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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 (4)
Customer avatar
Matthew J October 24, 2018 6:45 am UTC
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
That's exactly the idea. I'm glad you like the rules!
Customer avatar
Malcolm D July 08, 2018 12:25 am UTC
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
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
Thanks that is very helpful - and speedy too.
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
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.
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