Tupara – A Crossfire Variant for the New Zealand Wars

Tupara (literally two-barrel) were the double-barrelled shotguns favoured by the Maori in the New Zealand Wars. Given the devastation this weapon caused amongst their European opponents it seems an appropriate name for a Crossfire variant for the New Zealand Wars.

Hone Heke

The rules are an adaptation of the French Indian Wars variant of Crossfire mentioned by Steve Burt on the Crossfire discussion forum with the concealment rules from Incoming! Barrie Lovell’s Vietnam Variant for Crossfire.

The Rules

Assume that all Crossfire rules and House Rules apply unless stated otherwise.

1. Figures are organised into units, usually of 3-4 bases. Units can be of different types (e.g. could include British regulars and NZ militia). One stand in the unit (with an officer/chief) is the command stand, and acts as if it had an integral PC on it.

2. Close order foot (British foot regiments, Naval Brigade, Militia):

  • Fire with 4 dice, arc of fire 90 degrees (like an HMG).
  • Deduct one dice if firing *from* terrain (separate from the -1 for firing *into* terrain).
  • -1 to rally rolls if in cover.
  • Flank companies (Grenadiers and Lights) and Naval Brigades count as veterans; Militia as green; others as regulars.
  • Must have LOS to command stand at beginning and end of move.

British Columns

3. Loose order foot (trained volunteers e.g. Rangers, Armed Constabulary)

  • Morale as regulars.
  • Fire with 3 dice, arc of fire 180 degrees.
  • Must have LOS to command stand at beginning of move.


4. Maori

  • Morale as regulars.
  • Get a +1 to rally in cover, but are -1 to rally in the open.
  • Fire with 3 dice, arc of fire 180 degrees.
  • Don’t need LOS to command stand.


5. Artillery

  • As rules.

British Artillery

6. Mounted

  • Don’t fire.
  • Melee at +3

Mounted British

7. Each unit may fire only once per phasing fire – slow reloading muskets.

8. Melee is unit v unit, and is conducted like melees in buildings in CF – pair off stands and keep rolling till one side is destroyed. A column may count all its stand in melee.

9. Recon by fire needs a 6 to spot Maori, 5 to spot loose order and 4 to spot others.

10. Maori can buy Snipers.

11. Large forces (which always applied to the Europeans) have a general represented by a Company Commander stand. Maori generals act as the platoon commander for their own tribesmen.

12. Stands can ‘Search’ for camouflaged Maori entrenchments.

  • Maori entrenchments (trenches, rifle pits and bunkers) deployed in terrain areas providing protective cover (usually bush) are not automatically detected. The terrain feature must be searched to find them.
  • An area may only be searched once during a player’s initiative but can be searched by up three stands simultaneously. The searchers must be in the terrain feature and stationary.
  • Each searching stand must throw 1D6 and refer to the following chart.
Target is: Score to detect:
Within one base width Automatic
Outside one base width 6+
Outside one base width but occupants are firing 3+
  • Troops unable to identify the target may only use recon by fire against the terrain feature in which it is concealed
  • Maori units may enter and leave, or move in, camouflaged entrenchments without being seen unless the observing unit is within one stand width of the moving unit or they have already been detected. If they have already been detected then any movement is treated as a Retreat Move
  • A search action may draw reactive fire.
  • A failed search action does not lose the initiative

14. Hidden stands firing from cover are only revealed if they roll a 1 on any die.

15. An ambush attack may also be declared against an enemy stand which is passing within two stand widths of the firers ambush position as long as the target stand is either:

  • Moving along a trail, track, road, stream or river.
  • In the open and passing between two terrain features which are no more than 2 stand widths apart (i.e. the target is moving through a natural defile)


I haven’t play tested this adaptation yet, but suspect I’ll make a couple of tweaks before I do

  • Lose any reference to having to plot Maori entrenchments before they are found, hence bonus for “within one base width” on a search.
  • Lose “2 stand widths” limitation on ambush. Make it less than one area terrain feature away.
  • You will probably also need to use Ghosts for Hidden Movement of the Maori. After all they need some advantage to compensate the British numbers.

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