Rules for Gaming Battles

11 August 2019

Having delivered the Battle of the Little Bighorn to the tabletop and winning the best Participation Game at Salute 2019 we were quite rightly proud of our achievement with a 6mm representation of the battle.

Our second outing to the table was at the Joy of Six and this will be followed up by a two-day visit to Warfare 2019 in Reading on November 16th and 17th.

All of these guys are family (Meg & Jane), friends (Andreas & Beccy) and neighbours (Tam & Simeon). All are new to the hobby and fresh to the painting pot, however we still delivered the Little Bighorn game with a team of newbies.

Our success at Salute started us all thinking on how we could do a second or a third follow-up game, each with their own bespoke set of rules for battles. Both Bunker Hill 1775 and Cropredy Bridge 1644 were old loves of Peter's when he was younger. At the time hobby war-game rules were expensive, let alone buying the figures and the terrain. Inevitably he used to write his own own very simple sets of rules, so he could get a game in with his friends and their plastic Airfix Napoleonic’s. 

Bunker Hill 1775

This Battle is still a big favourite and needs a tailored treatment. In general, the AWI rules we have tried have done a reasonable job - however they are never quite able to recreate the main differences in the armies on the day of battle. The British are always portrayed as a very professional, elite and well led body of troops. The Americans are generally shown as a rabble, badly led but heroic in standing up to a mighty empire.

When writing rules for individual battles it allows us to show how different those general views are from reality. The British Army was made up of Americans & British soldiers who had lived the easy life for quite some time in America. However, they still made three uphill frontal assaults over rough ground, against a well-prepared fortification with determined and motivated defenders. The biggest mistake the British made at bunker Hill was in underestimating their enemy.

The American militias were anything but a rabble, they were well prepared for the battle and had built solid fortifications across Breeds Hill. Although they were a bit brittle towards the end of the battle, they were also well organised and had been fighting for many years against the French and the American Indians. Their big mistakes on the day were in command and supply. 

Cropredy Bridge – 1644

Another special battle from Peter's past. Roughly 30 years ago, his new girlfriend Jane said: “Shall go for a walk in country and have nice pint to round it off!” So about hour and half later they were walking from Pewet Farm towards Cropredy Bridge along the Oxford Canal. Needless to say, they were married soon after.

We have therefore decided that our third set of Rules for Gaming Battles will be Cropredy Bridge 1644. A classic English Civil War battle with the Parliamentarians trying to catch the Royalist army, led by the King, while it was on the March. The ensuing battle played out over a large area, in three phases and with a similar amount of Horse and Foot. We like the three boards approach from the Little Bighorn game, so another mini-campaign approach seems appropriate. We have just entered the design phase of this project so watch this space. 

Rules for Gaming Battles

The fourth piece of work in the Rules for Gaming Battles series will be more a set of guidelines. This means that anyone could use these guidelines and templates to design their very own sets of Rules for Gaming Battles. If you want rules to reflect battles and not the generalities of a main set of rules that needs hundreds of scenarios and house rules, then these guidelines may be for you.

The Confederate General  Jackson wasn't always great, Napoleon had his off days and the Romans could occasionally come a cropper. Designing battles to reflect this and show that some days the Iron Brigade were just not very good, the Spartans were outfought and the Old Guard lost is a great way to do this.   

Building Rules for Gaming Battles will help you to design the game that you want play from any period . If you like a battle then design it. The guidelines and templates will be covered in each of the sections you will need to complete, delivering a set of rules designed by you to your specification. We will use a previous set of rules to provide step by step examples, in each section to show you how the process works and can then be applied.  

We will:   

  • Explain why we are Building Rules
  • Tell you our vision for the guidelines
  • We will outline the process
  • Give you step by step guidance
  • Provide templates
  • Give examples 
  • Offer play-test advice
  • Talk about scales
  • Cover terrain you might need Detail of special rules

Now a small point is that we may need to charge for the Building Rules for Gaming Battles. Just a smallish fee to support the Wargamer Collection Calculators site, however we hope you won't mind this as it is a good cause after all.

Please note: Each of the images of the rule-sets are currently draft and may change going forward.