One Hour Wargames

I reviewed Neil Thomas’s ONE-HOUR WARGAMES: PRACTICAL TABLETOP BATTLES FOR THOSE WITH LIMITED TIME AND SPACE (published by Pen and Sword Military in 2014 [ISBN 978 1 473822 90 0]) back in October of last year

… and at the time I wrote:

The rules in the … book are simple – possibly too simple for some wargamers’ tastes – but I think that they should prove fun to use, especially if they cover a period that one does not usually wargame. The scenarios appear to be very useful, and I have already spotted a couple that I might well try out in the not too distant future.

Since then I have used some of the scenarios to fight a three-part Operation Barbarossa mini-campaign …

(See here, here, and here for the battle reports.)

… but I have not as yet used the rules.

I suspect that this situation is about to change.

The reasons are quite simple:

  1. I read the rules very thoroughly whilst I was on our recent cruise … and liked what I read.
  2. I have had conversations and emails with people who have used them and who say that they are excellent … and who cannot understand why I have not tried them yet.
  3. I have read several blogs that extol their virtues.
  4. I have joined the relevant Yahoo Group and discovered some very simple variants that I want to try for myself. (I am particularly interested in the ONE HOUR HEX WW2 RULES written by Martin Rapier and the 1 HOUR WW1 NAVAL WARFARE rules written by John Armatys and Martin Rapier.)

Hopefully I will be able to try our Martin’s World War II rules sometime soon, especially as it seems an age since I last fought a wargame.


20 Comments on “One Hour Wargames”

  1. Conrad Kinch says:

    I am all in favour of more games.

    Your public demands them Mr Cordery!

  2. Chris says:

    I got them awhile back, and found them interesting, too. They offer a way for me to use a lot of figures that I've had that are too few in number for a regular game, but should do just fine with these rules, on a small board. I did a Google image search for “One Hour Wargames” and was astounded at how popular they've become in such a short time. One of the most interesting applications was done by the Pennywhistle group in St. Louis, who used Britains 54mm Knights and Turks. Yike! Using them that way had never occurred to me!

    I immediately began thinking about adapting them to a gridded board; I'm glad to see people are already working on that. I'm really not long on imagination, so am grateful for all the help I can get!

    Best regards as always,


  3. Conrad Kinch,

    I got a wargaming 'fix' at COW2015, but do miss wargaming at home … and hope to remedy that situation in the very near future. (I just want to finish my Waterloo project first.)

    Have no fears; I will certainly write blog entries about any battles that I fight.

    All the best,


  4. Chris,

    These rules do seem to have 'taken off' over recent months … and I think that they have done so because they meet a need. There are a lot of wargamers who don't have a lot of time or space but who want to fight wargames reasonably regularly. OHW meet this need … just as DBA/HOTT had perviously done.

    Like you, I also have odds and ends of currently unused figures that I can use with OHW … and I hope to do so very soon. (I have not yet done a Google image search … but after reading your comment, I certainly will as I have quite a sizeable collection of Britains Deetail figures.)

    The rules are easily adaptable for use with a grid, and that is certainly one direction I think that I am likely to be going in.

    All the best,


  5. A.W. KITCHEN says:

    Working on a 'One Hour' project at the moments rescaled to use a 2'x 2' board using 15mm Ancient figures , Tony

  6. El Grego says:

    I was not aware of the existence of the Yahoo group. Thank you for pointing that out – it looks to cover the Ancient & Medieval Wargaming book also.


  7. A.W. Kitchen (Tony),

    It sounds like an interesting project, and I hope to hear more about it in due course.

    All the best,


  8. El Grego (Greg),

    I think that the group was originally set up with just Ancient & Medieval Wargaming book in mind, but since them it seems to have expanded to cover OHW as well.

    All the best,


  9. David Crook says:

    Hi Bob,

    By a strange coincidence this was my preferred choice of reading whilst I was away and I have come to similat conclusions myself. I particularly like the army generation system at the start of the scenario section – and needless to say I have a couple of ideas around this. I also took a look at the hexed WW2 rules and they seem very well thought out. I intend spending some time looking through the files section of the yahoo group for further ideas.

    I will be very keen to see what you are planning on the table top though!

    All the best,


  10. David Crook,

    Great minds think alike!

    The simplicity of the whole approach to the rules and the scenarios is an excellent example to other wargame designers. They prove that you don't need huge, complicated rule books, large numbers of figures, and a massive table to fight fun wargames.

    I hope to stage a battle using some of my 20mm-scale World War II figures sometime soon.

    All the best,


  11. johntheone says:

    I like the Naval Rules

  12. Johntheone,

    They are elegantly simple, and no less accurate than many far more complicated sets of naval war game rules.

    All the best,


  13. Let me know how you get on with the WW2 rules Bob, I thought going up a few command levels seemed more appropriate for the abstractions of the combat system.

    The WW1 rules work very well for the SCW, done a few games like that, and all the rules are fairly easy to convert to hexes (or squares for more linear eras).

  14. Martin Rapier,

    I was very pleased to read that your basic 'units' were battalions/regiments/brigades (depending upon the type of unit and/or nationality) as this is exactly the command level I want to represent on the tabletop. I will certainly feedback any ideas that I have after using the rules.

    I wondered if the World War I rules might work for inter-war/early World War II battles, and your comment suggests that they will.

    All the best,


  15. Yes, the WW1 rules work fine, I just tweaked the army generator a bit for the SCW. (to reduce the amount of cavalry and artillery and produce mechanisms to generate a tank unit)

    iirc my SCW variant is in the AMNW yahoo group too.

  16. Martin Rapier,

    The SCW tweak you have made sounds very sensible … and I will take a look at your variant later today.

    All the best,


  17. Come over to the OHW side Bob.
    A. Jeff

  18. Brigadier General,

    I'm coming over … I'm coming over very soon …

    All the best,


  19. Mr. Pavone says:

    I downloaded the rules last night and I too find their simplicity a major bonus. The rules name it possible for me to play this game with my older boy.
    Maybe I missed it in my browsing of the book, but I find the lack of simple morale rules a bit if a miss. I came up with my own system quickly though, roll 2d each time a unit takes a loss. If the result is higher than the unit's strength the unit breaks away and must move away from enemy units until it can spend a turn unmolested and inactive.
    I'm also planning to whip up some averaging dice to make semi-random strength units. 3d6 where one has 4,5,5,5,5,6 another has 4,5,5,5,6,6 and the third 4,4,5,5,5,6 should add a little fog of war to the game.
    I do like this system's malleable rules!

  20. Mr. Pavone,

    You are right; there are no morale rules. I personally don't miss not having any, but I must admit that I like your simple 2D6 morale system … and may well try using it myself.

    Likewise your suggested method to randomise the strength of units is a very workable and elegantly simple mechanism.

    You are right about the rules being malleable, as I hope that my latest battle report shows.

    All the best,


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