Basic Information

Fields of Glory scenario book


Rule Modifications

Pictures from Shako games

Links to other Shako webpages


Shako is a ruleset for battalion level Napoleonics. I've looked on many miniatures webpages but haven't found much in the way of support for these rules, nor have I seen them used much in any of the HMGS conventions I've been to in the last few years. It's a shame because they are good rules. Shako also includes rule modifications for Seven Years War and for upscaling to a division level game to fight larger battles such as Waterloo.


Shako was written by Arty Conliffe, the author of Spearhead, Crossfire and Advanced Armati. Players of Spearhead will recognize some common elements between that WWII ruleset and Shako (more on this below). "Fields of Glory" is a scenario book for use with Shako (or any battalion level rulset), written by Chris Leach with Arty Conliffe. Both books generally retail for about $20.


One of the things I like most about Shako is that the system rewards the player who uses Napoleonic tactics. Infantry and cavalry perform better when flank or rear supported by friendly units in either column or line (depending on nationality). There are several doctrines used throughout the Napoleonic wars and each nation uses one or more of these.

Some details on Shako:


The standard units in Shako are the infantry battalion, cavalry regiment, and artillery battery. Skirmishers are also represented but are somewhat less common than other battalion-level games I've seen. The basic unit of movement is the division. There are division commanders and an army commander. The rules were written for use with 25mm figures but include adjustments for 15mm figures. It is simple to adjust for other scales as needed. Our gaming group has used them with 5mm, 15mm and 25mm figures.



Movement is by a move/countermove system. The side with the higher percentage of divisions with Attack orders can choose which side will move first. That side moves one division, then the other side moves a division and so on until all divisions are moved.

As I said earlier, there are some aspects of Shako that resemble Spearhead. The orders system is one of these areas. Each side has a map and plots out their moves or areas to defend, these orders can only be changed by the overall commander of each side. Personally, I feel that this orders system more accurately reflects Napoleonic battle plans than WWII plans as command-control was much more difficult in the horse and musket era.



Historicon '99 Ironman Scenario - June 19, 1815

Cold Wars '00 Scenario - May 9, 1809

Historicon '00 Scenario - May 1811

Cold Wars '01 Scenario - June 30, 1809

Historicon '01 Scenario - July 19, 1808


Rule Modifications:

Advanced Shako - Proposed official changes to Shako, up to date as of 01/01


Unofficial Rules

1.0 - 10-sided die variant

d10 quick-play chart (Adobe Acrobat format)


3.2 - Initiative

Replace the Shako initiative system with the following. Each Division (or Brigade) rolls a d10 and applies the following modifiers:

+1 Pure Cavalry Division (Brigade)

-1 if Division Commander has been killed

Players then move depending on their final adjusted rolls, highest moving first. If two (or possibly more) players are tied and could influence each other during their move, those players will reroll until they have broken the tie. (Note 1)


6.2 - Attached Skirmishers

Light Battalions count as two battalions toward the variable number of skirmisher stands received by each eligible army. Skirmisher stands derived totally from Light Battalions may be attached to any division (ie. Two French Light Battalions are in the same division, together they provide a skirmisher stand which may be attached to any division [within the same Corps if playing with multi-Corps games]). (Note 2)


7.3.1 - Cavalry Obligation

Removed in favor of Advanced Shako rule covering Cavalry obligation.


8.6.1 - Sidestep Movement

Removed in favor of Advanced Shako rule covering sidestep movement.

9.3 - Artillery Prolong

Foot Batteries may move up to 1" (2" for 25mm) and pivot up to 45% in the same turn that it also fires. Heavy Foot Batteries may not move at all if they fire.


9.8 - Congreve Rockets


10.1 - Rifle armed skirmishers

Rifle armed skirmishers have a 8" range.

11.2.4 - Special Cavalry Wider Melee Bonus

If one side of an all Cavalry melee has a frontage greater than 2 times the opposing side, the outnumbered Cavalry defends at its broken MR unless it meets the qualifications for flank support (it still does not get the modifier).
(Note: the only way for this to occur is if one side is in line and the other side attacks with three regiments, two of which are in line and one in column between the lines, _or_ if one side is in column and the other attacks with at least one of two regiments in line.)


11.2.5 - Severity of Defeat/Results

When a tie results, each side takes a Kill, recalculate the modifiers and reroll. If one side has multiple units, the unit that rolled lower (lowest) will take the Kill.


11.3 & British OB page - British Cavalry

Removed in favor of the Advanced Shako rule covering British Cavalry control.


11.3.2 - Cavalry Counter-Charge

Cavalry must meet a charge at the halfway point unless it has already moved its _full_ movement allowance without charging in an earlier division move of the same turn. This has the added effect of making the cav commanders carefully consider where and when they will move. If cavalry is charged and cannot countercharge, it defends with its broken morale. Cavalry may charge through friendly artillery batteries to intercept enemy cavalry before it contacts that artillery.


13.1 - Roads

Artillery moving on roads receives a movement bonus of 2" (3" for 25mm).

Improved Roads (highways) - non-assaulting columns receive a movement bonus of 3" (4" for 25mm) and artillery receives a movement bonus of 4" (5" for 25mm).



(Proposed - untested) British OB Card - British 9 lb. Horse Batteries

The British used 9 lb. guns for both horse and foot batteries in the latter stages of the Napoleonic wars. Therefore in 1814-15, the British 9 lb. Horse Batteries move like a Horse Battery and fire like a Foot Battery.





1. I was dissatisfied with the standard initiative rules. I felt they gave the overall commanders too much control of the battle. This system randomizes what happens on the battlefield to some extent while still giving good leaders an edge.
2. I was also dissatisfied with the way light troops were handled in the standard rules. They contributed nothing to the attached skirmishers and when they deployed in skirmish formation, their frontage did not change. Another suggestion I had seen to remedy this was to allow light infantry to deploy into two skirmish stands. While this helped, I didn't like the all-or-nothing mentality. After researching skirmish tactics in several books, I came up with the above rule. Light infantry did not always operate fully deployed but did contribute troops to the skirmish screen of the brigade or division, which is why I added the rule about allowing the stand to be attached to another division.


Fields of Glory

Fields of Glory is the first published scenario book for Shako. It can also be used for any battalion level ruleset. Most of the battles in Fields of Glory are moderately sized, 3-5 divisions (brigades for British) per side, generally about 25-30 battalions of infantry plus cavalry and artillery per side. The scenarios cover from battles in Italy in 1796 to Plancenoit and Wavre in 1815. The book also includes some additional rules and errata for Shako.

Pictures from Shako games

Historicon '00

Historicon '99 Playtest

Historicon '99

Historicon '98

Links to other Shako websites

Confederation of the Rhine army lists and alternate army design - website is down

Word document of army lists from the above website

Scenario: Tussle at Teugen-Hausen, 1809

Scenario: Combat on the Coa, Peninsula, 1810

Shako printable French and Austrian armies (overhead depictions of stands for use to try the rules out)

Click to subscribe to Shako


Last updated August 1, 2001

Any comments or questions, please email me.