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Army Men Homepage

1000 b.C. to 1000 A.D.

War Games Rules

By the Wargames Research Group: 4th Edition

The set of wargame rules copied here was a mystery.  I had bought the small booklet of Rules almost 30 years ago, for a price of $4.00.  The cover is mustard yellow 65-pound cardstock. leather embossed, with brown print.  The booklet itself has no copyright notice, information, nor any reference whatsoever to a publisher, author, printer or issuing agency. As you can see, the typesetting work was respectable.  

Ross MacFarlane, an avid wargamer and military miniaturist, solved the mystery for me.  It turns out these were the Wargames Research Group's 4th Edition rules for Ancient wargaming. They have quite a provenance.  In their day, they were the accepted rules by the Society of Ancients and many a wargames club.

Here is a link to a history of the Wargames Research Group's rules -

These rules cover both Ancient and Medieval warfare on the scale of major battles.  They were intended for use with 25mm figures..  Adjustments would have to be made for figures larger than 30mm.  The rules are a happy medium of realism and ease-of-play.  They hie from the Golden Age of Historical Wargaming.  I hope you find them useful.  

Introduction and Scale

Setting up the Basic game - Part 1

Setting Up the Basic Game - Part 2

Orders to Units, The Reaction test (Morale)

The Reaction test (continued), Movement

Move Distances, Difficult Terrain, Disorganization and Distraction, Shooting

Shooting (continued), Hand to Hand Combat

Hand to Hand Combat (continued), Rout and Pursuit

Winners and Losers, Campaigns, Siege, Field Engineering & Ship to Ship

Optional Rules for Weather and Time of Day

Wargaming in the 70s

Getting started in wargaming was not easy.  My introduction happened in the 1960s, when a friend acquired a copy of a book by Donald Featherstone. The book covered three eras: World War II, the Civil War, and the Hundred Years War.  The book opened u pa whole new world for us.

As if that were not enough, the 1970s were a golden age for wargaming.  I got out of the Army, to discover that there were whole new trends in wargaming.  Along with the usual board games, such as Avalon Hill, and the old miniature games, whole new gaming systems appeared.  Our crew seized on a set of Medieval rules called "Chainmail." It also had a "fantasy supplement" with rules for adding mythic creatures to a battle.  Little did we know that the hobby would soon split, with many going the route of the "new" role-playing games like "Dungeons and Dragons."  (I tried that game a couple of times, but it just wasn't for me.)

Everything boomed in the 70s.  Along with game rules, new manufacturers of figures and game supplies were emerging.  Where there had only been Minifigs, we suddenly had Ral Partha and others providing all kinds of both historic and fantasy figures.  Odd rules appeared, too - Tunnels and Trolls," "Melee" and "Once Upon a Table" vied for the wargaming dollar.  You could go wild with all the variety.

Of course, it ended.  My crew was doing wargames with 40mm Medieval figures, using the predecessor to Castle Cracker.  We hardly noticed changes coming, and how wargames were starting to shrink.  The boom in game rules ended, with some systems and makers falling by the wayside.  By the late 80s it was a brave new world. Prior to the late 1970s, the overwhelming majority of wargaming was historical.  The advent of "Chainmail" with its fantasy supplement and subsequent release of "Dungeons and Dragons" changed that.  Most modern wargaming is actually role-playing, with fantasy being the largest component.  Many of the fantasy games have migrated to the computer.

Back in the 70s, nobody had computers.  It was all a roll of the dice!

Here is a link to Phil Barker's website.  Phil is a noted wargames writer, and it is with his permission that we present these Rules.  He is the head of the Wargamnes Research Group:

Here is the link to the history of the rules

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