Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The portable wargame: Draft of the nineteenth century version of the rules for hexes

The Portable Wargame Rules
For use with a battlefield marked with a grid of hexes
By Bob Cordery
Based on Joseph Morschauser’s original ideas

Equipment:
The following equipment is needed to fight battles with these rules:
1. A gridded battlefield that is marked with a grid that is at least eight hexes by eight hexes;
2. Items of terrain;
3. Two armies organised into Units. Each Unit should be mounted so that it can fit within one of the hexes on the gridded battlefield. Unless re-fighting an actual battle or one from an on-going wargame campaign, the armies should not contain more Units than the number of hexes along the side of the battlefield that the army is defending multiplied by 1½ (e.g. a battlefield has eight hexes along each of its sides; therefore the maximum number of Units the army can have is 8 x 1½ = 12 Units). One of the Units may be a Command Unit;
4. A set of at least eight Activation Dice; (See Appendix 1)
5. A set of ‘pin’ markers to indicate Units that have been ‘pinned’;
6. Two D6 dice (one for each player).

Terrain:
Each item of terrain – such as woods, built-up areas, or hills – must fit within the bounds of a hex on the gridded battlefield and should, if the terrain is passable to troops, allow a Unit to be placed in the hex.
The placement of a piece of terrain in a hex indicates that entire hex is filled by that type of terrain (e.g. a tree in a hex indicates that the entire hex is wooded; a building in a hex indicates that the entire hex is a built-up area).
Where pieces of terrain are larger than an individual hex (e.g. a hill) they must be sized in multiples of hexes (e.g. two hexes, three hexes, or six hexes) and be marked in hexes in the same way as the gridded battlefield.

Unit Types:
Infantry (Firearms)
a. Movement: 1 hex
b. Close Combat Power: 5
c. Weapon Range: 2 hexes

Infantry (Close Combat Weapons)
a. Movement: 1 hex
b. Close Combat Power: 4
c. Weapon Range: -

Mounted Cavalry
a. Movement: 2 hexes
b. Close Combat Power: 5
c. Weapon Range: -

Machine Guns
a. Movement: 1 hex
b. Close Combat Power: 6
c. Weapon Range: 3 hexes

Light Field Artillery
a. Movement: 1 hex
b. Close Combat Power: 1
c. Weapon Range: 4 hexes

Field Artillery
a. Movement: 1 hex
b. Close Combat Power: 1
c. Weapon Range: 6 hexes

Fortress/Siege Artillery
a. Movement: -
b. Close Combat Power: 1
c. Weapon Range: 10 hexes

Command
a. Movement: 2 hexes
b. Close Combat Power: 5
c. Weapon Range: -

Notes on Unit Types:
No Unit’s Close Combat Power may drop below 1 regardless of other rules.
Artillery Units may not move during a turn in which they have fired.
Dismounted Cavalry Units move and fight as if they are Infantry Units but their Close Combat Power is reduced by 1 whilst they are dismounted.
Infantry and Cavalry Units may move forward to replace an enemy Unit after it has been successfully attacked and destroyed by Close Combat; other Units may not move forward in these circumstances.

Activation Dice:
The number of Activation Dice a player may throw each turn to activate Units in their army is determined using the following formulae:
a. For European armies: One activation dice for the Command Unit plus one activation dice for every three Units in the army rounded up (e.g. A player commanding a European army of eight Units will throw four activation dice; one for the Command Unit and three for the remaining Units).
b. For Native armies: One activation dice for the Commander Unit plus one activation dice for every three Units in the army rounded down (e.g. A player commanding a Native army of eight Units will throw three activation dice; one for the Command Unit and two for the remaining Units).
As a player’s army loses Units, the number of activation dice the player may throw will decrease in line with these formulae (e.g. If a player commanding a European army loses their Command Unit, they immediately lose an activation dice; they will also lose an activation dice every time the number of non-Command Units in their army is reduced to a number that is evenly divisible by three).

Unit Activation:
The Activation Dice determine how many Units each army may activate during a turn.
When activated, a Unit may move or fire or be ‘unpinned’. (See Note 1)
The only exception to this rule are Native Infantry and Cavalry Units which may make a double-length move if the player commanding them decides to use two of their Unit activations to do so. For example, a player commanding a Native army may use four activations to:
a. Move four Native Infantry Units one hex each or
b. Move one Native Infantry Unit a double-length move (i.e. two hexes) and two Native Infantry Units one hex each or
c. Move two Native Infantry Units a double-length move each (i.e. two hexes)

Pre-battle Deployment:
For ‘one off’ battles, each side must deploy its army within its deployment zone. These are the first two rows of hexes on the opposing sides of the gridded battlefield.
For campaign battles, each side may deploy its army within its half of the gridded battlefield, subject the rule that no Unit may start the battle in a hex that is adjacent to one occupied by an enemy Unit.

Turn Sequence:
1. Any Artillery Unit that is within range may fire. Because artillery fire is deemed to be simultaneous, casualties are removed after all artillery fire has taken place.
2. Both sides roll a D6 die to see which side will activate its Units first. The side with the highest score activates its Units first this turn and then:
2a. Throws its Activation Dice to determine how many Units it may activate this turn.
2b. Selects the Units they are going to activate, and activates each of them in turn. (See Notes 1 and 2) When activated, a Unit may move or fire or be ‘unpinned’. (See Note 1)
2c. Any Close Combats are resolved and casualties are removed.
2d. Once the first side has activated all the Units it may activate, the second side may activate its Units and follow the procedure laid down in 2a, 2b, and 2c.
3. Once both sides have activated their Units, the turn has ended and the next may begin.

Artillery Fire:
Artillery fire is simultaneous; therefore if an Artillery Unit is destroyed it may still fire that turn before it is removed.
Artillery Units may only fire once each turn, and if they fire, they may not be activated during the same turn, although they may be ‘unpinned’.
Artillery Units may fire if they are ‘pinned’.
All artillery fire ranges are measured through the sides of hexes and not through the corners of hexes.
Artillery Units fire within an arc of fire that is 120 degrees forward of the direction in which they are facing (i.e. in an arc sweeping from one 60 degree diagonal line of hexes to the other).
Artillery fire can destroy any type of ground Unit.
Artillery Units can fire into woods, built-up areas, and fortifications.
Artillery Units can fire out of woods, built-up areas, and fortifications if they are in a hex that is on the edge of the woods, built-up areas, or fortifications (i.e. the adjacent hex in the direction they are firing does not contain woods, built-up areas, or fortifications).
If an entire Unit can be seen by an Artillery Unit that is firing at it, the artillery fire is direct fire; if an entire Unit cannot be seen or it is in cover (e.g. woods, built-up areas, and fortifications), the artillery fire is indirect fire.
Artillery firing at targets that are two or less hexes away
If the range from the Artillery Unit that is firing at a nominated target hex is two hexes or less, any Unit in that hex is hit.
A D6 die is then rolled to determine the effectiveness of the artillery fire upon the Unit that is in the hex in which the artillery fire has landed.
a. Direct artillery fire – 5 or 6: Destroys a Unit; Any other score: Pins a Unit
b. Indirect artillery fire – 6: Destroys a Unit; 4 or 5: Pins a Unit; Any other score: No effect
Artillery firing at targets that are three or more hexes away
If the range from the Artillery Unit that is firing at a nominated target hex is three of more hexes, a D6 die is thrown:
a. Die score = 5 or 6: Artillery fire lands on the target hex.
b. Die score = 3 or 4: Artillery fire lands in the hex immediately in front of the target hex. (See Note 3)
c. Die score = 1 or 2: Artillery fire lands in the hex immediately behind the target hex.
If there is a Unit in the hex that the artillery fire lands in, that Unit is hit.
A D6 die is then rolled to determine the effectiveness of the artillery fire upon the Unit that is in the hex in which the artillery fire has landed.
a. Direct artillery fire – 5 or 6: Destroys a Unit; Any other score: Pins a Unit
b. Indirect artillery fire – 6: Destroys a Unit; 4 or 5: Pins a Unit; Any other score: No effect

Movement:
A Unit may only move once each turn and then only if it has been activated and:
a. It has not fired or
b. It is not ‘pinned’. (see Note 1)
All movement is made and measured through the sides of hexes and not through the corners of hexes.
A Unit may change its direction of movement any number of times during its move.
A Unit may move through hexes that are:
a. Occupied by friendly Units;
b. Adjacent to the flank or rear of an enemy Unit.
A Unit may not end its move in the same hex as another Unit.
A Unit must stop as soon as it enters a hex that is adjacent to the front, flank or rear of enemy Unit, and both Units turn to face each other at once.
If a Unit is being faced by an enemy Unit that is in an adjacent hex and the Unit has not yet been activated and moved this turn, it may move providing that:
a. It is one of the Units chosen to be activated and moved this turn and
b. It does not move into a hex that is adjacent to the front of another enemy Unit.

Non-Artillery Fire:
Non-Artillery Units may fire once each turn if they have not moved.
Non-Artillery Units may fire if they are ‘pinned’.
All non-artillery fire ranges are measured through the sides of hexes and not through the corners of hexes.
All non-Artillery Units fire within an arc of fire that is 120 degrees forward of the direction in which they are facing (i.e. in an arc sweeping from one 60 degree diagonal line of hexes to the other).
Non-Artillery Units can fire out of woods, built-up areas, and fortifications if they are in a hex that is on the edge of the woods, built-up areas, or fortifications (i.e. the adjacent hex in the direction they are firing does not contain woods, built-up areas, or fortifications).
If an entire Unit can be seen by a non-Artillery Unit that is firing at it, the target Unit is in the open; if an entire Unit cannot be seen or it is in cover (e.g. woods, built-up areas, and fortifications), the target Unit is in cover.
A D6 die is rolled for each non-Artillery Unit that is firing.
a. Target is in the open – 5 or 6: Destroys a Unit; 2, 3, or 4: Pins a Unit; 1: No effect
b. Target is in cover – 6: Destroys a Unit; 4 or 5: Pins a Unit; Any other score: No effect

Close Combat:
Close Combats are fought if, after a side’s Units have been activated and moved, a Unit is being faced by an enemy Unit that is in an adjacent hex.
Units do not need to be activated to take part in a Close Combat.
If several Units move into hexes that are adjacent to an enemy Unit, the enemy Unit is turned to face the last Unit that moved into contact with it. This last Unit is deemed to be the attacking Unit for the purposes of resolving a Close Combat, and its Close Combat Power is used when the outcome of the Close Combat is determined. If the attacking Unit loses the ensuing Close Combat, it is the Unit that is destroyed and removed.
When several Units attack a single enemy Unit, the defending Unit’s Close Combat Power is reduced:
a. 2 attacking Units reduce the defending Unit’s Close Combat Power by 1;
b. 3 attacking Units reduce the defending Unit’s Close Combat Power by 2;
c. 4 attacking Units reduce the defending Unit’s Close Combat Power by 3.
This rule is subject to the proviso that no Unit’s Close Combat Power may drop below 1.
To determine the outcome of a Close Combat, each side throws a D6 die:
a. If the attacker’s dice score is equal to or is less than its Close Combat Power, the defending Unit is destroyed and removed at once; If the attacker’s dice score is greater than its Close Combat Power, the defending Unit survives the Close Combat. (Notes: If the attacking Unit is an Infantry or Cavalry Unit it may move into the now empty hex. If this results in the attacking Unit coming into contact with another enemy Unit, it may not attack the enemy Unit this turn.)
b. If the defender’s dice score is equal to or is less than its Close Combat Power, the attacking Unit is destroyed and removed at once; If the defender’s dice score is greater than its Close Combat Power, the attacking Unit survives the Close Combat. (Notes: The defending Unit may not move into the now empty hex.)
a. If one Unit is destroyed, the surviving Unit or Units have won the Close Combat.
b. If neither Unit is destroyed, the Close Combat ends as a draw. The attacking Unit must withdraw into an adjacent empty hex that is not adjacent to a hex occupied by an enemy Unit. If it is unable to do so, it is destroyed.
c. If both Units are destroyed, the Close Combat has resulted in mutual annihilation.

Special Rules:
Pinning
With the exception of Regular European Cavalry Units, when a Unit is ‘pinned’ is stops where it is and may not move until it is ‘unpinned’.
Whilst ‘pinned’, the Unit is deemed to be under cover, even if it is in the open. This reflects that fact that it has ‘gone to ground’.
Regular European Cavalry Units do not stop when they are ‘pinned’; they move towards the nearest enemy Unit at the earliest opportunity (i.e. as soon as it is their side’s turn to activate Units), and will continue to do so until they are ‘unpinned’.
This reflects the fact that Regular European Cavalry Units tend towards ‘flight to the front’ when they come under fire rather than seeking cover.

Hills
A Unit that is attacking an enemy Unit that is above it reduces its Close Combat Power by 1.

Roads:
Each hex of movement made along a road by a Unit uses up only half a hex of movement.
If a Unit moves along a road and then off the road during the same turn (or vice versa), any unused half-hexes of movement are lost.
For movement, built-up areas count as roads.

Rivers:
Rivers may only be crossed by bridge or at a shallow spot (ford).
Units that enter river hexes where there is no bridge or a shallow spot (ford) are destroyed.
When crossing a shallow spot (ford) in a river, a Unit moves into the river on turn A and stops. It remains in the river for turn B, and it then moves again on turn C.
Units that are fording rivers (i.e. are in turn B of the above sequence) may not fire.
A Unit that is in a river hex and is attacking an enemy Unit that is in an adjacent hex reduces its Close Combat Power by 1.

Woods:
Units attacking enemy Units that are in woods reduce their Close Combat Power by 1, even if the attacking Unit is also in the woods.

Built-up Areas and Fortifications:
Units attacking enemy Units that are in built-up areas or fortifications reduce their Close Combat Power by 2, even if the attacking Unit is also in the built-up area or fortification.

Appendix 1: Activation Dice
The Activation Dice are D6 dice with the faces marked as follows:
a. One face marked with ‘0’;
b. Two faces marked with ‘1’;
c. Two faces marked with ‘2’;
d. One face marked with ‘3’.
In the absence of a set of such dice, players could use ordinary D6 dice, each score being divided by two and rounded down:
a. 1 = 0;
b. 2 = 1;
c. 3 = 1;
d. 4 = 2;
e. 5 = 2;
f. 6 = 3.
It is important to note that, when using ordinary D6 dice as Activation Dice, the dice scores are not aggregated before being divided by two; each die’s score must be separately divided by two and then the resultant scores are aggregated to determine how many Units a player may move.

Appendix 2: Front, Rear, and Flank
The front, flank, and rear of a Unit is determined by the direction it is facing in relationship to the sides or corners of the hex it is in.

Notes:
1. Any Artillery Units that have fired at the beginning of this turn may not move this turn but they may be ‘unpinned’.
Regular European Cavalry Units that are ‘pinned’ at the beginning of a turn must either be ‘unpinned’ or move towards the nearest enemy Unit.
If a player chooses not to try to ‘unpin’ a ‘pinned’ Regular European cavalry Unit, the automatic movement towards the nearest enemy Unit does not count as an activation.

2. This decision to ‘unpin’ or not to ‘unpin’ a ‘pinned’ Regular European Cavalry Unit takes priority over all other decisions about activations and must be completed before any other activation takes place.

3. In cases where there are two hexes immediately in front of or behind the target hex, the odd number indicates the left-hand hex and the even number the right-hand hex.

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