How Men of Quality Resolve Differences

How Men of Quality Resolve Differences
Pudel and Peper attacks - an ugly but inevitable part of any 17th C. British Civil War, "Oh! The Shame of it All!"

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Neil Thomas "One-Hour Wargames" Horse & Musket Rules

Well, one of my gaming buddies got me helping him with a period that I do like, the horse'n musket era.  He has AWI, 7YW, AWI, Napoleonics, and ACW,  In a very responsible coarse of action, he decided to rid himself of several projects and also limit himself to two scales, 15mm and 10mm, ditching 25 and 6mm. This eventually got me thinking about 6mm again, and the great posts over at Cambronne's Reply [now beling blogged at Campaign Chronicles, incidentally, here: LINK]. 

I borrowed his unwanted ACW stuff and also used my old Napoleon's Battles counters, and began tinkering with some generic Horse and Musket era rules.  It's pretty hard to fit everything from 1700 - 1865 in one set, but I think I got War of Austrian Succession to Napoleonics squashed in here, perhaps including the War with Mexico and such. As always, NT was my inspiration and it took several playtests and re-writes for the rules to make sense, but I believe they're good enough to cover things in a Complete Brigadier sort of general way.  

The optional and advanced rules will need a lot of work, as they'd cover period specific distinctions.  But for now, I think these play well while answering many of the unwritten mechanics NT left out.  They also restrict at least the worst of player excesses, and hopefully make sense to more people than me!  I'll post some batreps with them soon. Until then, enjoy and feel free to contact me for a hard copy or with comments.

Grey Areas.  Any situation not explicitly covered in the rules, or a measurement that is “too close to call”, should be defined in “either/or” terms and resolved with a friendly roll off in the winner’s favor.
Pre-measuring.  Distances between Units may be measured at any time.
Scale. 6” is 100 yards / meters. A turn represents about 5 minutes of action and inaction.
Dice. May be either standard six-sided, D6, or D5 [six sides of 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5] so are referred to as Dx.

Units.  There are four types of Units in the H&M rules, representing the most common types.
1.    Infantry: About 400 close order Foot with muskets/bayonets who rely on firepower to stop or drive away the enemy. Bayonets are to defend against cavalry or threaten the enemy when closing.
2.    Skirmishers: About 200 light Foot operating in a dispersed formation allowing rapid movement even through rough terrain. Their smaller size and open formation makes their musketry less effective.
3.    Cavalry: About 200 Close-order horse who rely entirely upon hand to hand combat and rapid movement to affect the battle. Flank charges can be devastating and are a potent threat. 
4.    Artillery: A 6-gun field battery with longer Range but less firepower than an infantry battalion. They may have trained crews with horses to move them but are still not very mobile.

Figures & Basing.  6”x 3” depth [4”x2” for Cavalry and Guns], any sensible figure size/number per base.  Units with multiple bases fight with all front edges and corners aligned. 

Front, Left, Right & Rear Sides.  Measure these off the Unit corners, 45° arcs off the front, rear, left / right Side.  A Unit’s Front center point determines if it is in an enemy Unit’s Front, left/right or Rear Side. Left / right Sides may not be targeted for Shot / Charge if Protected by mutual 1” Front corner distance to a friendly Unit.

Line of Sight.  LoS is measured from a Firing or Charging Unit's front center point to the center of a side of the Target Unit Base: Front, Left, Right or Rear.  It is blocked by anything intervening and apparently taller than the height of the figures, e.g. hills, woods, towns, and Units [cavalry are higher than any other Unit type].
      I.        A gap 4” wide is needed to trace LoS through.
    II.        Half of a Targeted Unit’s side must be visible and in shooter/charger Front Arc.
   III.        Units may see 4” into and out of woods, town, and hills [plateau effect] but not through two sides. 
  IV.        Units lining the edge of terrain do not have their LoS blocked by it.
    V.        Guns on a Hill may trace LoS over intervening Units closer to the guns than the Target Unit.
Units must have LoS to Fire or charge enemy Units at the time of the shot or charge.

Play Sequence.  A full turn has each player taking four phases:
Attacker  [player A]: 1) Actions: Fire or Move, 2) Melee, 3) Routs and Rallies
Defender [player D]: 1) Actions: Fire or Move, 2) Melee, 3) Routs and Rallies

1.1. Fire
Units may Fire at Target Units to which they have LoS, but may not move [mark with cotton balls].
A.    Priority. Units fire at the closest, most directly forward Unit in their Front Arc. If two Units are in LoS at the same Range, and have mutually Protected Sides, both must be targeted.
B.    Range. Guns have an 8” Point Blank and 36” Effective Range.  Infantry and Skirmishers have a 4” Point Blank and 8” Effective Range.
Roll Dx, this is the number of Hits against the Target Unit, modified in the following sequence:
                      i.        Adding. Add 2 if Firing at a Foot Unit’s Flank or Rear, or if it is Cavalry.
                     ii.        Subtracting. Skirmishers and Artillery subtract 2 from the amount rolled, then,
                    iii.        Double. All Units double the amount rolled at Point Blank Range, then,
                   iv.        Halve. Hits against Skirmishers are halved at every Range, then,
                    v.        Terrain.  Units within Woods, Brush or Marsh or Towns, or behind Walls, halve Hits.
                   vi.        Stacked Modifiers. The maximum benefit any Unit may receive is ¼ Hits [1/2x1/2].
The final dice total is the number of Hits the Target receives, rounding fractions UP. If Firing at two Units, divide Hits equally, an odd Hit placed upon the closest Unit.  If a Unit has 15+ Hits it is removed.

1.2) MOVE
Players sequentially move their Units, with no corner exceeding the total distance allowed.  If a Unit Moves, it may not Fire [mark with dust cloud].  If any movement except straight ahead is made, the Bonus is lost.
      i.        Class 1. Infantry & Guns        move 1Dx, +2” Bonus
     ii.        Class 2. Skirmishers               move 1Dx, +4” Bonus
    iii.        Class 3. Cavalry                     move 1Dx, +6”            Bonus
Moves that begin and remain over 12” away from all enemy Units may move double the total allowed.

Maneuvering.  All maneuvers count as movement.
      i.        Wheel. Units turn on either front corner by pinning that corner in place and moving the opposite corner forward, just like a hinged door.  Foot may wheel once, all others twice.
     ii.        Reform. Make 2” move in any direction, including 2” move into / out of column.
    iii.        Fall Back. Move directly back Dx facing the new direction. Cavalry may face original direction instead.
   iv.        Column. Place Unit bases one after the other or mark a single Base Unit. Columns permit Road movement, passing narrow gaps, and unlimited wheels, so the move Bonus is not lost.

Terrain.  There are two terrain types, Linear and Area.  Linear are 6-12” long x 1-3” wide.  Area are 6-12” per side or diameter.  Building or tree models are only decorative – move as needed to position Units.
              i.        Hills. Area.  Defensive Bonus when uphill.
            ii.        Woods, Rocky Brush.  Area. Skirmishers may enter.  Defensive Bonus if entirely inside.
           iii.        Town. 6x6” Area. Skirmishers and Infantry may enter. One Unit receives a defensive Bonus if it Reforms entirely within it. It then also has a 360 LoS from the center of any side.
           iv.        Lake, Marsh / Rivers.  Impassible Area / Linear respectively. Units may cross at a bridge or ford.
            v.        Walls, Gullies, Riverbank. Linear. Defensive Bonus if behind and in full edge contact.
           vi.        Roads. Linear, any length. Units in column and following a road cancel terrain restrictions but lose Shot or Melee Bonuses and may not Charge.

Interpenetration. Skirmishers may move through but not stop upon any Unit and vice-versa.

Enemy Units have a 4” threat zone in their Front Arc. Enemy Units may not move in it except to Charge, Fall Back, or target a new Unit with Point Blank Fire.

Charging.  Only Cavalry may move into Contact with an enemy Unit.
      i.        Target Units must be in LoS, and the LoS distance equal or less than the move amount with Bonus.
     ii.        Contact is made by moving the shortest LoS distance from the Charging Unit’s Front side to the center of any uncontacted side.  It immediately stops moving upon contact, even if just a corner contact.  
    iii.        Contact may be only one Cavalry Unit per Side; front, rear and left/right.
There is no additional free movement to achieve fully aligned edge-to-edge contact [the “closing the door” of DBA and other rules].   Gaps are filled with fighting men! Melee is resolved during the Melee phase.

2) MELEE Units only inflict Hits when they Charge. 
Roll 1Dx +2, this is the number of Hits modified in sequence as follows:
      i.        Terrain.  Units uphill or defending woods / river bank / gully / wall halve Hits.
     ii.        Type. Cavalry Targets halve Hits, Gun Targets double Hits.
    iii.        Side.  Double Hits by Cavalry attacking on the left/ right or rear Side of a Target.
   iv.        Stacked Modifiers. The max benefit any Unit may receive is ¼ Hits [1/2x1/2].
The final total is the Hits the Target Unit receives, round fractions UP.  Remove any Unit with 15+ Hits. If the Target was removed, the Cavalry Unit[s] remain in place. If not, the Cavalry Unit[s] Fall Back Dx.

3) ROUTS AND RALLIES.  Any Unit that neither Moves nor Fires may rally as long as it is not within Point Blank Range and Fire Arc of an enemy Unit. Simply roll a Dx and remove half that many Hits [round up]. If presently eligible to receive a Terrain Bonus from enemy Fire, remove another Hit.  A Unit with more than 5 Hits may not rally to below 5 Hits.

The below are ones that I've actually used and playtested, and will likely appear in AARs.

For each army of six Units, allow one advantage per disadvantage taken, one or two each per force upon agreement.
Stubborn = removed at 18+ Casualties. Reluctant = removed at 12+ Casualties.
Elite = all dice rolled receive +1. Militia = all dice rolled receive -1.

Any Firing roll of a natural ‘5’ [‘6’ with d6] results in the Unit having used the last of their ammunition with that devastating shot or series of fast volleys.  It may not fire until it performs a Rally, during which it is assumed to also replenish its ammunition.

AMERICAN CIVIL WAR modifications
All Infantry Units in close order act as Infantry.
2.     *All Infantry Units may use the Reform maneuver to switch to column or skirmish. Shift Bases into the formation [one base behind the other for columns, a ½” gap between them for skirmish] or mark a single base accordingly. If Militia, use the Poor Drill rule, and if experienced use the Elite rule.
      *If armed with a Minnie rifle, they’ve a Long Range out to 16” at which Hits are halved.
4.    * Guns have a 48” effective Range.
5.    * Cavalry are Skirmishers with the cavalry move rate, best portrayed as foot with horse-holders behind.

6.   *  Infantry may shoot in column at -2. This would be in addition to other penalties such as being in Skirmish, and just represents the narrow frontage.
*    * infantry may change into Skirmish formation and fight as skirmishers in all respects.
EDIT: great AWI suggestion from Steve at "Sound Officer's Call":

Charging Infantry. Some periods and theaters had little to no cavalry, or their battlefield use was very limited. Instead, Infantry charges were routinely performed, e.g. British in AWI would fire a volley and then "have at the Damned Rebels" with the bayonet. 

To reflect this, allow some AWI regiments to charge like cavalry - but at the infantry move rate. The frequency of their appearance should be identical to that of Cavalry in the army composition chart if you are rolling up you armies. The limit can be easily explained in that some regiments are given the task of assaulting while others are given the task of engaging the enemy with fire.

1 comment:

  1. I like that hits against skirmishers are halved. Makes good sense considering they're not densely packed.


Thanks for your comment! t will be posted after it's moderated.