ACW Rules

ACW Rules
  • These house rules are based around rules from the book One-Hour Wargames by Neil Thomas.
  • They are for designed for play on a 6” gridded tabletop. However, the rules use the term ‘bound’ for a distance of 1 square, so If you prefer free movement convert each bound to a 6” distance for measuring.
  • The game is played in a series of turns where players roll a D6 with the highest ordering units for one of their commanders. Re-roll any ties.
  • A turn ends when all commanders have had an opportunity to order units, or two passes are declared. Once a pass is declared by a player they cannot issue anymore orders that turn.
  • A commander may order units within 1 bound to move or shoot. The number of orders allowed is the winning difference. 
  • Commanders are only able to issue orders once per turn.
  • For example: the blue player rolls 5 and the grey player rolls 3. One of blue player’s commanders yet to issue orders can issue orders to 2 units.
  • To move a unit must start its movement within 1 bound of a commander.
    • Infantry - 1 bound
    • Cavalry - 2 bounds
    • Artillery - 1 bound
    • Commander - 3 bounds
  • Units may move forward on an angle of 45 degrees.
  • Units may perform one turn as part of a move, but not when shooting. (If playing on a square grid a unit must always face a side of a square.)
  • Commanders that are attached to units move with their attached unit. 
  • Commanders can attach themselves to another unit within 3 bounds before issuing orders. If there is no other unit within 3 bounds and with line of sight they cannot switch units.
  • Units within 1 bound of enemy units may only move if it is to retire or face the enemy.
  • Open - Units only moving across open terrain may move an additional bound if a commender is attached.
  • Field - Must stop upon entry. Units do not retreat when a 6 is rolled to hit.
  • Woods - Shooting ranges are halved when shooting at units in woods. Only Infantry units can enter woods.
  • River - impassible except at bridges and fords
  • Stream - only infantry and cavalry can cross. Must stop upon entry. Less 1D6 when shooting.
  • Hills - artillery position on a hill can fire over units.
  • Town - Shooting ranges are halved when shooting at units in towns. Only Infantry units can enter towns.
  • Fieldworks - Shooting ranges are halved when shooting at units behind fieldworks. Units do not retreat when a 6 is rolled to hit. Cavalry units may not use earthworks.
  • Line of sight - All terrain features block LoS.
  • All units hit on a 4+ roll regardless of whether a unit is in cover or not. Cover is dealt with by halving the shooting distance. 
    • Infantry - Range 2 bounds rolling 2D6
    • Cavalry - Range 2 bounds rolling 1D6
    • Artillery - Range 4 bounds rolling 1D6 (and can re-roll if a target is less than half range)
  • Units can only shoot directly forward at a 45 degree angle.
  • Units in buildings have a 360 degree field of fire.
  • Units can only shoot at one target and they must shoot at the closest enemy unit. 
  • Commanders are required to issue orders for units to move and shoot.
  • If a commander wishes to attach themselves to another unit, they must do so before issuing orders. 
  • A commander attached to an infantry unit can lead an attack. If they choose to do so, roll 1D6 hitting on 2+. Otherwise if a 1 is scored the Commander is killed.
  • An artillery unit with attached Commander can re-roll failed to hit D6 rolls.
  • A cavalry unit with attached Commander can move an additional bound.
  • Commanders may not be attached to units already with a commander.
  • If an attached unit is eliminated or retreats the commander must move to another unit (without a commander) within movement range. If not possible the commander is killed.
  • As a rule of thumb use 1 commander for every 3 units.
  • Units are removed after taking 6 hits.
  • If a 6 is rolled for a hit and the target unit is within 1 bound it retreats 1 bound unless the unit is in a field with fences or behind earthworks.
  • If a retreating units path is blocked by a friendly unit, it moves another bound and takes 1 hit.
  • If a retreating unit’s path is blocked by enemy units or impassible terrain it is eliminated.
Game Clock (Optional)

  • For each tie rolled when determining the ordering sequence, progress the game clock 30 minutes.


  1. I know I've asked this before, but possibly not for these rules. Is diagonal movement allowed? And can ranges be measured diagonally? For example, if two units are diagonally adjacent to each other, are they at a range of 1 or 2 bounds?


    1. Diagonal movement and shooting is allowed. The cost of a bound (one square) is the same whether the move is diagonal or not. In your example the range is 1 bound.

  2. Is there a limit to how many units can occupy a square? How many units do you typically use for a battle?

    1. Hi - I play on a 6x4 table (so that's 12 x 8 squares) and the number of units used has been up to the about 15. The table has not felt overloaded with troops, but is starting to limit manoeuvring of units.
      As for your first question, I generally allow one unit per square. If a position is heavily fortified I will as an exception have two units in a square if one unit is artillery.
      I hope this helps.

  3. I'm not sure what's meant by the text "For example: the blue player rolls 5 and the grey player rolls 3. Blue player’s commander 2 orders one of their commanders." Does this mean that one of blue's commander can order 2 units?

    Also, does artillery gain more firepower when firing at a target in canister range (I'm assuming around 2 bounds)?

    1. Yes, the commander can issue 2 orders. I have updated the rules. Thanks for pointing this out.
      Artillery and canister range. An interesting option. I have added an option to re-roll if at half range. Thanks again.