Monday, 28 December 2015

AWI One-Hour Wargame Rules

Over Christmas I found time to write up some AWI house rules based on the Horse and Musket Age Wargaming rules from the book “One-Hour Wargames” by Neil Thomas. There are other ideas included, such as: command ideas from Volley and Bayonet, and combat mechanics from the blogs The Stronghold Rebuilt (GNW rules) and John's Wargames Page (combat mechanic options). 

The game is played on a 6" square gridded war-game table. I tend to use a 6' x 4' table with 8 to 15 units depending on the size of game wanted. With fewer units I reduce the table to a 4' x 4' area.

I have added the draft rule write up (5 pages) to my rules page (Rules Page - click here or  the link at top right of page). Based on previous experience I will be modifying these over the next couple of months with clarifications and removing typos. I am a solo wargamer and it can take a while knock rules into shape. I lack that independent view and input of different ideas. Anyway, here are a couple of ideas introduced to the OHW AWI rule format.

Command Ideas
Units can only move if they are within 2 squares of their commander at the start of their move, or are moving as part of a line which has units within the 2 square command range of their commander.
Command range for movement
The dotted line shows the 2 squares from the commanding officer (CO). Unit C is outside of the command range and cannot move. Units A and B are able to move as they are part of a line and are performing the same move as units within command range.

The use of command ranges places the reliance on linear formations to move units and reflects some of the difficulty in coordinating movement often in difficult terrain.
The command range does not restrict combat as those decisions left more to the units commander.
Moral checks occur whenever a 6 is rolled when shooting or for cavalry charges. Only one moral check is taken for any attack regardless of the number of 6’s rolled.
Roll 1D6 with the following modifiers:
+1 if in cover
-1 if skirmishers
-1 if militia
A score of 2+ and the unit stands. Otherwise, the unit retreats directly away 1 square and takes 1 hit. If the unit’s retreat is blocked by a friendly unit, then retire behind them and the blocking unit also takes 1 hit.
If a units retreat is blocked by an enemy unit it is eliminated.
Other stuff....
At Christmas one wargaming present was the book "The Solo Wargaming Guide". I have quickly read this and really enjoyed it. It is geared towards solo campaigning and has many good ideas in its 120 pages. I am now enthused in the new year to do some small campaigns to add some context to my games.


  1. I realize this is late, but one suggestion:
    On the command radius, only allow one diagonal "move". So your radius will lose the four corner squares and be more circular-ish.

    You could also apply this to your cavalry and even commander moves for the AWI rules, i.e. Cavalry move two squares, one of which is a diagonal; a face change takes one square.

    1. Hi - suggestions are aways welcome! I'll be trying out your cavalry suggestion. In recent games I have used a 4'x4' table and so have been using a reduced command radius from 2 to 1 square and allowed unrestricted commander movement. Its proved quite successful and I may stick with that approach. Again thank you for the interest and suggestions.
      Kind regards, Peter

  2. The AWI interests me at the moment as I am trying to merge my ACW and Napoleonic rules to a more generic horse and musket set that will also cater for AWI. So I shot over to your rules. I like them. One thing does spring to mind (I discovered this when tinkering with square) ... I like the fact that artillery fire direct ahead at a width of 3 bases, this is exactly what I played around with, but there is a blind spot for artillery on the diagonal. Regardless of which square side they face, they cannot cast their fire to any distance along the diagonal. I thought a lot about this and could not get around it without also including a diagonal facing, which immediately meant more rules and an extra layer of visualisation for fields of fire. I could have gone to a fire lane 5 squares wide, but that just seemed to undermine other things.

    Your table is looking very smart and I look forward to an AWI AAR.

  3. You could have an "expanding torrent" artillery footprint. So 3 squares in the first row in front of the model, 5 squares in the second row, 7 squares in the third row and so on.

    1. Or to keep closer to the 4 square range of these rules
      Row 1 : 3
      Row 2 : 5
      Row 3 : 5
      Row 4 : 3

      The maximum diagonal distance covered would equal 4.2 square widths i.e 3 x sqrt(2)


    2. Hi Tony - Thanks for the two suggestions. The "expanding torrent" approach I have used with my ACW game and it works well for those rules. With the AWI I was trying to limit the effectiveness of artillery a bit. Not sure if my approach necessarily works and other mechanisms may be more effective. As with most house rules there is always the joy of tinkering and trying out new approaches. Regards, Peter

    3. Hello Peter. I've played a few OHW AWI and came across your site when looking into ideas to modify the rules. I think Norm does point out a problem. If the enemy approach the artillery along the 2nd column right or left of the artillery square then then they are immune from artillery fire until they get quite close. Whereas if using straight OHW rules they would come within the 45 degree firing arc.

      Admittedly AWI artillery tended to be not very strong: usually 6pounders and 3 pounders in small numbers. I was quite happy with the effect of 1D6-2 in the OHW rules.
      Cheers Tony

    4. Hi Tony, 45 degree arc is the cleanest approach, and easiest to describe in rules as well, so I suspect I will end up with that approach. Appreciate your thoughts and suggestions - they are most welcome. Regards, Peter

    5. Funny enough I actually had a printed copy of your rules next to my computer to try out soon.

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