Clausewitz – Napoleonic Wargame

I’ve been writing my own set of Napoleonic war game rules for a while now, the idea for which has been formulating inside my head for roughly three years.

There are many, many different sets of rules for Napoleonic wargaming, but none of them quite got to the itch I was feeling for the period. I wanted a wargame, which was accurate to the time in terms of weapon ranges, unit movement and formations. As well as having a command and control structure that could fairly accurately represent the command structures of the time.

Some of my 6mm British Line Infantry

The biggest issue, is that I want all of these thing, but I also want the game to be fairly simple and quick to play. I therefore set about writing my own set of rules, which I’d also wanted to do for some time.

Below I’ve set out a brief overview of the rules and how the game mechanics work. If people are interested further in the game development, then I may post further articles on the subject in the future.

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The Battle of Elchingen using Clausewitz Playtest Rules

The game is designed to be played on a 6′ x 4′ table, with 30cm equating to roughly a mile of battlefield.

Base sizes are set to 40mm wide, with a base representing a Battalion of Infantry, a Squadron of Cavalry or a Battery of Artillery. These bases are banded together into larger units known as Brigades. Brigades are ordered around the battlefield by Divisional Generals and the Commander-in-Chief of your army.

The game is not a traditional igo-ugo system and instead relies on coloured chips which represent your generals actions for that turn, of which there are thirty in the game. For example, at the start of the game there may be five red chips representing General Wellington’s actions that turn, and five blue chips representing Napoleon. Depending which chip is drawn allows the relevant player to act.

Players then activate units and other Generals inside their army by sending orders to them on the tabletop, these orders represent the objective that the unit has been assigned. Once assigned to an objective, the unit can only score victory points for being near that objective. They cannot score victory points for being near an objective they have not been assigned to.

Generals and Brigades have command ratings, with a combination of the two determining the roll a player will need to use that unit that turn. For example, a Brigade of British Infantry may have a command value of 4 and a British General may have a value of 5, meaning that the player would need to roll 9 or below on two D6 to use that unit, that turn.

All units and Generals have five actions as standard, however these can be modified by how far away the unit is from the General and also by how much the command roll was failed.

Once units are activated, they may move and fire using their actions that turn.

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Early playtesting using Battle Chronicler

If you want to know more about Clausewitz, then please let me know in the comments below and I may summarise different aspects of the game in future articles.

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A Clausewitz playtest using Tabletop Simulator
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