Holy Hack

Brief Description These rules are designed to be " and above all else fun," using period-driven systems based on the Hack rules system. The focus is on warfare between historical adversaries in the era prior to 500 B.C. ("...when the Old Testament was committed to writing."). Game can be played in Tactical or Strategic scale.

Armies are purchased using a point system, weighing morale, formation, armor, weapons, and leaders. Army lists were originally planned for a supplement (The Book of Lists), but plans for that book have been cancelled. Terrain is generated using a random system. If using the optional rules, armies are deployed using one of several historical set-up templates ("The Horn of Dagon," "Lamentation of Moab," and so forth).

army deployment templates

Combat rules cover charging, feint charges, pass-through charges, evade moves, pursuit moves, ambushes, morale and rout. A target priority system governs which units can shoot at which targets. Optional rules allow for champions to challenge one another.

sample rules page

Included is a sample scenario - Qadesh 1300 B.C., with Hittites ambushing the Egyptian army of Rameses II.

sample scenario
Period prior to 500 B.C.
SCALETactical ScaleStrategic Scale
Figure Scale1 figure = 20 men/vehicles1 figure = 100 men/vehicles
Ground Scale1" = 20 feet1" = 100 feet
Time Scale1 turn = 5 minutes1 turn = 20 minutes
Designed for use with 15mm or 25mm figures.
Type # of figures Width*
25mm scale 15mm scale
Open 2 60mm 40mm
Loose 3
Close 4
* Depth is set solely by the physical requirements of the figures
Contents 32-page rulebook, 1 double-size player aid card

one panel of the reference card
Designer Philip J. Viverito
Publisher First edition published 1996 by Black Falcon Publications

What You Think

Dave Allen (
While I have not played these rules, I have read them, and I wish I had not spent $18.50 on them. They don't seem to offer much new to Ancients wargamming. DBA is probably more playable, and Archon (Piquet) is more detailed. Neither is the rules booklet very well written, and it contains very little to no information.

The inclusion of Qadesh as the only scenario in the rules book is a curious choice for rules called Holy Hack: Hacking by the Book. While Qadesh fits the time period ("...when the Old Testament was committed to writing" - although even that broad qualification is suspect), the only relevance Qadesh has to the Bible is that Ramses II (who lead the Egyptians against the Hittites) is generally accepted as the Pharoah of the Exodus. I would have prefered scenarios for battles that are actually described in the Bible - for example, Joshua's attack on Ai, or his coming to the rescue of the beseiged city of Gibeon.

I purchased these rules hoping they would teach me more about battles described in the Old Testament. They do not. I get the feeling that the authors chose the title more for the pun than because it is an accurate description of the rules.

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Online Resources

Rules Clarifications
Official answers from the publisher to various rules questions.

If you know of any resources for this game, or if you have material you would like to make available to the Net, please let us know.

Last Updates
14 May 1999comments by Dave Allen
5 April 1998page first published
Comments or corrections?