A modification…or two…of 1 Hour Wargames.

TMP’r Ioannis and Kaptain Kobold have inspired me to tackle that which I don’t like about 1 Hour Wargames.  The initial idea comes directly from a post by Kaptain Kobold on TMP.  Let me explain.

What I don’t like

The rules as written have the following combat mechanics.  Each unit will roll either a D6-2, a D6 or a D6+2 and the result are hits to the enemy.  Each unit can take 15 hits.  as this is a large number, you almost certainly have to resort to using a roster and I DON’T like rosters!  Now for some quick analysis.    First, we can determine how long a unit will stick around before being destroyed by various attack dice (unit types).  A D6-2 (1.67) will take 9 turns to kill a unit.  A D6 (3.5) will take 5 turns to kill a unit.  A D6+2 (5.5) will take 3 turns to kill a unit.  This assumes each unit has 15 hits of course.

Enter Kaptain Kobold

TMP’r Kaptain Kobold came up with a interesting solution.  Instead of rolling a single die, he rolls 1, 2 or 3 dice which equate to the damage of D6-2, D6 and D6+2 respectively.  Instead of 15 hits, the units can take 5 hits.  Each die that comes up 4+ scored 1 hit on the target.  All other rules for doubling and halving damage apply.  1D6 (.5) will take 10 turns to kill a unit.  2D6 (1) will take 5 turns to kill a unit.  3D6 (1.5) will take 4 turns to kill a unit.  The low and high end units are off by a turn.  You can fix the high end simply by adding a 4th die.  Then you score 2 hits on the average and it will take 3 turns to kill off an enemy unit.  The low end can;t be easily fixed in this system.  The problem is that the NT system uses multiples of 3 instead of multiples of 2.  With that in mind, read on!

Multiples of 3

We can have each die hit on a 3+ instead of a 4+.  Each unit will take 6 hits.  With this you can match more closely the hit rates of the original rules.  Thus 1D6 (.67) will take 9 hits to kill a unit.  2D6 (1.33) will take 5 turns to kill a unit.  3D6 (2) will take 3 turns to kill a unit.  You can simply double or halve damage as necessary.  Round fractions up as per the rules.  It occurred to me that instead of halving the damage you could simply change the hit number to 5+ for half damage.  Double damage becomes more problematic though.  You are still doubling numbers…which is fine but perhaps slightly cumbersome.  If you like this system, you can simply use a single D6 per unit to track damage and still apply the rest of the rules as is.

More Chaos

What if, however, we use even smaller numbers we can make things pretty straight forward.  If you halve the hits and the probability to hit, you can gain similar results.  You will also gain a certain degree of chaos as the “grand slam” hits will be more likely.  So, a normal chance to hit is now 5+.  Each unit can take 3 hits.  So, 1D6 (.33) still kills a unit in 9 turns.  2D6 (.67) still kills a unit in 5 turns.  3D6 (1) kills a unit in 3 turns.  Now for the cleanup.  If the rules call for half damage, simply halve the probability to hit.  So half damage is the same amount of dice but hits are on a 6 only.  If the rules call for double damage, hits will occur on a 3+.  With this system, you only need two kinds of colored markers.  Yellow, for example, represents 1 hit and red represents 2 hits.  The third hit removes the unit of course.  This system will provide the greatest degree of uncertainty.

To Conclude

Any of the three mods will work just fine.  The original by Kaptain Kobold will do fine.  The rates are slightly off for weak and strong units but not overly so.  With the “Multiple of 3” system, you get all the rates the same but you end up with a slightly less straight forward system (some halving and doubling) for halving and doubling casualties.  This system will produce about the same amount of chaos as Kaptain Kobolds system.  Both are less deterministic than the original rules.  The “More Chaos” system is like the “Multiples of 3” system but adds a larger degree of chaos.  It also has the added benefit of less math as you just adjust the hit number based on the situation.

16 Responses to A modification…or two…of 1 Hour Wargames.

  1. I like the differing options you have provided. I like the More Chaos version, only because there are less hits to track, and easily tracked with markers.

  2. I also like the More Chaos version, but relying on colored markers may not be necessary: one could also use casualty markers, especially as a standard 6-unit army would never need more than 12 of them–probably fewer, in fact: the likelihood that all 6 units would have 2 hits at the same time is unlikely (probably extremely unlikely).

    Best regards,

    Chris J.

  3. John says:


    I really like your More Chaos option, simple and elegant.
    Just on equerry though; Double damage hits on 3+? I’m afraid I can’t do the maths, but wondered why not 4+, as halved only changed by 1 from 5+ to 6.


  4. acarhj says:

    Hi John,
    Consider, rolling a 5 or more is a 2 chances in 6. So it would follow if I were doubling, I would need a 4 chances in 6 or 2X 2/6. That is a 3+ chance to hit. A 4+ would be 50% greater chance to hit at only 3 chances in 6 chance.

    Hope that made sense.


  5. John says:

    Ta acarhj.

  6. I have just come across this piece, and it’s fascinating to see an analysis of the numbers. Thank you for the nod as well.

    In my basic mechanism you say that the doubling and halving remains the same. Actually it doesn’t. In my 1,2 and 3 dice system with 5 hits, I double the dice rolled for any advantage where NT doubles the hits. For anything which halves the results I apply a 4+ save on the hits instead. Obviously this does fiddle with the odds compared to the original rules; it’s possible for a unit in cover to take full hits as if the cover wasn’t there, for example, but conversely it’s possible for it to take a big hit and receive no damage. Essentially there’s more chaos, which I like.

    The downside of my mechanism is a lack of granularity. In a GNW set I produced I dealt with this by simply doubling the number of dice rolled (2, 4 and 6) and increasing hits to 10. This allowed me to do the equivalent of 1D6-1 and 1D6+1 in the NT rules, and worked fine for what I was trying to achieve. I have used a different approach in the ECW rules I’ve been playing with for the past year, trying to boil everything down to adjusted rolls of 2D6 only, but in this case I’m straying well away from the original NT setup.

    I like your Multiples of 3 system; the inability to halve my 4+ roll was an annoyance to me, as it meant I had to have the separae save roll. Your system factors it into the main roll very nicely. I may try it sometime – 3+ to hit as the basic, 5+ if one save applies and 6+ if two apply.

  7. acarhj says:

    It all came from your marvelous idea Kaptain! I think the biggest weakness of NTs original OHW rules was that the end game was too predictable. When a unit was down to the last hit, it could not withstand another attack from most units. So there would be no heroic stand of the decimated unit. I prefer the “more chaos” system because it has a huge degree of unpredictability built into the system. But any of the three systems outlined work just fine. Different tastes really.

  8. nobby531 says:

    Found this post yesterday and started using the ‘More Chaos’ idea.

    I play solo and use the Chance Cards that NT writes about on p.130.
    I’ve just drawn a 13 which means that 1-3 units remove 1-3 hit points. My particular army has one unit with a yellow marker for one hit out of 3 allowed. How do I interpret the Chance Card to reflect a 1-3 hits out of 15, please?
    Sorry to ask but I am new to wargaming although I have already found that I don’t like rosters!

  9. acarhj says:

    Hi Nobby,
    Good question. I suppose the straight forward way would be to simply cause 1 hit instead of 1-3 hits. Technically, on the average, you are causing .4 hits. If you want, you could roll a die instead and on a 4-6 (not exact odds but close!) a hit is caused. Personally, I’d just go with the automatic single hit.

    On a side note, you can also add the same number of blank cards that you have chance cards. That way, about half the turns, nothing good/bad will happen.

    Hope that helped.

  10. nobby531 says:

    Thanks John
    I admit that the maths leaves me flummoxed but I am happy to take your word for it. :0)
    Re. the blank cards at the moment each army has its own set of chance cards.
    5 of the 15 chance cards have no effect on either army, 5 affect the army negatively and 5 positively.

    Are you suggesting adding 5 more no effect cards? I’d be happy to do that if only because 20 cards are easier to shuffle than 15!

  11. acarhj says:

    No effect for 5 cards? I did not remember that. I only looked them over but have never used them myself. If there are 5 “no effect”, that’s fine. You may wish to add a few more so that sometimes not all the effect cards are used in a game. Keeps the card counting player honest. 😉

  12. nobby531 says:

    I’d not thought of card counting although playing myself and the AI I suspect my dishonest cheating evens out :0)
    Thanks for your help.

  13. Tony says:

    Hello John. Just a FYI. I’ve been using your OHW Chaos version of dicing in a few games recently. I really like like it. Like the “uncertainty” factor and the way it is easy to keep track of hits.

  14. Andrés F. says:

    Hi John. Your OHW “More Chaos” modification is nice and removes the only fiddly bit from the rules.

    One question though, could you explain the probability analysis in all versions: original, Kobold and yours? If it’s not too much to ask? It’s been years since I took a class on probabilities, and I don’t follow your numbers. Thanks 🙂

  15. acarhj says:

    Hi Andres,
    Each method uses the chance to hit as a fraction of a hit. Thus, if you need a 4+ to hit that is 50% or a half hit per die. Thus 2 dice would be 1 hit per turn and 3 dice would be 1.5 hits per turn… and so on.

    The only strange bit is for more chaos. Any double damage simply doubles the likelihood of scoring a hit. So, if you need a 5+ to hit, that equates to a 2 in 6 chance to hit. If you get to do double damage, the chance to hit would be 4 in 6. That equates to a 3,4,5 or 6. (ie 3+).

    Hope that helps and sorry for the delay!


  16. This article and discussion is a balm for my gamer’s soul, thanks to everybody.

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