Measuring or not measuring, that's the question

Since the first edition of the game, players have always been allowed to measure distances at any moment. Although this is quite unusual in wargames (and often frown at by new players), it is a feature that characterizes Napoleon's Battles.

In fact, during the playtesting stages of the new rulebook, we experimented some games without the measurements. They were quite entertaining, with some crucial decisions wrongly taken, such as declare the intention of entering into combat contact with an unit that could not reach the enemy or moving an infantry unit that can fire an enemy and not be fired (for example light units vs. line units), only to discover that the unit got too close and can be fired at! Such small mistakes tended to make the battles “less perfect”, with opportunities that do not appear when measurements are being made all the time.

We then proceeded to discuss this issue with Bob Coggins (one of the original creators of the game), which addressed it in an open minded way. He always defended that at the scale in which the game is being played this measurements should be allowed: the time scale and size of the combat units allow the small adjustments that are caused. He also remembered his mantra: 'the units are not uniform phalanxes, the bases only represent a kind of zone of control where the combat unit exerts a clear domain', so small adjustments should not be an issue. Moreover, officers were trained to calculate distances sharply, so there are a number of reasons why players should be allowed.

In fact, we were convinced for other two reasons that Bob Coggins also gave based on his experience in wargames. First of all, the game is supposed to be fast, and measuring slows it only slightly: it is much worse to see a player painfully calculating and readjusting units while guesses the distance to the enemy. The other motive is disallowing measurements may cause controversy and endless discussions to decide whether a unit is on range or not, and the game is much more enjoyable if it is kept in a friendly mood.

Hence, Napoleon's Battles is still a game where measurements can be taken freely at any moment.