Decker Games

Miniature War Games Rules
Buying CS&C   Playing Napoleonics
  Cold Steel & Canister - 2009 GAMA Nominee!

Frequently Asked Questions

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You can also ask questions & interact with other CS&C players on our Yahoo Group

General Questions...

Q: Can I use CS&C with other than 15mm miniatures?
A: Yes!  We recommend you adjust the grid size appropriately (6” for 25mm, 2” for 5 or 10mm troops).  There is no need to adjust “ranges” with a grid based system.

Q: Do you sell directly to the pubic?
Please use one of the fine retailers who support CS&C.  If they are out of stock, contact us via e-mail to make alternate arrangements.  Note, that as of Feb 2010 we've closed our eBay store but do occasionally post a set of rules to help gamers find our products.

Q: My hobby store does not stock CS&C, how would they obtain copies for me and all my friends?
A: Have your local shop owner contact us (retail contact information is on this site!).  We offer information packages and can accommodate very small retail orders.  CS&C is also available through on-line stores:

Q: Are you creating more Player Handbooks and Scenarios?  When will they be for sale?
A: You Bet!  Handbooks to round out 1809 are already being drafted.  They include British, Spain & Portuguese for the peninsular campaigns and Napoleon's Allies.  We’re not sure yet how many books this will end up being as there are quite a few units to cover with both the Brit and French allies.  Definitely two books with as many as five or six under consideration to cover all of 1809.                                                

We included the Austrian and French 1809 handbooks in the basic rule set to get you started.  We anticipate we’ll release additional handbooks in pairs with the addition of a scenario book with 8-10 new games.

Q: When are going to put out a handbook for my favorite period of the Napoleonic Wars?  Why did you start with 1809?
A: We all have our favorite periods of the war whether it’s the early Northern Italian Campaigns where Napoleon made his rise to fame, the more obscure Russo-Swedish or Ottoman wars, or pounding the paths of the vast Russian Invasion of 1812.  For now we are working our way through 1809.  We started there as it was a mid point of the era and quite frankly, one we personally game quite a bit.

Just having the 1809 “official” handbooks should not stop you from gaming any Napoleonic period with CS&C rules.  You will just need to use your judgment on troop qualities in the field at that time and adjust any formation sizes (i.e. French Bns got smaller after 1808) to fit the time you are gaming.

Specific Rules Questions...

Q: Do Infantry Battalions, Artillery Batteries, or Cavalry Regiments using road movement (in road march formation, following a marked road) incur an action point to “change facing” and follow the road?
No, if your unit is in road formation, which includes “limbered” for Artillery Batteries, you do NOT pay any additional action points to change facing during your movement, if you are following a road.  This includes making directional changes at road intersections.  

Q: When determining if units are within Command & Control Range must you take into account terrain costs?
A: No, when tracing Command and Control distance terrain costs do not count.  The only exception is you may not trace Command and Control through terrain that is impassable (for all types of units).  Example, you may not trace Command & Control across an unaffordable river, except across a bridge or designated ford site.

Q: CS&C Musket fire does not seem to distinguish between size of firing unit.  Why does a smaller French 9 or 12 figure Battalion fire the same as a 16 man Austrian unit?  (This is a very common question we get from many is also posted on the Yahoo Group)                                                                         A:  As for the larger battalions and the lack of increased fire power in CS&C, it is reflective of our understanding of Napoleonic warfare, and warfare in general. CS&C is a morale driven game. Individual units generally are eliminated long before they are killed to a man and become fairly brittle when bad things happen to them. After a few units become bad order the entire Brigade gets shaken via the brigade morale rules. Napoleon once said, "In war the morale is to the physical as three is to one," and we agree.

It is our belief that the will to stand and fight (morale) is more important than the number of muskets firing (within reason). At 1 or 2 grid distance (200+ yards) we are looking at rather long range shooting for Napoleonic small arms. Throw in the stress, confusion, and limited visibility of a battlefield, and the effects of distance
are multiplied. Melee represents point blank firing and hand to hand combat. At this distance ranged weaponry and its effect on morale are more decisive - thus the more decisive melee charts will almost always result with one side  leaving the contested grid in bad order.

Some firing modifications are actually the effects on target morale abstractly noted via increased dice. Don't think of the casualties as the loss of a specific number of men but rather a decrease in morale and fighting effectiveness. As an example: An attack column from 1 space distance will not be any easier to hit with ranged weapons from the rear. The frontage is the same, and the depth is the same. The rear musketry firing bonus represents the increased psychological impact of being attacked from behind and the increased likelihood that attack will effect the morale status of the unit thus the bonus dice.

The larger battalions do have increased staying power via the morale charts and get mass bonuses in melee (representing very close range shooting).  So we believe they retain an appropriate advantage over small units.

Q: I am charging with a cavalry unit, am within AP (action point) distance, and have enough APs to pass and then turn on the flank of my target - why can't I do this in the rules - why must I attack the front of the unit when I clearly have enough AP to turn and get at the flank?

A: This situation came up during out Aspern-Essling game at Little Wars and is one that pops up periodically during play with gamers new to CS&C, especially those new to Napoleonics.  Let's address this with two points:

1 - CS&C is a more a "simulation" then a game.  I don't say that to be "wise a@@" but to reflect our design philosophy.  Our intent throughout the rules is to create a gaming environment in which you can both re-live and re-create history.  Which means similar circumstances from life should produce similar results during play.   That also means we need to accommodate realities of simultaneous actions within the context of a simplified game system controlled by move/counter move and initiative.

 2 - Keeping point 1 above in mind.... follow with me if you will down to 1/60th size and onto the felt gaming table, mounted beside the charging unit.  You are looking down a line (or double line) of 4 to 8 hundred horseman, the Regimental Commander stands in his saddle, yells for the charge to be sounded and points to your target with his sword.  In unison the line(s) move forward at the walk, halfway to your target the bugle sounds a second time and you pickup to a trot, 300 yards out it sounds again and while still maintaining a solid wall of moving horse flesh you kick it up to a gallop, 100 yards the final call is barely heard across the steady pounding of 3200 hooves and together your lines break into a full run leaning forward in your saddle to crash into the target with the momentum of 56,000 pounds of charging momentum.... there are no opportunities to break stride, lose momentum, disorder the solid wall, and make a turn.  There is only a straight line from you to the hapless souls whom you wish to sweep away...

Now lets take the view from your target, likely another cavalry unit.   You are also in line or double line, you see and hear in the distance a cavalry unit sounding the charge and moving at you.  There is a very quick reaction by the Regimental Commander and his subordinates.  They do not want to be standing on their heals and hit by a wave of moving death.  They sound the charge, you form up and just like the enemy unit who initiated the action you begin at a walk, quickly move to trot as they close, hit the gallop and then a run as you choose not to relinquish the momentum or the force of a solid line to your foe - it is much better the meet them, on equal footing.  You do not stand still, you do not watch them ride around you, you do not relinquish a flank just because a die roll said it was their initiative...

In the CS&C rules the above action looks like this; The player with initiative declared a charge - player B cast aside his orders and executed a counter charge, the units count off against each other (player A moving first) and meet somewhere close to the middle.  However, even if player B did not counter charge, if the attack originates out of their forward arch they will not simply stand there and let a unit ride around them.  A charge executed out of the forward arch will always draw a straight line to the target - no turns allowed - impacting the target through the forward facing.   If this is still a little hazy in your mind, rent the Lord of Rings, movie #2, and watch the charge of the Riders of Rohan at Minas Trith.  Imagine trying to make a couple of 90 degree turns a couple of 100 feet out from hitting their target...just not going to happen.  The physics of 800 charging horseman apply to the times of Napoleon in the same way.

Q: A bad ordered unit wins a melee and is eligible for breakthrough movement, is this unit allowed to move (bad ordered units may not normally make a voluntary move)?

A:  No, a bad ordered unit that wins a melee and earns a breakthrough move must instead rally up one level (i.e. Halt becomes good ordered, Fall back becomes Halt, etc..).   Page 59 (example of play) phase 9B shows an example of this!