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Rifled Empires: Big Battles from 1850 to 1914

Rifled Empires: Big Battles from 1850 to 1914

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Rifled Empires is a wargame for those megalomaniacs who want to refight the biggest battles of the nineteenth century – now Solferino, Gettysburg and Mukden are all within your grasp! The author’s group have played battles of up to 12 divisions in 2 hours.

The game’s activation system is simple but pushes decisions on players in every round, providing realistic results in reasonable time and on an ordinary-size table. The combat system rewards loose lines at range and solid formations on the charge

Since the basic unit of measurement is the venerable “base width”, representing about 500 yards, any scale of figure can be used, from 2mm brigades at 1:1 to single-based 42mm or 54mm figures for that old-school look.

From the trenches of the Crimea to green fields of France, Rifled Empires lets players play the biggest battles between the greatest powers of the world.

Morningstar's Tactical Two Pager games are a series of simple but engaging games filled with fun and flavour. Each one takes up only two sides of easy-to-print A4, eliminating the need for a quick reference sheet and providing our players with a cheap source of entertainment.

 
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Reviews (1)
Discussions (8)
Customer avatar
Simon W November 28, 2019 8:43 am UTC
PURCHASER
Questions on a couple of definitions please. Firstly, Optional Generals' Traits. Is the "personal range" referred to the usual 6BW? Secondly, just above the movement table on page 1, what does "Reforming to one flank or the other" mean? Thanks, Simon
Customer avatar
Matt M November 28, 2019 11:04 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi Simon.

You are correct. Personal range is the 6BW listed under "Generals & Staff".

Reforming to one flank or the other refers to a unit in line switching to a column (or more usually vice-versa) by reorganising itself around one endmost base. The unit ends up in a different formation and all the bases but one have moved - that last one just changed facing.

In comparison, when you reform as you move forward, you can just move the base that's going the furthest a full move forward and deploy the rest around them (while respecting the unit's maximum move) - no need for a mention in the rules.

Cheers,
Matt @ Morningstar
Customer avatar
Simon W November 24, 2019 6:31 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I just put a comment at the bottom so not sure if it will get lost in the history! Basically I was asking if there are any example army lists or battle reports and if there is a dedicated website or forum?

Simon
Customer avatar
william C November 04, 2019 8:43 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Bought these as part of the tactical two pager bundle and so for a very cheap price received a very good set of simple to understand rules.

Due to limited space at home I have had to change to a more compact form of wargaming and these suit that purpose. Everything is based around base width and but I have decided to instead go with base depth instead, for my acw games. I use 2mm or 3mm figures and these are based 3cm wide by 1cm deep and so I assume a base depth represents 100 yards. Therefore the base range of rifled muskets is 3cm (3xbase depth) or 300 yards which is more historical. Yes I did read the posts beloe and see the designer's point of view.

I can see others tweaking the weapon table to suit their gaming style but the base idea is sound and can withstand this. next step is to produce some army lists or at least suggested troop types for the wars during the period

So how do they play? In a few words , exactly as advertised. There are a few tables to play...See more
Customer avatar
Matt M November 05, 2019 11:48 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi William,

Thank you for buying and leaving a review! I'm glad you're enjoying your games with RE. You'll be glad to know that machine-guns are now on the firing chart, and updated copies have been sent to everyone who owns a copy!

Cheers,
Matt @ Morningstar
Customer avatar
Darryl H December 11, 2018 7:43 am UTC
PURCHASER
I was wondering if anyone had any army lists they would like to share. Also, are there any battle reports/examples on play online?
Customer avatar
Simon W November 29, 2019 1:20 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi Darryl.

I am going to have ago writing lists for the Crimean Battle of Alma over the next couple of weeks and will share here when I get them done.

Simon
Customer avatar
Simon W December 10, 2019 2:23 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I have just been having a go at this. I am looking at the following for the Brits - basic unit Division of around 5000 men or 6 battalions. Unit size 6 bases, mass 2 (thin red line), rifled muskets. Most will be average but perhaps make the Guards/Highlanders crack. For the Russians I am looking at unit size 4 bases, mass 4 giving infantry units of brigade size of about 6000 men or 2 regiments. I am thinking of making them Green, stubborn with SB muskets. One thing I am not sure is command structure. There didn't seem to be a Corps layer at Alma, certainly for the Brits and French. On the British side there was the CinC Raglan and then the 5 Divisonal Commanders and ther Light cavalry Brigade. Are there any recommendations on how many Corps Generals (or eqivalents) there should be per unit or number of men? Thanks Simon
Customer avatar
Matt M December 10, 2019 2:44 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi Simon. Since divisional generals are within their unit, I usually run one Corps general per 6-12 units if there's no better ORBAT available. It looks like you're spot on with 5 divisions + 1 independent brigade!

Cheers,
Matt @ Morningstar
Customer avatar
Simon W December 10, 2019 5:12 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks. As for the Light Brigade, thinking of 2 bases and Mass 2. Assuming that one base with mass 2 is about 500 horsemen. Also make them Crack as Tennyson wrote a poem about them! Simon
Customer avatar
Matt M December 11, 2019 12:45 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
One point of Mass is usually c.400 men (unless you've halved things for the scale of the battle), but you could do Size 2, Mass 2 on the assumption that they're charging with a little extra oomph! Crack makes sense too.
Customer avatar
Matthew J October 24, 2018 6:45 am UTC
PURCHASER
I really like the concepts laid out here. I'm enjoying the game. One thing I wanted to double-check/run back past you as the designer is the ranges of the base widths, weapons, and/or movement. If a BW is about 500 yds. You give the range of a rifled musket as 6BW, but that means that a rifle has a range of about 3000 yds, or from 20th Maine on Little Round Top to just about the edge of the town of Gettysburg. Was that a design decision to have weapon ranges be so long? Can you tell me more about how you got there?
Customer avatar
Matthew J October 24, 2018 6:49 am UTC
PURCHASER
And don't get me wrong. Like Malcolm, I, too, see a ton of very good rules in these 2 pages. The Initiative Pool idea, the how to start a battle with recce units moving around, the difference between size and mass and grade of units. A lot of stuff working well together; and certainly worth the asking price. I just wanted to discuss the game scale some, to wrap my head around it.
Customer avatar
Matt M October 24, 2018 9:59 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi Matthew, thanks for getting in touch. The important thing to remember is that each base is only the centre of gravity of a regiment or brigade of 800-2000 men, in a game where the basic unit is the brigade or division. They do not represent the position of the entire unit. Similarly, due to the size of the unit, their "rating" in terms of weapons just denotes their main armament - there are often attached guns mixed in there too. As you say, the matter comes down to game scale.

The apparently vast ranges do not reflect the effective combat range of the weapon, but of the unit. There are companies and even battalions of men ranging ahead of the main body, skirmishing at range and engaging the enemy close up. This design decision was taken to reflect independent actions by bodies of men whose representation on the table would skew the fast-play mechanics for the rest of the game. After all, musketry would be measured in millimetres if there was no assumption of extra movement, and games...See more
Customer avatar
Matthew J October 29, 2018 3:53 am UTC
PURCHASER
Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you. And I very much appreciate the length of the answer. I wanted to give the rules a real go and then we took off for the weekend. I did enjoy the results of the learning game I played solo (though I'm a bit disappointed because I lost...).

The firearms ranges thing is still bothering me after my couple of play-throughs. I see where you're going with it and I appreciate that we're overlooking a ton of smaller issues to go with a larger scale game. But I had brigades that took serious hits from almost a third of the way across the map (my table was based on a scenario that had a 3x3 table at 150yds per inch giving a total distance of 5400 yds with a BW of 40mm. I plan to do another play-through of the same scenario (Jonesboro) using a shorter range table (SM-1, RM-2, SA-5, and RA-6: sticking only with the ACW weaponry) and see if that feels more right. I guess that would be abstracting away the skirmishers that would be out in front of the main...See more
Customer avatar
Matt M October 29, 2018 7:50 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Ah, but on the bright side, remember that you won!

If you feel that long range fire is doing too much damage, you may have a surfeit of large firing units and high Mass targets - at range I have real damage causing casualties rather than just morale checks. Of course your dice might just be better than mine! Splitting brigades into wings (very ACW) might fix this for you, and reduce the cognitive dissonance the skirmishers are causing too. More, lower-Mass bases would also be fitting for the looser lines of the ACW. You make a very good point about charges - there are bonuses for combat in base contact (including using your own Mass) for just such a reason. If you want to play with the ranges, be my guest! I'm just happy that you enjoy the rules so much =] In the interests of fairness, I must admit that the Mass effects in shooting and melee were inspired by Steve Jones, who wrote the Warlord AWI book and is working on his own set of period rules.

I apologise for the misleading mention...See more
Customer avatar
Malcolm D August 19, 2018 10:58 am UTC
PURCHASER
My 10mm 1877 Russo-Turkish armies are coming along and I'm almost ready for a trial game. My question is about Command Points, does each general get them every turn? I am querying this because they give a big bonus and can seriously ameliorate the outcome of melees and the morale of a corps.
Customer avatar
Matt M August 27, 2018 3:22 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Hello Malcolm. Sorry for the late reply - I have been away on holiday.

Each general gets them for the whole game, and uses them up over the course of play. They do not refresh each turn. The starting total of the army's Command is the Initiative Pool. I will try to find time to clarify the text in the next couple of weeks as I catch up with everything I left behind on vacation!
Customer avatar
Malcolm D August 27, 2018 12:55 pm UTC
PURCHASER
That makes sense. It also gives players some hard decisions to make throughout the game - do I use it tactically to gain a local advantage or save it to keep up the morale of my corps in the event of disaster. These are good rules.
Customer avatar
Matt M August 27, 2018 12:59 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
That's exactly the idea. I'm glad you like the rules!
Customer avatar
Malcolm D July 08, 2018 12:25 am UTC
PURCHASER
The rules look really interesting and provide a different way of looking a wargaming this period. I would like to have a couple of examples of brigades so that I can get a handle on setting up historical oobs. These will work well with the early Franco Prussian War battles and you can easily represent the differences in staff ability, but what mass do you give the understrength units of the french army awaiting reservists to swell the ranks? Examples please.
Customer avatar
Matt M July 08, 2018 8:37 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Hello, and thanks for buying the game! Each point of Mass represents about 400 men in close order. Units would usually have 3-4 Mass depending on the size of the constituent regiments/battalions, so understrength units will have 2-3 Mass depending on just how few men they have.

Units are either brigades or divisions depending on their size: let me give you one of each for the FPW.

French Cavalry Brigade - Size 3, Grade Line-Aggressive, Type Cavalry, Mass 3, Weapons: Smoothbore Muskets

This represents a line cavalry brigade of about 3,500-4,000 men. As per the "weapons" section, all melee-focussed cavalry count as being armed with smoothbore muskets, regardless of their historical equipment. Since the French favour the arme blanche, I have given them the Aggressive trait.

Prussian Infantry Division - Size 6, Grade Line, Type Infantry, Mass 3, Weapons: Early Breechloaders

This represents a division of about 10,000 men, armed with the Dreyse...See more
Customer avatar
Malcolm D July 08, 2018 5:51 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks that is very helpful - and speedy too.
Customer avatar
Simon W November 27, 2019 8:11 am UTC
PURCHASER
Could you please give examples of artillery units? I am going to try the rules with a sort of Crimean Alma battle so would have some heavy Russian artillery in Redoubts and perhaps some more mobile British artillery.

Thanks
Customer avatar
Matt M November 27, 2019 11:53 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Well, remember that infantry and cavalry units are divisions & independent brigades, so any divisional assets are included in their stats and don't need to be represented separately. I do occasionally like to make one base in a unit an artillery piece, just for the look of the thing.

However, if you want to make a grand battery, consider making units using the following:

Size: as many as necessary. Usually 2-5.
Grade: Line, as per the rules.
Type: Artillery
Mass: 2 basic, maybe 3 for Russians and 1 for British horse artillery.
Weapons: either smoothbore or rifled artillery (SA/RA) as you feel best represents your particular unit.

I hope that helps!

Cheers,
Matt @ Morningstar
Customer avatar
Daniele V June 12, 2018 8:54 pm UTC
Inreresting, but I would like to know more about these rules: 1) what is the basic unit? Battalion? (how many bases?) 2) is there a point system? 3) is it suitable for solo playing? Thank you
Customer avatar
Matt M June 12, 2018 9:09 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Hello! The basic unit is the division or independent brigade - each base represents the centre of gravity of a battalion or regiment. The number of bases depends on the size of the unit. There is no points system, but the command system makes it suitable for solo play.
Customer avatar
Simon W November 24, 2019 6:28 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi - I have just bought the rules and they look very interesting! I would be interested to see any army lists that people have created or any battle reports. Is there a forum or website other than this one?

Cheers

Simon
Customer avatar
Matt M November 25, 2019 3:47 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi Simon, thanks for buying the rules. All comments get flagged to me, so I get to see them all no matter where they fall, so I'll just answer this first one. There's no forum or website as of yet, but there may be bloggers who've put up their lists for battle reports - quite a few people have bought the rules over the last few months.

Thanks,
Matt @ Morningstar
Customer avatar
Simon W November 26, 2019 12:22 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks Matt and very happy to use this as the forum if that works for you! A couple of Q's:
- Is LOS 360 degrees for a unit and is there a set arc of fire?
- I am a bit confused by 3rd stage of the game set up, March approach. If, to make things simple, I have an Army General and 2 Corps Generals, each with a command rating of 3 - so an Initiative Pool of 9. I place 2 LOC markers, one for each Corps General and then put 3 Axis markers on each LOC. I can then move each Axis Marker 9 times (ie same as Initiative pool). I am not sure how the moving markers works. Could you please provide a bit more info and an example.
- Could you please give an indication of how big a table in BW an average sized game would need?

Thanks - and looking forward to trying these out!

Simon
Customer avatar
Matt M November 26, 2019 1:24 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi Simon,

- Basically so, yes. If a unit activates to fire in whatever direction, it's assumed that at least a few of its constituent battalions are facing in that direction. Arc of fire thus follows LOS.

- In your example, it's nine moves for *all* the markers. I suppose the sentence could just as well start "One Axis marker can be moved once..." So in your case I would probably move 3 of them twice and three of them once, giving me a broader space in which to deploy my corps. I might even go 1x3 moves, 2x2 moves and 2x 1 move if I wanted to place a marker on a particular part of the map for tactical advantage.

- The game was designed to be played on tables between 3'x4' and 6'x4', and that's what it was playtested on (with the occasional corps-level scrap on a 2'x2'). With the bases I use (between 30mm square and 50x30mm depending on scale), that's between 18x24BW and 61x41BW. The upper end of that range definitely gives a better manoeuvre game, but claustrophobia...See more
Customer avatar
Simon W November 26, 2019 4:03 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks for the reply. Just to be clear on the placement of Axis markers, can I move a marker 6BW several times towards and possibly into the enemy half of the table if I have the moves? Is there a limit of how close I can put a marker next to any enemy marker? Kind regards,

Simon
Customer avatar
Matt M November 26, 2019 4:07 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
You can indeed and there is not! As well as letting players devise their deployment zone organically, this allows for flanking manoeuvres, pincers, and bridgeheads, all without wasting precious gaming time on several turns' worth of moving nearer the enemy =]

Cheers,
Matt @ Morningstar
Customer avatar
Simon W November 26, 2019 5:57 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Excellent!

Thanks

Simon
Customer avatar
Simon W November 27, 2019 12:11 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks and great to see a rules author providing such good support for his rules. Have you considered uploading to Wargames Vault details of the armies you have used as inspiration and guidance?

Simon
Customer avatar
Matt M November 27, 2019 12:29 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Thank you, I do my best =]

I have indeed, but I am rather ill and didn't want to put in all the effort such a file would deserve just to get into arguments over interpretation ("Why did you rate X so?" or omissions ("Why isn't my favourite army in here?"). Maybe I've been scarred by a decade on TMP ;)

So I have left it to players to devise their own lists, using whatever sources best appeal to their view of late 19th century wars. I have a cheap old coffee-table book called Battles of the American Civil War which was very useful, and Pakenham's book on the Boer War is also very good. And anything by Paddy Griffiths, Donald Featherstone, Tony Bath or Stuart Asquith is bound to help!
Customer avatar
Simon W November 27, 2019 12:35 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Good point and fully understand. Best wishes. Simon
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