A long time ago, in a Galaxy far, far away, I like many others started my journey into the world of wargaming, back before 'puters and the tinterwebnet, I picked up a book in the local libary and that book would literally change my life. That book was Napoleons Campaigns in Miniature by Bruce Quarrie.
I seem to have spent my life looking for that perfect set of rules, I spent a good few years using the "Hard Pounding" computer rules, that sadly came to an end when first the rules moved onto PC (and never worked) then my trusty Atari ST gave up the ghost in the mid 90s leaving us with no viable platform for the rules (yes we tried emulator etc etc, nothing worked). So I started that search again. I thought about modernising my beloved Quarrie rules but never seemed to get round to it. I never liked Gilders bucket o'dice approach and it wasn't until General de Brigade came along that I felt that long lost love for Napoleonic gaming return. However there was one thing missing, National Characteristics (NC).
I know the author of General de Brigade is not a fan of NC from his interviews however, interestingly they do seem to be creeping in with newer versions.
This is my attempt to introduce that Quarrie feeling into GdeB.
Important Notes (please read)
What follows are my thoughts on a suitable conversion, many people have asked me to put these on my blog over the years and I am only to glad to share.
This is not a stand alone set of rules, you will have to buy the General de Brigade Deluxe Edition hardback rules to make them work. I don't believe there are any copyright issues in fact the opposite I am encouraging people to go out and buy the rules. A working knowledge of the Quarrie rules will help but is not essential.
This is not an argument about National Characteristics, you either like them or you don't, there are a lot of people out there, like me who want them in their rules more from a personal nostalgia basis as opposed to historical fact. If you are not a fan, I get it, this post isn't for you.
The NC tables below are a guide, as they were in the initial Napoleons Campaigns in Miniature book, there are troop types missing for example, I have tried to keep close to those covered in the book. I am more than happy to add suggestions from readers and think about modifications in the tables, we all have our favourite armies and want better factors after all !
Where something is not covered below, revert to the GdeB book for rule clarification.
All my modifications are for 15mm figures, my collections are based on the Quarrie 1:33 ratio, GdeB is 1:20, with over 6000 15mm Napoleonic figures I am not rebasing, so to get over this we simply use my figures as they are and record casualties on paper. So a 24 figure French Line Battalion works as a 36 figure unit for the rules it's a straightforward conversion. Low figure number units don't work particularly well in GdeB.
I have done very limited playtesting with these, if people are interested in the concept and wish to try these modifications out that would be fantastic and I would love to hear about how your games went and any issues raised or modifications needed.
I will now go through the fast play sheet (FPS) from the rules covering the modifications required, please note the NC tables are at the end of this post.
Game Turn Sequence - No change
Initiative and Orders - No change at this time although I do plan to introduce the individual named commanders in the Quarrie book at a later stage.
In each of the NC tables below distances in cms are given for each troop type, this is arbitrary but is a reflection of training and ability, a better trained unit from a country noted for its mobility being able to move faster.
For Square Movement and Retreat etc use the GdeB distances.
Formation Changes - remain as per GdeB but is being looked at.
Charge distance is +20% rounded up.
Where GdeB refers to troop classes refer to the NC tables below, anything with a Morale of 2 or higher is Guard / Elite.
Morale of 0 or 1 is Line / Veteran
Morale of less than 1 is 2nd Line / Conscript
Musketry and Artillery Fire
Relatively straightforward, ignore all of the Infantry Fire Modifiers in column one on the FPS, the new modifiers are,
Fire Factor (from NC), Fired / Melee last turn -2, Faltering / Unformed -4
On column 2, Artillery Fire Modifiers remove the first two factors relating to Artillery Class and add,
Fire Factor (from NC)
Target Modifiers, casualties, double 6 table etc remain the same.
Some Veteran Line Battalions would shoot better than their freshly raised counterparts and this should be considered when setting Armies out at the start of a game, so a Veteran French Line Battalion could have a +1 Fire Factor, a Marie Louise unit -1, I would factor that into the NC prior to the start of the game.
This was a little harder to incorporate, here you need to be familiar with the Quarrie concept of Impact Melee and Confused Melee, it's fairly obvious to be honest,
Impact Melee or Charging Melee (as I call it) is the factor used when a unit has met all the requirements to be counted as having charged into a combat.
Confused Melee factors are used in all other situations, for example if a unit has failed to reach the criteria to charge by not travelling far enough or standing to meet a charge. It also is the factor used in any subsequent rounds of melee after the first, by BOTH units.
So going back to the FPS their are a lot of changes, mostly deletions.
You can remove the vast majority of the factors on the FPS sheet, they reflect, troop type, morale class etc and these are all included in the individual factor on the NC tables.
So my melee sequence would be, each side rolls 2d6 and adds or subtracts the following,
Unit Melee factor (either Charging or Confused depending on situation)
In Open Order -2
Foot vs Cavalry count 1/2 figures
General leading troops in front rank + 1 (for now individual factors to follow)
British Infantry in line (If post volley) +1
Unformed / Faltering -2
Attacked in flank or rear -4
Infantry charging in column +1
Square vs Cavalry +4
In Cover +1
In Buildings +2
In Fortifications / prepared Buildings +3
Outnumber enemy by 50 % +1
Outnumber enemy by 100 % +2
Retain all the numbered points under the Melee Factor apart from no 1, Lancers should use their Confused factor in those circumstances.
Consideration for veteran units and mount quality should be considered before the game begins and added or subtracted from the NC as you see fit.
Results and casualties remain as GdeB
Cavalry Pursuit Test
Remove all modifiers and replace with,
General Attached +1 (individual commanders coming soon)
Control Factor from NC
Note some Elite Cavalry units can choose to use either a plus one or a minus one depending on their circumstances and preference.
Unit Morale Test
Remove all factors relating to troop class and replace with,
Morale Factor from NC tables
Use +1 for attached General until individual factors are published.
Brigade Morale Test
Use as per GdeB except, remove Guard and Elite Brigades and replace with Morale Factor 2 or above and remove 2nd Line, Conscript etc and replace with Morale Factor of -1 or lower.
So there you have it, nothing too controversial in my mind and hopefully if you miss a bit of Quarrie then it would be great if people gave this a go. I look forward to any comments/ suggestions.
The National Characteristic Charts
Below you will find my first draft of the tables, apologies for the formatting but I had a real issue importing them in from Excel, enjoy.
|Apologies I don't have any Austrians, here's some Portuguese Line|