Saturday, March 7, 2015

Refinement of Old School Horse & Musket Rules (Down & Dirty)

Muskets & Mayhem: 
Simple Rules for Horse & Musket Battles Fought with Toy Soldiers

  1. Initiative (both sides roll D6 with higher roll choosing to go first/second)
  2. Movement (alternate formations EG I move a unit, you move a unit, units charging conduct their pre-charge morale check now.  If failed, they remain at a halt. Targets of charge make their morale checks now.  If passed they may fire on charging unit instead of in fire phase)
  3. Artillery Fire (apply casualties at end of artillery phase)
  4. Stationary Fire (apply casualties at end of Stationary Fire Phase)
  5. Moving Fire (apply casualties at end of Moving Fire Phase)
  6. Morale (conduct all morale checks as a result of  stand loss through fire combat)
  7. Melee Combat (units in contact resolve melees at this time – initiative player determines who goes first)

Line units move and not fire 12 units of measurement. Line units who will fire and move 8.  Attack columns move 12. Artillery may move 6, foot limbered may move 12.  All cavalry move 20.  Squares may not move.

Units of Measurement:
Inches for troops larger than 15mm.  Centimeters for 15mm and below.  If you're using blocks of 10mm or 6mm troops, consider making hits by base instead of by figure.  (Just say each base fires with 2 D6 and takes 4 hits.)

Unit Composition:
·         Line unit sizes are 16 troops, including figures representing officers, musicians, etc (unit represents  most likely an 18th or early 19th century battalion or ACW sized Regiment).
·         Light Infantry Battalions are composed of 8 total troops individually based or based 2 to a base, with each base receiving 1 fire die.  Light Infantry Battalions skirmishing always fire as if they were at DISORGANIZED morale (they always hit on a 5).
·         Cavalry Squadrons are 8 to 10 mounts including officer and color bearer.
·         Artillery Batteries are 1 gun model with up to 4 gunners

Shoot groups of 2 figures.  So a full strength line battalion gets 8D6 (8 six sided dice).  Game uses opposed shooting rolls.  So firer shoots his fire dice.  For every hit, the unit being fired upon rolls its morale dice to see how it stands the fire.  Artillery batteries fire based on number of gunners with cannon.  (4 gunners = 4 fire dice – casualties are removed for unsaved hits).

EG: Austrian foot at normal morale (4 stands of 4 troops each) rolls 8 dice.  Normal morale hits on 4+.  He rolls 1,1,2,3,4,4,5,6.  Every die that is "4" or higher scores a hit.  The Austrian unit scores 4 hits.  The Prussian unit he fires at is currently also at Normal morale.  He rolls 4 dice (1 for each hit) and rolls 2,3,4,5, canceling out 2 hits from the Austrian player.  THe Prussian player takes 2 total hits to his battalion.  The Prussian player places a small die with the "2" showing behind the left-most stand.

Skirmisher / Light Infantry Battalions are units of 8

Morale Levels are Normal, Disorganized, Shaken.  For every 4 hits, you reduce your morale level by 1:    

4 stands full strength.  3 stands Disorganized. 2 stands Shaken.  Units reduced to 4 figures or 1 stand are removed.

For Shooting and Morale:
Normal Morale GREEN Dice hit on 4+ /  Save on 4+
Disorganized Morale YELLOW Dice hit on 5+ / Save on 5+
Shaken Morale RED Dice hit on 6 / Save on 6

ALTERNATE MORALE SAVE DICE OPTIONS (roll number or higher on 1D6) for those who want combined grenadier battalions, Guards troops, riflemen, etc)

MORALE Dice for Opposing Fire
Elite 3+
Regular 4+
Second Rate 5+
Hastily Trained Conscript / Mil. 6

Units must take a morale check after losing a stand, prior to melee, and receiving a charge.  Must roll your morale level or better on 1D6.

Line up Battalions and roll as per shooting.  Winner must beat loser by 2 casualties.  (Prussian scores 4 hits, Austrian scores 2 - Prussian is the winner.)

Melee Sequence:

1. Moving player announces Charge and makes pre charge morale check during movement phaseMoving player moves unit in.  
2. Player to receive charge makes morale check.  Must pass or retreat full move distance.
3. If Morale check passed, player receiving charge may fire immediately after charging player finishes charging unit’s movement)
4. Join units.  Resolve melee combat dice rolls during Melee Phase.
5. Melee Phase roll 1D6 for every figure in unit, striving to meet or exceed the Shooting/Morale number.  (Normal Morale 4+, Disorganized Morale 5+, Shaken Morale 6).  Both sides make Morale 6. Save Dice throws for each hit.
7. Remove Casualties or use marker dice if troops are on bases.
8. Winner is the side who scored 2 more hits than opponent.
9. Losing side retreats 1 full move facing enemy.

Combat Dice Additions:
Cavalry charging infantry in line receive double dice.
Infantry or cavalry charging artillery receive double dice if artillery battery passes its pre charge morale check.


  1. Excellent - thanks Steve.
    Like the expansion of the charge explanation - I'd figured that charge and effects would happen during movement - but good to see it clarified here. I'm going to try and get a game with these today.

    What are you thinking for catchy name...'OSWaG' (old school war game or 'OSHoM' (old school horse and musket) or perhaps an off the wall suggestion of 'Muskets and Mayhem' :) ?

    1. Darren,
      I thought it would be helpful clarified. That way if anyone wanted to try it, you had the recipe-book so to speak!
      To be honest I had not thought of a catchy name but I sure like Muskets & Mayhem! Let's go with that! I am very much looking forward to your play-test. As stated, this week I should have some time to try it and see how the mechanics work.


    2. First game is up now Steve.
      Have published details of where we refined or added to rules.
      What should happen to the loser in melee by the way? We opted for a 'push-back' option, unless stands had been lost, in which the loser was destroyed. Have some other discussion points on the blog, but thoroughly enjoyed the rules - and very adaptable to other Horse & Musket periods.

    3. Huzzah! I have already left comments sir!

      I added in a segment about the losing side retreating 1 full move away. Your method seems like it would lend itself to faster play. I'm very glad you enjoyed the rules. I can't wait to play them myself.

  2. Thanks for the great post. I'm going to try and give these a play this week. Muskets and Mayhem is a great title.


    1. Thank you John, glad you liked them. Please let me know if you have any questions at all.