Horse, Foot and Guns

Many years ago I play-tested a set of rules that had been written by Phil Barker that were entitled HORSE, FOOT AND GUNS. At the time he promised that one day they would be published … and now they have!

The full title of the book is HORSE, FOOT AND GUNS: QUICK PLAY ARMY LEVEL WARGAME RULES FOR LARGE LAND BATTLES 1701-1925, and it has been published by Susan Laflin (ISBN 978 1 326 55510 8). I bought my copy from Lulu for £14.99 (plus postage and packing), and it arrived only a few days after I ordered it online.

The book is split into two main sections. The first covers such things as game philosophy, playing equipment, scales, definitions, organising the armies, setting up a battle, and the rules. The second is a set of army lists that cover wars from 1701 to 1913, including the Seven Years War, the American War of Independence, the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War, the American Civil War, the Schleswig-Holstein War, the Seven Weeks War, the Zulu War, the Egypt and the Sudan campaigns, the Second Boer War, the Russo-Japanese War, and the First and Second Balkan Wars.

I don’t know if I will ever use these rules on a regular basis, but reading them will bring back a lot of great memories … and as a large part of my 15mm-scale Colonial collection is already on the right size bases, they will always be available if I want a bit of a change from using my own rules.


16 Comments on “Horse, Foot and Guns”

  1. Mike says:

    Seems that this is simply a printing of the 2006 draft that you can still download for free:

  2. Yes, it is worth checking the 'Horse Foot and Guns' Yahoo Group where there is a LOT of discussion about the fact that this appears to be a tarted up copy of what is still a draft set of rules freely available elsewhere.

  3. arthur1815 says:

    The sheer time span of the HF&G armylists, to my mind, symbolises a major flaw in the WRG approach to wargames rules, the idea that one set can cover a lengthy historical period by simply amending weapon ranges &c., rather than writing a period specific set. Personally, I don't believe that one set of rules can possibly be suitable for both a game in which the players are Marlborough and Tallard, and another where they are Grant and Lee, let alone the commanders in the Russo-Japanese and Balkan Wars of the early twentieth century!

    Nor do I find the closely-written, legalistic tone of 'Barkerese' congenial to read, so Ill be sticking with your rules, Ross Macfarlane's Square Brigadier and Neil Thomas's OHW book!

    Best wishes,

  4. MrFarrow2U says:

    Now then Bob

    While interested in them, I've had a scan through the free set & in two minds. How did they play when you had a go & what periods did you cover?

    All the best

  5. The publication of what was, apparently, an out-of-date draft has been a total fiasco.

    I was very excited by the grand-tactical approach of HF&G but found it difficult to understand and got tired of waiting for it to be completed.

    I've recently adopted Bloody Big Battles! which I consider a much better option.

  6. Mike,

    I was unaware of that.

    I'm not worried, however, as I bought it because it brought back pleasant memories.

    All the best,


  7. Kaptain Kobold,

    Thanks for the advice. As I said in my earlier reply to Mike, I bought my copy for reasons that were more nostalgia than anything else.

    All the best,


  8. Arthur1815 (Arthur),

    I suspect that you are right, but as my motives for buying the rules were more to do with nostalgia – and a certain degree of general interest in wargame design – I will probably not be using them for anything much outside the period 1850 to 1900 … if I use them at all.

    In the meantime, I will continue to write and use my own rules, and to tinker about with other people's rules.

    All the best,


  9. MrFarrow2U,

    I enjoyed using them when I took part in the play-test many years ago … but have yet to try out the newly published version. Once I have, I will almost definitely write a review.

    All the best,


  10. Doctorphalanx,

    I was unaware that this was an out-of-date draft of the rules … and since reading your comment I have checked and discovered that the rules are apparently no longer available on Lulu.

    This all seems a bit odd, and I am wondering if the publication might have been premature. When I published my first book via Lulu I almost published the draft version and not the final version by mistake, and I wonder if this is what has happened here.

    I found the play-test version of the rules quite easy to use … but I did have Phil Barker explaining them as we went along which may well have helped no end.

    I have yet to have a look at BLOODY BIG BATTLES, but hope to when I visit an upcoming wargames show.

    All the best,


  11. Bob

    It seems to have been a very unfortunate chain of events, but I can understand the irritation of those who parted with money. I almost did myself, and I will buy the rules when it is 'safe' to do so, even though I may not actually use them.

    I like and play some DBx-style games, but I think the element approach lacks historical flavour. I'm not a fan of Barkerese, but I do hold Phil in high regard for innovation, enthusiasm and everything he has done for wargaming. I also enjoy his sense of humour.


  12. Doctorphalanx (Richard),

    The situation seems to be even more confused than I originally thought. I have checked my PayPal account and have had a refund from Lulu … and then been charged for the book again! I'm going to leave it for a few days, and then check again.

    I know that DBA/HOTT-style rules are not everyone's cup of tea, but they do include so excellent ideas and allow players to fight battles to a conclusion in a relatively short time. I must admit to preferring rules where units suffer levels of casualties rather than the all or nothing approach … but that us just my personal preference.

    All I he best,


  13. Bob

    DBA and HOTT are the ones I would play. I also like a now obscure DBx derivative called 'Rules of Battle' where one element is more-or-less a battalion and groups are limited to the size of a brigade. I find that historically acceptable.

    Kind regards


  14. Doctorphalanx (Richard),

    I have use HOTT on quite a few occasions and modified them for Colonial wargames, but only used DBA a couple of time.

    I have never heard of RULES OF BATTLE … but they sound quite interesting.

    All the best,


  15. Bob

    There's a residual reference to them here:

    They are very well-written, but no glossy colour photos. There's a Yahoo Group still in existence but not active.



  16. Doctorphalanx (Richard),

    Thanks for the links. I will try to follow them up later tonight.

    All the best,


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