Campaign Rules: The Peninsular War

for Commands & Colors Napolionics

The Peninsular War (1807–1814) was fought in the Iberian Peninsula by Spain, Portugal, and the United Kingdom against the invading and occupying forces of France during the Napoleonic Wars. Starting with the invasion of Portugal in 1807, it escalated in 1808 after Napoleonic France occupied Spain, which had been its ally. Napoleon forced the abdications of Ferdinand VII and his father Charles IV and then installed his brother Joseph Bonaparte on the Spanish throne. 

This campaign is made up of the scenarios from the Base Game, Expansion 1 and Expansion 5 from 1808 until 1814 which are played in historical sequence. One player takes the French and one the Allies. The winner is the player who has amassed the greater number of Victory Banners after all scenarios have been played. It is possible for a player to amass glory in one battle and then use it to affect the following battle.



Unusable Command Cards

If you have an unusable Command Card, you may do one of the following two things.

  1. Use it to order 1 unit of your choice.
  2. Discard it at any time and immediately draw a new Command Card from the deck.

Impetuous Cavalry

Unless specified otherwise by the scenario, all British (but not KGL or allied nations) cavalry are impetuous.

A victorious ordered impetuous cavalry unit that can advance into a vacated hex must do so. Cavalry Breakthrough is mandatory for impetuous cavalry if by doing so it can perform a Cavalry Bonus Attack. However for this purpose, hexes other than open, hill, fordable river, stream, bridge and field works may be ignored. When performing a Cavalry Bonus Attack, impetuous cavalry do so with 1 extra battle die (however this will not increase the number of dice rolled when attacking an infantry square.).

Note: British cavalry were known to be difficult to control once victorious. The 1 extra battle die makes them as good as their French equivalent which always start the scenario with one more block.

Cavalry in Difficult Going

Difficult Going is a terrain hex that reduces the cavalry's number of battle dice when battling out (e.g. Forest, Buildings or Quarry). In the turn that the cavalry leaves Difficult Going it will have its battle dice reduced by one.

Note: Cavalry needed time to reform after leaving bad terrain. This stops cavalry from "hiding" in bad terrain and then charging out unhindered at full strength.


Note: These facing rules are primarily intended to stop artillery from having an all-round field of fire and changing the retreat rules so that scenarios such as 501 Sahagun seem more logical. 

Units should be placed in the hex so as to face a vertex of the hex (one of the points). The front two sides of the hex are then the unit’s front-facing, the back two its rear facing and the side two its flank facing. The unit's facing can affect how the unit may battle, retreat or retire. Unattached leaders do not have facing.

Changing Facing

Ordered units may change facing; 

  • at the end of the movement phase
  • when taking ground
  • when performing cavalry breakthrough
  • when coming out of square. 

Units that only change facing are not considered to have moved.


Units which move into contact with an enemy unit must do so with one of their front facings.

Units which move into contact with two or more enemy units must do so with at least one of their front facings and, if possible, both.


When performing ranged combat, the two hexes to an artillery unit’s rear block its line-of-sight.

When resolving melee combat from the rear of an enemy artillery unit, the attacking unit will battle with 1 additional battle die providing that it did not start in or move through the hex adjacent to the enemy artillery unit's flank.

An artillery unit resolving melee combat into a hex to its rear, reduces the number of battle dice rolled by 1. 

A unit attacked from a hex to its rear may not play the First Strike card.


A unit will retreat through its rear facing instead of towards its own side of the battlefield. Retreating units may not change facing. 

An unattached leader’s retreat movement is through the three hexsides furthest away from the attacker. 

Cavalry Retire and Reform 

A cavalry unit will retire through its rear facing instead of towards its own side of the battlefield. Retiring units may not change facing. 



Capturing a Trophy

When British or French infantry unit other than Militia, Light or Rifle is eliminated in melee combat, the victor should attempt to capture its eagle or colour. To be eligible, the victor must take ground.

Roll 2 dice, on a result of two Flags then the trophy has been captured.

For the remainder of the scenario, a unit that captures a trophy 

  • should be marked appropriately.
  • may ignore one flag if not already allowed to do so.
  • will melee with 1 extra battle die if not already allowed to do so.

Note: British and French trophies are more valuable than Spanish or Portuguese. Most scenarios will have approximately 12 units lost. Some of these will not have trophies. There is a 1 in 36 chance of capturing a trophy. This means that on average one trophy will be captured every 4 or 5 scenarios. The idea is that capturing a trophy will “upgrade” a unit to grenadier status; e.g. guards and grenadiers will not be improved.

Capturing a Spanish General

When a leader casualty check in melee combat results in a Spanish Leader being hit, the French commander should attempt to capture the Spanish General.

Roll 2 dice, if either is a Flag then the general has been captured.

Note: Throughout the Peninsular War, a surprising number of Spanish generals were captured.

Awarding Glory Counters

Glory counters are awarded at the end of each scenario.

The winning side gains two Glory Counters.

The losing side gains one Glory Counter. 

If the losing side fails to get at least half the required number of Victory Banners, the winning side gets an additional Glory Counter. 

One additional Glory Counter is awarded for each British or French trophy captured.

One additional Glory Counter is awarded for each Spanish General captured.

Using Glory Counters

Glory Counters awarded in one scenario can be spent in the following battle in the campaign in a number of different ways. Glory Counters left unused at the end of a scenario are lost and will not be carried over. Glory counters may not affect the same unit more than once in the same turn.

Replace a Command Card

A Glory Counter can be spent at the start of the turn immediately prior to playing a Command Card in order to discard one card from the player’s hand and draw a replacement.


A Glory Counter may be spent after combat when one or more flags are rolled against a unit. The unit may then ignore one flag rolled against it. 


A Glory Counter can be spent at the start of the turn immediately after playing a Command Card in order to make a unit heroic. For this turn, the unit will melee with 1 extra battle die. Artillery units may not be heroic. 

Leader Activation

A Glory Counter can be spent at the start of the turn immediately after playing a Command Card in order to additionally order a leader, but not any attached unit.

Anti-Guerrilla Patrol

Only used in scenarios where the Spanish Guerrilla Action rule is in effect.
When the Spanish player uses a Scout Command Card to obtain a Guerrilla Counter, the French player may use one Glory Counter to negate this ability. Both the Guerrilla Counter and the Glory Counter are discarded.

Guerrilla Activity

Only used in scenarios where the Spanish Guerrilla Action rule is in effect.
The Spanish player may exchange one Glory Counter for a Guerrilla Counter. 


Only used in scenarios containing Portuguese units.
Prior to the start of the scenario, the allied player may use one Glory Counter to gain a Portuguese Militia Infantry unit. This must be placed either adjacent to another Portuguese unit and closer to the base edge than that unit or on the allied player’s base edge.


The 1808 Scenarios (with links to After Action Reports):

  1. Bailén (19 July 1808) scenario 101
  2. Roliça - French First Position (17 August 1808) scenario 001
  3. Roliça - French Second Position (17 August 1808) scenario 002
  4. Vimeiro (21 August 1808) scenario 003
  5. Zornoza (31 October 1808) scenario 102
  6. Gamonal (10 November 1808) scenario 103
  7. Espinosa de los Monteros (10-11 November 1808) scenario 104
  8. Somosierra (30 November 1808) scenario 105
  9. Sahagun - Cavalry Action (21 December 1808) scenario 501

Battles in 1808

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