Steel Bonnets – Scenario Notes

Ladies and Gentlemen, below are John Ewing’s notes from the Border Reiver game described previously.


For anyone who might be interested in trying out the Border Reivers scenario I posted about earlier, here is a copy of my scenario notes. At its heart, it is a pretty generic “raid on a settlement” game which could be used in other eras or settings.

By way of explanation, we use a group activation method when playing multi-player games to speed up play. Also, we draw chits rather than roll dice for initiative because then I have a chance of remembering the order of play when it changes from turn to turn. Particularly useful when we determine initiative order before each phase of a turn, as we often do in Club games to add to the chaos.

The changes to movement rates and ranges were purely to facilitate the use of the nice wooden measuring sticks produced by Warbases ( a la Saga). We’ve found these to be very useful in running public participation games, especially when youngsters are involved who are unused to tape measures and Imperial measurements. Avoids blank looks when you tell them they can move 6″ and saves my poor addled brain the effort of converting inches to centimetres.

Finally, a couple of pictures of the Robson Heidman and the lads gathered before the Bastle House for their pre-game briefing. (Mad Mick is on the left in the blue jacket and fetching skull cap.) and the objects of everyone’s desire – the coos and sheeps.


The Robsons assemble before the Bastle House.

Steel Bonnets Scenario Notes

Setting: Robson hamlet in North Tynedale, a cluster of houses, pig stye, grain store along road, with Bastle House, stable and barmekin at one end. Cattle and sheep ingathered to fields near hamlet. Scattering of woods.

Time: Shortly after dawn, early morning mist rising.


  • 4 Reiver players each with 6 mounted Reivers in 2 groups of 3 figures.
  • 2 families ( Elliots & Hendersons) each led by laird with 3 Veterans.
  • Robson Defender has 15 defenders on foot initially led by Heidman and 2 Veterans, plus 2 foot patrol groups of 4 figures who may turn up later.

Deployment: Defenders split between Bastle House and 3 cottages with 2 sentries on road, one at each end of village. May emerge from hiding places on alarm being raised after passing “pluck test”. Score equal to pluck rating means can leave building but not move further that turn, higher can move.

Attackers deploy on long table edge on opposite sides of hamlet, mounted.

Raising Alarm: Sentries will move randomly along road until enemy spotted. Spotting roll equals “pluck test” if LOS to raiders at end of movement. Modified by pace of raider movement +2 if gallop, -2 if cautious walk.

Reinforcements: may arrive at umpire’s discretion after successful pluck roll. One group each of 4 additional foot defenders at either road end. Roll separately for each group. Represents returning patrol or neighbours attracted by the noise of the fight.

Victory Points: 10 points per base of livestock removed off own table edge.
2 points per enemy figure “taken out”, 5 points per veteran, 10 for laird.

Rule Modifications:
Order of activation determined by drawing chits with names of player’s leader characters ( e,g, “Sim the Laird” Henderson, “Mad Mick” Robson).

When chit is drawn, player may activate a group of 3-4 figures to move or act. Shooting and combat still one figure at a time but complete all individual group combats for both sides before moving to next group.

Movement rates amended to 15cm walk, 25cm run for foot; 15cm walk, 30cm trot and 45cm for mounted. Moving more than 10cm incurs a shooting penalty.

Weapon ranges – Dagg (pistol) 10cm; Latch (hand crossbow) 30cm; Hackbut (arquebus) 30cm.”


The objects of the game.

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