I did use some commercial rules back in the early 1980s - mainly the WRG Horse and Musket rules - so that I would have some opponents in club games. But ever since my involvement in club gaming diminished in the mid-1980s, self-written rules have been the norm.
Like all sets of rules mine are pieced from many sources and ideas, but nearly always they can trace their roots back to the days of Featherstone, Grant, Young or Gilder. My rules concepts have pretty much settled now and involve a couple of key modules that can be modified to suit the period. I have used a version of the activation table that has a faint similarity to the original Fire and Fury, I have used a hit and save method for all types of combat - both firing and close combat - and a very simple army morale.
Anyone who has ever gamed with me will probably tell you that my ideas change like the weather, which is probably true, because I am rarely satisfied with the way things work out. But then again my rules are not for publication.
I make my living in the aviation publishing sector and have realised that certain key elements in this medium can be applied to wargames rules. In aviation we use two publications to fly airplanes. One is the operating manual, that contains all of the normal procedures together with descriptions of all the aircraft systems. The other is the Quick Reference Handbook (QRH) that contains all the non-normal procedures. Pilots rarely use the operations manual in flight but nearly always use the QRH because it contains everything they need to know for general operations in one place as a series of checklists.
So I have applied this QRH concept to my rules. For most periods of play I operate eight standard checklists The checklists are:
• Close Combat
• Leader Casualties
• Army Morale.
By following the logic of the checklists, the player is led easily through the game turn, providing all of the basic information required. These two examples from the Crimean War QRH are the checklists for activation and firing.