Soldiers of Napoleon was published in Spring 2022 by Warwick Kinrade, author of the WW2 rules Battlegroup which I particularly enjoy (he was also associated with the excellent Epic 40k rules in another lifetime!). These are a division level game, using cards to moderate events. So far, I am really enjoying them.
The SoN rulebook doesn’t provide a ground scale or figure-to-model ratios. Instead it uses a notional ‘pace’ and leaves it to the players to decide how long that should be, depending on existing figure collections and basing conventions. This should save a lot of re-basing and I’m sure more people will try the rules because they won’t need to overhaul their armies. I’m less sure that somebody wanting to start their first Napoleonic collection with these rules will know where to start!
Our own approach is as follows:
One base is 40mm wide. It holds four 15mm infantry figures in one line, three cavalrymen or one artillery piece and crew (but the figure size doesn’t affect play: the same 40mm base could as easily hold two 28mm infantry or six 10mm ones. Also, the infantry could be based in two lines of four. This seems to be the main fashion these days but I just prefer one rank per base).
One ‘pace’ is 1”. This works well with a 40mm base width and keeps measurement simple.
The following information isn’t necessary to play a game but we use it when writing scenarios based on historical actions:
One infantry base represents 130 men; a cavalry base represents 100 and an artillery base 4 pieces. This makes the 500 man battalion, which was the average strength of an infantry unit on campaign, 4 bases strong. It allows a full strength Austrian or Prussian battalion to be the full 6 bases while an understrength battalion like many Russians in 1813 begins with 3 or even 2 bases.
When lifting the battlefield from a map, we consider that one pace in the game equals 20 yards on the ground. This means that using our measure of 1 pace to 1”, a 6 x 4 foot table can depict a battlefield segment, 1,440 yards by 960 yards.
While we try to be accurate with unit strengths and scenario battlefields, there are limits. Even the best known battles have multiple variations in orders of battle, strengths and locations on the battlefield. We often have to go with our best guess based on thin or contradictory data. As it happens, I really enjoy trying to work this out. It’s not for everybody but I find scenario research one of the most enjoyable parts of the hobby.