Loose Files and American Scramble

Wargame Rules Review

Loose Files and American Scramble, Wargame Rules by Andy Callan.

Loose Files and American Scramble wargame rules were first published in Wargames Illustrated № 1 in September of 1987, and they have since been made available as a free download from the gale force nine website.


  • Title: Loose Files and American Scramble
  • Period: American War of Independence
  • Type: Tactical Miniature Wargame
  • Time Scale: 1 turn = 5 minutes
  • Ground Scale: 1:900 (1 inch = 25 yards)
  • Troop Scale: 1 figure = 10 men
  • Author: Andy Callan
  • Format: 4 pages, free .pdf download
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Wargames Illustrated, № 1
  • Published: Sept. 1987


  • Scales
  • Organisation
  • Training
  • Order of Play in a Turn
  • Command
  • D. Points
  • Movement
  • Manœuvre
  • Collisions/Interpenetrations
  • Morale
  • Firing
  • Casualties
  • Combat
  • Risk to Commanders
  • Formations Permitted
  • Designer’s Notes
  • A Flavour of the Times

Disorganisation, Demoralisation, Desertion

Loose Files and American Scramble uses D. Points, or DPs, to account for the temporary disorganization, demoralization, and desertion effecting a unit as it manœuvres across the broken terrain of the North American battlefield, changes formation, interpenetrates friendly troops, receives enemy fire, or engages in close combat. When the maximum of five DPs has been reached, any additional DPs incurred from fire, combat, or morale tests are taken as casualties, removing one company of infantry (3 figures), a troop of horse (2 figures), or knocking out a gun. To prevent this from happening, some units need only halt and re-dress their ranks, thereby removing one or two DPs; lesser quality troops, like militia, inexperienced loyalist, or native American warriors only lose DPs if rallied by a commanding officer or, in the worst case, by their commander in chief.

Random Movement Distances

To account for the broken terrain of the North American battlefield, all movement is randomly diced for. Elites, Regulars, Veteran Milita, and Loyalists roll one or two average dice, player’s choice, and move that number of inches per turn. Untrained militia, inexperienced loyalist, and native American warriors may move more quickly, using one average dice plus one D6 in inches per turn, but at the increased risk of incurring one DP for every 1 or 2 rolled on the movement dice. To account for their European battlefield drills, Hessian infantry (with the exception of Jäger skirmishers) moves only one average dice, or one average dice + 2 inches per turn. Random move distances, combined with the disordering and demoralizing effects of D. Points incurred by movement, are an excellent way to recreate the difficult terrain of the North American battlefield. Players will find it quite challenging to advance their troops in perfectly dressed lines with anchored flanks, as some units are sure to outdistance their supports and find themselves vulnerable to flank attack. Militia is best deployed behind cover, and moved as little as possible during an engagement.

Simple, but not simplistic

The combination of temporary, but potentially dangerous disorganisation, demoralisation, and desertion with variable movement rates, formation changes, ranged and close combat makes Loose Files and American Scramble quite easy to play, yet difficult to master. Compared to other wargame rules, the tabletop general is much less in control here. Good judgement and proper tactical doctrine are required to prevail on the Revolutionary War battlefield.

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