Liberators HOTT – Using HOTT for the South American Wars of Liberation

I’m keen on the Wars of South American Liberation aka Liberators at the moment and wondered what I’d have to do to use Hordes of the Things (HOTT) for the period.

I want as many standard HOTT rules to apply as possible but have the option to add some period flavour.

Straight HOTT

I suspect all we need is:

  • Shooters for infantry (Musket or rifle armed; 400 men per element)
  • Riders for cavalry (150 men per element)
  • Hordes for mob (ill-trained and/or ill-equipped levy whether mounted or on foot; 400 men per element)
  • Artillery for artillery (4 cannon)
  • Strongholds will be a camp or nearby town


  • Heroes for good quality troops, e.g. Colonel of the Argentine Horse Grenadiers
  • Sneakers for spys
  • Lurkers for advanced skirmishers

Recommended Rules

Standard HOTT will play okay but to get a bit more period flavour here are some optional rules to consider:

Better artillery

Liberators artillery is much better than the bombards and catapults of HOTT.


  • Artillery shoot 1500p not 500p
  • Artillery shooting over 500p shoot at a reduced rating (+2)
  • Artillery shoot every bound, both own and enemy
  • Artillery can’t shoot in own bound if moved
  • Artillery cost 4 AP to reflect the fact they are much more effective

Attachable Generals

This rule only exists because my Generals are mounted on round bases some of which are wider than a 15mm HOTT element.

A General element represents a senior commander with a small escort. Generals are no longer integral to a particular fighting element. They are not fighting elements but merely status indicators to show which fighting element the General is currently with. Generals can move between elements.


  • A fighting element with a general element attached gets +1 in combat
  • General elements detach from one fighting element, move to another within 500p, and reattach in own movement phase.

Dead Hordes are Dead

Don’t let mob/hordes return. We’re not really talking hordes of animated skeletons, more small mobs of ill-trained and/or ill-equipped chaps.


  • Mob/Hordes do not return to the table with the expenditure of PIPs.

Infantry Column

Line, column, square – the standard infantry formations of the Napoleonic era. Standard HOTT only really has line. Columns were more manoeuvrable, which in HOTT means moves faster.


  • Attack column rule only applies to infantry/shooters.
  • Infantry/shooters moving within a column have the listed maximum movement rates, i.e. 300p.
  • Infantry/shooters moving within in any formation other than column has the listed maximum less 100p, i.e. 200p.
  • A column is as per the standard rules, i.e. is one stand wide with all elements facing the same direction.
  • A single stand isn’t a column.
  • Infantry/shooters get the movement bonus even if the column they are part of includes elements of other troop types – it being assumed the infantry column is moving within a larger group.

Infantry square

Infantry of the period, when facing cavalry, would attempt to do one of the following:

  1. Stay in line and shoot the cavalry off
  2. Run for cover and hope the cavalry won’t come in
  3. Form square to fend off the cavalry

The first two options are covered by standard HOTT but not squares.


  • A square is any two infantry stands back to back, so facing opposite directions.
  • A square cannot form with either stand in contact with enemy.
  • Both stands in the square
    • shoot as normal, i.e. in opposite directions.
    • get a +1 when in close combat with cavalry (no bonus or penalty when facing infantry or artillery).
    • are destroyed if either is forced to recoil or is destroyed.
  • A square cannot move but can, with the due expenditure of PIPs, unform and reform in a different position.


It is assumed that all battles will be based around historical scenarios, and will have their own orders of battle, terrain and set-up rules. Normal HOTT ground scale is 1″ = 100 paces (75 metres) on a 2′ x 2′ table, i.e. 1:3000 as a ratio ground scale and 1″ = 81.25 yards in the scale used in North America.

Although originally I used small bases on a normal (2′ x 2′) HOTT table, with my Liberators armies on Big Bases I would now use a 4′ x 4′ table and 1″ = 50 paces (37.5 metres). This is which is 1:1500 ratio ground scale or 1″ = about 40 yards.

Liberators players are likely to be familiar with the scenarios by John Fletcher of Grenadier Productions. John’s scenarios include maps with 12” squares marked on them. The following table is a rough guide to how may of John’s squares transfer to a normal 2’ x 2’ HOTT table depending on the ground scale John has used.

John Fletcher’s
Published Ground Scale
John Fletcher’s
Ratio Ground Scale
Number of John Fletcher
squares on 2′ x 2′ HOTT Board
HOTT Table
for 6 x 4 Map
Big Base HOTT Table
for 6 x 4 Map
1″ = 40 yards 1:1440 4 x 4 3′ x 2′ 6′ x 4′
1″ = 20 yards 1:720 8 x 8 1.5′ x 1′ 3′ x 2′
1″ = 10 yards 1:360 16 x 16 1.5′ x 1′ but with 1″ = 50 paces 3′ x 2′ but with 1″ = 25 paces

See my Liberators HOTT scenarios for:

Rejected Rules

Rules we tried but which didn’t seem to add much to a HOTT game or just didn’t work.

Good quality troops

Some troops of the period were better than others. Generally Patriot cavalry outclassed Royalist cavalry and Royalist infantry outclassed the Patriot infantry.

To align with John Fletcher’s scenarios we would need a few quality levels:

  • Militia
  • Regular
  • Elite
  • Guard

But in a particular scenario it might be sufficient to to highlight the relative “good” units. A good element might be 3 AP.

Whatever the ratings you use the effect is a combat modifier:

  • -1 modifier if in combat with same troop type of superior quality.

Troops of the “Peasant” rating are Mob/Hordes.

Other Liberators HOTT variations

Check out ‘HOTT Liberated’ by Alan Saunders aka Kaptain Kobold. You’ll find Alan’s rules on the HOTT Yahoo Discussion Forum in the Files section. Or half way down this page Hordes of the Things: Free Stuff you’ll find it as ‘Liberated Hordes’.

2 thoughts on “Liberators HOTT – Using HOTT for the South American Wars of Liberation”

    • Very good question. Not as far as I know. And if somebody did, it would probably be me. The only reason I’ve not done it is that I’ve a wee conversion problem. A little matter of migrating my Carlist War battalions of nine figures on small bases to battalions of 24 figures on big bases. Hmm.


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