Card Table Napoleonics

While digging around the WR’s computer files yesterday, WR found an old game scenario summary sheet for setting up small “card table sized” (poker table) games. These napoleonic games were used as a game teaching system for high school students several years ago. Quick and short, with the game scenario design to have the game completed in 90 minutes plus some set up / take down time. Divisional level games of 12 units (about 70 miniatures) on each side representing 7,000 soldiers (1:100 ratio).

Card table scenario initial set up example. Kleve-Berg (left) vs. Baden (right) divisions. Center line objective was the building besides the road. Woods, low hills, hedges and light orchard completed the terrain. The haystacks just for tabletop show along with the “roadside monument.”

The one page game scenario outlined below:

Set up: Game board is 4’ wide and 4’ deep. A smaller tabletop could be 2’ wide by 4’ deep for training games of fewer than 8 units. Sometimes called a “card table game”. One player vs. one player. Double team action can be used on same game board surface area. Deployment zone is 1st foot from player’s home edge on each player side. Tabletops smaller than 4’x4’ should use unit march on procedures.

Terrain: Have a basic selection of terrain.  A building, road, small woods, hedges, low stone walls, small marsh area etc. The purpose is to have players learn the terrain effects but not cause heavy impediment in movement or combative action. One terrain feature, typically a building, is labeled as “key terrain feature” and is placed someplace on midpoint centerline of tabletop (victory objective below).

Armies: Any army can be used. Command size is up to 12 units, with 60 figures maximum or 30 MFP restrictions.  Typically WR used 8 infantry battalions (6 line, 1 elite rated and 1 light btn.) of 6-7 miniatures each, 2 cavalry regiments (either light or line rated) of 5 miniatures each, and 2 batteries (1x horse and 1x foot). Normally works out to about 30 MFP on average. National characteristics can be used but for the basic game WR tended to generic rules and CMR rated units. See WR “Basic or Beer and Pretzel” army (Basic Army List) List in the Napoleonic Game Rules, Videos & Files tab for example.

Time Limit: First games there are no limits. These are rule-learning exercises. Once players have the basics, play 90-minute games…includes figure deployment set up in allotted time (10 minutes maximum). No new game turns are started after the 80th minute.  This gives a 10-minute buffer to finish the game.

Rule Notes:

a.  All normal game rules.

b.  Ammo supply rules are in effect with no resupply. All batteries have 10 RS and 3 case basic load.

c.  MFP rules in effect. Both sides have attack orders, which cannot be changed during game. Only charge 1 MFP for game hour turn at start of game. Assumes March order at start of game with auto conversion to Attack order on 1st command phase for both sides.

d.  Both sides are in battle mode. No strategic movement used.

e.  20 minute game turns. Three (3) turns per hour. Count command orders for MFP on hour turn.

f.   Complete game turn played. Game cannot end till both sides complete last game turn.

g.  Last turn cannot start after the 80th minute game clock.

h.  Player has 5 minutes to complete their facing/ formation and movement phase. Charge declaration, Firepower and shock phases have no time limit but are expected to be done quickly.

i.  Flip coin for choice of first move. That player becomes “Side 1”.

j.  First turn only, 1st moving player side has their cavalry movement limited to maximum of 12”.

k. Use either % or 10D morale systems. (Old Ver 1.0 vs. Advanced 2.0 game systems).

l.  Each player force is assumed to be one command for 20% / 40% / 60% loss calculations / effects.

m. At game end, complete all possible attempts to rally routing units for rout off losses and MFP.

n.  Side by side games are independent games. No common time clocks used.

Victory: At end of timed period determine victory by following yardsticks:

a.   Player controlling most of tabletop area (5 points). Routing units behind enemy front line don’t contest area control. Draw line (daisy chain) across game board from side edges to determine.

b.   Player with least amount of MFP expended (5 points).

c.   Opposite player’s game ending MFP point level added to total point score.

d.   Control of key terrain feature with unit occupation (5 points).

A .pdf link and some game initial set up pictures:   Quick Napoleonic’s Scenario

Cheers WR


3 thoughts on “Card Table Napoleonics

    • Yes.

      A local private school with several school campuses….which I have contacts in, has an active male / female history club of 28 members last semester. They have meetings every week on historical subjects outside of the school’s general subject matter. Several years ago I offered to “place a 3D history” into their after-school meetings with the history department chair. Since the students tend to be AP honor students (university level courses), I have no issues with any material I present. Before the start of the school year, I meet with the history department chair, and we plan to cover two historical periods. Ancients and WWI, House & Musket (AWI and Napoleonic) for example. We find selected general / basic background material, a book title list for additional reading, and I plan several scaling up wargames for the chosen period. Dry run games / scenarios for the first games…leading to a classical battle for the semester ending weekend day meeting. For the games, I hand out rules summaries or game rules at start of the semester…and by the following week they are ready. A 100 page book or rules set is nothing for these students….a single nights read in most cases since they are AP honor students. The fielded questions are adult level, technical in nature. For example…how was the ancient Greek hoplon shield held in combat? Remembering I had to look that one up myself. For gaming….I have presented WAB or COE ancient gaming. Horse and musket period (various rules including my own), ACW, WWI aerial (WOW), the popular WWII FOW…but I used my 20mm collection (I have no 15mm for WWII) in recent semesters.
      Your questions….
      Almost all the history club members join in. Male and females. No gender issues here. The mixture is 19 males and 9 females last semester per my memory. The young ladies are the toughest opponents by experience. Once offered a cup cake during the tense tabletop moment…totally lost my train of thought. Largest game meeting had 22 members for the 15mm ACW game covering Shiloh. Even some parents came for that day. Made the school paper….someplace I have a copy. Interest level…once past the “what is this look on their face” is hands on. I push the “hands on”. I didn’t care if they if they make any mistake, forget a rule (rarely I may add)….I want them to have fun and realize their history in 3D. Some become excellent opponents on the tabletop….their minds race about at “video game speed” as it has been explained to me. Beat the “game master” is a common challenge…and they do it on a regular basis. Have you ever been handle a total loss by a female HS student before? Interesting feeling and so different from the normal “wargaming world” we operate in. Uniform details…no problem, they can tell the general uniforms for each side. I “flash card” uniform plates….I have a call out process and they learn fast. Basic stuff….with some detail tossed in.
      Games are matched one vs. one. So maybe 5-6 separate concurrent games going on at the same time…I walk the circuit answering questions and explaining common problem with a “group discussion” moment. Then to small teams of 2-3 vs. 2-3 players…leading to the grand action of 10-12 per side (Shiloh). Short time games (30 minutes) at first, several on same day meeting…learning curve stuff. Mixing up the opponents for each game set (musical chairs format). Once the basics covered….advance to the team side games. By now they know the charts….and almost independent except for the “tight issues” for me the GM. After several weeks of this….ready for the grand game “planning for”…and the actual grand game. Becoming a popular after school group. With “veterans” in the group…the process of gaming education becomes easier. Started with 11 members several years ago… now at 28, even with graduations….2 National Merit award winners in group as a side note. Plans to apply for a “college level” ROTC program (pending Pentagon approval) in the works with a retired US Marine Corp colonel as the ROTC leader. Still, I work in a very low key environment with the history dept. chair. They get all the credit….and I wish it that way.

      A friend down south (SoCAL) has a similar operation…here is a link for information.

      Now… test project in the works….a group of lady gamers. “Coffee, tea…are you routing your cavalry? Another world Peter… when the ladies bring lunch with their army. Us gamers will have to clean up if his long term project takes hold.

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