Wargame Rules for the 16th C
(AngloScots Wars Module)

(Inspired by Joseph Morschauser)


30 Jan, Revised combat rules replaced first strike rule with limitations on number of SP fighting per base. Put the commander risk rule back to 1 die being against the commander.

29 Jan Rearranged sections + some updates to evades, combat
28 Jan chng to terrain effect, arty limber, dice, hailshot, flanking
15 Jan Massed missile fire rule put back in (oops) and the ability of light troops formed 'en masse', restricted. 
13 Jan Added depth bonus for pikes and fixed chart for bow 'to hit' score.
12 Jan. Multiple changes to combat rules.
10-11 Jan Changes to control and morale rules

Introduction: These rules which were originally inspired by Joseph Morscahuser's How to Play Wargames in Miniature are designed for playing Rennaisance wargames. They are not intended as a detailed simulation but rather to show the relative strengths and weakness of various troop types and tactics in a manner which is both practical and visually attractive. Since it is this relativity that is important they may be used for small actions such as Solway Moss or large battles like Pinkie by adjusting the figure to man ration without worrying over much about ground scale distortions. 


1. Scales. The following are a rough guide only, the rules being designed top down for balance and feel not bottom up by adding detail on detail. 1"=10 yds, 1 turn = 20 minutes.

2. Organization & Definitions:

Company: The game is played with ‘companies’ of troops which consist of a number of figures glued to a stand. Each company has a set number of Strength Points (SP) each normally representing 50 men. This can be halved or doubled without the scale distortions spoiling the game. The stands should be between 40mm to 75mm (1.5 to 3") wide and be the same size on both sides. The number of figures is not important but with larger figures in particular it is handy to use 1 figure per SP. My own bases are 60mm square with 4 infantry, 2-3 light infantry or 2 cavalry figures..

 Battle or Regiment: A Battle (early 16thC) or Regiment (late 16thC) is composed of one Commander and a number of companies, usually all infantry or all cavalry.  When designing a scenario or setting out a pickup game, all companies must be assigned to a commander for the duration of the game. 

A group is composed of 1 or more companies of the same Battle with their bases touching and aligned. (as long as they have the movement to touch (after paying the formation change penalty), the joining company gets a free shift so that it is properly aligned.). Second and subsequent ranks of companies must contain the same number of companies as the front rank except that the rear rank may have less.

Companies that begin as a group do not have to do the same thing but companies that move away are no longer part of that group. Companies that move to join a group that has not yet moved cannot move again. Hits on a group must be consolidated. In a mixed group up to 1 stand of each troop type may carry hits. When being shot at the owning player chooses what type of stand is hit. In melee, the hit must go on a stand of the same type. (Note this will usually be a rear rank stand as replacements press forward.) 

Armour: At this time armour was still commonly worn into battle and in these rules helps to reduce casualties in may instances. Companies are often composed of a mix of armour types so should be classed as typical for their majority type and function and should  be represented by suitable figures. eg a regiment of Landsknechts may contain front rank stands with doublepaymen in 3/4 plate and rear rank men in just a leather jerkin. Do not classify these by seperate stands but as an average of all of the pikemen in the regiment   Classifications are:

  1. Heavily Armoured: Cavalry in full plate on barded horses or rarely infantry all in good quality 3/4 plate or better
  2. Armoured: Cavalry in partial plate or better on unarmoured horses, the bulk of close order infantry can be some figures in partial plate and others in jacks or similar or all ranks in back and breast or in mail etc
  3. Lightly Armoured: Figures more lightly equiped,  typically missile troops with the majority wearing a jack or less as well or highlanders with some figures in jack and others with just a shield.
  4. Unarmoured: Companies  where most have no protection at all.

Infantry and Cavalry. Where these terms are used without an adjective, they are taken to mean all troops on foot or all mounted troops.

 The following company types are used in the basic game:

  1. Commanders. Command stands influence troop morale.
    1. Generals: Each army will normally have one overall commander who is the General. This stand represents the player in command as well as his bodyguard. Allied armies may have more than 1 general as may very large armies (40+ companies) if multiple players are available. Normally the General will also be Captain of one of the Battles, especially early in the century.
    2. Captains are commanders who control a Battle or Regiment. They are mounted as and fight as any other troop type. No more than 1 captain per army may have an odd number of infantry and cavalry companies under normal circumstances. By the end of the 16th Century, the term Colonel was coming into use and this might be a better term for these sub-commanders but I like the sound of Captain which has a slight Shakespearean ring to it for this era. 
  2. Foot. Infantry equipped for close combat and normally fighting in tight ranks.
    4 SP per company 
    1. Pikes are infantry primarily armed with pikes backed with other polearms
    2. Bills are infantry equipped mainly with bills and halbards as well as Galloglaich with 2 handed axes..
  3. Light Infantry. Foot usually in light armour, operating in looser order and fighting as individuals in melee or relying primarily on missile fire. Missile troops will normally operate individually as skirmishers or form on the flanks of heavier infantry. 
    2 or 3 SP per company.

    a. Crossbows:  Infantry equipped with heavy crossbows
    b. Shot: Infantry equipped with firearms
    c. Bows: Infantry using bows
    d. Swordsmen: Infantry equipped with sword and buckler or two handers and relying on individual combat skills. May be armoured.
    e. Highlanders, Kerne.  The bulk of Irish or Highland Scots infantry lightly armed and armoured with a proportion of troops with missile weapons.  It is easiest to mount each company as all bows or all swordsmen etc but if desired they may be mounted with a mix of figures. If so then each figure shoots or fights as portrayed. If there are hits on the company then the number of dice rolled cannot exceed the remaining strength but which figure fights each turn can be chosen by the owning player. 

  4. Horse
    1. Gensdarmes. Fully armoured knights on barded horses, Gentlemen Pensioners and the like.
    2. Demilancers. Less well armoured lancers on unbarded horses.
    3. Reiters. Armoured pistoliers operating in a dense mass. May be mounted 3 to a base
  5. Light Horse (Border Horse, Mounted Arquebusiers) Lightly armoured cavalry with lances or with arquebus 
  6. Artillery.  Field artillery. Split between heavy artillery with large immobile guns and light artillery of various types which could be manhandled.

 In addition to the companies, some hit markers are handy. These may be any small markers, but a single wounded figure looks good.

3. Troops Quality. Some companies may be of better or worse quality. Their combat rating should be adjusted accordingly when designing a scenario. For example levies may be classed as lightly armoured and have a Melee value of 1 less than usual. veteran troops and heavily armoured troops may be given a  +1 melee  bonus (to a maximum of 5), elite shot may have a +1 to their shooting, fanatic troops may treat a morale result of 3,4 as Stand.


Each turn, each side rolls a die and compare the scores. The side with the highest score chooses to activate a Battle or regiment first or 2nd that turn, in case of a tie, the previous turn's sequence is kept. The 2 sides now alternate activating Battles or regiments until all acted. If the number of battles is not equal, then the side with fewer battles may pass once.

When a battle is activated, it takes control checks as needed and its companies move and resolve combat and enemy companies react (evades etc)  or fight back in melee as specified. A company may not be moved more than once per turn except as a legal reaction to enemy action or due to morale failure. For large battles, a small tuft of cottonball tinted tan makes handy reminder that a battle has acted.  

Varients: If desired instead of rolling for initiative, place 1 card per Battle into a deck and draw them 1 at a time. A battle is activated when its card is drawn.  If playing multiplayer games this method may be used and by checking ahead the GM may be able to have multiple players active at once where they do not interfere. Alternately in order to keep the game moving have all players on a side activate 1 battle when it is their sides turn. In this case, it is better where possible to give each player more than 1 regiment.  The rules will still work even if all of 1 side activates at once but some of the interactiveness is lost.


1. Control. A group must take a control check if:

5,6 Excited: If impetuous or if controlled by a Rash commander and not entrenched, advance, charge if Foot or Horse, others may stand or advance but not retreat.
3,4 Steady: Obey orders
1,2 Stalled: No advance, may retreat. (A group may reform on the lead company) 
0    Broken: Retreat a full move. If also shaken, break and rout off table.

+/- 1 Commander with group
+/-1 Veteran troops

-1 Demoralised, Raw or disaffected troops,
-3 Shaken: 1/2 or more of the companies in the Battle or Regiment are broken or destroyed.

 If a Commander is present he may affect the die roll according to his personality.   Captains represented by a player are always Bold. For others, roll 1 die the first time it needs to be known.


1. Groups move an amount of inches equal to the score of 1 or more dice as shown.  Mixed groups move at the speed of the slowest company. Movement is not prorated if any part of a move is in bad ground or sideways etc then the slowest rate applies. Anytime the number of dice are reduced (eg crossing an obstacle) always remove the highest scoring dice.

2. Movement and combat.

A company which shoots then moves may not charge. A company which melees then moves cannot then shoot. A company in melee cannot shoot. Artillery may not move and shoot in the same turn. they may be turned if they do not shoot.

3.  Movement rates

Foot 2d6" - 1 die -1 die
Light Infantry 3d6" no effect No effect
Gensdarmes 3d6" imp -1 die
Other Horse 4d6" -3 dice -1 die
Light Horse 5d6" -3 dice -1 die
Wagon/Light Gun 2d6" impassable -1 die
Heavy Gun 1d6" impassable -3 from die 
Commander as troop type as troop type as troop type

4. Charges. A charge is a move to contact enemy. A group cannot move into contact with the enemy without declaring a charge. Once the charge is declared, a company must move directly towards the target of the charge and attempt to contact it and immediately resolve melee. Artillery, engineers and wagons cannot charge. A company within 3" of an enemy company must either halt, retreat or charge the closest edge of that enemy. (To charge the flank, the company must begin outside of  the 45 degree frontal arc of the target stand. Once it contacts an enemy there is a free move to align opposing companies. A company cannot conduct shooting then charge. A company which is beside a freindly company which is in melee can also fight. It may not lap around and count as flanking. 

4 Evades. Cavalry and light infantry may choose to immediately about face and retreat to evade a charge, 3d6 if light horse, 2d6 if horse or light infantry. (This is an extra move). The charger may halt on the position originally occupied by the evaders, continue moving in an attempt to catch them, or redirect the charge to hit an enemy company exposed by the evade.  Troops formed in a group 2 or more deep lose 1 die.


1. Shooting. A company that shoots must have a clear line of sight to the target which must also be within an arc of 45 either side of straight ahead.  Infantry & cavalry roll 1 die per strength point, artillery rolls 1 die per gun with shot or 2 dice per gun using hail shot or in melee regardless of SP's. Consult the company capability chart to see if any hits were scored. Hits may be reduced by cover, armour or evasion (see Saving Throws) A company which is in melee cannot be targeted by shooting.




Bowmen 12"/4,5,6  
Arquebusiers 12"/5,6 -2 to armour saving throw
Crossbowmen 12"/5,6 -1 to armour saving throw
Javelins 3" 5,6 +1 to armour save
Mtd Arquebusiers 6" 5,6 -2 to armour saving throw
Reiters 3"/5-6 -2 to armour saving throw
Light Guns 36"/4-5-6 no saving throw for armour
Heavy Guns 48"/4-5-6 no saving throw for armour, may breach fortifications

3. Massed Missile Fire. On occasion archers and arquebusiers were massed to provide concentrated fire. If light infantry are formed 2 companies deep they lose the ability to evade charges and cannot retreat to avoid shooting casualties but they may fire 1/2 of the SP's in the 2nd rank if they do not move. This represents arquebusiers firing by rotation or  archers firing overhead. 

4. Melee. A melee is combat between companies in contact with each other (edge to edge or corner to corner). Companies in contact must resolve melee whenever either of them is active. If a company begins its move in contact, it must resolve a melee but may then retreat or  if the enemy is eliminated, it may advance but may not charge or shoot. A company may only initiate 1 round of melee each turn but may fight back as often as it is attacked. In cases where more than 1 group is in melee individual companies will fight back whenever attacked.

Roll up to 1 die per figure up to a maximum of 4 per pike company or 2 dice per other company in contact with the enemy. For each dice which rolls the company's melee velue or less, 1 hit is inflicted on the enmy (subject to saving throws) Attacks are  simultaneous.

Troops normally use their frontal melee value except:

  1. Fighting against an enemy to the flank or rear,
  2. Cavalry except reiters charging pikes frontally.
  3. Pikes fighting swordsmen.

5. Depth Bonus: To represent the physical and psychological force of a deep body of infantry 1 SP in each company of foot in the 2nd or 3rd rank may fight with their flank factor if charging or charged unless fighting troops in cover or defending an obstacle.    






(See relevant rules for details)
 Pikemen 2 1 hedgehog,  anti-cavalry bonus
Billmen 3 1 -1 to armour saves
Swordsmen 3 2  
Missile Troops 2 1  
Light  Lancers 3 1 strike 1st
Mtd Arquebusiers 2 1  
Lancers 4 2 strike 1st  
Reiters 3 2 -2 to armour saving throw, negate pike bonus
Gensdarmes 5 2 strike 1st
Pioneers/Wagons 1 1  
Light Guns 3 1 No saving throw if charged frontally
Heavy Guns 3 1 No saving throw if charged frontally
Commander as troop type +1 (max 5) as troop type +1 as troop type

 6 Melee resolution. Once a round of Melee is fought, any group which suffered more hits than it inflicted after saving throws will fall back facing the enemy 1d6 if foot, 2d6 if horse or light infantry or 3d6 if light horse. If the number of casualties is even then the 2 sides are locked in combat and will fight again when either is active. All weapons strike simultaneously in continuing melees.  The winner may may choose to pursue using the same dice as if they fell back.  If they catch them it is considered a continuing melee.

7. Saving Throws. Troops may reduce their vulnerability  by wearing armour, taking cover or retreating when under fire. Roll once per hit for each category of saving throw. (ie armoured troops in cover test once to save for cover and once to save for armour using the appropriate score for each)

8. Hedgehog. A block of at least 2 companies of pikemen may form a hedgehog taking an entire turn. Place them with pikes facing out in all directions.  The hedgehog has no flank but cannot move except to fallback if it loses a melee. A hedgehog must spend an entire turn to reform all facing front.  

9. Risk to generals. A commander  may only be shot at if he is the closest target and not part of a group. If a commander fights in melee then 1 enemy die is rolled against him personally. If he is killed, his stand is removed from the table at the end of the turn even if there are not enough hits on the group to remove a stand normally  (his bodyguard will die with him or else escort the wounded leader from the field).  


1. Roads. If a group begins its move on a road, it may add 2 dice to its move as long as the move is entirely along the road. It may follow any curves or turns in the road without penalty.

2. Woods. Artillery, wagons and gensdarmes cannot enter woods. Foot and Horse are reduced to 1 die, Light infantry are unaffected, light horse are reduced to 2 dice No company may shoot through woods. A company on the edge (1") can shoot and be shot at but receives a saving throw. A company which can enter a wood may melee attack a company in the wood but the defender gets a saving throw.

3. Hills. Gentle hills do not affect movement. Troops except light infantry climbing steep hills lose 1 die per contour when climbing or descending.  Troops behind a hill or on the reverse slope cannot be fired at. Companies attacking uphill reduce their melee value by 1.

4. Streams and Rivers. Unfordable rivers may only be crossed by boats or bridge. When crossing fordable streams and rivers, a company must halt when it enters the water and cannot shoot. On the next turn it may move normally. If a company is forced to melee against a company on the bank, lower its melee value by 1.

5. Towns. Only infantry can enter a town except to pass through on a road. If any part of their move is off road in a town, then they lose 1 die. No company may shoot through a town. Infantry on the edge of a town may fire out and be shot at but receive a saving throw. A company which can enter a town may melee attack a company in the town but the defender gets a saving throw.

6. Fortifications. Earthworks are treated like towns except that artillery may be placed in them and they do not catch fire. High walls cannot be attacked unless storming parties are equipped with ladders in which case the attacking company uses its flank value until it moves onto the wall or unless the wall is breached. A breach may only be created by a heavy gun or by an engineer blowing in a gate or by exploding a mine (must be laid before the game starts). To create the breach a heavy gun must be within 12" and roll a 6. The engineer must move into contact, survive a round of melee then roll a 4,5 or 6. Troops attacking a breach subtract 1 from their melee value. Troops defending a breach count as in cover in a town instead of as a fortification.

7. Other terrain. Other terrain features should be defined by the game organizer. for example, most marshes are impassable but might be defined as crossable by light infantry. A high cornfield may block line of sight until trampled by companies moving through. Low walls, fences and the like may remove a movement die from companies.  Normally light infantry are not slowed by walls and the like. If a wall provides substantial cover then it gives a saving throw and reduces the melee value of attackers by 1. An obstacle like an abatis might reduce an attacking company's melee value by 1, cost infantry 1 movement die and be impassible to cavalry, artillery and wagons..


If an army loses 1/2 of its companies, then it will quit the field and loses the battle. It is also possible to have scenarios with a time limit and victory conditions which will determine the victor if neither army is broken.