Black Powder Wars: Ratings and Numbers

Now it is time to put some numbers to the ratings in the previous article. I will also add a few special abilities for units such as cavalry.

We have already defined morale as having three general levels…Green, Seasoned and Veteran. Our troop quality levels are defined in three levels…Militia, Regular and Guard. So what does that all mean? In general, I will use the same rating system for both categories. 3 is the best. 4 is middling. 5 is the worst. These numbers represent the number needed or better on a single d6 in order to “pass”. The general breakdown is as follows:

Morale Grade

  • Green 5+
  • Seasoned 4+
  • Veteran 3+

The mechanic for a morale or rally check is to throw 1D6 and compare it to the rating. If the result is greater than or equal to the number, you pass the morale check. If it is a rally check, then if the number is equal or greater than by 2, you pass and the unit reforms/rallies. If the number is 3 or more greater, you pass with elan and the unit may reform/rallies AND operate normally that turn.

Morale checks work as follows:

  1. Roll a D6 and subtract the number of hits done during the combat phase.
  2. Add any situational modifiers for terrain and leadership.
  3. If the result is equal to or greater than the moral number, the unit passes.
  4. If the result is less than the morale number by 1 or 2, the unit is disordered. If the unit is already disordered, it routes.
  5. If the number is less than the morale number by 3 or more, the unit routes. If the unit is already disordered, the unit shatters and is removed from play.
  6. Routed units that rally are considered bloodied and incur a penalty of 1 to all morale and quality checks for the rest of the game. If they route again, they shatter and are removed from play.

Elite/Conscript status

If a unit is elite (Old Guard, Coldstream Guard etc) you rolls 2 dice for the unit for morale and accepts the best result.

If a unit is rated conscript you roll 2 dice for the unit for morale and accept the worst result. Conscript troops that route are shattered and removed from play.

Troop Quaility

  • Militia 5+
  • Regulars 4+
  • Guards 3+

Troop quality numbers represent the chance to cause a morale check on an enemy. Roll a D6 and subtract the troop quality number. If the number equals 0 or more, you cause a morale check and that number is the modifier for the morale check. Results from multiple units are cumulative. Roll each attack separately and add them up. If a morale check is already forced, then a 0 result will count as -1.

Who shoots first? The defender shoots first in several situations…

  • A defending unit that did not move in its previous turn shoots first
  • A unit defending against an attacker that started its charge more than a half move away shoots first
  • A unit that is defending against an attacker that did not have a line of sight to the target before it started its charge shoots first.


Cavalry may not shoot. However, cavalry enjoy certain melee advantages over infantry

  • Heavy Cavalry in good order enjoy a +1 to the quality roll when attacking infantry.
  • Cavalry get to roll 2 dice and take the best result when attacking disordered infantry

Lancers were a good anti-cavalry weapon.

  • Lancers in good order enjoy a +1 to the quality roll when attacking non-lancer cavalry.

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