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Copyright 1997, Edward A. Allen
Permission granted to download this file and/or print it, to make copies
for personal use or for people you game with. Permission is withheld for
distribution of copies in which the text content has been changed. The sale
of Rencounter is prohibited without prior written consent of the author.
Comments and suggestions on these rules are welcome.
Want it in ePub
for use on your tablet? Walt O'Hara did a file conversion that might suit.
: One model is one man. One inch is four scale yards. One turn is approximately
Rencounter is intended to provide a playable game for skirmish actions using
up to about ten units on a side, with four to ten figures in each unit.
It should give you games where derring do and turns of fate loom large,
where the confusion, mischance, and surprise of such actions are represented
in an entertaining fashion.
The word Rencounter with which the game is named comes from the French word rencontre and is an
obsolete form of the English word encounter, with the specific meaning of a duel or skirmish.
Check out the
Quick Reference Sheet
for players. The current version condenses the combat
charts down to one page. The next version will include another page to summarize movement
rates, time for actions, and other rules.
Each miniature figure should be rated for experience using one of the following
||Average (alternately Regular)
||Green (alternately Novice)
||Raw Troops, Courageous Noncombatants
||Scum (Scum of the Earth, alternately
Rabble) or Petrified Noncombatants
The rating determines what initiative score the figure must roll on a D6
to activate, and determines a skill modifier for various activities. The
roll required is equal to or less than the number. Masters can be handled
in one of two ways. Either they always succeed unless affected by wounds
or morale modifiers, or they fail if they roll a 6 and then a 4-6 on a second
confirming die. If you use any, choose the version that best fits your conception of how
infallible they should be, as a house rule before the game.
Most games will use the ratings of Veteran, Average, and Green for all or
the majority of the figures involved. Raw and Scum ratings were added to
represent non-combatants that might be more the object of the victory conditions
than actors, or large mobs of undisciplined rioters with no training, little
skill, and mixed inclination towards violence. Masters were added to represent
rare highly skilled individuals in the course of a Samurai game using part
of these rules. Only very seldom should more than one master or hero be
on a side, and even having one is an occasion. Conan, Musashi, Sgt Rock,
movie heroes, and high level RPG player characters are examples of masters.
If one is present, he will probably be a leader.
Fire skill in Rencounter is a base chance to hit in an attack using a missile
weapon thrown or fired with a gun or bow. If you want a fancier roleplaying
style of differentiation, figures could have different skill levels with
different weapons. Otherwise, simply use the unfamiliar weapon penalty whenever
the weapon used is one of a type that the figure did not start the game
with. The basis of the fire combat system is to roll less than the figure's
modified fire skill to score a hit. Fire skills might typically range from
4-10, with the occasional 2 or 12 for incredibly bad or good shots.
Melee skill in Rencounter is a base chance to hit in an attack using a melee
weapon such as a fist, knife, sword, or spear. If you want a fancier roleplaying
style of differentiation, figures could have different skill levels with
different weapons. Otherwise, simply use the unfamiliar weapon penalty whenever
the weapon used is one of a type that the figure did not start the game
with. The basis of the melee combat system is to roll less than the figure's
modified fire skill to score a hit, or as the defender, to successfully
parry. Melee skills also would typically range from 4-10.
Most figures will simply be equipped with the weapons depicted on the figure.
For leaders or other special figures it may be appropriate to have them
armed with something extra like a pistol or knife that is concealed. Such
additional weapons should be noted in a side record, as should ammunition
limits if these differ from the normal basic load for the weapon. If the
weapon in hand differs from the one depicted, it should be noted on paper
and declared when visible to the enemy. Weapons that require loading or
preparation like crossbows and guns should have their load state indicated
at the beginning of the scenario. Unless there is a surprise rule in effect
for the scenario, they will probably be loaded and ready.
The figure's armor should be obvious from the figure itself. The ratings
||naked or just wearing ordinary clothing.
leather jack, buff coat, or similar, often with a helmet.
||helmet and a back and breast plate, maybe with
tasses, a short mail shirt, or similar armor that leaves arms and legs only
||lobster armor with boots, full mail, other nearly full body protection
by metal armor, usually with a helmet that provides a lot of facial protection.
||Maximillian plate, fantasy full plate, other very heavy head to toe protection that you want to distinguish from armor in class 3.
I am using these ratings directly as modifiers, which probably
underestimates the effects of armor a bit. You might consider having more
armor grades so the top numbers are higher, or perhaps doubling the modifers
to have armor be strong in effect.
The Experience level of the figure +2 will serve as a horsemanship level
for most trained cavalry figures, if needed to determine loss of control
or falls after wounds. If desired for a particular scenario, players could
establish that some mounted figures have a horsemanship rating not correlated
with their general experience level, to indicate veteran infantry moving
as mounted infantry when ambushed, or some similar situation. If possible,
it is a good idea to have separate foot figures and extra horses to represent
mounted figures that dismount during the scenario. Note that wounds to both the rider and the horse
should modify horsemanship rolls. It is harder to control a horse crazed by a wound.
Simplified characters in larger games
In larger games, it may become unwieldly to keep track of many varying individuals.
To keep things moving well, it would serve to have each unit have only one
common Experience level, usually Average or Green, perhaps with the leader
one step better. Skills can also be pegged to experience levels, so that
all Veterans are 10 in fire and melee, all Average figures 8, all Greens
Organizing the Unit
The number of units and number of figures in a unit are up to you and a
matter of taste, time, and the number of figures and players available.
Typically, a game will have 4 to 7 units on a side, with each unit numbering
4 to 6 if mounted or armed with missile weapons like guns and bows, up to
perhaps 8 to 10 if all melee-armed foot that can be handled relatively simply,
like a squad of pikemen. For Old West Gunfights and similar very small duelling
situations, having each figure act individually as a "unit" makes sense. In such
games, you can ignore all the special rules below pertaining to leadership and
just turn up the card to see who acts and then have him roll the individual
action die to do something useful and not freeze.
Each unit should have one identifiable figure that is the leader. The leader
is useful for keeping his men moving (Follow Me, Volley Fire, and Formed
Charge orders), activating men, and possibly personifying the player on
the battlefield, getting named and invested with some personality as if
a role-playing game character. Leaders are usually the best or one of the
best figures of the unit in experience and skills, but interesting scenarios
can use leaders who are new to the trade of arms, novice subalterns trying
to lead squads of average or veteran troops and the like. Leaders will often
get different weapons and armor from their followers, the partizan for the
sergeant, a brace of pistols and a fine sword for the foot officer, and
Sequence of Play
Units are activated in a random order, with the leader or all individuals
in the active unit then dicing to determine whether they act or hesitate.
The time represented by a turn is so short that a few moments hesitation
or consideration by a figure, or a stumble, wavering aim, a fumbled move
in loading, and similar less than completely efficient moves can be well
represented by the loss of a turn. Three alternate methods for determining
the order of activation of units are provided, so pick one that suits your
taste, or use some variant of your own.
Order of Units
Method One, Cards
Make a list of the units in the game and code each one to match a playing
card. Put those playing cards into the deck with one Joker added signifying
"Reshuffle". Or using blank cards, write the names of the units
on the cards themselves. Old business cards or leftover MtG land cards are
handy for this purpose. Shuffle the deck. Draw cards off the top and activate
the indicated unit when its card comes up. When the Reshuffle card comes
up, the turn ends, and remaining units do not move in that turn. Or play
without a Reshuffle card if you want to make sure that each unit gets to
move each turn. Playing without reshuffle is better if using these rules
in a roleplaying scenario where people will be upset if the enemy can get
in multiple moves without their personal character being able to respond.
Playing without a Reshuffle card is also a good idea when figures have high
movement rates and moves not executed make for odd changes in relative positions,
like in an action with a lot of cavalry.
In a recent test game, we used cards with three cards assigned to each unit
and one reshuffle card in the deck. It was a fantasy game so identical M:TG
cards were assigned to each unit. You could do the same with a normal card
deck by assigning each unit a number or face card. Any king drawn moves
the King's Guard or something like that. This system moved it along very
quickly. An optional rule we tried out was to allow any unit to reserve
an action and jump in after any other unit's actions were completed before
the next card was drawn. If another card for the same unit came up, the
held card was discarded without giving an action but the new one could be
held. All held cards were lost when the reshuffle card came up. It helped
in the early ambush phase and nobody bothered to hold back actions once
the action got really started after the ambush was sprung.
Method Two, Dice and Markers
This method requires no preparation time in listing units or marking cards,
but uses a marker and an extra die for each unit.
For each activation, roll 1D6 for each unit. The owner of that unit rolls
the die for the unit. The highest die unit gets that activation. If the
highest roll is a tie between units of only one side, activate them all.
If there is a high roll tie between units of opposing sides, reroll the
tied dice. When a unit is done with its activation, place a marker next
to it to indicate that it is done for the turn and don't roll its die in
the next set of activation rolls.
As a variant, if all the dice rolled tie, then have the turn end with no
more activations. If only one unit remains to be activated, have the opponent
roll a die to tie it and end the turn, otherwise having the last unit activate.
Method Three, Dice and Counters
This method has no collective turn that locks all the units together in
time. Each unit goes whenever it wins the activation contest roll. Each
unit will need a die and a way to tally a count (another die, chips, or
tickmarks on a roster sheet). Roll an activation die for each unit and add
the unit's current tally. At each
activation contest roll, the unit with the highest total (including any necessary tie
breaker rolls) activates, each other unit adds one to its tally. When
a unit wins an activation contest, it resets its count to zero. Thus it is random
which unit moves next, and a unit might move twice before one or more opponents
move once, but the odds favor whichever unit has waited the longest in any
particular activation roll. If you need to keep a count of the number of
turns for some victory condition or other reason, choose one unit as a reference
unit, and count a turn each time it activates. The die rolled for activation
should be equal to the number of units in play or the next size up that
fits. Thus for 9 units, roll a D10. The competitive rolling and marking
is slower than cards, but gives a nice unrtaintly in which you seldom know
who will move next or how many activations a particular unit will get between
activations of another unit, and yet no unit gets stiffed much in its overall
number of actions over a game. This used to be my method of choice, but lately
we've been using card systems for speed of play.
When a unit activates, it is not certain that its men will act effectively.
They may hesitate, freeze, stumble, fumble, stop to think, find an obstacle
in their path, or any of a number of other reasons to lose a few seconds
activity. If things look bad, they may panic and run away from the enemy
or duck into cover. If wounded, they may pass out or quit the fight. All
of this is covered in the action roll. There are four instances where only
the leader rolls for the whole unit, Follow Me, Formed Charge, and Volley
Fire, and Follow Him orders. Otherwise, each man is rolled for separately
against his own experience level. When the action roll is successful,
the figure can execute one turn of action. Some actions take up the whole
turn. Some take more
than one turn, and are carried over from activation to activation until
completed or abandoned like loading a muzzleloading gun. Some actions can
be combined and done at the same time, walking and giving an order for example.
Others may be done in the same turn, sequentially divided into an action
done in the first half of the turn and an action done in the second half
of the turn. Declaring just why a man failed an action roll or repeatedly does so
has been one of the more amusing roleplaying aspects to Rencounter.
The leader rolls against his own experience level and if he rolls equal
to or less, the whole unit activates and can follow him for movement only.
No other actions can be taken. Modify the roll normally for morale or the
leader's wounds. If other men are suffering individual modifiers for their
wounds, modify again for those men only. They are left behind unmoving if
the final score for everyone else indicates a move, but the wounded men
fail. The unit should be relatively close together for a Follow Me order.
Allow a one inch spacing between bases for green or worse troops, two inches for
regulars, three for veterans, and four for heroes to link to someone who
is linked to the leader. If some men in the unit are separated from the
unit or unable to move, then only the ones near the leader can be moved
with a Follow Me order. Move the leader and then move the other men so they
are abreast or behind the leader. He can't use "Follow Me" and
remain in the center of a mob or skulking at the rear. Other than the leader
moving to the front, a limited amount of formation change is acceptable,
stringing out behind to pass a narrow gap, or two inches or so of divergent
movement for expansion, etc. If the roll is failed, the unit does not move,
except for required follow through movement by fast moving cavalry and the
like. If you want to show drill of regular close order foot, you could allow
multiple groups to move together under the "follow me" roll of a higher level leader, but
only if in a base to base orderly linear formation at a walking pace under 3" per turn.
If an activated unit is moving under a Follow Me order and it is behind
another unit blocking a gap, on a road, or otherwise impeding it, the leader
can opt to Follow in Column and hold his unit's movement until the blocking
one moves. If the blocking unit then fails to move that turn, the unit Following
in Column loses it's move as well.
Formed Charge is like Follow Me, except it allows the unit to move and enter
melee combat. Roll vs the lowest experience rating in the unit, instead
of the leader's rating, since all the shirkers have to go in to danger and
if they are hesitating they will have to be pushed, pulled, threatened.
This takes some time. Everybody is checking right and left to make sure
he's going in with his fellows beside him and this makes the body as a whole
tend to hesitate a bit. If the roll is failed, the unit does not move, except
for required follow through movement by fast moving cavalry and the like.
Volley Fire is like Follow Me, except it requires the unit to be in formation,
with the leader where he can see his men and the enemy. All should have
loaded missile weapons. The unit cannot be in melee combat.
Roll vs the leader's rating and if he succeeds, all followers can shoot
a basic shot. Veterans or Masters can shoot an aimed shot. Others just level
their guns and fire. The leader is giving orders and does not fire himself.
If you want to have a unit move together but the leader is not out in front
leading by example, the unit will naturally be more hesitant about closing with the enemy.
As with a formed charge, use the worst experience rating instead of the
leader's, unless they are moving away from known or suspected enemy positions.
To do anything beyond the above collective orders, roll a die for each man
against his experience level and modified by wounds or morale modifiers
to see if he acts. In certain cases, described under morale, wounds, and
movement below, a man who fails to act will not freeze in place but will
take some limited action required by the rules.
Leader activation of a subordinate, "buttkicking"
If a leader activates but one of his men within 3" does not, the
leader can move adjacent to the man and give him a direct order which will
activate him. This is the leader's entire action for the turn. If the man
is wounded, he must roll again and score less than 7 - wound points to activate.
Thus a man with a serious (2 point) wound will activate on a 4 or less.
A routing figure can be rallied this way, but not an incapacitated figure.
Time and number of actions
Each turn represents approximately 5 seconds of activity by the activating
unit. Some actions that figures can take don't require that much time,
so these are set to require only 1/2 turn, and two such actions can be done
sequentially in a turn. Some can be combined with others simultaneously,
like movement and giving orders or movement and snap fire.
- Movement 1/2 or 1 If 1/2 turn of movement is done, then prorate it to 1/2
of distance rated for the whole turn. A half turn of movement can only be
done by figures moving at a rate that allows them to decelerate to 0 speed
"instantly", thus cavalry can move no more than 3" (1/2 of
the 6" rate) in a half turn and then be counted as standing still in
the second half turn.
Firing 1/2 to fire one shot or two at the Fast repeater rate with weapons
that have this rate. Can be combined with movement but counts as snap fire,
with penalties varying by movement speed and weapon type.
Loading 1/2 turn up to several turns, depending on the weapon. This must
be done stationary with most weapons, but can be done at the walking movement
rate (usually 3") with weapons that are easy to load, like cartridge
breechloading firearms. Horsebowmen can load a bow at any speed on horseback.
Drawing a sheathed weapon 1/2 turn, can combine with movement
Sheathing a weapon 1/2 turn, can combine with movement
Switching weapons from hand to hand 1/2 turn to move one weapon from one
hand to the other, 1 turn to swap two weapons held each in one hand.
Standing from prone 1 turn
Falling prone 1/2 turn
Kneeling 1/2 turn
Ducking to full cover from partially exposed position 1/2 turn if voluntary,
instant if enforced by duckback rule.
Assuming a firing position from full cover 1/2 turn.
Melee attack 1 turn, can combine with charge move to contact, and weapon
draw or hand to hand switch at a penalty.
Aiming 1/2 or more turns
Recovering from the shock of a serious or crippling wound 1 turn, and cannot
be combined with standing or moving.
Fix bayonet 1/2 turn to draw, plus 1/2 turn to fix socket bayonets or 1
turn to insert plug bayonets. Can be done at the walk.
Unfix socket bayonet 1/2 turn, Remove plug bayonet 2 turns
Calculate other times on the basis of a 5 second turn.
Effects of Wounds
Modify the action die roll for a figure by adding the number of wound points
to his roll.
Minor 1, Serious 2, Crippling 3. These wound points could total up to 5, the figure dies if it reach a total of 6.
Treat the action rolls for the men in a unit as morale checks in any turn in which one
of the following circumstances applies:
Since the last time the unit was activated
- one or more men in the unit has been killed or sustained a crippling wound or
- the unit has witnessed the elimination of a friendly unit within 24" .
or in the previous activation of the unit, one or more men
- became incapacitate by wounds by rolling 8+ on his action roll or
- ran away due to a morale failure action roll of 8+.
For these morale check action rolls, use the following die roll modifiers:
- Each man (other than the leader) in the unit incapacitated, with a crippling wound, dead, or run away +1
- unit leader incapacitated, with a crippling wound, dead, or run away +2
- Each man adds his own wound points, but doesn't count himself for the above modifiers.
- Checking for eliminated friendly unit within 24" +1
- Checking for eliminated friendly unit within 12" +2
These are cumulative, except count each eliminated friendly unit within 12" only for that condition and not the within 24" condition.
Eliminated units are those in which all men are incapacitated, crippled (3+ wound points), dead, or run away.
In rare cases where a unit has split up to the point where men couldn't be aware of the
loss of unit members after the split, do not apply modifiers for unit members a man doesn't know are lost,
but if the part of the unit a man knows about after the split is 3 or less in number, count
each of those that he is aware of being lost at +1 extra. He's feeling even lonelier when he doesn't know
the fate of others. This should help discourage breaking up units for the sake of avoiding morale penalties.
Action Rolls of 1 - Allow any figure that is seriously wounded (2 wound points)
and not yet incapacitated or healthier, to always get an action
on a roll of 1. This gives some hope that even the lamest soldier might
have a moment of glory.
Effects of Action Rolls Greater than 6
Sometimes the above modifiers will make a roll higher than 6 possible. Use
the following effects:
If a man rolls a 7 he will try to retreat directly away from the enemy,
enter cover and hide if possible; or surrender if a fit, unengaged enemy
is at close fire range with a loaded weapon, or within one move and armed
with a melee weapon, and there is no friend available to intervene and cover
is too far to reach. Unless surrendered, he can subsequently act normally
if rolling under 7. If he is suffering from a serious wound or worse and
on foot, he will fall down at the end of any enforced movement. If seriously
wounded or worse and on horseback, he must make a horsemanship check or
fall from his horse.
If a man with a serious or worse wound rolls an 8 or higher on any action
roll, he is overcome by his wounds, falls down, and can take no action for
the remainder of the game. If only minor wounds and morale loss contribute
to the roll reaching 8, he will otherwise act as per a roll of 7 above,
and continue doing so for the remainder of the game.
To represent troop quality differences in morale failure, increase the permanent
morale failure number of 8 above by 1 for Averages, by 2 for Veterans, and
by 3 for Masters. Thus a Veteran will temporarily run or seek cover on a
7- 9 and run for good on a 10.
If the leader is rolling for a unit using one of the collective orders,
then apply the die roll>6 effects above to men as individually modified
if necessary. A 7 or higher rolled by a leader, counting his own modifiers
in such a case affects all men in the unit as above if they can see him
cowering or running or others of the unit that are reacting that way because
of the leader's failed morale.
Leader influenced morale rolls optional rule
If you want to further represent leadership in morale,
you can have the leader roll first, and if he succeeds, troops in base to
base contact with him or who can see him within three inches will have a
positive moral modifier of 1 to offset same unit casualty or witness to
destruction modifiers. If he panics with a 7+ result, apply the lost leader penalty instead.
Heroes optional rule
Any figure rolling a natural 1 on his first activation roll that counts as
a morale check can roll again immediately. If this second roll succeeds
against the figure's unmodified experience value, he is "berserk" or
"inspired" and will not be subject to any further morale checks for the
remainder of the game. If you are tracking characters from scenario to
scenario, he can do the same with an initial natural 1-2, and if the second
check succeeds, will be able to do it in the next game following on a 1-3,
etc. Any failure of the series will step him back one point on the initial
roll for the next game. Complete successes over a course of several games
might result in such a hero that he makes that first roll on 1-6 and only
the second roll is needed for him to be heroic. Audie Murphy is one real
life example of a person who was habitually cool and heroic in combat in a
way that could not otherwise be simulated within Rencounter.
A unit of Viking berserkers could be considered to be a bunch of such
"natural warriors" or "bloody loonies" that have been collected together.
Basic foot movement
A man on foot can move 6" when activated. This can be reduced by terrain
or by wounds (-2" per wound level). Crawling on all fours can be done
as fast as 3", but only 1" if trying to low crawl to maintain
prone target benefits. Crawling is slowed by 1" per wound level, low
crawling by 1/3" per wound level.
Advanced foot movement
Normal moves are 6" as for basic foot movement. A man can run 9"
per turn for a short while before becoming fatigued. Unless you want to
add an additional individual stamina statistic, each side should be rated
for how many turns a man can run full speed before becoming winded. A simple
rating might be to use each leader's experience rating as the number of running turns
for his unit. OR use each man's own experience number. Melee turns should also count
against the limit for men running after fighting in melees. The resting time to regain the
full running rate should be pretty long in Rencounter's time scale, maybe moving at walking
or less rate and not fighting for twice the number of running turns.
A man on foot can move backwards up to 3". If he is going faster than
1" in any terrain other than smoothe, clear ground, roll an extra action
check to avoid tripping.
Basic foot turning
A man on foot can make 6 turns of up to 45 degrees, together or separately.
Advanced foot turning
A man running at over 6" per turn can make 4 turns of up to 45 degrees,
separated by 2" between turns.
Basic Horse Speed
Horses can move 12" per turn, accelerating and decelerating by 6"
Advanced Horse Speed
Horses can move 18" inches per turn, accelerating and decelerating
by 6" per turn. A man riding at over 12" per turn falls off if
he fails his action roll and then fails a followup "Horsemanship"
test action roll. Resolve falling injuries as described below under Special
Actions and Circumstances.
All wounded men on horseback or men on wounded horses moving at greater
than 3" and rolling over 6 on action roll must test horsemanship as
above or fall off. Horsemanship test rolls use wound (both man and horse) and morale modifiers.
Cavalry that fail action rolls continue at the same speed or decelerate
by 6", turning only as necessary to avoid running into terrain features.
Cavalry previously halted or moving backwards can move backwards at 2".
Horses moving up to 6" should be able to make 4 x 45 degree turns.
Horses moving up to12", 3 x 45 degrees with 3" separating turns.
Horses moving up to 18", 2 x 45 degrees with 6" separating turns.
Horse can jump over some obstacles. This requires a horsemanship roll. If
failed by an odd number the horse balks and sheers away or stops before
the obstacle. If failed by an even number, the horse goes over but the rider
loses his seat and falls. As a rule of thumb, a 2 1/2 foot high fence is
a basic horsemanship roll and every 6" higher is a +1 to the roll.
Riding at high speed on a horse in woods or tall brush similarly requires
horsemanship rolls, as defined by the referee for the terrain at hand. Densely
spaced trees with low branchs obviously should be more difficult than widely
spaced trees with no branches low enough to sweep a rider from the saddle.
Declare a safe speed for a patch of woods and a -1 penalty for each 3"
or 6" over. See below under "Effects of enemy figures on movement" if the obstacles are other figures.
Wagons, Artillery, and other Wheeled Conveyances
*Handle in later version - basically most will move about as fast as foot,
though some light ones up to 12" . They turn like horses moving a bracket
faster. They are particularly sensitive to terrain effects.
Effects of enemy figures on movement
A figure may not move through an enemy figure. This includes base stands
of a reasonable size, up to 1" across for most 25mm figures, up to
1/2" across for 15mm figures, about the same depth for foot, as deep
as necessary to accommodate the horse for cavalry.
Cavalry that are charging into a unit of enemy figures too fast to stop
and without room for attacking in passing will have to roll one horsemanship
check to get to horse to go in and not sheer off where there is room and
a second on contact to for the rider to stay on at the contact. If both
succeed, the horse will hit an enemy figure in front of it after the rider
resolves his melee attack. If the figure struck was not engaged in melee
by the active rider or another member of the rider's unit, he can roll an
Action check immediately and use it to dodge out of the way if there is
space to the side, or to attack the rider or horse. The impact of a charging horse
will knock a footman down and roll for damage against him. Take the damage roll
at +2 if it is moving over 12", +4 if over 6" and up to 12". Under 6" speed,
the horse will just stop. Add +1 to this modifier if the horse is particularly small, like some steppes ponies,
-1 if it is big like a knight's destrier. If a horse is forced to run into another horse this way,
total their speeds if they are heading within 45 degrees of head on to each other, and subtract the lower speed
if one is within 45 degrees of the same direction as the other. If the total goes over 18", then the
damage roll is at +0 for speed. Roll the damage against both horses. If either is wounded by the collision,
then it's rider takes another horsemanship check to not fall off, modified by the horse's wounds and his own.
Accidental collisions between horses and friendly troops they can't avoid should be resolved using
the same damage rules. Friendly foot would get a similar activation check to dodge first if they have room.
Leaving Melee - A figure in base to base contact with an enemy figure can freely move away without the "free swing" that some
rules systems would give his opponent. Unless attacked from behind, he'll either have to back out, possibly risking tripping, or turn
and leave. If using advanced foot movement and initially turning more than 45 degrees, he'll only be able to run away 6" in the break off move, as moving faster would require
separation between the turns. The opponent will probably be able to chase him down and attack again
when his own next action comes if no other factor has intervened. Disengaging from melee requires a lot of attention to
one's immediate opponent and is thus not eligible for a group move under a "Follow Me" command by a leader. Each figure
breaking off will have to roll his own activation. A pass-through Formed Charge by cavalry that attack partway along a move and
continue away immediately is the only disengage that can be done by a group order, leadership being exerted before the contact.
Terrain and movement
At this scale, trees tend to represent individual trees, so figures cannot
move through a tree trunk.
Brush and boggy ground should impede infantry some and others more.
Hill effects vary with steepness.
For now, go by referee definition.
Terrain effects should reduce speeds by 1/3, 1/2, or 2/3 with increasing
severity, as these are easy to calculate fractions of 6 and its multiples.
Buildings have lots of factors to handle - doors, windows, stairs, wall
climbing, jumping down, wing it for now. Remember, one turn is 5 seconds.
See the notes below in the Terrain section of Special Actions and Circumstances for more notes on handling terrain.
The base chance to hit on a D12 is the figure's skill. Roll less than or
equal to skill to hit. Rolling a natural 1 is not a guarantee of a hit when
shooting, but gives a chance to confirm a lucky hit with a second roll if
the natural roll needed was -4 or better.
||Confirming roll on D12
An example of using this rule: Private Wilton has a fire skill of 5 and
after all modifiers (-6 total) are applied to a shot needs -1 on a D12. Instead of scratching
as being impossible we deem it to be a low odds shot. Looking at the table above, we
see that Jake needs to roll a 1, and then if he gets it, he can get a hit by rolling
a 7 or less on a second D12. Basically, he has about a 5% chance of a hit. With modifiers dropping
his effective skill to -4, he'd need snake eyes on D12s, 1/144, a great trick if you can pull
it off and worth gloating and load complaints about luck by the opponent. At -5 or worse he
can't hit at all. If you keep track of your dice by color, you could even
roll these together, noting, say, a white die as the shooting die and a red one as
the confirming die.
Rolling a natural 12 is always unsuccessful.
To Hit Modifiers and related rules
Add these modifiers to the Skill number to get the roll needed on a D12. Note that the modifiers
have been inverted and applied to the skill instead of the die roll, as was done in earlier
versions so that the numbers "feel" better. What you actually need to roll on the die to hit is the
*Too Close is base stand contact for pistols or thrown weapons,
up to 2" for long arms and bows.
Armor and Shields
Thrown weapons, bows, and crossbows add target armor and -1 for a medium
shield, and -2 for a large shield. Low velocity firearms like muskets and
shotguns take -1 vs armor 3 or 4. If the shield makes the difference versus a
javelin, then there is a 50% chance the javelin is stuck in the shield,
affecting the target as if a minor wound until the javelin is removed from
the shield (3 actions) or the shield discarded (1 action).
||Mostly obscured by leafy cover
||Protected by partial solid cover (approx 1/2 covered)
||Protected 3/4 by solid cover
enough showing out of solid cover to see and fire a gun
all but small part, e.g. peaking out or shooting through a loophole
A shot that misses due to hitting solid cover (it would have hit if not
for the cover modifier) will often cause a man to flinch. Also roll duckbacks for any missile wounds against
figures in cover that don't actually knock the guy over. Roll an action
check for the figure at -2.
If failed, he ducks back completely behind the
cover immediately (out of the normal sequence) at the end of the current
activation's resolution. This means that multiple shots fired at him during
the current activation will all be resolved and then he will duck back behind
cover. It will require a 1/2 turn action for him to move back into an exposed
Mounted Target +1 and then roll for man or horse hit (1/3 chance it's the
man) or aim at one or the other at normal to hit and have a 1/6 chance of
hitting the other instead by accident if a hit is scored.
Ignore kneeling and prone target modifiers for shots at 2" or less range. It doesn't
matter that you are lying down if the shooter is standing right over you looking at your body
Aimed fire is possible at short range or greater.
One half turn spent aiming 0. Half turns of aim come from situations like
reloading a 1/2 turn reload weapon and aiming for the second half of the
turn, then firing in the next turn.
One turn spent aiming before firing turn +2.
Two or more turns of aim +3. (not cumulative)
Aimed fire that is braced on the terrain like a windowsill or rock or when
firing prone or an aid like a musket rest gets an additional +1.
A moving figure cannot aim, but a figure can move for 1/2 turn, and then
stand still and aim in the second half, if moving on foot or at the lowest
Snap Fire is firing with no time spent aiming.
Snap firing is at a -2 penalty when combined in the same turn with another
action like walking, reloading or drawing a weapon. If the only action taken
in the turn is one shot, there is enough aiming (1/2 turn) for no penalty.
Throwing weapons take the -2 penalty but get a 50% range extension if thrown
while running in the same direction.
Bows fired from horseback, firearms and crossbows can snap shoot while
moving faster, at a penalty of -4.
If using a fast repeating weapon, up to 4 shots may be taken in one turn.
If using a slow repeating weapon, two shots may be taken in one turn. The
first shot is taken as aimed or snap shot depending on whether there was
any aiming prior to the shot. Each shot after the first in one turn is at
a -1 cumulative penalty. Double action revolvers and automatic pistols are
examples of fast repeating weapons. Single action revolvers are examples
of slow repeating weapons. Fire continued from turn to turn is considered to
be a snap shot in the next turn unless new aiming is done.
3" or less +0
3.5 - 6" -1
6.5 - 12" -2
12.5 - 18" -3
Target first seen by shooter during target's preceding unit activation.
Target first seen by shooter during current unit activation. -2
Fire past friends, or at enemies engaged in melee
If a friendly figure is partially blocking the line of sight to a target,
then treat him as if he were providing hard cover to the target.
The to hit chance is modified by the amount of the target blocked. If the to hit roll
is such that the shot would hit the cover, it hits the interposed friend instead.
If a friend is in melee with an enemy figure, then handle as above but apply a further -2 to the shot,
as the two are close together and assumed to be moving unpredictably. This also provides 2 chances in 12 of hitting the
friend meleeing that target even if the friend is not apparently blocking the direct LOS between firer and target.
Roll 1D12 and adjust the die roll by any weapons damage modifier or target
protection damage modifier.
1-2 Struck dead
3-4 Crippling wound
5-7 Serious wound
8-12 Minor Wound
Higher - no effect
Subtract 1 from the die roll if the too hit roll succeeds by 3 or better
beneath the highest number needed to hit.
All missile weapons adjust their damage modifier +1 at extreme range, unless
this is modified by a special rule for the particular weapon. For instance,
shotguns and blunderbusses should be at -2 at "Too Close" range
and attenuate by +1 per range bracket.
Reloading a weapon is a multi-turn action for many weapons. A side record
will need to be kept of how many successful actions a figure has towards
getting his gun reloaded. If a weapon had a loading time of 1/2 indicated,
then it can be reloaded and fired in the same turn, taking the snap fire
A referee wanting even more realism might inflict some of the real life
loading errors like forgetting a step or accidentally doubling a step to
some failed action rolls that occur during loading. Remember the anecdotes
about the rifles picked up on the field after Gettysburg with as many as
six or eight bullets rammed uselessly into the barrels.
In some cases, particularly when the terrain is dense and/or there are cavalry
in the game, it may be useful to have an opportunity fire rule. I consider
this an optional rule. As an alternative to a normal action, a figure can
take aim at an area. This requires an action roll as usual. If any enemy
enters the area targeted, the figure may shoot him if he succeeds at an
"opportunity fire action roll" which he attempts immediately.
He may only attempt one such opportunity fire between each activation of
his unit. Treat the shot as if aiming for 1/2 turn, thus no snap fire penalty
but no aiming bonus versus the target that enters the target area. Target
movement and appearing target modifiers, etc apply normally. The area a
figure can cover is a judgement call, but a 4" diameter circle is a
good starting point and will serve unless you prefer a different size template
declared before the game begins. You might want to allow more experienced
men to cover a bigger area than novices or have the opportunity fire zone
be along a line of sight or arc from the firer. Experiment. In a refereed
game, the player could declare the target area secretly to the referee,
but the model should be facing it. Opportunity fire aim, like other aim,
will be broken by a duckback result against the aiming figure.
|Cap and Ball Rifle
|Single Shot Breechloader Carbine
|Magazine Rifle **
|Magazine Carbine **
|Cap & Ball Pistol
|Cap & Ball Revolver
|Small Double Action Revolver
|Large Double Action Revolver
|Small Single Action Revolver
|Large Single Action Revolver
|Double Barrel Shotgun #
|Lt. MG unbraced
|Lt. MG braced
Increase the loading time of socket bayonet weapons by 1 turn for care in
avoiding the bayonet point. Plug bayonets take 2 turns to pull and 1 to
sheathe prior to loading.
*Increase each range by 50% if throwing while running in same direction
to set up throw. This does incur the snap fire to hit penalty, but extends
** Many magazine rifles can be reloaded for each shot firing at an effective
reloading rate of 1/2, to save the magazine for crisis moments when a higher
rate of fire is needed.
# Shotguns and blunderbusses get a +2 To Hit modifier at short
through long range, and have damage modifier of -2 at "Too Close"
range and attenuate by +1 per range bracket. At short range they can roll
vs two adjacent targets, at medium, two targets within 1" of each other,
at long range up to 2" separation (plus any targets between), at extreme
all in a 4" wide area.
Revolvers can reload 2 chambers in one turn, or all 6 in 2 turns.
Repeat is the rate of repeated shots in one turn, N is none (single shot
only), S is slow (2/turn max, F is fast, 4/turn max.
Experimental rule for automatic weapons:
Fx2 or Fx3 give up to 8 or 12 shots respectively, taking the -1 per shot penalty as before.
For older guns that don't have a selective fire "burst" setting, require an extra action roll
to stop at the desired number of shots and not waste the rest of the magazine on the shot. For newer guns that
do have a selective burst setting, assume they can get off as many bursts as an F repeater would single shots. Each
burst being the size appropriate to that model (usually 3 rounds?).
A braced MG means one that is using the bipod or tripod from the appropriate prone or
seated/kneeling position or over suitable hard cover or pintle mounted.
The above listed LMG would be magazine fed and reloaded by the gunner.
I'll have to work on rules for having a loader assist and for belt fed guns, changing barrels, etc.
Obviously the table is not all-inclusive. Interpolate additional weapons
as needed for a scenario. Remember that a turn is 5 seconds and assume a
veteran who can make the ideal rate of fire for the weapon for determining
reload rate. Additional time for less experienced troops will come naturally
out of failed action rolls. As a referee or group, feel free to adjust such details as ranges, rates of fire, damage modifiers,
magazine capacities, and reload times to reflect your superior knowledge of
particular weapons. The numbers in the table represent generic classes of weapons, and specific models are likely to differ. I would like to hear what changes you make and why, so I can
consider incorporating them. I am not a completely knowledgeable gun buff, so you are likely to know the values better if you are one. Relative accuracies of different guns can be reflected in the range bands,
and taking the weapons into account when you set up the fire skills for your scenario. It has been pointed out to me that the extreme ranges listed above are pretty conservative for many rifles and other firearms.
This is true, at last to the extent that they are certainly able to shoot a bullet much farther, possibly with useful aiming. My guess is that the hit probabilities are very low beyond the listed ranges. If you
think that effective fire can be done at longer ranges and have a big enough table
or rescale the ground scale to fit, go ahead and adjust the extreme, and maybe the long range of appropriate weapons upward to suit your group's view on the matter.
For now, compare the object or weapon thrown to the javelin, and reduce the range as appropriate for things that are
heavier or less aerodynamic. Allow the same kind of range boost for a running throw. A small rock or grenade should be able to go about 2/3 as far, and a really big
rock, flaming brand, or barroom chair about 1/3. Assess the damage modifier similarly by comparison to existing weapons.
Grenades & flaming brands have to land somewhere. If a miss is rolled, scatter them with a D12 for direction, 12 o'clock being inthe direction of the throw, and a distance of 1D6 inches plus the number missed by. They cannot scatter back towards the thrower
more than half the distance from the thrower to the target.
Attacking in melee combat is an action available when an activated figure
is adjacent or moves adjacent to an enemy figure. Both the attacker and
defender roll for each melee attack. If the attacker's score is a success and
the defender's fails, then the defender is hit and you roll for damage,
with the difference in the to hit and parry rolls possibly causing a modifier
to the severity of the wound inflicted.
When a figure is attacked in melee combat, he can roll an Action check,
which, if successful, will allow him to count his combat roll as an attack
and damage his attacker if he wins the roll. If this roll is failed, his
combat roll is defensive only. Ripostes are not possible against attackers
who began their move behind the defender and attacked from behind the defender.
Ripostes only hit the attacker when the defender rolls a successful parry, and
the attacker missed his attack. Also, some of the modifiers that do not apply to the
parry might affect the riposte, like the attacker's body armor and shield use.
The base chance to hit on a D12 is the figure's skill. Roll less than or
equal to skill to hit or parry. Rolling a natural 1 is always a successful
hit or parry. Rolling a natural 12 is always unsuccessful.
Charges are any moves to melee contact. Charging attackers are resolved
after combats by troops that begin adjacent in the current unit's activation.
Cavalry, with their inability to stop instantly if moving fast, may have
to resolve their melee combats in passing, as they move by an opponent.
Each still only gets a single attack at some point it its movement.
One Vs Many
As a defender, a figure can only riposte versus one attacker during any
one unit's activation. He can still roll versus each attacker to parry that
The defender's parry chance is decreased by each active attacker engaging him over 1
and the attackers' chances improved by one
for each extra attacker over 1. Defending masters are skillful enough to evade gang-up
tactics and use the enemy numbers against them, causing them to collide, etc, in the
approved Hollywood fashion, so ignore these modifiers if a master is defending. If figures
from more than one unit are attacking a single individual, then when any one attacks, the ones from the
other unit can make action rolls to help add to the gang up modifiers, but don't actually
attack except in their own unit's activations. By active attackers, I mean only those that succeed in their
action rolls. Guys standing around in confusion, off balance, or whatever the failed roll means do not contribute to
the gang-up modifier.
Example: A young King's Musketeer, Experience of 4 is facing three of the Cardinal's Guard, also Experience 4. The Guards card comes up and they attack.
Action rolls are 3, 5, 1. Two of them activate. This is one more than the base of one attacker.
Each of the active two will get a +1 to his melee to hit chance and the Musketeer will get -1 to his parry vs each.
Example 2: The King's Musketeer is facing the three of the Cardinal's Guards and has Milady DeWinter (a unit herself) at
his back. The Guards card comes up and they attack. Action rolls are 3, 5, 1. Two of them activate.
Milady also rolls an action roll and succeeds. Each of the active two guardsmen will get a +2 to his
melee to hit chance and the Musketeer will get -2 to his parry vs each, because of Milady's threat,
even though she doesn't actually attack at this moment. When her card comes up, if no one has left
the melee, all three guardsmen would get to attempt activation to add outnumbering modifiers to her attack.
Example 3: Miyamoto Musashi, an Experience 6 master, is surrounded by enemy ashigaru. He feints one way and two
stumble into each other avoiding him. He whirls the other way
and now an enemy finds one of his comrades between himself and Musashi and holds his blow. Okay, well we aren't
modelling at quite this level of detail, but the net effect is that Musashi being a master makes all parries at
full value, and all his attackers only have their ordinary rolls. They better hope some of them have high enough
melee skills to be effectively aggressive and reduce his parry that way.
Last Shot vs Charge optional rule
In most games lately, we've been allowing figures with loaded guns who are
charged from the front to get off one last shot if they succeed at an instant
action check. This is with the target in base to base contact so the the
too close penalty and the moving target penalty and the snap shot penalty
if they haven't been previously aiming at the charging figure. So it is usually
a crummy shot. You might make this in lieu of a parry or allow the shot
and the parry. We've usually played with both shot and parry but no riposte.
Sword and pistol armed figures should be allowed both defenses,
but the weapon in the off hand should take a -2 penalty.
Weapon breakage in parries optional rule
If the attacker hits and the defender successfully parries, sometimes a weapon will be broken.
If the attacker rolls low enough, the defender's weapon or shield will be broken. If the defender rolls low enough, the attacker's weapon will be broken.
The number to break the opponent's weapon is 2 or less. Add the damage modifier of your weapon to your roll and subtract the opponent's damage modifier, to see if you break his weapon.
Treat a metal faced shield as -1 for this purpose, wood or hide with metal rim and/or boss as 0, and plain wood +1, plain hide or wicker shield as +2.
A defender will lose his shield first if he has one, and will use the shield's modifiers instead of his weapon, under the assumption that the shield is the mostly likely thing to block the attack.
For example: Attacker with sword and melee skill 7, defender with battleaxe and melee skill 6. Attacker rolls 4, defender 3.
The sword has damage mod 0, and the axe -1. For sword vs axe, 4+0-(-1) > 2 so no harm is done to the defender's axe. Axe vs sword, so 3-1 = 2, and the attacker's sword is broken.
If the defender had axe and a metal rimmed wooden shield with the same rolls, the attacker's sword would not be damaged, as the shield would be the parrying item with a 0 modifier.
If playing with hit locations, and the defender has a wounded shield arm, treat his weapon as the parrying item first instead.
Weapons getting stuck optional rule
Many historical accounts mention melee weapons getting stuck in the victim. To simulate this possibility, when a crippling wound or an outright kill is
inflicted, have the attacker roll a D12 immediately against his melee skill to unstick the weapon. If this roll fails, a successful activation will have t be spent prying it loose if he
wants to keep it. If he is riding a horse going to fast to stop, he will lose the weapon, left behind in the body, if the unsticking roll fails.
On a natural 12 on the unsticking roll, the user discovers that the weapon was broken or badly bent in the victim.
Blunt weapons like gunbutts and chairs won't get stuck, but still give a 1 in 12 chance that the weapon is broken, higher if the ref rules the weapon is particularly fragile. Chairs in brawls, for example,
should splinter most of the time, to replicate Hollywood results if nothing else.
Shooting the Bayonet Free optional rule
An fun optional rule for the bloody minded, especially if the above rule is in use, is to allow anybody with
a socket bayonet on a loaded gun to shoot the gun for an automatic damage
roll after any time they inflict a serious or worse wound with the bayonet. The recoil will free the stuck bayonet. Obviously this
does not apply to plug bayonets.
Attacking horses optional rule
A melee attack against a mount should be resolved with the normal modifiers to the attacker's melee roll. While the horse has no ability to parry itself, it's rider may be able to, or the horse may be able to dodge the blow or otherwise spoil it.
If the attack is coming from a direction that the rider will not be able to parry effectively with the weapons he's using, , like from in front of the horse and he has a sword, then have the horse roll a "parry" roll representing its attempt to dodge or other movement spoiling the attacker's strike. Appropriate melee skills would be 3 for your random horse off the street,
5 for a trained cavalry horse, or 7 for a knight's trained warhorse. The referee may want to adjust these in general or for particular horses. Modify this by any armor on the horse, wounds, etc. Treat the horse's "weapon type" as unarmed. Allow the rider to count as an extra enemy "outnumbering" the attacker just as if the horse were any other friend of the rider. If the rider
is well positioned to block for the horse, like using that sword and the attacker is right alongside the rider's leg, let the rider parry for the horse as he would for himself. This may not represent actually getting the sword interposed in front of a low stroke, but may be scaring the attacker back out of effective reach, to save his own head.
A light lance should probably allow the rider to parry to the front as well. A heavy couched lance wouldn't have much ability to parry at all, so unless the attack was from his shield side, use the horse's own roll.
Attacks by horses optional rules
Most horses are not trained to attack and will only do so by trampling under the movement rules about collisions.
A few horses, like the warhorses of some knights, are trained to combat, by rearing up and striking with the
forehooves, biting, kicking, etc.
If such horses appear in a scenario, when moving 6" or less in the turn, allow them to attack to the front or directly to the rear with a melee skill
as above, counting as 0 to hit modifier, and +1 damage modifier, if the rider makes his horsemanship roll. A
failure just means he didn't coax it to attack. If the horse does attack,
the rider makes another horsemanship check to avoid being unhorsed by the horse's rearing and fighting.
Pretty much any horse may kick somebody directly behind it if scared or startled. When it's group goes and
it is being crowded by somebody or something adjacent and directly behind it, and there is any ongoing melee
or firing within 6", roll 1D6 for a special activation for the horse in addition to the rider's normal
activation. On a 1, the horse kicks at the melee skill listed above under Attacking Horses, scoring damage with a +4 modifier if it hits
(+5 for small horses, +3 for big ones). Any parry rolled vs this kick is basically a dodge.
Damage (Rolled on D12 after successful hit)
- 1-2 Struck dead
- 3-4 Crippling wound
- 5-7 Serious wound
- 8-12 Minor Wound
- Higher - no effect
Modify roll by attacker's weapon.
Target armor 3 or 4 +1
Attacker succeeded by 3 or more points under To Hit chance -2
||Use with Shield
Other weapons are possible. Factor them as seems appropriate and agree before
The more wieldly the weapon is, the higher the To Hit modifier.
The more damage it does, the lower the Damage modifier.
An extra rank can fight if there is more than 4 feet in front of the grip
and approximately every 3 feet beyond.
Weapons marked Y for shield mean that a shield or second "Y" rated
weapon can be used to block, gaining the defense modifier.
Situation (all modifiers adjust the skill based to hit number)
Above opponent (includes cavalry vs foot and foot vs prone) +1
Charging at 4" or greater rate with a thrusting weapon +1
Mounted charge at 7-18" speed +1
Drawing weapon or switching weapon from hand to hand in same turn as attack
Wounded attacking figure -1 Minor, -2 Serious, -3 Crippling
Target 1/2 protected by cover - 2
Target 3/4 protected by cover -4
Each active, outnumbering attacker after the first, parry at -1 (cumulative,
waived for defending masters)
Multiple attackers vs single defender, each activated after 1st, attackers get +1 (cumulative,
waived for defending masters)
Target Armor Rating -Armor (0-4)
Attacking vs small or medium shield or two weapons -1
Attacking vs large shield -2
Attacker's rank behind first -1 (cumulative per rank)
Parrying from well-ordered, close formation +2
Aggressive attack - High melee skill fighters can take voluntary penalty
reduction as far as to skill 6, and reduce opponent's attack or parry roll
by same amount.
Bad Footing, difficulty seeing, other as set in scenario or determined by
Unfamiliar weapon type -2
Attacked from behind -2 to parry and no shield use
I sometimes hang little plastic rings on figures to indicate wounds. Small labels
stuck on the base, bits of colored pipe cleaner, or wounds recorded on a
roster are other possible bookkeeping tools.
Minor wound - one wound marker
-1 to initiative, melee, shooting and other skills, -2" to movement
Serious Wound - two wound markers
Knocked down and requires 1 successful activation to recover from the shock
before standing back up.
-2 to initiative, melee, shooting and other skills, -4" to movement
Variable knockdown optional rule: To add a little spice at the expense of a bit more complexity, have a serious wound only knock the
man down if he fails an instant activation roll. Apply the wound modifiers and the damage modifier of the weapon that hit him to his Experience Number.
Crippling Wound - three wound markers
Knocked down and requires 1 successful activation to recover from the shock
before standing back up.
-3 to initiative, melee, shooting, and other skill rolls, -6" to movement
Wounds are additive. Two minors equals one serious. A minor and a serious
equals a crippling wound.
Two crippling wounds will kill. Combinations of wounds between Crippling
and Death can total -4 or -5 modifiers and double that in movement penalties.
Minor wounds just modify the horse's maximum speed and any horsemanship checks the rider has to make.
Horses are not knocked down by serious wounds but require a horsemanship roll on the rider's next activation to not fall off, effects as below.
Horses are knocked down by crippling wounds, and the rider will require a horsemanship check to dismount without taking falling damage or being trapped by the fallen horse.
If the horsemanship roll is failed, he'll fall and take at damage roll at +6 up to 6" speed, +4 at 7 to 12", +2 if faster. Then roll a second check. If that is failed too,
he is pinned by the horse and will require a successful activation check at -2.
to free himself. Others can help him giving +2 to this roll for each activated friend assisting him.
If using the variable knockdown for serious wounds above, apply it to crippling wounds inflicted on horses too, to see if they are knocked down.
If a rider continues to ride a wounded horse, using the advanced movement rules he'll have to continue to make
horsemanship rolls if it is moving fast, as described above in the movement rules.
Spotting Hidden Enemies
I'm still free-kriegspieling this, trying to settle on a level of detail
to use. As a rule of thumb, assume troops of reasonable fieldcraft who are
stationary in leafy cover can remain hidden until the enemy get close. Maybe
give the enemy one roll to spot a unit per turn needing under 12 minus
the range in inches on a D12, with a 2 point bonus if he spotting unit
includes a master, 1 point per veteran, and 1 point for each potentially
visible green soldier in the hiding unit. Double the range if the hiding
unit are in bright colors, triple for shiny armour, double if infantry
and doing nothing but trying to observe, halve for obervers running, or
on trotting or galloping horses, firing at others more than 6" or 90
degree away from target. Double if obsevers are notable scouts, half if
notably unobservant like some guards cavalry. Guys shooting from cover should
usually be spotted especially if using pre-smokeless powder firearms. Guys
moving carefully in cover might double the spotting range. You might want
to set absolute visibility ranges through brush, corn, or lichen-simulated
bushes. Maybe only allow spotting rolls if somthing changes like the hiding
guys move or the spotters get closer so that spotting does not become inevitable
once you get close enough and then wait a few turns. If you have a nicely
worked out spotting system that you might be willing to give me to use here,
I'd be glad to get some email on it. I've tried a number of ideas and most
have worked okay, but were very informal, at the 'decide on a chance to
spot and have 'em roll a die' level.
* The system should take into account distance, experience, armor, and activity
of hearer, type of target and movement, and ambient battle noise.
Messages should be limited to a few words per five second turn. Somewhere
around 10 words or one sentence.
Signals by Horn, Gun, and Flag
* Prearranged signals, require target able to perceive them and successful
actions to make or react to them.
Special Actions and Circumstances
*Fires and Smoke
*number of actions and rolls to ignite various objects, spreading rates, effects on figures
Herd movement by riderless horses
Set up a little table to show how they will move randomly among front side
directions part of the time and start following groups of friendly horses
sometimes and stay with their downed rider sometimes.
Terrain at this scale should be directly representative. If there are four
trees in a woods, there are really four trees and they are each standing
right there and have a trunk as thick as it looks, so may or may not be
good for cover. You can't walk through a tree and move it out of the way
as you would in a larger scale game. If a tree looks climbable then you
can allow for characters to climb it, with the referee determining how long
it will take, how it restricts LOS and how much it conceals the person in
the canopy, and what might make the climber fall, etc.
I typically don't deduct from movement for 0.5" countours, take off an inch
from infantry moves for going up 1" contours and 2" for 1.5"
high countours. Cavalry double this or worse. They might take 1" for
0.5" countours, 3" for 1" countours and treat 1.5 " countours
as only climbable by spending the whole move and making a successful horsemanship
check unless on a marked trail that crosses the contour at an angle, or
a road that smoothes the steepness, possibly switchbacking up the face.
Depending on how your hills are constructed, you may need a different formulation,
especially if the ground represented is particularly bad or you use continuous
slope hill models.
Boggy or sandy ground or fordable streams might all impede movement, typically
slowing cavalry more than infantry, and wheeled transport even more. Use
common sense. Camels, for instance, should be impeded very little if at
all by sandy dunes.
General movement rates of all terrain on the table should be spelled out
by the referee or scenario designer at the beginning of the game, unless
the ref has some special plan to have the fog of war intrude in the scenario
and one side does not know tha,t say, everything within 10" of the
fallen tree is boggy ground.
Doors and windows should be handled by how easy they are to open or break.
Remember that a turn is about 5 seconds and think about how long it will
be to unlock, open, climb through, or break down. Shooting out locks will help with some,
axes hasten the rate of breaking down a door, etc.
Fanatics charge into combat on a follow me at the leader's value. They will
attack surrendered troops, so there should be a modifer against surrendering
to them. They might have some other special rules like being unaffected
by the loss of friendly units, ignoring the first point of wounds on activation rolls
and in the optional knockdown checks vs serious wounds.
Higher Level Leadership
Typically we play with one leader who is an NCO,"natural leader",
or junior officer per unit.
Lately we've begun experimenting with higher level leaders who command the
whole on table force. These can basically work in a couple of ways.
They can be floating leaders who can attach to a unit and just act as an
extra normal leader in it, as well as having leadership influence, buttkicking,
etc, over the unit's intrinsic leader, and the ability of changing the
unit's overall "mission" objectives, if you set such at the beginning
of the game.
We have also experimented in one game with giving the commanding leader
a separate activation card and allowing him to re-activate one unit to
which he is attached each turn for an extra move or volley, but only things
that can be done collectively under leadeship direction. He could of course
move alone to attach to a different unit. Play with either idea or try
Weather can have all sorts of effects, ranging from rain wetting bowstrings,
slow matches, and gunpowder making bows and early firearms less useful to
making the ground slippery and hazardous or making it hard to see or hear one's enemies.
In general, the scenario designer should consider the effects he wants unusual weather conditions to
have on his game. There is probably not time for the weather to change in a Rencounter scenario, lasting at most a few
minutes of "game time".
The system should account for height and speed of horse or wagon movement.
Basically a fall from a galloping horse or an unexpected 10 foot or prepared
20 foot fall should be a damage roll at +2 or thereabouts.
For falls from horses or moving vehicles, take at damage roll at +6 up to 6" speed, +4 at 7 to 12", +2 at 13 to 18", 0 at 19 to 24", and -1 for every 6" speed higher if from fast vehicles.
More later, but here's a quick and dirty beginning rule for grenades - Figure on 1 action to get a grenade out, (1/2 if strung on a convenient bandolier and both hands are free) and 1 action to arm the grenade for throwing. 1/2 action + any aiming for the throw itself. After placing the grenade with the thrown object rules,
resolve the explosion by treating the grenade as +1 to the damage roll and +1 per 1/2 inch anybody is away from the grenade. If the grenade does a serious wound or worse, the target is knocked down, a light wound knocks him down if he fails an action check (apply the wound - test immediately). A damage roll of 14 or less will require a similar action roll vs knock down even though no wound is caused.
The fall will be away from the grenade. Any man knocked down will be stunned and require one action to clear the stun just like seriously wounded men from gunshots do.
If you want Hollywood detailed grenades, don't have the grenades blow up immediately. They go off at the beginning of the thrower's next action on 11 or less, a 12 being a dud. An enemy man with a live grenade nearby can throw himself on the grenade by making an action roll at experience -2, and this will add +3" to the effective distance for all friends in the blast radius, but attacks him at -3 to the damage roll.
Or at experience -2, he can spot it, pick it up, and try to throw it back at -2 To Hit in addition to all other mods as one action, dropping anything in his good hand in the process. At action roll -1 he can kick it away 1D3 inches with 1D3 inches scatter from that point. If the grenade was thrown by a vet or master take an additional -1 for him being able to time the fuse better with the throw.
Explosive effects on terrain like walls and doors will have to be free-kriegspieled for now. Take into account the amount of explosive, the distance from and nature of the possibly-destroyed cover as To Damage mods, reading kills as destruction with blow-through, and wounds as proportionally weakening the cover.
Here's a first cut at a simplistic smoothbore muzzle-loading artillery rule.
Lay loaded gun with cannister 1/2 or roundshot 1. More time would be taken with long range roundshot, but that's shooting off the table in Rencounter.
Fire gun 1/2
Load light gun - 3, 6 pounder - 4, 9 pounder - 4 1/2, 12 pounder - 5
Crew sizes are pretty big when including all the men that handle the horse team and the ones who tend and bring forward the ammunition and help prolong in addition to the
ones actually handling the gun. Probably a leader and 8 crew to maintain the above rate with the 6 - 12 pounders through a game. Maybe only 5 or 6 others for a light 3 pounder or such.
A crew that gets shot up should be slower, add something like 1/2 phase per man lost. If you start with extra, don't start penalizing until under the size above.
For simple play just roll the gun crew leader (or acting leader, if the original is lost) for activation for them to perform standard move the gun and shoot it tasks. Assume that these
are highly drilled tasks. If you want to get really detailed and roll for each man to do his part, clearing the barrel, loading the powder and shot, ramming home, covering the touch hole, etc, and potentially see individual tasks get interrupted
by casualties you could, but trained gun crew should be at a bonus to experience level, compared to their performance of other tasks, to make up for the drilled nature, and the way a group task will slow up a lot if you actually have to
test for each part that must simultaneous happen to proceed to the next step. The only task we split out in play test was a Boxer Chinese gun captain actually shooting the piece, which led to some British marksmen shooting at him specifically
to stop him. In that game we ruled that the linstock with the slow match had to be picked up by somebody else before firing the gun, but we didn't test for it to go out and have to be relighted. Guns with that fire a cap with a lanyard instead
would get rid of that issue.
To begin with, we'll just cover cannister and grapeshot, typical short range anti-personnel loads. An artillery fire skill of 9 for the gun captain is where I'm starting in working out this table,
you probably wouldn't want to shift this more than up or down 2 for a trained crew. You will want to give the other crew an artillery fire skill rating too, either the same or lower than the gun captain's depending on the training level. The "Too close" to hit mod being a benefit instead of the penalty as in small arms, is because the cannon's aim won't waver if you're in front of the muzzle trying to melee.
Cannister and Grape fire
Range in inches
To hit mod
Cannister spread 1" wide per 10" down range
Grape -1 to hit mod out to medium range, -2 to long and extreme, spread 2" per 10" down range
Bounce modifiers to hit:
Hard rocky ground +2
Wet, marshy, or muddy ground, soft sand -2
To hit modifiers to account for volume of balls fired: 3lb -1, 6lb 0, 9lb +1, 12lb +2
Both cannister and grape will roll versus all targets in that cone, friend and foe, until stopped by something solid like a hill or very stout walls.
Weaker walls should give a penalty to the to hit and damage mods or maybe just damage if really flimsy.
Quick loading - risky shortcuts for faster fire versus charging targets and such.
Each action roll success during quick loading counts double towards the loading time. If the last one needed succeeds, there will be a missfire or accident on the shot on a natural 12 on the first to hit rolled for.
If the last action roll needed for loading is failed, roll a D6 and a 6 causes an immediate missfire/accident check. Once you start a quick loading, you'll have to finish that way and take the risk, or spend double
the time quickloaded to recheck safety. You can't just do the last roll as normal loading to avoid the risk.
Missfires & accidents
1-2 Gun explodes - all within 6" roll damage roll for wound, +1 per inch away from gun.
3 Gun shoots prematurely and unaimed, roll base damage rolls for wounds to 2 crew. Another d6, 1-3 high shot, misses all past 12 and at -3 to hit within 12". 4-6 low - resolve only out to 12" (24" in rocky ground) and at -3 to hit versus targets in arc in front.
4 Same as 3-4 with 1 crew wound
5 Same with no crew wound
6-8 Somebody got burned or got struck or run over by recoiling gun - roll base damage roll for wound to 1 crew.
9-12 Loading mistake - no fire until 1-6 actions spent to clear and reload.
Detailed games for Old West and the like
For detailed Old West gunfight games I have been using some of the
Resolve by half turns instead of turns to get finer grained sequencing.
Sequence by smaller units, just one or two men each.
Separate pistol and long arm fire skills.
1D6 after damage is rolled.
1 Left Leg
2 Right Leg
3 Left Arm
4 Right Arm
If you want to distinguish between them, increase the movement penalty on leg wounds to 3" per level, with 1" minimum crawl,
but go one point lower in the penalty vs shooting. For arm wounds, roll action check immediately (counting wound) or let go of
what you are holding in that hand, and increase the combat penalties by one, but reduce the movement penalties to 1" per level of
arm wound. Head and body wounds effects are as before.
In general each player handles fewer, more detailed characters, probably
just one or two each.
Still considering but unplayed: Add some special skills like fast-draw which would allow a snap shot with
a holstered gun in one half turn action if fastdraw skill roll made.
Add detailed fumbles like fastdraw dropped or snagged gun, shot self in
foot, jammed guns, misfires, bad loads, etc.
Campaigning and Improvement between games
Clearly this can be very complicated up to the level of a full roleplaying campaign
that uses Rencounter as a combat resolution mechanism. But locally, we've been tying together Old West and some Colonials games
by simply rolling for skill increases for surviving named characters after games. The scheme has been to give a roll against each
skill used by a character in the game for that skill's improvement by one point. The roll uses the same dice type as the skill's normal rolls but with the skill
improving by rolling OVER it's previous level. If it is at the maximum level, it can't increase. This also makes it easier to get better if you are lousy than if youa re already pretty good at something.
Thus an old west gunfight character who has managed to use his pistol, ride a horse, and fight with a knife in a game would roll for improvement to his experience rating and his riding skill on D6s,
and his pistol skill and melee skill on D12s. If he has experience level 4 and rolls a 5 or 6 on the D6, he goes up to experience 5, veteran. If he is already a master, exp 6, he can't get any better.
If you want to represent the effects of accumulated wounds that don't completely heal, and the possibility of dying from gangrene or other complications
after the fight, for any wounded character roll a d6 for each wound point he has suffered.
Treat the results as follows:
1 - sepsis - the wound got worse, reroll that wound point as two dice instead of one
2 - permanent wound point - the effects of that wound on dice rolls and movement are permanent. This probably works better if used with wound location rolls.
3-6 - Healed - The wound point is gone in the next game the character appears in that is more than a month of campaign time after the current game.
If because of sepsis, he ends up with more than 5 permanent wound points from this fight, he dies from complications to his wounds after the battle.
Subtract 1 or 2 from the roll if the character's situation after the fight would be particularly hazardous for wound recovery - like the enemy captures him and denies any care of the wounds, or he crawls away through a swamp or desert unaided by comrades.
If instead the character receives prompt, high quality, medical care, allow one reroll of any 1s or 2s. Only if the reroll is still bad, apply the results.
We have played one fantasy game of Rencounter, a two parter with one scenario
taking place in a woods and the other in a small dungeon beneath. Races
were differentiated by the skill levels, equipment, and some off the cuff
racial special rules that I made up as GM. Some large monsters only took
a penalty for every other wound point if not killed outright, some could
see in the dark, some had different movement rates, etc. Each side had a
spellcaster. The monsters had a goblin wizard who could only cast a fear
spell and magic missiles. The magic missiles were basically handled as if he had a revolver for
number of attacks and how they worked. The fear spell was usable once and
had a range and area of effect and caused a morale check with a penalty.
The other wizard had three or four spells, and a magic rating to roll against
to cast them, each characterized before the game on his note card, a speed
spell that would give a unit double movement for a few turns, a fireball,
invisibility, etc. Typical D&Dish spells, with the sorts of effects
any decent gamer can make up on the spot. I'm not going to write up an elaboarate
set of fantasy rules anytime soon, but you can see the kinds of things you
can do with it if you want to. For the dungeon games, we played on foamcore-based
dungeon scenery mostly stone textured by a quick painting with a cheap tan
craftts acrylic and then sprayed with faux granite spraypaint. The usual
hallway dimension was 2" wide. Walls were typically made 1.5"
high to make them clearly walls, but not too high to get at the figures.
The good guys had a map so we laid out all the dungeon pieces, but the bad guys
used hidden movement.
Unless one side is in a scenario determined "fight to the death"
situation, a time should come when completion of the mission is longer a
consideration of the troops under your command. At this point they will
collectively retreat and the other side wins. You can consider this point
reached if the total number of unrouted and not cowering lightly wounded
and unwounded men is less than half your force or when no unit on your
side has more than half its men healthy and unrouted. For forces with less
elan, you can set this threshhold higher, at the 1/4 or 1/3 point of total
manpower losses, or half the units on the side or all but one being at
1/2 strength. The fifty percent mark probably makes for a pleasantly bloody
game in which it is pretty clear that the situation is not salvageable when
the breakpoint is crossed.
The Rencounter system evolved from games played using the Colonial Skirmish
Wargame Rules put out by Steve Curtis and friends at Skirmish Wargames,
Somerset, England, in the 1970s. Their rules use a one second phase and
plotted movement. In the mid 80s, I was playing a lot of these rules with
a group in Berkeley. After several games, we became dissatisfied with the
plotting system, and I came up with the beginnings of the sequencing system
seen in Rencounter, with unit activation and action rolls, and the phases
grouped into 4 second turns to allow a significant amount of activity to
occur in each activation. We experimented with various forms of unit activation,
settling mostly on the dice and counter dice system in the later games.
The unit activation rules and action rolls were also used later with some
other combat systems in games run by friends for periods ranging from 1066
to WWII. Rencounter is an attempt to refine the system to better incorporate
morale and wound effects and get it fixed on paper, with new movement and
combat systems used, so as to make it a complete system of its own, with
no purchase of any other rules set needed for movement and combat rules.
This set is the first nearly complete version recorded on paper (or on computer
anyway) and will undoubtedly have loopholes, imprecise wording, and incomplete
handling of some issues. I hope you find what is here interesting enough
to try it out and give me feedback that will help tighten them up.
To minimize the necessary bookkeeping lookups from rosters, one trick I
use is to record the figure's name and fire, melee, and experience level
on the bottom of the base of a 25mm figure using a round 5/8" diameter
office label. This fits nicely on a 3/4" circle like a penny or washer,
which most of our skirmish figures have as bases for keeping individual
figures upright. The format is something like:
F 7 M 6
For 15 mm figures on 1/2'" square metal bases I am planning to cut
out some magenetic sign material to made sabot bases that will go underneath
and leave a lip sticking out behind onto which I'll glue small laserprinted
labels to show the stats in a way that is visible without inverting the
Wounds can also be recorded on bases, using the very small round stickers
and a code like MW for minor wound, or with colored stickers using a color
code for severity. These can often go on the top of the base to be readily
Scenario Design Suggestions
There are 3-6 units on a side in a typical game, with 4 to 10 men in a
unit. Smaller units suffer fewer losses to morale in general, and are
more tactically flexible so use this factor to represent the more regular
or highly trained side. In a force with a mix of missile and melee only
troops, the melee only units can be bigger, as having less stuff to remember.
Cavalry units tend to balance better if a bit smaller than infantry units
if the number of units on each side is equal.
Notice how the lethality can be tweaked from realistic to slaughter by adjusting
the average fire and melee skill scores you use.
Here is some advice I sent in reply to a query on scenario setup for beginning gamers recently:
Here's a simple, general, all purpose generic squad creator for Rencounter, assuming you know nothing about the organization or quality of the troops you are going to represent:
Pick a number of units for each side. 2-5 is good. If weapons quality is very different, like rifles vs spears, give the worse armed side more units.
Likewise if one side has to attack against fire, give it more units.
For each side:
Roll 1D6 + 4 for group size. Use this size for all groups of the same side. Make one a little larger or smaller if you want to use the extra figs that aren't evenly divisible by this number.
If these numbers are too far apart, making the force sizes too uneven, bump them closer, or give the side with smaller units a couple more.
Roll for the leader of each group:
1 Newly appointed Novice Exp 3
2-3 Average Exp 4
4-5 Veteran Exp 5
6 Hero Exp 6
Roll for everybody else:
1-2 Novice Exp 3
3-4 Average Exp 4
5-6 Veteran Exp 5
Make all fire and melee stats double the Exp level of the figure.
If that is too boring, for variety, roll for each man's Fire and Melee score and modify it by:
Since Rencounter can be used to represent infantry and cavalry combat (no armored vehicle
rules yet) across a couple of millenia, it is a bit beyond me to tabulate everyone in history
for how good they are. For that, you'll have to read a little about the armies or the campaign
you want to represent, and get a feel for it that way. That's part of the fun of historical
miniatures gaming. You need not be an expert. Reading one book about, say, the Gettysburg campaign,
should give you plenty of info from which to construct ACW Rencounter scenarios. Nearly all
campaign histories will give you a sense of, at least, Side A knows what it is doing, Side B
was ill-led or filled with raw recruits, or whatever the relationship was. Not to mention
informing you of the weapons, tactics, and typical names to put on people. Often they will
also give you good scenario ideas too.
Just convert that into game stats. More novice leaders and maybe bigger groups on the poorly led side. More novice troops on the side that just got filled by drafts of new recruits.
Or you can just say "I have some riflemen figures and some dragoons. I wonder how
it would work out if I have a 2 mostly veteran
squads of rifleman guarding a village against 4 mostly novice squads of dragoons"
and wing it. Then try it again with a different village and maybe fewer, better dragoons.
Or in the Old West, just decide if the first gunfight of the day is between Clint Eastwood
and somebody equally gnarly, a couple of drunken townsmen on each side, or a couple of
movie-lead quality gunslingers vs a mob of extras.
You can apply either imagination or research or both.
On Points Systems
Sorry point system lovers, there is none here. This isn't that kind of game.
For an entertaining and manageable game, you'll do pretty well if each side
has 3 or 4 units, and one side has an advantage in the number in each unit
or more units and other has either a weapons advantage or skill or experience
level advantage or tactical position advantage like being in ambush or some
In colonials scenarios, I tend to run squads of Imperials with maybe a 1
point average advantage (though both sides have a wide spread) in melee and
fire over the natives, a faster firing weapon, like Martini Henrys vs Jezzails
& melee armed guys, and 4 or 5 man units against 7 to 10 man units.
The Imperials often have smaller proportion of greens and larger of vets.
If the number of figures available to each side has to be closer, then I take away the
Thanks to the authors of the Colonial Skirmish Wargames Rules and The Old
West Gunfight Skirmish Rules, whose rules got me started in skirmish gaming
over twenty years ago and to Greg Novak and other members of the University
of Illinois Conflict Simulations Society of the early 70s where I first
played those rules.
Thanks to the original Colonial Skirmish wargames group that met at my apartment
every week for almost a year around 1984 and played through the experiments
with sequencing that were the beginnings of what became Rencounter. This
group included Mark Alvarez, Brian Collins, Dave Kush, Micheal Sloan, Ken
Payne, Kerry Hanscom, Freddy Avner, Milton Soong, T. O. Green, Martin Costa,
Klaus Schultheis, and probably a couple more people lost to my memory.
Thanks also to the people who playtested Rencounter itself:
Martin Costa, Aaron Gorfein, Harry Morris, Kerry Hanscom, Jerry Hashimoto,
Eric Rauscher, John Carnahan, Jeff Zorn, Paul Hess and various friendly folks
who have tried it out and conventions or made suggestions via the internet.
Thanks again to Harry Morris, for going through a serious editing pass.
Some of the results have been folded in above, the rest I am afraid are lost in email history.
Thanks to Will Scarvie and the cannister and Grape group for scenarios.
Thanks to Avi for putting up with me and my gaming habit.