Monday, April 28, 2014

Rules Preview for Land of the Free

Hello everyone. I have received several questions and I wanted to answer them in the hopes of giving you guys an idea about the rules of the game. I know this will generate more questions and I will do my best to answer what I can but the book is currently being reviewed and edited so I don't want to disappoint someone if something doesn't make the book. Anyways here is some information about the game.

Standard size or number of miniatures in a game?
Land of Free uses a flexible force building system utilizing 4 different sizes to represent your elements (units) in the game (tiny, small, medium, large). These sizes can represent anything that the players elect to play allowing gaming groups to play at smaller 'skirmish' level actions or bigger battles.

Troop ratio?
There is no set ratio because the players determine the size of their games.

Basing standard?
There are recommended basing styles in the book but again the basing is flexible to accommodate the myriad of existing collections in the world.

How does army building work?
Players must have a Force Commander and a minimum of two Group commanders. Each Group Commander must have a minimum of two elements (any size). So a legal army would be a Force Commander, Group Commander with 2 Elements, and another Group Commander with 2 Elements

Ground scale?
All movement and force setup in the game is standardized regardless of the scale of the miniatures.

Time scale? Battle and reality
The ordering system takes into account that an element is performing their actions over a couple minutes of combat time. In reality a game that consists of about 6-8 elements per side will take about 2 hours once the players know the rules.

Phases of the game?
The turn operates by Groups. One player will activate a group then activate each element within the group until all elements have had an opportunity to receive orders. Then the other player will do the same. The sides will continue to alternate activating groups until all groups and elements have performed their orders or passed. So an active element will perform all their moving, shooting, melee, etc. before moving to the next element.

How do orders work?
Each element has a number of maneuver and combat orders it may perform in a turn. These orders can be done in any sequence giving an element a measure of tactical flexibility. Maneuver actions are things like moving forward, backward, turning, wheeling, changing formation, and reloading their weapons. Combat orders are shooting and fighting a round of melee.

Unit stats?
A unit has the following stats: Maneuver, Combat, Discipline, Morale, Action, Points
The stats are based on the elements size but also can be influenced in the Advanced Rules by the elements type.
For example a medium element would look something like this:
Maneuver: 3, Combat: 3, Discipline: 3, Morale: 7+, Action: 4, Points: 25
Maneuver and combat are the number of orders an element may take in a single turn. See above. Discipline is the number of hits an element may take before it loses a level of discipline. Morale is the value or higher an element must roll on 2d6 in order to pass morale related tests. Action is the number of d6 dice the element roles for both shooting and melee combat. The points value is used for players wishing to play balanced games.

Historical aspect (theaters, scenarios, etc)
A lot of historical re-fights were written for the book but until the book has been edited I think it would be best to hold off on listing the battles. I tried to incorporate battles from all the wars that are represented by these rules. There is also a section on 'generic' scenarios that are typical of why these armies would fight.

If you are someone very interested in this time period and don't have any miniatures then your initial cost of investment could be quite low. For under $200.00 USD you could have your rules and both American and British forces to create some nice games. This value does not take into account a gaming table and scenery. The rulebook retails for around $35 USD leaving you $165 USD for miniatures. Wargames Factory is releasing 6 boxes of toy soldiers and even if they sell them at $30 USD a piece that will give you 5 boxes to choose from. More than enough to get you started and playing some decent sized games.

Special rules for different unit types?
The initial stats for the troops are generic allowing new players to quickly grasp the concept of play and issuing orders without the added confusion of special rules. In the Advanced Rules section I have added several element types that players can use in their games for an added points cost.


  1. Thanks for the preview. Sounds like a modern "fast-play" style game. Because there are points values, I assume it is a tournament-style set up, like Flames of War, where players can decide on points values before hand, then choose from a list, then show up without any knowledge of the opponent's force?

  2. Yes, the idea of the army lists was to create a balanced system allowing players to use the rules competitively as well as for fun one-off games. There is a 'generic' scenario section which could be used for tournament play if the community sees fit to do so. Thanks,


  3. Hey Joe, I received your rules from Osprey to review for a few websites. So far I really like what I see. The book is beautiful, definitely something to be proud of! I have a question, though. The rulebook says base to hit is 5+, but the QRS say 6+. Which is it?

  4. Chad - Thanks for the feedback and let me know when your editorial is posted so I can check it out. The QRS was a miskey. Shooting and Melee are both 5+ to hit. Thanks and I look forward to your review.


  5. Hello Joe,

    I downloaded the Rules for Kindle yesterday, and I do really like the rules. I think they are also useable for the whole Horse and Musket era, for the SYW or even the WSS.

    But I have one Question, is it possible to supply a downloadable QRS and the Rooster sheets and maybe printable markers ?

    Thanks in advance,


  6. Hello Peter. Thanks for picking up the rules and I appreciate the comments. I am glad you like them and I hope they bring you hours of enjoyment. I absolutely believe the rules could be played for more wars during the time period and made a small mention of it in the book.

    I can put some PDF's on the blog here but I don't have any printable markers made. Perhaps down the line I could design some. Ironheart Artisans designed some markers for me that you may want to check out on their website and I have links to their page above. Thanks for the comments and I will work on posting the QRS soon. --Joe

  7. Just in the middle of reading the rules and have to say so far they look very interesting and I like what I see so far. By the way, if using 15mm figs (say Blue Moon 15mm's which are really nice figs) I would say that you could half the investment number ( i.e. approx $100 dollars) to have 2 decent forces and the rules.

  8. Hello and thanks for the reply. I am happy to hear you like the rules and you are absolutely right about Blue Moon and the cost of an army. My FIW forces are Blue Moon but my AWI is Wargames Factory. I prefer 28mm but I thought having a mix for the book would be good.

  9. Hello Joe,

    I startet painting 10 mm miniatures by Pendraken for a Demo Game here in Germany. I have a question about the cavalry bases. Is the 40 mm side always the front or is it the 60 mm side in case of the cavalry.
    Kind Regards,


  10. By the way,
    it's an excellent rulebook.

    Kind Regards,

  11. Steffen,

    Guten Tag. Wie geht's es Ihnen? I werde ein bischen Deutsch versuchen zu sprechen. Seit zehn Jahren habe ich nicht Deutsch geschriebt oder gesprochen. Das tut mir leid wenn mein Deutsch nicht so gut ist.

    Ok. Back to English. :) Basing in completely up to to you. If you are referring to my recommendations for 10mm then the front would be 60mm and the depth would be 40mm. This way you could mount 2 or 3 miniatures per base. Of course you can use any base size you want but I would recommend being consistent when mounting each troop type (cavalry, infantry, artillery). Good luck and have fun.

    I really appreciate the kinds words and I would love to see some pictures of your demo game. If you write up the demo game and take pictures I would be happy to post it here on my blog.

    Vielen Dank and viel Glueck



  12. Thank you for your quick reply.
    Your German is very good.
    Right now I am painting the British troops for AWI, when finished, I will put them onto bases. I base them like you recommended. Then the Continentals will follow. When the first miniatures are ready, I can send pictures.

    Kind Regards