The rules everyone else suggested were Chef de Battailon, which I have played solo and take a real commitment, and Bruce Quarries Napoleonic rules that were published in the (orange) Airfix Guide magazine (and which I have been looking for a copy of - I keep missing it on eBay). However, Malcom's response was: "If you are interested in the game of chicken aspect, you might find some value in looking at the incomplete (and tentatively abandoned) rules that I was writing where the game focussed [sic] exactly on that, making the closing of battalions in battle like a wagering system where players would have to gauge the courage of their men and the courage of their opponents, with hidden dice results. Again, not a wholly successful attempt but you might find soem fun tinkering with them."
- Although he uses dice to represent disorder levels and stress (hits), in addition to base removal, these factors give you a rice granularity in representing the deterioration of a unit. Generally I do not like markers, especially using dice where the number is key. Dice are designed to roll from face to face, so I expect using them as markers will cause errors as they are knocked about, left behind after a move and so on. Not sure how to fix that...
- The command and control system gauges how difficult it is to command given the level of chaos surrounding the commander. This again is reflected as a number from 1 to 6 (and therefore uses a die as a marker), but it provides an easy counting mechanism that takes out the luck of the PIP roll or the Command roll.
- Force selection is interesting in that it allows a unit to "trade" units for terrain. Put simply, each scenario played calls for each side being allowed a certain number of selections. The selection list includes units, terrain, game modifiers, and unit modifiers. I have never seen this idea before and, if the weights of the choices are balanced, could provide for some interesting pick-up scenarios. I look forward to play-testing it out.
- A stand destroyed is not necessarily out of the game; it is only an indication that it is currently ineffective. A commander can return stands to the game (zombie grenadiers, anyone?) in lieu of spending his attention elsewhere.
- Much of what a player will be doing is recovering from disorder and stress, much like the rules Loose Files and American Scramble are described as playing. This means after a disorder move through terrain or after a firefight a unit will have to recover its order, dress ranks, bring up the stragglers, etc. This may be a bookkeeping nightmare, something I will find out when I try it, but it sounds like "it ought to be".
- "Threat" from the enemy can cause as many problems as enemy action, much like the rules Huzzah!, but less abstract, so outmaneuvering your opponent's position has multiple benefits. Ultimately, that means the game should be one of maneuver, or at least where maneuver is rewarded, and not simply a die-rolling contest where one only maneuvers until you are at the point where you can throw as many dice as possible and then stop maneuvering.
- Firing is interesting, as it is a multi-step process, but not in the same way as Warhammer-based rules. You roll to see if your volley is effective. If so, it has a minor effect (adds disorder) but also forces the target to save against a greater effect (stress/hits). What is also different is that the roll to "hit" is largely unmodified, so inflicting disorder is a common result. It is the "save" that is modified, which is different from many games (as the author is quick to point out).
- The charge is where the "game of chicken" reference comes in. As many of us have read, the bayonet did not generally inflict wounds in this period, but inflict terror (i.e. cause morale checks). The chicken is where the charging unit sees if it can break the morale of the defenders before their own morale breaks. The author refers to hidden die rolls and such, but I think that is an unnecessary mechanic, but I will have to verify. Needless to say, the charge mechanics are the very core reason why the rules were developed, I think, as the most work went into this section. I look forward to trying them out.
- Skirmishers are not abstracted away. These are a part of the parent unit that are deployed, recalled, and recovered. In this regard, they feel Napoleonic. I may have to adjust for the AWI.