Winter Battles

By Tony Stapells

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This variant rule is designed for use in battles fought in Northern climes where water features would be frozen in the Winter season.

Rivers are frozen. Simply treat rivers as bad going. Do not roll for river crossings. Banks are not defensible. This creates a long, thin, strip of bad going meandering throughout the battlefield.

Lakes or ponds are frozen and are treated as good going, just as on solid ground. The fun begins when an element is killed while on this frozen surface. A kill would represent some hard fighting; not just skirmishing, so it is assumed that all that jostling would put some strain on the ice surface. All units on the lake would immediately roll a die. On a "one" result, the lake has cracked open and that unit falls through the broken ice and is counted as destroyed. Combat continues as normal. The lake is then treated as bad going.

Another unit destroyed will cause yet another "ice check" to every other unit on the lake. If this sounds too drastic, rather than having the unit fall through the ice and die, it could be amended to a recoil. But the lake would still be treated as bad going after the first time an "ice check" is failed and causes a recoil.

We actually used this once, since the Teutonic Knights preferred campaigning in the depths of winter. Less chance of those pesky pagans from hiding in the undergrowth and unchivalrously ambushing the crusading knights. (Original idea from the fertile and slightly fevered brain of Walter Wintar).

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Last Updated: 12 Nov. 2006

My thanks to Tony Stapells.
Picture of Teutonic Knights on Ice by Paul Hannah.
Questions, comments, suggestions welcome.
Send them to Chris Brantley at