Ross Macfarlane’s 19C Square Brigadier wargame rules

Over recent weeks Ross Macfarlane has published and play-tested his latest set of 19th century wargame rules – 19C SQUARE BRIGADIER wargame rules – on his blog BATTLE GAME OF THE MONTH.

These rules meet almost all the parameters that I laid down for the rules that I want to use with my 25/28mm-scale collection of Napoleonic wargames figures, and I am seriously giving consideration to trying them out myself once I have based up my figures.

I thoroughly recommend these rules for your serious perusal, even if they are not quite your cup of tea. They are very close to becoming that Holy Grail of wargamers, a set of back-of-the-postcard rules that work!


14 Comments on “Ross Macfarlane’s 19C Square Brigadier wargame rules”

  1. arthur1815 says:


    I wholeheartedly agree with you! I'm adapting them for the earlier period – The Square Smoothbore Brigadier! – removing references to such abominations as machine guns, barbed wire and steam tanks!and will send you a copy. Your comments after playtesting would be much appreciated.

    I sent Ross some questions about some aspects of the rules and he replied with a very detailed and helpful explanation of the rationale behind the Command and Staff rules, which makes very good sense. I can forward those to you if you like.

    Personally, I intend to add some additional detail about the commanders and their fates, and to use additional figures – as we have previously discussed – to show losses from fire and close combat, so that units are not reduced to a single man, which just looks too 'gamey' for my taste.

    I'm also trying to adapt for ECW.

    I think Ross has really 'cracked it' with this set of rules, creating a good game that would be easy for a newcomer to wargaming or a youngster to learn and enjoy playing. If only these had been available when I ran a school wargame club…

    Best wishes,

  2. Arthur1815,

    Ross's latest rules really are very, very good, and meet almost all of my requirements.

    The play-testing is going to have to wait until the work restoring conservatory to its former glory is completed. In the meantime I hope to lay out Ross's rules in my preferred format, and I would appreciate any feedback and developments that you can add.

    All the best,


  3. arthur1815 says:

    I'm sending you my questions and Ross's answers as an email attachment.
    SSB will follow in a few days – I hope!

  4. barry carter says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with you both! I am going to try them out using 6mm figures and am giving thought to moving them back in time.”Square Centurian”?

  5. The proof will be in the playing, hooefully they will hold up in play. I wonder hiw often I will need to proof read before catching all the little errors and omissions?

    I was thinking about 2 stand units so I could show road column and deployed and then use casualty figures to mark hits. Then I decided to go for a Little Wars look.

  6. Arthur1815,

    I look forward with interest to receiving your email in due course.

    All the best,


  7. Barry Carter,

    An ancient version of the rules? Interesting! That is not my area of expertise … but it is interesting to note that the rules mechanisms used in Ross's rules have the flexibility to be adapted in such a way.

    Good luck with your project.

    All the best,


  8. Ross Mac,

    I am sure that your rules will be easy to use and will enable people to fight some great little battles.

    In my experience it does not matter how many times you proof-read something that you have written, there will always be mistakes.

    I think that going for the LITTLE WARS 'look' is a big plus in favour of your rules … and your battle reports.

    All the best,


  9. barry carter says:

    An Ancients version should work if you pitch it to represent specific wars – Athens vs Sparta, Caesar vs Pompey etc.
    Making it too generalized would lead to confusion – Hmm……just like a real battle!

  10. I've looked out some 1/72 plastic chaps and hope to give them a whirl very soon.
    They are ideal for a wee game in my conservatory/extension on the kitchen table.
    I think Ross has “cracked it” too.
    Best Wishes

  11. Barry Carter,

    Making the rules specific to a particular war makes a lot of sense.

    All the best,


  12. Tradgardmastare (Alan),

    I totally agree that Ross has produced a really great set of wargame rules. They certainly tick a lot of my wargaming boxes!

    I think that there are quite a few people who will be doing something similar to yourself … including myself. I could use my collection of Napoleonic wargames figures, my 15mm-scale colonial figures, or even some of the unpainted Jacklex figures that I found during my recent spring clean.

    So many possibilities … and not enough hours in the day to meet them!

    All the best,


  13. Mike says:

    Interestingly enough, I had already planned to use a modified version of the Square Brigadier for my “Rematch at Quebec” game this year ay COW.

  14. Mike,

    That sounds like it might be a 'must go to' session for me to attend at COW2014.

    All the best,


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