Tabletop RPG Podcast and Roleplaying Resources

Category: Wargames (Page 2 of 5)

Neil Thomas Rules for Black Powder Era Napoleonics Wargames

I’m not sure if or when I’ll get into Black Powder era wargaming, but it’s always interested me (mainly because of my love of the Horatio Hornblower books which fed my interest in the Napoleonic wars).

Napoleonic WargamingAnyway, was doing research for a friend on different rules systems for Napoleonics wargames, since I’ve always loved the simplicity of Neil Thomas’s One Hour Wargame rules. It turns out he has FOUR different sets of rules that could be used for Napoleonic wargaming. Those are (listed from least complex rules to most complex rules):

A quick Google search will give you lots of discussion on these rules systems (for example, this one).

There’s a fairly active Yahoo group for all the Neil Thomas games here that has lots of resources, house rules, and discussion on this topic.

One day when I have more free time I’d love to give these rules more attention 🙂

Using 3/4″ Magnetic Bases for 15mm Miniatures

I’m musing over basing standards for 15mm miniatures for my future Traveller games, and I think I’m going to standardize on 3/4″ (20mm) flexible magnets for basing. I’ve been using 1/2″ flexible magnets on my bases since that works well for the Traveller maps I’ve been printing out (which have 0.5″ squares).

Magnetic bases are cool since you can transport them on metal surfaces like magnetic white boards or cookie tins. It also gives you the ability to base on magnets before you start painting and prime and paint the minis while sticking the minis on metal surfaces (removing the need to use sticky tack or other method).

[From the blog]

Magnetic minis in a metal tin for transport.

You can buy 3/4″ bases here.

1/2″ has proved problematic in that they won’t stand up as well on textured terrain, and some minis (such as some of the Fallout minis Mason is using) simply don’t fit on 1/2″.

My goal is to build out a few platoons of minis for Player Character and NPCs so that you can quickly move into ground combat with 25-80 minis on the table and play out meaningful, tactical combat in an hour or less. I’d like to construct a platoon like you see on the Broken Stars and Burning Ships blog.

Photo from the 'Broken Stars and Burning Ships' blog

Photo from the ‘Broken Stars and Burning Ships’ blog

One thing I love about 15mm is the speed of painting. I painted up 10 Varstcheen bug NPCs for my last Traveller game in about 1 hour. That’s 6 minutes a mini — about 10x faster than painting the same figures in 28mm.

Also, 15mm is much cheaper and lets you do things like vehicles without breaking the bank. See this blog post on what $85 will buy you in 15mm!

Other reference art for my future platoons is below.

$85 worth of minis From the blog.

[From the blog]

A platoon of minis from the blog.

[From the blog]

Nice red color scheme from the blog

Wargame: The Battle for the Crystals

We took the Grimdark Beta rules from for a spin last Saturday, adding in a few house-ruled Fantasy special rules from One Page Rules Age of Fantasy game. We built out two 2,500 point armies.

We had a human army (7 units with a total of 70 models, with a total of 70 attacks) fighting a monster army (6 units with a total of 35 models, with a total of 60 attacks). That’s a total of 105 models and 130 attack rolls each round!

I timed how long it took. Not counting time to select our armies and set up the terrain, it took 10 minutes to take turns deploying our units. Each round took 40 minutes.

The goal was to end the fourth round with control of the most objectives out of four total objectives. Due to an RPG game we were running later that night, we decided the 3rd round would be our last. The Monsters won, but partly this was due to the player running the humans having a different understanding of the Charge rules. I’ll be posting on the One Page Rules forums to get clarity on that for next game.

My estimate is that next time we played, assuming our armies were already select and terrain was ready to place, that it would take about 20 minutes for setup, 40 minutes per round, and for 4 rounds that would be a 180 minute game (3 hours).

It was a fun time; I look forward to playing again!

Byzantine & Viking Army

Byzantine & Viking Army

The orc, gnoll, giant, ape-men forces

The orc, gnoll, giant, ape-men forces

Crystal cache objective

Crystal cache objective

The armies

The armies

Using Activation Markers from Litko

Using Activation Markers from Litko

Final Round: Capturing the Crystal

Final Round: Capturing the Crystal

Check out a full set of photos from the game.

Wargame: Byzantines vs. Orcs

Back on March 31st we played our first game of One Page Rules, using the Age of Fantasy ruleset. We fielded an army of Byzantine warriors versus an army of Orcs and Ogres.

Everyone fell instantly in love with the rules!

I plan on using those rules quite a bit for our wargaming since it seems to hit the perfect spot for (1) quick to learn even if you play infrequently, and (2) able to support multi-genres. I plan to add a few house rules and try them out for WWII, Warmachine, Starships, Middle-earth, Mecha, etc. So expect a lot of after-action reports and rules questions on the One Page Rules forums. Given I’m a Patreon backer I’ll also start helping out a bit with beta testing things.

There were a few things we got wrong at first (though it did not spoil the fun):

  1. Initially we had the defender rolling Defense, and we misread the rule and though a ‘success’ meant you blocked the attack (since that is what a ‘Defender’ sees as success). Makes more sense how the rules work if you have the Attacker roll for defense we found out.
  2. We forgot to move the attacker in melee back by 1″ a few times after they finished attacking.

We also have some additional rules questions which I’ll post when I get a second.

It was great fun!

Byzantine cavalry wheels and attempts a charge on the orc unit

Byzantine cavalry wheels and attempts a charge on the orc unit

Note the hairband used to denote casualties

Note the hairband used to denote casualties

We had 3 players -- 2 dividing the Byzantine army, the other fielding the Orcs

We had 3 players — 2 dividing the Byzantine army, the other fielding the Orcs

Byzantine versus Orcs and Ogres

Byzantine versus Orcs and Ogres

Using Dragon Rampant for Middle-earth Wargames

Dragon Rampant is a fantasy version of Osprey’s Lion Rampant. Both have excellent reviews, and let you play fast-paced wargames with 60-100 models on the table in only an hour. I read Dragon Rampant and I am VERY impressed.

Over on the Wargaming in Middle Earth Facebook group, in an informal poll I ran, Dragon Rampant was voted the most popular ruleset to re-enact Middle-earth scenarios (at least for casual gamers), beating out even the various licensed Middle-earth wargame rules. While Adventures in Middle-earth is great for D&D 5e roleplaying, a 5e battle with 50 creatures is going to take over an hour. A wargame like Dragon Rampant has a different focus with rules like Morale and Glory which I think make it an ideal companion to Adventures in Middle-earth for a game club that wants to do multiple kinds of gaming in Tolkien’s world.

For the casual wargamer, these seem like ideal rules, much less crunchy than even Sword & Spear (which plays in about 2 hours). Only 66 pages packaged in a small, easy-to-read booklet. What’s not to like?

BoardGameGeek Overviews:

The books cost only about $12 to $14 on Amazon:

I definitely want to give these rules a shot.

Here are the first three scenarios I’d like to try (text is taken from the book). They give you a flavor for the book’s tongue-in-cheek writing style:


Bloodbath is a straightforward fight to the death between opposing Warbands. It’s a good scenario for multi-player games or for your first game of Dragon Rampant. Both the Attacker and Defender must attempt to slay or rout their enemies to achieve victory.


“Would you like a hand with that soup?” The attackers need to move quickly – the defenders have captured ten of your kin, and rather than selling them into slavery, they’ve decided to rustle up a tasty meat-based snack. The defender must attempt to rescue their medium-rare friends before the pot boils over.


Run for your life! Ambushed while out on a routine patrol, the defenders must flee for their lives, and the attackers must take those lives from them.

A 24 army point Sea Elf Warband: Prince and Bannermen (Elite Foot, eader, Reduced Model Unit) @ 6pts, Guardsmen (Elite Foot) @ 6pts, rchers (Light Missiles, Sharpshooter, Invisibility) @ 9pts, Spearmen (Light Foot) @ 3pts.

A 24 army point Sea Elf Warband: Prince and Bannermen (Elite Foot, eader, Reduced Model Unit) @ 6pts, Guardsmen (Elite Foot) @ 6pts, Archers (Light Missiles, Sharpshooter, Invisibility) @ 9pts, Spearmen (Light Foot) @ 3pts.



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