Napoleonic Command Generation

For many scenario games, WR’s monthly third saturday napoleonic 28mm group just arrange set piece scenarios based upon a pre-determined number of points. Normally one player is assigned for each team side and given x points to create a rostered army from a chosen napoleonic nationality or allied army format (Russians, Prussian, Austrians vs. France and her common allied states). These armies are typically optimum tuned with the best of the nationality for tabletop play. Even points, even command count, evenly spread out along the tabletop edge and typically even the unit count is matched up, leading to stale and predictable game. A common variant of this point assignment gaming is each player is emailed a pre-determined point amount to roster his chosen army flavor of the monthly but still free to choose what he wished to use on the tabletop. These scenarios are a bit more fun but the typical player generally choses common line infantry battalions, light or line cavalry properly ratio’d to the infantry battalions present, one size fits all command TOE structure, and artillery batteries to match his force strength. Rarely elite or guard divisions are seen, no poor 2nd grade line infantry or even militia units, never under-strength or abundance of cavalry for the amount of infantry present, common “safe” nationality armies (no Ottomans, Spanish, Germanic minor states), but all very proper TOE gaming.

Original napoleonic command generation pale yellow card deck.

The original pale yellow napoleonic command generation card deck. Still valid for today’s scenario gaming.

Well, years ago WR created a deck of yellow index cards for players to blindly card deck pull on the actual monthly game day meeting and from those cards roster a group of command from the specific command card instructions. These “command cards” recently have been converted into a MS Excel spreadsheet with a random number generation for remote (via email) player command selection. Now the participating player is faced with the problem of creating his commands to match the randomly selected Command type choice and given a fixed number of points for each command. The army nationality, and year of army organization, could still be player open choice or pre-determined for the scenario (GM decides). The Command types could greatly vary along with the actual points for the command and, expanding out, the total team side strength. How many command selection choices given out is still the GM decision but typically two command choices per team side player with additional two selections to allow discard of the weaker command selections. Sometimes an extra command selection choice is used to represent a reserve late arriving command. Now the players arrive at the monthly game with limited intelligence about their own team side and even less about the opposite team side command structure. The possibilities are nearly endless and the matchup scenario action very different from the perfectly scripted even sided scenario play.

A good example of this NCG scenario was last month’s game day. WR had a weak Prussian army of eight commands. All but three commands were mostly militia (Landwehr / landsturm… yes pike armed locals) infantry or landwehr cavalry. Two commands had normal line infantry command strength and one small elite light cavalry command. Facing them across the tabletop was found out to be two French green conscript line cavalry divisions of large size, one elite or veteran infantry division, four somewhat standard line divisions and a weak line cavalry brigade. In the end the weaker Prussian army won the day by using the landwehr / landsturm battalion pike column masses behind the weak line battalions to push the French allied army center back till forced to retire while holding off the green French line cavalry with landwehr cavalry regiments. But if they knew at scenario start what the Prussian army consisted of…. the result may have been surely different.

Command types:  Before WR’s goes into the actual Napoleonic Command Generation (NCG) spreadsheet process, a brief description of the Command Type selections is in order. There are thirteen (13) different Command Types and they range from militia to elite morale grades, from infantry, to cavalry, to mixed command structures, headquarter commands, and of course the available command points varies greatly. Listed out below:

Militia Infantry Command (code 1): Infantry command with militia morale grade (CMR 1-4) rated infantry battalions. These militia infantry battalions, and their commanding officer cost (15 points), are purchased from the available pool of unrestricted points (66% and described below) of the determined command point total. Any line or elite morale grade infantry battalions, any cavalry regiments, or attached artillery batteries must be purchased from the pool of restricted points (34%). Unused points may be transferred to senior HQ command.

Line and Militia Infantry Command (code 2): Infantry command with line or militia morale grade (CMR 1-7) rated infantry battalions. These line or militia infantry battalions, and their commanding officer cost (15 points), are purchased from the available pool of unrestricted points (66%) of the determined command point total. Any elite morale grade infantry battalions, any cavalry regiments, or attached artillery batteries must be purchased from the pool of restricted points (34%). Unused points may be transferred to senior HQ command.

Line Infantry Command (code 3): Infantry command with line morale grade (CMR 5-7) rated infantry battalions. These line infantry battalions, and their commanding officer cost (15 points), are purchased from the available pool of unrestricted points (66%) of the determined command point total. Any militia or elite morale grade infantry battalions, any cavalry regiments, or attached artillery batteries must be purchased from the pool of restricted points (34%). Unused points may be transferred to senior HQ command.

Elite or Guard Infantry Command (code 4): Infantry command with elite morale grade (CMR 8-S) rated infantry battalions. These elite infantry battalions, and their commanding officer cost (15 points), are purchased from the available pool of unrestricted points (66%) of the determined command point total. Any militia or line morale grade infantry battalions, any cavalry regiments, or attached artillery batteries must be purchased from the pool of restricted points (34%). Unused points may be transferred to senior HQ command.

Line and Militia Cavalry Command (code 5): Cavalry command with line or militia morale grade (CMR 1-7) rated cavalry regiments. These line or militia cavalry regiments, and their commanding officer cost (15 points), are purchased from the available pool of unrestricted points (66%) of the determined command point total. Any elite morale grade cavalry regiments, any infantry battalions, or attached artillery batteries must be purchased from the pool of restricted points (34%). Unused points may be transferred to senior HQ command. Normally no infantry battalions are attached to these cavalry commands.

Line Cavalry Command (code 6): Cavalry command with line morale grade (CMR 5-7) rated cavalry regiments. These line cavalry regiments, and their commanding officer cost (15 points), are purchased from the available pool of unrestricted points (66%) of the determined command point total. Any militia or elite morale grade cavalry regiments, any infantry battalions, or attached artillery batteries must be purchased from the pool of restricted points (34%). Unused points may be transferred to senior HQ command. Normally no infantry battalions are attached to these cavalry commands.

Line and Elite Light Cavalry Command (code 7): Cavalry command with line or elite morale grade (CMR 5-8) rated light cavalry regiments. These line or elite light cavalry regiments, and their commanding officer cost (15 points), are purchased from the available pool of unrestricted points (66%) of the determined command point total. Any elite CMR 9+ morale grade cavalry regiments, non-light cavalry regiments types, any infantry battalions, or attached artillery batteries must be purchased from the pool of restricted points (34%). Unused points may be transferred to senior HQ command. Normally no infantry battalions are attached to these cavalry commands.

Elite or Guard Cavalry Command (code 8): Cavalry command with elite morale grade (CMR 8-S) rated cavalry regiments. These elite cavalry regiments, and their commanding officer cost (15 points), are purchased from the available pool of unrestricted points (66%) of the determined command point total. Any militia or line morale grade cavalry regiments, any infantry battalions, or attached artillery batteries must be purchased from the pool of restricted points (34%). Unused points may be transferred to senior HQ command. Normally no infantry battalions are attached to these cavalry commands.

Line and Militia Mixed Cavalry or Infantry Command (code 9): Mixed cavalry or infantry command with militia or line morale grade (CMR 1-7) rated cavalry regiments or infantry battalions. These militia or line cavalry regiments, infantry battalions, and their commanding officer cost (15 points), are purchased from the available pool of unrestricted points (66%) of the determined command point total. Any elite morale grade cavalry regiments, elite infantry battalions, or attached artillery batteries must be purchased from the pool of restricted points (34%). These mixture commands must contain, as a minimum, two infantry battalions and one cavalry regiment rostered in the command. Unused points may be transferred to senior HQ command.

Line and Elite Mixed Cavalry or Infantry Command (code 10): Mixed Cavalry or Infantry command with line or elite morale grade (CMR 5-S) rated cavalry regiments or infantry battalions. These line or elite cavalry regiments, infantry battalions, and their commanding officer cost (15 points), are purchased from the available pool of unrestricted points (66%) of the determined command point total. Any militia morale grade cavalry regiments, militia infantry battalions, or attached artillery batteries must be purchased from the pool of restricted points (34%). These mixture commands must contain, as a minimum, two infantry battalions and one cavalry regiment rostered in the command. Unused points may be transferred to senior HQ command.

Elite or Guard Mixed Cavalry or Infantry Command (code 11): Mixed Cavalry or Infantry command with elite morale grade (CMR 8-S) rated cavalry regiments or infantry battalions. These elite cavalry regiments, infantry battalions, and their commanding officer cost (15 points), are purchased from the available pool of unrestricted points (66%) of the determined command point total. Any militia or line morale grade cavalry regiments, militia or line infantry battalions, or attached artillery batteries must be purchased from the pool of restricted points (34%). These mixture commands must contain, as a minimum, two infantry battalions and one cavalry regiment rostered in the command. Unused points may be transferred to senior HQ command.

Artillery Command (code 12): Artillery batteries of any morale grade classification (militia, line or elite), with possible supportive infantry or technical battalions, and required attached ammunition train. These artillery batteries, single ammunition train, and their commanding officer cost (15 points), are purchased from the available pool of unrestricted points (66%) of the determined artillery command point total. Any infantry or cavalry units, of any morale grade classification, must be purchased from the pool of restricted points (34%). The reserve artillery “grand battery” command normally is rostered under the Nation level HQ worksheet since it has additional artillery battery slots.

Headquarters Command: These commands represent the senior level commanders and their attached headquarter units (nation, army or corps / wing). There is no unrestricted or restricted points with these headquarter commands, just a combined points pool. There is no unit type restrictions so a headquarters commands can contain infantry, cavalry, or artillery batteries, of any morale classification. Additional specialized train units (pontoon train) commonly are attached to headquarter commands along with specialized engineer officers. Every headquarters command has three “free” baggage wagon trains.

Note: Headquarter commands of 14 or less miniatures don’t use the 20/40/60% loss adjustments. HQs with 15-25 attached unit miniatures use the 20/40/60 morale adjustment. Normally headquarter commands are held to a maximum of 25 total strength miniatures (infantry, cavalry, artillery & train crews) since they don’t have a proper command officer structure to command larger multiple unit formations.

All the above Command Types are found on the NCG summary section of the worksheets. A screen print copy is below which also shows the Command Code numbers.

NCG command codes 1 to 13.

NCG command codes 1 to 13.

Unrestricted points (66%) vs. Restricted points (34%) defined: The available total command points number is divided into two (2) component parts. Unrestricted points represent the majority bulk of individual units within the described Command type. Two-thirds (66%) of the total available command points are labelled as unrestricted points. Infantry commands are mostly infantry battalions, within a specified morale grade, with restricted points towards artillery batteries and restricted points towards cavalry regiment attachments. Cavalry commands have cavalry regiments, within a specified morale grade, with singular attached horse or kavalry batteries and generally no attached infantry battalions (unless legion or light infantry battalions). Mixed or mixture cavalry and infantry commands contain both cavalry and infantry with any proportion of units (must be some of both types) in the command and restricted points towards the attached artillery batteries. Artillery command mostly unrestricted point artillery batteries with ammunition train and maybe attached specialist battalion (restricted points).

The restricted points represent units outside the proscribed unit type for the Command type and includes all units outside of the specific morale grade. Restricted points can be used towards unrestricted point units types, ie… more infantry battalions in an infantry command…. more cavalry regiments in a cavalry command. But unrestricted points can never be used for restricted units unless transferred into the headquarters command points pool where all points are treated the same. Should be noted that the older NCG method had a 75%/25% ratio split for the unrestricted and restricted points. This older method can be used with player / GM agreement but the modern 66%/34% ratio is designed for flexible purchasing of command headquarters and allows the typical artillery percentages of certain national armies.

Unused command points can be freely transferred to their senior level command headquarters converged points pool and used without restriction towards any unit type (headquarter staff/officer commander, infantry, cavalry, artillery or train) or morale grade classification. Commonly these transferred points cover the actual cost of the required headquarters staff base and the officer commander (50 or 100 points) representing the headquarters then the attached units. Players should be aware transferring too many points up to senior headquarters will weaken the basic command on the tabletop and headquarter commands have total miniature limit of 25 cavalry, infantry, artillery crews, or train miniatures.

 

Basically the NCG is a four step process: 1).  First determine the commands types and available points per Napoleonic Command Generation (NCG) chart. 2). Secondly, roster each command keeping in mind what unit types should be used in the selected command type and the pre-determined total available points. 3). Thirdly, after all first basic command rostering data input done, use the NCG calculation spreadsheet found on bottom of the napoleonic roster worksheet to confirm unit type selection, command point total comparison to assigned points, correct unit mixture selection (infantry vs. cavalry vs. artillery), and unit morale grade classification (militia, line or elite). 4). Finally, check your work for indicted errors shown by RED values. Normally a RED error numeral value means the command roster has exceeded the available points, excessive “restricted unit type” points or units of the wrong morale grade (restricted point issue again).

Some common RED errors could be: Command roster for total points exceeded. Unit type error or mis-coded units (cavalry units need to be marked for their cavalry weight to identify as cavalry). Artillery batteries points causing excess restricted points usage calculation. Morale grade mismatch for command morale grade type. Also check the actual data input on the NCG for correct point total and command type code.

 

I.  The Napoleonic Command Generation (NCG) chart file:

Napoleonic Command generation (.xls) link file.

WR printed a sample small portion of the NCG (.xls) file below. The chosen random number (1 to 120) generation is found on the left purple colored column. There are 120 Command type selections representing different command types, different morale grade commands, and command point variants. Next column is the Command types column, then the assigned points (to that command) column, additional free units column (if any), then finally the restrictive notes on what units may be purchased column. Command types with light green cell background may be restricted or omitted depending upon the scenario design since they represent unusual commands uncommon for small scenarios or friendly pick up games.

Note: There are duplicated command types with the same or different points values found on the list.

NCG screen print of chart.

NCG partial screen print of chart. Highlighted area include the random 1 to 120 number column, Command types and points then notes on the right side. Click to enlarge for viewing.

On each roster worksheet, and below the command roster areas, there is a NCG summary zone like the example below. Depending on the command roster HQ type (nation, army, or corps), the size of the NCG summary varies due to the number of available command slots. Each NCG summary has the same tan informational call outs to assist the user and functions in the same design format described below.

Napoleonic Command Generation calculation summary sheet for Army HQ.

Napoleonic Command Generation (NCG) calculation summary sheet for Army structured commands and HQ. Basically a larger version of the Corps below. Click on image to enlarge view.

Napoleonic Command Generation  for Corps or Wing HQ's.

The smaller Napoleonic Command Generation calculation summary for Corps or Wing commands and HQ. Click on image to enlarge viewing.

II. Rostering: See the previous WR blog post covering the napoleonic roster spreadsheet, workbook, and worksheets. Covers the workbook features, the different types of worksheets and general information on the internal cell field data input for rostering commands (transfer link):  Napoleonic Roster Spreadsheet

III.  First steps on NCG Summary: Once a basic “first” rostering of each command is completed, the user needs to complete information on the NCG summary. Each “orange cell field” requires specific data input for determination of the command type. Identify the command type and command code number (see chart screen print from NCG below). Input that corresponding numeral value data (1 to 12 range) in the command code spreadsheet column (Cmd Code). Next complete the available command points value inputs. Generally this is one value (350 to 1000 range) but in some scenarios there may be additional unit, bonus, or free points given and these need to accounted for. Corps HQ’s generally will have no basic points provided unless the pre-determined scenario has “free HQ” points per the GM. If so, input the provided free point value on the Corps HQ data cell fields.

Data input cell fields for NCG calculations.

Data input cell fields for NCG calculations.

The Command Types chart showing the different varieties of commands, their code number, and is found on the NCG summary. This code value determines for the NCG summary calculations what unit types are allowed for unrestricted vs. restricted points usage. It is a required data input for proper calculations on the NCG summary. The “x” marked unit types (Inf., Cav., Mix, Art.) are the unrestricted points (66%) usage or purchased units. The unmarked unit types (without the x) are purchased from the restricted points (34%). Mixed or “Mix” means both infantry and/or cavalry can be purchased using the unrestricted points. The “reserve grand battery” artillery command normally is only rostered on the Nation level HQ summary (with its extra batteries slots) and is grayed out on this Corps HQ NCG summary.

NCG command codes 1 to 13.

NCG command codes 1 to 12 for Corps or Wing HQs. Note that artillery command #12 generally isn’t used with Corps HQ or attached commands.

After completing the required NCG data inputs and the actual command roster unit inputs, the results can be viewed on the various calculation columns. Each column has a header which describes the calculation results below and has the labeled unrestricted and restricted points calculations. Ratio’s Available Points is the calculation for the 66/34% split of the total available points for each command. Remainder Points Unused summary columns provides the present calculated points still to be allocated by each command. The remaining summary column, Running Points Used Total provides the running total of allocated points (the opposite of the Remainder Points Unused calculation).

NCG calculation columns and point usage by Restricted or unrestricted.

NCG calculation columns and point usage by restricted or unrestricted.

Further to the right on the NCG the command summary columns can be located. These two columns provides the total points (unrestricted and restricted) used on the command roster and remaining available points, if any, for transfer to the senior headquarter command and higher. On all these columns, if RED numbers appear then calculation is indicating possible excessive points used or incorrect allocation of unit types.

NCG summary columns and available HQ points transfer #.

NCG summary columns and available HQ points transfer #.

Example: WR created a basic Corps headquarters command with one attached line infantry divisional command of 600 ponts. The Corps HQ’s has:

Sapper detachment (1×4), 12lb positional battery (8 cannon), corps ammunition train, baggage trains (3), and engineer officer. Total Corps HQ’s cost with Corps commander = 203 points.

The French divisional line command contains the following units:

1st Line regiment of three battalions (3×6), 2nd Line regiment of three battalion (3×6), Legere regiment of two battalions (2×6), Chasseur a’ cheval regiment (1×4) and two 6lb foot batteries (8 cannon each). Total French divisional cost with commander = 471 points.

Both these total point cost values are found in the summary cell field of each command below.

Sample roster to show the NCG calculation on next screen print.

Sample roster screen print to show summary totals uploaded on the NCG calculation (next screen). Click on image to enlarge view if required.

Those same total point cost totals (203 and 471) are also seen on the NCG summary screen below. The required NCG summary input fields (orange cells) have been completed (Line Infantry command, the #3 code, and the available command points (600). WR also included the bonus or free points (80 = officer commander and ammunition train) given towards the purchase of basic Corps HQ common to most monthly games held at Bob’s. Notice that the line infantry command only used 471 out of its available 600 points. The extra 129 points were automatically transferred toward the Corps HQ available points calculation and expensed towards the purchase of attached Corps HQ’s units. There are no RED values found on the NCG summary so correct usage ratio of unrestricted (66%) to restricted (34%) points was followed.

NCG summary screen print showing the uploaded data values and calculations. Click on to enlarge for better viewing.

NCG summary screen print showing the uploaded data values and calculations. Click on to enlarge for better viewing.

All of the above reads like a lot of work but like always, takes more written words to describe the action then just doing the typing or data input action. Once a player has used the spreadsheet several times the ability to load a multi-corps set of commands is quick and smooth. All the data and summary information is presented and any player can quickly review the printed work for specific information on each command on the tabletop.

This was WR’s second unglamorous blog posting but these two blog posts cover a large portion of our monthly scenario design and player rostering their commands. Hopefully the instruction and information provided given our newer players some insight into the roster spreadsheet programing and the use of the NCG formatted scenarios.

Cheers from the warren.

WR

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Napoleonic Command Generation

  1. Michael,

    Sorry I didn’t have time to comment on this earlier when it was first posted.

    First, what a huge amount of work must have gone into developing this elegant spreadsheet based approach!

    Second, a nice way to mix things up so that you aren’t doing the same thing mo nth after month, and still allowing the player a moderate amount of control over the composition of his forces (including the available figures).

    I love it!

    • Glad you love it Peter. Seen too many hand written “napkin” rosters in my time, totally without useful information and basic formatting. Must be the financial underwriter in me who likes some organization to our common pastime. The Napoleonic Command Generation method does its job creating interesting scenarios for the lazy monthly gamer in all of us. Even, line them up brawls are rare with NCG simply because the output can be a wide range of command forces. Facing French young guard with Spanish militia “knee knockers” in most cases isn’t fun… but have thousands of “knee knockers” making noise is another situation. Plus if you can win… all the better for gaming history in the group. Played one scenario of the worst (wash your hands after touching) Spanish vs. Polish in a town setting. Scenario game was a “midnight mugging”. I lost whole battalions….running here and there across the tabletop but tried to drag down a polish miniatures every time I assaulted. Eventually, the Polish ran out of infantry….(had too many Spaniards stuck on the their bayonets was the tabletop joke) and the end was quick with Spanish poor broken musket butts and knifes. That scenario came from the NCG method and played twenty years ago.

      M aka WR

      Ps. Just posted up Battle of Wertingen October 1805 scenario thoughts today.

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