D3 Ancient Rules

D3 Punic War Rules

This ruleset is a variant on Neil Thomas’ One-Hour Wargames Ancient rules. Units types are geared towards from the 2nd Punic War, including elephants with a berserk rule and an army activation check.

Units Types

The game is geared towards the 2nd Punic Wars & uses the following units types:

  • Heavy Infantry

  • Warband (Gauls)

  • Light Infantry

  • Cavalry

  • Elephants

  • Catapults

  • Commanders (attached to a unit)

Up to 3 heavy infantry or cavalry units can be classed as veteran units. This has benefits for them when in melee.

The units need to be consistently based. I have been trying large base widths of 8 inches on a 6x4 foot tabletop. This base width naturally limits the ability of units in formation to move around easily except when positioned on the flanks.

I have been playing games with 8-10 units per side using the army lists in Ancient & Medieval Wargaming by Neil Thomas as a guide to an army's make up.

Sequence of play

Each player takes a turn to move, shoot & melee with their units in the following sequence:

  1. Army activation check

  2. Movement

  3. Shooting

  4. Melee

  5. Eliminating units (& berserk elephants)

The game ends after 15 turns or when an army fails its resolve.

Army Activation Check

Roll a D6 and subtract 1 if the army’s commander is lost or in melee, then double the score after any modification. This activation score applies to all a player’s units. 

Any unit with less hits than this score can be activated to move, charge, shoot, or melee. Units that fail the test, do not activate and if they are in melee they will not be able to engage in combat.


During the movement phase a player can attempt to move their units. A unit may move up to the distances listed below:

  • Heavy Infantry - 6”

  • Light Infantry, Warbands, & Elephants - 9”

  • Cavalry - 12”

  • Catapults - cannot move, but are allowed to pivot on the spot.

Units may pivot at the start & end of their movement.

Only light infantry may pass through other friendly units.

Foot units are not allowed to break off melee.

Units that have moved or turned may not shoot.


Terrain has an impact on a unit’s movement & combat.

Woods - Only light infantry & warbands can enter

Towns - No effect on movement & treat as broken ground for combat

Marshland & lakes - Impassable to units

Rivers - Can only be crossed at bridges & fords

Broken Terran (e.g. Rocky, Fields & Streams) - Only infantry can enter & heavy infantry do halve their hits when attacking units in broken ground.

Roads - Units moving all their move on roads add 3” to their move distance, but cannot charge.

Hills - Units defending hills are treated as being in cover.


Units may move into contact with enemy units, but have the following constraints:

  • The attacking unit can pivot & attacks a unit in a 45 degree arc of its front.

  • Only one attacking unit can contact each side of an enemy unit (front, left flank, right flank, & rear)

  • Cavalry are not permitted to charge elephant units as the horses are spooked by the elephants.

Combat is resolved in the combat phase


Only light infantry & catapults can shoot. The procedure for shooting is as follows:

  • Units may only shoot at a target within their frontal facing.

  • Light infantry have a range of 12” & assess the number of hits by rolling a D3-1. 

  • Subtract 1 hit when the target unit is in cover, or is heavy infantry, or elephants.

  • Catapults have a range of 24” & assess the number of hits by rolling a D3-1. (There are no modifiers.)


Units only inflict hits during their own player turn. To assess the number of hits:

  • Heavy Infantry - D3+1

  • Warband (Gauls) - D3+1

  • Light Infantry - D3-1

  • Cavalry - D3

  • Catapults - cannot attack in combat situations

  • Elephants - D3 (regardless of unit type - no subtracting of hits)

Subtract 1 hit when attacking heavy infantry and elephants, units in woods or defending a river.

Add 1 hit if attacking the flank or rear of an enemy unit.

Artillery are immediately eliminated when in combat.

Any veteran unit can re-roll any combat D3 result, but must accept the second result.

Only cavalry can break off combat, unless other cavalry are engaged in the combat.

Eliminating Units

Units are routed & removed from play once they have taken 9 or more hits.

When an elephant unit is eliminated, check to see if it goes berserk. Roll a D3 and:

  • On a score of 1 the elephant immediately charges the nearest friendly unit with 12” & inflicts D3 hits. After which the elephant unit is removed from play.

  • On a score of 2 the elephant immediately charges the nearest enemy unit with 12” & inflicts D3 hits. After which the elephant unit is removed from play.

  • On a score of 3 nothing happens & the elephant unit is removed from play as any other unit would be.


Commanders are attached to either a heavy infantry or cavalry unit. The unit can always be activated.

Army Resolve

An army loses its resolve when they have less than two units.


  1. In the original OHW rules, If a unit is in close combat it remains locked until one of the units is destroyed. So each turn more units could join in the combat (flank attacks). Seems like all units from both sides could wind up in one large combat. Is this correct?

    1. I have missed a sentence (or two) covering the movement in combat. Thanks, I will update shortly.

  2. You mention that light cavalry can shoot but no other stats for them?

    1. Thanks for the pickup. I ended up removing light cavalry. I also picked up another typo on combat for light infantry, now has D3-1.