Monday, June 5, 2023

One Hour Wargames: Machine-Age Modifications

Recently completed Italians - two of the bombers were already done, but the rest were added.

For the last couple of weeks, I've been play-testing various rules - homemade, modified, etc. for WWI on the Italian Front for larger level battles (where a base is something like one to two companies or a battalion). In the end, the most satisfying set of rules - not too fiddly, easy to remember, fast to play but not too fast, etc - has been the Machine-Age rules from One Hour Wargames - albeit with several modifications.

Some of these are my original ideas (or at least as far as I can recall), some are modifications borrowed from other sources - like Hordes in the Trenches, Trench Hammer, and "Rules for WWI Land Battles in 6mm" from The Games of War: A Treasury of Rules for Battles with Toy Soldiers, Ships and Planes.

Here are the mods I've tried and will keep:


  • Infantry: range 12" half-damage beyond 6"
  • Heavy Infantry: range 18" (to reflect the longer range of the attached MGs), half-damage beyond 9"
  • Field Guns: range 24". Actual range would be longer, but since they are direct fire, they have to have line of sight, which on my table, I limit to 24"
  • Assault Troops: range 6", half-damage beyond 3" 
  • Mounted cavalry : N/A

Assault Troops:

  • +2 in Close Combat
  • 9" movement. 
  • When in open ground, count as in cover (to account for the dispersed order compared to regular rifle units) 

Close Combat:

  • Ignore cover damage reduction except BUA. 
  • Double-damage from flank..
  • Target destroyed if from rear.
  • If the defender is not destroyed, units remain in contact.
  • If defender destroyed, Assault Troops automatically advance to take their position, regular units do not. If results in new contact, Assault Troops may engage new target.
  • Units may voluntarily withdraw from close combat, but take 1d3 damage doing so.


  • Provide cover for direct fire only.
  • Units must stop before crossing a trench.
  • No shooting along the length of a trench.
  • Units in a trench can see and shoot 360 degrees. 
  • Opposing units in same trench may engage in close combat but 1/2 damage due to narrow front and twists and turns of the trench.
  • Mounted cavalry may not enter a trench but may cross it.

Field guns:

  • May move until fired. At that point the gun may only pivot on it's center point.

Mounted Cavalry:

  • As cavalry from Rifle and Sabre rules.

On-call Off-table Artillery:<needs more testing>

  • May fire on an enemy unit greater than 1 move from friendly troops and within 24"of those troops. 
  • Limited to 8 uses.

Prepared Fire Off-Table Artillery :<needs more testing>

  • May fire on any spot on the table as designated prior to the game - including specified turns. 
  • All units within 3" of spot are hit. 
  • Limited to 8 turns maximum. 


This is based on my understanding of how it works in Hordes of the Things. I have no idea if it's accurate but I do like it.

  • Roll 1d6.
  • Number of pips is number of units that may activate.
  • An activated commander may issue commands (activate) to units within 1 move at no additional cost, but no unit may activate more than once per turn.

Commanders:<needs more testing> 

I really want commanders to have something to do that feels command-like, but not engage in combat directly themselves.

  • 9" movement
  • When activated, may either: 
    • Move (and attach to a friendly unit if makes contact) OR 
    • Issue orders to all units within 6"  (Move/CC or Shoot, does not need to be the same for each unit) OR
    • Rally a unit in base to base contact. Must start turn in contact.
      • Rally: roll 1d6 and unit regains that many hit points.
  • If the Commander issues orders to other units or rallies a unit,  roll 1d6. 
    • On a 1, an enemy sniper has managed to kill the commander. (this is taken from Trench Hammer).
  • A commander in base-to-base contact with a friendly unit may activate with the unit at no additional cost but must stay with that unit for this turn. Commander gives that unit a +1 bonus for shooting/CC. Commander suffers the fate of that unit if it is reduced to 0 hp while the commander is in contact.

Also of note, I used between 6-10 units per side, rather than just 6 per One Hour Wargames.

One thing missing from the above, that I want to incorporate to better capture the flavor of assault units, is a method for creeping barrages. I've tried a few options that I didn't like, but the following is next on my list and I think it has promise:  

Creeping Barrage - <not tested>

  • To place barrage requires spending one activation and then roll 1d6  On a 6, place a marker at the desired point.
  • Moves 6" automatically move marker forward each turn thereafter at no Activation cost. [Perhaps with a deviation based on the year? Earlier attempts would out pace the  assault troops, later attempts would move more consistently]
  • All units within 3" of marker are hit  

It could hardly be WWI without barbed wire or canvas eagles, but I haven't settled on anything yet for either.

Barbed Wire:

I have some ideas but not yet tested.

Air Support:



  1. Your Italian WWI army just keeps getting bigger and better John! They look great!

    1. Thanks, Brad! I am trying to refrain from any more toy soldier purchases for the remainder of this year and work through the backlog. I'm working on the few Austrian figures I have left, and then on to making some more lancieri.

  2. All sounds good to me.

    FYI only, You have the original DBA/HOTT activation partly right. Instead of a pip to move 1 unit, its a pip per group of 1 or more units, lined up and touching. When using the idea I modify that to a unit or a group of units with a commander attached. (Groups moving on a pop have to stay a group).

    1. Thanks, Ross! I like the sound of both the DBA/HoTT method and your modification. I'll have to play around with those.