So as a follow up to my Blackpowder Skirmish rules Deathshot I’m attempting to put together some bigger scale Blackpowder rules I’m calling Bigshot. I’m initially using simple wooden blocks, although the humble block does have a certain appeal, not only in aesthetics, as I can repurpose these units as Moderns, Pike and Shot, Medieval, Dark Ages or Ancients. Using standard military designations (I think) the cross represents Infantry, the single diagonal line Cavalry and the dot as Artillery. I suppose Infantry remains the same regardless of era, Cavalry switches from chariots to horses, to tanks. I guess in an open battle I’d be better off using the artillery pieces as archers, then eventually cannons, and finally modern artillery.
So the rules in their very early form:
The game is played in rounds and during each round each player takes a turn. Roll off to determine which player takes the first turn in each round.
During your turn you can activate each of your units once each, a unit is a single base or piece. When a unit is activated you roll on the table below to see what orders are available to your unit. Along the top of the table is the die roll you score to activate the unit and down the side of the table is the number of hits the unit has taken so far in the battle:
|0/1||Move and Attack||Move and Attack||Move and Attack||Move and Attack||Move or Attack||Move or Attack|
|2||Move and Attack||Move and Attack||Move and Attack||Move or Attack||Move or Attack||Shoot|
|3||Move and Attack||Move and Attack||Move or Attack||Move or Attack||Shoot||Nothing|
|4||Move and Attack||Move or Attack||Move or Attack||Shoot||Nothing||Retreat 3″|
|5||Move and Attack||Move or Attack||Shoot||Nothing||Retreat 3″||Rout|
|6||Move and Attack||Move or Attack||Nothing||Retreat 3″||Rout||Rout|
You can always chose to take a worse order. When a unit routs remove it from play.
Movement – An infantry unit can move 3″, cavalry 6″ or 3″ over rough ground and cannons can move 3″. Cannons can never attack and move in the same activation even if they rolled that order. When moving a unit can pivot up to 360 degrees and then move in a straight line forwards, or can move and then pivot. Units retreating 3″ can be moved backwards in a straight line. Add 3″ if a units entire move is on a road. A unit must stop moving at a river, spend their next move in the river, and can then move from the river on the next move. Canons cannot move through rivers.
Attacking – A unit can either shoot an enemy unit or if touching an enemy unit can fight them in melee.
|Range||Target in the Open||Soft Cover||Hard Cover|
|Infantry||3″||1 hit on a 4+||1 hit on a 5+||1 hit on a 6+|
|Canon Solid Shot||24″||1 hit on a 4+||1 hit on a 5+||1 hit on a 6+|
|Canon Canister||6″||D3 hits||D3-1 hits||D3-2 hits|
|Canon Grape||3″||D6 hits||D6-1 hits||D6-2 hits|
Canons firing solid shot or Canister can shoot over other units, but cannot shoot enemy units touching friendly units.
You can shoot into things – forests, built up areas etc but not through them.
Melee – Roll a die for the attacking unit and a die for the defending unit adding the following modifiers:
+1 if engaged in the enemy unit’s side.
+2 if engaged in the enemy unit’s rear.
+1 for cavalry.
-1 for cannons.
+1 if the enemy unit has taken more hits in the battle so far.
+1 for each friendly unit also touching the enemy unit.
+1 for attacking downhill.
The side that scores lower takes hits equal to the difference. In the case of a draw both sides take 1 hit.
When a unit has taken more than 6 hits you roll on the 6 hits row of the activation table unit the unit takes its 12th hit at which point it automatically routs.
So you don’t have the board cluttered up with dice and counters I recommend keeping track of hits on a sheet of paper. Each unit is not only designated infantry, cavalry or cannons but also numbered to make this easy.
The rules have developed a little from my first game as you can see from my scribbled notes below, if I missed anything or if you think anything seems odd let me know, big black powder is not a thing I’m overly familiar with. Formations would be an option, but at the level we’re talking about I’m not sure if that’s a thing whatever rank you’re in the shoes of would be concerned with? I’d assume the guys would automatically get into the best formation given their situation?