Guns of Liberty

cover picture

Brief Description

These rules are designed to be easy to learn and fun to play, while also being an accurate simulation with realistic casualty rates. Each infantry stand is a company (therefore, a full strength British regiment would consist of 10 stands). The rules identify over 30 troop types, rating each with Fire, Melee, and Morale values and marking them as Regular or Irregular. There are three grades of leaders - colonel, brigadier general, and major general. Leaders have a leadership stat, which can be pre-assigned or determined randomly.

The turn begins with both sides secretly recording then simultaneously revealing and executing their charge moves. Then comes an initiative roll, with the side winning initiative getting choice of whether to move first or second in the movement phase. After movement comes combat - first artillery, then fire, then melee. A morale phase ends the turn.

Depending on their troop type, units move in one of several formations (open, closed, skirmish, march column). The movement rules allow oblique movement, wheeling, side stepping, about face, refusing flank, and falling back; enemy units may take opportunity fire. To score a hit in combat, the attacking player must roll less than a target number determined by range and situation - one die is rolled per stand (half for skirmishers). Nearby leaders may become casualties when fighting occurs. The victors in a successful melee may "capture the colors." A failed morale roll can cause a unit to become Disordered, Shaken, or Routed.

An appendix lists all manufacturers of Revolutionary War figures in 15mm scale.

Period American Revolutionary War
Ground Scale 1" = 25 yards
Time Scale Each turn = 10 minutes
Figure Scale Each figure represents 20-25 men
Miniature ScalesIntended for use with 15mm figures, but conversions for 6mm and 25mm figures are included.
BASING # of figures per base size of base
(width x depth)
Infantry 42 or 32 1" x 3/4"
Cavalry 222 1" x 1"
ArtilleryGunners can be mounted on a stand with the gun, or gunners can be mounted independently with an unbased gun.
Contents Folder containing 18 rules pages, plus two (identical) reference cards
reference card (one side)
Designer Eric Burgess
Publisher First edition published 1998 by Eric Burgess. Distributed by Musket Miniatures.

What You Think

Scott A. Monsour (smonsour@mindspring.com)

I have been great fan of the American Revolutionary War period. I picked up Eric's game from Musket Miniatures, and have enjoyed them very much. A great set of rules for anyone interested in the American Revolution.

The rules are well written and easy to follow. All the games we have played were enjoyable, and I look forward to playing again in the near future.

The author (Eric Burgess) is easy to get a hold of, and is happy to answer any questions through email. His website carries OB and general information. He also posts new OB's on the newsgroups. This is a great idea for any rule system.

Play it, you'll like it.

Adam Watters (lawyers@rtd.com)

My gaming group tried this set of rules one afternoon, and the most frequent comment was, "This really works well."  I have hunted for playable AWI rules for quite some time.  I have now stopped searching.

Other rules sets were either too complex (i.e., just another complex Napoleonics game) or too simple.  GOL has an excellent "feel" to the system.  The game's morale and firing system allows for the use of light infantry, militia and riflemen.  Rules for these units were often exaggerated, missing or just plain wrong in other rules sets.

The GOL system is quick to learn, yet challenging.  Try it.  Your troops will like it.

John Gephart (jdg1@goodnet.com)

I played my first game a couple of weeks ago and now I can't wait to play again!

My gaming partner and I painted enough figures to play a different set of rules a couple of years back, but were so disappointed in them that we put them away and forgot about them. Last month I heard about GOL - it sounded interesting and didn't cost much, so I picked up a set and we tried them. Now I can't paint figs fast enough!

The rules are well written and easy to learn (we taught one person to play in 10 minutes) and give what I feel is a good flavor of the war. The British are tough in the attack - they seem to just keep coming. The Continentals can be almost as good as the British Regulars, especially on the defense, but are generally smaller so tend to be fragile. The key to the game are the support troops: Hessians, Jagers and Tories for the British and Riflemen, State line and militia for the Americans. Artillery is useful but not the great killer that it becomes in later wars. Units run from 2 to 20 figures, each stand representing a company, so you can use those pesky little rifle and militia units that are too small to represent in other games.

Another great thing is that Eric Burgess is ready and willing to answer any questions that come up and offer any help that he can. All in all a very good set of rules that are fun to play. Can't wait for the campaign rules to come out!

Buck Sardu (surdu@cs.tamu.edu)

I purchased GOL at Historicon.  Since then I have been on vacation, so I have not had a chance to play them yet.

From reading the rules, I am very impressed.  I am not an expert on this period, but GOL seems to take into account all those things that make the Revolutionary War period unique.  The command and control system is simple, but it provides an adequate level of friction.  One of the most interesting aspects of the rules is the notion (supported in other historical reading) that firing actually can disorder the firing opponent.  In this period, units seem to have come within range, fired a volley, and closed.  The fact that continued firing can cause a unit to disorder itself helps support the use of historical doctrine.

The rules are clearly written, with few of the glaring typos that seem to characterize some rules sets.  The chart cards provide all that is needed to play the game.  I think that after one or two readings of the rules, one might never need the book again.  The rules also contain comprehensive listings of units so that the game master will know exactly how the various units should be rated in the game.

The rules are well worth the US$10 that I paid for them!

Online Resources

Official Guns of Liberty Website
Designer Eric Burgess will gladly answer questions from prospective gamers.

If you know of other resources for this game, please let us know by sending email. If you have material you would like to make available to the Net, also let us know.

Last Updates
16 October 2003added Guns of Liberty website
26 August 2002new email for Eric Burgess
4 March 1999comments by Scott
31 August 1998added Adam's comments
29 August 1998added John's comments
Comments or corrections?