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A.G.S. Blackpowder Wargaming

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TITLE: A.G.S. Blackpowder WargamingAGS 2nd Edition PDF Image02

AUTHOR: Angel Barracks

PUBLISHER: Angel Barracks www.angelbarracks.co.uk

PUBLICATION DATE: 2006

WEB SITE/SUPPORT FORUM:

www.angelbarracks.co.uk

Free scenarios and rules updates available to download for free.

PRICE April 2010:

  • Printed in A5 4.00
  • Printed in A4 5.50
  • PDF 3.50

REVIEWED BY: Angel Barracks

PERIOD COVERED: Blackpowder eras but especially Napoleonic era

THE BOOK:

Both the A5 and the A4 come with a laminated reference sheet, an order sheet and an example order sheet.

SCOPE: The rules are designed at skirmish level type game, in that the basic unit is the company.

ARMY SIZE:

The average game will have about 10 units or so and this should last about 4 hours.

As such given that the basic unit is the company and each company has about 100 men you will need about 1000 figures.

BASE UNIT:

The standard unit is the company This is made up of for the most part of 8 bases of figures for line infantry. Each base to have 12 figures on it.

GAME SCALES:

  • Ground scale is partially abstract at this scale given the ratio
  • Time scale is again partially abstract as we are not supposing that a turn of firing takes as much time as a turn of melee. Otherwise a 2 second musket discharge would mean that a turn of melee is only 2 seconds, a 2 second fight would not achieve much. Turns take as long as they take.
  • Figure ratio 1 = 1 man.
  • Recommended Figure size is 6mm
  • Table Size is to be about 5’ x 3’

BASING SIZES:

  • Cavalry: and skirmishers: 40mm x 20mm
  • Everything else: 25mm x 20mm

TURN SEQUENCE:

Player one:

  • Movement
  • Missile
  • Melee
  • Morale

Then player two:

  • Movement
  • Missile
  • Melee
  • Morale

Then back to player one.

GAME MECHANICS:

The d6 is the die of choice. 1 pip per mm of man! and also so that not too much randomness is involved which you would get with say a d10.

The player that wins the initiative decides who goes first.

The orders are given in secret, the initiative is rolled for and once decided the orders are revealed.

Winning the initiative is not always a cue to go first, you need to try and guess what orders the enemy has and then deduce if you need to act or react to them based on what orders you have given.

Orders are issued to units which then determine what that unit does for the turn.

Orders are:

Advance, Engage, Hold and Retreat.

Combat is quick and simple.

For missile fire each base within a unit that may fire rolls a d6, if they get the required number (normally a 5 or 6) they hit.

For melee each base that is in contact with another may fight.

Both bases roll a d6, the highest wins.

There are various modifiers to all the above rolls based on troop type, cover, range etc.

If a base loses its d6 roll it is removed from play.

Maneuvers and formations are period flavor.

The basic formations are line, marching column and square.

Each has its own associated pros and cons.

Maneuvers are wheel, formation change, about face, centre wheel etc.

Morale is tested when a unit takes a certain number of casualties in one turn.

It is also tested in a few other circumstances, such as infantry being charged by cavalry (with a bonus for being in square) etc.

ARMY LISTS/SCENARIOS:

It is intended as a generic set of mechanics and that players will have some knowledge of the period they are playing, as such there are no proper army lists.

For those that do not have a basic understanding of the armies of the period, then there is a sample typical army set up that shows bases per unit and units per battalion etc.

Full Napoleonic army lists are available in Form Square! the supplement to the main rules as are additional rules for nations.

Scenarios are available to download free from the website:

www.angelbarracks.co.uk

REVIEWER’S COMMENTS:

I have aimed to create a set of easy to read, easy to play fast and fun set of rules that enable you to fight black powder games.

There is plenty of scope for more or less rules, scope to change things.

All I hope is that by buying these rules they allow you have fun playing miniature wargames as much as I do.

I will not comment on how well they do this as they are my rules but below is a review from one customer.

PLAYER’S COMMENTS:

For a while now I've had my eyes open for a set of rules that I could use with my 6mm ECW figures, but I also wanted to do 6mm ACW and Napoleonics so it would be ideal if the rule set covered these periods too. While I was browsing through the Angel Barracks website I came across the AGS rules which do exactly what I was looking for. They were available as either a printed book or as a PDF download, I quite fancied having a look NOW! so I opted for the PDF download (sometimes I am too impatient!) . Upon receiving the PDF via email (which was sent very quickly, excellent service) I printed off the pages.

The rules are presented over the course of 39 pages, not a hefty document by any means but the price is also very low (a good thing at the moment). The rulebook is very easy to read and makes perfect sense in one read through (well it did to me). The rules themselves are very simple and produce fun games. See what I did there? Fun and Game? I know that these rules will have their knockers due to the fact that they are not 100% historically accurate but then the author didn't produce them to be as such.

So what does the game involve? First off it should be said that this set of rules is specifically targeted at using 6mm miniatures and that ideally forces are represented on a 1:1 bases, but as the rules state - they are your miniatures so if you want 1 miniature to represent 1 batallion then go for it. After reading that in the book it was clear to me that this was going to be a fantastic visual game. The game is broken down into 4 phases - Movement, Missile, Melee and Morale (Mmmm sounds like a song by the Crash Test Dummies) with iniative being checked at the start of each turn.

The movement rules cover, well, moving your troops - simple. This includes formation changes and how to handle different types of terrain on your battlefield. The missile phase covers all shooting attacks performed by the troops under your command. As with movement missile combat has been kept brief, fast and very simple. There are no complex tables to wade through, roll a die, apply a couple of modifiers if needed and your done. A hit kills, simple as that. Now I know that some people like their rules with plenty of meat, and its not a proper wargame unless you need 15 books full of tables to work out which hand a 6mm figure uses to scratch his head (ok, I went over the top with that, but you get the idea). Personally I like a rule system where I know the results of combat without my ears bleeding.

Onto the melee rules, again this area of the game is so simple its like falling off a bike. Both players roll dice, apply modifiers and whoever rolls highest wins. So what happens next well its the Morale phase this covers, as you might expect, units running away and regrouping. As with the rest of the ruleset there is nothing complex here.

Within the book there is also an advanced rule section. This covers things like fighting in towns and weather conditions, but like the rest of the rules its not rocket science (apologies if you are a rocket scientist).

So what’s my overall verdict? This is a set of rules that I have been looking for, for a long time. It will enable us to play big games without them getting bogged down. I've done a test play through using bases with labels (the figures aren't painted yet!) and I am rather struck with it. If you are a gamer who is looking for a simple, fast play set of rules with which to start a new period then these are definitely for you.

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