|Damn historical accuracy! I will play Flames of War!|
The consensus of the group seemed to be "no," and I made the point that Flames of War simulates modern combat with tanks, machine-guns, and so forth, and doesn't translate well to other types of warfare. You'd have to change the core system so much, it wouldn't really be FoW any more.
Then I got to thinking, okay, it's silly, but how would I adapt Flames of War for Napoleonics anyway?
So, it's a crazy idea. Let's do it anyway!
1) First we'd have to change how the representational scale of the game. Flames of War uses a 1:1 WYSIWYG representation of figures. As several people pointed out, this would not work for Napoleonics. I suggest having each figure represent more than one soldier, and each stand represent a larger unit than a fireteam. FoW currently uses 6-15 infantry stands in a typical game unit, representing a Platoon. If you made each stand represent 10 soldiers, 10 stands would be a company (roughly), and the game overall would be battalion scale. If you made each stand represent 50 soldiers, then 6 stands would be a battalion (roughly), and the game would be played at regimental size. Etc. In my experiments scaling FoW up and down, I've found the actual size of the base and the figure on it matter a lot less than you might imagine, so this is very workable. Except maybe for painting 15mm Napoleonic color schemes.
2) Most stands would need to be in a formation of some sort: a line, a square, a column, etc. We'd need to write rules for how these are represented on the table top, but I'd suggest that the bases need to be touching in particular shapes, and that casualty removal be changed so that as stands are lost, the formation retains its shape. Not particularly hard to do. Changing from formation to formation should probably occur in the Movement step, and require a Skill roll. Pinned units should be unable to change. The different formations should get different advantages: squares would get a bonus against cavalry (I suggest cavalry charges would fail on a 2+), columns would get a moving bonus, etc.
3) In normal FoW, we assume that better skilled troops are using maneuver and terrain to prevent themselves from being hit by enemy fire. Aside from some skirmishers, this doesn't seem like a good representation of Napoleonic tactics. I'd suggest that instead, the success of shooting depend on the firing unit's skill. In most accounts of Napoleonic war I've read, better trained troops could put out a higher rate of fire. We could screw with the RoF rules in FoW, but I think it'd be easier to use the existing skill ratings. Obviously, most infantry would be unable to Go to Ground or Dig In.
4) Artillery could be handled with FoW gun rules or artillery rules. You could treat guns as direct-fire guns with an RoF, or you could use the template, depending. The template would represent an area being targeted with fire, and has the advantage of punishing troops that are bunched up in a square.
5) Pinning in Flames of War represents the reactions of soldiers to modern rapid firing weapons. It's not a great representation of how people in Napoleonic times would react to musket or cannon fire. but I think we could shoe-horn it to fit. Assume that instead of being "Pinned," affected infantry are "Disrupted" or "Shaken," and need a turn or two to recover. Then we can use Defensive Fire and Pinning normally, according to FoW rules, to see whether that bayonet charge falters.