Napoleonic Battles 4.08 Updates


Today we bring you the beginning of the next update cycle for the Napoleonic series with the release of 4.08 for Campaign Waterloo and the Final Struggle Demo. This is a big release, and like our other recent updates this will require you to do a completely clean install in order to get up to speed. Since we have so much other content to cover today I won't include all the details on the "why & how" of clean installs, but if you haven't seen it you can see the last Civil War Battles blog post for details.

**Special Note** - We recommend that you finish ongoing games before migrating to this new version. There are PDT changes (for all games in this series) and when that happens the chance of file corruption goes way up. So, better to be safe than sorry.

Today we have several sections to cover.

  1. Updates to the game engine.
  2. Updates to the game data files.
  3. New and updated documentation.
  4. Updated graphical elements.

    Without further ado, let's jump in!

    1. Updates to the game engine

    A wide variety of things have been done to the engine since the last updates. Some that will be transparent to you, but others that will be very noticeable.

    The Dialog Box changes that first made an appearance with the Musket & Pike 4.04x updates, and then to Civil War Battles have found their way here as well. This includes the ability to resize most of them, put them in a certain place - and when you close and then re-open them those settings are remembered. Additionally, the Parameter Data Dialog can now remain open while game play continues. And related to that set of changes, the ability to reset all values to the initial game installation defaults has also been added. 

    Other usability changes include the option to select the file format used to save Snapshot files in. i.e. screen captures of the entire battlefield at any time during gameplay. Now instead of just .bmp format, you can also select .png or .jpg.

    Also, adjustments to the "Find Leader or Unit" function so it is no longer case sensitive - and when you hit "enter" after typing in a name the program will conduct the search instead of closing the window. I'm sure many of us have had that experience previously!

    Then we have several changes related to Leaders.

    • Reduced the points assigned when using the optional rule Victory Points for Leader Casualties. See the Victory Dialog entry of the User Manual for details, section 9.14.
    • Added new Leader Casualty function. When selecting an entry in the Leader Casualty dialog the location it took place is highlighted on the map as well as the result (W/C/K).
    • Adjusted Leader movement to be an additional 1/4 of standard Cavalry movement allowance, down from an additional 1/3.

    There's one more change, which I will leave to cover in the next section...

    Last for this section, but certainly not least, are further enhancements to the AI. As we've said before in other posts, we are not saying the AI is going to give you a better challenge than a human opponent - probably never will - but some big strides have been made in how it does operate. We think that people who choose to play against the AI will not only notice the changes, but be pleased with what they see. Give it a spin and see what you think...

     2. Updates to the game data files

    Back in late 2022 we began a project that we dubbed "Standardization" for this series, which first saw public exposure in Feb. 2023 with this post. There were a few more updates during 2023 spreading to a few more titles, but then it got pushed to the back burner due to other priorities. Today brings you the next iteration in this work, and once the 4.08 update cycle is complete - all games in the series will have been addressed.

    The purpose of the standardization project is to bring a certain level of harmony to the fourteen games in this series, where appropriate. After all, the games were developed over a period of 20 years by multiple different scenario designers, and each has gone through a certain level of refinement in that time. The experience presented in each title can vary quite widely as well, not only with the topic being covered, but basic things like movement rates, length of turns and the performance of various weapons. From a player standpoint that presents challenges and makes it a bit more difficult to transition from title to title. And that is what we hope to address with this work – to make the playing experience simpler and more enjoyable for the player. You should be able to enjoy the topic at hand, the unique maps, forces and the situations the title is presenting you with – without having to learn new basic variables that impact how you control your forces.

    With that said, there will always be some variance. For example, when weather effects are in play – that will impact movement rates, costs and even fire values. That is unavoidable and essential to differentiate the environment the battle was fought in. But if you have a clear sunny day – the core experience should be the same whether you are in the fields of Belgium, the plains of Germany or the steppes of Russia. Things like terrain will still vary from title to tile – so a “Forest” in one game may have different height and combat modifiers associated with it than in another title – to reflect the terrain you are fighting in. Referencing the PDT file will still be required to define these variables. With version 4.08 the PDT file will be able to remain open and on the screen while you interact with the game. Very handy, especially if you have multiple monitors – you can move it off to the side and continue to play.

    There are two distinct major divisions between the scenarios that are available in this series of games, and a third sub-set.

    • 15-minute turns – original design intent and series default.
    • 10-minute turns
    • Company level scenarios

    This standardization project focuses primarily on the 15-minute turn scenarios offered up in the various games. The 10-minute turn PDTs will have a reduced max visible range and will also have the weapon range & fire values applied. The company level scenarios will not have any changes made, but they are a very small part of this series. For games that have few or no 15-minute turn scenarios, they will be added.

    The reasoning behind a lower maximum visible range is that we, the players, already have too much information at our fingertips. Our historical counterparts had to seek out the opposing force with their Cavalry screen – they had to work to build their intelligence. By reducing the maximum range a single unit can see it makes the player do more of this. The value set is driven by the maximum range for artillery – because a battery can’t fire further than it can see. Keep in mind, you as the CiC get to see 22 hexes in every direction from your furthest flung troops – so you still have an immense amount of visibility. We also highly suggest the use of the “Strict Line of Sight” optional rule to further confine the data you are gathering to actual members of your force gathering it. Think of it this way – you have the “topo map” of the local region in your hand already – you can see the entire topography of the game map. But to see the actual opposing force moving across that terrain you need to at least have your ADC positioned on a hill sending riders with updates of what he sees, right?

    Beyond visibility the following categories are addressed by this project:

    • Movement point allowances
    • Movement point costs
    • Weapon effectiveness

    Here's just a small portion of each section from the notes we have compiled...


    In the initial version of the project we went with lower movement point allowances. The thought process behind that was, it would be easier for players to see at a glance where their units could move. However, since then we have received the Reachable Hexes engine change which basically blows that requirement out of the water. Now, if you want to know, you simply select the unit, hit the H key (which is the Hotkey to activate the command) and the hexes reachable by the selected unit in that turn based on their formation, condition, and any weather variables is displayed. Obviously a much better solution! Additionally, we have received multiple comments about the lack of differentiation between movement costs on Pikes & Roads. We agree, they shouldn’t be the same. So, we have revisited the movement point allowances and cost per terrain type in this revision. Artillery and Supply still travel the same rate on Roads and pikes, but all others differ.

    This engine does not support nation or unit specific movement rates – so all Infantry must conform to the same values, same with artillery & cavalry. We are not saying this is a perfect solution with this new version – but given the constraints of the current system it is the best we are going to achieve at this time. In some cases, the movement will remain the same – Infantry in Column will still move a max of 5 hexes per turn across clear terrain in good weather. Some other values might be a touch higher, while others will be lower than what is current in circulation prior to these updates in the previous “Standardized” games...

    Oh, and that last enhancement I didn't mention in the first section, applies here:

    • Adjusted Light Calvary movement to be an additional 1/5 of standard Cavalry movement allowance.

    So, Light Cavalry will be able to be the "eyes and ears" of the army as they should. 


    And then we have weapon effectiveness. The values in use prior to this project kicking off were quite varied in some places. It made it more difficult than it needed to be to switch between Napoleon’s Russian Campaign and say Leipzig or Eckmuhl. So, we have dug in and done some research on the topic and are bringing you the further fruits of this labor. Additionally, we are taking advantage of the fractional fire values now available in the PDT files to create a more realistic reduction in effectiveness in the longer ranges.


    It is important to note that this project is not removing diversity of weapon types represented. In some cases, it's the opposite. For example, the earlier games in the series had far fewer weapons represented than later titles. Waterloo had British & French forces using the same entries for the 6 lb foot & horse artillery. That has been divided out now with unique entries for each army. This project is also not altering OOB files beyond a case like the one mentioned for Waterloo – to differentiate the weapons between forces. If the original OOB had a certain mix of guns assigned to an army then that remains unchanged. Rather, the focus is to correct things like the difference in how a “Prussian 6lb” is represented between games. Prior to this release in Leipzig & 1814 it had a maximum range of 11 hexes, but in Bautzen it had a 17-hex range and has 3x stronger effectiveness rating at 10 hexes.. and 6x at 11… there are other instances as well. These types of items are being addressed.

    Other differences, such as the Gribeauval System and its replacement – the System of the Year XI - are handled more at the OOB structure level, as they pertain primarily to weapon type standardization, ammo handling and the like. Again, these types of things are not being changed.

    Generally speaking, you will see a reduction in lethality from the initial values used in this project, (and in games not included in the initial release) especially at the closer ranges with these new PDTs, but in some cases longer overall range. Regarding ranges, the values we are using are an amalgam of shot, canister and shell (& shrapnel for the British) since we do not currently differentiate between load types or firing techniques. For example, in good weather on relatively even ground it was a common practice to “Skip fire” round shot – propelling it across the ground bouncing as it goes until it ran out of inertia – causing carnage in the entire path of its trajectory. This is radically different than firing canister – which was essentially a huge shotgun blast spewing small metal balls in a wide pattern. We have one set of values to model all of this...

    Small Arms

    One thing that will immediately jump out is the extra hex range for the Musket. Considering that the firing unit is not necessarily at the “back” of its existing hex, but rather closer to the center, give or take, this then has us firing 250 to 300 meters using a 3-hex range...

    The above gives you an idea of what is addressed, but you can read the full document outlining these changes here. Additionally, a copy of the document will be included with each game in the \Manuals folder. 

    3. New and Updated documentation

    The previous section is part of this topic, as the Standardization Notes are now part of each game.

    Additionally, back in October of 2023 we began running a new series of articles that ran 5 installments on an Introduction to the Napoleonic Battles Series. These posts have been refined a bit and combined into a single PDF file and are now being included with each game as well. Not only that, but a New Installment has been incorporated into the document focusing on Infantry specifics, where only Artillery and Cavalry had their own section previously. Again, this is now included in the \Manuals folder for each game in the series once the 4.08 updates have been released. If you want to read the on-line version you can do so here.

    Further, each game in the series now has a "title specific" Summary Info Document which includes:

    • Terrain Effects Chart
    • Units Status Effect Chart
    • Weapon Effects Chart

    As well as a multipage listing of all hotkeys and associated toolbar buttons and command definitions for easy reference. This document is assessible in-game by pressing F1 or from the Help Menu. You can also check out the one for Waterloo in this on-line version here.

    4. Updated graphical elements

    Finally we have some further graphical enhancements for you. These will be applied across the entire series as these updates go out. The below image will show you many of the changes:

    • New 2D Buildings, Villages & Chateau.
    • Streams are now thinner, Creeks wider for easier identification.
    • New style elevation slopes, smooth rather than the "combs".
    • New Wall, High and Embankment images.
    • Full hex Bridges.
    • New Orchards & Woods.
    • New Fields.
    • New Unit boxes and formation indicators.
    • New 2D "Alt" set of counters in the TYW style.*

    * We introduced the three sets of 2D counters in this post originally. These can be switched between in-game from the Settings > Unit Symbols menu.

    Adjustments have also been made to the 3D tiled set (not the "Hand drawn" maps) in the form of:

    • Refined Roads and Pikes.
    • New Walls and Hedges images.
    • Enhanced ground tile sides for all ground sets.

    Overall we believe this update presents a cleaner, crisper play environment for your enjoyment. Below are some additional screen shots from various views to see how things look.

    That concludes our preview of today's update. You can head on over to your Store Account to download your full new installers for Waterloo and the Demo.

    We have also removed the updates for the remaining titles in the series in preparation for the coming roll out of the balance of the games. Full installers for each of those are also available in your Store Account, but they will be at 4.07.2 for the next couple of weeks until we are sure we haven't missed any major problems.




      I second Gary Stuart’s request here. I usually have to reduce my desktop resolution to be able to play the game without squinting and I think that’d be a nice feature if it is possible.

    • Gary Stuart

      Thankyou for the update. Excellent work. My main wishlist item going forward would be for the Hex Info area to be scaleable like the top order area is for small/medium/large icons. It would greatly help accessibility for those of us with big monitors and older eyes. Plus we would be able to appreciate the new unit card artwork in all its glory. Thanks again.

    • AlexT

      Extremely glad to see the balancing of artillery and musket FP. This should take the simulation quality to the next level with less focus on melee and more on musket use! Graphics look great!

    • Stewart Stiles

      Thank you for all the ongoing work and development on these games. You guys are amazing. The level of customer support is non surpassed!

    • Dion Ritter

      Excited about these updates, especially the graphic enhancements.

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