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American War of Independence Wargaming

Rules for gaming the American War of Independence that draw on the rules found in
Napoleonic Wargaming by Neil Thomas. Skirmisher movement comes from Ancient and
Medieval Wargaming, also by Neil Thomas.

Wargaming the American War of


Independence
[Section to explain the design philosophy of elements found in the rules, in the same way as
Napoleonic Wargaming. To be written once play testing is complete and the concepts are
finalized.]

American War of Independence Wargames


Rules
Units and Formations
1. Infantry. Units consist of four bases, and may adopt one of the following
formations:
1. Loose Order Line. One rank of four bases. When reduced below four bases,
the unit will form in one rank.
2. Close Order Line. Two ranks of two bases each. When reduced below four
bases, the unit form form in two even ranks. If the unit has an odd number
of bases, the second rank will have fewer bases.
3. Column. Four ranks of one base each. When reduced to three bases, the
unit will have three ranks. When reduced below three bases, the unit cannot
form a column.
4. Single Base Formation. When a unit is reduced to a single base, it can only
adopt the Loose Order Line formation, unless prohibited by its Army List
special rules in which case it adopts the Close Order Line formation.
2. Skirmishers. Units consist of four bases, and may adopt one of the following
formations:
1. Open Order Line. Two ranks of two bases each. When reduced below four
bases, the unit form form in two even ranks. If the unit has an odd number
of bases, the second rank will have fewer bases.
2. Column. Four ranks of one base each. When reduced to three bases, the
unit will have three ranks. When reduced below three bases, the unit cannot
form column.
3. Single Base Formation. When a unit is reduced to a single base, it can only
adopt the Extended Order Line formation.
3. Indians. Units consist of four bases and form in two ranks of two bases each.
4. Cavalry. Units consist of four bases, and may adopt one of the following formations:
1. Line. Two ranks of two bases each. When reduced below four bases, the unit
form form in two even ranks. If the unit has an odd number of bases, the
second rank will have fewer bases.

2. Column. Four ranks of one base each. When reduced to three bases, the
unit will have three ranks. When reduced below three bases, the unit cannot
form column.
3. Single Base Formation. When a unit is reduced to a single base, it can only
adopt the Line formation.
5. Artillery. Units consist of a gun and two to four figures on a single base. The number
of crew denote the weight of the gun with two crew being Light, three crew being
Medium (field), and four crew being Heavy (siege).Artillery is either limbered
(denoted by turning the barrel away from the line of movement) or deployed (barrel
facing the enemy).
6. Limbers. Limber bases are optional and can be used to denote when the artillery is
limbered by placing the limber model in front of the gun facing the direction of
movement, and placing the gun directly behind, facing away from the direction of
movement. When the artillery is deployed the limber base moves towards its
baseline until recalled by the Artillery unit.

Basing
Base Width
The widths provided in the following table for bases are suggestions only. Base widths
should ideally be consistent.
Figure Size

15mm

20-25mm

28-30mm

Base Width

40mm

60mm

80mm

For smaller figures sizes you should pick a base width from a figure size above and simply
add more figures to the base to get that mass effect that smaller scales are ideal for.
Note that the rules that follow state all measurements in terms of Base Widths (BW),
which is why base widths should be consistent. However, it is possible to state the value of
a standard base width, for measurement purposes, and have treat smaller or larger base
units as slightly better or worse than normal.

Base Depth
The base depths and figures per base provided in the following table are suggestions only.
Base depths and figure counts for each troop type should ideally be consistent.
Troop Type

Figures per
Base

Figure Size
15mm

20-25mm

28-30mm

Infantry

15mm

20mm

25mm

Skirmisher

20mm

30mm

40mm

Indians

20mm

30mm

40mm

Cavalry

30mm

40mm

50mm

Light Artillery

3 + gun

40mm

80mm

100mm

Medium Artillery

4 + gun

40mm

80mm

100m

Heavy Artillery

5 + gun

40mm

80mm

100mm

Limber

2 horses and 1
driver

40mm

80mm

100mm

If you already have your artillery based with fixed crew sizes, simply mark the artillery base
to indicate that the gun is light, medium, or heavy.

How to Win
Victory is achieved when the opposing army is reduced to 25% or less of its total army size
in units. Note that only fully eliminated units are counted, not bases.
For every Infantry unit exiting the table on the enemy side, the enemy immediately
removes two of his units. All three units count as eliminated.
Loss off limbers never count towards victory. If an artillery base is lost, its limber base is
automatically removed.

Sequence of Play
Each side alternates taking a turn. Each side follows this sequence on each of their turns:
1.
2.
3.
4.

Conduct charges.
Movement.
Firing.
Hand-to-hand combat.

Conduct Charges
1. Determine Eligibility. Measure the distance between attackers and defenders. If this
exceeds the attacker's eligible move, the charge does not take place and the rest of
this sequence is ignored.
1. Only one unit may charge each face of a defending unit, these being front,
left flank, right flank, and rear.
2. A charging unit may not turn more than 45.
2. Defender's Fire. If a charge takes place against the front face of a defending unit,
the defending unit may fire against the charging unit before contact.
1. Exception: Cavalry defenders may never fire against any attacker.
3. Move Chargers into Contact. All fighting will be resolved in the hand-to-hand combat
phase.

Movement
1. Movement Rates. A unit's type and formation determines its normal movement rate,
which may be modified by other factors, such as terrain, turning, and changing
formation.

Troop Type and Formation

Movement Rate (in Base Widths)

Infantry in Loose Order Line

3 BW

Infantry in Close Order Line

2 BW

Infantry in Column

3 BW

Skirmisher in Open Order Line

3 BW

Skirmisher in Column

3 BW

Indians

3 BW

Cavalry in Line

6 BW

Cavalry in Column

7 BW

Limbered Artillery

2 BW

Deployed Light Artillery

1 BW

Deployed Medium Artillery

No Movement

Deployed Heavy Artillery

No Movement

Limbers

4 BW

2. Turning.
1. Infantry, Skirmisher, and Cavalry Units.
1. Units turn in place by pivoting on the center of the unit, unless the
unit is in column on a road, in which case the pivot occurs on the
center of the lead stand.
2. Units may turn up to 45 without penalty.
3. Units may turn more than 45 at a penalty of 1/2 their movement
rate.
4. Only one turn per move is permitted unless the unit is in column, on
a road, in which case it may make as many as necessary to follow
the turns in the road.
5. About Face (180). Units may face about once per move without
penalty. If it makes two about face maneuvers during its move, it is
penalized 1/2 of its movement.
2. Indian Units.
1. Each base in the unit may move freely and without penalty in any
direction, turning and facing as desired while moving. At the end of
movement, they must end in a proper formation.
3. Deployed Artillery Units.
1. All artillery may pivot in any direction in their turn.
2. Light artillery may pivot up to 45 before or after moving in their
turn.
3. Artillery may not fire in a turn in which they pivot or move.
4. Limbered Artillery Units.
1. Limbered artillery pivot on the center of the limber, if present, or on
the center of the artillery base.
2. Limbered artillery may pivot freely during the course of its
movement.
3. Changing Formation.
1. Infantry, Skirmisher, and Cavalry Units.
1. Units may not fire in a turn in which they change formation.

2. The following tables shows the movement penalty for changing from
one formation to another.
Infantry
Current Formation

New Formation
Loose Order Line

Close Order Line

Column

Loose Order Line

1/2 move penalty

Full move penalty

Close Order Line

1/2 move penalty

Full move penalty

Column

Full move penalty

Full move penalty

Skirmisher
Current Formation

New Formation
Open Order Line

Column

Open Order Line

Full move penalty

Column

Full move penalty

Cavalry
Current Formation

New Formation
Line

Column

Line

Full move penalty

Column

Full move penalty

2. Artillery Units.
1. Light artillery take 1/2 move to deploy or limber.
2. Medium and heavy artillery take 1 move to deploy or limber.
3. Artillery may not fire in a turn in which it deploys or limbers.
4. Artillery with no separate limber cannot limber after deploying for
the remainder of the game. Note that this rule is to encourage
players to purchase, paint, and use limber models.
5. Once artillery deploys, the limber moves away from the artillery
towards its baseline. If ever it can be fired upon by the enemy, the
limber is forced to retreat towards its baseline until it is out of
range, even if not actually fired upon. If it cannot get out of firing
range, it retreats off of the board. Gun te
3. Moving and Firing.
1. Infantry units may not fire in a turn in which they move, turn, or change
formation.
2. Cavalry, Skirmisher, and Indian units may fire at a penalty of 1/2 their
movement rate. Firing may either precede or follow movement.
3. Artillery may not fire in a turn in which they move, pivot, deploy or limber.
4. Terrain.
1. Gentle Hills. These do not affect movement.
2. Steep Hills. These cost double movement (i.e. each BW moved costs 2 BW
of movement).

3. Streams. These take one complete turn to cross. The unit moves up to the
Stream edge on one turn, are place in the river on the next turn, and may
move out normally in the last turn.
4. Rivers. These may only be crossed at Bridges and Fords. The rest of the
river is impassable.
1. Bridges. These can only be crossed by Indians, Artillery, units with a
single base remaining, or units in Column. Units do so at full
movement rate.
2. Fords. The scenario special rules may specify the width (in BW) of
the Ford as greater than 1 BW, in which case units can cross the
River in any formation which fits through the Ford. Otherwise Fords
can only be crossed by Indians, Artillery, units with a single base
remaining, or units in Column. Fords are treated as Streams.
5. Farms. These may only be entered by Infantry, Skirmishers, and Indians.
Skirmishers and Indians move through them at a cost of double movement,
but Infantry take one complete turn to cross, as with Streams. Units in
Farms do not maintain formation. However, when they leave the Farm, they
may do so in any legal formation.
6. Towns. Towns are broken up into one or more sections. The number of
sections will be determined by the scenario. Skirmishers and Indians move
through them at a cost of double movement. For all others each section
takes one complete turn to cross. Units in Towns do not maintain formation.
However, when they leave the Town they may do so in any legal formation.
7. Heavy Woods. These may only be entered by Infantry in Loose Order Line or
Column, Skirmishers, and Indians. Infantry movement costs double, but
Skirmishers and Indians move without penalty.
8. Light Woods. Infantry in Loose Order Line or Column, Skirmishers, and
Indians move without penalty. All others' movement costs double.
9. Fences, Hedges, and Walls. Each such linear obstacle crossed costs one BW
of movement. Artillery take one turn to create a 1 BW hole where it can
subsequently cross freely.
10. Roads. If a unit in Column spends its entire turn moving on the Road it may
increase its movement by 1 BW.
5. Interpenetration. Units may never pass through each other under any
circumstances.

Firing
All units, unless otherwise noted in the special rules of an army list, can fire (including
Cavalry).
1. Small Arms.
1. The ranges of relevant weapons are shown below:
Weapon

Range

Long Rifle

7 BW

German Rifle

5 BW

Musket

4 BW

Carbine

2 BW

2.
3.
4.
5.

Units in Column may never fire.


All bases in a unit in all other formations are eligible to fire.
Bases may fire at any target within 45 of their frontal facing.
If the target is in range, roll a die for every eligible base firing. The chances
of scoring a hit varies according to the firing unit's formation as indicated in
the table below.

Firing Unit's Formation

Score Required (D6)

Infantry in Loose Order Line

3-6

Infantry in Close Order Line

4-6

Skirmishers in Open Order Line

5-6

Indians and Cavalry

6. Weapons Rested. Units with weapons rested (see the section on


Terrain below) roll one additional die for the unit when firing. This is not one
additional die per base.
7. Artillery.
1. Artillery have two range bands: short and long. Range is shown in the
following table.
Troop Type

Short Range

Long Range

Light Artillery

4 BW

12 BW

Medium Artillery

6 BW

18 BW

Heavy Artillery

8 BW

24 BW

2. Units may fire at any target within 45 of their frontal facing.


3. After the range has been measured, the number of shots must be
calculated. Two dice (2D6) are rolled for short range and one die (1D6) is
rolled for long; the number halved (rounding fractions up) indicates the
number of shots fired.
4. For each shot fired roll a die (1D6). A hit is scored if the relevant score is
achieved on the table below.
Troop Type

Score Required

Light Artillery

Medium Artillery

5-6

Heavy Artillery

4-6

3. Saving Roll. A unit may be entitled to a saving roll - a chance to negate a hit - under
special circumstances. If the saving roll is achieved, the hit has no effect. If a unit is
eligible for more than one saving roll, it chooses which saving roll to use. A unit may
never take more than one saving roll against a given hit.
1. Units in Cover. Any unit behind or in cover rolls a die (1D6) for every hit
inflicted upon it. For every roll of 4-6 a saving roll has been achieved.
2. Skirmishers and Indians. Any Skirmisher or Indian unit rolls a die (1D6) for
every hit inflicted upon it. Skirmishers in Open Order Line and Indians have

a saving roll of 5-6. Skirmishers in Column have no saving roll, unless from
another factor.
3. Artillery. All Artillery units enjoy a saving roll of 2-6 from artillery fire and
3-6 from small arms fire.
4. Downhill. A unit downhill from an enemy unit firing from uphill will get a
saving roll 6 from those hits.
4. Base Removal. With both small arms and artillery fire, a base is removed if four hits
are inflicted upon the target. Carry over all totals under four until the next combat is
resolved.
5. Terrain. Some terrain has an effect on visibility and firing.
1. Gentle or Steep Hills. Units on the opposite side of the crest line cannot be
seen. A unit downhill fired upon by a unit uphill gains a saving roll.
2. Streams and Fords. Only 1/2 (round fractions down) of the bases eligible to
fire may do so when in a stream.
3. Bridges. Units firing while on a bridge are not effected. Note, however, that
units in column may never fire.
4. Farms and Towns. All Infantry fire from Farms and Towns are as if the firer
is a Skirmisher unit. Units in a Farm or Town are treated as if in cover when
fired upon.
5. Heavy Woods. Only units at the edge of a heavy woods (where both the left
corner of the leftmost base in the unit and the right corner of the rightmost
base in the unit are touching the edge of the woods) may see units outside
of the heavy woods. Units outside of the heavy woods may not see a units
inside unless it has fired. No units may see units through the heavy woods
(i.e. where both units are outside, but on opposite sides of heavy woods).
Where both units are inside the heavy woods, visibility is limited to 2 BW.
Units in heavy woods are deemed to be in cover when fired upon.
6. Light Woods. Units at the edge of a light woods may see and be seen by all
units outside of the light woods. Units outside of a light woods may see
enemy units also outside but on opposite sides of it (i.e. through the light
woods), but may not fire through unless within 4 BW. When both units are
inside the light woods, visibility is limited to 4 BW. Infantry in Loose Order,
Skirmishers in Open Order, and Indians in light woods are deemed to be in
cover.
7. Walls and Hedges. Units behind (where both the left corner of the leftmost
base in the unit and the right corner of the rightmost base in the unit are
touching the terrain) Walls and Hedges (but not Fences) count as in cover if
the firing unit is on the opposite side of the terrain. Units behind Walls and
Hedges count as having Weapons Rested if firing at a target on the opposite
side of the terrain.
8. Fences. Units behind Fences count as count as having Weapons Rested if
firing at a target on the opposite side of the Fence.

Hand-to-Hand Combat
Despite the name, hand-to-hand combat rarely represents combat where bayonets and
sabers are crossed, but rather typically represents where very short range firefights occur.
For this reason most hits that occur are due to firepower or morale failure.
1. Hand-to-hand combat is always simultaneous, with both sides attempting to inflict
casualties on one another.
2. Restrictions.

1. Columns. Units in column cannot declare a charge. Only one base may fight
in hand-to-hand. The exception to these two rules is when the unit is
defending a Bridge.
2. No Bayonets. Infantry and Skirmisher units without bayonets never inflict
casualties in hand-to-hand combat.
3. Artillery.
1. Charging Artillery. Artillery units may only be charged if the target
unit has no Infantry unit within 2 BW.
2. Inflicts Zero Casualties. These units never inflict casualties in handto-hand combat. They may not declare a charge.
3. Limbers. Limbers bases are automatically removed when contacted.
No hand-to-hand combat is conducted.
4. Skirmishers.
1. Skirmishers in the open. These units never inflict casualties in handto-hand combat, nor may declare a charge when they are in the
open.
2. Skirmishers in Woods, Towns, and Farms. These units may never
charge any enemy unit, but does defend as if Infantry in Loose
Order Line when in the indicated terrain.
5. Indians.
1. Indians in the open. These units never inflict casualties in hand-tohand combat, nor may declare a charge when they are in the open.
2. Indians in Woods, Towns, and Farms. These units may charge
enemy units (even Cavalry) when the Indian unit and the enemy
unit are both in the indicated terrain.
6. Infantry.
1. Charging Cavalry. Infantry may never charge Cavalry.
2. Charged by Superior Numbers. Infantry may only be charged if the
attacker is of superior strength to the defender (in terms of bases
remaining) at the time the charge is declared.
1. Note that if defensive fire reduces the attacking bases to
equal or lesser strength, the attack still proceeds to handto-hand combat.
2. If more than one unit is attacking the defender, the
attacker's bases are added together for determining superior
strength.
3. Charging Skirmishers and Indians. These units may be charged by
Infantry without restriction.
3. Scoring Hits. Roll a variable number of dice for each base in the unit (except units in
Column). To determine how many dice each base should roll, cross-reference one's
own unit type and formation with that of the enemy. For every die rolled, a hit is
scored on a 4-6.
Own Unit

Enemy Unit
Infantry
Close
Order

Infantry
Loose
Order

Skirmisher
Skirmisher
Open
Indians
Extended
Order

All in
Column

Cavalry in
1
Line

Infantry
Close
Order

Cavalry
Line

Infantry
Loose
Order

Indians

All in
Column

4. Additional Dice. Units in the following situations roll one additional die per base (or
one additional die if in Column):
1. Attacking an enemy flank or rear.
2. On higher ground than enemy.
3. Defending a Bridge or the bank of a Stream or River Ford against attackers
who are crossing to engage them frontally.
4. Defending a Wall, Abatis, Fieldwork, or Entrenchment against attackers
engaging them frontally.
5. Saving Roll.
1. Units in cover receive a saving roll of 4-6 for every potential hit only if the
unit scoring the hit is also not in cover (exception: see the section Farms
and Towns below).
2. If Infantry are charged frontally by Cavalry the Infantry gets a saving roll
based on its formation and the number of bases remaining.
Infantry Formation

Bases Remaining
4

Close Order

2-6

4-6

Open Order

4-6

Column

6. Base Removal. As usual, remove a base for every four hits, carrying over any
remainders.
7. Retreat. After a round of hand-to-hand combat, the losing unit must withdraw. It
has two options:
1. Retreat 1/2 a move directly to the rear, facing the enemy.
2. Retreat a full move directly to the rear, facing away from the enemy.
8. Blocked Retreat. If any unit blocks the route of retreat, the retreating unit is
eliminated.
9. Ties. If a hand-to-hand combat results in a tied result, the Patriot side retreats. The
only exception is when a Town, Farm, Fieldwork, or Entrenchment is being
defended; in this case the attacker retreats.
10. Terrain. Terrain has an effect on hand-to-hand combat.
1. Gentle and Steep Hills. A unit uphill of the enemy rolls one additional die per
base in hand-to-hand combat.
2. Streams and River Fords. Units defending the bank of a Stream (where both
the left corner of the leftmost base in the unit and the right corner of the
rightmost base in the unit are touching the edge of the Stream) rolls one
additional die per base in hand-to-hand combat. Units defending the bank of
a River at a Ford are treated the same as if defending a Stream.

3. Bridges. Units in Column on a Bridge ignore the hand-to-hand combat


penalties given to units in Column. A unit rolls one additional die per base in
hand-to-hand combat while defending a Bridge.
4. Farms and Towns. Units defending a Farm or Town count as in cover,
granting a savings roll on hits against it.
5. Heavy and Light Woods. Units defending these do not count as in cover in
hand-to-hand combat.
6. Fences, Hedges, and Walls. Units defending these do not count as in cover
in hand-to-hand combat. A unit defending a Wall rolls one additional die per
base in hand-to-hand combat.

Morale Tests
1. Testing Morale. A unit must test morale under the following circumstances:
1. It has just retreated after hand-to-hand combat.
2. A base has been removed from the unit this turn, as a result of enemy fire.
2. Test Procedure. Roll a die (1D6) and consult the table below. If the unit fails to
achieve the die roll listed, remove another base.
Unit Class

Die Roll Required

Elite

3-6

Average

4-6

Raw

5-6

3. Generals and Morale. Generals are assigned to a unit, and remain with it throughout
the battle.
1. If a unit is accompanied by a General, it may add +1 to all morale test die
rolls.
2. Generals are removed from the table when their unit is eliminated. The
General does not count as an eliminated unit.

American War of Independence Wargames


Armies
[I am not keen on generic army lists for the AWI, despite using them all the time for games
like DBA, as I think it is easier to research out historical scenarios and model the armies
from historical orders of battle.]

American War of Independence Scenarios