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"Plains Wars Rules" Topic

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Comments or corrections?

Don Cossack17 Aug 2017 2:49 a.m. PST

I'm wondering if there are any rules out there for fighting historical frontier battles, like Little Bighorn or Rosebud or any other actual battle with several hundred participants per side. Seems like all the rules I've seen are for skirmish battles only.

Dexter Ward17 Aug 2017 3:06 a.m. PST

Battles for Empire would be suitable.

GreenMountainBoy Supporting Member of TMP17 Aug 2017 4:20 a.m. PST

The men who would be kings?

FABET0117 Aug 2017 4:27 a.m. PST

RAFM still has "Yellow Ribbon"


Shedman17 Aug 2017 4:34 a.m. PST

Battles For Empire has the Rosebud scenario in their free Scenario book

See and click on the Scenario pdf link

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP17 Aug 2017 5:29 a.m. PST

If you break apart the Greasy Grass, you can use Brom's
Bugles, Boots and Saddles, since the action becomes
manageable as a series of skirmish-level actions.

Henry Martini17 Aug 2017 6:31 a.m. PST

Specifically designed for playing larger battles of the Indian Wars using multi-figure elements is Chris Peers 'Too Few to Fight, Too Many to Die', which uses the same game engine as 'Death in the Dark Continent'. The latter has just been rereleased in a new, full colour, hardback glossy edition by North Star; possibly a vote of confidence in the system?

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP17 Aug 2017 7:18 a.m. PST

Rampant Colonialism is perfect for this scale game. Available at

Timmo uk17 Aug 2017 10:12 a.m. PST

Pony Wars?

DinOfBattle217 Aug 2017 2:05 p.m. PST

You could try Din of Battle 2nd edition from Piquet inc.

It has a specific section on the Plains Wars.

We fought a large campaign game using the rules:


Early morning writer Inactive Member17 Aug 2017 10:31 p.m. PST

Yellow Ribbon and Pony Wars as mentioned, yes. Death in the Dark Continent, well, have fun if you like them but for a large game? Doubtful, very, very doubtful. Not that they aren't fun rules. Boots and Saddles, if based on Sword and The Flame, again, doubtful for the size battle you describe. A third possibility might be Hey, You in the Jail from Peter Pig but I'm not sure that'd cater well to a Plains War big fight.

Those are the only purpose designed rules for the Old West I'm aware of that aren't skirmish/faction oriented. And I say again, while maybe a fun 'game', the various skirmish level faction rules are silly into extremis of absurdity as compared to what really happened.

I'd like to see more people design games where there is a group of so-called factions working in concert on one side of the game and likewise on the other side of the game. Outside of the fun movie Hallelujah Trail, was there ver really anything remotely like a six sided shoot out?

Don, if you find anything, please be sure and let us know. My 7th cavalry regiment as 150 mounted figures with dismounts, casualties, a pack train, and optional gatling guns and wagon train. Plus I have the allied scouts (if not always the correct tribal nation figures). I believe I have at least 384 mounted warriors to pit against the cavalry plus plenty of foot troops and lots of villagers, too. So, yeah, I'm very interested in your rules search.

womble67 Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2017 2:07 a.m. PST

I would recommend Black Powder Rules A few tweaks might be needed, but it copes well enough with ACW and using the Last Argument of Kings supplement, it already deals with the French Indian Wars.Hope it helps.

As always, comments are appreciated.

Take care


Lee49423 Aug 2017 4:47 p.m. PST

I've toyed with doing a Wild West version of Combat Action Command. And I've just posted a free Wild West supplement to my Skirmish Action rules. While I'm a Western fanatic, not sure how many people want to fight large battles. Skirmishes were much more common. Also wondering if any set of ACW rules would work with some tinkering. Half of my brain so wants to try this. The other half is saying how many people really want to play LHB?

And what would those people want to see in the rules … That's different than ACW with tweaks?

Interesting thread.

Henry Martini23 Aug 2017 6:53 p.m. PST

If you'll be using individually based figures TMWWBK is a strong contender because of its focus on the unit and abstraction of individual actions. There's a few relevant army lists in the book, and there was an article in WI a while back by the author, Dan Mersey, with further suggested tweaks for the Indian Wars.

Early morning writer Inactive Member31 Aug 2017 5:44 a.m. PST

TMWWBK looks like a cool set of rules, bought them though haven't played yet but, again, doubtful for playing with hundreds of figures per side.

@Lee494, seems LBH is the Holy Grail of Plains Wars gaming so I'd say a lot of people would like to game it given the time and resources and a workable set of rules and Rosebud is actually a bigger battle as far as raw numbers, at least on the Army side.

Skirmish for Old West, sure. Most battles of small size, true. But isn't that true of almost every conflict through all of history? Well, not sure about ancients but from 1700 on I'd guess you can count far more skirmish actions that large battles. Just look at the ACW in detail, something like 10,000 recorded actions but only maybe two dozen iconic battles.

@Don Cossack, Yellow Ribbon and Pony Wars are your go to rules if you can get hold of copies.

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP31 Aug 2017 8:53 a.m. PST

Another vote for Battles for Empire Ed.2. I recently played Little Bighorn in 15mm and it played very well. You can access the Plains Wars variant by joining the Yahoo Group: link

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