Without much warning, I saw a new game announced from Lock ‘n Load Publishing that deals with two battles in the Peninsular Campaign and was immediately intrigued. I reached out to David Heath who put me in contact with the designer Terry Doherty to see if I could get some more insight into the design for an upcoming game called Glory and Empire: First Victories – Wellington Versus Napoleon. Terry was very gracious in answering our email and we have this interview to share with you ahead of the GameFound campaign for the game launching on Tuesday, November 15th.

If you are interested in Glory and Empire: First Victories – Wellington Versus Napoleon you can back the project on the GameFound page at the following link: https://gamefound.com/projects/lnlp/glory-and-empire-first-victories/projects#/section/project-story

Grant: First off Terry please tell us a little about yourself. What are your hobbies? What’s your day job?

Terry: I live in the exurbs of Seattle with my family and two horses. My main hobby is, of course, wargaming, but I dabble in music and woodworking. There is a lot of construction around the homestead building fences, hay sheds and the like. There’s always something that needs to be built. In my day jobs I’m an electrical engineer and my primary responsibility is to design computer chips (ASIC design is the industry jargon). I’ve been doing that since 1990.

Grant: What motivated you to break into game design? What have you enjoyed most about the experience thus far?

Terry: I got into wargames about the Napoleonic Wars as a way to learn about the period and more specifically about the battlefield tactics of the period. I’ve been studying the period extensively since 1991. Eventually, I found the La Bataille Series and got involved trying to bring the Regs XXII in line with the Lützen rules. One thing lead to another and I did the new version of La Bataille de la Moskowa, which was a complete redesign of the original game.

I really enjoy doing the research and then the process of putting it altogether in a game and then playing it.

Grant: What designers would you say have influenced your style?

Terry: Ed Wimble, Kevin Zucker and Dave Powell are my main influences. Both Ed and Kevin have some very innovative designs for the Napoleonic Period and Dave Powell has a very strong knowledge of the ACW and the tactics practiced in that war and in prior periods.

Grant: What historical period does Glory and Empire: First Victories cover?

Terry: Glory and Empire: First Victories is intended to cover the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic periods from 1792 to 1815. I believe the rules will work well for any battle during the horse and musket period from the introduction of cadenced marching to the introduction of the mini-ball.

First Victories, itself, covers the two major actions of Roliça and Vimeiro that occurred between the French and British during the campaign of 1808 in Portugal. Both were hard fought actions in which the British infantry showed that its discipline could win battles.

Grant: What was your inspiration for this game? Why did you feel drawn to the subject?

Terry: For me playing wargames and designing wargames is about continuing my education in history, while having some fun. But more than that, I think wargaming helps us on that journey by forcing us to ask how things were done during a particular time period. We get to put the pieces on the map and move them which gives wargamers a better understanding of how a battle unfolded and what the possibilities were. Sometimes a commander’s reasons for making decisions can seem to be a complete mystery, unless we understand their methods of command and control, maneuvers and fighting and the limits incurred by those methods. If we know the how sometimes we can answer the why. Wargaming gives us a more complete understanding than reading the history alone.

As part of my journey I spent a lot of time on La Bataille, but as I learned more I became dissatisifed by the experience of battle the system portrayed. I felt there were more accurate ways to portray tactical combat during the horse and musket era without burdening the player with clunky mechanics. So I started a new system from the ground up, unburdened by the decisions of past designers.

What draws me to the period is a number of things. It’s a global war that created the foundation of modern Europe and much of the world. In its wake many colonies of empires cast off their overlords on the path to independence. It’s also during the infancy of the industrial revolution which had far reaching implications for society. The cast of characters is immense and the human drama is profound. The wars last for 23 years and hundreds of battles were fought. I highly recommend the Sergey Bondarchuk film of War and Peace to get a sense of the period.

Grant: What was your design goal with the game?

Terry: The primary goal was to create a tactical game that was both more accurate and faster playing than its predecessors. I only want to add complexity where it is necessary to properly portray the tactics of the period. As a result most of the game mechanics are quite straight forward.

A secondary goal is to share what I’ve learned about the tactics of the period over the last 30 years with other wargamers. In particular, I want to introduce to people how command and control was really practiced on the battlefield during the horse and musket era. The Brigade rules cover command and control between the brigade leader and combat units. The units are still battalions, but players maneuver them as brigades. Maneuvering as brigades really impacts how much space is required to maintain order and mundane things like debouching from a defile can be quite challenging if the enemy is right at the exit.

Grant: What type of research did you do to get the details correct?

Terry: I’ve been reading and studying the Napoleonic period in detail for over 30 years now. I especially like to consult primary sources regarding tactics. There are the drill manuals themselves and a great number of tactical treatises by officers of the period explaining their thoughts and methods. Doing so gives a better sense of the application of tactics than reading secondary sources alone. Memoirs are an important part of analyzing tactics, but one must be very wary of memoirs written decades after the fact, because they are often influenced by other published works and make it difficult to separate the author’s real experiences with those filled in by fading memories. That being said there has been a renaissance in Napoleonic history and there are some top notch historians tackling the subject today.

Grant: What from the Napoleonic period was most important to model?

Terry: In order of importance, I would say, modeling morale, command and control, maneuver, and combat are all important. There is a lot of nuance in tactical formations, but going beyond column, line, square and skirmishers yields diminishing returns for accuracy.

For G and E, morale is a measure of esprit de corps, training and experience. It infuses everything in G and E and many checks are made against the units morale.

Command and control goes hand in hand with maneuver. I believe the Brigade Game command rules will show how this dance occurs during the horse and musket period. It is not an easy thing to get several thousand men all marching as one in the same direction while maintaining alignment.

I also hope to show the importance of maintaining unit cohesion and situational awareness while maneuvering during the period.

Though important, combat is last on the list, because commanders have very little control over what happens once combat is joined. Commanders can get their troops in the right place, but once combat is joined the only thing they can really do is urge their men on or send in reserves. Firefights should be very short. The men only carried about 60 rounds and the muskets fouled quickly. If they could keep up 3 rounds a minute the fight would be over in 20 minutes no matter what. Historically, even 20 minute long firefights were rare. A brigade level assault should be over in about 40 minutes, before one side or the other falls back. In G and E close combat is intended to be fairly decisive.

Grant: What is the scale of the game and force structure of the units?

Terry: The scale is 125m per hex. 100 men per infantry strength point, 50 men and horses per cavalry strength point and 2 guns per artillery strength point. The reason for those numbers is they all have about the same frontage when deployed for battle.

Grant: What different type of units are available?

Terry: Like all horse and musket games you’ll see infantry, cavalry and artillery as well as leaders.

Grant: What is the anatomy of the counters?

Terry: All the information for a unit is on one side of the counter. Combat units have steps and when a loss is taken the counter is flipped over to the other side, or in rare cases where units have more then two steps, pull the other out of the box. Leaders also have a reverse side, but in their case it is their replacement should they become a casualty.

On the combat units are their strength points, morale, fire strengths in the case of infantry and artillery, and a combat value modifier for all types. Movement allowance is fixed by unit type, which is indicated on the counters by a symbol.

All values are d10. Morale is percentile dice from 0 to 99.

Grant: Why are there three different versions of the rules one for Soldier’s, Battalion and Brigade?

Terry: The three sets of rules can be thought of as basic or starter rules, intermediate and advanced. This gives players the choice to choose what level of detail they want to use or are comfortable with. People new to the period should start with the Soldier’s rules and move up when they feel comfortable.

Even with the Battalion and Brigade rules all efforts have been made to keep the game mechanics simple and elegant for faster play. The game has a bunch of player aid cards, but most are there to jog player’s memory and once they become familiar with the rules they’ll really only need one card to play. The Battalion and Brigade rules build on each other to minimize relearning when moving up to more detailed rules.

Grant: I see where the handling of movement in this design is a key difference from other similar scale games. How is it unique? What advantage does this give the design?

Terry: I wanted to emphasize the importance of maintaining order in formations while maneuvering and the importance of using terrain on the defensive to induce that disorder in attacking enemy forces. Every time a unit does something that can potentially cause disorder the player takes a risk that his troops will not execute their maneuvers with precision.

In Glory and Empire the movement allowance of a unit is fixed on a chart and is not printed on the counters. Generally, all infantry move at the same rate, all light cavalry moves at the same rate, etc. The exception is units, that are out of command, have a reduced movement allowance and units can force march at will, but for a cost.

Columns do not magically move faster as most games portray. When the brigade commander sets a pace there is not a different drum roll for units in line and column. When the pas de charge is beat all units, in whatever formation they are in, step off at that rate. How would the famous l’ordre mixte work, if units in line formation had to move at half the rate of those in column? The real difference between line and column is whether or not they arrive at their destination in good order. Units in line that march too far, without a break to dress, are more likely to be disordered when they reach their destination.

In Glory and Empire units in line and column march at the same rate. Units that march too far in certain formations take a Disorder Check at the conclusion of their movement for the turn. Likewise, units that cross hexside obstacles, like streams, walls, steep slopes, or march too quickly through the woods must also take Disorder Checks. Formation changes also require disorder checks. Units that conduct close combat across hexside obstacles automatically disorder.

A further difference with this system is that units, that are in command, can force march at will, but also must take a disorder check at the end of their move with an increasing penalty the further they march. This is a key capability particularly in the Brigade game when a large brigade is trying to complete an evolution.

Grant: How is command and control handled in the design?

Terry: The command and control rules in the Brigade game are quite unique to wargames.  

Instead of using a command range system where units that are within a certain radius of hexes are in command, the Brigade game uses a method that is rooted in the drill manuals of the period.

It closely models the actual command methods used.  The Soldiers and Battalion rules still use a simple command range system.  

The Brigade game system is new to most wargamers and it will take time for players to work through the nuances so we retain the old system. 

it is my strong hope that people want to learn how it was really done on the battlefield.

In the Brigade game, Brigade leaders stack with a unit and this unit becomes the Directing Unit.

Essentially, the Brigade leader bosses that unit commander around and the other units in the brigade conform to its movements.

If the DU moves forward the rest do as well. 

There are two fundamental grand tactical entities: line of battle and grand columns. 

Line of battle, as one would expect, is the units in a line in fighting order.

Grand column is a multi-battalion column for maneuvering.

G&E allows for a brigade to be in more than one line of battle or grand column. 

There are defined evolutions to go from grand column to line of battle and back. 

The evolutions are straight out of the drill manuals. 

Maneuvering in line of battle is more difficult, particularly when changing direction.

It is very important to maintain line of sight to the DU. 

The DU literally moved its colors forward a short distance so that the other units in the line of battle could see them.

If they can’t see it they  can’t follow its movements. 

Fighting in a wood becomes problematic if command and control is required.  

They can amble their way through a wood maintaining contact with units on their flank, but could not respond of the other end of the line of battle was being attacked in the flank.

This diagram shows a line of battle maneuvering around a village and a small wood. 

The units generally stay in their own lane and do not wander all over the place like what you see when a command range system is used.

Overall, this system is far more accurate. 

Grant: What is a Disorder Check and what does it represent? What negative effects does it place on units?

Terry: Morale is key to the design. There are five morale states: normal, disorder, shaken, broken and rout. As a unit’s morale gets worse it goes to disorder, to shaken and to broken. Once, a unit becomes broken a failed rally check will take it to rout. If it fails its rally check while routed it is removed from the map. The men are considered to have run off the field of battle where after nightfall their officers will find them two terrain features back from the fighting. In close combat, or when fire is particularly heavy, it is possible for units to skip morale states and go directly to broken.

On the surface, the effects of disorder are minor. They have a detriment to their fire strength and minor morale and close combat modifiers. However, when in disorder, or shaken, units cannot voluntarily change formation which makes it more vulnerable to enemy action like an assault, and especially a charge. It is especially vulnerable to assault or charge, because during close combat units can lose two morale levels causing disordered units to break, instead of just becoming shaken.

Grant: How does combat work in the design?

Terry: Glory and Empire is a primarily morale driven system. Step losses are less common and reflect significant combat losses. With a few exceptions like the Old Guard, when a unit reaches 50% losses it is considered combat ineffective. This is worked into the number of steps a unit has. You might see a unit with 5 SP being reduced to 4 or 3 SP on its flipped side, representing 20% and 40% losses, which is a lot. Most units suffered less than 10% casualties during a battle.

There are two basic types of combat: fire combat and close combat. Fire combat is conducted by choosing a firing stack and a target stack. Determine the fire strength of the firing stack and add modifiers to the fire strength for target density, range, terrain and morale factors. Roll the dice to determine a result. Most fire combat results are morale checks. Some result in step losses along with a morale check.

Artillery has increasing levels of detail from the Soldier’s, Battalion and Brigade Games. The Soldier’s and Battalion Games use one fire strength for all fire combat. The Battalion game adds a simple die roll based ammo tracking system. The Brigade Game adds quite a bit more detail with round shot, canister and howitzer shells. It adds rolling shot, howitzer scatter, grand battery bombardment zones, and more detailed ammo tracking.

Close combat covers both cavalry charges and infantry assaults.

For infantry assaults the careful application of fire power at close range is likely to win the day. Well trained troops will hold their fire until the enemy is very close, sometimes as close as 30 yards, where a volley can be devastating. The main effect of such a volley is to crush the enemy’s morale forcing them to give way, perhaps with a bayonet charge. G and E reflects the impact of firepower on morale in two ways. First units take a morale check to determine if they held their fire long enough. If they pass they get a beneficial well directed fire modifier to their firepower. If they fail they’ll lose a morale level, sometimes ending the assault, and reducing their firepower. Second after receiving the opposing stack’s fire any morale checks have an additional -20 on the dice. If they fail that morale check, then they will lose two levels of morale. A disordered unit will then drop to broken. This is where the importance of maintaining good order comes into play.

For assaults, units do not cross bayonets unless in some kind of terrain, such as towns, where units can suddenly come face to face with nowhere to run. Outside of these circumstances crossing bayonets is rare.

For cases where units might cross bayonet, a simple mechanism, called Cold Steel Combat, is used where players total up combat value modifiers for each side. Each side rolls a die and adds their combat value modifier total. High die roll wins with ties going to the defender, because as Clausewitz says defense is the stronger form of combat. The probability of step losses and leader losses are higher in close combat. In addition the loser drops two morale levels causing them to retreat unless they are in a fortified post.

Cavalry, of course, conducts charges. Infantry can try and form square, if in good order. Cavalry can counter-charge, also if in good order. Any type of unit can attempt to change facing. When the cavalry makes contact with its target then Cold Steel Combat ensues.

Artillery has some unique close combat features. It lives and dies by its firepower. If it can’t drive off its attackers with gunnery it is in severe peril.

The following diagram shows skirmish zones of a unit in column and in line. 

Glory and Empire has two types of skirmishers: skirmishers acting with a parent battalion and units that are mostly deployed as skirmishers.  

The former are called Skirmishers en Tirailleur (SeT),  and the latter are called Skirmishers en Debandade (SeD) in the system.

Acting in close concert with the parent battalion was one of the French tactical innovations.  

In G and E, a marker is placed with the parent battalion and a skirmish zone is projected. The skirmishers protect the parent unit by making enemy fire less effective and they can engage the enemy at longer range, particularly if they have rifles.

SeD skirmishers represents both the traditional use of specialized light infantry occupying a wood or a village, typically on the flanks of the army. They usually were ordered just to hold their position.

During the French revolutionary period, French battalions began breaking down entirely into skirmish order initially because of lack of training in how to maneuver and fight in close order formations, but also when faced with difficult terrain. They would continue the latter use throughout the Napoleonic Wars. 

In Glory and Empire SeD units lose some command and control ability and they are harder to get back into a close order formation. When in the open, they are quite vulnerable to cavalry.

Grant: What area does the board cover? What pinch points are created by the terrain?

Terry: The game has two maps. One covering the fighting at Roliça, which took place on the 17th of August 1808, and the other covering the fighting at Vimeiro, which took place 4 days later.

The fighting at Roliça had two distinct phases where the French general Delaborde stood in his first position and then when the British approached high tailed it to his main defensive position, which was quite formidable due to the terrain. At Roliça the pinch points are where the roads cross the river, because artillery must use the bridges. And at the formidable defensive terrain, where the road winds up the heights and where a ravine cuts the ridge creating a passage with a less steep slope.

At the Vimeiro battlefield, the valley funnels towards the village of Vimeiro leading to a pinch point. All trails in the area converge on Vimeiro. It is this terrain the French player must seize from the British.

Grant: Who is the artist for the game and how has their work created the theme?

Terry:: I did most of the artwork for the game, including counters, maps and charts. I wanted to create a style that was evocative of the period for both counters and maps. I prefer top down views, but I think I’m in a minority there and people like isometric views. My good friend Nick Ciabatti helped me with the GIS data to get a very accurate model of the terrain, which in turn enabled us to develop a very accurate LOS model. All told, I went through about 6 sets of counter designs and about 7 map revisions to end up with the current style. For the charts, I wanted a bit of an old school look to them. I owe a great debt to Robert Tunstall and Steve Lampon who have helped me with graphics over the years.

Grant: The game has a solitaire assistant. How does the AI make decisions?

Terry: The solo assistant module is card driven and follows a similar method used in Lock ‘n Load Tactical, Nations at War, and World at War ’85. For G and E we have Command Cards and Action Cards. There is a Command Card for each leader present on a given side. The Command Cards are used by the artificial opponent to determine what to do when it wins the initiative, and how to handle its orders. Command Cards are also used to randomize when the artificial opponent moves each brigade. Once, the command decisions have been made the Action Cards are used to determine fire target selection, close combat target selection and what to do during movement. The tricky part is how to move in an intelligent manner when marching towards an objective. To handle this there is a pre-game battle plan selection step where the player selects, or rolls a die to select, a battle plan for the artificial opponent to follow. This way their movement is towards the objective, or in defense, is not totally random, it’s what we would call constrained random. The Action Cards also tell the player what to do when a reaction decision needs to be made, such as should a unit attempt to form square when the player’s cavalry begins a charge.

Grant: What type of play experience does the solo assistant create?

Terry: I would not call simple cards and a decision tree AI, but it is still a great addition to the game and will certainly add value for solitaire players. Players still have to make decisions for the artificial opponent, but it will keep them guessing about what it will do next eliminating the foreknowledge about enemy actions.

Grant: What are the victory conditions?

Terry: There are a number of scenarios and their victory conditions vary somewhat. At Roliça, the French are fighting a rearguard action and their goal is to get away after giving the British a bloody nose. The British goal is to prevent the French from escaping. It will take the French player a little practice to determine how long they can stick around before being overwhelmed by superior British forces.

For Vimeiro, it’s mostly about seizing the village and the adjacent hill which covers the British supply train and the troop landings on the beach. There are some smaller scenarios that take place outside of Vimeiro where the French objective is to inflict casualties and push the British back and the British must hold on.

Grant: What are you most pleased about with the design?

Terry: I’m very pleased with the interaction of the various elements of the rules. Together, I think they capture Napoleonic combat, in a better manner than other systems.

The maps came out great after a lot of experimentation. They are quite eye-catching as are the counters.

Lock ‘n Load has been very supportive with add-ons like the Solo Assistant. People will get a lot of value for their money.

Grant: What has been the response of playtesters?

Terry: It’s been quite positive. I started working on this about seven years ago and there has been a lot of playtesting at conventions. The rules seem long, but the concepts are easy to grasp.

Grant: What other designs are you working on?

Terry: When I started this I designed four games as a way to test the system more thoroughly than just one or two smaller battles could do. In addition to Roliça and Vimeiro, I have designs for Fuentes de Oñoro and Salamanca. Fuentes is four maps and Salamanca is three maps. They both need to have their maps, counters and rules brought up to my latest style and then some more playtesting. At the same time I am also doing research on the 1795-97 campaigns in Italy. For these games, we’ll debut a new add-on called the Marshall’s Game that adds an operational element to the games allowing players to try more possibilities than are available on the strictly tactical maps.

There are also other game designers working on games. Jeff Wesevich has been diligently working on a Shevardino and Borodino game. He knows Russian, so he’s been able to get some phenomenal work done on the OOB and sussing out sources about the battle. I am confident that this will be the definitive treatment of the battle of Borodino. It will be significantly better than my La Bataille de la Moskowa.

There are a couple of other designers that are thinking about doing some games, but have not fully committed.

The bigger battles are likely to be broken down into several smaller modules to make them more digestible. These will also have lots of scenarios for those with limited table space. But, First Victories must do well before these can be tackled.

Thank you for your time in answering our questions Terry. As I have read the rules, and checked out the components, this game has definitely shot up the charts on my most anticipated games list. I am really eager to see this produced and landing on my gaming table.

If you are interested in Glory and Empire: First Victories – Wellington Versus Napoleon you can back the project on the GameFound page at the following link: https://gamefound.com/projects/lnlp/glory-and-empire-first-victories/projects#/section/project-story