The supplement to Liberators (Fletcher, 2006) includes a set of Quick Play Rules (QPR). This page covers how I vary from the published rules. I’ve distinguished between new rules () and clarifications of existing rules().
See also my page on Clarifications and the official errata is in the Liberators 1810-1830 Yahoo Discussion Forum FAQ section.
Errata says 15 minutes per turn.
Basing and Stand Width
All my stands, except commanders, are on 30mm wide rectangles where the standard rules have different widths for infantry, cavalry and artillery. I don’t change the rules in any way to compensate for this.
Infantry Stand (About 100 men)
Cavalry Stand (About 70 men)
Ultra-light artillery stand (2 x 2lbr)
Light artillery stand (2 x 4lbr)
Medium artillery stand (2 x 8lbr or similar)
Heavy artillery stand (2 x 12lbr or larger)
Because I use casualty markers rather than casualty removal, I use a little red skull for disorder.
Both sides act in each phase. One side, determined by initiative, acts first in all phases.
Rally from Rout
Rallying from rout has a modifier based on the distance from the leader at the moment of rout. -1 for each complete 12 inches. So a unit 18 inches from the leader when it routs is at -1. A unit at only 6 has no modifier. Players should note what the modifier is when the unit routs, e.g. put a die next to the unit off table where 1 pip is a -1 modifier, 2 pips is -2, etc.
Rally from Disorder
To be disordered for a full turn means disordered from one Rally phase to the Rally phase in the next turn. It takes a long time to rally. An easy way to keep track of this is to put 2 disorder markers on a unit when it is disordered (red and white). Take off one disorder marker (white) in the next rally phase, but the unit cannot rally this turn and stays disordered. The unit can rally in the next rally phase and remove the remaining disorder marker (red).
Chillan Dragoons have just been disordered to have both red and white disorder markers
For example, if a unit is disordered in the Musket Fire Phase of Turn 1 and gains two disorder markers (red and white). In the Rally Phase of Turn 2 one of the disorder markers is removed (white). In the Rally phase of turn 3 the unit may rally to remove the remaining disorder marker (red).
During the first rally phase after Chillan becomes disordered they can remove he white disorder marker
the red disorder marker can be removed in a subsequent rally phase by successfully rallying
A disordered unit with a leader attached can roll twice to rally from disorder. Once with the unit’s morale rating and once with the leader’s morale rating.
Movement and Formations
A unit can do one of these:
- Change formation and/or change facing
- Change facing then 1/2 move
- Only if infantry: Step back 1/2 move and take disorder check
- Leader that attempted to rally this turn: No movement *
- Take disorder check and if pass then charge full move
- Otherwise full move *
A full move or 1/2 move can be oblique (±45°). In all cases “full” move means up to full move and “1/2 move” means up to 1/2 move.
Leaders only get two choices – marked with *.
Two Deep Infantry Line
A line of infantry is two rows of stands rather than one. A column of infantry is 3+ rows. This is to fit with ground scale on 1 inch = 40 yards and acknowledges that a battalion of 600 men in line should be 125 yards wide.
Infantry skirmishers are a single row of adjacent stands (no gaps). A single stand is skirmishers by definition.
5 Stand Battalion in Skirmish formation
An infantry line is exactly two rows deep. It can be any width. The rows but be even however the back row can have one less stand than the front row. These constraints mean an infantry line must have at least 2 stands to ensure it is two rows deep. Infantry lines count the front two rows as front rank for all combat.
2 Stand Infantry Line
3 Stand Infantry Line
4 Stand Infantry Line
5 Stand Infantry Line
6 Stand Infantry Line
7 Stand Infantry Line
An infantry column is at least 3 rows deep and at most 2 stands wide. The rows but be even however the back row can have one less stand than those in front. These constraints mean a battalion must have at least 3 stands to form column. Note that a column in QPR is an assault column rather than a column of march hence looks quite wide.
3 Stand Infantry Column
6 Stand Infantry Column
4 Stand Infantry Column
7 Stand Infantry Column
5 Stand Infantry Column
8 Stand Infantry Column
A cavalry line, and deployed artillery, remain 1 row deep.
Battalions can form square as a normal formation change. Battalions being charged by cavalry this turn can only form a hasty square; this requires a morale roll to succeed.
Charge to contact
To contact enemy a unit must charge; no ambling up to melee. A charge can be an oblique move but cannot include a change of facing. Infantry cannot charge cavalry. Artillery cannot charge.
If you want to melee someone, line up and charge them properly. Edge to edge contact and stands lined up.
Being charged pre-empts most movement by the unit on the receiving end. The only exception is that infantry may attempt to form a hasty square – which requires a morale check.
A charge is cancelled if the charging unit receives casualties in Fire Combat and fails the disorder check. The unit is assumed to halt 1″ from contact so is pushed back to make a gap.
A pursuit is an immediate charge towards the nearest enemy unit within normal movement range.
Only cavalry that win in melee may pursue. They will pursue or stand their ground depending on the circumstances. The two factors to consider are whether there is enemy within the normal movement and whether or not the unit passes a morale check.
Following melee a victorious cavalry unit:
|No enemy unit within normal movement||Must stand its ground|
|Enemy within normal movement
and fails the morale check
|MuMust pursue; a pursing unit in good order becomes disordered|
|Enemy within normal movement
and passes the morale check
|Choose to pursue or stand its ground|
If a cavalry unit pursues then the resulting combat is resolved immediately. Further pursuits and combats are also possible.
Use markers to represent loses rather than removing stands. John Fletcher reported that with casualty removal “too many games got weird with one stand battalions running around”. In my case I use a casualty figure for the casualty markers and a little skull for disorder.
Infantry casualty and disorder markers
This infantry unit has taken two casualties and is disordered
The use of casualty markers is quite a simple change but has interesting implications. The main impact is that units don’t evaporate gradually. A big unit is going to be relatively resilient under this rule variant. They are effectively full strength until they suddenly disappear. This in turn makes larger units more compelling compared the same number of stands divided into multiple units. At the extreme consider a 5 stand unit versus five 1 stand units. Under the normal rules the multiple unit option is sensible as you get the manoeuvrability of little units but at no cost in resilience as one casualty means one lost stand in both cases. With the variant the small units will be more fragile as one hit means the unit is lost, but the big unit will need five hits before any stands are lost.
If a units takes the same or more casualties as it has stands then it is routed. Note the distance from the leader; each complete 12″ imposes a -1 modifier in a subsequent rally roll. Remove the unit from the table.
A unit must fire at the nearest eligible enemy unit. There is one exception, artillery shooters can skip over ignore artillery targets if they wish and choose the next closest unit instead.
New modifier: Cavalry that do an immediate retreat move -1
Cavalry of the period could evade fire. So when a cavalry unit is being shot at the owner can decide that it is doing a retreat move and hence impose a modifier on the shooter. Normal retreat rules apply – see Melee.
New modifier: Artillery shooting at artillery -2
Counter battery fire was remarkably ineffective. So there is a modifier and artillery shooters can ignore artillery targets for shooting priorities.
Overhead fire: standard rules already have overhead fire if you look for them (p. 4-5)
Stands at the front of a unit fire within 45 degrees of their front, measured from either edge of the stand. Infantry stands in a second row behind eligible front row stands can also shoot at the same target as the front row stand. Other rear row stands cannot shoot.
Artillery move and shoot like other troops. So they can deploy and shoot in the same turn. They can, if deployed, move 2″ and shoot in the same turn. They can change face and shoot.
Stands Eligible to Fight
These stands fight in melee:
- Stands in base to base contact with enemy (as per standard rules)
- Infantry stands in a second row behind stands in base to base contact (because infantry lines are now two deep)
- In a charging infantry column, every second infantry stand in a third or fourth row behind stands in base to base contact
Because of this two melee modifiers have been removed:
- Each rank of depth in Attack +1
- Each stand of Flank Support +1
Infantry or artillery defending hill
Infantry or artillery defending high ground from enemy which is, or began the move, on lower ground get a modifier in melee.
New melee modifier: Attacking infantry or artillery defending high ground -1
Cavalry in Melee with Disordered
New melee modifier: Cavalry in good order in melee with disordered troops +3
Winning and Losing a Melee
One side must win the melee; there are no drawn melees. A side which is entirely routed during the melee cannot win the melee, even if its opponent took more casualties. Otherwise the side which took the most casualties in melee combat this turn loses the melee while the side which took the least casualties wins the melee. If the number of casualties is a tie, each side rolls a die to break the tie, high roller wins (repeat if necessary).
The side that wins the melee holds its ground. The side that loses retreats.
Only the losing side takes a morale test at at the end of melee, and only one morale test. Failure means they are disordered.
A unit retreats if:
- it loses a melee
- it is cavalry and the owner elects to impose a modifier on enemy shooters
During a retreat move the unit moves back 4″ using the same parameters as regular movement. So, for example, the retreat move can be reduced by terrain. A retreating unit that cannot complete the full move because it meets other units or impassable terrain stops at the obstruction and takes a casualty.
Terrain and Combat
Distinguish between gentle slopes and steep slopes. What is currently called “elevation” is a steep slope. Gentle slopes have crests that block LOS but are not disordering terrain.
Change “halt” on Stream to ‘2″‘. Soft cover for a stream only applies when defending the bank in melee.
In the absence of scenario specific victory conditions use this:
An army wins if it forces the enemy to abandon the field and has
not itself abandoned the field. An army abandons the field if, at the end of
a turn, half of its units have routed. A routed unit that subsequently
rallies still counts as routed for these purposes.
Fletcher, J. (2006). Liberators! Supplement 1: The War in the South. Grenadier Productions.
Includes a fast play set of rules, 6 new scenarios, and 125 uniform illustrations.
Particularly the errata in the FAQ section.