No rule, no matter what, resists long my urge to interfere.

Sharp practice2 of Too Fat Lardies
House rules and games

WHY? I like to have distances, bases sizes and figure to men ratio to fit roughly reality with the ground scale. Also here adding cards, special rules fro injuns.,  charges, events and you go jc mods (pdf online)  
same for printing b/w • 


1871 Mash up with AOV
AOV is the distant child of Fire and Fury. It is easily understood by the most obtuse volunteer in 15 minutes.
Its “manoeuver roll” thing is more a mix of morale effects, a bit of unpredictable movement length, and a dose of control by higher command. It does not provide well for good troops commanded by donkeys nor poor ones by efficient commanders and staff.
So why not add a command system which does give you a good dose of the difference from the French armies and the Germans of 1870: slower responses to events, harder to change postures and harder to implement intricate plans?  I adapted my Napoleonics command systems and a few mods to AOV. Worked wonders.           

  1. We tried 1871 rules- mostly we liked it. good points; the firing table which integrates several results, sort of casualties and morale. We did it in Half scale to have a bit of granularity for casualties. Not to have whole bns vanishing in one shot.
  2. EASY AND SIMPLE -being the only one who reads the rules, I managed to explain the other guy fairly fast. I was a bit disappointed that cavalry is quite impotent; ok in most cases it is a period feature, but it could make surprises thanks to its speed, which it does not have here. The command system does means that any attempt at coordination is just luck. In the old 1870 you could have division orders. 
  3. We left it aside -  mainly because of my troops basing. I have infantry bases on 2 cm front with 3 figures, up to 10 per German rgt. To fit the system I used 2 bases for a French r bn, and 3 for a German (I don't like his melting all into similar strength, I know it helps the French, but I cannot forego the more troops in most German units. It ended up with ugly little groups of 2-3 bases moving around. And even then the frontage was way too small. With appropriate bases (like he said, 8-12 figs) it would look nice. Back to Age of Valor, with mods, so far. 

1870 sauce JC August. 2022                             CHANGES TO A.O.V. TACTICAL



We could understand the ACW being not so professional, would not be too efficient at formation changes etc. But enough historical books tell you how post 1800 guys change formations, even how long it takes etc. How cavalry moves, how fast it moves (my pet!!!)

a turn=1/2 hour!!! to change formation for a regiment or two i.e. from column to line (say under 1km to do at the trot at trail arms is way too slow). Original AOE might have wanted to integrate an average time to change and implement orders.  In a way this is more into the screwball march results, with low dice, some do not even allow for formation change. Of course the F&F system philosophy (and I talked about it with the author, last century) assumes that if no losses, no disorder (means a disorder and morale faltering) the troops mostly do what you want. the 1870 French are happy. They get German leaders;)

1/3 turn to change formations for cavalry. Provisional troops 1/2 turn but D10 on 7+ only 1/3. I like the enemy be not sure of it!

Infantry expending or shrinking its firing line by 1 stand, takes off the distance done by the stand, roughly, from any move.

Deploying from road march to column or supported line (same unit) takes 1 turn.

Deploying unit to supported line, from column, takes 1/2 turn if the front is 6 or less stands. If more than 6, it takes the whole turn. (I can have 14 stands brigades.) That line would be more than 1200 m long!

In the end I might say a turn is on the average a bit under 1/2 hour, so add a very few turns to battles; it also takes my fiddling with bases numbers into account and gives more time to do damage. 


As usual cavalry does not move fast enough. Cavalry moves way faster than infantry! I have a copy of the French ministry study of the role of cavalry just after the war, (to try to prove that it is useless and save a lot!) and the main advantage  they found for it, beyond recon, FAST MOBILITY so it can fast appear on your flank if unchecked on rolling terrain. Put 16” for tactical moves, 18" on roads and If they don’t charge they can have a double move (rolled for by the move table as for infantry) which is 20" in the open and 24" on roads. This is one of the common major flaws of most miniature games: cavalry is way too slow. A design thing to allow for tables that are too shallow for depth of battle. A problem I don’t have. ;)


My cavalry is in regiments of 3 stands of two minis. Roughly one fig for 90-100men. Infantry I put to a stand (of 3 on 2cm front 10mm figs) for 300 instead of the 360 of the game. It lowers losses a bit in a way and gives a better look to smaller units, allowing more regiments than brigades as the basic game unit. I have 7000 minis based like that, no way I will change! Because I have a bit more 2cm bases than the original 2.5 cm ones from the rule, I can lazily still use his distances from the QRs.  As AOV “cheats” giving cav. more stands to allow for casualties or something (see his scenarios), I cannot, and then if I lower the target modifier to +2 instead of +3, it comes roughly the same results. My first miniature stand of cavalry is really two casualties stands, it gives cavalry vs cavalry realistic losses, rarely more than 150 men in a combat and makes them less suffering than the infantry in proportion vs guns in particular, as they kept changing positions to offset gunners aim. So normal 550-650 men cavalry regiments get 4 steps. The most famous and supposedly which suffered the most, charge in the war, Von Bredow Totenritt “only” got 50% casualties…

Cavalry will still be a fragile use against good order infantry with a high chance of getting blasted. But they can do what , it is needed for scouting (works on the table) and from its mobility to have occasional surprises, and threaten flanks.


Always like to have some system to get back some losses especially for cavalry which always loses less than gamers use to think. It also pushed you to have multiple lines to protect the recovering ones, to “rest” your horsemen after fighting.

Losses are not the only if ever the first reason for a repulse especially in cavalry fights, a bit more like cats fights, lots of retreat without ever crossing sabres.

Allow units not shot at nor penetrated by others retreating ones, nor attacked in turn, not moved etc. to recover 1 loss (out of 2 rounded down) ; it comes from some cards from my event cards.


 Directing unit

One unit can be stated as directing, right, left or centre of a group of units the player wants to act together. It will have its division general within 1” of it. He is de facto commanding the whole thing. It can be a brigade or division. 

  Only one tactical AOV roll is needed from whichever higher commander would want to send this, till they get under shooting then normal units roll as it incorporates morale and control.

 All units (except artillery which does not have to) of the division move to a relative position from the directing unit and try to keep it. Forming a chain of commanded units with 1” (plus space for deploying if needed) of each other laterally and 1-3” for inf. 2-“6 cavalry for successive lines.

This “formation” only needs one roll to move, done from the directing unit, all others conforming to it. Unless some were taking casualties, attacked etc. on the previous move (not necessarily turn if the enemy moved first).

If so, each unit that was engaged, makes its own manoeuvre roll as in AOV.  It is an accurate way of moving big, huge lines and speeds play.

Built up areas fighting.

I don't allow rifle fire vs BUA beyond 2" unless the guys inside did shoot (show themselves).  Occupying BUAs can create de facto detachments. I use a D6 4+ for retire results from only shooting beyond short range, to be effective.


Artillery shooting at lines of guns roll randomly the targets of the hits after the first. And it can end up that 2 can go tho the same unit. I am thinking of not doing so for guns with an artillery commander (simili gandes batteries).


Machine guns can occasionally shoot (fp3) to 15" (historical ), a few even cards allow it.

Reyffe 7lb and 8lb of the republican artillery  shoot like Germans. They did in effects.

Skirmishers charged can try to evade with 2D6" looking backwards, ending in disorder. Too bad if they are caught in the back. helps them survive. I also do not count them (chasseurs-Jaeger)as elites, except both sides guards. They were not intended to be storm troopers.

Cavalry in risk of being shot at by small  arms at short range can reposition. They do an opposed dice, if succeed, no shoot.

Opposed dice: equal chances D10 both sides, the one who wants to shoot, needs be higher. Advantage to the target? D10 for it D6 for shooter.

I use it for disappearing targets and for example for artillery deploying on or in front of a crest, to have or not the limbered modifier against them. If they are silenced, they also don't unlimber.

Supporting lines deployment: no need of keeping equal ranks as in AOE. It shows nicely the 1870 battle lines of a shooting  line which can be augmented and fed from the rear supports. So I take losses alternate front and rear, and can feed more in front as a formation change. Still need at least half the second line to claim the +1 supporting in close combat.

I will put the cards as a pdf one of these days. Need to design a nice set, not the one I use.

ORDERS  (actually I gave this up, faster play, helps the French, now a bit more hampered via the even cards)

(actually I don't use it any more, the often +2 on who chooses to go first, already gives a vast advantage to the gerries). 

AOV manoeuvre roll is more of morale and control nature than command; when you have no adverse results on you from enemy actions, one can nearly do whatever you want. One of the main reasons the French lost all battles in 1870 besides numbers and Krupps, their command was inferior to the Germans. You don’t really have it in AOV so you need it. They must be a bit less flexible and responsive, maybe not as much as in history but otherwise you hardly see any difference from both sides.

This system sorts of shows the activity of leaders and their ability to respond to events, and they might not have enough time to do all they want in one turn which is one decision loop.

This ½ /20min hour allows for many “orders” (change of combat stance/ objectives) to be implemented, for reasonable results to happen as was rightly assumed in the rules, wide distances will cause delays as they should.

Attack; defend, move, (withdraw= away!). To Corps then divisions or smaller units (beware of fragmenting, hell to pay then to regroup them); but generals can only roll a few, having to prioritize them each turn with a chance of “sleeping” especially the French rated mediocre or average. The more fragmented orders you give to small things the more you will need to regroup them and or change anything.

I also have a little “initiative” for inferior level leaders that can be tried when they are confronted to a change of situation without order changes from above; to be used with parsimony. In some cases, they can do things like withdrawing or all out attacks on extreme results. Most of the time commanders actually keeping their orders or “sheep” doing the same as the neighbours, a very human syndrome. Cavalry by nature having a bit more chances of pulling a fast response to events.

This can be fine-tuned if you want to instil a bit of personalities psychology or characterisation in there.

This simple system is borrowed from Warmaster and then Blitzkrieg commander systems.

Each turn starts with a command sequence: before the initiative phase each army or corps commander may try to change orders of subordinates or implement those coming from above.

Each commander can throw 2D10 and do under or equal to:

Excellent     15                                 MODS

Good            14                                  units not seen by sender -1 Coordinating a division -1

Average       13                                 per additional 12” distance -1 Per previous order passed this turn -1

Poor              12                                  Local initiative -3

Distance is between the sender and the further unit of the receiving outfit.

Missing a roll ends orders; so long as you do the modified roll you can try to give more. Above 24” away it will be received next turn.

A “sleeping” commander who did nothing previous turn gets a re roll if he missed again his first roll; It helps avoiding strings of bad luck and unlikely staffs lapses over hours.

When you want to move a division or brigade, during the march phase, you can try to change their order upon local initiative (within reason, there should be something they see motivating it) with the same system with a -3. This is necessary for the numerous times German commanders acted upon local initiative among a rising chaos.

You can do dummy rolls to confuse your enemy! Local initiative should be limited to divisions and brigades which are detached, not within 12” of their division commander. If they are it should come from him.

In this system, as with the real life, your commander will have to prioritise things, the important stuff first as it has better chances to go.


Von Kirchbach knows his reconnaissance found the French. He wants to deploy his first division, thinks it is the most important thing to do, starts with it: he is good so needs ≤15 to succeed. Then he wants to recall his cavalry recon, -1 as a second action, rolls 12, ok. Then can try to group and deploy the guns of the reserve and 2nd division. This is a coordinated thing involving two commands it incurs a -1, one he does not see at least some units -1, , another -2 as being the third taction attempted,: he needs to roll 6 or less. A busy general.

Each action is rolled and sent before the next; if you miss the second and it makes the first irrelevant, tough luck. That’s where coordinated actions are needed.                                                                                                                                                     up

BATAILLE EMPIRE by Hervé Caille... the new shiny rules for smaller Napoleonic battles..

I have my own set to play big battles, but I was still looking for one to have avant-garde, small scenarios with up to a corps maybe a side, or the Republic period with its annoyingly small funny units. Then even more incentives came when I received all those scenarios from Mike Hopper. It seemed I have found it, which sounded good as my French neighbours, adopted this.  Obviously nearly no rule set (as I usually research at least a bit the subject I play- and in Napoleonics I do know a lot) resists my interfering with it.  READ FURTHER review in depth and MODS...

La même en français!

BUT...they don't want to change anything to it. And it is too fiddly and slow after all and some features need be modded. Then Solo gaming seems the only way. So be it.

General D'Armée with mods for actual divisions (not the  1800 Austrian column of 4-5 brigades!) with very little would do battalion scale battles much better. But no French gamers then. Will see. Not yet actual full games done.

Then there is LASALLE 2 with Sam Mustafa returning playing ...   simpler, very well written and explained. The thing looks to go easily to the essentials and maybe easily modded as a tool. AGAIn, the same disease, no divisions. we know this newish trend, facts should not go in the way of ideas. But divisions were supposed to be a progress in fighting organisation over the last century motley of brigades... 

Then these guys from Hong Kong! came to the rescue, no need to think too much it might have been already done. Find their modifications here.


FOR XVIITH CTY /30YW with Twilight of the Divine right rules.

Generating musketeers detachments for Commanded shot cavalry support, musket detachment to occupy villages, fortifications etc. as it was done. For example, the advanced redoubts at Nördlingen manned by commanded shot from the tercios, reinforced during the fight. Each formation can generate a number of these (posed as 100 men average “construction block”). One of these is enough to put a CS modifier as in the rules to a cavalry unit.

Forlorn hopes/ commanded shot units, to fit the rules function as dragoons but without the mounted ability, M units. So 4 blocks makes a small one, 5 an average sized, 6 a big one.

These must be created before the game or at start, before moving. Unless stated in a scenario or provided for a campaign, taking these musketeers from their parent units will, up to a point, lower their musketry ability. Already pure M units can be broken down though. A difficult action can send reinforcement to a village or fortification from a unit within 2BW, or use a marker 2Bw moves per turn (to be able to emulate Nördlingen) to join the intended place.

Number of 100 men detachment

without a size loss small/ average/big unit         with size and musketry loss   

 Early tercio          1/2/2                                                   2/3/4

Tercio                     0/1 /1                                                 1/2/2

Swedish brigade  1/1/1                                                   2/2/3

Regiment             0/0/1                                                   1/1/2

Musketry loss means Mh becomes MX, MX becomes PH.

PH can only do one less one less detachment per level. Usually PH units cannot unless really big. So for example a basically  average Mh Swedish brigade (their normal way) can generate 1 block and stay the same, 2 blocks and lose one shooting level (in using the sw brigade tricks too so only MX or PH) and one size so in that case becomes small. 

Cold War Commander 

My "modern" 1/285th miniatures have been sleeping in their boxes for years. They started 25+ years ago with playing a thing that nowadays we would call unbearable called  Combat Commander. Then came Corps Commander, Challenger, WRG, FFT2/3, Combined Arms. I mostly gave up for years as the burden to give a fair and enjoyable rendering of the intricacies of modern combat was never fully satisfied.      I don't want fantasy. Some bits about the first game here.

My opponent bought the two "Commander" rules from Pendraken. My fault as I kept reading bits here and there and liked mostly what I saw. Obviously he passed on me the hot potato of deciphering, learning the thing to explain and play later. I won't go into describing the appearance, pages etc. plenty are doing this moderately useless thing. The rules are looking businesslike, clear enough, though with use I had to go page hunting and even ask questions on the forum for half hidden stuff. Often in rules one should not be afraid to add text with repetitions if they apply at a certain point rather than have you search back  and forth. Same in QRS. The Pendraken Forum and possibly the facebook page are fast invaluable treasure of help and experience. I tried to play alone then realised made pretty heavy mistakes. tried again. Then we had an afternoon. I don't like "points shopping lists" but if properly done they at least give an idea of the relative power of things (and I am jealous as I have no idea how to construct this thing). A bit of the game here.

The result:  the system is fine, easy to remember though there are hidden intricacies one can miss initially. I used the capture paper on stats for multiple D6 rolls with only two; saves a huge amount of time. We did screw up the first partial attempt, as I thought (with questioning the thing!) opportunity fire was a possible response to each active player fire. I don't have enough experience yet on the overall thing but at least  in a few turns we did not have half the tanks burning. It is hard to say what time a turn can represent (say 10min?) so it is not too crazy. I re plunged into  OPFOR manuals (I am the Warsaw pact, often), though to my surprise still lots of info from the Cold War stuff lingered deep in my memory. We used 6mm figs and those tiny tanks take little space so the stated 1cm=20m makes the table fair enough (here it was 3.2 km attack  frontage and 5km depth) if you have space. The but was that the things do not spread enough  to be realistic  combat frontage, the system even pushes you to mass (except the artillery and even). A bn of soviets in attack should be around 1km wide, at least. If you follow doctrine in the rules, you will suffer for commanding them. I would have thought that doctrine was rather the optimal use . 

As a former tanker (son of an artillery officer) who read a lot, some of the stuff do not fit but can be easily corrected. One of the reason tanks spread (40-200m between) beside collisions ( you don't see well on the sides as the driver, the commander can easily be busy ) and artillery strikes, it comes to target re engaging. If the foe is clustered, you can find one; shoot and in the firers optics he will fast or even God forbid immediately get a new target. If they are spread it will take time, and time is vital, it can easily be like OK Corral, who shoots first and well wins. So clustered tanks should get a die bonus to the AT fire (guns. missiles are slower and the director of other crew can work on acquiring while the shooter tries to maintain aim). I am talking of stuff from the 80s as I play this war we did not do (fortunately). Say to be game conservative needs 5 cm between AFV (except in close terrain) so in 6mm 6-7 cm (140m for 4 vehicles) which is a minimum. 10cm should probably be better for NATO but...    

The one thing in the rules which is utter crap is the treatment of artillery. Others who know what they are talking about said so on forums (TMp). FOOs  are equipped with proper optics, very modern ones with sats and computers but that is beyond my "period". If you talk to one they will tell you they "walk fire". My dad would jump in his grave if you'd tell him that every fire for effect will drift away 100-500m+ if you are 1km from the target point.  The game only considers what artillerists call impromptu fire. A rare stuff where you are in such a hurry that you might waste scores of your precious rounds on a fleeting juicy target. Normal arty calls (that gets a favorable response) walk regulating rounds (from one regulating gun) to the target; it can take a few minutes. A mech target might take this time to move away. Once the caller is satisfied he calls for fire for effect with the number of rounds. And most of the rounds, given the wind, and circular error inherent to the tubes, (make, wear+) they fall pretty close to the target. So in the game that deviation should be uncommon and for long distances or partially obscured targets. If you want artillery to be limited, the best is the number of "rounds". It looks that the effects are quite good in the game. Soft and foot targets should be automatically supressed, no one stands to run away... After all, armoured infantry  transports where invented mainly to allow the infantry to move into the "artillery zone". AFv should have a fair chance to be supressed too (button up in time? big bangs  nearby and on you that will make you say dizzy at best. Worry that anything vital gets smashed (tracks, comms, optics).

Another thing that needs be addressed; the command and control "position" of the artillery. It is either dedicated, or in general support for a normal game. Dedicated means it is under direct command of your Co in the game. General support, it is shared with other outfits outside of the table, it might be busy when you need it.

In soviet ways, unless re organized for the mission, each regiment has its own bn, dedicated. It fires only for you. In most NATo things yours are also (but not always) in general support of others. Moreover in soviet doctrine, the normal FOo for those guns is effectively the artillery battalion commander (forward command- he has a deputy who is with the guns); hardly the guns will say no to him unless they are moving or in a tight situation (and the game does make it possible to do counter battery). In many ways his response to needs should be better than the average Nato call (lowly officers who need to go through arty Hq). The rest of the guns (the DAG- division artillery group-sometimes augmented by army assets) can be in general support or assigned to you or others. The main difference with NaTo besides to forwards Foo being the commanders, "what is mine is mine, what is yours is yours". Unless the top re-assigns stuff, your guns only work for you. If you have a plenty whoa. If you don't and need them, well too bad. Nato can call for neighbours. Each Wp foo commands his own stuff only but he can be assigned a lot of stuff if they plan for it. In that case where he is hell can come, but elsewhere...

So in the game:

use the option fast results, 2 hits= suppression, I would have no saves from woods for foot troops vs artillery/mortars (branches chewed up to splinters adding fun) 

throw 3D6 for request, one different colour. On a 6 on this one it deviates. add+1 for each km after the first between the observer and the impact zone, +1 if not a pro artilleryman calling (or Hq in game). If it does, roll deviations a s normal, including reduces rolls for lasers. 

For calling: dedicated artillery +1, general support -1. You have to organize before the game who has what and commands, if not obvious.

Reduced impact zones, (as in options) one for each battery that can be side to side or piled up. Add dice. Smaller guns/mortars could be smaller.                                   up

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