The Viking Legal Team in Action

The Viking Legal Team in Action
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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Combination Dark Ages / Early Medieval Rules

1,000 apologies!  I thought I'd posted these and have been wrapped up in WWII and Star Wars skirmish [refer to my other blogs]. Instead, this latest version was sitting on my desk. The optional rules and army lists still need editing, but at least here are the rules for you to peruse and use. As always, if you'd like them in WORD just comment to me, I know the formatting gets a bit messed up.

Happy gaming in 2016!

Being a battle game for 1000 warriors a force on a table as small as 3x3’, A.D. 500-1250.

0.1 Measuring may be done freely.  Inches are used here: double or x 2.5 for cm as desired.
0.2 Grey Areas.  Define a rule / measurement argument in “either/or” terms and resolve it with a roll-off.
0.3 Scale is about 5-10 minutes of time, some wasted; 6” = about 30m, or 1”= 5m, a 25mm fig = 20 men.
0.4 Units.  These represent 200 foot, 100 mounted or Lights in seven types of common British Isles Warriors:
a.    Heavies are foot with either spear/shield for shieldwall formations or enough armor and other weapons that they are able to fight and survive well.  They move slowly due to their gear and defensive posture.  They may be known as huscarls, teulu, pedes, men-at-arms, Swabians, foot knights, etc.
b.    Foot are armed and fight effectively, like Heavies, but have less armor and experience.  They may be using a shieldwall, just not as effectively.  They might be called serjeants, levy, militia, rising-out, etc.
c.    Lights are hunters/raiders with bows and knives, or javelin-armed freemen with small shields and short swords.  They harass with missiles, preferably from difficult terrain, charging if they see an opportunity.  Some are aggressive warriors with good weapons fighting in a loose group.
d.    Archers gather in larger groups than Lights and shoot volleys.  They’ve enough missiles to endanger their targets and affect a battle.  They avoid melee until they run out of missiles.
e.    Warband are wild fighters who attack with speed and ferocity.  Their lack of armor and cohesion makes them vulnerable to casualties.  Some are Raiders who use terrain to advantage; others are Warriors prepared to stand together on open ground fighting with determination.
f.     Cavalry represent household soldiers on small, unarmored horses who use their mobility to hurl missiles with impunity until the enemy is weakened, then charge in to finish them off.  As professionals, some may have larger horses, armor and helmets and be ready to fight hard in melee.
g.    Knights are early milites with mail, shields, and not very large horses.  They charge aggressively but their lack of cohesion and horse armor results in them being vulnerable to casualties like Warband..
0.5) Bows are missiles propelled by a device, such as a bows, slings, and the new light crossbow.
0.6) Javelins are missiles thrown by a person, including throwing spears, javelins, hand axes and darts.
0.7) Figures & Basing.  4-6 inch frontage per Unit.  Two 60mm WRG/DBA 25mm bases or three 40mm wide 15mm bases work.  I use 5”x 2.5” bases, with 3-5 figs for cavalry and Lights, and 10-12 for infantry.
0.8) Base Depth [BD] should be ½ of the width or frontage. Ergo, my BD is 2.5”, while WRG BD is 6cm.
0.9) Dice.  Use six-sided dice, either with 1-6 [D6] or for averaged results a D5, aka an “average dice”, with pips of 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5, eliminating 1 & 6.  This option is indicated by the use of “Dx” for 1 dice rolled in the rules.  I prefer the D5 as less frustrating and rewarding tactics more than luck.  Pick one to use for all rolls in a game. 0.11) Line of Sight.  LoS is measured from a Unit's front center point to the center of a fully visible side of the Target Unit Base: Front, Left, Right or Rear, and requires a space >BD through which to trace it.  It is blocked by anything apparently taller than figure height of the figures, e.g. hills, woods and Units, but may still be traced over them if the shooting Unit is on a height clearly taller than the obstruction – whether Unit or terrain – and there’s a gap of 1 BD between the target and obstruction.
·         Units may trace a LoS 4” into and out of Area terrain such as woods and hills [plateau effect] but not through two sides.  Units at the edge of Area terrain have unobstructed LoS.
·         Units must have LoS to shoot or charge enemy Units at the time of the shot or charge.
0.12) Front, Flank & Rear.  These are measured from Unit corners, 45° arcs off the front, rear or each base side. The LoS measurement line [above] also shows if a target Unit is in the Front, Flank or Rear Facing.

Play Sequence.  A full turn has each player taking four phases:
Attacker  [player A]: 1) Shooting, 2) Movement, 3) Melee, 4) Routs and Rallies
Defender [player D]: 1) Shooting, 2) Movement, 3) Melee, 4) Routs and Rallies
1.1 Shooting Basics.  Missile Units may shoot with these restrictions:
a.    Range is 18” for bows, 6” for javelins, measured per LoS above.
b.    Skirmish Bows may Turn and shoot, but can’t move in the Movement Phase.
c.    Archers may not Turn and can’t move in the Movement Phase if they Shoot.
d.    Javelins shoot on the move during the Movement Phase.
e.    Fulfilling the restrictions on LoS, shooting into a melee is permitted.
A flank may not be fired upon if the Target Unit has a friendly Unit corner within one BD of the flank, measuring from the front to front and / or rear to rear corners.

1.2 Calculating Shots. Roll a Dx, - 2 if the Unit is Lights, -1 if Archers or armed with javelins.  This gives the number of Hits against the Target Unit, modified as follows:
a.    Terrain.  Units defending woods, village, camp or walls halve Hits [round up].
b.    Shieldwall or Armored.  Heavies use a shieldwall formation or have good armor and large shields: they halve Hits [round up] from shooting at their front or flank sides.
c.    Unshielded or unprepared. Double Hits from Units shooting at a Rear side. 
d.    Stacked Modifiers. The max defensive benefit any Unit may receive is ¼ Hits [1/2x1/2].  Quartering is still rounded up.  Note that a halving and a doubling cancel each other out.
1.3 Shooting Limits.  Warriors only carried about 2-3 javelins or a dozen arrows, so a Unit gets three shots, regardless of effectiveness.  Mark these with white dice counting down. 

2.1 Movement Basics.  Players sequentially move their Units along a straight line any part of the total distance rolled in inches.  Categories and dice rolled are:
Class 1.  Heavies, Foot, Archers   move 1Dx, +2”    alternative: 2” + Dx
Class 2.  Warband, Lights              move 2Dx, +2”                       6” + Dx
Class 3.  Cavalry, Knights              move 3Dx, +2”                      10”+ Dx
It is usually helpful to leave gaps of about 1/2 -1” between friendly Units to facilitateTurns.
2.2 Turns. Units rotate on their center or center-front up to 180°. Turns are not measured but are movement.  If the Unit contacts friendly Unit(s) while turning, ignore this as long as the Unit ends its move clear of all Units and the “overlap” is less than about an inch.  Dice off if it appears marginal.
a.    Warband, Heavies, Archers, Foot, Knights, may Turn once, at the start OR end of their move.
b.    Lights or Cavalry may Turn twice, once at the start AND once at the end of their move.
c.    Any Unit in Melee contact with Unit(s), none on its front, may turn and contact one with its Front.  The Unit turns a full 90° or 180° and enemy Unit bases are adjusted to maintain contact.  If this is too much trouble, just mark the side to which the Unit is attacking as its “Front”, and rotate when space allows.
2.3 An Initiative Move may be made in lieu of the above movement rates by any Unit.  It is a Dx in any direction, with no base corner exceeding the amount rolled.  A melee contact may be made [cf 2.8.b].
2.4 Interpenetration. Only Lights through any friendly Unit, and vice-versa.  The moving Unit must roll enough on its move dice to entirely clear the stationary Unit’s base.
2.5 Moving and Shooting. Any Unit with javelins may take a Moving Shot before or after their Move [Move included Turns].  Skirmish bows and Archers may not Move if they shot.
2.6 Movement Restrictions. Units may within a BD or moving into a BD of an enemy Unit may only do so if they use Initiative movement or are charging that Unit. The BD is measured from any point including the corners of the enemy Unit.
2.7 Terrain.  There are two terrain types, Linear and Area.  Linear are 6-12” long x 1-3” wide.  Area are 6-12” per side or diameter.  Move decorative building or tree models as needed to position Units.  Units count as Defending terrain [and get protection] if they are within area terrain, or lining the edge of area or linear terrain.
a.    Hills. Area.  Defensive bonus when “uphill” of melee opponent, only one Unit can be uphill.  Define before game according to the appearance of the hill as modeled - only one Unit can be “uphill”!
b.    Woods, Brush, Marsh, Camp or Village.  Area. Only Lights & Raiders enter, -4” movement penalty.
c.    Lakes & Rivers.  Impassible Area and Linear respectively. Units may cross at a bridge or ford.
d.    Walls, Ditch, Ford. Linear. No movement effect but defensive bonus.
e.    Roads. Linear. Units get a 4” bonus moving forward following a road and not Charging.
2.8 Charging.  Charge moves end with the Unit in Contact with an enemy Unit.  Bow Units may not charge enemy Units until they are out of missiles.
a.    Eligible Target Units must have any part of their base within the Charging Unit’s Front arc and in LoS, and the LoS distance between the two Units must be less than the movement amount rolled.
b.    Initiative Moves may make contact out of the Front arc, but still need LoS and to roll higher than the distance between the contacting Front corner or side and the target Unit.
c.    Contact is then made by moving along the shortest legal move from the Charging Unit’s Front Facing along the LoS, maximizing the amount of edge to edge Contact, if any, and minimizing any gap using all available movement to do so.  It then stops moving.
d.    A Flank contact is when the two units are in Front side to Flank side contact with no gaps.  A charging Unit whose front Corner touches a Flank side may melee that Flank, but with no Flank bonus.
e.    Protected Flank.  A Flank may not be contacted if the Target Unit has a friendly Unit within one BD of that Flank, measuring from the front to front and/or rear to rear corners.
f.     Rear contact is when even a corner of the charging Unit touches any part of the Rear side, regardless of any remaining gap between the Units.
g.    Contact may be made by only one attacking Unit per facing; front, rear and each flank.
There is no additional free movement to achieve fully aligned edge-to-edge contact.

3.1 One-Sided Melee.  Units only inflict casualties during their own player turn. Melee includes lulls in action as both sides rest up, catch breath and exchange nasty looks and remarks in close proximity.
3.2 Resolving Melee. Roll a Dx for the Unit, giving +2 for Knights, +1 for Warriors, -1 for any javelin armed Units, and -2 for Lights-bow.  The final result is the Hits against the Target Unit, modified as follows:
a.    Terrain. Units uphill or defending woods / river bank / gully / wall halve Hits [round up].  Defending means that the Unit is within and/or lining the edge of Area terrain, or behind Linear terrain.
b.    Shieldwall or Armored. Heavies Units halve Hits [rounded up].
c.    Unshielded or Unprepared.  Double Hits by Units attacking on the flank or rear facing.
d.    Stacked Modifiers. The max defensive benefit any Unit may receive is ¼ Hits [1/2x1/2].  Quartering is still rounded up.  Note that a halving and a doubling cancel each other out.
There is no dividing of the Hits a Unit inflicts upon multiple Units attacking it [one enemy Unit may attack each facing; front, rear and either flank, for four total Units].  Units only fight melee combats to their Front, attacking a single enemy Unit in contact with their Front Facing.  Melee concludes with the elimination of Units. 
3.3 Facing Attackers. Units in melee turn to face attackers if they don’t have anyone on their Front. Use a marker to denote which side is acting as their Front if it’s too much trouble to adjust Units.  [see 2.2 Turns].

a.    Units eligible to rally off Hits due to an Advanced or Optional Rule does so now. 
b.    Any Unit with 15 or more Hits is removed from the table.
Units that didn’t Shoot, Move or Melee rally off 1-2 Hits: roll Dx with odd=1 and even=2 Hits removed.  Units that have passed five Hits may not rally to below five Hits.  This represents fatigue and casualties that cannot be recovered during the typical 10-15 turn battle.


  1. May I please have a Word Document, or if you like, a shared Google Doc of these rules?

    I was just about to do something like this as well. I'm going to play through a few 1HW at Dark Ages/Medieval level to see how it feels, but then was looking to add some magic and combine the two periods to have multiple types of units, considering that I have humans v orcs/goblins, and humans v humans.

    Thank you!

    1. happy to - what's a good email for the doc? It's quite small, should be easy to accept at any email.


Thanks for your comment! t will be posted after it's moderated.