DE BELLUM NAPOLEONICA
An Overview -By Robert Carter
As a keen Napoleonic wargamer I was very interested in getting a set of DBA style rules for the period. Inspiration finally arrived in the form of the "DBA Extension for 1500-1900 AD", published on the internet by Humberside Wargames Society, which prompted Alex Testo, another keen and experienced Napoleonic wargamer, and I to have a go at producing similar rules specifically for the Napoleonic period. The results of two years of writing and play testing are our recently published 'De Bellum Napoleonica' or DBN rules.
We wanted a set of rules that were simple and fast play but that still gave a realistic flavour of the period. They therefore had to allow for national characteristics, the range of troop types and the varying capabilities of commanding generals and their staff, whilst being capable, if necessary, of expansion for larger battles in a campaign setting. Our primary aim was that DBA would form the basis for setting up procedures and the overall mechanics of the game and to that end DBN cannot be played without a copy of DBA rules. Troop types cover the full spectrum from French Old Guard to Spanish guerrillas and levels of generalship ranging from Napoleon to the Prince of Orange are also covered.
So what do you get for your money? The opening Section defines the troop types, their capabilities, base sizes and figures per base. It also includes either additions to or additional movement and combat modifiers for such things as rockets and ubiquitous guerrilla. Aggressive generals who insist on getting involved in combat are also catered for. The next section is a one page Playsheet that, once you are familiar with the rules, is all you will need to fight your battles.
Section Three describes how to 'recruit' your armies and gives some suggested orbats, based on a Corps sized formation, for most of the nations involved. In many Napoleonic battles armies were rarely the same size and a relatively small force of well led, motivated and trained troops often defeated a larger forces of poorer quality. We therefore opted for a points system rather than the standard 12 element DBA order of battle, as we felt that this provide a more flexible and realistic method of creating Napoleonic orbats. To demonstrate the utility of this approach Section Four consists of four example scenarios, each of which has a particular aspect or quirk that makes them different and interesting to play.
Also included are sections on how to fight larger battles and a unique and simple campaign system, using the '100 Days Campaign' of 1815 as an example. And to round the whole thing off we have also included a pair of 'Range and Movement' Rulers.
We believe these rules are particularly suitable for competition wargaming, as they are not only quick and simple but also tactically challenging as well, without loosing the spirit and flavour of the Napoleonic wars. They allow you can recreate your favourite Corps or small army relatively cheaply with either half a dozen or so 4 or 8 figure packets or by using those spare figures that we all seem to collect. But, more importantly, you can easily fight to a satisfying conclusion 2 or 3 battles in the course of an evening. If you are interested in purchasing a set of our rules they are available from either East Riding Miniatures (ERM) or Essex Miniatures.
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