TITLE: 1776: Wargaming Rules and A Guide to the American War of Independence
AUTHOR: Jay Facciolo and Joe Miceli
PUBLISHER: Creative Wargames Workshop
PUBLICATION DATE: 1976
WEB SITE/SUPPORT FORUM: None.
PRICE (with date): Out of print (in 2010)
REVIEWED BY: Mark “Extra Crispy” Severin
PERIOD COVERED: The American Revolution
1776 is a standard sized booklet of 52 pages. It features a color cover with black and white interior, and comes with three separate card stock sheets of charts. It features a detailed table of contents. The rules occupy the first 20 pages with background and scenarios occupying the rest.
SCOPE: 1776 is a tactical game recreating battles of the American Revolution.
ARMY SIZE: Shako
BASE UNIT: The standard unit is the battalion, although the prevalence of militia and various “legions” in the conflict add variety as they may be comprised of infantry, cavalry and artillery all in one unit.
- Ground Scale: 1” = 20 yards
- Time scale 1 turn = 15 minutes
- Figure Ratio 1 figure = 20 men
- Recommended Figure Size: 25mm
- Table Size: None given
- Game Length: With armies of 100-150 figure per side, game turns should be playable in 15 minutes. Games should be completed in three hours or less.
General base sizes are:
- Infantry: 2” x 1” deep, 1” x 1” for specialty troop types (grenadiers, etc.)
- Cavalry: 1 1/2” x 1 3/4” deep
- Artillery: 2 1/4” x 3” deep
1776 uses a simultaneous turn system. In each phase both players carry out each of the following phases, in order, simultaneously:
- Write Tactical Orders
- Declare Charges and Counter-charges
- Artillery Fire
- Small Arms Fire
- Morale Test
- Post Melee Morale Test
Tactical orders are simple written order for each unit. Units must follow their orders unless there is a change in the situation. In this case they may either take a defensive posture or carry on. A change in orders requires new ones either delivered in person by the commander, or delivered by messenger. New orders are acted upon in the following turn.
Charges are declared prior to movement. Each charging unit identifies a target enemy unit, which then chooses a reaction. It may either counter-charge, stand or stand-and-fire. As soon as a charge is declared the target unit must pass a morale check. Assuming the unit passes, the units will go into melee.
If the target chose to stand-and-fire, it fires at 3” and the charging unit must pass a morale check. If it passes the charge goes through, other wise the unit will fall back according to the result of the morale check.
All units in 1776 are rated as:
- Green Regulars
- Partially Trained
- Poorly Trained
To conduct a morale test the checking player rolls percentile dice, and applies various modifiers. The modifiers include a number based on overall situation. Being fired on by artillery from within 12”, for example, yields a -10, while nearby retreating enemy units give a +5.
The final modified die roll is cross referenced with the unit’s morale rating to give a result. These vary from rout to charging the nearest enemy. Units may retire or may have to halt (lose a turn’s movement). Better troops have a greater chance of getting a “Carry On With Orders” result.
Units must test morale for a variety of reasons, including losing a casualty; receiving a charge; death of a commander; seeing a friendly unit retire, etc.
1776’s movement rules are fairly standard. Movement rates are dictated largely by formation, and troop quality. Thus Elites move 6” when in line, militia 4”. Units pay a penalty to cross an obstacle (and better troops pay less), to move through delaying terrain (light woods, easy slopes) or through obstructive terrain (swamp, heavy woods).
Units may wheel and simply measure the outside arc. Units may oblique at up to a 45o angle. Units also pay to change formation (again better trained units pay less to do so).
Artillery may perform two of limber/unlimber, move, fire, or prolong.
Artillery fire is calculated by individual base. The firing gun type is cross referenced with the range to yield a percentage. This is the chance to cause one casualty. If the percentage is over 1, they cause one automatically with the remainder being the chance to cause a second. Players have the option to fire multiple guns together, simply adding up the percentages and rolling for the last chance of a casualty.
The die roll is modified by cover, the firing unit’s morale, enfilade, etc.
Small Arms Fire:
Small Arms fire is resolved just like artillery fire. One counts the number of firing figures, cross references with the range, and reads the result. This is the chance to cause a casualty. Modifiers include bonuses for elite troops, third ranks, and enfilade. Penalties include the firer’s morale, cover, enemy formation etc. Most of the modifiers are small but apply per figure.
When conducting a melee, all stands in contact count as a single melee, regardless of the overall situation. Each figure has a Melee Point Value. The Point Value of each figure is modified a variety of factors such as attacking up hill, Indians in the woods, flank attacks etc. The attacker’s value is compared to the defender’s and the difference calculated. This yields a base chance for the side with the higher total to win the melee. The side with the higher total rolls percentile dice. If he rolls equal to or less then his side wins the melee. The severity of the victory (or defeat) is determined by the difference between the target needed to win and the final die roll. For example, if you need a 52 to win and roll a 32, you consult the row for a spread of 20 (52-32=20). Checking the chart we see the loser retires shaken 1 turn and has a 50% chance of losing one figure.
The background includes uniform guides, painting guides and some background on unit types, armament, etc. The scenarios included are:
- Freeman’s Farm
- Bemis Heights
- Guilford Courthouse
- Eutaw Springs
1776 is a straight forward clearly written set of rules. Having all the background and scenarios is a big plus, as this is a period that even many gamers do not know well. I like that all the charts work the same way - get a target, modify then roll percentile dice. I always think it is a good idea to have common mechanics. I’m always wary of rules where you roll high here, roll low there, sum here, count there.