Wargame Rules Review

IronBoss, by Noble Donkey Production.

IronBoss recreates battles from the fall of the Roman Empire to the late Middle Ages. Whether facing the roar of Gothic invaders, the thunder of Norman cavalry, or the distant terror of English longbows, IronBoss thrusts players into dynamic interaction. Commanding armies of miniature warriors, players struggle for dominance in an age of sharp encounters and battered prospects. Here, opportunities pass as swiftly as they appear and every choice has its consequences. Where mischance plagues every step, victory is anything but certain.

Each player commands an army of miniatures, selected using the simple points system. The miniatures are individually based and organized into groups that are classed according to their relative combat effectiveness. After laying out a tabletop with model terrain, players deploy their forces and prepare for battle. Play proceeds in a series of turns where players can manœuvre their forces, steady wavering troops and attack the enemy. However, no turn is predictable as the shift of dominance can bring even the most comprehensive plan to ruin. As the dominant player manipulates the turn for their own benefit, key advantages are won and lost. Dominance, however, cuts both ways and the enemy is never powerless. Victory is clear cut and won by the death of the enemy general or the ruin of his army.

IronBoss is designed chiefly to give a good game; a game full of historical choices, player interaction and high excitement. Ease of play is a corollary objective as excitement turns upon it. The game mechanics remain as unobtrusive as possible, intuitive and fast. Tactical choices are clear and stripped to naked simplicity. Basic troop characteristics are kept to a memorable few and detailed distinctions are left for the optional rules. Dice rolling and mental calculations are sparse and abandon the strain of tedious repetition. IronBoss plays reference free, and a brief survey should get most players off and fighting.


  • Title: IronBoss
  • Period: Ancients to Medieval
  • Type: Tactical Wargame
  • Time Scale: none
  • Ground Scale: none
  • Troop Scale: 1 figure = one or several men, depending on the size of the battle
  • Basing: individual figures
  • Game Design and Development: Ryan Jenkins
  • Assistant Game Developers: Cameron Jenkins, Justin Jenkins, Tyler Jenkins
  • Format: 30-page rule book
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Noble Donkey Productions, Calgary, Alberta
  • Published: 2008


  1. Introduction
  2. Game Overview
  3. Design Philosophy
  4. Preparation
    • Preliminaries
    • Troop Characteristics
  5. Getting Started
    • Mustering an Army
    • Setting-Up a Battlefield
    • Terrain
  6. Fighting a Battle
    • Deployment
    • Sequence of Play
    • Movement
    • Combat
    • Morale
    • Victory & Defeat
  7. Warrior Showcase
  8. Optional Rules
    • Overview
    • General Rules
    • Special Groups
    • Artillery
    • Strategic Rules
    • Weather
  9. Army Showcase
    • Gothic Army, 4th Century
    • Late Roman Army
    • Anglo-Saxon Army
    • English Feudal Army
    • Hospitaller Army
  10. Design Notes
  11. Miniature Manufacturers
  12. Index
IronBoss wargame in process, using 1:72 miniatures

In IronBoss wargames, available miniatures are formed into groups of five foot or two mounted figures, classed as knights, warriors, or peasants. At least one of these groups must be a command group which includes the army commander figure. A simple point system may be used to ensure that opposing armies are approximately equal in strength. Terrain is set up, using terrain pieces classed as good going, bad going, or impassible.

Groups may move, attack, or rally. The dominant player decides who will move first, and in which order the attacks will be resolved. In ranged or melee combat, several six-sided dice are rolled by the attacking and defending group, based on the combat classification of the involved groups and the tactical situation. Higher scores inflict morale hits and/or casualties, the cumulative effect of which will eventually break the group, unless it is rallied in time to avoid disaster. Morale hits occur frequently, and they may be tracked using counters or a simple roster sheet. Attacking groups will fight the nearest unengaged enemy group, and they may be compelled to pursue if the enemy routs.

The rules are short, easy to read, understand, and memorize. They are good value for money, and will provide a very enjoyable ancients or medieval wargame for two or more players. The simultaneous combat resolution system works very well for solo-wargamers.

Wargame Rules