My blog about my wargaming activities. I collect a lot of 15mm miniatures for the American War of Independence and so collect a lot of rules for this period. I started miniatures with Napoleonics, so I have a number of armies in 6mm and 15mm figures for skirmishing. I have15mm WW II figures that I use for Flames of War, Memoir '44, and someday, Poor Bloody Infantry. Finally there is my on-again, off-again relationship with paper soldiers that I sometimes write about.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Another Scenario for One-Hour Skirmish Wargames

This post includes another scenario and some special rules for a skirmish game.

Playing OHSW Virtually

I wanted gaming buddy Justo to try out my version of the Sword & Sandal (S&S) variant of One-Hour Skirmish Wargames (OHSW) that I used in the last post, and get some feedback on the rules. Because we had to play virtually we first needed to figure out how to play a skirmish game using online tools.

The first option is something like Tabletop Simulator (TTS) on the computer, as there are a number of skirmish and mass-combat games to use miniatures rules with, such as this one for One-Hour Wargames.

If it does not have miniatures to your liking, you can always search TTS's Workshop for the keyword "miniatures" and find some others, like these medieval miniatures I found.

But, I wasn't sure Justo had TTS and, although we have both played games using Vassal, I did not want to tackle making or modifying a module for a scenario. So I fell back to my default: creating a grid for the map and using grid movement rather than freeform movement. The first problem to solve: how to convert OHSW to a square grid.

Converting OHSW to a Grid

As always, the first thing you need to do is figure out what the cell of the grid (square or hex) represents in terms of ground scale. Because most movement values are closely divisible by 3, I decided each cell was about 3" of ground, so a 3' square board would be 12 rows and 12 columns. Within a single cell you could have two friendly fighters (so four figures total, two for each side).

All distances were converted by taking the distance and dividing by 3, rounded to the nearest. So weapons with a 1/2" or 1" zone of control (ZOC) would be 0 cells (same cell only) and 2" reach would have a 1 cell ZOC and attack range.

In the original playtest we allowed long weapons to attack diagonal, adjacent squares, but I am leaning towards not allowing that. Diagonal squares represent a distance of roughly 1.5 times ground scale, or 4 1/2", which is a stretch for a weapon that originally had a reach of 2".

For movement it was the same, so light foot was 3 squares, medium and heavy were 2 squares.

When 'measuring', you count each cell in between the starting cell to the ending cell, plus the ending cell (but not the starting one). That is the distance. For squares (but not hexes) where you trace a line (of sight, march, or fire) diagonally the first such square will count as 1 square, the second as 2, the third as 1, the fourth as 2, and so on alternating the cost between 1 and 2 points each. Example: the player trace a line through four diagonal squares. The distance is 6 squares (1 + 2 + 1 +2).

The one exception that I made for fudging the distances was for the combat results. Combat results that force a figure to retreat always results in the figure retreating one cell away from the enemy.

Protecting Downed Friends

Another area that I wanted to address was the effect of a figure's ZOC has on enemy trying to dispatch downed friends. Although this should be added to the ZOC section of the S&S variant rules, they were playtested in this game.

Basically the rule is that if a figure is in the ZOC of an enemy, or you have an enemy in your ZOC that is in the same cell (within 1", in freeform movement games) it cannot dispatch a downed opponent unless that enemy is also engaged by another figure in close combat.

In the example above X2 cannot dispatch the downed A1 because it is in the ZOC of Y1. B1, however, can dispatch the downed A2 with a long weapon as B2 has attacked A4 with his own long weapon, engaging him.

Originally, I had the rule simply as you had to have 1 more figure than the number of non-Downed enemy figures. Both accomplish the same thing, but the current rule is a bit more complex when long weapons come into play on both sides. An example is the figure below.

Y1, with a long weapon, holds off both X2 and B1 from dispatching A1 until either X2 or B1 engage it first. Further, if Y1 wins that combat, either by killing, downing, or forcing the retreat of the enemy, it continues to block the other blue attacker.

Again, I want to stress this is not a 'grid' rule, but an adaptation of the S&S variant rules that I add to as I come upon new situations. The ability to easily dispatch downed foes has been the one area that has always bothered me about OHSW and this is an attempt to address that.

Town Raid Scenario

If you think you might have seen this scenario before it is because it is converted from the scenario "Town Raid" in the old Warhammer Skirmish scenario book.

The world of the Kingdom is a dangerous place and even in these civilized lands there is still more countryside than city. It is in these places where brave freeholders must struggle daily to make a living. Ever searching out fertile land for crops and grazing settlers have followed a small river out of the dark forest to the richer plains beyond. Out beyond the coast – and who know what danger lie off there? Can the small local militia protect the farmers?


A smaller attacking force – as part of a larger attack on a town – has been tasked with making a feint attack in one section of the town with the target of killing or absconding with the town's livestock, burning buildings, and causing general mayhem. The local militia are tasked with driving off the cattle to safety, preventing the burning of buildings, and slowing the attackers until a larger defending force can arrive to drive off the attackers.


Modified point costs are used, i.e. each figure costs 1 point + 1 point for each point of Army Motivation.


  • 40 points
  • May include up to one leader, i.e. someone with the Leader (X) special ability.
  • 10 Livestock critters
  • One 6" (2 square) barricade in the top 3/4 of the map (rows 1-9)
  • If no leader is present then the maximum Army Motivation is 1, otherwise it is 2


  • 80 points (no more than half of the figures may have bows; no mounted troops allowed)
  • Must include one leader, but may have a second
  • Minimum Army Motivation is 1 with a maximum of 3


The buildings are not built for defense in mind, rather they are simple dwellings of farmers. The local militia had some time to set up a single 6" barricade. Red-brown rectangles are buildings. Gray rectangles are waist-high stone walls. Green circles are single trees offering no cover.

There is no difference between grass green and light brown squares; they are both open terrain.


The Attackers realize that there is little to no value in this area of the settlement, other than the cattle, but they want to draw the locals into this area to fight fires while the main attack heads to richer targets. The game ends when the defending leader (if any) or attacking leader is killed, either side fails morale, or at the end of six turns. Calculates each side's points to determine a winner.

Note that the game ending – regardless of the reason – represents the larger defending force's arrival, and the end of the attacker's marauding.


Each defending figure removed from the board - 1 point

Each livestock animal killed - 1 point

Each building totally destroyed - 5 point

Each building partially destroyed - 1 point


Each attacking figure removed from the board - 1 point

Each livestock animal alive or escaped - 1 point

Each building still standing and not on fire - 5 point

Each building still standing but on fire - 1 point

It is important for the players to realize that the victory conditions represent not who wins this little skirmish, but about the larger action occurring elsewhere. The defenders have 1/2 of the points of the attacker; they are expected to get crushed. So just because the attacker wins the fight, it does not mean that they will win the scenario.

Players are advised to understand and keep an eye on the objectives. The defender can lose every single figure and still win the scenario. It this is not the type of scenario that you like to play – where your forces will almost certainly lose militarily – I suggest that you not play the defenders.


The defenders deploy first, then the attackers, then the livestock is deployed.

All defenders must start in the northern half (rows 1-6) of the map, save for a maximum of 2 figures, which may man the barricades. No two defending figures may start in the same square.

The attackers must enter from the south (bottom of the map). However, they must be deployed adjacent to the column where they will enter.

Livestock are then placed alternately (defenders choose first) anywhere on the board at least two squares from any table edge or any other livestock model. (If a livestock model cannot be placed because all eligible squares are filled, then it may be placed within 1 square of another livestock model.)

Scenario Special Rules

Attacker's Initiative

The attacker always has the initiative on the first turn. Initiative is determined as normal on subsequent turns.


Livestock are +0 in defense, draw 1 card, and do not attack back in close combat if they are attacked. They are killed when the attacker exceeds the defense value by 4 or more. If the animal is not killed it immediately retreats away from the attacker 2 squares.

Either side may spend 1 AP to drive a livestock model. The figure must be in the same square as the livestock. The figure may choose which direction the livestock model retreats two squares.

Any retreating livestock that comes within 1 square of another livestock, or killed within 1 square of another livestock, will cause that livestock model to retreat 1 square directly away from the retreating or killed livestock. This can cause a chain reaction.

Livestock that run off of the board in any direction save south will be considered saved for the defenders. Those that run off towards the south will be considered killed for the attackers.

Livestock cannot enter buildings or cross stone walls, so adjust their movement accordingly.

Livestock in the square reduce the number of models both sides can have in the square by 1 for each livestock model. Livestock moving into a square already at capacity forces another model out of the square (player's choice). For example, two defenders and one attacker are in a square. A cow retreats into the square making the capacity one model for each side. One defending figure must retreat from the square (away from the cow).

Setting Buildings on Fire

The attackers using one-handed weapons are assumed to have torches to light the buildings on fire. Any model with a torch that is touching a building and not in close combat may try to set it on fire for 1 AP. Draw a card and if it is red, the building is on fire and the figure loses their torch. (If black is drawn another AP may be spent and another attempt may be made.)

A defender not in combat may attempt to put out the fire. Draw a card and if it is black, the fire has been extinguished.

At the end of every turn (not round!), after morale and figure recovery is determined, but before the next turn's initiative is drawn, one structural point is removed from each building per fire.

A building is considered destroyed when five structural points are removed.


My main concern with the playtest was getting Justo's opinion on the modified combat system and secondarily how the scenario played. Although I recorded the action through drawings, there were a number of mistakes made that sort of invalidated the game. But he got a feel for the combat system and I added a few refinements here and there to both the variant and the scenario. Our mistakes were:

  • Somebody forgot to put their two Jokers into their deck, making for an extremely long turn 2 with 8 rounds. (My second Joker was the third to the last card in my deck.)
  • I messed up on the movement speed of foot troops, so everyone was moving in slow motion.
  • I did not specify that the attacker's had to specify where there troops were deployed, which led to some painful flank charges that absolutely crushed my defenders.

Nonetheless, my defenders won a narrow victory. I am proud to say that I saved 7 of the 10 cows, defended 2, and only lost 1 to the roasting spit of the attackers. This was largely because Justo did not read the scenario victory scoring system and brought no one with torches (figures with only one handed weapons). But he did kill all but 1 of my defenders!

Overall the combat played very well. Again, I liked the movement stemming from the combat results, the interplay between forces around protecting downed friends, and their being sufficient variety between weapons and armor. The scenario also played out very well, with the Livestock rules in particular producing some interesting results as I was trying to drive cows into other cows to cause a chain reaction of retreats to safety.

Definitely something Justo and I will try again.

Thursday, September 08, 2022

Dark Age One-Hour Skirmish Wargames

Today I bring you a variant to a set of skirmish rules that I hope you have, a scenario, and a battle report on testing those variant rules. Plus I will update you with what is going on with me.

If you have been reading my blog awhile you know that I like to review games and post battle reports of those tests. I used to tweak rules every time I got a new set, but I have eased up on that over the years. (Except for converting them to a grid. I don't consider that 'tweaking' as much as saving my back from bending over and measuring freeform movement.) That said, if I like a rule set that I think can be carried over into another period, I will write a 'variant' for that. The subject of today's variant is One-Hour Skirmish Wargames (OHSW), which I reviewed in these four posts.

All that said, John Lambshead did write a pre-gunpowder variant for his rules OHSW called Sword and Sandal (SS) that he posted on the Facebook group. I tried them out back in January and another (undocumented) game. I had cooled on them a little more than the review might indicate because the indecisive combat, although possibly realistic, is sort of 'death by a thousand cuts' for gaming. So, I wrote a variant while convalescing that addresses the issue.

So, what was the issue? Specifically, it was:

It is at this point that I diverge from John's original design. The problem I have with the original design is that it is too card intensive. The more cards turned in a single action, the more likely a Joker will be drawn, negating the action and the remainder of the turn.

For example, it was possible for a single melee to draw ten cards (five per player), plus those added for Bruiser (X). This dramatically increases the chance the Joker will be drawn and the melee will not resolve. The odds of actually meleeing with three or more figures a turn is even worse. Put simply, the game was boring as few melees actually resolved.

The goal here is to go back to minimal card draws and represent better weapons and armor in another fashion.

My Sword & Sandal Variant

One-Hour Sword & Sandal Skirmish

Original version PJD Lambshead
Variant version Dale Hurtt

Assume the rules work the same as in the OHSW book unless altered below.

Game Turn

  1. Each player turns over a card to check for initiative.
  2. The player with the highest card has the first player phase. The opponent has the second player phase.
  3. Once these player phases are played, and if no joker has been drawn, go back to step 2.
  4. Both players simultaneously check their army morale.
  5. Both players simultaneously check to see if their downed figures stand up or are removed from play (red is dead).
  6. Go back to step 1 unless the scenario dictates otherwise.

Player Phase

  1. Draw Action Points card.
  2. Move a model, resolve any combat.
  3. Continue until all models have moved OR action points are exhausted OR a player passes. Note: play stops immediately if a joker is turned over; the turn ends.

Zone of Control

Each model has a zone of control (ZOC) arround it corresponding to the reach of its melee weapon. There are three steps:

ZoneRangeWeapon Types
Zone 11/2"small hand weapons
Zone 21"normal hand weapons
Zone 32"long one-handed thrusting spears and two-handed weapons


As OHSW except:

  • A model must not enter a ZOC of an enemy model when moving unless it moves directly toward that enemy model.
  • A model may leave an enemy ZOC at the start of its movement but must move directly out of the ZOC and may not enter another enemy ZOC in the same player phase. Infantry cannot leave the ZOC of cavalry.


At the end of a model's movement it may shoot or strike with a melee weapon at a cost of one action point. The target must be in range of the weapon (equal to its ZOC distance). A ranged weapon cannot be fired if the shooter is within the ZOC of an enemy figure.

Close Combat Procedure:

Attacker draws two cards, discarding the lower, while the defender draws one card, per normal OHSW rules. If either figure has Bruiser (X), X additional cards would be drawn for that figure with all extra cards being discarded save the one with the highest value. Further, the attacker gets one additional card if the defender is in the ZOC of one at least one additional friendly model, while the defender gets one additional card if the attacker is in the ZOC of at least one additional friendly model. (Note this differs from the original S&S rule which states that the additional attacker must be within the defender's ZOC.)

  1. Determine the attacker's card value. Add the attacker's attack modifier and subtract the defender's defense modifier to the value of the attacker's card.
  2. Determine the defender's card value. Add the defender's attack modifier and subtract the attacker's defense modifier to the value of the defender's card.
  3. Determine who wins. The highest card value wins. That player is designated the winner; the other player the loser.
  4. Subtract the lower card value from the higher and resolve the combat.
DifferenceMovementOther Effect
0 (tied)Attacker retreats out of range of the defender's weapon, but a minimum of 1".Note that this may still put the attacker within range of the defender.
1-3Loser retreats out of range of the winner's weapon, but a minimum of 1".Note that this may still put the winner within range of the loser.
4-5Loser stumbles back out of range of the winner's weapon, but a minimum of 1".Loser falls (is considered Down)
6+Loser is removed from board.Loser is killed.

Note that a Downed figure has zero defense, as per the original rules, and can simply be dispatched automatically in close combat.

The Attack Modifier is determined by the weapon the figure is using. It directly correlates to the additional point cost spent for the weapon.

PointsWeapon TypeAttack Modifier
0Unarmed, improvised+0
1Light, short, primitive+1
2Heavy, long+2
3Heavy and long+3

The Defense Modifier is determined by the armor the figure is using, and whether they are cavalry.

PointsArmorDefense ModifierMovement
1Light or shield+18"
2Light and shield+26"
3Mail and shield+35"
3Light Cavalry+212"
4Heavy Cavalry+310"

Ranged Weapons

Ranged weapons use a slightly modified combat system.

The attacker and defender each draws one card, per normal OHSW rules. If the attacker has Dead Shot (X), X additional cards would be drawn for that figure with all extra cards being discarded save the one with the highest value. If the defender has Tough (X), X additional cards would be drawn for that figure with all extra cards being discarded save the one with the highest value. Being in cover further allows the defender to draw additional cards, per the normal OHSW rules.

  1. Determine the attacker's card value. Add the attacker's attack modifier and subtract the defender's defense modifier to the value of the attacker's card.
  2. Determine if the attacker hits. If the attacker's card value is higher than the defender's, he has hit, otherwise he has missed and nothing further occurs.
  3. Subtract the defender's card value from the attacker's and resolve the combat.
DifferenceMovementOther Effect
1-3Defender may move up to 2" to cover terrain, if not already in cover. The move may not take it closer to the attacker that fired at it.None
4+NoneDefender is Downed.

The Attack Modifiers and Range for projectile weapons are:

PointsWeaponShotsRangeAttack Modifier
0RockUnl. *8"+0
1Throwing Axe18"+1 **
2Javelin324"+1 **
2Heavy Javelin, Pilum112"+2 **
1Self BowUnl.24"+1
3Composite BowUnl.Unl.+2

* It takes 1 AP to find and pick up a rock. Some terrain may not contain rocks to throw.

** These may be used as melee weapons, with the same Attack Modifier in close combat, at no additional cost.

Thrown weapons cannot be retrieved until after the battle, and only if your side won the skirmish.

Test Scenario

Similar to the last scenario I am using my Terra Tiles™ hexes as the board and opted for a road which the attacking Vikings will march down, which has a small bridge that crosses a deep stream and with woods on the opposite side. The Saxons are waiting in the woods in ambush.

Ranges are intentionally very short as I want to get stuck in and test the combat system, so I don't want a whole lot of maneuvering. Besides, I was playing in limited space beside my bed. (More on that later.)

Also, two things to note about the points in this scenario. The attacker intentionally has more points as the scenario is designed with the defender hidden, in cover, while the attacker marches on the board, in the open. The attacker has about a 4:3 advantage in points.

Secondly, if you are familiar with the points system in OHSW then you will note that figures cost more in my list than if you use the method in the book. That is because I think Army Motivation (AM) is improperly costed. In the list it shows that for each point of AM it costs 1 point. Ironically, this is listed under the model cost section, but that cost is only applied once, to the force as a whole. (You can deduce that from the point cost values listed in John's scenarios in the book.) That makes AM incredibly cheap. I have applied the cost to each model. Thus the Saxons, with a AM of 1, have a basic point cost of 1 point plus 1 point for the AM, or 2 points each. Vikings cost a basic 3 points per model as they have an AM of 2. To this basic cost you then add the cost of the close combat weapon, the ranged weapon (if any), and the armor.

Defend the Ford

Saxon Defender (Army Motivation 1)

Warlord: Sword, Heavy Javelin, Mail and Shield, Leader (1), Bruiser (2) = 12 points
M: 5; A: +1/+2; D: +3
+2 cards in melee

Huscarl: Two-Handed Axe, Mail and Shield, Bruiser (1) = 9 points
M: 5"; A: +3; D: +2 vs Melee, +3 vs Ranged
+1 card in melee

Blacksmith: Long Spear, Shield, Bruiser (1), Tough (1) = 7 points
M: 8"; A: +2; D: +1
+1 card in melee; +1 card when shot at

Fyrd: Long Spear, Leather and Shield = 6 points
M: 6"; A +2; D: +2

Fyrd: Long Spear, Leather and Shield = 6 points
M: 6"; A +2; D: +2

Archer: Self Bow, Leather = 4 points
M: 8"; A: +0 in melee, +1 ranged; D: +1
Range: 24"

Archer: Self Bow, Leather = 4 points
M: 8"; A: +0 in melee, +1 ranged; D: +1
Range: 24"

Archer: Self Bow, Leather = 4 points
M: 8"; A: +0 in melee, +1 ranged; D: +1
Range: 24"

Archer: Self Bow, Leather = 4 points
M: 8"; A: +0 in melee, +1 ranged; D: +1
Range: 24"

Total Army = 56 points

The Saxons start on the board, west of the creek, with all troops starting in cover and out of sight. (As I am playing solo, I have placed the figures on the board despite them being hidden. Each figure is marked with a grass green counter to show their hidden status. As soon as a figure is spotted (see below), the marker is removed. A figure may not hide after it has been revealed.)

The Saxons win if the Vikings fail morale without the Saxons also failing morale or the Viking Warlord is killed.

Viking Attacker (Army Motivation 2)

Warlord: Two-Handed Axe, Mail and Shield, Leader (1), Bruiser (2) = 13 points
M: 5"; A: +3; D: +2 vs Melee, +3 vs Ranged
+2 cards in melee

Hearthguard: Two-Handed Axe, Mail and Shield, Bruiser (1) = 10 points
M: 5"; A: +3; D: +2 vs Melee, +3 vs Ranged
+1 card in melee

Hearthguard: Two-Handed Axe, Mail and Shield, Bruiser (1) = 10 points
M: 5"; A: +3; D: +2 vs Melee, +3 vs Ranged
+1 card in melee

Hearthguard: Two-Handed Axe, Mail and Shield, Bruiser (1) = 10 points
M: 5"; A: +3; D: +2 vs Melee, +3 vs Ranged
+1 card in melee

Bondi: Long Spear, Leather and Shield = 7 points
M: 6"; A +2; D: +2

Bondi: Long Spear, Leather and Shield = 7 points
M: 6"; A +2; D: +2

Bondi: Long Spear, Leather and Shield = 7 points
M: 6"; A +2; D: +2

Thrall: Self Bow, Leather = 5 points
M: 8"; A: +0 in melee, +1 ranged; D: +1
Range: 24"

Thrall: Self Bow, Leather = 5 points
M: 8"; A: +0 in melee, +1 ranged; D: +1
Range: 24"

Total Army = 70 points

Note that figures with two-handed battle-axes with mail and shield pay the cost of the enhanced armor, but do not get the benefit of the shield in close combat, only against ranged combat.

The Vikings start off the board. They must specify their order of march prior to the start of the game, which dictates the order that figures may enter the board.

Viking figures may not hide.

The Vikings win if the Saxons fail morale without the Vikings also failing morale or the Saxon Warlord is killed. Moving off of the west end of the board via the road is not a victory as enemy in the rear can potentially move to your longship and burn it.

Scenario Special Rules

Crossing the Creek

A figure crossing the creek must draw a card. If the card is red then they must stop in the middle of the creek as they have started to fall. (If the card is black they continue their movement, as normal.) If the figure has slipped they draw another card. If it is also red then they have fallen and may drown. The figure is considered Downed.

Attacker's Initiative

As the attacker has initiative (the defenders are waiting in ambush), there is no draw for initiative on turn one; the Vikings automatically have it and move first.

Hidden Units and Spotting

After each Movement action a Viking figure takes, it draws a single card. The value of the card indicates the number of inches away it can spot all hidden enemy figures within line of sight. Remove the hidden markers for all figures spotted.

Within line of sight means that there is no intervening terrain that cannot be seen through between the spotting figure and the hidden figure, save for the cover the hidden figure is occupying.

If, for example, a figure is hiding in a woods and there is another woods intervening, the figure cannot be spotted. However, if no woods other than the one the figure is in, is between the spotter and the hidden figure, it can be potentially spotted.

As none of my woods are particularly deep, I don't worry about whether the figure is on the edge of the woods or not. However, as a general rule, you should determine before the game how far figures can spot into terrain. For woods with heavy undergrowth I would suggest 3", while light undergrowth could be seen through as far as 6". You must decide what other terrain items obscure spotting, by how much, and whether it counts as cover.

Battle Report of Test Game

Similar to the last test game of SS I am using my Terra Tiles™ hexes as the board and my 42mm wooden Dark Ages figures. I was hoping to try another virtual game with gaming buddy Justo, but it wasn't to be. (Next time.)

The Board
Blue positions are Saxon ambush positions.
Red are the Vikings, but they enter at the red arrow.
Viking March Order
Thrall, 2 Bondi, 2 Hearthguard, Warlord, Hearthguard, Bondi, Thrall

We are all set to go.

Turn 1


The Thrall leads down the trail because, well, he is expendable. I spend 4 AP to move twice, finally spotting the Saxon Huscarl under his nose. He takes a quick shot, but the Saxon just grins. The Thrall screams.

That sends the Bondi running (4 AP for two moves) and he spots a few more Saxon ambushers. With not enough AP to charge in, he also calls for support. Finally, another Bondi and a Hearthguard enter the board. The last is clearly a veteran as he spots all remaining Saxons, save the Saxon Warlord who is out of sight, and alerts everyone to the full extent of the ambush.

These are the remaining figures off-board.

Viking March Order
Hearthguard, Warlord, Hearthguard, Bondi, Thrall.


The Saxons had a very busy and successful turn. The Saxon ended up drawing a lot of their face cards during combat, thus giving them great results, but possibly starving them of good cards later as it is a long way to the bottom of the deck.

The Huscarl popped up within close combat range of the Viking Thrall, so he simply chopped him down. The Huscarl was +3 on his attack and the Thrall was +1 on defense, so a net +2 value to the attacker's card. The attacker's adjusted value was six or more than the defender's resulting in a kill. (I kept the figure on the board for the picture.)

The archers to the south then opened up on the Bondi standing on the bridge, forcing him to retreat. The first archer's card beat the target's card, but did not exceed it by four, so the target was allowed to retreat 2" towards cover, but no closer to the shooter.. The second archer, however, was able to hit his target.  The shooter's card exceeded the target's by at least four, despite the archer's attack modifier of being +1 and the target's defense modifier of being +2.

The final archer on the southern flank also got a lucky shot and hit the second Bondi. The single archer on the northern flank got a shot in at the Hearthguard, but only forced him to retreat towards the brush. Note that this shot was at +1 for the archer and +3 for the target, so a net -2, yet the archer still drew better.. This was truly a spectacular ambush for the Saxons.

The final action points were spent shifting a Fyrd spearman to cover the archers to the south and the Warlord closer to the action, but still out of sight.

It is at this point that I, and others, forget that the 'turn' is not over and thus initiative is not drawn again. We continue alternating between Viking and Saxon until the Joker is drawn, thus signaling the end of the turn.


Drawing a low number of action points show just how surprised the Vikings were to the ambush. With only 5 AP, one Hearthguard makes a double move to secure north of the bridge and to punish anyone who attacks to kill the downed Bondi at the foot bridge. The second comes onto the board and moves into cover to the south.

Viking March Order
Warlord, Hearthguard, Bondi, Thrall


A short round because the Joker appeared. All three of the archers on the southern flank take shots at the Hearthguard to the north, with no effect (+1 versus +3).

With an Army Motivation of 2 for the Vikings, and only one casualty, there is no chance for a morale failure. Of the two downed Bondi, the forward most one is deemed a casualty and the other comes back into the battle, albeit in the open.

Losses: Vikings 2, Saxons 0.

Another common error I make at this point is to shuffle the deck. It is important that you do not do this as, if as happened with the Saxons, you use a lot of high cards in the beginning reshuffling will reset the odds. You only shuffle the deck when the deck is exhausted.

Turn 2

The Saxons win initiative, but its first card draw is a Joker, so the turn immediately ends. Although the Vikings have two casualties, the minimum draw is an Ace (1), which means morale is automatically passed.

Turn 3

The Saxons again win initiative, but the third shot pulls another Joker, so the turn ends.

With three Jokers gone and a lot of cards in both decks, we should have a long turn here soon.

Turn 4

Again, a Joker came right up. That's all four down, so it is time for the long turn.

Turn 5


The Vikings steal initiative, and with a low card at that, and proceed to create mayhem. The Bondi, realizing he is out in the open, charges across the bridge and into close combat with all three archers. Put another way, he made sure all three archers were within his 2" ZOC. Because the ZOC of the archers is 1/2", the defenders do not get an additional card in melee, as he is standing outside of their ZOC. This is a small detail that allows for 'micro tactics' the player can use, i.e. one side being within its own weapon range, but staying out of weapon range of their opponent. Also, by using his ZOC to cover all three archers, they are limited in what they can do when it is their turn.

With only 3 AP remaining, I brought the Warlord, a Hearthguard, and a Bondi onto the board. Only one Thrall remains off-board.


With only 4 AP, the Saxons do not have many options. First the Fyrdman charges into the Bondi, but the Viking was waiting and he easily skewers the Saxon. Meanwhile, the Huscarl charged out of the brush to deliver a death blow to the unlucky Viking.

The death toll is racking up as the Vikings have lost three figures and the Saxons two, but a morale check is a long way off, given that each have only gone through half of their decks.


Tragedy as the Vikings draw an Ace for their action points. With only 1 AP, the Vikings have the Thrall enter the board ending to the right of the bridge.


A lot of action, so the diagram is a little confusing. Essentially the Saxons need to stop the Vikings from crossing the bridge, or at least make it very risky.

The first to fight was the burly Blacksmith. He popped out of the brush and swung at the Hearthguard. I realized that the two were within each other's ZOC all along.) Unfortunately the Viking got the better of the exchange and the Saxon was forced to retreat back. Note that the Saxon was +0 to his card value (+2 for his weapon and +2 for his opponent's armor) while the Viking was +2 (+3 for his weapon and +1 for the Saxon's armor). Not a good exchange, but now the two are out of range.

The three archers fire (although it shows that only two did) resulting in a miss, a forced retreat, and finally hitting the Thrall.

I moved up the Saxon Warlord and he threw his heavy javelin at the Bondi, but that too was a miss. (I should have kept it as a short spear.)

Finally, I moved up the Huscarl and Frydman to stand guard at the end of the bridge. Any Viking crossing would face two defenders and a result of being knocked back or down would likely put them in the creek.


Another complex turn as the Vikings draw 8 AP. The Vikings need to force the creek so it is time to see who slips and falls.

First the Hearthguard on the north side circles the Saxon blacksmith and charges across the creek. He succeeds without slipping, but in the ensuing combat he is driven back and falls when he slips on a slimy stone.

The Hearthguard to the south attempts to cross the creek and attack the Saxon Warlord, but he slips and falls when he hits the water. Two downed Heathguard in a very short order!

The Viking Warlord, using his Hearthguard as a stepping stone makes it safely across the creek, attacks the Saxon Warlord, and forces him back (downed).

The center Hearthguard moves to block his end of the bridge as there are not enough remaining action points for him to charge the Warlord and dispatch him, leaving that to the Bondi. The Bondi easily leaps across the creek and the Saxon Warlord is no more. The Saxons are demoralized and quit the field.


Overall I liked the rules changes very much. The movement as a result of combat added to the scene and the varying combat results fit nicely with what John Lambshead put in his original, experimental version. (John, if you read this, feel free to use any part of it in your upcoming rules.) I would definitely play these again.

In Other News

So, I am finally retired. Officially my last day was August 19th, but my last day of work was actually August 16th. On August 17th I went into surgery to have my right big toe amputated. While the surgery was successful, and I am recovering nicely, complications arose, as life is wont to do when you are my age.

When I was in my thirties I had gotten a strange result on a physical and was sent to a cardiologist. I wore a heart monitor for several days – it looked like a Sony Walkman in those days – and they told me that I had a benign heart condition. All I remember was they called it an 'irregular heartbeat' and that it would cause anomalous blood pressure readings if done by a machine (as opposed to the traditional manual cuff). Since then I have had two other cardiac 'scares', but in both cases the report from the cardiologist was that I had a strong heart, despite all of my other issues.

When they were closing me up, however, my heart went into atrial fibrillation – in my case the heart from irregular to erratic and it was beating at almost twice the normal rate – and so they kept me in the hospital longer than expected. The cardiologist on duty said that this often happens, and they would shock it with paddles and see if it went back into normal rhythm. They did and it did. For a day. Then it went back into a fib and now I am on heart medication, quite possibly for life.

The good news is that I have really changed my diet, for the better. I am eating greens before eating other foods (no more meals without a salad or vegetables) and I wear a continuous glucose monitor to see what is going on. Here is an example of what it looks like.

Basically the device is a small chip attached to a needle, which stays stuck in your arm for two weeks, and it sends the data to your smartphone via Bluetooth. (Yes, I am already trying to get the data to my computer and hack the format so I can do other things with it.)

Using this data I can look at the effect on my glucose when I eat various things. There is also a book out there that contends that if you eat foods in a different order, you can reduce glucose spikes. I am still experimenting with that too.

One the other thing the monitor provides is alarms when I get too high or too low in blood sugar. I haven't gone over and tripped an alarm, but I have, quite a number of times, tripped the low blood sugar alarm; always while I am sleeping. The good news to this is it allowed me to back off of two medications I was taking for diabetes. One was causing me nausea anyway, and thus I would not eat enough, while the other was dropping me too low (while counteracting the effect of another drug). Now that I am off those two I feel a lot better.

Although my mobility is still a bit restricted, hence gaming on a small bedside end table for this battle report, I am up and walking about. I just haven't started driving again (yet). Next week they should be pulling at least half of the staples from my wound, so we see if the doctor clears me then.

I still haven't got back to painting yet, but that is not really a function of mobility issues, just lack of drive. I hope to get back to face-to-face gaming with the group next Monday.

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About Me

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Huachuca City, Arizona, United States
I am 58 yrs old now. I bought a house in Huachuca City, AZ working for a software company for the last three years. To while away the hours I like to wargame -- with wooden, lead, and sometimes paper miniatures -- usually solo. Although I am a 'rules junkie', I almost always use rules of my own (I like to build upon others' ideas, but it seems like there is always something "missing" or "wrong").