My War of 1812 Board Game

 Battlecry! 1812

This is a set of rules for a War of 1812 battle game, which uses components from the board game Battlecry! See this link for updates and related news.

 The game rules are meant to simulate company-level tactics during the Horse and Musket period, especially during the Napoleonic Wars.

The game incorporates such tactics and units as the Kentucky Mounted Rifles, light infantry, and woodland skirmishing without getting bogged down in dice rolling tables and charts.

Although I've designed the game to take advantage of the geomorphic hex tiles and dice of Avalon Hill's Battlecry!, it is simple enough to convert the units to other miniatures systems or dice.

The abilities of units and weapons are based on historical research and my experience as a "living historian." 

 The Rules

1812 is a turn-based tactical wargame for two to four or more players. The game seeks to simulate company-level skirmishes and battles taking place in the American wilderness between 1812 and 1815. The rules use components from Avalon Hill's Battlecry! Game, but it's relatively simple to adapt to other systems, such as 25mm miniatures.

Each player controls part or all of a force fighting for either the Americans or British/ Native Allied side during the War of 1812. The basic unit is the company, a force of between 30 and 120 men. There are a variety of units available to the players depending on the scenario, including Infantry, riflemen, Native Americans, and cavalry.

Units and their Characteristics:
Each unit has different abilities determined by it's basic type: infantry, artillery, Indians, etc. In addition, individual unit strength and attack abilities are determined by two values: strength and morale. Strength is represented by the number of figures attached to a unit (1 figure = 10-20 men depending on the scenario). Morale is represented by a stack of chips or any number counter, such as a 4- to 10- sided dice. Strength  cannot be replenished, but morale is recovered by “rallying”: keeping the unit out of sight of an enemy and unmoving for one turn. Officers can also add temporary morale.
Company-sized units are assumed to have their compliment of organic officers. Multiple units on the field, such as a battalion or regiment, are led by a field officer, which can be anyone from a senior captain to a major general. They can be mounted or dismounted (mounted moves four hexs/turn, dismounted moves two). They have three values: rank, ability, and type. Rank is the formal command level of an officer and functionally exists to help determine their scope of action. A major general can exert an influence throughout a battlefield, whilst a captain or major is assigned to a single battalion. On the same note, an artillery officer (A) can only aid artillery units, infantry officers (I) can only aid infantry, and so on. The exceptions are general officers and their staff (G) or engineer officers (E) who can aid any unit from their side.

Since the player is directing all the action, the officers really exist to buff adjacent units which fall under their leadership. Therefore, an Infantry captain in charge of a division of two companies can grant each one a buff of +1 on a morale roll, up to however many ability points he has, during the scenario. This variable allows for lower ranked officers to have much better ability scores than their superiors. Rank determines how distant a unit can be to recieve buffs on their morale rolls. For instance, a major can "throw" a bonus two hexes, a colonel or lt. colonel three hexes, a brigadier or major general four hexes.
The other role that field officers play is in rallying routed units. If a unit routes it must move as far as it can each turn until it escapes the line of sight and range of any enemies in the area. The officer can roll his ability score or lower on a D6 to "rally" the unit, allowing it to recover one morale point up to its starting morale. Officers cannot be hit be ranged fire except by light infantry, rifle, or indian units: they can roll a single dice for a officer in range and hit them  on a "horseman" result, killing or wounding them and removing them from the table. Officers who are overrun by a melee attack are considered captured and removed from the table.

Turn Sequence:
Player 1 turn:
1. Movement and facing of units.
2. Fire and attacks.
3. Defending Player may withdraw units that have been attacked.
Player 2 turn:

Attacks are made in two ways: shooting or melees. Every unit can shoot once per turn. The commander chooses an enemy unit within range and rolls a number of dice based on the unit's morale, type of weapon, and terrain conditions such as fieldworks. The resulting hits effect either the strength or morale of the target, or force it to retreat (see table).

Melee: Units can engage an adjacent unit in a melee, or hand-to-hand combat. Both units roll their morale dice and the roll with the most flag results wins. The loser retreats one hex and loses one morale point. Artillery cannot melee, and Indians suffer a penalty of -1 dice for melees (because they preferred to completely demoralize a unit before charging—see special abilities table below.)

Consequences: if a units strength falls to zero, it is considered destroyed and removed from the field (certain scenarios count this as a victory point). If a units morale falls to zero, it is considered routed and must retreat its full movement towards the friendly edge of the field each turn. If blocked by an enemy unit it surrenders and is considered destroyed. An officer may attempt a “rally”.

The idea is to represent real combat, in which a units overall quality (morale, which I take to represent not only fighting spirit but discipline, training, skill and fatigue) usually trumped numbers. Morale represents how easily the men could stay in ranks, reload and fire their muskets, and perform these actions in the stress of close combat. Thus a unit with very low strength but high morale can inflict far more casualties than one with large numbers of “green” or dispirited troops.

(This game can be scaled up or down by tweaking the range, effects and movement stats.I'm considering developing a battalion/regimental level version of this game for Napoleonic/ Niagara 1814/ American Civil War battles.The main difference would be that the movement rates would be reduced and the range for infantry arms reduced to 1 or 2 hexes.)

(Formations were an important aspect of warfare, especially for the infantry units. With the current set up it's difficult to represent different formations. However, most battalion-level maneuvers were developed using the companies as building blocks, so that  shrewd gamers will adapt tactics like columns, squares, and echelon lines instinctively. The simplest formation, though, was for infantry simply to "right face" and march by the flank.)

Shooting dice results:
1-2 orInfantryman: subtracts one strength point from a target foot unit.
3 or Swords: subtracts one morale point from the target.
4 or Flag: causes a retreat, one hex for each rolled.
5 or Horseman: subtracts a strength point from any mounted unit.
6 or Cannon: subtracts a strength point from any artillery unit.

Weapons and their dice to hit by range (hexes)...
Weapon 1 2 3 4 5 6
Musket M -2 X X X X
Rifle -1 M -2 -4 X X
Pistol and Sabre M X X X X X
Artillery m+1 M M -1 -2 -2....
Howitzer M -1 -2 M -4 X
The modifiers subtract from the base morale of a unit. In addition, terrain features and leaders might confer or detract points from a unit's firing stats.

Combat Situation Modifiers
Terrain type Woods -1 move, -1 to hit, only Indians and riflemen can move through in one turn.

Hill +1 to fire

Fieldworks -2 to hit

Fence -1 move, except for Indians and riflemen.
Tactic Flank (sides) +1 to hit

Rear +2 to hit
Maneuver Flank march
+2 movement
+2 to hit

Column of Companies
+1 move
+1 to hit 1 company can fire.

Column of Divisions
+1 move
+1 to hit 2 companies can fire

Battalion Square -1 move Cannot be flanked

Open order (skirmishing)
-2 to hit
fire is divided by number of hexes occupied
Artillery Unlimber 1 turn, cannot fire unless LA.

Limber 1 turn, cannot move unless LA

Type Move Weapon Special
I Infantry
LI Light Infantry
2 Musket Bayonet Charge: unit may move an additional hex to melee with a unit after its normal turn.
R Riflemen 2 Rifle

MR Mounted Riflemen 3 M, R
Run Down: (see below)
Infiltrate: can deploy in open order and act as skirmishers.
LD Light Dragoons 3 M, R, S+P Run Down: Can destroy an adjacent Indian unit in open ground.
N Indians 2 M, R Skilled fighters: Cannot be flanked. Pick off: can destroy adjacent routed unit.
FA Field Artillery 2 A, H Cannot melee.LA
LA Light Artillery 3 A, H Can fire in same turn as the gun is unlimbered or limbered.
HA Heavy Artillery 0 A, H Cannot move or melee.
Officers (foot) 2 None
Buff: adds +1 bonus once per turn to qualifying unit (up to ability score).
Rally: can rally a unit (roll ability score or lower).
Officers (mounted) 4 None