Optional Rules
Units · Movement · Firing · Assaults · Artillery

« Units and Formations

101 | Natural Antagonists
The First World War was highlighted by apparently contradictory performances from troops of several nations. The Austrian Army for example, performed poorly against the Russian Army, but battled the Italian forces with grit and determination. The Russians, who performed so poorly against the Germans, were often more animated when fighting the Turks, whom they viewed as their "natural" enemies. The short list below offers a few training and morale bonuses for some nationalities who displayed such tendencies:

Austrian Army: +1 to morale when fighting Italians or Turks.
Italian Army: +1 to morale when fighting Austrians.
Russian Army: +1 each to morale and training when fighting Turks.
Serbian Army: +1 to morale when fighting Austrians or Turks.

102 | Veteran Officers
Almost every regiment had a few officers who were particularly wily or experienced in the ways of warfare in their sector, and who had lived long enough to apply them in action. These men could often save the lives of their men, get them into position more quickly, and otherwise "make things happen" in ways which less experienced leaders might have missed.

To roll for veteran officers, roll two dice (2D6) for each sub-unit slated to be used for game play. Any result or twelve (12) on the die will give that unit a veteran officer for the duration of the game. He cannot be killed, because he is not alone. He is assumed to surround himself with other ingenious troopers, thereby perpetuating the locally elite status of that unit. Once acquired, the veteran officer may benefit his unit in many different ways, some of which are expressed in other related optional rules. For further veteran officer related rules, see rule numbers 206 and 601.

103 | Lost Platoons
This occurs when an unsupported unit is destroyed (all bases lost) while within support range of any enemy bases. Place a marker base made up of a single kneeling or prone figure at the edge of the nearest cover within support range of the last position of the destroyed parent unit. If no cover is available, the marker base will remain stationary.

Effects: The lost platoon marker will draw the fire of up to two enemy machine guns (if any are in range and line of sight), and pin down the two closest enemy units of average training quality or worse. The duration of the lost platoon marker is rolled for at the time of the parent unit's destruction by rolling one six sided die (1D6). The die result is the number of turns the lost platoon survives before dying of shock or slinking away.

« Movement

201 | Post-Barrage Deployment
At the end of major barrages, there was often a slight time lag between the end of the barrage and the actual deployment of men onto the trenches to receive the enemy attacks. Using the Post-Barrage Deployment rule, no prone units which have been attacked by any pre-game barrage may stand from their pre-game stance until they successfully roll on the Assault Movement column of the Command chart, with the Over the Top modifier. Units which do not successfully roll are considered to have been too disrupted by the artillery barrage to react properly, and they remain in their pre-game prone positions. This can be a substantial detriment if an enemy attack is imminent, or if enemy shock troops are very close. Each Commonwealth and German HMG base must also roll on the command chart for successful deployment (both the Vickers and Maxim HMG were heavy and difficult to set up).

202 | Depleted Reinforcements
Troops being used to plug a gap in their lines often had a long and difficult march to the combat zone. This rule causes players to treat all reinforcing troops (brought on the board as a result of lulls) to behave as if they have already moved two assault moves.

203 | Battery Encounters
Troops and vehicles who penetrated deep into enemy lines sometimes encountered comparatively fresh enemy artillery which had been supplying on-call artillery fire. These behind-the-lines artillery batteries might suddenly find themselves playing a direct fire support role in the face of an enemy breakthrough. Players can roll to find out whether deeply penetrating units will suddenly encounter enemy light artillery in addition to those already placed on the board.

On each turn that a player suffers tactical penetration* into his positions, he may roll once on the "F' column of the setup page's Extra Heavy Weapons Chart, using the current number of friendly units still in existence as the numerical base. The final result is the number of light artillery bases which the defending player may place on the board in hastily dug-in, fire-ready positions. The newly positioned guns are immediately placed on the board (this will usually be during the attacking player's movement phase) but they may not be placed within 200 yards of enemy bases, and their size may not exceed weapon class five.
* Tactical penetration: Is measured from the outer edge of the closest, outermost (closest to no-man's land) friendly outposts or front-line trenches, as they existed before the pre-game bombardment. Tactical penetration has occurred if enemy units penetrate further than 1200 yards beyond any of those outermost points.

204 | Fascines
Some British Mark class tanks used large multi-ton bundles of brushwood which could be pushed off of the front end of the tank and into a trench. The resulting "bridge" allowed the tank to cross wide fire trenches and proceed into enemy lines. For game play, any tank base said to be equipped with these fascines may mark one segment of fire trench and being bridged. That segment of the trench remains blocked for the rest of the game, and any tracked vehicles may pass over the fascine. Fascines are not passable to wheeled vehicles or horses.

205 | Scouts
Using this optional scouting rule, each infantry or cavalry unit may send out scouts to search for and identify enemy units. Each unit may roll for up to two scout detection operations at the end of each movement phase (enemy units in different range brackets require different scouting groups).

The values shown in the center of the chart indicate the number of enemy positions (infantry units, heavy weapon bases, etc.) which can be identified by troops of that training level at the range shown. Once the position to be identified is declared, the scouting player rolls one die (1D6) and applies applicable modifiers. If the adjusted value is equal to or higher than the Modified Success roll value shown at right, the position in question has been discovered and may be fired upon, even if it has not previously fired or moved. Any natural die roll of 1 will result in one damage "hit" against a base from the scouting unit. Units which have been spotted may be marked as such (Recommendation: Use a single-man enemy base immediately facing the front of the spotted position). Bases in a spotted position remain spotted unless they move out of the line of sight of both the parent unit and scout marker, or unless the parent unit of the scout routs or is destroyed on the same turn as the original spotting.
  Range (in yards)  
Training Level 120 240 360 480 540 Modified Success Roll
Outstanding 4 3 2 1 - 5 or greater
Great 3 2 1 - - 6 or greater
Average 2 - - - - 6 or greater
Poor 1 - - - - 7 or greater
Abysmal - - - - - 7 or greater
Die Roll Modifier: Air superiority = +1
Any natural 1 causes one damage to a base belonging to the parent unit.

206 | Veteran Officers - Command Rolls
Veteran officers are considered to have better control over their men, and to have the ability to get them moving even under difficult circumstances. Using the Command Rolls portion of the veteran officers optional rules, each unit with a veteran officer gets an additional plus one (+1) on all command die rolls for both standard maneuver and assault movement.

207 | Entanglement Types
Barbed wire was only the first of many types of metal entanglements used to interfere with the passage of enemy troops. Later war German entanglements were manufactured from heavy coiled strips of jagged saw-toothed steel. A far cry from the flimsy barbed wire "Spanish Riders" which were hand-built by troops in the field during 1914!

Using the optional entanglements rule, refer to the types shown below for specific effect and availability. The movement reduction corresponds directly to the standard barbed wire movement reduction discussed in the basic rules. The availability ratio indicates the amount of regular barbed wire which needs to be traded off in order to obtain some of the optional wire type. Hence, a player would have to give up 40 inches of regular light coiled barbed wire in order to be able to use 10 inches of heavy coiled wire.
  • Light Riders: Movement reduction = ½ 1D6 x 10 yards. Availability ratio = 0.8. Destroyed on natural barrage roll of 2+
  • Light Coiled: Movement reduction = ½ 1D6 x 10 yards. Availability ratio = 1.0. Destroyed on natural barrage roll of 3+
  • Light Fence: Movement reduction = 1D6 x 10 yards. Availability ratio = 1.5. Destroyed on natural barrage roll of 4+. Most common type.
  • Medium Fence: Movement reduction = 1D6 x 20 yards. Availability ratio = 2.0. Destroyed on natural barrage roll of 5+. Most common type for main defenses.
  • Heavy Coiled: Movement reduction = 1D6 x 30 yards. Availability ratio = 4.0. Destroyed on natural barrage roll of 6+. Impassible to tanks. Gives solid cover bonus against small arms fire. Only used in heavily prepared primary defense lines.

208 | Trench Stops
During the war, units which had just captured sections of enemy trenchline would quickly build walls or obstacles across the trench at the extreme ends of their new positions. These trench stops prevented enemy attacks and counterattacks from sweeping down the length of the position without warning. Materials used to build trench stops varied from debris and wood found in the immediate vicinity to specialized materials brought up with the assaulting troops for that very purpose.

For game play, any base may build a trench stop by remaining stationary within a section of trench for one full turn of movement and rolling a six sided die (1D6). On a die roll result of 5 or 6, a trench stop is considered to have been successfully built immediately adjoining the base. Each trench stop causes any unit attempting to pass through (not across) that section of trench to stop for the turn while they dismantle the stop. If the stop is immediately adjoined by an enemy unit, an assault will be triggered instead, giving any unit defending the stop an additional +1 on the assault die unless the attacker goes "over the top" and sweeps around the stop, in which case no advantage is gained by either side. A trench stop is destroyed by the execution of any assault across it, and may be dismantled by any base which stops to spend one turn dismantling it.

« Firing

301 | Fire-Storms
Any unit which has five or more "heavy fire" dice thrown against it in any one fire phase is considered to have suffered a fire-storm effect, which immediately pins down the unit. At least five of all fire attack die rolls for the phase must have originated with at least three of the four following weapon types: On-call or Direct-fire artillery; Trench mortar; Detached heavy or medium machine gun; Flamethrower.

302 | Equipment Damage
In 1916, entrenched bases which declare themselves as prone are immune to being fired upon, although they also may not fire. In order to keep game play simple, the status of involved heavy weapons is left out of this equation. These weapons actually are subject to damage, even if their crew has sought cover. Once the crew returns to their original upright position, they may discover their weapon to be damaged beyond immediate repair.

In order to re-create equipment damage, no heavy weapons may be declared as prone during game play, and field gun bases may not be declared as prone even during the pre-game bombardment.

303 | Friendly Fire
Inexperienced units often fired on friendly troops during confusing encounters, especially in woods or during times of darkness. To re-create this condition, any unit with average, poor or abysmal training level operating under these two conditions (in woods or darkness) must roll to see if it inflicts casualties on any friendly units which approaches to within 60 yards. Only one base of each friendly unit may be targeted. The attack is resolved using the area weapons chart with full modifiers. Both units must be within full cover. Partially covered or other easily identified units are not subject to friendly fire.

304 | Optional Mortar Fire
Players who would like to speed up use of trench mortars may roll on the Area Weapons chart instead of the Direct Artillery Chart. When using the alternate chart, players should include the following modifiers in addition to those already used:
Firing against personnel targets: Light Trench Mortar: -2, Medium Trench Mortar -1.
Firing against tank targets: Large Trench Mortar: -1, Medium/Light Mortars are No Effect (N/E).

« Assaults

501 | Lone Assaults
The First World War saw countless lone acts of bravery, many of which achieved more than whole units. The veteran stormtrooper Ernst Junger considered daring (and often suicidal) acts by individuals to be one of the most common reasons for breaking of tactical deadlocks. Indeed, accounts by all nationalities abound with various heroic acts, from rear-guards being assaulted by lone warriors to crack shots who crept or charged into enemy positions and successfully gunned down anyone who wouldn't surrender. Ironically, the crews who operated machines built for mass slaughter were sometimes ill-prepared to deal with lone assailants!

A lone assault may be attempted once per turn, per battalion or regiment (depending on player preference) against the troop types listed in the chart below. Players should remember that the modifiers are skewed to provide fewer and fewer "heroes" each time an attempt is made. Excessive requests for brave acts will meet with increasing deafness from the less inspired survivors. Also, lone assaults are only effective against somewhat isolated positions or weak units. Fully supported enemy battalions with heavy weapons support will usually chew up lone heroes as quickly as they show themselves!
  Effect on Target
Modified Die Roll (1D6) Heavy Weapon Base Full Infantry Unit Weak Infantry Unit Remnant Infantry Unit
1 None None None None
2 None None None None
3 None None None D
4 None None None K
5 None None D K D
6 K None K K D C
7 C None K C K C C
8 C D K C C K C C C
K = One base killed, D = One base damaged, C = One base captured
    Hero Die Roll Modifiers
  • Great Brave Hero: +1 to die roll if hero is from a unit with great training and/or brave morale or better.
  • Active Hero: +2 to the die roll if a hero was successfully requested by this battalion last turn.
  • Poor Shaky Hero: -1 to the die roll if the hero is from a unit with poor training and/or shaky morale or worse.
  • Well Led Hero: +1 to die roll if hero is from a unit commanded a veteran officer.
  • Consecutive request: -1 for each previous hero action requested by this battalion (including both successful and failed requests).
  • 120 to 180 yards to target: -1 to the die roll if the distance from the hero's unit to the targeted base/unit is between 120 and 180 yards.
  • 180 to 240 yards to target: -2 to the die roll if the distance from the hero's unit to the targeted base/unit is between 180 and 240 yards. No heroic attempts are allowed on targets greater than 240 yards distant.
  • Target supported: -3 to die roll if the target base/unit is supported by one or more friendly units.
  • Target Pinned/Demoralized: +3 to die roll if the target base/unit is supported by one or more friendly units.
502 | Bomber Parties
The grenade and its many close relations were viewed very differently by the various armies of the period. The ANZAC troops who waded ashore in Turkey were not equipped with any of these handy devices. Their Turkish opponents had a fair supply of them, and the difference cost the lives of many brave Commonwealth troops. Similarly, the German fighting on the Western Front viewed the grenade with great favor, whereas some British officers treated them with contempt. To add yet another level of variety to troop performance, players can add these modifiers to the assault values of the following troops:
  • 1914: German +1
  • 1915: Turk vs ANZAC +1, German vs British +1
  • 1918: German vs American +1

« Artillery

601 | Veteran Officer - Barrages
Veteran officers were sometimes able to mitigate the effects of preparatory barrages based on their previous experience. Common sense practices ranged from digging elaborate tunnel systems to simple trench maintenance. One "secret" was to lead the men into no-man's land during the barrage. This seemingly suicidal act was actually a stroke of genius if the artillery was firing mostly into the areas of known trenchlines, not into the unoccupied zone of craters and desolation between trenches. In such cases, hiding in the craters out in not-man's-land was actually safer than staying in the trench-lines which were well targeted by the enemy artillery batteries (This tactic would not work with a rolling barrage, and could actually be counterproductive. Knowing when to try something was just as important as knowing what to try).

Any unit under the command of a veteran officer may roll a die (1D6) if it is targeted by any pre-game barrages. On any even number result, the officer is assumed to have stuck upon an idea to reduce casualties and acted upon it. All pre-game barrage die rolls against that unit suffer an additional minus one (-1) when rolling on the Area Weapons chart.

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