Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Thistle, the Lily and the Rose

The die is cast, the 16thC it is. My rules of record for this are Rough Wooing but I'm not in the mood for card draws and variable moves and don't wish to fiddle with it so have drawn up a simple variant on Rattle of Dice modified both for my 60mm multi-figure bases and the period.

The Thistle, the Lily and the Rose
A simple set of rules for Anglo-Franco-Scottish 16thC Wargames by Ross Macfarlane.
(18 Aug 2013)

Each stand is a unit. A general counts as a unit for all purposes but also has a leadership function for units assigned to his command. Groups are formed by one or more units under the same general which are touching and aligned. 
Units class may be Elite, Trained, Irregular or Levy. 
Troop types are Gensdarmes, Cavalry, Light cavalry, Pikes, Bills, Swordsmen, Shot, Light Artillery or Heavy Artillery.

A unit is removed when it has taken hits equal to the number of figures. When a group takes hits the owner must consolidate the hits onto a unit of the same type, with excess hits being consolidated onto a unit of his choice. For example, if a group of pike stands  took 5 hits, 4 would be applied to 1 pike unit which would remove it then the remaining hit would go where the player chose.


Roll for initiative each turn, high score chooses to go first or second. Ties repeat last turn’s sequence.

The 1st player units move including charges. Charge targets may counter charge if mounted cavalry.
Resolve melee between groups in contact.
The 2nd player units move including charges. Charge targets may counter charge if mounted cavalry.
Resolve melee between groups in contact.


Detached groups.
 If not within 12” and sight of its General at the start of a turn, roll 1 die needing 3+ to move, Elite +1, Levy -1

No unit may move farther than its allowance therefore groups  move at the speed of the slowest unit.

Individual units can move in any direction and change facing but may not go through another unit unless one or both are shot. Limbering/unlimbering takes a whole move.

A group may move full speed forward including a wheel or may retire at 1/2 speed including a wheel. It may not change the position of individual units while moving. If units join or leave the group or the player wishes to rearrange units within the group then the group as a whole must not move. 

Pikes/Bills 6"
Swords/Shot 12"
Gensdarmes 12"
Cavalry 18"
Light Cavalry 24"
Light Artillery manhandled 6" or 12" limbered
Heavy artillery 6" limbered or pivot.
Wagons 6"

Woods, Towns etc. No group moves. 1/2 speed for pikes, bills. No others allowed except on roads.

A unit that charges must be facing the target. If at least partly within the enemy's front they must charge the enemy's front. Gensdarmes, cavalry and light cavary may counter charge up to 1/2 way or may shoot, shot may shoot. A single unit of light cavalry or shot may evade a full move backs to the enemy. 

There must be a clear line of sight to the target which must be within a 90 degree arc centred directly ahead to where the target is at the time of firing. Artillery must be deployed.

Shooting and Movement. Infantry and cavalry may move 1/2 and shoot before or after moving. Units in contact can not shoot or be shot at except as a charge reaction.

Range: Arquebus, crossbows, bows 12”, Pistols/Mtd Arquebus 3", Light Artillery 24", Heavy Artillery 36". 

Dice: Roll 1 die per unit. Each 5 or 6 is 1 hit.

Difficult targets: -1 vs cover or bows vs gensdarmes.
Rapid Fire: Bows that do not move may roll 2 dice at -1 per die.

Demoralized: -1
Dense targets: Artillery rolls against each unit of either side which is in the line of fire and within range.

Melee is resolved between groups in contact.

Dice: Roll 2 dice per unit in contact if pikes, bills or swordsmen. Roll 1 dice per other unit in contact to the front. Contact includes corner to corner.

Cavalry Charge Bonus. Roll double dice if gensdarmes or cavalry charging.

Hits. Each modified score of 4,5 or 6 inflicts 1 hit. 

+1 Elite
+1 Pikes: Pikes charging or being charged frontally.
 -1 Disadvantaged: if cavalry fighting pikes frontally or if pikes fighting swordsmen or billmen, or any vs cover or an obstacle or uphill or if swordsmen fighting cavalry or if any fighting gensdarmes.
-1 Levy or demoralized.

With Me! If a general is with a group in melee he may choose to try to inspire the men from the front. Roll a die 4,5,6 = an extra hit on the enemy. 2,3 no effect, 1 the general is wounded and removed from the game.

Resolving Melee. If a group takes more hits in melee than it inflicted then it tests morale. If they retreat the winner may pursue up to 1/2 move.  Other results are a draw.


(Group morale quality modifiers are based on majority)

Defeated in Melee.
4,5,6 continue fighting. 

1,2,3 the group falls back 1/2 move facing the enemy.
0 the group retreats a full move in disorder, backs to the enemy. 
+1 Elite -1 Levy or irregular
-2 suffered hits => the number of units in the group

-2 demoralized. 

Rally. A group which is in disorder at the start of a turn must attempt to rally instead of moving or shooting. Roll 1 die. On a score of 4, 5 or 6 it rallies, may face the enemy and may act normally next turn. On a score of 1,2 or 3 it retreats a full move in disorder and must rally again next turn. If it reaches the board edge it will leave and may not return. +1 Elite, -1 Militia or Irregular. +1 joined by army general, -1 if there are enemy visible within 12”, -2 if demoralized. 

Demoralization. When more than 1/2 of the units under a general's command have been destroyed, the rest become demoralized. They suffer penalties in shooting, in melee when checking morale.


  1. Hi Ross,

    Nice rules set proving that the KISS method is to be embraced. Quick question - is there a bonus for charging? You mention that light cavalry or shot may retire in front of a charging enemy. The reason I ask is that I question whether either of these two might be caught by chargers from the rear.

    A/K/A The Celtic Curmudgeon

    1. There is no movement bonus when charging. Any increase in speed is countered by time fighting. Light infantry might be caught by cavalry and either might be trapped against terrain or a board edge. I figure if someone is hot on your heels it will encourage you to run faster and not stop until they do.

  2. One more question - can units caught on the flank or rear cause casualties to the enemy?

    1. Not immediately they have to hope they don't take 1 per stand. On their turn they may turn and then fight. If they are beaten but pass morale they will be able to face the enemy as they fallback.