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"WW1 Rules for RCW?" Topic

11 Posts

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Comments or corrections?

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP04 Mar 2022 10:19 a.m. PST

I am looking at my rules options and several times it has come up in this board that WW1 rules are not appropriate for the RCW. As long as the WW1 rules take into account morale and training to distinguish unit abilities, I don't see why they shouldn't be used. I am still a newbie to the period, though I do game WW1, both western front and the sideshows. If there is an important difference, I would love to be educated.

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian04 Mar 2022 11:09 a.m. PST

Several will work.
Over the Top (Command Decision)
Command Decision: Test of Battle has WW-1 supplements

Peter Pig has Square Bashing and some RCW rules too

Perfect Captain has a set too

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP04 Mar 2022 12:32 p.m. PST

I saw an RCW variant for "Volley and Bayonet" that looked interesting. No reason not to use WWI rules if they accomplish what you want, or can be easily modified to do so.

What size action are you looking to play?

Mark Plant04 Mar 2022 6:52 p.m. PST

That they used similar weapons does not make them the same at all. Reading the memoirs of men who participated in both, they always stress how very different they were.

WWI was a war of position. Attacks were prepared in advance, on enemy who were settled, often in trenches. The RCW was a war of movement and improvisation. Troops usually operated independently, often with only the most sketchy operational planning.

Even the Whites in the RCW were haphazardly commanded, and it got worse with the other armies. WWI units largely obeyed orders, for a start. In WWI you should assume an attack by units across the front would be co-ordinated, whereas for the RCW you should assume the exact opposite. A WWI army might have synchronised watches to ensure an attack was done to plan. The Russians just waited till they heard some shooting and played it by ear.

WWI rules assume effective indirect artillery fire, with large amounts of ammunition by trained officers. RCW had almost entirely firing in open field, with limited ammunition and officers who often were not well trained. If your rules make it an advantage to be firing from the rear, as it was in WWI, then they will give a completely wrong feel to the RCW.

WWI rules will have conscript infantry. That's your starting point for RCW, and mostly it should go down from there. Unless you read about it, you don't really get an idea just how trash much of the infantry was, both in morale and combat ability. Early in the war White infantry sometimes forced Reds out of covered positions in villages just by walking up to them -- while not taking cover and without shooting. I can't imagine any WWI rules would ever allow for a unit to walk on up to a defended village and win.

The amount of rifle power out of an RCW unit, even a good one, should be less than half of a WWI one. That leads to units fighting at much shorter ranges. It was a matter of willpower who won, not shooting.

Depending on the fronts, the use of cavalry is utterly different. RCW cavalry should be able to frontally charge an isolated infantry unit and defeat it, at least some of the time. It should absolutely dominate the battlefield if present in any quantity. (This is often a matter of making sure that any RCW battlefield has low troop density, rather than rules, to be fair.)

RCW units in trouble will rout. Not retreat fighting. They will not reform (in time for a table top battle).

WWI units would take a bombardment for hours on end, days even, from huge batteries. RCW units would flee after 10 minutes from a couple of guns.

Then there is the use of tachankas and armoured trains, which always need bolting on to WWI rules.

Some of 1914 was open. There were a couple of assaults in the RCW that resembled WWI. So there are situations which cross over, but they were very much not the norm.

I also don't get the point. You already play WWI. What do you gain by playing the RCW as if it were WWI?

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP05 Mar 2022 9:14 a.m. PST

Mark Plant, thanks for your detailed reply. Very enlightening. What rules do you recommend?

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP05 Mar 2022 2:06 p.m. PST

Am I correct in assuming Red Actions is your preferred set of rules for the period?

Mark Plant05 Mar 2022 3:37 p.m. PST

Red Actions is my preferred set, but that's because I play large games with historical orbats and lean heavily towards the "realistic" end of the spectrum. I prefer Kriegsspiel really.

If you prefer 25mm games, with a "pulp" feel, then other sets are much better.

I list all the common sets here: link

Prince Alberts Revenge06 Mar 2022 1:35 p.m. PST

I wish Pendraken or another 10mm manufacturer had a dedicated range. Pendraken have a pack from their older sculpts but I'd like to see something a bit more comprehensive.

As for rules, I plan to use a set of homebrew WW1 rules from a WW1 convention game. It's more quick play but I like the feel of the and they are robust enough I can tweak them for the RCW.

Glad to see Mark chime in on this thread, as his insight and knowledge of the period is impressive. His website is a great resource as well.

Capt Flash27 Mar 2022 4:29 a.m. PST

Well, I'm glad I popped into this thread!
@Mark Plant- thank you for your insight! I'm just starting this period.

Trebian Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Mar 2022 9:16 a.m. PST

The main takeaway from this thread should be that the RCW isn't the Great War, and starting from that point isn't going to get you to a game that is anything like the RCW in anything other than name. Even the different fronts in the RCW have unique characteristics.

Mark Plant07 Apr 2022 9:53 p.m. PST

For those interested in the differences between WWI and the RCE I recently updated my website with a few more articles and a book.


Unusually for the RCW one of the articles is written by an infantry officer about the tactics of the time.

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