Using my Big Bases with Neil Thomas’s One-Hour Wargames

The One-Hour Wargames rules by Neil Thomas assume armies have 3-6 units each of which is 4-6 inches wide and fight it out on a 3′ x 3′ table. My Big Bases are 8cm, so roughly 3 inches wide. What to do?

One-Hour Wargames Cover

One-Hour Wargames Cover

2′ x 2′ Table

It seems obvious to reduce the table from the suggested 3′ x 3′ to a 2′ x 2′. Particularly since I have 2′ x 2′ tables and I don’t have 3’x 3′ tables.

This reduction in scale suits my Big Bases perfectly. 8cm is about two thirds of of the recommended base width (4-6 inches).

Guardia del General Cavalry

Guardia del General Cavalry


The only change to the rules is to reduce the distances (movement and ranges). Multiply everything by 2/3, so 6″ becomes 4″, 9″ becomes 6″ and 12″ becomes 8″. These are the main distances used. Occasionally a 10″ measure is used; I’d say use 7″.

4′ x 4′ Table

As I said I don’t have a 3′ x 3′ table so another way to go is to increase the size of the table to 4′ x 4′. I have one of those.

I’d have to use two of my Big Bases, side by side, to keep the unit size in proportion to the table.

Big Base Infantry Line

Big Base Infantry Line


I’d also have to increase distances (movement and ranges). Multiply everything by 4/3, so 6″ becomes 8″, 9″ becomes 12″, and 12″ becomes 16″. Again 10″ causes a slight multiplication problem; I suggest using 13″.

Just play the game

Okay, I could get a 3′ x 3′ table and just use my Big Bases as they are. The units would be slightly under size but nothing major.

Tracking hits

A common feature of all the One-Hour Wargames rules is “units are eliminated on the acquisition of 15 hits.” 15 hits is a lot to track. A quick google suggests people use a bunch of dice behind the unit to track the hits. Of course you’d need up to three dice to get to 15. I imagine it gets a bit messy when several units have several dice trailing along behind them. And quite easy to knock one or two dice over in the process and hence forget how many hits the unit has taken.

Commission Figurines MAR12 Casualty Markers

Commission Figurines MAR12 Casualty Markers


As it happens I just got some Casualty Markers from Commission Figurines (Code = MAR12). They should do the trick nicely. I’ll only need one or two tokens to get to 15. They are also resistant to bumping over.

8 comments to Using my Big Bases with Neil Thomas’s One-Hour Wargames

  • Looks good. They are a nice set of rules. We found they would work beautifully for an extended campaign i.e. map movement with battles as they occur, and real opportunities for cavalry scouting and raids on logistics centres.

  • Dick Bryant

    Why not use the solution that Larry Brom (The Sword and The Flame, Chassepot and Needlegun, etc) used. Make up special rulers with the “inches” scaled down to the correct size – thus all the movement and tables have the correct number. Put a ruler on a copy machine and copy it at 2/3 size or whatever then paste it on cardboard. Works well here.

  • I am using the same system with 6mm models. I bought my numbered tokens from warbases.co.uk
    I have adapted the system to a squared table 2ft x 2ft with 2″ squares and a hexagon table 4ft x 3ft with 4″ hexes with good results.
    I am in the process of working with Sam Mustafa’s “Blücher” Rules, and the new sabots from Warbases designed for that game system will allow me to play the 1 hour wargame hex game even quicker.

  • The counters you use look good; it’s too bad a lot of what comes in a set are not useful. I will probably use a d20 to track hits. They do sometimes roll around when you don’t want them to, but at least there would be only 1 per base.

    Best regards,

    Chris Johnson

  • I have 2′ and 16″ square boards The game assumes units that are between 1/9th and 1/6th of the width of the board. I usually find that one of those two boards allows this, then I scale the game accordingly – cavalry moves 1/3 of a board in most rules, and that also tends to be the range as well.

    My OHW variant rules only give units 5 hits mostly, so I simply use small stones to mark hits.

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