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Commanders, a wargame digest


My designs

Invasion 1066 the Battle for Hastings

Invasion 1066: The Battle of Hastings Currently in print with Revolution Games.

This is the 2014 edition of a game that was previously sold as a DTP game under the title 'Senlac Hill'. This is a small format game, playable in a couple of hours. It is a two player game but also suitable for solitaire play.

It is based upon the traditional telling of the battle with a Norman army pressing up the forward slopes of Senlac Hill. The Norman force has archers, foot and cavalry. The Saxons have Housecarls and the General Fyrd. 

My favourite part of the system is the rout process that sees breakdowns here and there in the line but as casualties increase, the rout becomes more generalised, taking away bigger portions of the line. 

The player will often find themselves winning in one place and losing in another. There is a lot of action in a relatively small map. See both BoardGameGeek and revolution Games.

Find a full details of play etc on the blog here. There are also some article links on the DARK AGES tab here on the Commanders site that may be of interest.                   

Stamford Bridge 1066

This is the sister game to Invasion Hastings 1066. Though they share the stage game engine, the two very different situations produce quite different games, with this one very much in the realm of hack and slash, a stark contrast to the Hastings game in which casualties build up much more slowly.

The game presents the historical situation an is balanced to give a fair game, but there are plenty of bolt on options for players to explore wider situations. the game is available from Revolution Games.

EDIT - this is a rather nice 5 minute video that Mr. Bickford did of the game. LINK

Heroes of the Motherland

This is tactical a WWII game in the Lock 'n Load series, designed by Jeff Lewis, which puts an earlier out of print expansion back into print.

New in this version is the inclusion of a 5 scenario campaign module that I designed, covering the attempt relief of Stalingrad by German forces in December 1942. 

I had made it freely available via Boardgamegeek, but it is nice that the company saw it and wanted it included in this package. The game is available from Lock 'n Load.                       

Eagles at Quatre Bras

are a set of rules for playing napoleonic games on a hex grid. They are intended for 10mm figures on a 4" hex grid, but could be equally played as a boardgame or with Kriegspeil type blocks on a hex grid.

The current version is still a Beta version while play testing continues. There is also an associated Quatre Bras scenario that is being used in the play tests.

I have an ACW set of rules called Two Flags - One Nation and I am seeking to get a closer merging of the two sets, with the more recent TF-ON probably providing the main game engine.

For a better descrition as to where these rules are up to at them moment, please see this recent blog posting, which also contains links for the rules and scenario. LINK -

Edit - There is a napoleonic page here on the Commanders now that has additional information.

Anzio: The Bloodiest Beachhead

This is a print 'n' play design covering the Allied landings at Anzio in January 1944. The game covers the first six weeks of the fighting, as during this period, both sides were pro-active in attack, allowing for a balanced game.

The Allies were trying to break out of their beachhead, while the German goal was to contain and then remove the threat, giving both players interesting roles and different objectives.

The game is available as a low cost download, providing PDF's for the user to print their own game parts. Using good quality paper matters, particularly for the map and counters. 

The following link gives access to the files. LINK                  

Tigers at Minsk

These are a set of WWII tactical rules for using figures on hex terrain, initially designed to use  a small 8 x 6 grid that will fit onto a small kitchen table or large pinboard, though bigger battlefields can be created.

They can be accessed as a free PDF download (for personal use and copyright retained by myself) from the blogged design page listed below. They have been designed to be easy to learn and play and to be solitaire friendly.

Bases represent single rifle sections (than include any inherent LMG), HMG's, anti - tank rifles, single vehicles and single anti-tank guns. At the start of each turn a player picks part of the battlefield to put into command and the rest of their forces must test for command, so there is an element of control being taken away from the the player(s).

Infantry are using 5's and 6's for hits and vehicles use a D10 with gun / armour relationships taken into account. For free they are certainly worth a look, even if you just use some of the ideas in there for your own games. (There is now a campaign module called Yartzevo defiant and a North West Europe module, links are on the WW II page). Access the latest version of the rules from here (thank you DropBox)

Two Flags - One Nation

are my hexed based rules for ACW. The rules are freely available for download from my DropBox. My first draft was made over 10 years ago, for use with plastic 1/76 ACW on 5" hexes.

On my 2017 re-visit to these rules, I have brought across some of the mechanics from my Napoleonic rules (Eagles at Quatre Bras). The ACW rulebook includes two scenarios, The first covers the opening hours of Gettysburg as the Confederates enter Willoughby Run to chase off the dismounted cavalry firing from cover on the far bank. The second, which serves as an interesting introduction to the rules, is a small and fictitious battle based around Mill Creek.

Note, it the newer version, the ‘game lock’ mechanism has been removed..

LINK to the blog article which has design notes and it's own link that will take the reader to the rules.

EDIT - this link gives the latest (May 2018) notes and rules versions.       

Nato Alert

Published in 1984 by CCS, NATO Alert was a game programmed on the old 8 bit Spectrum 48k.  Mostly written in basic, with a couple of machine code routines to handle graphics, the game took around 3 months to write and a further 3 months going back and forth between myself and CCS as amendments, improvements to A.I. and debugging took place.

This was just a hobby, aside from my full time employment, but I spent too many hours staying up after midnight getting this done. I was of course young in 1984 and while being nice to see something published, the process brought two lessons home to me.

Firstly, I had been really poor at maths and anything to do with numbers at school and yet later had been successful at this numbers based project and so I think if you really want to do something, push your boundaries and do it ... it is likely within your capability.

Secondly the whole thing was quite intense in the number of hours I had to give to it and in the end it killed my interest / passion in programming for wargaming - the lesson is be careful about turning a hobby into commercial thing ...... hobbies are precious things and should be aligned with leisure not work if you want to keep the pleasure!

Anyway, I have always kept my 'designer copy' even though I don't have a machine to use it with simply because it represents to me the sentiment fact that if you want to do it, even if it is outside your comfort zone, then have a go.