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Thursday, April 27, 2017

One Hour Wargames: AWI House Rules

For me, Neil Thomas’s One Hour Wargames horse and musket rules are perfect for my AWI 6mm collection and the amount of time and space I have.  They are particularly good for Southern battles, as these would be considered brigade sized actions in Europe or even in the northern theater.  They were strategically important and easily reproduced in their entirety on the tabletop and there are a large number of very plausible hypothetical scenarios that can be played.

Like any good wargamer, I have fiddled with them a bit in order to fit my perceptions, I hope you find these useful. The core rules have a lot of subtlety, despite their simplicity, and frankly my efforts here are really just gilding the lily.

Here is a summary of what I changed.

  • I changed all measurements to base widths (BW) a la Polemos.  My collection is based with a foot battalion on a 100mm frontage (~4”)
  • I wanted to differentiate between qualities of forces, so I created custom Fog of War cards for each side.  The British have more positive cards than the Patriots
  • Add Leaders, who can Rally based by removing hits, but run the risk of being lost.  You can give a better force more leaders
  • Added modifiers for Elite units and poor discipline
  • The bayonet was important, so added aggressive infantry that can engage in hand to hand combat with other infantry.
  • Gave rifles an extended range

I left the movement rules pretty unchanged.  I assume all units are in some sort of open order (“Loose Files and American Scramble”) but that woods represent heavy clumps of trees.  Possible alternative I am toying with:

Non-Skirmish infantry may move through woods, but suffer -2 to firing (unable to deliver volleys) and do NOT get the cover bonus.  This would allow regulars to maneuver in the trees but will be less effective than lights or skirmishers.

Unit Ratings for AWI Southern Theater, 1780-81
These lists will create forces for pickup games or the scenarios in the book.
British / Hessian Foot Battalion
Roll d6, 4-6 = Elite
Light Infantry
Skirmish, Aggressive
Hessian Jaegers
Skirmish, Rifle Armed
Aggressive, Elite
Loyalist Infantry
Roll d6, 5-6 = Poor Discipline 
British Legion Dragoons

Loyalist militia
Poor Discipline

·        I know it seems odd to have Lights be both Skirmishers and aggressive, but in operation they would frequently form up and deliver bayonet charges. Elite rating would probably not be out of lien for some battles as well.

Roll d6, 4-6 = Aggressive
Roll d6, 3-6 = Riflemen
Poor Discipline


Sample Forces: Cowpens
Tarleton’s Column
  •         British Legion Dragoons x 2
  •         Light Infantry (Skirmish, Aggressive)
  •         British Legion Infantry
  •         7th Foot (Aggressive)
  •         71st Highland Regiment (Elite, Aggressive)
  •         Artillery

Morgan’s Light Corps
  •         Continentals (Aggressive)
  •         3 x Riflemen (Elite)
  •         2 x Militia
  •         Washington’s Dragoons


  1. Some nice ideas there. I think the OHW rules offer a very solid platform for tweaking and that for many of us, some tweaking is necessary to get the level of play that best serves our view of the period. I think heavy woodland needs to have an impact on non-skirmishing forces.

  2. Thanks Norm! Your blog is an inspiration for me. I agree the more I think about it. I don't want regulars to be prohibited, but they should be at a disadvantage against dedicated skirmishers. I am painting up some AWI odds and ends right now, as one usually does for a project, including some baggage wagons, more militia (you cannot have too many) and extra highlanders and Hessians. I will do some more play testing and post how I get on.