and, where needed, illustrations. The mechanics are straightforward so are easy to both teach and learn. The same core game has also been adapted to a number of other periods including the 19th century (“There Are Your Guns”), the American War of Independence (“British Grenadier”) and numerous other adaptations are in the works.

The primary criticism I have heard leveled at the game is that units are big and so a game requires a substantial number of figures to play.


Not played.

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