ECW D3 Rules

D3 English Civil War Wargaming Rules
These rules are a variant of One-Hour Wargame Pike & Shot rules by Neil Thomas. 
The game uses a combination of D3 dice (1,1,2,2,3,3) & D6 dice (1,2,3,4,5,6). 
They are geared towards games using 8-12 units per side.

Updated 1-Jun-20 to clarify Trotters in melee.


All units are singly based & represent the following unit types:
  • INFANTRY — Combined pikemen & musketeers, the mainstay of infantry units.
  • COMMANDED SHOT — A detachment of musketeers used to hold a position or support cavalry. They are able to occupy woods.
  • DRAGOONS — Mounted musketeers used to quickly seize key locations on the battlefield & support the cavalry on the wings.
  • TROTTERS — Cavalry trained to discharge their pistols before contact & then advance at the trot. 
  • GALLOPERS — Fast, hard hitting cavalry trained to charge at the Gallop, using the pistol with the sword on contact.
  • ARTILLRY — More of a nuisance factor than a game winner. Once in position & firing they must stay in place & make no further moves. They are problematic but can force a reluctant enemy to advance or suffer losses over time.
  • COMMANDER — Representing the player on the tabletop.
Players take turns to move, shoot & melee.
  1. Determine the number of activations a side can take. (Based on the number of units a commander can see & are within 12".)
  2. Activate units one at a time up to the maximum allowed for the turn.
  3. For each enemy unit routed increase the hits on the enemy commander.
Unit movement allowances are:
    • Gallopers - 12” or 18” if charging into contact
    • Trotters - 12”
    • Dragoons - 12”
    • Infantry Commanded Shot, & Artillery - 6”
A unit may move up to their movement allowance, but never exceed it.
All movement must be forward & in a straight-line.
To turn units pivot on their centre at the start or end of their movement, bur may only pivot once during movement.
Unless the units is moving directly towards an enemy with the intent to charge them. A unit must cease movement once it comes within 6” of an enemy unit
Units within 6” of an enemy unit cannot move, unless to retire or are pivoting to face an enemy (which counts as a move).
Units may not move through other units, even friendly units.
  • WOODS - Provide cover & only Commanded Shot units can enter
  • TOWNS - Provide cover & only to Infantry & Commanded Shot may end their move in a town. Only one unit may occupy a town.
  • HEDGES - Provide cover only for melees. Units move only 6" when entering or leaving an area of hedges.
  • MARSH/LAKES - impassable to all units.
  • RIVERS - impassable except at bridges & fords.
  • HILLS - provide cover to units defending a hill in combat.
  • ENTRENCHMENTS - Provide cover for infantry, skirmishers & artillery units. When shooting units can re-roll D3, but must accept the second score.
Units have a 45 degree field of fire, unless they are in a town when they have a 360 degree field of fire.
Units must have a clear line of sight.
A unit may only shoot if they are moving forward or are stationary.
Pistols have a range of 6”, Muskets a range of 12”, & artillery 24”.
Roll the dice to determine the number of hits:
    • Dragoons D3-1
    • Commanded Shot D3-1
    • Trotters D3 (ammo)
    • Infantry D3 (ammo)
    • Artillery D3-1 (shoot every other turn)

Ammo - On a D3 score of 3 the unit runs out of ammunition & may no longer shoot for the remainder of the game.
If a unit is in a town or woods reduce the hits by 1 except for artillery which ignore cover.
Artillery must have a line of sight to target and cannot shoot over friendly units. They also only shoot every other move.
Only cavalry & infantry can initiate a melee with other units. This occurs whenever they move into contact with another unit.
Units can only attack the unit they are facing.
Attacking Gallopers roll D3+1 when charging in. 

Cavalry (eg Trotters out of ammo and Gallopers already in melee) roll D3.
Infantry roll D3
Commanded shot roll D3-1
Dragoons roll D3-2
The number of hits rolled are modified by the following:
    • If a target occupies a hill or is attacking the flank of a unit, they have the option to re-roll & accept the second score.
    • If a target is Infantry or Cuirassiers unit -1.
    • if target in a town, woods, or hedges -1.
Artillery units are eliminated if engaged in melee.

Units may not leave a melee unless by giving ground.
If a commander is unable to activate a unit which is in melee to continue the fight, then the unit must retire 6", but still remain facing the enemy. If they are unable to give ground due to blocking terrain or units, then they must take a hit.
A hit represents a combination of casualties, declining moral & exhaustion caused to a unit by combat. Units rout when they exceed 6 hits & are removed from the tabletop
If an army's commander has more hits than number of available units, then the army retires.
The number of units a commander can see & are within 12" determines number of activations their army can make.
If an enemy unit comes into contact with a commander, remove the commander who can return next move from base edge of tabletop.
Commanders may never be shot at.
Commanders can attach themselves to a unit for protection, but reduces the range of command by 6". If unit eliminated, then general is treated as if he has been attacked (see above).
A commander may move at no cost after all their units have moved. This includes any unit they may be attached to.

Units with an attached commander can re-roll any attacking dice (shooting and melee).
ELITE PIKE (optional)
Elite pike are Infantry units  that cannot shoot & their melee attacks benefit with a +1.
CUIRASSIERS (optional)
Cuirassiers are treated as Trotters, but their three-quarter plate armour reduces any melee hits by 1.


  1. Peter, I have a few questions for you:
    What is the effect of being disordered and how does a unit recover from it(reform)?
    Does a unit in melee only inflict damage to an enemy unit during its own player turn?
    Each grid square is 6", correct? If so, then how does a unit retire 3"?
    Can more than one unit ever occupy a grid square?
    Melee is initiated when a unit moves to a square that is adjacent to an enemy unit and that enemy unit is in its front square?

    Thanks for your efforts on this.

    1. Hi Clay, Thank you for your questions. Presently I am not playing with these rules on a grid, I am using free movement. However, I have made an adjustment to the 3" give ground so I can be consistent with a grid.
      Coming back to your questions with a grid in mind:
      1) Units only inflict damage during their players turn.
      2) Adjusted the give ground rule to fit with 6 inch grid. So now if unable to give ground a unit takes a hit (rules updated now). This also tidies up the disordered question which I did not clean up from a previous version of the rules.
      3) If using square, then only one unit per square (commanders don't count as a unit). When in melee, push units to edge of square to show contact, which is important for gallopers so once in melee they don't get their charge bonus. This then raises the question on diagonal attacks. I generally allow that providing a unit is not attacking between two units.
      I hope this helps. Peter

  2. I apologize for thinking that you were using a 6" grid with these rules. I just noticed that all of the distances were multiples of 6 and thought that it was. Thanks for the answers to my questions. I had not even thought of attacking on the diagonal.
    The section entitled "MUSTETRY" might be better named "SHOOTING" since artillery is in that section also.
    I find these two statements to be confusing and/or contradictory:
    1) The number of units a commander can see (has line of sight) within 2 bounds determines number of activations their army can make.
    2) Actions to move & shoot cannot exceed the army resolve.
    Please elaborate/clarify this for me.
    Thanks & Happy New Year.

    1. Both points are mistakes on my part. Point 1) It now reads - the number of units a commander can see and are within 12". On point 2) the statement is a left over from a previous version of the rules.
      Finally, I have taken your advise and changed MUSKETRY to SHOOTING.
      Many thanks again for the questions - they are much appreciated!

  3. Dear Peter,

    Excellent rules. Any suggestion for "clubmen"?
    How to handle dragoons in melee (d-2) vs some targets: extra minus eg infantry, towns, hedges.... Perhaps always in any situation one point if throwing a 6 when with a d3 no effect possible?
    Thx, Lex

    1. Dear Lex,
      The question on Clubmen is interesting, and one I have not considered. I have not Clubmen models (yet). Initial thinking is their combat in a melee situation to be D3-2 and all shooting against them are treated as them having cover. This way they are not a major threat, but can be a nuisance hard to be rid of. Knowing the lay of the land and making opportunistic attacks.
      As to Dragoons if they have been engaged in melee by another unit. As they themselves cannot initiate a melee. Currently they would attack with D3-1, which would be modified by minus 1 against infantry to D3-2. Should a situation arise where a Dragoon unit, or any other unit, are not able to inflict casualties. Then I would suggest applying the "give ground" rule automatically.
      I hope this helps, and thank you for your question.

  4. Hey Peter, so my son and I just did a couple of games based on this rules page.

    One question came up immediately, do Trotters have any melee ability? They are specifically not listed in the melee list.

    We treated them the same as commanded shot, figuring that they still had the horse and sword and the melee in close quarters would be about the same.

    Otherwise Trotters would just take hits in any melee and always have to withdraw, something that is just not even slightly historical. Yes trotter units did take it on the chin in the early war, yet the Ironsides are still a trotter unit just with more cohesion (so maybe elite?).

    What are your thoughts on this?

    1. My mistake, trotters can melee once out of ammo. I have them with a D3 for combat. No difference to their shooting, but with combat they then benefit if they flank targets. I will clarify this in the rules - thanks.
      As for Ironsides, I would be tempted to take your suggestion as elite and give a +1 in melee.

  5. Hi,
    Very nice rules. Unless I'm just missing it, how many hits can a unit take? (15 as in the regular 1HW rules?)

    1. The number of hits is under the section call Routing. It is 6 hits, but more often now when playing I am routing units after exceeding 8 hits.