Wargame Rules


I am very keen to keep my wargame rules as simple as possible yet capture the character of the 1790s. Accordingly, most of the French troops are 'levee' battalions, which I have chosen to base in column as their ability to change formation on a battlefield must have been limited, nor do I believe their volley fire had any great value. Of better quality, able to change formation, will be white-coated regular and blue-coated volunteer battalions aided by a fair number of skirmishers. The British, Austrian, Dutch and German armies are often outnumbered, but they maintain the discipline and order of typical 18th century armed forces. Interestingly, French revolutionary cavalry have little in common with their later Napoleonic counterparts, the former are few in number, often poorly mounted, and no match for those in the service of the Allies.


Friday, 29 May 2015

Light Troops in Action Wargame c.1793

Some friends and I decided to have a late evening wargame. Starting at 9pm we ceased at 11.30, recommenced at 10.30am and concluded one hour later. This was a fun action and all agreed the scenario and rules were exciting and realistic.
The game was based on the idea that both sides had sent out a motley force of light troops as an advanced guard, and to also secure a useful bridge,  warehouse, and watermill. The British and Allies were commanded by George Mills, and comprised the following:

Mtd. Commander
9th  Light Dragoons, 6 figs. (b)
York Hussars, 6 figs. (b)
Salm Hussars, 6 figs. (b)
Salm Infantry, 18 figs. (b)
Salm Light Horse Artllery with limber, 3 figs. (b)
Luninck Light Infantry 12 figs. (b) skirmishing
Riflemen from Beon and Damas Legions,  8 figs. (b) skirmishing
Lowenstein Chasseurs armed with rifles, 12 figs. (b) skirmishing

The French were under the control of Chris Smith, and comprised the following:

Mtd. Commander
3rd Hussars, 6 figs. (c)
4th Hussars, 6 figs. (c)
4th Chasseurs a Cheval, 6 figs (c)
7th Chasseurs a Cheval, 6 figs (c)
Detached grenadiers, 10 figs. (b) skirmishing
Legion des Allobroges light infantry, 16 figs. (c) skirmishing
Legion du Midi light infantry, 16 figs. (c)
Paris Chasseurs, 8 figs. (c) skirmishing
Two companies of Paris National Guard. 8 figs. (c) skirmishing

Some key features of the game included the French throwing twentyfour marksmen into the warehouse, while the grenadiers were posted to a wooded hill, both becoming strongpoints for which the allies were unable to silence. The York Hussars were surprised by French cavalry while crossing the bridge and forced to retire, some chasseurs were met by heavy musketry when they attempted a similar move. On the French left there was  a series of cavalry charges and melees which finally ended in the Allies driving the French horse off the field, but with their own cavalry in no fit state to engage any further enemy it was agreed the French had won the action. We all enjoyed this small battle and it was interesting to utilise so many skirmishing units. While the allied riflemen inflicted some casualties, the careful use of cover by the French player reduced their effectiveness. Here is a few photos from the action. MGB
                   LOSSES: British & Allies 22 k,w,missing. French Republican 31 k,w, missing


  1. Hi,

    I really like the small numbers in your units. I have a hodgepodge of French Rev. figures, not very many of any one kind, and despaired of being able to use them other than as single-figure skirmishers (i.e. not as units). What rules do you use?

    Best regards,


  2. Hi Chris, I know you are interested in my rules, but I hesitate to promote them here as they really are very basic. They cover about two and a half pages of A4. Anything that arises that is not covered is decided on logic/history or a high dice throw. I can disclose that the number of men and factor points for firing are taken from an old AWI set of rules produced by Redoubt Enterprises and use two decimal dice for the percentage chance of a casualty. The remainder are simple +/- percentages made on a unit's morale rating. Movement rates are still in inches. Each period is divided into simultaneous sections 1. declare charges and morale test those being charged, 2 ordinary movement, 3 firing, 4 ask for a morale check on enemy units that meet certain criteria. The rules do allow small and large units to be fielded but don't expect a bloodbath with small units, as they quickly reach one third casualties and are therefore in need of a morale check. No unit can take offensive action but may defend itself on reaching fifty percent, if its morale still holds. The morale ratings start at 100 for elite, 80 for typical British/Émigré, 70 for French line or volunteer, 65 for French levee or naval crew. The plain truth is the best wargames are to be had with those not inclined to gamesmanship and accountancy, but to enjoying the visual spectacle and the company. I hope this is of some service to you. Out of interest, what figures have you acquired? Michael

    1. Oh you name it, a bit of everything--Minifigs, Hinchliffe, a lot of unknowns--whatever I can find at flea markets (bring and buys in the UK) and from friends who have a few extras of one thing or another. Some of the figs are actually 7 Years War, as a lot of the early uniforms were quite similar; ditto early Napoleonics. I also do a lot of conversions--later hussars with the peak removed from the shako, British 1815 infantry with the peak removed to become Austrians, etc. I agree with you that gamesmanship and accountancy are not to be tolerated--all they do is ruin what should be a good time!

      Thanks for your reply and best regards,


    2. Chris, I think it can be quite stimulating to build a collection on a budget, and with conversions. Some makes don't mix in the same unit but drawing from several companies only adds interest to me. Just a thought, look at Chariot Miniatures, they have a range of 28mm French and they 'might' be willing to help your project. Also, Hinchliffe will buy unwanted painted miniatures and exchange them for new castings, the ratio is linked to the painting quality. The FRW lends itself well to recreating some of those small, exotic military units that were formed during 1792-6 by both sides. Big companies are unlikely to cast them because of financial considerations. You are right about removing the hussar peaks on Napoleonics, they can then serve as Austrian or Émigré hussars. The FRW still largely comprises of wargamers that are interested in substitution and creativity, which other periods haven't had since Airfix. Please keep me posted of your progress and where I might see some photos of your efforts. Regards, Michael