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Napoleon at Waterloo rules

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1.0 How to Start

Napoleon at Waterloo consists of these rules and the components which can be found here: a separate group of playing pieces, a map and charts with terrain effects and for combat.
The map should be spread out on a table with two players sitting on either side. Each player has his own piece of paper which the Terrain Effects Table (TEC and Combat Results Table (CRT) on it. The playing pieces should be placed in their starting positions, as indicated by the four-digit numbers on their facings, left side (for French) and right side (for Allied). At this point, the Players should review the Sequence of Play and begin a trial game, referring to the details of the rules when they have a question.

2.0 Equipment

The game equipment consists of the rules, charts (TEC and CRT), map, and playing pieces.

2.1 The game map represents the terrain on which the battle was fought.
A hexagonal grid is superimposed on the terrain of the map to regulate movement and positioning of the playing pieces. Players will note that each hexagon (hereafter called 'hex') on the map has its own four digit identity number.
2.2 The Terrain Effects Chart summarizes how the features on the map affect the movement and combat of the playing pieces.
2.3 The Combat Results Table is the primary means for resolving combat.
Players will need one common six-sided die in order to play the game.
2.4 The playing pieces represent the actual military units that took part in the historical battle.
There are six items of information on the front face of each unit:
  1. The Player is given the Combat Strength (always the big left-hand number) and
  2. the Movement Allowance (right-hand number) of each unit.
  3. The Player is also told which hex the unit starts in or what Game Turn the unit enters the game as a reinforcement.
  4. And for historical reference, the Player is told what type of unit it is (infantry, cavalry, or artillery) and
  5. the historical identification (corps number in roman number, division in standard numbering. So 3/IV means 3rd division, 4th corps)
  6. Lastly, a small depiction of a flag as used by that country's units in that era is showed.
Napoleon at Waterloo French unit Napoleon at Waterloo Allied units Napoleon at Waterloo reinforcement chit
2.5 Combat Strength is the basic power of a unit when attacking or defending.
The Terrain Effects Chart will detail how this number is affected by combat. The Combat Strength value of a unit is deemed to consist of the printed number of Combat Strength Points.
2.6 Movement Allowance is the unit's basic ability to move in one Movement Phase.
This ability is expressed in terms of Movement Points. Each hex entered costs a unit one Movement Point.

3.0 Basic Procedure

The Players take turns moving their units and making attacks. The order in which they take these actions is described in this sequence of play outline. One completion of the sequence of play is called a Game-Turn. Each Game-Turn consists of two Player-Turns. Each Player-Turn consists of two Phases.

The Sequence of Play


Step 1: French Player's Movement Phase
The French Player may move his units and bring in reinforcements.
He may move as many or as few as he wishes, one after another, within the limitations of the rules of movement.
Step 2: French Player's Combat Phase
The French Player must attack adjacent enemy units.
He may perform these attacks in any order he wishes, applying the results immediately as each attack is made.


Step 3: Allied Player's Movement Phase
The Allied Player may move his units and bring in reinforcements.
He may move as many or as few as he wishes, one after another, within the limitations of the rules of movement.
Step 4: Allied Player's Combat Phase
The Allied Player must attack adjacent enemy units.
He may perform these attacks in any order he wishes, applying the results immediately as each attack is made.

These four steps are repeated ten times. The game is then over and the Players determine the victor according to the rules on How the Game is Won. Note that the game may be ended earlier if one Player achieves his victory conditions.

4.0 Movement of Units

Each unit has a Movement Allowance number printed on it which represents the basic number of hexes it may move in a single Movement Phase. Each Player moves only his own units during the Movement Phase of his Player-Turn (as outlined in the Sequence of Play).
Units move one at a time, hex-by-hex, in any direction or combination of directions that the Player desires. The Movement Phase ends when the Player announces that he has moved all of his units that he chooses to (or as of the time that he begins to make attacks).

4.1 A unit may never exceed its Movement Allowance.
During its Movement Phase, each unit may move as far as its Movement Allowance permits. Basically, each unit spends one Movement Point of its total Allowance for each hex that it enters. Individual units may move less than their Movement Allowance. Units are never forced to move during their Movement Phase. Units may not, however, lend or accumulate unused Movement Points.
4.2 Units must spend one Movement Point to enter each hex.
Units may only enter or leave woods hexes through hexsides crossed by roads (even when advancing or retreating due to combat).
4.3 A unit may never enter nor pass through a hex containing an Enemy unit.
4.4 A unit may never end its Movement Phase in the same hex as another Friendly unit.
One or more units may move through a hex containing another Friendly unit, but the moving units may never end the Movement Phase in the same hex as another unit. If this should inadvertently happen, the opposing Player gets to choose which of the illegally placed units are to be destroyed (so that only one unit remains in the hex).
Zone of Control example4.5 A unit must stop upon entering a hex that is in the Zone of Control of an Enemy unit.
Whenever a unit enters a hex that is directly adjacent to any of the Enemy Player's units, the moving unit must immediately stop and move no further that Phase. Note that there are six hexes adjacent to most hexes on the map. The six hexes adjacent to an Enemy unit are called the Zone of Control of that unit.
A unit may not move so long as it is in an Enemy controlled hex. Only by freeing itself through a combat result may a unit escape the 'freezing' effect of an Enemy Zone of Control.
4.6 Except for French Victory Requirements, units may not leave the map.
If forced to do so by the Combat Results Table, they are eliminated instead. (see 8.3)

5.0 Combat Preconditions

Each unit has a Combat Strength number printed on it which represents its basic power to attack during its Combat Phase and to defend during the Enemy Combat Phase. Whether or not a unit can attack is strictly a matter of how it is positioned with respect to Enemy units. All units that are in Enemy Zones of Control must attack during their Combat Phase; artillery units not in Enemy Zones of Control but that have Enemy units within the range of their guns may execute a special form of attack called bombardment.
The Player examines the positions of his units, determining which are in Enemy Zones of Control and which artillery units have Enemy units within their range. Attacks are conducted using the Combat Results Table, the die, and the procedures detailed in the section on Combat Resolution (see 6.0)

5.1 A unit that is in an Enemy Zone of Control must attack and every Enemy unit that has a phasing unit in its Zone of Control must be attacked.
If there are several possible combinations, the Player may choose which of his units will attack which Enemy unit so long as every Enemy unit that is required to be attacked is attacked.
5.2 No unit may be involved in more than one attack per Combat Phase.
No unit may participate in more than one attack, nor may a given Enemy unit be the object of more than one attack, in a single Combat Phase.
5.3 More than one unit may participate in a given attack.
As many units as can be brought to bear can participate in the same attack.
5.4 More than one Enemy unit can be the object of the same attack.
So long as each participating attacking unit could have attacked every one of the defending units separately, then all may attack all the defending units in a single combined attack. (see 5.8)
5.5 A unit's Combat Strength is indivisible.
Units may not use part of their strength in one attack and part in another, neither may they reserve or withhold part of their strength in an attack or defense.
5.6 An artillery unit not in an Enemy Zone of Control may make a bombardment attack against an Enemy unit that is two hexes distant.
The important distinction between bombardment and regular attacking is that bombardment attacks can be made only by artillery units that are not in the Zone of Control of any Enemy unit. This bombardment attack can be used to satisfy the requirement that a given Enemy unit be attacked (because some other Friendly unit happens to be in its Zone of Control) so long as the other Friendly unit can attack another Enemy unit.
5.7 Except when making an combined attack (see 5.8), bombarding artillery units may attack only a single Enemy-occupied hex.
Even though it may have several Enemy occupied hexes in range, a given artillery unit may bombard only one of them in a single Combat Phase. Note that several artillery units may direct their bombardment at the same hex, in which case their strengths are totaled into one aggregate bombardment attack.
5.8 An attack may be made which combines the strength of adjacent units with that of bombarding artillery.
The strength of the artillery unit is simply added to that of the adjacent attacking units. Note that if the Enemy is in more than one hex, the contributing bombarding artillery need have only one of the Enemy occupied hexes in range in order to add its strength to the attack. This is the exception to Case 5.4.

6.0 Combat Resolution

An attack is defined as the comparison of the strength of a specific attacking force with that of a specific defending force and resolved by the throw of a die in connection with the Combat Results Table. The results may affect either or both the attacked and the defender.
The attacking Player totals the Combat Strength of all of his units that are involved in a given attack and compares the total with the total Combat Strength of the Enemy unit or units being attacked. The resulting comparison is called the Combat Ratio. The Player locates the column heading on the Combat Results Table that corresponds to the Combat Ratio. He rolls the die and cross indexes the die number with the Combat Ratio column and reads the result. The indicated result is applied immediately, before going on to any other attacks. When he has made all of his attacks, the Player announces the end of his Combat Phase.

6.1 The attacking Player must announce which of his units are involved in a given attack against a specific defending unit or group of units.
He must calculate and announce the Combat Ratio, specifying which of his units are participating in the attack, before it is resolved. He may resolve attacks in any order he chooses. Once the die is thrown, he may not change his mind.
6.2 The calculated Combat Ratio is always determined to represent a specific column of results on the Combat Results Table.
If the Combat Ratio in an attack is higher (or lower) than the highest (or lowest) shown on the table, it is simply treated as the highest (or lowest) column available. Note that the Combat Ratio is always a simplified version of the literal ratio. For example, if eleven Combat Strength Points attack four Combat Strength Points, the Combat Ratio is simplified to '2 to 1.' Ratios are always rounded off in favor of the defender.
The attacker may deliberately lower the Combat Ratio, if he so desires, simply by announcing the fact before throwing the die. This is sometimes advantageous (see the Combat Results Table).
6.3 The abbreviations on the Combat Results Table will indicate that units are either retreated or destroyed.
  • Ae = Attacker eliminated; all units involved in the attack are destroyed (except bombarding artillery). Defending unit has the option to advance after combat.
  • Ar = Attacker retreats; all units involved in the attack (except bombarding artillery) are forced to move one hex away from the defender. Defending unit has the option to advance after combat.
  • Ee = Equal elimination; the defending force is eliminated and the attacking force must lose a number of Combat Strength Points at least equal to the printed value of the defending force. If any attacking units survive, one of them may advance after combat. Bombarding artillery can never suffer from this result.
  • Dr = Defender retreats; the defending unit is forced to move one hex away from the attacking unit(s). One of the attacking units may advance after combat.
  • De = Defender eliminated; the defending unit is destroyed. One of the attacking units may advance after combat.
6.4 Units may be retreated (by their owners) only into safe hexes.
A safe hex is defined as a traversable hex, not in an Enemy Zone of Control. If there is no safe hex available, the unit is destroyed instead. A traversable hex is one that the unit could legitimately enter during a Movement Phase.
6.5 When the only safe hex is occupied by a Friendly unit, that unit may be displaced.
The displaced unit must itself have a hex to retreat to (if not, the original unit is destroyed instead of causing displacement). The displaced unit may itself cause a displacement in a sort of chain reaction of retreats.
Note that a retreating unit may not displace an artillery unit that has yet to perform a required bombardment attack. A required bombardment attack is one that is made when some other Friendly unit is in the Zone of Control of the Enemy unit being bombarded and that Friendly unit is attacking still another Enemy unit.
6.6 When a hex is vacated as a result of combat, a single victorious participating unit may advance into that hex.
Such an advance as a result of combat is an option which must be exercised immediately before going on to resolve any further combat in that Phase. A unit is never forced to advance after combat. A unit may advance into an Enemy controlled hex (even when advancing directly from an Enemy controlled hex).
6.7 Movement during the Combat Phase does not expend Movement Points.
Retreats and advances are, technically, not considered to be movement.
6.8 An artillery unit that is not adjacent to the unit that it is attacking is not affected by adverse combat results.
When an artillery unit is bombarding or making a combination attack (as described in Case 5.8), it is totally unaffected by combat results. Even in the case of an Ee result, the defender is destroyed but the artillery unit is unaffected. Bombarding artillery units may voluntarily retreat after combat when they obtain an Ae, Ar or Ee result.

7.0 Reinforcements

In addition to the force with which he starts the game, the Allied Player receives Prussian units during the Movement Phase of Game-Turn Three.
At any time during the specified Movement Phase, newly arriving units may enter the map in non-Woods hexes of hex-column 2300 (i.e., the easternmost hex column).

7.1 When reinforcements arrive on the map, they behave identically to units already on the map.
When reinforcements are placed in an entry hex, the arriving unit must pay one Movement Point for entering that hex. When more than one unit enters in the same place, they enter singly without regard to which one entered first (i.e., it doesn't cost subsequent units more to enter the map because they are entering 'behind' the first unit). The units move (and they may participate in combat) in the Player-Turn of arrival.
7.2 Units may never be placed in an entry hex that is Enemy occupied or which is in Enemy Zones of Control.
They may never be placed in an entry hex under conditions which will force a violation of the movement rules (i.e., too many units in the hex at the end of the Movement Phase).
7.3 The entry of reinforcements may be delayed for as long as the Player wishes.
Should the Player so desire, he may hold back all or part of the reinforcements due him in any given Game-Turn. He should keep a record of any such delayed reinforcements. He need not re-schedule their appearance; they may be brought in at will in any of his subsequent Movement Phases. They must still enter by means of the proper entry hex.

8.0 How the Game Is Won

It is the object of both Players to destroy forty Enemy Strength Points before losing forty Friendly Strength Points. The French Player has the additional objective of exiting seven units off the north edge of the map (through the hexes indicated on the map).
As losses accumulate during the game, the Players should array the destroyed counters off the map in easily counted groups. Players should be especially alert to losses when the forty Strength Point limit is approached.

8.1 The Allied Player wins by destroying 40 French Combat Strength Points before losing 40 of his own.
If this happens, the game stops immediately and the Allied Player is declared the winner.
8.2 The Allied Player is demoralized immediately upon losing 40 Combat Strength Points.
When demoralized, all Allied attacks (including those made by Prussian units) are reduced by one ratio column (for example a three-to-one becomes a two-to-one).
When demoralized, all French attacks are raised by one ratio column (for example a one-to-two becomes a one-to-one).
If the Allies destroy 40 French Strength Points after losing forty of their own, this does not demoralize the French nor does it benefit the Allies in any way. The only hope for a demoralized Allied Player is to prevent the 7 French units from exiting the map (thereby drawing the game).
8.3 The French Player wins by demoralizing the Allies and exiting 7 French units from the map.
The units must exit from the indicated hexes during one or more French Movement Phases. Units may not exit the map as a result of combat (if forced to do so they are considered destroyed instead). French units that exit the map during their Movement Phase are not considered destroyed. More than 7 French units may exit the map and they may do so before and/or after the Allies lose forty Strength Points. Once the minimum French Victory conditions have been achieved the game stops immediately and the French Player is declared the winner.
8.4 The game is a Draw if neither side fulfills its victory conditions.
If the French destroy forty Allied Strength Points but fail to exit their seven units before the end of the game or if neither Player destroys forty Strength Points, the game is a draw (which is, in historical terms, an Allied moral victory).
If by some freak chance, both armies reach the forty or greater loss level at the same instant of combat (due to an Ee result), then the French Player would win if he had already exited the seven units from the map; otherwise, the Allied Player would be declared the victor.

9.0 The Grouchy Variant

For the sake of variety and historical experimentation, the Players may opt (before the start of the game) to include the possibility of the appearance of additional French forces (under the command of Marshal Grouchy) as well as a greater or lesser Prussian reinforcing group.
Before the start of the game, each Player takes a set of chits numbered 1 through 6, turns them face down, selects one at random and keeps it secret until the end of the game. This number is the key number that indicates what reinforcement variant is in effect for that player.

9.1 The additional French and Prussian forces are labeled 5v on their faces.
This code is shorthand for 'possible entry into the game on Game-Turn Five - variant.'
9.2 Any additional French or Prussian forces arrive an the same map edge and within the same rules as the regular Prussian reinforcement contingent.
9.3 French Reinforcement Codes
1, 2 or 3 indicates no change; i.e., Grouchy does not arrive with any additional forces.
4 or 5 indicates that Grouchy arrives with one 5-4, two 4-4's, one 2-5, and one 3-3 on Game-Turn Five.
6 indicates all French reinforcements are available on Turn Five.
9.4 Prussian Reinforcement Codes
1 indicates no change from standard game.
2 indicates no Prussian reinforcements arrive at all (including the units normally received on Game-Turn Three).
3 indicates normal Prussian reinforcements are delayed until Game-turn Five. No additional units are received.
4 indicates reduced Prussian reinforcements arrive on Game-Turn Three: only one 5-4, one 4-4, one 3-5, and one 3-3. No other reinforcements available.
5 indicates regular Prussian reinforcements arrive on Game-Turn Three. One 5-4, one 4-4, one 3-5, and one 3-3 arrive on Game-Turn Five.
6 indicates all regular Prussian reinforcements arrive on Game-Turn Three plus all other available Prussian units arrive on Game-Turn Five.
9.5 Players should feel free to invent their own variations an these reinforcement options.
The forces that could have arrived on the main field of battle were highly variable and there was a great deal of confusion amongst those in command.

10.0 Design Credits

Game Design: Grouchy Variant: Rules: Graphics, board layout:
James F. Dunnigan A. A. Nofi Redmond A. Simonsen M vd Zanden


Last update of this page: 01 March 2012

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