Two-Page Skirmish Rules

Man-to-Man Combat in the Colonial Era


These rules are for fast-play skirmish games set on the fringes of civilization in the late 19th century. Each figure represents one man. Each player controls one to four figures.

Sequence of Play

1. Players select one action for each figure (or for a group, if desired).

2. Referee determines number of phases in this turn by rolling a die (or flipping one of six cards) numbered 1-2-2-3-3-4.

3. Both sides simultaneously perform phase 1 in this order: movement, firing or loading, melee. Phases 2, 3, and 4 follow the same order, if necessary.


Each figure has an ability rating, which corresponds to a type of die. This is determined at the start of the game by rolling 1d6: 1, 2, or 3 = use d8 (recruit); 4 or 5 = use d10 (veteran); 6 = use d12 (hero).

Selecting Actions

At the start of a turn, an action must be selected for every figure. There are four actions: Move, Fire/Load, Move & Fire, and Fight Hand-to-Hand. A figure can perform only its selected action during the turn. The action is marked by turning the action card so that the selected action is at the top. (The front and back of the action card are shown at the end of the rules.)


A moving figure can move up to 9 inches (12 if mounted) in any direction. Moving through difficult terrain (brush, broken ground) costs double. Crossing a low wall, fence, or hedge, or moving through a window or door, costs 4 inches.

Crossing a stream takes three phases. On the first, the figure moves to the edge of the stream and stops; on the second the figure can cross the stream on a 1d6 roll of 3+, but stops on the opposite bank; on the third, the figure can move away normally.

Other figures, friendly or enemy, do block movement if they occupy a spot that the moving figure needs to move through.

Facing has no effect; figures can change facing at any time.


A figure with a loaded weapon can fire it (ranges are on the Weapons Table).

To fire, roll the die appropriate to the firer’s ability. A target in the open is hit on a roll of 6+; a target with cover is hit on a roll of 8+.

If the weapon becomes unloaded after firing, flip the action card over to its unloaded side.


Loading takes one phase, after which the card is flipped back to the Firing side.

A figure which has firing or loading as its plotted action can perform either action, as often as desired (once per phase), during the turn.

Move & Fire

A figure using the Move & Fire action can either move up to 6 inches or fire a loaded weapon, but not both. The figure cannot reload. The player chooses whether to move or fire each phase.

Hand-to-Hand Fighting

Figures within 1 inch of each other can fight hand-to-hand, even if one figure just moved within 1 inch this phase. A fight occurs if either figure wants it to. Once a fight starts, all figures involved switch their cards to the Fight Hand-to-Hand action. Combatants are not paired off; a figure is in HtH combat with every enemy figure that is within 1 inch.

One die (of the proper type) is rolled for each figure and modified as shown below. Whichever figure scores highest hits the other. A tie has no effect.

If one figure faces several enemies, his one die roll defends against all attacks (every enemy within 1 inch). His own attack (the same die roll) is automatically directed against the enemy figure with the lowest modified roll. If the figure uses a d10, its attack goes against the two lowest enemy rolls (more than one enemy can be hit!). If the figure uses a d12, its roll goes against the three lowest enemy rolls.

To leave hand-to-hand combat, a figure must select a Move (or Move & Fire) action at the beginning of the turn. Enemy figures that selected Fight Hand-to-Hand as their action can choose new actions immediately; selecting Move allows pursuit (and probably more hand-to-hand fighting).

A figure that was in a hand-to-hand fight at the end of a turn can select Fire as its action for the new turn if it has a loaded weapon. It cannot select Load. After the firing phase, it can be re-engaged in a hand-to-hand fight.

Note that if a figure in HtH combat kills its only opponent before the end of the turn, it can't change orders until the beginning of the next turn. It does nothing for the remaining phases (assume the figure is doing a victory dance or mutilating the corpse or simply getting its bearings again).

+1 if figure is a native sword- or spearman

+1 if figure is an officer or leader

+1 if figure has a height advantage or is mounted

+1 if figure is defending a low wall or barricade

+2 if figure is defending a raised wall or building


When a figure is hit, it gets a saving roll. Roll the proper die for that figure: 1 or 2 = dead, 3 or 4 = incapacitated, 5 or 6 = wounded, 7+ = a mere scratch. Each wound reduces a figure's die by one step (from d12 to d10 to d8). A figure already using a d8 that is wounded (or wounded again) suffers no additional penalty. An incapacitated or dead figure is out of the fight. (Note that these numbers can be adjusted up or down to make battles more or less sanguinary.)


Each room of a building is treated as a single space. A figure in a room can shift to wherever the player wants it. For example, a figure that fired out of one window on phase 1 and reloaded on phase 2 can move instantly to a different window and fire again on phase 3, even though a figure with a Fire order is not normally allowed to move. This sort of shifting within a room is not considered movement and does not take up a phase.

Up to two figures can fire or fight hand-to-hand across a doorway or window, per side (e.g., two figures can attack a doorway from the outside, and two other figures can defend it from the inside.)

When enemy figures try to force their way inside a building, each figure inside can block one door or window. No enemy figure can enter except through an undefended window or door.

Moving up or down one level in a building uses a figure's entire movement.


Weapons Table





Spear, axe



every shot








every shot

Matchlock musket



every shot

Muzzle-loading pistol



every shot

Flintlock musket



every shot

Minie-ball rifle



every shot

Breech-loading rifle




Bolt-action rifle












Gatling Gun†




# Reloading is considered an automatic part of the firing action (the figure reloads automatically, then fires).

* This weapon becomes unloaded when a 1 or 2 is rolled to hit.

† A gatling gun needs a 2-man crew. No Move & Fire is allowed. Moves only 6 inches. Must reload after moving.


Two-Page Skirmish Rules Ó Steve Winter