Napoleonic Battles 4.06 Updates

Today we have more wargaming goodness for you as we pivot back to the Napoleonic Battles series. Back in February we released the 4.05 update for both Campaign Waterloo and The Final Struggle, the demo for the series. You can read about the new features 4.05 brought to the series in this blog post. Since that was release we have identified, and fixed, several problems in the engine and also introduced some new enhancements. We've spent the intervening three months testing these changes and now it's time to get the entire series up to the same level - moving to 4.06.

A quick recap on version numbers to clarify - unlike the way things were handled under the JTS banner, version numbers now indicate the level the core "engine" is at for a game, not the sequential number for a specific title. So, as mentioned, today we are moving to version 4.06 - this is sequential for Waterloo, but other titles will be jumping from 4.04 to 4.06. This is to signify that all of the titles have the same core functionality in them. So, for example, if you use the "Attack Movement" feature in one game (covered in section 5.2.12 of the User Manual) you will be able to do the same in another game assuming both are on the same version number.

Some important notes regarding this round of updates:

1) PDT values have been adjusted in Campaign Waterloo, so it is suggested you complete on-going games prior to applying this update. This applies to the Demo as well.

2) Napoleon's Russian Campaign has received an extensive amount of work. We suggest that you perform a completely new clean install of this release before beginning a game. You can grab a new installer from your Store Account. You can apply the update if you wish, but if you do so we suggest that you delete all of the scenario files (they have the .scn file extension) from the \Scenarios folder before you do. This is because scenario file names have changed, to number them and put them in chronological order, and also all the campaign specific scenarios have been moved into the \Campaign sub-folder.

3) For the other games that are getting the Standardized PDT files in this update (Eckmuhl, Wagram, Bonaparte's Peninsular War & Wellington's Peninsular War - and NRC if you apply the update) you can safely apply the update with games ongoing. The original PDT files have not been altered so that in-process games won't be impacted. However all new scenarios started will pull the updated PDT files. More on this topic later in this blog post.

Ok, moving on into what's new with this update round. Much of what is included is refinements to existing functionality. But we do have some completely new items as well:

(All images can be clicked for full size viewing.)

- New "Strict Line of Sight" optional rule. Back in version 1.09 of Campaign Waterloo we made a change that required a hex to be occupied in order to determine what could be seen from that hex. We feel that is the way it should be, as we as players already have far more information available to us then our historical counter parts. Requiring "scouting" and for a hex to be occupied to gain LOS information is a reasonable requirement. However, we received complaints for this change - so we have implemented this new rule. With Strict Line of Sight selected then hexes must be occupied. Without it, then the old method applies of being able to check from unoccupied hexes. The rule is part of the "Defaults", so if you click that button it will be selected. 

- Auto-Move - this new feature allows you to select a unit and then right-click a distant hex - the unit will move as far as it is able towards the desired destination. This is essentially a simplification  of the drag-and-drop code - which still works as well.  Some notes on this new change however: The computer will endeavor to reach the desired destination, but at the same time avoid enemy units and keep your unit in good order. So, this command is best used when not in close proximity to enemy forces. In those cases you should move hex by hex to ensure the units do what you intend. Also, if you want to cross a terrain feature that will Disorder your unit you should do so by clicking one hex at a time - because the computer will choose a path that will not cause Disorder.

- Another change is the addition of Flank Change Rules:

Defending cavalry & infantry charged in flank or rear have their strength reduced by 1/2. So, once disordered they defend at 2/3 strength, and then receive a further 1/2 reduction if attacked in the flank or rear.

This better replicates the crushing force of a successful cavalry charge. Once a unit has been defeated on the initial melee they stand very little chance of stopping the forward momentum of the victorious cavalry.

- - this file has been added to the \Data folder for all games in the series. This file sets a variety of baseline values that the game will use when executing commands under A/I control. The guide for this file is included in the newly refined Scenario Editor Manual in section 5.7. It is also worth noting that the OOB & PDT file guides have been incorporated in this file now among other features for any budding scenario designers out there.

- We have now bundled a copy of Sumatra pdf viewer with the games, and it is located in the \Manuals folder. You can use this as much as you wish, but the game will specifically call it when you use dialog specific help buttons to call up information. 


Now looking at things which fall into the "refinement" category, we made the following changes:

Rolled back the following changes made in 4.05:

  • No position change in stack allowed if >50% of max stacking sized unit has already fired.
  • No firing if other units excluding skirmishers have already fired and the strength of units trying to fire + strength of units already fired is >50% of max. stack size.

Now stacking in a hex is handled as:

  • No stacking position can be changed after any unit fires in a hex.
  • If 6 artillery pieces or greater are unlimbered in a hex then they "mask" the units behind them, similar to a infantry Line formation.

Units >= 600* men are considered "oversized" and when not in Extended Line their firepower is reduced to 3/4 effectiveness. * This is a PDT value and dependent upon number of ranks.

These changes are being made to get more in line with the realities of the 100 meter hex frontage. These also align performance better between the various play modes. For example, if playing in Phased mode only one unit in Line may fore from a hex during a phase, but if playing in Turns it was possible to rotate units.

The "oversized" value had always been present, but some games had larger values than others. These are PDT values and can be changed if desired, but this new baseline is more appropriate for the scale in which we are operating. What this means to you as a player is, larger units will need to deploy in "extended Line" to take advantage of their full fire capabilities in a single turn - i.e. take up two adjacent hexes. For players of Waterloo, NRC, BPW & WPW you will see more units with the label "shortened" as well - and these units are able to form Extended Line.

The code has been modified for the small hex side bridges that allow crossing Creeks. Now only a single unit at a time may cross these points and an additional cost will be charged to replicate the bottleneck these represent.

Another change has been made effecting Routed units. Now these units may only make moves that increase the distance between themselves and hostile forces when behind enemy lines. This may render them completely immobile at times.

And, the Highlight Organization feature has been modified. When a unit is selected it will be highlighted with the alternate color, while the rest of the organization will use the default color. The alternate color will also apply to skirmishers/squadrons/extended parts of the unit as well as the higher level commanders of the organization.

On the topic of Fixes - keep in mind, the only people who don't make mistakes are those who don't do anything! We're doing lots here and there will always be cases that things don't work as intended - and things that slip out into the public that don't get caught by our testing team. But we always aim to get them resolved. Additionally, as we dig further into the engines and push them beyond the previous boundaries we uncover problems that had been there for a while...years in some cases. All part of the continual improvement process... some examples that are addressed in this round are:

  • Fix for PBEM problem where the fire phases are skipped over.
  • Fix so that charging Dragoon’s do not receive the “can fire” melee bonus.
  • Fix for Isolation check across fords and bridges. Bridge strength limitations apply.
  • Fix so that skirmisher facing is ignored regarding whether a hex is considered flanked in a melee and always treated as ‘flank charged’ regarding cavalry charges.
  • Fix so that Charging cavalry strength calculation in regard of skirmisher overrun is now the number of men and not the stacking value.
  • Fix for Opportunity Fire being able to select invalid targets, for example behind another unit in Line.
  • Fix for “Flank Charge” penalty being applied to all charged defenders. 

And now we circle back to the PDT discussion and "Standardization". The intent of this exercise is to present a more consistent experience for players moving from one title to another. It should be noted that we are only addressing 15 minute turn scenarios with Battalion level units. 10 minute turn variants and Company Level scenarios will not be changed at this point. 15 minute turns was the standard John set when he began the series and when this process is complete there will be 15 minute turn scenarios that can be played in all titles.

When this process began we had no less than 4 different variations to initial movement points, movement point costs and other attributes spread across the games. This round of updates brings 7 of the titles onto the same level. These games are:

  • Bonaparte's Peninsular War
  • Campaign Eckmuhl
  • Campaign Wagram
  • Campaign Waterloo
  • Napoleon's Russian Campaign
  • The Final Struggle
  • Wellington's Peninsular War

These games now present a common Movement Point allowance for each unit type and consistent cost per terrain type. Additionally, weapon ranges and effectiveness is the same across the board, for applicable weapons. Not all weapons are modeled in every title.

However, even with these changes there will always be the possibility of variation - because the "Weather" entries are not standardized. When the scenario designer has used weather entries to replicate bad weather, such as is done in Campaign Waterloo, that will still happen - and the associated effects on movement costs and weapon performance.

A bit more on weapons - we have implemented fractional values now in the PDT files - so instead of a weapons effectiveness making a drastic jump from say an 8 down to a 5 you will see the effectiveness gradually taper hex by hex. This gives a more accurate representation of the ballistic performance with decreasing velocity over time/distance.

You can check what PDT is being used in-game by going to the Help menu and choosing Parameter Data. If Standardized, it will be labeled as such.

We will be getting to the other games in future updates.

And, as we do as much as possible - because we know not everyone agrees with every decision - the original files prior to these changes have been included with the game. There is now a \Legacy folder inside both the \Data folder and the \Scenarios folder so you have access to the old files prior to the standardization work being done. So with a few mouse clicks you can revert if you so desire. Just make sure both you and your opponent are using the same files if applicable.

And now, switching  focus a bit, we want to turn the spotlight on NRC. This is the next game to get a "Units Refresh" like was done for Campaign Waterloo. What that means specifically is that the Units.bmp has been completely re-done. These are the images that are displayed in the Hex Info Area when you click on an occupied hex. New unit portraits by Mitchell Nolte.

Additionally, the 3D Units have been completely redone bringing the smaller unit style and more figures per stand into play. New 3D units by Rolf Hall.

As with the data files, we know some people might prefer the original artwork that shipped with the game. If that's you then you can find those files inside the \Info & \Map folders in a sub-folder called \Traditional

It should also be noted that our graphics coordinator for this series, Nick Ferry, has continued to refine graphical elements to make them cleaner and clearer... and this update round brings new Creeks, Streams and Marshes among other refinements to all titles.

In addition to the graphical treatments NRC also now has 3 new large maps included with the game that can be used to create new scenarios. Each of them has the LB_ in front of them. We have plans for more content in the future and these will all be used there. One is already put into use with a new "Meeting" scenario placed on the huge new "Moskova" map. This is scenario # 059 and is designed for head to head play or Multi Player matches.

We'll close things out with a sampling of screen shots to showcase all of these changes in various games:


You can grab the updates for all the games from the Napoleonic Battles Updates page on our site.

We hope you enjoy! 



  • Caractacus

    Thank you so much for having a look at those previously underpowered cavalry charges. Can’t wait to give the new patch a shot this afternoon!

  • Ian Coyle

    Yes Rolf’s art work definitely adds to the game along with all the game engine changes and tweaks. I loved the look of the original game back in the 90’s when I bought it here in the UK as the Battleground series by Tiller and its back to that gorgeous look. Well done the WDS team.

  • Allan

    Thanks once again.

  • Robert Osterlund

    “Additionally, the 3D Units have been completely redone bringing the smaller unit style and more figures per stand into play. New 3D units by Rolf Hall.”

    I have long been a fan of Rolf’s 3D units. His 3D graphics mods were, for me, an absolute requirement for my CWB game play. I totally agree with the “smaller unit style and more figures per stand” proportions and scaling, as they better conform to the “bird’s eye view”, “God view”, “naturalistic” standard that I strongly prefer.

  • Chris Sloan

    Amazing work everyone; a big THANK YOU!

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