Napoleonic Battles 4.02 Preview


We've been hopping with a variety of projects here and we wanted to take an opportunity to share some of the new changes coming in the next round for the Napoleonic Battles series of games. We believe you will be very pleased with what is coming down the road...

This round of updates brings a mixture of changes which enhance game play. Some minor, some we consider major... first off some minor ones:

  • Added "Ask Before Activating AI" prompt when the Toolbar button is depressed.
  • Adjusted Column Pass Through Fire rule to apply to units in Square formation as well.
  • Adjusted Arrival Check so probability is increased by 1% for each turn a unit does not arrive up to an additional 20% chance.
  • Adjusted the way Scheduled Reinforcements are displayed. With FOW in effect, instead of (??) being displayed as the probability, a rating will be listed - 'Low' (1-33%), 'Med.' (34-66%) and 'High' (67-100%).

Then some changes on how things are displayed within the game. Some of these items have been requested by customers mailing in, some where enhancements driven by the Dev team:

  • Added Alternative Outline Color menu option to the Settings menu. When selected this will place a white outline around each hex.
  • Added Alternative Contour Color menu option to the Settings menu. When selected the contour lines will be displayed in green instead of brown.
  • Added support for full graphics file sets to the Snow and Frozen directories.
  • New "high res" 2DSymbols files for the Standard images (NATO style). (Pictured below)
  • Adjusted Highlight Organization. Now, when a unit is selected both it and it's chain of command are highlighted. Example: selecting a Brigade will also highlight the Division, Corps, Wing and Army commanders in that chain of command. The higher command will use a different color of highlighting (only in 2D views).


Our programmer for this series, Henrik, wanted to implement this change to better reflect skirmisher tactics after reading some period accounts:

  • Adjusted Skirmisher firing, if all firing units are skirmishers then possibility for leader casualties is doubled.

The cost of "leading from the front" just got higher!

We also made some bigger changes which will address some common practices many players use in the system, address deficiencies of the turn based model, or just make it easier to play the games.

1) We've added a new Range Check Tool that you can use to help determine good places to deploy your artillery when establishing a defensive position, or maybe to check the distance to calculate march time between two points. To use you simply Shift+click to have the distance from the current hotspot displayed in the clicked hex. Display will disappear when the mouse button is released. This check can be made regardless if a hex is occupied or not.

 2) Added 3 hex "leash" for skirmishers from non light/guard units or routed units.

This one will take some getting used to for veteran players, but we feel it has been long overdue and will give a more accurate representation of the use of the skirmish companies from the standard line battalions.

3) Adjusted LOS calculation routines. After each movement LOS is recalculated for the moving unit(s). If new units are detected within 3 hexes they will be displayed. If new units are detected within a 4-6 hex distance a (?) will be displayed. If the moving unit is a Supply Wagon or Routed unit then it will only detect up to 3 hexes, and only a (?) will be displayed. Again, the detected units must be in the New LOS, not in concealed terrain which blocks LOS.

Gone are the days of marching down a road only to bump into an enemy unit that you should have been able to see upon approach...

4)  Adjusted Column Movement feature (using the Atl + Right Click to move entire commands at once.) Changes include:

  • Prioritize adjacent units on road first before selecting adjacent units on the wayside.
  • Will not fail if there is a unit from a different org stacked with valid units, so you can ALT move through own units.
  • Will allow movement of multiple units in a hex at once if not on a road.
  • Will keep leaders in a stack with other valid units.

For those who have not used this command before, it provides the ability to move an entire command - be it a brigade, division, corps or even an entire army group - down a road with a single set of commands... extremely useful when bringing reinforcements up to the front!


And this is my personal favorite...

5) Added new Movement By Command function, which enables an entire brigade, deployed in Line, to be moved with a single set of commands. With battalions in a cohesive line, using the Alt+right-click command, the entire brigade can be moved at once!

We're also going back into the first four games of the series that had some negative impacts from later PDT changes. For example, all cavalry over stacking issues have been addressed in these titles, so no cavalry unit is on the map or in the reinforcement schedule that will arrive with greater than 600 troopers. The entire command is still present, a squadron, or two, have been deployed in each case to resolve the over stacking as losses occur they can be recombined later if desired.

Standardization of the scenario descriptions continues, with two more games being addressed for this round. Hopefully by the 4.03 round we will have all of those done, but with so many new features we did not want to hold up this round of updates.

We haven't put the wraps on this round of changes yet either, so there may be more goodness to come before we close them out. Estimated time of public release is late September at this point...stay tuned!


As we wrap up, we want to take this opportunity to remind everyone about the newly launched "Official" WDS Forums - - head on over and join in the discussions, or pick up a new PBEM opponent... while still quite new there is a good bit going on to investigate!


And that's a wrap for this week...stay tuned though, as we have a lot of good content coming over the next few months!



  • Mike

    While others will give their suggestions both good and bad, I just want to say how pleased I am with the work being put into these games. You guys have done great work and it is appreciated. Not every change will be liked by every player, but a constant attempt to approve the games is what matters.

    The only thing I will say as far as a suggestion is please do not go away from complexity. These games should never be changed to appeal to the masses. While companies like Paradox make more money now they the devs probably get a little nauseas when they look in the mirror in the morning. ;)

  • Christopher Sweet

    Hi: I left my suggestions on the forums. Basically, skirmishers can gun for generals if their main role other than firing at enemy troops – i.e. only when they find a general NOT stacked with a unit. Stacked with a unit, the unit would be their first target and the target would likely be surrounded in smoke or other distractions, like men pointing guns at you, and the general would be surrounded by his men or his bodyguard. I would make it easy to gun for a general only if he’s alone or exposed. LaSalle was hit not in combat, but while out in an exposed position, with only his staff, looking through his telescope. He was doing what skirmishers ought to have been doing.

    I would accompany this by giving generals better spotting ability than troop units. Give them telescopes so they can tell cavalry from infantry at greater than >10 hexes. At greater than 1000 yards, it becomes very difficult to see the difference with the naked eye – it’s even hard to distinguish friendlies from foes. Bottom line, any large body of troops over a mile away ought to be a question mark. Only Generals ought to be able to see what the unit is. Am I stressing out the AI yet? Hope not.

    Also, I suggest changing AI behavior when surrounded, when casualties are at a triggering point, or when the objectives are hopelessly lost. Hopelessness can be quantified, IMHO. When hopeless, it’s time to retreat to a pre-designated position. The AI should have plans for retreat in most cases. Not all … but that would be part of scenario design.

    Another critique: For most nations, cavalry were trained to withdraw after a charge, following the well-established principle that cavalry cannot hold ground. The French were very good at withdrawing after charging, according to my reading-based understanding. The British cavalry were not good at it; in fact, they might be handicapped by NOT automatically falling back after charging. It really bothers me to see cavalry exterminated because they have to stand around under fire for 15 minutes after they’ve charged and driven off an enemy, or failed to drive him off. A rule that charging cavalry will fall back after the charge is resolved would be more realistic, IMHO. You could add to it increased fatigue simply for the act of charging. Just have them fall back to the place they occupied before the charge. That’s even more realistic, IMHO, except for the British. Sorry, guys! Can the AI be programmed to do this doctrinal behavior?

    Non-charging combat would not be covered by this “skedaddle” rule. So if you wanted to use your cavalry like melee-only infantry, you could. Because that’s what the current rule comes down to.

  • Alek

    About skirmishers: I think that the doubling of possibility for leader casualties is really a good idea, but I believe one thing must be improved too. How about the doubling (or maybe the other, larger number) of possibility for disordering of units that were shot by skirmisher? I mean the leader units represent more or less big commanders, or even “personalities”. But battalions and squadrons contain a number of ordinary officers and sergeants that keep the order and skirmishers were trying to kill them firstly, exactly to bring in a chaos to enemy units. A greater chance for disorder in unit that was shot by skirmishers will be very realistic.

  • chris summerville

    These changes sound great—-very many thanks! From a single-player perspective, I’d like to see the following in the Napoleonic Series: 1) “Reinforcement Strategy” system (as featured in operational-game series) to inject more flexibility/randomness/replayability to custom scenarios 2) Artillery optimization (in real life, Napoleonic arty worked best when firing “level” against target—i.e. not “up” or “down” in elevation terms) 3) PDT, OOB, & Map editors

  • Anonymous

    I think the Napoleonic series of games from WDS, is the greatest Napoleonic series of games available in all of war-gaming. It seems to me that all other companies that produce Napoleonic games can’t match the detail nor quality that you guys have been doing for years. It’s clear that this trend will continue in the future.

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