OHW Pike & Shot Rule Extensions


The newest adaptation of this rule extension can be found at my main blog,

In Red-coat Rags Attired


 (Adapted for a hypothetical campaign in Scotland with a united England under Charles I is fighting a coalition of the other two kingdoms)

Certain aspects of the base OHW rules are modified as follows:


  1. Reiter. This category becomes artillery. The original rules correctly assume that artillery was not particularly effective in battles in the field nor was it very mobile. This said it had an inordinate morale effect on troops being fired upon and I want to use it. I have reduced its mobility to half that of infantry. The Reiter function has been added to some of the cavalry. Reiters were in more common use somewhat earlier AND were usually heavily armored making them somewhat obsolete in this time and place.
  2. Cavalry (Horse). This category is split equally into Trotters (which must expend all their ammo before charging) and Gallopers that cannot shoot but can immediately attack. If a single Horse unit is selected a 1d6 roll of 1,2,3 gives a Trotter, a 4,5,6 gives a Galloper. If two units are selected, one of each type is used.
  3. Infantry (Foot). This category remains unchanged and represents unit of combined arms pike and muskets.
  4. Swordsmen. This category is heavily reworked. The rules as written seem specifically geared to late 16th and early 17th century warfare where Swordsmen (sword and buckler, halberdiers, Zweihanders, etc) where more often employed. I have added Dragoons for the English and Highlanders for the Scots. The former is much more like the Skirmisher Category found in other periods in OHW, while the latter represent a close approximation of the swordsmen category. The Dragoons, although mounted, almost always fought on foot and they are so portrayed here.


Changes in Movement Distances

Ordinance (Guns) moves 3″
Foot moves 6″
Dragoons move 9″
Highlanders move 9″
Horse moves 12″

Changes in Terrain Effect on Moment

  1. Woods. Only Dragoons and Highlanders may enter.
  2. Towns. Horse may not end their moves in a town.

Changes in Moving and Shooting
Foot, Trotter Horse and Dragoons may shoot at the end of their move. When Ordinance has fired for the first time it may not move for the remainder of the game (it may pivot and shoot however).

Changes in Interpenetration
Only Highlanders and Dragoons may pass through other friendly units (and vice versa). They may not end their movement interpenetrated.


Only Foot, Trotter Horse, Dragoons, and Ordinance my shoot.

Changes in Shooting Range
Foot, Trotter Horse and Dragoons shoot 12″
Ordinance (Guns) shoot 36″

Changes in Checking Ammunition
Mark a unit out of ammunition with a red cube.

Changes in Assessing Casualties
Ordinance (Guns) is -2 on the hit roll.


Changes in Hand-To-Hand Combat scores
Foot  uses the unmodified score

Dragoons subtract 1 from score
Ordinance (Guns) subtract 3 from score
Highlanders and Horse add 2 to score

Changes in Casualty Modifiers
Highlanders and Dragoons only inflict half the number of registered hits if attacking Horse (rounding any fractions in favor of the attacking unit).

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) Fear Test. Artillery fire had a morale effect on units subject to its fire. IF no casualties occur, units fired on by artillery must perform a fear test.  A roll of one on a 1D6 is a failure and the unit must move back 6” (it takes no casualties from this failure however).  (Modified on 02/19/2017)

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 are extensions are my own house rules

VISIBILITY (Optional Rule)

Vertical terrain (hills, woods and towns) affects 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.


The Irish Foot have the capability of performing a Highland Charge IF they have not moved before firing AND they exhaust their ammunition upon shooting. They MAY, after the shooting casualties have been assessed, charge the target unit if 12” (or less) away and conduct hand-to-hand combat.

Rationale for Highland Charge: This was a tactic (its first use is often attributed to Alasdair MacColla in the wars of the Irish Confederation) often employed by Montrose’s forces in the 1644-45 campaign and for roughly a hundred years after. It is added to give flavor to the game.


My Foot is normally in 7″ extended line. They may move to or from Hedgehog (a 4.5”line with the musket sleeves in columns) at the start of the Movement phase. This formation has the following effects:

  1. Movement. Units in Hedgehog may move only 3” per turn
  2. Shooting Restriction. Units in hedgehog are -2 on shooting.
  3. Protection from Horse.  Enemy Horse units my not charge  Foot unit in Hedgehog formation.

Rationale for Hedgehog: There is some argument about how often this tactic was actually used. Various Tercio formations gave a similar effect and it is sometimes difficult to sort out precisely how it was constituted and used. It is frequently incorrectly conflated with the formation of a square in later periods. In any event I thought I would add it since it gives a “stalemating” move. So far my games have really not demonstrated the need for it, the base OHW rules seeming to handle Horse against Foot (musket and pike) quite well.