A Brief Look at Patrick Nix's and Fred Schacter's Game Variant for SPI’s LEIPZIG: “LEIPZIG REVISED”

When game players are also amateur students of military history, it is virtually certain that whenever they sit down to play a war game, they are going to find historical “nits” to pick. I know, because I am as guilty of this practice as anyone. Usually, these minor discrepancies lead to a few uncharitable comments about the designer’s laziness, lack of intelligence or general disregard for history, but then they pass harmlessly into the ether. In extreme cases, however, a particularly incensed player may decide that the various “nits” are so egregious that nothing will do but to offer an alternative to the standard game; thus is born the bane of game designer’s everywhere: the “game variant.”

Some game variants are eccentric, if not a little silly: the players from down under, for example, who insist that the Australian Brigades in AFRIKA KORPS should all have their combat factors doubled; or the players who want every destroyer and PT Boat flotilla included in the counter-mix of VICTORY IN THE PACIFIC, just so they can have a lot more ships to sink.

In other cases, game variants and rules changes can be quite minor and sometimes, even reasonable: for example, grafting rules additions or a changed CRT from a newer to an older version of the same game, or to a different game that uses the same basic game system. Making minor adjustments in replacement rates, or even accelerating or delaying the arrival of reinforcements can all occasionally produce workable outcomes. Once in awhile, these minor rules adjustment even work out better than expected: swapping the CRT from NAPOLEON’S LAST BATTLES for the older and bloodier CRT in BORODINO, for example, tends to benefit both players equally well.

Occasionally, however, a game variant or significant rules changes can end up producing a very different simulation from the one portrayed by the original title. This is the case with Patrick Nix and fred Schacter's, LEIPZIG REVISED.

Both Nix (rules and tables) and Schacter (counters) are clearly dissatisfied both with the historical accuracy and with the mechanics of the original game. I can sympathize; there are elements of the LEIPZIG game design — particularly when the older game is compared to its SPI counterpart, LA GRANDE ARMÉE — that seem poorly thought out, and even a little primitive. Nix and Schacter introduce their own variant, LEIPZIG REVISED, with a critique of the starting locations and Orders of Battle for the belligerents in SPI’s LEIPZIG that, on the whole, is both credible and historically valid. Nix then follows this commentary up with carefully prepared instructions so that players can correct the starting positions of the various armies; again, so far, so good. Next, however, he proceeds to argue for a significant reduction in the abstract nature of the game by urging the introduction of artillery and historically accurate army corps units into the counter-mix; at this point, I think, his ideas begin to go off the rails.

The original LEIPZIG design, as the Designer’s Notes explained, was intended to simulate only a few of the key elements of Napoleonic warfare within the context of an abstract, but manageable game system. The central challenge posed by Dunnigan’s game was for the opposing players to effectively coordinate speed and maneuver with offensive mass, combat supply, and battlefield leadership. It appears that it is precisely these elements that the variant’s author is eager to reduce, if not eliminate all together. What LEIPZIG lacks, and what his variant is designed to correct, is combat. Mr. Nix, not to put too fine a point on it, wants battles; and the more battles, the better. To drive this point home, Patrick recommends that the game’s distinctive “percentage differential” CRT be replaced by the traditional and much “bloodier” Avalon Hill CRT. And at this point, Nix and Schacter’s dramatic transformation of the original game is exposed: LEIPZIG is not being revised at all, but instead, it is being completely redesigned. For better or for worse, LEIPZIG REVISED finally reveals its new identity: it is really WATERLOO in Central Europe, or if you prefer, LAST MAN STANDING in Saxony.

Now, because I remain, admittedly, a big fan of the original Avalon Hill WATERLOO, this variant is not personally a disappointment, or even — if one overlooks the typos and amateur rules writing — necessarily a bad game. In fact, if players approach this variant with the right “bloody-minded” attitude — and a little flexibility when it comes to rules questions — it can actually be a lot of fun. LEIPZIG REVISED, however, is not really a revision of Jim Dunnigan’s LEIPZIG at all. Instead, in view of its more old-fashioned, combat-oriented approach to the 1813 campaign, it is actually a radically different game design that just happens to use the same map sheet as the SPI original.

Leipzig Revised Variant PDF

Leipzig Revised Variant.pdf


  • Joe

    Was this in an old S&T Supplement?

  • Greetings Kim:

    It has been a long time, but when I saw your question, I decided to dig it out and see if I could remember where I originally got it. Imagine my dismay when I realized that I had credited the "wrong" designer. Something, I should add that I have just now rectified.

    regarding your question: looking at the type "font" I can see that this amateur variant did not come from SPI or even "Panzerfaust". Nor does it look anything like the articles that were published in the magazines, "Zone of Control" or "Campaign". What it does look like (at least to me) is either something that was self-published by the designers, or maybe (and this is a stretch) something that might have appeared in the old wargaming magazine "Battleflag".

    Best Regards, Joe

  • I have the Battleflags,It's not there.

    Oh heck,Now I have to go dig that out to make sure.
    I don't think it was in the old Outpost magazine but I suppose need to look there too.

    International Wargamer or American Wargamer maybe?Spartan?

    I almost all those issues in them but don't remember.I usually photo copoied those things

    Well if you ever get a chance to scan it please post it to the gang on Consim ;)

  • Greetings Kim:

    'LEIPZIG REVISED' could even, for all I know, have appeared in the old "Europa" mimeo newsletter that used to be published in Europe in the sixties and seventies.

    In any case, you sound like a man on a mission ...

    The good news is that I photocopied my original copy of this variant many years ago, so the set of rules and charts that I have is amateurish (this was long before the days of DTP, remember) but clean. The counters that I have were hand drawn (I don't remember who made them up); nonetheless, someone -- assuming they were interested enough -- could probably clean everything up nicely with any of a number of the computer graphics packages that are currently available.

    All that having been sais, I'll tell you what: if I can get my wife to scan this variant from front to back (it is really only a couple of pages of rules text, tables, and counter templates), I'll post it in a downloadable format on this page. Then, if you're feeling ambitious, you can print out your own copy and redo it to make the whole package a little more (okay, a lot more) "professional Looking".

    Best Regards, Joe

  • Greetings Again Kim:

    Well, it took a little time to get my scanner and computer to talk to each other, but the variant pdf is finally up and working.

    Best Regards, Joe

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