Thursday, 8 August 2019

Charge Rules - Napoleonic Amendments

I have put my thoughts on paper (well this blog at least) regarding my Napoleonic changes to the classic Charge rules. These are based on the Napoleonic Supplementary rules published in the Athena version of the Charge rules plus some of my own ideas thrown in.


I use half scale units with Infantry having 24 figures. Cavalry with 12 figures, in 2 squadrons of 6, and Light Infantry with 12 in 2 companies of 6. Artillery is a gun and 4 crew.

Cavalry and Light Infantry can operate as 2 single 6 figure squadrons or companies as required but cannot then rejoin to form a consolidated unit.


All unit movement is reduced by 50%.


Move and Fire 3”
Battalion in Line 4 ½”
Battalion in square 4 ½”
Company in Line 6”*
Column of fours 7 ½”
File, single file 7 ½”

* A infantry company is 8 figures operating way from its battalion.

Light Infantry in open order:
Move and Fire 6”
Move without firing 12

Line Artillery:
Move and even chance to fire 3”
Move deployed without firing 6”
Move in column of route 7 ½”

Horse Artillery
Move and even chance if fire 6"
Move deployed without firing 9"
Move in column of route 12"


Heavy Cavalry 12”
Light Cavalry 15”
Staff 15”


Waggons 6”
Mules 6”


a) Infantry changing formation: no figure may move more than 6”
b) Infantry squares must be 2 ranks deep on each face, and may not move if engaged in firing or melee.
c) Light Infantry in open order must be a minimum of 1” apart. If in close order they move an fire as line.
d) Cavalry suffer no penalties for changing formation, and formation does not affect their speed of movement.
e) The Artillery’s “move deployed without firing” equates to move and unlimber , or limber up and move.


All firing distances are reduced by 50%


When using the Infantry Melee resolution for large numbers of figures, rather than the individual combats, use the following dice per figure.

Guards one D6 per 4 figures
Line one D6 per 5 figures
Militia one D6 per 6 figures.

The total is then halved to determine the number of figures lost.

For loss from firing and melee I round down for under half a figure, round up for other half and roll an extra dice requiring a 4,5 or 6 to round up a half casualty.


When resolving individual melees, such as Cavalry vs Cavalry or Light Infantry vs Light Infantry I use the following  additional rules

I give a plus +1 to the dice score of the side that has the net advantage in the melee.  The net advantage, if any, is by determining by assessing the following factors.

Heavy vs Light Cavalry
Lancers in 1st round of melee.
Better morale class than opponent
Defending an obstacle
Cavalry and Infantryman vs Cavalry

So for instance an elite cavalry man fighting a heavy line cavalry man would be one advantage each so no net advantage where as if the light cavalry and heavy were both line the heavy cavalryman would be +1.

The maximum advantage can never be greater than +1 so an elite heavy against a line light will only be +1.

This rule allows better quality troops a slight advantage in melee.


Two factors are recognised for the rifle- accuracy of fire and relatively slow rate. It is assumed rifles will only be used in company strength, attached to infantry brigades.
Move and fire as Light Infantry, but riflemen fire only on alternate moves:
0-3” 3 4 5 6 Kills 1 man
3-6” 4 5 6 Kills 1 man
6-9” 5 6 Kills 1 man

Generally speaking, howitzers made up 1/6th of the artillery arm of an army, so this proportion should be maintained. Howitzers may be foot or horse artillery and all are assumed to be of the same calibre.  Crew of 4.
Ranges: 30” maximum 12” minimum
Range Dice for hit as usual

Dice for effect
12-18” 2 3 4 5 6 In all cases the dice score stands
18-24” 4 5 6
24-30” 6
Effect dice are subject to the usual halving for cavalry, gunners etc. Casualties are taken from the centre of the target.
Overhead fire: a howitzer may engage any target provided it is not within 3” of the lee side of a building, hill, wood, etc. and that the trajectory of the shell does not pass within 1” of friendly troops.

a) Crew of 4.
b) Effect dice +1.
c) Move as foot artillery


Rob said...

Love the photo - really well staged with the troops on the cover; superimposing Napoleonic on the earlier period. Would work well as the cover for a Napoleonic set.
I assume you're keeping the defeat levels at half or a third as per the original rules? I also take it that the melee system is dictated by the type of melee and in no way optional. I was confused as to how the rounding system works as surely the non-integer element, if present, is always exactly a half?

Der Alte Fritz said...

I don't understand why you would want to halve movement and firing distances. Smaller battalions are the same thing as having two companies remains in the game versus four companies at the beginning of the game. In Charge, distances don't reduce in tandem with tabletop casualties. I'd keep the same distances.


johnpreece said...

In my experience reducing the size of unit and firing ranges for charge works well enough if you also reduce the table size. But if you use it to double the size of number of units on the table it leads to a very tedious and piecemeal result.

You have no morale rules to result in a WRG style collapse of a flank, While losing a 72 man unit is a disaster, a 24 man not so much and since the enemy will be very weakened by the firefight he will lose the next one and so on, tit for tat.

Maybe using the brigade as the testing unit would be the answer. But I can only say I use Athena Charge! on the dining table and Real Charge! on the big tables.

Just my personal views, it is great to see Charge anywhere and I wish you well with your rules. Please do post and let us know how it works out, I for one am very interested.

Archduke Piccolo said...

Neatly arranged, Mark. I ran with a similar set for a long time many years ago, but my infantry units were 27 figures: 4-man companies (grenadier, fusilier, voltigeur), with a command element of CO on foot, flag and drummer. Paradoxically, perhaps, I didn't use the same system with cavalry, which remained as 12 figures (3 squadrons of 3 plus one of the command figures). In this organisation I was rather influenced by Charles Grant, as was my combat system.

In my system, I went with volley groups of 3 'Guard', 4 Line, 5 Militia, but the hits were modified by a system similar to, though not the same as, what C. Grant pioneered in his 18th Century War Game set. Strangely enough, when I designed it, I thought I had invented it, having read and completely forgotten Mr Grant's idea!


Mark Dudley said...

I keep the defeat levels as a half/third and yes the melee system is not optional. The mass infantry rules work well for columns vs line.

It is possible to get other integers. For instance firing at Cavalry at long range and rolling a 5. This is halved for range and again for being cavalry resulting in 1 with a 1/4 left over.

I decided that I did not want to add up fractions and wanted 1/2 to either roll up or down based on a D6.

Mark Dudley said...

Hi Jim

Halving distance was based on 2 factors.

Firstly an infantry in line takes up 6" on the table and I have always gone with the idea that musket range should be the same as the infantry frontage.

Secondly I no longer have a permament table and therefore the smaller movement distance and ranges fit with gaming on a kitchen table.

Mark Dudley said...

Hi John

I only have a few units a side and a small table so this reducing everything by half works well.

If had a bigger table then I would also consider using a brigade of 2 of my units and standard measurements.

Mark Dudley said...

Hi Ion

As you know I use Grants The War Game for 18th Century as well.

For ACW I also use Don Featherstone Horse and Musket rules from War Games.