Scenarios for Wargames

Scenarios for Wargames by Charles Stewart Grant.

For most people the introduction to wargaming, in its most elementary form, comes early in childhood. The initiator may be a relative or friend, the occasion a birthday or Christmas and the prerequisite a box of toy soldiers. The next step after a few parades and skirmishes is to find an opponent with some figures. Rules at this stage are basic to say the least and a marble or some such missile is usually the final arbitrator.

This somewhat typical introduction to "playing with soldiers" apart, for most wargamers the first games are usually what may be called confrontation battles. The wargame table is usually a nondescript terrain and both players array their respective armies at opposite sides of the table on the base line. Each side is the same in unit types and strength (to ensure a fair and balanced game). The result is often determined by the side with most figures left or, but less often these days, the side with some figures left after a fight to the death battle. The next step is usually the selection of different armied but still providing a balanced game by selecting units on a points basis. In its simplest form this may be 1 point for each infantry unit, 2 points for a cavalry unit and 3 points for a battery of guns; each side being allowed to choose an army of say 10 points total. A more versatile and realistic system is that popularised by the Wargames Research Group Rules where points are allotted to types of figures in cavalry, infantry, etc.; the class of figure in terms of training and morale; the weapons and armaments as well as command structure. Armies can then be chosen up to a points value – say 1200 points each. This begins to introduce the unexpected into the wargame. Now games are not fought to the death but more realistically, an army will retire if its percentage of casualties becomes unacceptable.

From these beginnings things will move rapidly as the wargamer becomes more adventurous. He may undertake the refighting of famous battles, indeed many of the unenlightened think that all wargamers spend their entire time trying to beat Wellington at Waterloo. While this of course is not the case, there is a wealth of wargame enjoyment to be found in refighting real battles, be they famous or less so. In this way the players begin to get a feel for the strategic background to a battle and undoubtedly start to think about wargames in a wider sense. Tactical considerations, as well as the strategic background, become important in such battles and wargamers begin to see how confrontation battles lack a realistic aim and objectives. As Clausewitz’s much used quotation says: "War is an extension of politics" and the wargame should at least in part reflect this. The question then arises, "how can we introduce the tactical and strategic background into our own games?"

What is clearly missing is the social, political, economic and strategic background which would put the flesh on the confrontation battle and provide the raison d’etre for the action. The means to achieve this is the wargame campaign. For anyone who has participated in a wargame campaign, particularly if is has been well organised, there will be no doubt that this is the pinnacle of wargaming. The variations are infinite. One may have two or more countries, real or imaginary on a real or self made maps. The armies can be fictitious or otherwise. The whole thing can be as complex or as simple as the players wish. It can include personalities, economics, social background, resupply casualties, prisoners of war, spying, political intrigue and so on. Wargame campaigning is a fascinating and for many the most enthralling aspect of wargaming. For an insight into its many facets one can do no better than to read Tony Bath’s book Setting Up a Wargame Campaign.

All the depth of involvement has only one disadvantage; it takes a lot of time and effort. Time particularly is the enemy of the wargame campaign. Thirty days of campaign time, especially if postal players are involved can take from a few months to a whole year. This is one of the very serious drawbacks to wargame campaigning but one which regrettably precludes many from taking part and this denies them the opportunity to play many actions, little and large, which arise in wargame campaigns.

What is required is something which will bridge the gap between the confrontation game and the full blooded campaign. This means a wargame which can be played in the time frame of the former but with some of the strategic background, tactical mission and perhaps disparity of forces formed of the latter. The answer is a wargame scenario.

The aim of this book is to describe how to set up, organise and play a variety of individual actions any of which might occur in wargame campaigns. Each scenario will explain the nature of the operation involved, the background to it, the mission of each side with details of forces and any other constraints, the way the game should be organised and how victory may be determined. In this way it is hoped to provide a more realistic backdrop and purpose to confrontation wargames.

It is not the intention to provide an alternative to wargame campaigns, but perhaps a substitute; nor is it intended that it should replace confrontation wargames such as in wargame competitions. It is the intention only to provide a basis in the form of 52 scenarios, one for each week of the year if the wargamer has the time and inclination, for the wargamer to experiment with another facet of our extremely enjoyable hobby.


  • Title: Scenarios for Wargames
  • Period: Ancient to Science-Fiction
  • Type: Compilation of Wargame Scenario
  • Time Scale: n.a.
  • Ground Scale: n.a.
  • Troop Scale: units
  • Author: Charles Stewart Grant
  • Format: 132-page scenario book
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Wargames Research Group, Goring-by-Sea, England
  • Published: 1981


  1. Umpires, Organisers and Players
  2. On Maps
  3. The Layout
  4. The Scenarios
    1. Positional Defence (1)
    2. Positional Defence (2)
    3. Holding Action (1)
    4. Holding Action (2)
    5. Rear Guard (1)
    6. Rear Guard (2)
    7. Rear Slope
    8. Dead Ground
    9. Attack on a Camp
    10. Breakout
    11. Defence in Depth
    12. Flank Attack
    13. Last Stand
    14. Reinforcing a Town
    15. Reinforcements in Defence: (1) On the Table
    16. Reinforcements in Defence: (2) Off the Table
    17. Bridge Assault
    18. River Crossing
    19. Assault River Crossing
    20. Reserve Demolition
    21. Bridgehead Breakout
    22. Pontoon
    23. Railway Attack
    24. The Train
    25. Parachute Assault
    26. Helicopter Attack (Coup de Main)
    27. Airport
    28. Coastal Raid
    29. Raid from the Sea
    30. Ambush (1)
    31. Ambush (2)
    32. Convoy (1) – Wagon Train
    33. Convoy (2) – Evacuation
    34. Swampland Action
    35. Fighting in Built-up Areas
    36. Choke Point
    37. Defile
    38. Rural Encounter
    39. Island Battle
    40. Dominant Hill
    41. Chance Encounter
    42. Advance Column
    43. Betrayal
    44. The Settlement
    45. Guerilla Skirmish
    46. Local Population
    47. Coup d’Etat
    48. Fire Support Base
    49. Ancient and Modern
    50. Horse and Foot
    51. Treasure Hunt
    52. The Raid
  5. Key to Map Symbols
  6. End Piece

Wargame Rules