Monday, August 11, 2014

Horse and Musket Bolt Action - with Cavalry Rules

I've taken a first pass at writing some cavalry rules for a Horse and Musket era version of Bolt Action. I have also cleaned up some of the other rules to make them more clear, and included it all below so everything is in one place.


Cavalry models act the same as Infantry except as noted below.
Cavalry can mount or dismount using 6" of movement. While mounted, the following rules apply:
  • Orders: They cannot go Down voluntarily. They can perform an escape move when assaulted by infantry, like a recce vehicle.
  • Movement: They can Advance 12" and Run 24". They cannot enter buildings. They ignore obstacles, unless deemed impassible to Cavalry.
  • Shooting: Shooting attacks against them receive a +1 to hit modifier. They suffer a -1 penalty to hit rolls when shooting while mounted. When firing on the move (with an Advance order), the only weapons they can fire are those that have the Cavalry type. The only weapons they can reload while mounted are those with the Cavalry type.
  • Assault: Assault damage rolls against them receive a -1 penalty. They cannot benefit from using two assault weapons together.


When a unit fires, mark the unit with a smoke marker to indicate that it has fired. Any weapons that require reloading (indicated in the weapon stats table) cannot be fired again, or used in assault, while the unit has the smoke marker. Their weapons are not Loaded. After the unit successfully carries out another Fire order (now basically a Reload order), the smoke marker is removed and their weapons are now Loaded. Those models may fire again in the following turn.

Models have a "Shooting" stat to indicate their target number on a D10 when rolling to hit with a shooting attack. The base damage roll for shooting attacks against all targets is 6+ on a D10. Exceptional Damage is caused on an unmodified damage roll of 10.

Hit Modifiers
-1Per pin marker on the firer
-1Long range (over half)
-1Fire on the move (Advance order)
+1Point blank range (less than 6", if weapon range is 18" or more)
+1Rifled Firearm
-1Shooting while mounted
+1Shooting at mounted cavalry

Damage Modifiers
-1Target is 'down' infantry
-1Target is a small unit (2 models or fewer)
-1Target is in soft cover
-2Target is in hard cover
-1Non-Firearm weapon attack against Armored target

Sample Weapon Stats
Smoothbore Pistol61YesCavalry, Assault, Firearm
Spear61One UseCavalry, Assault
Revolver92NoCavalry, Assault, Firearm, Rifled
Shotgun121YesCavalry, Assault, Firearm
Double Barreled Shotgun122YesCavalry, Assault, Firearm
Smoothbore Carbine181YesCavalry, Firearm
Smoothbore Musket241YesFirearm
Rifled Carbine301YesCavalry, Firearm, Rifled
Breach Loading Carbine301NoCavalry, Firearm, Rifled
Repeating Carbine302NoCavalry, Firearm, Rifled
Muzzle Loading Rifle361YesFirearm, Rifled
Breach Loading Rifle361NoFirearm, Rifled
Repeating Rifle362NoFirearm, Rifled


Each model has an "Assault" stat to indicate their target roll on a D10 to cause damage in an assault. Many models have some kind of Assault weapon, such as a bayonet, sword, tomahawk, etc. These will be indicated in the army list, and some have special rules. Shooting weapons with the Assault type count as assault weapons, but those that require reloading only count if they are Loaded. Some specific Assault weapons with special rules are shown below.

A model not armed with an Assault weapon has a -1 penalty to damage rolls in an assault. An unmounted model armed with two assault weapons (which do not have the Two-Handed rule) has a +1 bonus to damage rolls in an assault. A model that is totally unarmed can not cause damage in assault (or shooting, obviously). Exceptional Damage is caused on an unmodified damage roll of 10.

Assault WeaponSpecial Rules
Bayonet, Pike, Spear,
Loaded Shotgun
Long Reach,
Loaded PistolLong Reach
RevolverFast, Long Reach
Loaded Double
Barrel Shotgun
Fast, Long Reach,
other assault weaponsnone

Assault Weapon Special Rules
Long Reach+1 to damage rolls in assault against cavalry (negating the normal -1 for infantry fighting cavalry)
FastExtra attack in first round of assault
Impact+1 to damage rolls in first round when assaulting
Two-HandedCan't be combined with another assault weapon to get the +1 damage bonus for two weapons

Damage Modifiers
-1Assault against mounted Cavalry (except with Long Reach weapon)
-1Non-Firearm weapon attack against Armored target
+1Assaulting with Impact weapon (only in first round)

After an assault, the loser takes a morale test, subtracting how much they lost combat by from their morale value. If they fail, the unit is removed. If they pass, the assault continues. After the first round of assault, any unit with weapons that require reloading are considered to have fired and therefore receive a smoke marker. The engaged units fight another round of assault, with both sides striking simultaneously, at the beginning of each turn until one unit is either wiped out or fails the morale test and is removed. Whenever this happens, the winning unit may consolidate as normal, and their order die is put back in the dice bag. When assaulting into an ongoing assault, choose which enemy unit to attack against (if applicable) and work out damage. In this case, the defenders do not get attacks back (since they have already attacked this turn).


Below are some sample unit stats and special rules for a selection of common unit types.

Sample Unit Stats
Regular Infantry6+6+9
Light Infantry5+6+9
Elite Infantry6+6+10
Woodland Indian7+5+7
Light Cavalry6+6+9
Heavy Cavalry6+5+9
Plains Indian6+6+8

Unit Special Rules
Armored-1 penalty to damage rolls made against the model except those caused by a Firearm.
ShirkersAs in Bolt Action (always take test for orders, even when not pinned, also pin penalty doubled)
SnipersOnly for Rifle armed models. Add 12" to Rifle range. Otherwise as in Bolt Action.
GreenAs in Bolt Action

That's what I have so far. It still needs some sample army lists and scenarios. If you have any feedback or suggestions, or army list/scenario ideas for any historical periods, please leave a comment.


  1. Been thinking about this for a while wil start to write up some army lists for ACW and see how it goes.