Terrain Reconnaissance and Modeling Example

As the red dragon winged across a starry sky toward the citadel, Arkthark marched the goblinoid horde toward the northwest edge of the Ellriendi Forest. The Elding Regiment North Battalion awaited him.

Using the method outlined in Terrain Reconnaissance, the elven commander drew and placed four terrain cards—based on the difference in the contact dice—on the table in her first turn. Along with a few lucky draws afterward,1 she blocked Arkthark behind obstacles.

The hobgoblin commander had little choice. His orders were to push into the forest before dawn, when the human armies would take up the advance. The orders came from Hadewych the Arbiter, who worked for Anax Archontas. The red dragon brooked no excuse for failure.

Terrain Reconnaissance
Terrain Reconnaissance.

In addition to unfavorable terrain, a two with no modifiers on the contact dice made Arkthark only aware of an elven force before him. He had no idea of its size or composition. The engagement would be fought in the 14th hour of the day, around eight o’clock in the evening. All that is determined from one opposed dice roll. See “Map Contact.”

Modeled Terrain
Modeled Terrain.
Replacing the cards with hand-crafted models gave us the terrain upon which the battle took place.

Hills are cardboard cutouts. Two layers indicate a ten-foot height, which slows movement over one inch per layer going up and obstructs lines of sight through the top layer.

The gully is shown by two strips of cardboard either side it. A gully is considered to be around six feet deep, hiding creatures moving along its length. To cross the width of a gully, a unit must halt on the near side and spend half its move rate to descend into the gully and, if it doesn’t move along it, another half to scramble up the other side.

Woods, clipped from kitchen sponges, are traversed by paths, which are considered wooded for purposes of movement, cover, and concealment, as is a one-inch border surrounding them.

Pebbles simulate a patch of rough ground.

River, pond, and marsh are scissored from cloth rags. The small pebbles lining the water are not rough ground. They only look nice and help to weigh down the cloth in case of a strong wind that blows through the apartment to keep a summertime wargamer cool.

Note the river (which I take for a stream) runs into but not out of the marsh. I suspect subterranean tunnels in the area—perhaps a dungeon.


1 I’m still experimenting with playing the whole deck of terrain cards. On my square table, two-thirds the scale size of a regular wargames table, the terrain appears crowded. I might reduce the number of terrain cards proportionally for future battles.

Ellriendi Elves

The river Grunnthraesir divides the Ellriendi Forest into two halves: the Groennendr (east) and the Elding (west).

The elves must protect the forest, maintaining a perimeter guard at all times.

The Elf King may lead a contingent outside the forest in extreme circumstances—say, to fight in a climactic battle against Chaos.

The Elf Queen’s Court does not move. The Elf Queen and the Court defend the Groennendr’s center hex, where they guard a secret, with their lives.

On the strategic map, the three Elf Regiments are divided into two battalions, 17 elves each, identified by their regiments and the “North” or “South” designator.

The Elding Regiment North Defends the Forest Against a Regiment of Arkthark’s Goblin Horde
The Elding Regiment North Battalion (foreground) Defends the Forest Against a Regiment of Arkthark’s Goblin Horde.
Arkthark’s regiment consists of goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears augmented by an ogre and three flyers—wyvern, griffon, and hippogrif (roc types). The elves are led by an elf-hero-wizard accompanied by two elf-wizards.

Elf Strengths

  • Many Heroes and Super-heroes.
  • Many Wizards.
  • Many enchanted items.

Elf Weaknesses

  • Must remain within the forest.
  • Few fantasy creatures.
  • No mercenaries.

Orders of Battle: Ellriendi Elves

See General Notes on the Tables in “Chaos Armies.”

Elf Queen’s Court Budget 450
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
(Elf-Hero-Wizard) 120 1 1   120
Elf-Heroes 20 3 0   0
Elf-Wizards 80 3 0   0
Elf-Hero-Wizards 100 3 3   300
Treant* 15 1 0   0
Enchanted Arrows 10 21 0   0
Magic Swords 10 7 2   20
Magic Armor 10 7 1   10
Total   49 4   450
* May be replaced one per week.
Elf King’s Company Budget 400
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
(Elf-Wizard) 100 1 1   100
Elf-Heroes 20 3 2   40
Elf-Wizards 80 3 2   160
Elf-Hero-Wizards 100 0 0   0
Treant* 15 1 0   0
Enchanted Arrows 10 9 3   30
Magic Swords 10 3 2   20
Magic Armor 10 3 2   20
Subtotal   8 5   370
Typical Regiment Army
Elves 4 34 5 20 20
Sprites 4 4 0 0 0
Subtotal   38 5 20 20
Total   46 10   390
* May be replaced one per week.
Groennendr Regiment Budget 600
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
(Elf-Hero-Wizard) 100 1 1   100
Elf-Heroes 20 3 0   0
Elf-Wizards 80 2 2   160
Elf-Hero-Wizards 100 1 1   100
Enchanted Arrows 10 15 0   0
Magic Swords 10 5 2   20
Magic Armor 10 5 2   20
Subtotal   7 4   400
Typical Regiment Army
Elves 4 34 34 136 136
Sprites 4 4 4 16 16
Subtotal   38 38 152 152
Total   45 42   552
Grunnthraesir Regiment Budget 400
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
(Elf-Hero) 20 1 1   20
Elf-Heroes 20 3 2   40
Elf-Wizards 80 2 1   80
Elf-Hero-Wizards 100 1 0   0
Enchanted Arrows 10 15 3   30
Magic Swords 10 5 3   30
Magic Armor 10 5 2   20
Subtotal   7 4   220
Typical Regiment Army
Elves 4 34 34 136 136
Sprites 4 4 4 16 16
Subtotal   38 38 152 152
Total   45 42   372
Elding Regiment Budget 550
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
(Elf-Hero-Wizard) 100 1 1   100
Elf-Heroes 20 3 1   20
Elf-Wizards 80 2 2   160
Elf-Hero-Wizards 100 1 0   0
Enchanted Arrows 10 15 0   0
Magic Swords 10 5 2   20
Magic Armor 10 5 2   20
Subtotal   7 4   320
Typical Regiment Army
Elves 4 34 34 136 136
Sprites 4 4 4 16 16
Subtotal   38 38 152 152
Total   45 42   472

Chaos Armies

Anax Archontas is the prime mover of the Chaos Armies. He appointed Hadewych the Arbiter Commander General of the Chaos Armies. With her, Archontas plans the campaign and, to her, delegates all operations. Solon Theros is Lieutenant Commander General.

Hadewych Marches Into Throrgrmir
Hadewych’s Army Marches Into Throrgrmir.
Anax Archontas watches from his lair atop the donjon. Hadewych the Arbiter, Commander General of the Chaos Armies, mounts the entry stair to the Throrgrmir Citadel. The door is open to her. The dragon’s champions follow.

Chaos Strengths

  • Most total points.
  • Access to most fantasy creatures.

Chaos Weaknesses

  • Few Hero and Super-hero types.
  • Few Wizards.
  • Few enchanted items.

General Notes on the Tables

Army Points: Budget, allowance, and figure cost are counted in army points, often referred to as points.

Budget, Total, and Remainder: An army’s initial budget is in the upper right of its table, its initial total, lower right. Any remainder is added to the first month’s allowance.

Monthly Allowance: At the beginning of each month, an army gains an allowance equal to 10% of its initial budget. This allowance (not shown), plus any remainder from the previous month, may be spent on “Specials,” which include fantastic creatures and mercenaries.

Available: Maximum number of the figure type (or enchanted item) that the army may have at any time. Losses can be replaced by spending points.

Command Element: Includes the commander and any figures which march with him or her.

Typical Regiment: Starting composition of one regiment within the army. Each army consists of one or more regiments, noted in the table header with the army name.

Regiment or Command Element: Note that adding a number of figures to a typical regiment adds to an army as many times the number as the army has regiments. To add a number independent of the number of regiments, add figures to the command element.

Wizards: Unless its power is predetermined, a Wizard costs 80 points. Dice for its number of spells.

Enchanted Items: Magic swords and armor and enchanted arrows cannot be replaced. When its wearer or wielder does not survive, the victor, assuming the vanquished is pushed from the field, may find enchanted items. An enemy victor finds the dropped item on a 1 or 2 on the dice. A friendly recovers it on a 1 to 4. Otherwise, the item is lost for future generations to discover. Available and current figure counts do not include enchanted items.

Peasants: Chaos Armies pull peasants from the fields to fight as they may.

Undefined Creature Types: I threw in a few creatures that are not in Chainmail. I cross reference the miniatures rules and B/X to divine game stats for them. I mean “divine,” like finding water with a stick.

Orders of Battle: Chaos Armies

Anax Archontas (Dragon) Budget 200
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
Anax Archontas Pyrgos Pyrkagias (Red Dragon) 100 1 1   100
Champions of Chaos* 100 1 1   100
Heroes* 0 6 6   0
Wizards 80 1 0   0
Enchanted Arrows 10 0 0   0
Magic Swords 10 0 0   0
Magic Armor 10 0 0   0
Total   9 8   200
* For 100 points Anax Archontas got 6 heroes in Champions of Chaos. These he may use as a personal guard or attach to the command element of an army or whatever else the cunning wyrm might devise.
Hadewych — 5 Regiments Budget 480
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
Hadewych the Arbiter (Super-hero) 50 1 1   50
Wizards 80 1 0   0
Enchanted Arrows 10 0 0   0
Magic Swords 10 1 1   10
Magic Armor 10 1 1   10
Subtotal   2 1   70
Typical Regiment Army
Peasants 0.5 6 6 3 15
Armored Foot 2.5 18 18 45 225
Longbows 4 8 8 32 160
War Apes† 5 4 0 0 0
Subtotal   36 32 80 400
Total   39 35   470
† Creature type not defined in Chainmail.
Solon Theros — 2 Regiments Budget 120
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
Solon Theros (Super-hero) 50 1 1   50
Enchanted Arrows 10 0 0   0
Magic Swords 10 1 1   10
Magic Armor 10 0 0   0
Subtotal   1 1   60
Typical Regiment Army
Peasants 0.5 6 6 3 6
Light Foot 1 5 5 5 10
Heavy Foot 2 4 4 8 16
Archers 3 8 4 12 24
Subtotal   23 19 28 56
Total   25 21   116
Annemie Tacx — 3 Regiments Budget 330
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
Annemie Tacx (Hero) 20 1 1   20
Wizards 80 1 1   80
Enchanted Arrows 10 0 0   0
Magic Swords 10 0 0   0
Magic Armor 10 0 0   0
Subtotal   2 2   100
Typical Regiment Army
Peasants 0.5 6 6 3 9
Light Foot 1 5 5 5 15
Heavy Foot 2 4 4 8 24
Armored Foot 2.5 8 8 20 60
Longbows 4 8 8 32 96
Subtotal   31 31 68 204
Total   32 32   304
Minke Meine — 3 Regiments Budget 300
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
Minke Meine (Hero) 20 1 1   20
Wizards 80 1 1   80
Enchanted Arrows 10 0 0   0
Magic Swords 10 0 0   0
Magic Armor 10 0 0   0
Subtotal   2 2   100
Typical Regiment Army
Peasants 0.5 6 6 3 9
Light Foot 1 5 5 5 15
Heavy Foot 2 4 4 8 24
Armored Foot 2.5 8 8 20 60
Archers 3 8 8 24 72
Subtotal   31 31 60 180
Total   32 32   280
Arkthark (Goblin Horde) — 4 Regiments Budget 700
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
Arkthark (Hobgoblin-Hero) 20 1 1   20
Dire Wolves† 5 2 2   10
Goblin Worg Riders† 6 1 1   6
Giant Wolves† 15 2 1   15
Giant Stag Beetle† 10 1 1   10
Enchanted Arrows 10 0 0   0
Magic Swords 10 0 0   0
Magic Armor 10 0 0   0
Subtotal   7 6   61
Typical Regiment Army
Goblins 1.5 14 14 21 84
Goblin Bows‡ 4.5 4 4 18 72
Hobgoblins 2.5 22 22 55 220
Hobgoblin Bows‡ 5.5 4 4 22 88
Bugbears† 3 12 12 36 144
Subtotal   56 56 152 608
Total   63 62   669
† Creature type not defined in Chainmail.
‡ Range 15″.
(Kobolds) — 2 Regiments Budget 80
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
Leader (2 Men)**† 10 1 1   10
Enchanted Arrows 10 0 0   0
Magic Swords 10 0 0   0
Magic Armor 10 0 0   0
Subtotal   1 1   10
Typical Regiment Army
Kobolds 1.5 7 7 10.5 21
Kobold Bows‡ 4.5 4 4 18 36
Giant Centipedes† 1 4 4 4 8
Subtotal   15 15 32.5 65
Total   16 16   75
** Fights as 2 of its class.
† Creature type not defined in Chainmail.
‡ Range 15″.
Oberon (Orcs) — 3 Regiments Budget 320
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
Oberon (Orc-Hero) 20 1 1   20
Orc Wardrummers† 10 1 1   10
Orc Rhino Riders† 20 1 1   20
Orc Archers*‡ 5 1 0   0
Ogres 15 2 2   30
True Trolls 75 1 1   75
Enchanted Arrows 10 0 0   0
Magic Swords 10 0 0   0
Magic Armor 10 0 0   0
Subtotal   7 6   155
Typical Regiment Army
Orcs 2 27 27 54 162
Subtotal   27 27 54 162
Total   34 33   317
* A single orc archer may be useful in man-to-man engagements.
† Creature type not defined in Chainmail.
‡ Range 15″.
The Laugher (Gnolls) — 2 Regiments Budget 180
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
The Laugher (3 Men)**† 15 1 1   15
Enchanted Arrows 10 0 0   0
Magic Swords 10 0 0   0
Magic Armor 10 0 0   0
Subtotal   1 1   15
Typical Regiment Army
Gnolls† 2.5 21 21 52.5 105
Gnoll Archers†‡ 5.5 4 4 22 44
Subtotal   25 25 74.5 149
Total   26 26   164
** Fights as 3 of its class.
† Creature type not defined in Chainmail.
‡ Range 15″.
(Lizard Men) — 2 Regiments Budget 90
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
Leader (2 Men)**† 10 1 1   10
Enchanted Arrows 10 0 0   0
Magic Swords 10 0 0   0
Magic Armor 10 0 0   0
Subtotal   1 1   10
Typical Regiment Army
Lizard Men† 2.5 9 9 22.5 45
Subtotal   9 9 22.5 45
Total   10 10   55
** Fights as 2 of its class.
† Creature type not defined in Chainmail.


Valormr: Rules for Strategic Map Campaigns

When I set out, at the beginning of the summer, to describe strategic-level play in the Valormr Campaign, I hadn’t the idea to write a set of rules. Tony Bath’s prose is completely coherent, and the rules he outlines in Setting Up a Wargames Campaign entirely playable as is. But much of Bath’s text discusses options and different ways the author ran the game, and the rules are more complex in some ways than I want for a simple campaign and don’t do enough in others.

So, I drew many ideas from the venerated text and adapted them to fit my own purposes. This, we might think, was Bath’s intent.

These strategic rules touch the tactical battlefield only at its entry and exit points: deployment and withdraw. I use Chainmail, but another wargames campaigner may use their choice of tactical combat rules. And while the Valormr Campaign is medieval fantasy, the strategic rules may be used in any ancient or medieval setting, fantasy or no.

These rules have not yet been tested in play. I embark, tomorrow, on a campaign that begins with a dragon’s predawn raid on a dwarven citadel and the encroachment of the Chaos Armies into an elven forest. With less than three weeks till summer’s end, this will be more a play-through than a play-test.

Valormr: Rules for Strategic Map Campaigns

For convenience I link the pertinent articles that comprise the rules. Entries marked by an asterisk (*) are not so much rules for the topic as examples from which to draw your own ideas.

Valormr Strategic Map (100 dpi)
The Valormr Campaign Strategic Movement Map, Showing Eastern Darkmeer, the Throrgrmir Valley, and Lands Beyond.
Available in higher resolutions from the Downloads page.

Valormr Orders of Battle

In a wargame, one normally begins with a number of army points, with which to buy figures, respecting general proportions defined by the historical or fantastical context. In a campaign, the points are allotted for the duration, augmented by a small periodic point budget. Forces must be husbanded across the campaign’s several battles.

For the Valormr Campaign, I turned the process around. I sorted through my collection for all troop types and any creature types described in Chainmail. To those I added a couple others but kept additions to a minimum, knowing I would have to assign game stats to them.

With a few human armies on both sides, I foresee the need for up to four human regiments on the table for the climactic battle at least. The size of human regiments is based on the number of troop types I could recruit from the collection divided by four. All the humanoid troops are pressed into service.

Prepared for Inspection
Prepared for Inspection.
Orders of battle may vary depending on your own collection of miniature figurines.

According to the scenario, Anax Archontas raises the Chaos Armies at his leisure. It’s the dragon’s raid on the dwarven citadel that spurs the Forces of Law to muster troops. I separate out the Ellriendi Elves because, though they fight against the Chaos Armies, their priority is the protection of the forest and the secret they guard within.

Therefore, I want Chaos to have point-value superiority over Law, with the Elves somewhere between. I loaded the whole lot of figures into an electronic spreadsheet and counted them up by point value. I then adjusted up or down by adding regiments to armies.

Chaos enjoys the use of the majority of fantastic creatures in the “General Line-Up” (39). These are opposed by Law with heroes and wizards, of which Chaos has few.

The Chaos Armies are named after their commanders. The Elf King and Queen each maintain a royal force. Elf regiments take their names from their region. The province of origin lends its name to the armies of the Forces of Law.

Summary of Orders of Battle
Army Points
Anax Archontas (Dragon) 200
Hadewych 480
Solon Theros 120
Annemie Tacx 330
Minke Meine 300
Arkthark (Goblin Horde) 700
(Kobolds) 80
Oberon (Orcs) 320
The Laugher (Gnolls) 180
(Lizard Men) 90
Total 2800
Elf Queen’s Court 450
Elf King’s Company 400
Groennendr Regiment 600
Grunnthraesir Regiment 400
Elding Regiment 550
Total 2200
Throrgrmir (Dwarves) 400
Aeskrvald 450
Grallune 400
Lanze 200
Gyrhawk 200
The Heagh (Highlanders) 60
Noerdenheim (Northmen) 80
Arbenshire (Halfolk) 150
Eglidain Burrows (Gnomes) 60
Total 2000

Reading Map

Detailed orders of battle are forthcoming.


“All these rules can lead to some interesting and unusual battles and will make a change from the stereotyped affairs of both forces deploying on the baseline” (Bath, 84).

In the strategic rules, we endeavor to limit interference with tactical play. We do impinge on the wargames table, however, in the deployment phase, notably, in the drawing of baselines and, further, in a measured force deployment in the opening turns of battle.

In the citation above, Bath refers to an ingenious matchbox system for strategic as well as tactical maneuver and an engaging scouts mini-game to simulate intelligence gathering. In the Valormr Campaign, we incorporate scouts into the contact dice and forgo the matchbox array for overt moves on the hexagon map. To achieve variation in deployment, we combine orders of march with opposing dice throws. The results range from alert forces deploying on opposite ends of the battlefield to careless leading units marching straight into the opponent’s fields of fire.

Contact and Deployment

“Deployment” is the sixth of six parts of “Contact and Deployment” in the Valormr Campaign.

Baselines on the Wargames Table

Instead of one baseline for each side at opposite edges of the wargames table, we’re going to mark six. We make a calculation to determine each side’s forward baseline, then mark additional baselines at even intervals to the rear baseline.

Calculate Forward Baselines

There are two input values for this calculation. The first is the width or length of your wargames table (T), depending on which way forces face off across the battlefield. Here, I use width. The second is the maximum range of a short bow scaled to inches (R) according to your tactical wargames rules. Subtract the short bow range from the table width and divide by two.

Bf = (TR) ÷ 2

The result is the distance from either edge of the table toward the middle, where the forward baselines (Bf) are marked. Between the two forward baselines is maximum short bow range.

Calculate Baseline Intervals

Now, take the distance from either edge of the table to the forward baselines (Bf), divide it by seven and round to the nearest half.

Bi = Bf ÷ 7, round to nearest ½

The result is the interval between baselines (Bi). We divide by seven instead of six because we want twice the distance behind the rear baseline.

Marking Baselines

From both edges of the table, measure Bf and mark the forward baselines.
From each forward baseline back toward the edge, mark five more baselines at the interval Bi. The sixth baselines, closest to the table edges, are the rear baselines. Number the baselines on both sides from 1 to 6, forward to rear, and again from 1 to 6, from rear forward.

Baselines on the Wargames Table
Baselines on the Wargames Table.

Minimum Distance Behind Rear Baseline

This calculation works on tables at least 28½″ wide. For widths from 32″ to 35″ inclusive, the calculation leaves less than twice the interval behind the rear baseline. That might not be enough, since it isn’t uncommon that a regiment deploys in this space. If your table falls in this range, make the calculation for the forward baselines as above, but for the interval between baselines, use 1¾″, which leaves more room behind the rear baseline.

Precalculated Intervals by Table Length

The following table shows the baseline interval by table width or length. The calculations are based on a short bow range of 150 yards at a scale of 20 yards to the inch. All values are in inches.

Precalculated Intervals by Table Length
Table Width or Length (T) Interval (Bi)
28.5 to 31.5 1.5
32 to 35 1.75
35.5 to 38.5 2
39 to 45.5 2.5
46 to 52.5 3
53 to 59.5 3.5
60 to 66.5 4
67+* 4.5
* A wargames table 67″ or longer might use a 1:10, inch to yards, ground scale.

 Deployment Dice

To start the deployment phase, all commanders roll a dice. The results determine which player has deployment initiative, each commander’s baseline, and to what extent—beyond that of the base deployment—the commander may deploy forces prior to the first tactical turn. Two of the modifiers account for high or low dice throws from the contact phase. Modifiers cannot raise the score higher than 6 or lower it to less than 1.

Deployment Dice Modifiers
Criteria Modifier
Highest unmodified contact dice +1
Scored a 1 or less on modified contact dice −1
Maneuver +1
All opponents in clear terrain +1
All opponents in mountain terrain −1

Deployment Initiative

The commander with the higher score has deployment initiative throughout initial and subsequent deployment. In case of a tie, the commander with the higher unmodified score wins the initiative. Still a tie, dice for it.

Deployment Baseline

Each commander deploys behind the numbered baseline that matches the modified deployment dice. The direction of count depends on the deployment dice.

  • The commander with the highest score counts baselines from the rear baseline forward.
  • Lower-scoring commanders count baselines from the forward baseline to the rear.
  • In case of a tie for highest, all commanders count baselines from the forward baseline to the rear. That is, on a tie of 1s, the forces stumble upon one another at their forward baselines; a tie of 6s, they each halt at their rear baselines.

Three or More Forces on the Battlefield: In the case where more than two forces are in map contact and the engagements are not split into separate battles, the numerous forces are deployed according to their arrangement on the strategic map. Following the story from “Avoid, Delay, Evade, and Withdraw,” the photo below shows Hadewych opposite Ingegerd and Aeskrvald, who, on the strategic map, occupy the hexes to her fore and to her left forward flank.

Deployment Dice
Deployment Dice.

Scoring high on the contact dice (left), Hadewych (top) managed to find more suitable terrain (not shown). To her deployment dice of 2, she adds 1 for the highest contact dice and another for all opponents in clear terrain, deploying on the fourth baseline counting from forward. With a roll of 5 plus 1 for her opponent in clear terrain, Ingegerd (lower left) deploys on her forward baseline. Aeskrvald threw a 4 and has the same plus 1 for terrain, so he deploys on the fifth baseline, counting from forward to rear.

Initial Deployment

Each commander has a base deployment derived from the tactical march formation. To determine his or her initial deployment, the commander adds the base deployment and a number of units equal to the turn deployment—also derived from the march formation (see Summary table below)—multiplied by the difference in the deployment dice.

When more than two forces are on the field, each commander subtracts the lowest deployment dice from his or her own dice to determine the multiplier.

Initial deployment precedes the first turn of the battle. It is conducted in two rounds. The order of the first round is from highest deployment dice to lowest. In the second round, from lowest to highest. In the first round, each commander may deploy any portion, or none at all, of his or her initial deployment. On the second round, commanders must deploy the balance of their initial deployment.

The intent is to allow commanders with higher deployment dice scores to influence the deployment in the first round, while enabling them to observe the full deployment of lower scorers before deploying their remaining forces in the second.

Summary of Orders of March and Deployment Schedules by Terrain
Terrain Tactical March Formation* Deployment Schedule
    Base Turn
or Track
Column of figures
(2 × 20 troops)
One company Two companies
Road Column of figures
(4 × 10 troops)
Three companies Four companies
or Hill
Column of companies One battalion One battalion
Clear Column of battalions One regiment One regiment
* Tactical march formations are fully explained in “Orders of March.”
Base Deployment:
Based on the tactical march formation. A number of units that are deployed on enemy contact.
Turn Deployment: Also determined by the tactical march formation. A number of units that may be deployed at the beginning of the second and subsequent turns of the battle until the regiment is fully deployed.
Initial Deployment: A number of units equal to base deployment plus turn deployment multiplied by the difference in the contact dice. Deployed prior to the first turn of battle.

Subsequent Deployment

The initial deployment completed, the first turn of battle takes place. The commanders deploy a number of units equal to their turn deployment in a deployment round before the second turn of battle. The order of deployment in these subsequent deployment rounds is from lowest to highest deployment dice. The deployment round takes places before each turn until all commanders have deployed their full forces.

Advanced: March Table

“Here, at the outset, only the leading elements of both armies will be present on the field; the rest will arrive at measured intervals, dependent on march tables” (Bath, 74).

A march table is a schedule of movement showing a unit’s location at specific times along a planned route.1 I take Bath’s usage to imply an abbreviated table, showing only units in an order of march. In the simple campaign, our march tables show only regiments. We assume the commander has sufficient foresight to order companies within the march formation in the way best suited for tactical deployment, so the player chooses in the battle’s opening turns which units to deploy next. In an advanced game, the commander might create a march table, showing each company, prior to marching, thereby determining the order in which units are deployed, turn by turn, on the battlefield.


1 British Military Terminology (PDF), Military Intelligence Service, Washington: U. S. War Department, 1943. March table: “a combined location and movement schedule for a march,” also, movement table, British (40).

Avoid, Evade, Delay, and Withdraw

Contact and Deployment

“Avoid, Evade, Delay, and Withdraw” is the fifth of six parts of “Contact and Deployment” in the Valormr Campaign.

A disengagement operation is conducted when a commander wishes to avoid map contact, evade an engagement, delay an opposing force, or withdraw from a battle. Each disengagement operation is explained below.

Summary: When a commander opts for one of these operations, both commanders roll a dice. The dice throws are modified by each commander’s situation. The disengaging commander subtracts the opponent’s modified results from his or her own modified results and consults the Disengagement Losses Table. Any losses are removed from the disengaging force’s assault regiment. Following a disengagement, the two forces are no longer in map contact.

Multiple Opponents: When one force wishes to conduct a disengagement operation while in map contact with more than one opponent, each commander rolls one dice. The disengaging commander’s modified result is used against each enemy commander’s modified result separately. All losses are applied simultaneously. So, if losses from two opponents are 50% or more, the force is effectively destroyed.

Time and Move Points: Disengagement operations themselves cost no move points and, except for the delay operation, take no additional time. The avoid operation requires that the force has move points for the move, which follows disengagement. The delay operation consumes the half period.

No Rest: A force in map contact may not rest during a half period in which any disengagement operation is conducted or any move points expended.

Disengagement: Once disengaged, the adjacent forces are no longer in map contact. A commander may use the maneuver action to force a second map contact in the half period. When no longer in map contact, a force with sufficient move points remaining may continue movement. Unless one or the other forces moves immediately following a disengagement, the forces are again in map contact at the beginning of the next half period.

Cost of Battle in Time and Move Points

A battle, though it may require only a few minutes of combat, takes a half period of time but no daily move points. Much time is assumed to be taken up with reconnaissance and deployment prior to a battle. Afterward, time is spent tending wounded, repairing or replacing weapons and armor, scavenging the battlefield on the victorious side, setting up a defensive position on the vanquished side, and resting.

Disengagement Operations


To avoid map contact, a commander must have enough move points to move into an adjacent hex or be able to conduct a forced march. After avoiding contact, the commander must move into an adjacent hex.


Either after the contact phase or following terrain selection in the deployment phase, a commander may decide to evade the engagement. Following an evasion, the commander may continue movement.


The delay action is contact with the enemy up to the point of engagement followed by a withdraw. A commander states the intention to delay before the contact phase, thereby foregoing contact and deployment phases as well as the initial exchange of volleys and blows that would normally take place on the wargames table. The delay action costs no move points but takes one half period as if a battle had been fought—which it has, we’ve only cut it short by a few minutes.


By the military definition, a withdraw is an organized retirement from the field. For our purposes, the withdraw operation includes those in which the force is in retreat or rout.

A withdraw is initiated during a tactical battle. Whenever a commander deems the battle is lost, he or she may withdraw. To do so, a number of figures equal to or greater than 25% of the original force must be moved behind the baseline.

Formed in Good Order: When at least 25% of the original force is moved behind the baseline in good order, the force is considered to be formed and in good order.

In Rout: If 25% or more of the original force is routed off the table, the entire force is considered to be in rout for the purposes of the withdraw operation.

In Retreat: Otherwise, the force is considered to be in retreat.

Disengagement Modifiers

Modifiers to the disengagement dice are divided into categories. Each commander considers his or her own condition for each category and applies the best modifier. Only one modifier is applied from each category. For instance, a commander using the maneuver action adds 1 to the dice. If the opponent is unformed, he or she may order an aggressive pursuit, which adds 2 instead.

Disengagement Modifiers Table
Formation Modifier
Formed in good order +2
In retreat −1
In rout −2
Retreat and Rout: See Withdraw above.
Tactics Modifier
Maneuver +1
Aggressive pursuit +2
Rearguard +2

Maneuver: See “Support, Reserve, Maneuver.”
Aggressive pursuit: Immediately after the final turn of a tactical battle, a commander, using the maneuver action, may order an aggressive pursuit of a force disengaging in anything other than good order. The commander’s own force must be formed and must not be fatigued.
Rearguard: May only be applied to the disengaging force. A force unformed or in retreat must be at more than half strength to organize an effective rearguard. A force in rout cannot organize an effective rearguard.

Cavalry Modifier
Cavalry +1
Fresh cavalry +2

Fresh cavalry: Cavalry which has not engaged in melee today and is not otherwise fatigued is considered fresh.

Condition Modifier
Fatigued −1

Fatigued: From strategic movement, like forced march, not battlefield fatigue.

Size Modifier
Larger force by one regiment or more +1
Supported +1

Larger force: Compare the army sizes.
Supported: See “Support, Reserve, Maneuver.”

Strength Modifier
Half strength or less −1

Strength: Consider the engaging regiment only. See “Orders of March.”

Terrain Modifier
Favorable +1
Unfavorable −1

Terrain: Consider the commander’s current hex. Mountains are favorable for a disengaging force, clear is unfavorable. For the opponent, vice versa. Forest, swamp, and hill terrain are neither favorable nor unfavorable.

Disengagement Losses

The disengaging commander subtracts the opponent’s modified results from his or her own modified results and consults the Disengagement Losses Table. Losses are reduced from the force’s current strength.

Disengagement Losses Table1
Difference Delay or Withdraw Evade Avoid
8 or more —  Negligible  —
4 to 7 5% —  Negligible  —
0 to 3 10% 5% —  Negligible  —
−1 to −4 25% 10% 5%
−5 to −7 30% 25% 10%
−8 50%D 30% 25%
−9 75%D 50%D 30%
−10 —  Destroyed  — 75%D 50%D
−11 —  Destroyed  — 75%D

−12 or less

—  Destroyed  —

D Displaced: The disengaging force is pushed to the hex opposite the contact. If, for any reason, the force cannot enter the hex, read the results from the line below. Reasons include: the opposite hex is occupied by an enemy force or a non-supporting friendly force, or the disengaging force hasn’t enough points to move into it. If a disengaging force is displaced and a supporting force occupies the hex opposite the contact, the supporting force, if it does not reinforce the disengaging force, is also displaced if it has the necessary move points and the next hex is unoccupied.

Hadewych Evades
Hadewych Evades.

After the terrain reconnaissance earlier, Hadewych chose to evade the engagement. To her throw of 1, she adds 3 (formed in good order, rearguard, unfavorable terrain). Ingegerd rolled a 4. She adds 4 (formed in good order, supported, favorable terrain). The difference (4−8) of −4 reduces the regiment by 10%. Hadewych’s result is also compared to Aeskrvald’s result, which is 6 plus 3 (formed in good order, favorable terrain). With a −5 difference (4−9), Hadewych suffers another 25% losses.


1 The Disengagement Losses Table and its modifiers are derived from Bath’s section on withdrawing from battle (75-7). I adapted it to cover any disengagement. Where Bath uses a single dice roll, I prefer an opposed roll. So, I stretched out the results range to accommodate wider disparity. The tipping point, where losses increase rapidly, is preserved. The reaper marches before an army in flight.

Engage or Evade

Contact and Deployment

“Engage or Evade” is the fourth of six parts of “Contact and Deployment” in the Valormr Campaign.

Once the opponent’s force size and composition are estimated and the terrain upon which a battle may take place has been surveyed, each commander decides whether to engage or evade.

A commander with a 1 result on the contact dice, therefore unaware of the enemy, does not have the opportunity to evade.

  • If both opt to engage—that’s what we dressed up for—go to the deployment phase.
  • If both opt to evade, they are successful; the forces are no longer in map contact, and play continues on the strategic map.
  • If one opts to evade while the other desires engagement, the evasion is handled by dice throws, which is covered in the next article “Avoid, Evade, Delay, and Withdraw.”
Engage or Evade
Engage or Evade?

With two forces opposite her one, Hadewych desires terrain she can use in her favor. But a gully on her left allows an unobserved enemy approach, and both opponents have the higher ground. Dissatisfied, she evades the engagement.

Terrain Reconnaissance

Contact and Deployment

“Terrain Reconnaissance” is the third of six parts of “Contact and Deployment” in the Valormr Campaign.

Here we use Chainmail’s Terrain Selection rules (10) to get an idea of the lay of the land. The commander with the higher score on the contact dice first draws and places a number of terrain cards, one at a time, equal to the difference in the unmodified contact dice. In case of a tie on the contact dice, use the unmodified dice rolls to decide first draw. Still a tie, dice for it. After the first, each commander in turn draws and places one card until each commander has drawn four cards.

Note that, with a good throw, the contact dice winner may draw and place four or more cards in the first turn. In that case, the opponent then draws and places four cards one at a time. When the contact dice winner draws and places three or fewer cards in the first turn, he or she takes subsequent turns up to a maximum of four cards. Then the opponent draws and places the remainder of his or her cards.

For now, we don’t model terrain. We avoid spending time to make terrain when we aren’t sure yet if the battle will take place. It is this general lay of the land that serves as input to commanders in their decision to engage or evade.

Chainmail’s Terrain Selection Clarification

How eight (or even 20) three-by-five-inch index cards yields terrain on a four-by-eight-foot table mystifies. Perhaps a line or two of explanation is omitted from the rules. Perhaps not, but it makes more sense if we add that the position and orientation of an index card, as laid by a player, indicates the terrain type in that area—not just the card’s space—on the battlefield.

Terrain Selection Cards
Terrain Selection Cards.
Here I experiment with playing the whole deck. Looks crowded.

We model the battlefield based on the cards, scaling up the indicated terrain to fill the space in a logical if not natural way. For example, the marsh card in the middle of the table between a hill card and a river card some distance to either side becomes a marshy area, limited by a hill rising up on one side and a river running through the other. The river continues through the upper part of the marsh to the second river card, placed in an opposite corner. And so on.

Only hills are specified to be “variously shaped.”1 This implies the shape is to be transferred to the battlefield. It stands to reason that the card’s orientation is also respected.

We might be tempted to draw the other terrain cards in particular shapes as well. Straight rivers occur in nature as well as on the wargames table. In play, we discover that the watercourse, while it might run through two cards, is dictated by high and low terrain. We might at least give way to the orientation of the card. Flowing from the first card, the river bends into the second.

Further, as the text instructs, “Terrain is placed anywhere on the table.” It isn’t clear whether the “eight blanks” are considered terrain and meant to be placed on the table, or whether the blank-drawing player is simply deprived of a turn. My table is half the size and my cards two-by-four inches. In first essays, I find that, though there is some power in placing clear between other features, playing the blanks may limit the freedom to shape the terrain.


1 Aside, the four basic hill shapes I came up with resemble an egg, a bean, a guitar, and a painter’s palette.

Map Contact

Contact and Deployment

“Map Contact” is the second of six parts of “Contact and Deployment” in the Valormr Campaign.

When two or more opposing commanders occupy adjacent hexes, they are said to be in map contact. The terrain between them is a potential battlefield.

Half Periods: Contact is considered to occur within a half-period: morning, afternoon, evening, or night.1 In terrain where forces move only one hex per day, it is the last half of the period. For example, in the afternoon for diurnal movement.

Moves First: All strategic moves for the period are completed before any map contacts are resolved. In the event of map contact in the first half period, the involved forces, assuming they have move points remaining, may continue movement after contact is resolved, whether by evasion or engagement.

Fight on the Morrow: At any time prior to the deployment phase, all commanders may agree to rest.2 In that case, the forces are no longer in map contact for the remainder of the half period. Forces are again in map contact at the beginning of the next half period. If either one of two commanders disagrees, the contact phase begins.

Avoid Contact: A commander may avoid contact in the hex if he or she has enough move points to proceed immediately into another hex. This decision is made and resolved prior to the contact phase. A dice throw is required, and the operation is not without risks. Avoiding contact is treated, along with similar operations, in an upcoming article “Avoid, Evade, Delay, and Withdraw.”

Three or More Forces: When more than two forces meet, the conflict may be divided into separate engagements or conducted as a single battle, as decided by the players. Factors such as table size and number of figures involved versus the number available should be considered in addition to player preference. In case multiple battles are decided, contact and deployment are handled separately.

Battles at Sea

The present system is not useful for naval engagements. We got longships and pirates though, so we could make something up should the occasion arise.

Contact Dice

Upon making map contact, the commanders roll a dice. We use the dice scores with and without modifiers throughout the process, so it’s best to make note or leave the dice on the table for reference. The results determine each commander’s awareness of the opposing force, the hour of contact, and which player draws the first terrain cards and how many.


A commander’s contact dice is modified for each of the following criteria:

Contact Modifiers
Criteria Modifier
More move points than all opponents +1
Smallest force by at least one regiment* +1
Successful scout(s) +1
Captured scout(s) +1
Previous contact this or one period before +1
All opponents in clear terrain† +1
All opponents in mountain terrain† −1

* Here, size considers the entire army; it does not consider strength.
† Terrain modifiers ignore the hex occupied by the commander.


Contact Table
One Dice Estimation of Enemy Force
  Size* Composition
1† None None
2‡ None None
3 ±50% Basic troop type (infantry or cavalry)
4 ±25% All troop types
5 ±10% All troop types, proportions, plus organization**
6 Accurate Exact plus individual creatures

* Size considers the engaging regiment; the exact variation is determined below.
† Unaware of enemy presence.
‡ Aware of enemy presence but no estimation possible.
** Number of regiments in addition to the engaging regiment and any command units, such as the Elf King’s Company.

That the commander is aware of the dice roll, and therefore the range of the information’s accuracy, is of no consequence, as a commander may gauge the accuracy of the size by the composition details gathered.

Contact Dice
Contact Dice Example.

Taking the dice left to right: Hadewych’s scout is killed. Her contact dice roll is four, to which she adds 1 as all her opponents are in clear terrain, for a total of five. Ingegerd, to her roll of three, also adds 1 for her opponent in clear terrain, total four. Aeskrvald adds 1 for terrain to his roll of five, plus 1 for a successful scout, to make it seven.

Size Estimation

To determine the estimated size of the enemy force, multiple players without a referee need only choose a percentage in the given range, make the calculation, and inform the opponent. A referee or solo player might do the same or roll two dice on the table below.

Size Estimation Table
Two Dice ±50% ±25% ±10%*
2 −50% −25% −10%
3 −40% −20% Accurate
4 −30% −15% −10%
5 −20% −10% −5%
6 −10% −5% −5%
7 Accurate
8 +10% +5% +5%
9 +20% +10% +5%
10 +30% +15% +10%
11 +40% +20% Accurate
12 +50% +25% +10%
* As in the two previous columns, probabilities in the ±10% column are weighted toward more accurate results.

Contact Hour

Take the difference in the highest and lowest unmodified contact dice. Subtract the result from the current half period’s end hour to determine the hour in which contact occurs. Sunrise marks the 1st hour of the day. Thus, depending on the half period of contact and the difference in the contact dice, a battle may take place in any hour of the day or night.

Half Period Ends in Hour
Morning 6th
Afternoon 12th
Evening 18th
Night 24th


1 Contact occurs within a half period even when forces may move three or more hexes per day. With mainly infantry on the map, moving so far is rare. With more cavalry, moving three or four hexes is more common. But we avoid dividing a period into thirds or fourths in favor of simplicity.

2 This is not an actual agreement between commanders. The agreement is implied by the lack of further action on both sides.