Writing a Wargame – Musketry II


For Factors and attributes that have already been decided please visit the Napoleonic War Game page.


After my last post I had an extremely well made comment on Reddit from user Altair1731 making two points.

The first was that I could easily cut down the number of dice being used during firing by using a ratio of 1 die for every 200 men instead of 100. Agreed, and I’ve now changed this to match.

The second was to combine the ‘Battlefield Stress’ and ‘Misfires’ into one roll of 5+ called a ‘Ready’ roll. This also seems sensible.

The second part of the shooting would be the ‘Fire’ and would be a roll to see whether hits are made at either long or short range.

Now onto our main points of this post, which is to cover the final aspects of Musketry fire.


The following rules may adjust either the ‘Ready’ or ‘Fire’ rolls of a unit. No matter the modifier rolls of 1 will always miss and 6 will always hit.


Probably not a suitable name, but we’ll go with it for now.

Before a battle all the men in a force would prepare beforehand. They would clean their kit and weapons, before marching to the front. This is fairly simple to represent by having each Battalion roll 4+ instead of 5+ on their ready roll the first time they fire their weapons in the battle.


Another fairly simple one to represent veteran/elite experience and training would be to have veterans with a ‘Ready’ roll one pip better than standard troops i.e. 4+ instead of 5+ (note that keeping your powder dry can still apply and would improve this to 3+ the first time a veteran unit fires). They could possibly also have a higher starting morale value. Alternatively they could have one extra firing die. At present I’m leaning towards an improved ‘ready’ roll.

Elite units could have either a higher than standard starting morale value, an extra firing die, an improved ‘Ready’ stat or some kind of combination of the three.

Newly raised etc units may have either 1 firing die less or a ‘Steady’ roll of 6+. Poor morale could also be a factor, or a combination of two of these.


Hitting Skirmishers would be much more difficult than hitting a large body of men, therefore there would be a -1 to hit penalty against Skirmishers. (Note this would not affect long range as a 6 will always hit).


Shooting a body of men that numbers twice your own volume would be an easier target to hit, this could be shown by having a +1 to hit modifier on the ‘Fire’ roll at effective range. Note that I’ve kept this bonus at effective range rather then long range as you would still have to hit a target that is little more than 6′ high.

Likewise, units which are at least half in number to the players own unit would be harder to hit, as those on the flanks would struggle with a large distance between themselves and the enemy unit. This can therefore be a modifier of -1 to the effective range ‘Fire’ roll. Again, no adjustment to the long range due to having the rule of a 6 will always hit at long range.


Due to the packed mass of men, firing on a column or square would be more devastating than a unit in line formation due to enfilading fire. Therefore firing upon these formations would provide a +1 to hit modifier on their ‘Fire’ roll at effective range. Again, no affect at long range due to still having to hit a 6′ target at 300 yards.


A 2,000 strong Prussian brigade of standard infantry in line formation is firing upon a 4,000 strong Austrian brigade in column formation in effective range. This shot is their first of the game so far.

The Prussian have 10 Firing Dice and the following modifiers on their ‘Ready’ roll:

  • +1 for ‘Keeping Your Powder Dry’

They would therefore need 4+ on their ‘Ready’ Dice, resulting in 5 passes and 5 fails.

For the ‘Fire’ roll, the Prussians are rolling 5 Dice (the result of ‘Ready’) with the following modifiers on their effective range to hit (usually 4+):

  • +1 for firing at a unit twice theirs in strength
  • +1 for firing on units that are in column/square formation

The Prussians would therefore need a 2+ to hit on their ‘Fire’ dice for effective range (no further benefits can be applied either, as the Prussians are already at 2+ to hit). The result of this roll would mean an average of 4-5 successes.


With each success accounting for 50 men, the Austrians would lose between 200-250 men and 1 firing dice. The brigade would also need to take 4-5 morale pips of damage, If they had a standard leadership of 8 (This would be determined by the lowest leadership of a battalion in that brigade), they would then need to pass a morale test on a roll of 3 or 4 on 2D6 depending on damage taken.


A failure of 1-2 more than their required roll would result in the unit making an ‘orderly retreat’ towards their own table edge a distance as yet to be determined while taking D3 damage.

A failure of 3 or more compared to what was required would result in a ‘disorderly retreat’ towards their own table edge a distance as yet to be determined while taking D6 damage.

Again, none of this is set in stone and I would love to hear peoples thoughts on these rules, also, if I’ve forgotten any aspect of musketry please let me know. Thanks.

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