OHW Horse & Musket Rule Extensions

 (Adapted for a hypothetical British campaign in Estonia  against the Russians in 1809)

The OHW base Horse and Musket rules are used without changes.

The following are extensions to the rules by Norm Smith

His original extensions can be found at Battlefields and Warriors. They are found at the end of the post so be sure to scroll all the way down.  What appears below in mainly Norm’s but includes a few of my own tweaks and re-words.


Each player also gets one or more leaders provided by the troop selection matrix (usually one for every two units or a brigade).  Leaders must be placed with a unit. If the unit is removed from play, a surviving leader must be immediately moved to the nearest friendly unit that does not already have a leader. If every remaining unit has a leader that leader is eliminated. Units within command range of a leader behave normally within the rules.

Command Radius. A leader begins each game with a command range of two which is equal to 12”.

Command Effect. At the start of their Movement Phase, those units outside a friendly leader’s command radius must test to see whether they can move that turn. The test occurs in the following way: Roll a 1D6 per such unit. On a score of 4 or more, the unit behaves normally. On a score of 3 or less the unit cannot move that turn other than to change facing.

  1. Command Roll Modifier: deduct 1 if the unit is more than 18″ away from the nearest leader.

Command Casualty. Whenever a unit with a leader attached is attacked in any way, roll a 1D6; on a score of 1, the leader’s command range is reduced one step in the following manner:
1.  First Step.  The command range is reduced from 2 to 1.  A command range of one has a radius of 6”.
2. Second Step. The command range is reduced from 1 to 0. The command piece can now only cover the unit to which it is attached. No further reductions occur.

MORALE (Optional Rule)

At the END of each friendly shooting phase, all enemy units that suffered casualties from that phase must take a morale check using the following procedure: Roll three 1D6, if the total result is more than the number of casualties in total that the unit has presently accrued then the unit passes the test. If the unit fails the test, it must retreat 6″ directly backwards AND take two extra casualties (these casualties do not force a further morale test). If a unit cannot retreat the full move due to any impassable obstruction (including illegal interpenetration) it stops at the obstruction and suffers a third casualty instead.

If interpenetration of an enemy unit would occur the retreating unit is eliminated.

Morale Roll Modifiers:

  1. Units attacked via their flank or rear deduct -2 from their morale rolls.
  2. Units out of command at the moment of testing, deduct -1 from their morale rolls.
  3. Ordinance (Guns). Artillery fire had a morale effect on units subject to its fire. Even if no casualties occur, units fired on by artillery must perform the morale test. If it fails the unit must move back 6” (but takes no casualties).

FIREPOWER (Optional Rule)

Roll an Average Dice (2,3,3,4,4,5) instead of a D6 to calculate hits (if defenders claim cover, round up any fractions in favor of the shooter – as per the normal rules).

The following extensions are my own house rules

VISIBILITY (Optional Rule)

Vertical terrain (hills, woods and towns) effects shooting in the following manner:

  1. Hilltop. A unit on a hilltop has +1 on its shooting casualty roll.
  2. Range Visibility. If the shooting range stick passes through BOTH sides of vertical terrain to the center of the target unit, the unit may not fire at THAT target.

Rationale for Hilltop: The base rules give an advantage to a defender on high ground and I wanted to add another advantage to increase its tactical importance.
Rationale for Range Visibility: One of the consistent criticisms of OHW is the lack of a Line of Sight (LoS) rule. Because of the size of the board it may not be necessary in a tactical sense but shooting through a hill or a forest, particularly with no reduction, doesn’t feel right. This LoS rule is very simple and takes essentially no time to perform.

ELITE UNITS  (Optional Rule)

In determining the force make up of each scenario, each side will role an additional black die – a roll of 6 produces an elite unit which may be substituted for any other unit.

  1. RussianDon Cossack Lancers: +1 to hand-to-hand casualty roll (which is already +2, so +3 total). +1 to morale rolls.
  2. BritishColdstream Guard: +1 to shooting casualty roll. +1 to morale rolls.