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"Neil Thomas One Hour Wargames question" Topic

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Comments or corrections?

Hobhood421 Aug 2016 10:34 a.m. PST


For those who play 1HW – The 'turning' rule specifies no limit to angle of turn – presumably 2 360 degree turns in a move are possible. As this seems excessive (if I'm reading it right) do you tweak the rules to limit turning or movement distances, if turning?

daler240D Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member21 Aug 2016 10:51 a.m. PST

no. your example does not seem excessive, it seems unlikely and certainly not a cause for concern as it would not affect anything. If you read his rules notes, you will see he is against the idea of making rules for every unlikely contingency and certainly spinning in place twice while you are moving is not going to affect the outcome of the action or the consequences. I think you will find this philosophy is why the rules are liked by so many.

Wretched Peasant Scum21 Aug 2016 11:08 a.m. PST

Pretty sure a 360 degree turn should call for a morale check as the unit wonders what's up with the colonel.

normsmith Inactive Member21 Aug 2016 11:57 a.m. PST

Yep, basically a unit can pivot before it starts to move and then pivot again at the end of its move. It is quite a liberating way to move units around and quite a sensible practice .

Your 360 degree example gives the wrong impression, these 'pivots' are just simply sensible ways to get the unit from A to B without an overhead of wheeling, twisty rules etc.

A charging unit is limited to a 45 degree pivot at the start of their turn only.

The rules are very simple, you can bolt house rules on if you wish, but one shouldn't interpret them to be meaning something that they are not. The. Author deliberately set out to do something different here. The point being That of players do not like the 'interersting' exercise he has done here, then they simply need to look elsewhere, because there are a ton of rule books that will have all the other stuff in, it is pointless criticising this author for doing something different, because he is doing something very different.

Our problem is that over the years we have become conditioned that movement is done in a certain way and really that needs to be cleared form your mind when you come to this set.

My own opinion is that the rules as clever as they are, have been stripped back too far, as as three page rules, it would only take another page to get them where I want them to be and I can bolt those sort of rules on myself.

The book is a clever exercise in examining complexity and effect. Has he got it right? Views will certainly be split.

I reviewed the rules here with an AAR if it helps LINK link

Hobhood421 Aug 2016 12:53 p.m. PST

Thanks for your input. I'll continue to play as written for the moment.

Another issue occurs – units are allowed to turn and face the enemy if attacked in flank or rear, if not at the same time engaged frontally. But does the attacked unit have to wait until its movement turn to do this, and thereby suffer double hits during that game turn, or does it turn to face immediately on contact?

normsmith Inactive Member21 Aug 2016 1:32 p.m. PST

I have taken the rules to mean that the charging unit claims flank bonus if it can, during any turn that it faces a flank during their Close-Combat phase.

The defender can only turn to face the threat in their own turn (i.e. after the attackers have already had one turn of combat, claiming the bonus) if they are not already pinned to their front.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Aug 2016 2:11 p.m. PST

The turn is immediate. No colonel would just sit there as his flank is charged unless he was already engaged to the front. I bolt this exact idea on to every game I play.

normsmith Inactive Member21 Aug 2016 2:26 p.m. PST

This is a really interesting link re these rules. Have a look at the very last comment on the blog., in which this issue is discussed. Looks like the Jury is out, since his previous book allows second round face changing – but at this blog, the blogger feels the 1HWG is silent on the matter to the point that immediate turning should be allowed.

LINK link

MichaelCollinsHimself21 Aug 2016 10:56 p.m. PST

oooooh picture this… gyrating Theban hoplites, Roman legionaries, Macedonian phalangites, vikings… over and over, and over again!

Absolutely cries out for a youtube video with this soundtrack:
YouTube link

MichaelCollinsHimself21 Aug 2016 11:20 p.m. PST

Seriously though, a well-known physical force that hoplites on the flanks of a grand body should be concerned about…


Maxshadow22 Aug 2016 1:23 a.m. PST

Thanks Jericho Smith. Best laugh I've had all day!

Hobhood422 Aug 2016 1:53 a.m. PST

OK OK – 360 degrees was just to point out the possible problems with these rules as written. Funny though.

I think I'll go with the immediate turn to face. I think the implication is like DBA – flank or rear attacks only work if the attacked unit is already engaged frontally.

MichaelCollinsHimself22 Aug 2016 4:19 a.m. PST

Even if not also pinned to their front, I think that the flanks of units can still be vulnerable if the unit is unable to manoeuvre to turn to face.

vtsaogames22 Aug 2016 6:17 a.m. PST

The rules don't say. Our crew plays the first hit is to the flank and the target gets to turn to face on their next turn.

And yes, free turn up to 360 before moving and another one at the end of move. But movement must be in a straight line.

Yes the rules are extremely simple. Yes, most games will be over well before 60 minutes have elapsed. Cause and effect.

skinkmasterreturns22 Aug 2016 6:28 a.m. PST

Ive never tried the "spin in place" maneuver.

Major Bloodnok22 Aug 2016 6:49 a.m. PST

A 360 degree turn could be just a way of representing an about face. Or it's a regiment of ballerinas pirouetting by the numbers rather than swanning about.

Who asked this joker22 Aug 2016 7:02 a.m. PST

Looks like the Jury is out

Not so sure, Norm. The rules are specifically designed so that you only get to act on your turn. So it should follow that you only get to face your enemy on your turn. So the enemy gets a 1 whack at your flank, then on your turn, you get top turn back and face him…assuming you are also not engaged from another direction of course!

normsmith Inactive Member22 Aug 2016 10:07 a.m. PST

I agree John, that is how I would do it, but in the absence of clarity it seems there will be two different camps on this and two opponents will have to iron it out to their own satisfaction before play.

MichaelCollinsHimself22 Aug 2016 10:19 a.m. PST

So why can`t someone just ask Neil Thomas about this ?

Who asked this joker22 Aug 2016 10:23 a.m. PST

So why can`t someone just ask Neil Thomas about this ?

Because he is "off the grid" so to speak. No e-mail. No group or forum participation. I think there has been someone who successfully contacted him a couple of times via something called the "postal service" using something called a "letter." grin

Seriously, he is hard to get hold of but with some effort you can get hold of him.

Shardik Inactive Member23 Aug 2016 1:40 a.m. PST

I give the charger one turn of flank attack. As Joker said, you can only do stuff in your own turn

Temporary like Achilles Inactive Member24 Aug 2016 2:00 a.m. PST

I think there has been someone who successfully contacted him a couple of times via something called the "postal service" using something called a "letter."

A "letter"? What is this thing of which you speak?!!

Major Bloodnok24 Aug 2016 2:51 a.m. PST

Dunno. I think it has summat to do with "writing".

coopman30 Aug 2016 2:37 p.m. PST

Is there a "Dizzy Check" if you turn twice during your move?

Jefthing Inactive Member31 Aug 2016 5:32 a.m. PST

I do this:

Units move in straight lines with one 'free' pivot (any direction/angle) per turn.
Second pivot halves their move allowance.
'Slow' units don't get the free pivot.
Units in March column moving entirely on a road and skirmishers can pivot any number of times.
All pivots (apart from skirmishers) count as moving and prevent firing, as the 45 degree field of fire is generous enough.

NT tends to limit charges to 45 degrees but I keep it simple so players can easily remember in the heat of the action/after a pint of Black Rat.

Hope this helps.

Queen Catherine22 Nov 2016 8:03 p.m. PST

To answer the question of the poster:

The turns up to 180 twice in a turn are correct. As mentioned, they can represent well-drilled soldiers doing an about face to march back then repeat to face the enemy. Or they could represent a "quick scrabble of a retreat" and a reform facing the enemy, which I not only drilled as a kay-det but just read about re: the Iron Brigade doing a skedaddle at Gettysburg. Or it could represent a Dark Age warlord dashing in a certain direction with his "blob" of warriors trailing after him.

It can represent lots of things. One thing it represents is a getting from point A to B with simplicity. If you look at the results, they simply duplicate what another rule set gets as a result but with 5 pages of rules and diagrams you can't teach a newbie or your kid. However, some people like process, and that's why there are rule sets in the $50 USD+ dollar range for you to use.

As for the being charged in a flank, you suck it up until your move. You do NOT get to move in you opponents turn. Anyone who says you can has either skipped the design notes or is just tweaking – which is fine, but certainly no the original intent.

As for "a COL wouldn't let that happen", there are simply too many historical examples that show, "it just ain't so".

I have also not left the rules as they lay. But I've also returned over and over to try to strip down as much as possible and keep it simple. Look for results rather than process, and you'll find yourself concerned more and more with tactics rather than trying to game your opponent with rules.

Hobhood423 Nov 2016 2:16 p.m. PST

Thanks Queen Catherine. You got the point of my original post. Since the post I have played a bit and have also left the response to the flank attack until the attacked unit's move. I have been experimenting with melee in ACW though, to make the games more interesting.

Queen Catherine23 Nov 2016 3:59 p.m. PST

yes, my pal and I wanted melee rules for infantry in AWI since the cav was quite light. We ended up classifying certain infantry as "shock" if they regularly charged.

Overall, I see a charge as mainly a morale contest – whoever is more determined will "outface" the other who will either stop charging and shoot, or abandon their defense and run away. Very rarely they will both be determined and fight hand to hand.

The rules for cavalry in the H&M set work fine for shock infantry, but perhaps you'd like to make the fall back 1/2 D6?

In these rules, a charge will only destroy a unit that has been softened up by fire. Most history will agree, so firing all artillery at the intended target and perhaps a well-positioned supporting infantry should make it possible in a turn or two with a little skill and decent dice.

I disagree with NT on his characterizing the ACW in that fashion, and feel like it falls more into the shock infantry mold since there was so little cavalry, or the ground was so unsuited, and there's time when one must hold ground.

There's some ACW theorizing here with a basic NT set of OHW rules and AARs if you're interested:

Overall, my only pet peeves with the OHW rules are the lack of LoS and nearly no definition of what melee contact is like, little things that can make a difference and at the least you need to make one consistent decision with the period you're playing.

Hobhood424 Nov 2016 9:56 a.m. PST

I wanted to replicate (in a simple 1OW style) ACW infantry units attempting to attack, maybe failing and resorting to firing line tactics, or maybe succeeding in frightening the enemy into retreat before contact, as well as actual melee. I also use a simplified dicing system (several of these have been mooted here and there on the internet) which uses 1, 2, or 3 dice rather than a single die with modifiers. 3-6 scores a hit. A unit takes 6 hits and is then destroyed. I put in some morale and retreat rules:

One Sided Combat. Only Infantry and Veteran (Zouave) units may engage in hand to hand combat. Units only inflict casualties during their own players turn.

Morale test. Veteran units may charge at will. Other infantry units must test morale by throwing 1 die. If the score is higher than the attacking unit's current casualties, the charge may proceed. If not, the unit remains stationery. If a charge is prevented, the unit may still shoot in its player's shooting phase.

Retreat. An infantry unit which is charged and contacted throws one die. If the score is lower than the number of hits already inflicted, the unit will retreat immediately rather than in the movement phase of its own players turn. A retreating unit moves up to its maximum move distance directly to its rear or a near as this as is possible and ends up facing its enemy. If a unit is forced to retreat it costs the unit 1 casualty point

Early morning writer Inactive Member25 Nov 2016 10:10 p.m. PST

I looked at a couple of the above links and was struck that the verbiage in text form at the links is probably longer than the rules themselves!

Queen Catherine02 Sep 2017 2:31 p.m. PST

Hey Hob,
nice tweaks – I'll have to keep them in mind for the future.

Hobhood407 Sep 2017 2:35 a.m. PST

Thanks Queen C. Actually I've moved on a bit since last year and am experimenting with 'The Portable Wargame' rules by Bob Cordery which give a similar sized game but which are a bit more fun to play. They work well with the scenarios in 1OW.

Queen Catherine18 Oct 2017 7:15 p.m. PST

Hey Hobhood4,
What is "a bit more fun to play" in the PW rules?

I haven't had a chance to try out your variations above, but they look quite good to me!

At the moment, the gang here is working on a wild and woolly version of the OHW rules with the 6-hit system that Cpt. Kobold gave the math for in another post. I also like your morale system above for ACW, but still have to playtest.

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