Friday, 4 September 2015

Today, I'ave mostly been ... writing my own World War II variant of Neil Thomas's One Hour Wargames rules

Like most wargamers, I find it very difficult not to tinker with the wargame rules I use ... and the rules in Neil Thomas's ONE HOUR WARGAMES book are very tinkerable. (I don't know if 'tinkerable' is a proper word ... but if it isn't, it should be!)

What I wanted was a set of rules that allowed me to field Infantry, Cavalry, Anti-tank guns, Artillery, Armoured Cars, and Tanks on my 2 foot x 3 foot hexed mini-campaign wargame board. I read through the chapters of Neil Thomas's book that covered the American Civil War, the Machine Age, and the Second World War, and melded together elements of all three sets of rules to produce my own.

One thing that is significantly different in my rules is the reduction in movement and weapon ranges. Because the Hexon II hexes are 10cm/4 inches from face to face, I converted the original measurements using a ratio of 6 inches = 1 hex. Thus a tank that moves 12 inches in the original rules moves 2 hexes in my version, and artillery that has a maximum range of 48 inches in the original rules has an range of 8 hexes in my rules.

With a bit of luck, I hope to play-test this draft at some point over the weekend.

OHW World War II: Hexed version (Working Draft: 4th September 2015)

Unit Types
  • Infantry: Represents an infantry unit of between 500 and 1,000 men.
  • Cavalry: Represents a cavalry unit of between 350 and 700 men
  • Anti-tank Guns: Represents an anti-tank gun battalion/regiment.
  • Artillery: Represents an artillery battalion/regiment of artillery.
  • Armoured Cars: Represents an armoured car/reconnaissance unit with between 50 and 75 vehicles.
  • Tanks: Represents a tank unit with between 50 and 75 tanks.
Turn Sequence
  • When a unit is activated it follows the following sequence:
    • Movement;
    • Observation;
    • Combat (if it has not moved or if it has moved into a hex adjacent to an enemy unit);
    • Unit elimination (any unit that has been eliminated is removed immediately).
  • A unit may only be activated once per turn.
  • Movement rates:
    • Infantry: 1 hex
    • Cavalry: 2 hexes
    • Anti-tank Guns: 1 hex
    • Artillery: 1 hex
    • Armoured Cars: 2 hexes
    • Tanks: 1 hex
  • Changing direction: Units may change direction as many times as they wish during a move.
  • Terrain effects:
    • Woods: Only Infantry units may enter woods.
    • Towns: Only Infantry units may end their move in a town.
    • Marshes and Lakes: Marshes and Lakes are impassable to all units.
    • Rivers: Rivers may only be crossed via bridges or fords.
    • Roads: Units who make their entire move along a road increase their movement rate by 1 hex.
  • Moving and Shooting: Units that have moved may not fire during the same turn.
  • Moving and Assaulting: Units that have moved may assault an enemy unit that is an adjacent hex but if they do not immediately eliminate that enemy unit, the assaulting unit must immediately fall back 1 hex.
  • Unit Interpenetration: Units may move through friendly units without penalty.
  • Observation Range is 3 hexes.
  • With the exception of Artillery units, units may only fire at enemy units they can see.
  • Artillery units may fire at enemy units that can be seen by a friendly unit or whose position has already been identified.
  • Line-of-Sight: Line-of-sight is blocked by hills, towns, woods, and enemy units.
  • Units have a 360° arc-of-fire.
  • Weapon Ranges:
    • Infantry: 2 hexes
    • Cavalry: 1 hex
    • Anti-tank Guns: 2 hexes
    • Artillery: 8 hexes
    • Armoured Car Guns: 2 hexes
    • Tank guns: 2 hexes
  • Casualties: One D6 per unit firing.
  • Casualties are per the dice score as modified below:
    • Infantry vs. Infantry, Cavalry, Anti-tank Guns, & Artillery = D6; vs. Armoured Cars & Tanks = D6-2
    • Cavalry vs. Infantry, Cavalry, Anti-tank Guns, Armoured Cars, & Tanks = D6-2
    • Anti-tank Guns vs. Infantry, Cavalry, Anti-tank Guns, & Artillery = D6-2; vs. Armoured Cars & Tanks = D6+2
    • Artillery vs. Infantry & Cavalry = D6+2; vs. Anti-tank Guns & Artillery = D6; vs. Armoured Cars & Tanks = D6-2
    • Armoured Cars vs. Infantry, Cavalry, Anti-tank Guns, & Artillery = D6; vs. Armoured Cars & Tanks = D6+2
    • Tanks vs. Infantry, Cavalry, Anti-tank Guns, & Artillery = D6; vs. Armoured Cars & Tanks = D6+2
  • Cover: Units in cover or ‘hull down’ only suffer half casualties. (Fractions are rounded up.)
Unit Elimination
  • Units are eliminated once they have suffered 15 casualties.

I would like to thank the brilliant writers of the BBC TV series THE FAST SHOW for inspiring the title of this blog entry.


  1. I'm looking forward to the playtest, Bob. A quick google search would suggest that tinkerable may be your contribution to the Oxford English Dictionary. It deserves to be there - great word.

  2. Natholeon,

    I hope that the play-test will highlight any faults in my draft rules.

    If tinkerable ever gets into the OED, I will be proud to claim it as my invention!

    All the best,


  3. Wow- that is pretty impressive. I'm looking forward to seeing how they play out. It seems to me that rule set would work whatever the scale of forces you are using, with modifications only to movement allowances and combat ranges. The only limitation would be your playing area.

  4. Archduke Piccolo,

    The joy of Neil Thomas's rules as published in his book are that they all follow the same design philosophy, with the result that you can 'mix and match' bits from one set with bits from another.

    As you have pointed out in your comment, if I was going to play-test the rules on a bigger tabletop it should be possible to double the movement and weapon ranges without 'breaking' the rules.

    All the best,


  5. Hi Bob,

    Very nifty looking set of adaptations and the great thing for me is the scale you have pitched them out - Megablitzesque almost.....;-)

    Seriously though, this level of operations removes the need for all the low level infantry support kit - mortars, machine guns and infantry anti tank weapons - as their effects are assumed to be in the base combat factors.

    I am looking forward to the playtest and more importantly how you are going to tackle the hex based OHW Colonial rules which I assume are in the planning stages somewhere.

    All the best,


  6. David Crook,

    You are spot on regarding the sort of command-level I wanted to use the rules with, especially as it means that I can use my existing Megablitz units without having to rebase them.

    It was a toss-up whether to develop my own WWII version or my own Colonial version of the rules first ... and in the end I decided to 'go' with the WWII version. I have some ideas about how I want the Colonial version to work, but as some of these are incorporated in the WWII version it made sense to play-test them first to see if they do.

    All the best,


  7. Do let us know how you get on with the rules

  8. John Curry,

    I have just written a battle report that shows that the rules work quite well, although the play-test did throw up one or two changes that I need to make.

    All the best,


  9. I just spent the evening playing a WW2 game using Neil Thomas' rules. I've come to the conclusion that the rules are too generic for me to be truly satisfied with, since I'm a tactical gamer at heart and I like period chrome. However, that's just me. Your efforts sound sensible and show the high tinker ability (ha!) of NT's rules.

  10. Michael Peterson,

    I have heard other wargamers express the same sentiment regarding these rules, especially if you prefer tactical rather than operational-level wargames. Like most things in the hobby, we find what we like and tend to stick with it ... which is one of the thing that make this such a diverse and interesting hobby.

    It sounds as if ‘tinkerable’ and ‘tinkerability’ are going to gradually seep into the English language … at least amongst wargamers referring to Neil Thomas’s rules.

    All the best,