Sunday, 11 June 2017

Updating the Two Flags - One Nation rules

Two Flags - One Nation Rules update.

EDITED - Please note this post had been rendered outdated by a more recent update (September 2017). So as not to create dead links, I have removed the post detail, but updated the links that will take the reader to appropriate locations and files.



Two Flags - One Nation Download. A DropBox link

Designer Notes - blogged article

COMMANDERS - my sister website, which is a bit more magazine based


  1. Good to see that you are continuing to maintain and refine this interesting set of rules. While I have yet to give them a run-out on the gaming table, this might provide an alternative use for my 10mm ACW collection. How large a hex map would be sufficient for 10mm figures (#rows x #columns)? The one I have at-hand is slightly larger than the C&C hex board.

  2. Thanks Aaron, hope there is something in the read that gives interest.

    Jonathan, the two example games in the rulebook are 10 x 9 and 12 x 9, which are both a tad less wide than a standard C&C board and the game works fine with them. I am presently working on a 6 x 6 scenario for my 6 x 6 grid series. So your board would be ideally suited to getting a game going.

    you can go as big as you like with the board since command is really only a factor of holding individual brigades together. The next command up (Divisional Commander) is notionally influencing only one part of the table per turn. So I would put a couple of brigades on a C&C board and then more as the table size increases. For your size, 3 brigades per side and would seem a good starting point to get a feel of the rules.

    1. Norm, printed out the rules and set up your introductory scenario of Mill Creek for a run through this weekend with my 10mm ACW troops. This really is wargaming in small places. Small playing area with limited number of troops provides a very elegant look to it.

    2. Thanks Jonathan, I am chuffed that they have tickled your fancy enough to print the rules and run a game.

    3. Norm, you ought not be surprised. You have a number of innovative developments within and looks quite interesting. I await finding out for myself. I ordered a "child's school" clock with movable hands to allow me to easily track game time. Should arrive by Saturday. If I begin before the clock arrives, well, I track the old fashioned way.

  3. Those with C&C / Battle-Cry games could try the rules ...... the only problem I have found is that when using C&C games parts, my brain wants to play C&C and my rules feel a bit awkward, I suppose it is that eye / brain / trained association thing ...... of course it could just be me being stupid :-)

  4. Game Question:
    Divisional Commander Attachment: Fire and Move?

    The rules state that a unit with attached divisional commander may perform a second action in the Movement Phase after firing. Does this second move action apply only to the General Movement Phase or does it apply to the Charge Phase too?


  5. Hi Jonathan, The rule is specifically only allowing MOVEMENT to be influenced and does not extend to charging.

    I am interested in your point as the rule could so easily be extended to include that.

    My reasoning was that this would just be a location for the commander to focus command attention, by providing directional leadership and getting others to get a move on, using his position of grand perspective to direct troops.

    I did not want the commander to go one step further and start to get involved at the more tactical level by inspiring charges and perhaps being drawn in to even becoming involved in a charge, I just felt that it crossed a line between directional leadership and being involved at a more tactical level.

    There are rule administrative reasons as well. Commanders should always be placed with a unit, in the movement phase they can always ensure that happens, even if the unit they are with moves. But in the charge phase, the commander would be left behind under the present rules, or new procedures would have to be written for the commander and again, I didn't want a divisional commander getting involved in a regimental charge ...... though no doubt that happened.

    In truth, you could easily house-rule to allowing a charge as an extra action, though at this point in time, I am not tempted to extend the rule to include that.

    I really hope you get a worthwhile game out of them on your first outing, again thanks for giving them a go, it is appreciated. Norm.

    1. Thanks for the clarification. No need for any House Rule. Perhaps only note that the second action is applicable during GENERAL MOVEMENT Phase since units are moving during CHARGE too? With luck, I will get the Mill Creek game underway this afternoon.

  6. Yes, thanks for raising it, the trusty red pen has done the deed! I am home today, so will check in regularly so that I can give a quick response to any questions that may crop up - it all helps go towards tighter rules.

  7. Norm, this is a nifty little game with much subtlety!

    Question on Rally to Remove Disorder:
    If disordered and attempting to rally to remove disorder's duration early, does a failure of this Capability Test cause an increase of 10 minutes onto the unit's current disorder duration (i.e. a second disorder) or does the unit's disorder duration remain unchanged with this failure?

    Question on Target may only be fired upon once during a phase:
    Rules suggest (ok, state) that a target may only be fired upon once per phase. If two firing units have the same valid target, may only one shoot? Can these two firers combine their joint fire into one fire attack?

  8. Hi just awoken, so hope a delay in answering has not caused a problem.

    1. Units that fail a rally attempt simply remain disordered with no extra penalty. I will add a line to that effect.

    2. Long answer because it is an interesting and long thought about design point. But basically,the specific stating of the rules is very deliberate. A unit can only be attacked once per phase.

    The only way that a second unit can add to a combat is by giving support, to support, a unit MUST be from the same brigade, not disordered, in command, unengaged and sitting in one of the two rear hexes of the attacker.

    If more than one unit is adjacent to the target hex, only one of them will attack in that phase (either charge or fire phases). There is an administrative convenience in in this rule as it removes the need of a raft of rules to cover several different local situations.

    But also! without deliberate control mechanisms, hexes make it very easy for a player to fall into a style of play that always seeks the advantages of 'ganging up' without necessarily looking at what else is going to their immediate selves (plus in a system that does not use simultaneous fire, the fire phase would be too one sided with permanent effects due to the way casualties work). The arrangement of hexes typically allows visually that a unit can often look like it is in the attack arc of two enemy units, whilst if a square grid was used, units would visually look like they are lined up directly ahead of each other, with a more 1 on 1 look.

    Considereing that this is the same space on the battlefield, the hexes can therefore by default easily bring about a representation of overlapping when it clearly would not be possible due to the presence of other units.

    There are ways to write around that, to give a set of strict conditions in which it would be possible for a second unit (other than support) to join in, but I felt that due to the variables of threatened flanks, proximity of the enemy, the need for regimental co-ordination and the simple fact that I do not like 'ganging up rules' to get the perfect 3-1 type attack that is common of boardgames and that in design I invariable seek to reduce a players 'God Like' control of the battlefield, then I decided simply not to allow it and instead have the player look at other options that plays each unit on a unit by unit basis.

    I would be the first to accept that on occasion the situation might look like a second unit is totally free of other influences and should / could add smething, but I think overall the simplicity of the rule as it stands conveniently covers a wider range of immediate situations and in any case, I feel that the tactics of the day are better reflected by supporting lines (to the rear) to bring weight onto any specific point in the line.

    Also, the rules as written prevent the advantages of cover being undermined.

    hope that helps. it is part of the design that went around and around in my head and there were different versions before I came to the simplicity of the one solution (that 'nearly' catches all).

    Glad you are seeing some subtlety and hope the play has been worth the effort of jacking up a new set of rules, I really do appreciate you having a go. Norm

    1. Hi Norm! A guy must sleep! I appreciate your clarifications and answers to my rules questions.

      I have one more design type question, if you please.

      Charging Capability Tests:
      The attacker may suffer two Capability Tests prior to resolving a charge. The first going in and the second if the defender scores a hit in a "defensive fire" at short range. Have you considered having the defender check first, applying any result including defensive fire results and then having the attacker make his Pre-Charge Capability Test? That way, one CT is eliminated (now, each participant only takes one test) and the attacker's test includes any effect of fire on the approach? An attacker's charge can still go in half-hearted but now any hits on approach are factored into that calculus.

      A couple of tidy ups:
      1. The facing diagram specifies Front, Side, and Rear but much of the text refers to "flank" vs 'side."

      2. I see the use of Capability Test and Capability Checks. Perhaps less confusing to standardize?

      Thanks again,

    2. One more...
      How do you track the variable number of disorder minutes and relate to the variable game clock? I have a method but it may not be optimal...

  9. Hi Jonathan - dealing with the 'Tidy Ups' first.
    1. Thanks for the extra pair of eyes, I search the text and could not find the problem ....... then I saw the problem was with the diagram - thanks. As an aside page 17 (terms and references) under 'threatened flank' show flank and rear to be inter-changeable terms, but I think that rule is probably too tucked away there.

    2/ Doh - I thought I had dealt with that once before (obviously not as the problem is everywhere), will do a re-scan of the text and go to a singular use.

    Right, Capability testing for charge process - I am quite conscious that this design can feel a bit dice heavy, something that is exaggerated when playing solo, as you have to do both sides.

    I like your proposal, if only for the reason of reducing die rolls, though I will think about it a little before deciding as there would be some design fall-out and there would be some messiness to clear up.

    The current defensive fire process is kept simple by replicating the General Fire Process and if that produced a Heavy Casualty, then the charging unit would have to take a separate (from the charge) capability test under those procedures and if failing would retreat and be disorganised for 15 minutes and of course that would be the end of the charge. But IF the charger passed that 'receiving casualties from fire' test, another test (i.e. the charge test itself) is still needed to see whether a full or half hearted attack goes in, because we need another chance to fail the test to get that. All that has happened in this situation is that we have reversed the order of testing.

    I might of course be missing the point (it is very hot today:-) )

    Just as a design aside - I designed the sequence as is for a couple of reasons. I felt that Fresh or relatively fresh troops were important and that that should be highlighted by being more functional (i.e. more likely to pass tests). I felt that aggressive forward movement was more likely to be done / successful by troops who had not already been roughly handled. The double testing reinforces this by reducing the effects of single lucky rolls, so that players do not get rewarded for pushing forward with units that have 4 or more heavy casualties on the off chance that they will get through- once this level of mid range casualty is received, the use of such troops should be me more cautious and probably used defensively.

    The double rolling will tend to nullify the attacks of mauled units by increasing the chance of failure or at least reduced efficiency (half hearted attack) by rolling twice - even though extra rolling might be unwelcome.

    Let me know if I am missing the point and coming in to this from the wrong angle.

    I have just spotted some 'awkwardness', page 9 receiving a charge. Units attacked in the flank simply stand in the first paragraph and take a loss, while in the next paragraph stand a chance of defence firing with one die. I remember modding this second paragraph immediately before going to print, so it needs me to smooth that conflict out (I think I will be favouring the second paragraph, as flank charges bring a set of benefits and penalties anyway).

    1. Norm, your double CT for the attacker makes sense now. I had forgotten that a CT failure from fire would halt the charge with attacker taking a retreat one hex back.

      If one roll for the attacker going into Close Combat (after Receiving test) is to be considered, how about something like for Post Charge CT? That is,
      Pass - Charge goes in full effect
      Fail by 1 or 2 - Half Hearted Attack
      Fail by 3 or more - Fall back one hex in disorder for x mins.

  10. Yes, I think there is scope for change and to maintain nuance. Charges start to get interesting when the sides have started to accrue their heavy casualties and the early 'knock-about' is over.

    At around 3 to 4 to casualty markers there is still a temptation to fully exploit the unit, even though it has in fact gone beyond a 50 / 50 chance of doing anything, then suddenly that 5th casualty is there and the retreat phase comes into play, thing start to hurt, like a downward spiral has been put into perpetual motion and this is when a brigade can start to unravel.

    That crossing from mid position to a brigade losing position can happen quickly and in a bigger game, the side that has a brigade (or part of) in reserve to punch into a 'done in' brigade can swing the game and be difficult for the other side to recover from.

  11. Another clarification, please:

    You state,
    "Page 9 (important) paragraph 5 adds that units charged in the flank that pass a Capability Test that allows them to get off some defensive fire, will roll 1 fire die rather than the 4 dice if the target was in their front arc. The unit still maintains its facing with its flank exposed to the charge."

    If attacked from a flank, how does the defender have the attacker in its front arc for fire purposes?

  12. The intention of the rule is that the charge has taken the unit in the flank and that while the unit cannot turn to face the threat properly (I don't want the unit to be able to do that), some soldiers on that far flank being attacked will be able to turn (say a company worth of men) and the fire dice of 1 (rather than 4) is just meant to represent that.

    This is part of the 'awkwardness' that I mentioned yesterday, as the paragraph immediately above has a flanked unit being treated like limbered artillery and march column troops and since the next paragraph starts 'All other units' (i.e. not flanked units) and includes the flanked unit as you describe, then we are really left with that awkwardness that a flank unit should not be in BOTH of those paragraphs. The flank thing in the 5th paragraph was written at the last moment - I quite like the rule and would rather see a flanked unit there than being in paragraph 4.

    I think I am going to have to add a sentence that explains that since as you say, it seems to contradict a core principle of the game.

    cheers Norm.

    1. That is what I was thinking too. Even though the attack from the flank is not within firing arc, the defender out to be able to get off a small measure of defense. Perhaps drop "if the target was in their front arc" fragment. Without that qualifier, the remainder of the rule works.

      After having muddled through my first game, a re-reading of the rules, and our discussions here, I have cobbled together a QRS that will help reduce the errors made in my first game. Looking forward to giving Mill Creek another go.

  13. Thanks very much Jonathan, a fresh pair of eyes has been helpful. I will go back through this post and pick up the points raised to amend the rules (though not now, I have just awoken at 3.30 AM and it's too hot to sleep, so I would just make a hash of it :-) ). Am going to prime(hand brush) some Napoleonic French now instead.

  14. Jonathan, just going through the posts to change some rule wording, every word is prescious to keep formatting and preserve index etc.

    By the way, i just noticed I did not answer one of your question re how I manage the clock information. I just have very small pieces of paper that i keep partially under unit bases with info on, so if a unit has had a 15 minute disorder result, I would write something like 'Disorder > 1352', which means this unit is disordered until after 1352 hours. For casualty markers I use D6.

  15. Done, the only rule change is that. On page 9, paragraph 4 has been changed so that only limbered artillery and March mode units charged suffer an automatic heavy casualty. The term units attacked in the flank has been removed, because the following paragraph adequately deals with units that are attacked in the flank.

    i have gone with the term Capability Tests ... not checks and applied it universally. Elsewhere, wording has been tidied to improve emphasis as stated in the exchanges above. Also the diagram that shows unit perspective has been changed so that SIDE has been replaced with the word FLANK.

    1. All excellent steps, Norm! I am looking forward to giving the game another spin soon but first I have to prepare the Battle of Kolin this weekend's game.

      I think Thomas's OHW scenarios would fit well as a scenario base for your rules. Your thoughts?

  16. Yes, I have been re-enthused about the OHW scenarios due to a number of recent blog posts where they have been used as the basis of a game.

    I am presently isolating part of the McPherson Ridge scenario from my rules (just the actual crossing of the run as part of my 6 x 6 grid series) to see how the rules run with just 4 infantry and 1 artillery unit (on the confederate side), which comes in close to how a OHW force might be generated.

    1. After reading my first look at TF-ON on the blog and seeing the game set out during our Saturday Kolin refight, the guys are all very interested in giving your game a shot. We think it might prove a suitable fit into our semi-regular Friday Night at the Fights gaming sessions.

  17. That's nice. I hope it meets their expectations and gives a good game. I have just put a few more ACW onto the painting tray in an effort to clear the last of the blisters - they include Confederate cavalry ....hmmmm.


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