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Able Archer

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TITLE:  Able Archer, Revised Edition

AUTHOR: Jan Hayden Juklicek

PUBLISHER: Jan Hayden Juklicek



    The author has a forum for these rules located here.

PRICE (with date): Free

REVIEWED BY: Mark “Extra Crispy” Severin

PERIOD COVERED: Cold War Gaming (1960+)

THE BOOK: Able Archer is a simple download of 7 pages plus a one page reference sheet.

SCOPE: Able Archers is designed for company-level wargaming during the Cold War.

ARMY SIZE: Players will typically command a company, perhaps two. Thus an army may consist of approximately 20 tanks or 100 infantry. Infantry is based in teams, and could easily use fewer figures with no effect on game play.

BASE UNIT: Players command companies. During the game activation is by platoon, with a platoon being made up of 2-4 elements (teams or squads).


  • Ground Scale: 1” = 10m
  • Time scale 1 turn = Approximately 1 minute
  • Figure/Base Ratio 1:1
  • Recommended Figure Size: 6mm
  • Table Size: Not stated
  • Game Length: Most games should be playable in a few hours

BASING SIZES: None given


  1. Initiative Phase: Players roll 2D6 to determine who has the initiative for the turn.
  2. Activation Phase: Players now alternate activating platoons, in the order chosen by the initiative winner.
  3. Morale Phase: Companies with half or greater losses check morale.


Movement: Units are rated for speed from Slow to Very Fast. Terrain is rated as Open, Difficult or Very Difficult. Movement allowances vary by speed and terrain. A slow unit in Open moves 6” while a very fast unit moves 15”. Vehicles must check for bogging in certain types of terrain.

Units may be placed on Overwatch: they may move up to one half speed, and may then fire at any point during or after an enemy’s activation. Platoons on Overwatch may only fire at one enemy unit.

Morale Rating: Morale in AA has four levels: veteran, experienced, green and civilian. A company’s morale determines its C2 (Command and Control) attributes, its Training Die (used in combat), etc. Training dice are of different kinds, with Veterans rolling a D10 and green troops a D6.

When checking morale, a player rolls two dice. This is compared to a unit’s CQ rating. Modifiers to the check include losses, presence of leadership, cover, etc. Units that fail are Broken. Broken units must move away from the enemy, are eliminated in close combat, and are removed if they Break a second time.

Artillery Fire: Artillery is rated for Area of Effect (AoE) and Damage. To fire artillery, select a target (need not be an enemy unit) and roll for scatter. Artillery scatters 1D6 or 1D3 if an FOO has line of sight to the target. Each team under the AoE rolls an Avoidance check. Teams that fail are subject to being hit. The firing player rolls a damage die and Training die, and consults the Combat Outcomes chart and applies the result. Artillery may also fire smoke, and other munitions.

Fire Combat: There are two mechanisms for ranged fire, depending on the target.

    Shooting At Infantry or Soft Vehicles: When firing at infantry, the player rolls one die for ech firing team, plus one training die. The highest damage die is added to the training die. The defender adds his target’s defense value plus any modifiers for range, cover, etc. This is subtracted from the sum of the attacker’s roll and the Combat Outcomes Table consulted. A negative result is “no effect.” Positive results vary from Suppression to KIA. A KIA removes a number of teams and triggers a morale check for the squad.

    Shooting At Armored Vehicles: Each element in a platoon fires separately. To score a hit, a player rolls 2D6. This is compared to the target’s modified size. The Size is modified for range, cover etc. If the dice total exceeds the modified size a hit has been scored. Each weapon has a damage die type. This is rolled and of it exceeds the target’s armor rating, the hit has penetrated. If so the attacker rolls a D10 and consults the Vehicle Damage Chart. Results range from Immobilized to “Brewed Up.”

Melee: There are two kinds of melee in AA: Close Combat and Close Asault

    Close Combat: Close Combat requires base-to-base contact. Players roll a training die and damage die for each team. The highest damage die is added to the training die. Each side modifies for terrain and leadership. If the difference is 0 or 1 each side loses a team. Otherwise the lsoing side removes one team for every two points of differential. Additional rounds are fought until inly one side remains.

    Close Assault: Close Assault is used against vehicles. Attacking infantry roll a training and damage die, and compare this to the target’s defense rating. The difference is determined and the Combat Outcomes chart consulted. Results vary from Immobilized to “Brewed Up.” Vehicles may only fire back during their activation, unless they have a close defense system, or were on overwatch.

Command and Control: Able Archer uses a standard command radius system. Based on your training level, your command distance may vary from 2 to 6 inches.Penalties for being outside the radius are negative modifiers for morale checks, must use a one lower training die type, and may not conduct certain kinds of attacks.


The rule book includes one scenario - Waterloo - as well as army lists for several major nations. There are no lists for Spain.


Shako is


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