Monday, October 31, 2011

Rules Update, Medieval Mayhem

I devoted the limited wargames time I had last week to polishing a couple of sets of home rules, in anticipation of doing some skirmish gaming.

Here are some modifications to Medieval Mayhem:

Medieval Mayhem
By Rob Dean and Ross Macfarlane
Draft revisions 25 October 2011


These rules are intended for use with small numbers of individually mounted medieval miniatures. If multiple players are involved, they will ordinarily be divided into two sides. Each player will ordinarily command a group of knights and sergeants--a contingent--and will designate one knight to serve as his personal figure and commander of the contingent.


Players (sides) dice for initiative each turn. Winner chooses to go first or second. If there is a tie, repeat the previous turn's sequence. While a player is active, he resolves movement group by group, and then resolves all hand-to-hand combat figure by figure. The inactive player shoots bows and crossbows at any point during the active player's move.


Movement may be by individual or by group. If as a group, roll once for the whole group. Individuals or smaller groups breaking off a larger group move at the group's rate during that turn. A group consists of any figures whose bases are within 1" of each other.

To determine distance roll dice as follows:

3d6": If moving as an individual
2d6": If movement begins as a group or the intention is declared to join a group. (Groups may only move straight ahead or wheel at this rate—anything else is a 1d6 move.)
1d6": If crossing an obstacle, going through a doorway, moving through woods or other delaying terrain, rearranging a group or falling back out of combat facing the enemy.
+1d6" if mounted

Missile Fire

Fire is by individual. Each figure armed with a bow or crossbow may shoot once at any point during the enemy's movement at a target up to 18" away. A figure armed with a javelin may throw at a target up to 6" away. The target does not have to be moving, but must be within a zone 45 degrees to either side of the front facing of the firing figure. (Figures on square bases may conveniently check this by using the diagonal lines of the base. Note that mounted archers may be included in appropriate scenarios and would be able to fire all around.) Figures may not shoot if they are in hand-to-hand contact with an enemy figure. They may not shoot over another figure (defined as any part of the figure's base) or through obstructions such as buildings. Roll 1 die to hit needing:

5 or 6 vs. a target in the open.
6 vs. a target behind cover.

If a hit is scored roll 1 impact die and compare to the target's armor score.

Optional rules for massed bowmen: Bowmen only, not crossbows or javelins, may fire in multiple ranks, over the bases of troops in their own group. Targets must be in the open, within range of the shooter, and are hit on a roll of 6.

Optional rule for artillery: If needed for a specific scenario, such as a siege, artillery, whether a catapult or a bombard, would have a range 36", and a minimum crew of three to reload, which occurs during the opponent's turn in lieu of firing. Mark a loaded engine with a small stone. Engines already loaded at the beginning of the opponent's turn may fire. Roll 1 die as usual to hit, with a +2 to Impact against individuals. An impact value of 5 or better vs a door or engine breaks it.


Courage values:
5: knights
4: veteran sergeants
3: common sergeants and archers
2: non-combatants

A group or individual must check morale if one of the following events

1. A figure in a group is killed (only once per turn).
2. A group or figure is ordered to charge. (Any move to contact the enemy is a charge.)
3. A group or figure has been charged.
4. If a contingent's commander is killed.

A check caused by a casualty is taken at the end of the group's movement or combat as appropriate. A check for being ordered to charge is taken immediately before attempting to move the figures, and a check for being charged is taken as soon as the charger has successfully checked. (Note that all figures within range and straight ahead--i.e. 12" for foot and within a zone marked by the extension of lines of the left and right edges of the bases of the chargers--of a charging group must check morale.) For the death of a commander, all individuals and groups in the contingent must check at the end of the movement or combat phase in which the commander was killed.

Roll one die vs. the highest courage value in the group (individuals being a group of one). If the die is equal to or less than the courage value then the group passes. If the score is higher then courage is failed. If the group was ordered to charge then they stand still instead. In the other three possible tests, roll again against each individual's courage. If they roll higher than their courage, they run off the board and are removed. Otherwise they retreat 2d6". Note that group checks are based on the situation on the ground at the time of the check. If casualties have cut a group apart, all resulting groups and individuals must check morale as they stand. Players may find a second rank helpful to keep groups together.

Optional rule for pike block, schiltron, etc: a group of at least 8 pikes or spears can form a hedgehog facing outward in all directions, and receive a +1 bonus to their courage value.


For each pair of combatants in contact, each player rolls a skill die and compares it to the skill die of the opponent. If the score is higher then a hit has been scored against that enemy. Roll again for impact. Figures are in contact if any part of their front edge is contacting an enemy figure, or if they are contacted by any part of the front edge of an enemy figure. The player whose turn it is decides the order in which combats are fought. All combats for one figure must be resolved before resolving combats for another figure. If a figure fighting several opponents is killed, combat ends for that figure immediately and any combats not yet fought are cancelled.

Modifiers to the skill die:

+1 Knight fighting to the front
+1 If defending an obstacle or in some other superior position (e.g. up hill, at a stream bank, mounted)
+2 Attacking from the rear or side.

Combat Results/Impact

If a hit is scored, the impact die is compared to the armor of the defending figure. If the impact value is equal to or higher than the armor value, the figure is removed from the game.

The armor values are as follows:

6: heavy armor with shield
5: heavy armor alone; medium armor with shield
4: medium armor alone; light armor with shield
3: light armor alone; shield alone
2: unprotected

Shields only count to the front and left side.

Modifiers to Impact

+1 if impact is by 2 handed weapon (axe, halberd, etc.)
+1 to impact of lance on horseback on first turn of melee


Dice: All dice used in this game are standard six-sided dice. Double dice are usually used for combat, with the outer die being read as the "skill" die and the inner die being read as the "impact" die. Alternatively, use of two dice would also speed play, and a convention of using a white die for skill and a colored die for impact is suggested.

Post-battle results: If important to a scenario, note that a distinction can be made between figures which run from the table and those downed by enemy action. After the battle, downed figures can be diced for, and are wounded on a d6 roll of 1-4 and dead on a roll of 5-6. Captured knights, in particular, were valuable for ransom.

Heroes: Depending on the scenario, heroes could be represented by some combination of save tokens (canceling a death or morale failure), reroll tokens, or bonuses to skill or impact dice with specific weapons. (Sir Nigel, for example, could be given a +2 skill bonus in lieu of the usual +1 for knight and three save tokens, where Samkin Aylward might get a + 1 to skill and impact with a bow, as well as a single save token...)

Armor definitions: These rules were originally written for use with individually mounted 54mm figures on 40mm square bases. The figures used were Accurate Hundred Years War plastic figures, which did not include any figures without at least some minimal armor. Heavy armor was considered to cover knights in plate armor with closed helmets. Medium armor was defined as including arm and leg protection. Light armor is other chain, padded or leather armor not including arm or leg protection.

Horses: Mounted troops are ordinarily treated like the foot figures with a movement and combat advantage, but horses may be targeted separately if figures are available to represent riders who become dismounted. In this case, a figure who succeeds in striking a mounted figure may choose to strike either the horse or the rider, with a barded horse counting as heavy armor, a cloth caparisoned horse as medium armor, and an unarmored horse as light armor. If the horse is killed the rider must make a morale check and is replaced by the appropriate dismounted figure if he remains on the table.


These rules are intended to provide a quick simple game and cannot cover all contingencies. While originally designed for use with Hundred Years War figures, suggestions have been added for dealing with other ancient and medieval situations. Use common sense or roll dice to resolve situations not covered here. It is hoped that most players will be able to remember the necessary numbers involved in the game after fairly brief exposure, and not need to refer to the written rules during play. The rules are set up so that it is not necessary to remember any "continuing results" for one turn to the next, so that the situation can always be read directly from the table. The writers of these rules firmly believe that the best games result when the players are able to concentrate on the decisions rather than the rules.

Notes on revision: expanded group definition; clarified charge response procedures; expanded courage values; post-battle result; heroes; added javelins, massed bow, artillery and schiltron options.

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