Baroque – IRCRA House Rules


While the various house rules I developed for Baroque have worked well and allowed me to do several things at the tactical level, I have found that it is more satisfying (at least in communicating with others about Baroque) if I stick much more closely to the rules as written. The added benefit here is that I can do larger battle setups in a smaller playing area then is required when using my rule extensions.

One of the major considerations in doing many of the battles on the Celtic Fringe is the wide diversity in unit size coupled with some of the small units having unique (and often decisive) effects on the battle. The latter makes it difficult to simply “bathtub” them with another unit. The method I now use for building units can be found here.

Because I now indicate unit size differently on the playing board I have had to make one house rule accommodation.

Unit interpenetration

For the purposes of determining interpenetration only, the base width of the movement stand is NOT used but the actual width of the unit in standard 1″ pieces. These means, for example, a horse unit of three pieces has an interpenetration width of only three inches rather than the standard five inches of the movement stand.

A rule interpretation is also made as a second house rule:


In Baroque roads impart no advantage except acting as open terrain. This means that a road passing through broken or difficult terrain makes it open BUT the center of the unit passing through must follow the road.


To preserve the history of how I play, the original house rules are shown below.


I have previously updated a post on the main blog concerning the fiddling with the Baroque rules to best serve my application. This has become cumbersome and often the house rules are hard to find – even for me. I will use this page to present the most current house rules I am using:

First House Rule – Large Musket and Pike Units (Non-Tercio)

The capability of using a “doubled” Musket&Pike unit (P&M in Baroque notation) by joining – side-to-side – two P&M units to function as a single unit. Each still maintains its markers but reacts, moves and fires as a single unit (although range, angle, etc. apply to each flank separately). In melee’ it is handled as a multiple melee’ (one flank or the other acting as the Main Unit and the other as Support Unit). The two units MUST be of the same regiment and begin with identical values and characteristics. The right flank unit is designated “A” and the left flank “B”

I have made provision for a third component, “C”, As of now am not planning on using a “tripled” unit.

Should this “doubled” unit need to cross a bridge or ford it must form a column (B unit behind A unit) at the cost of one movement activation. On completion of the crossing it must again form line (another movement activation). Should it be caught in column by fire or charge the rules used with Clan Levy doubled units (below) apply. If one flank is routed the other stays in place put is disorganized. If one flank is forced to retreat the other must also go back. If testing is required it is done on the flank requiring the test or if for the entire unit on the A component (the right flank).

Second House Rule – Pike Blocks

This rule was originally developed for use with Irish All-Pike units allowing them to be “doubled” in the early stages of the Wars of the Confederation. Baroque’s massed unit rules, however, have proven to be a better way to handle pike blocks.

Third House Rule – Large Trotter Units

The capability of using a “doubled” Trotter unit (TR in Baroque notation) by joining – front-to-back- two TR units to function as a single unit. As the trotter style of cavalry (in particular) began to be organized into regiments (rather then troops) much larger coherent formations were possible. This rule is designed to give that higher degree of cohesion. The two units MUST be of the same regiment and begin with identical values and characteristics. Gallopers and lancers may never double.

Doubled Trotters move at their normal rate and are considered as a “massed” unit for the purposes of artillery fire.  If the first rank is routed, the second remains in place but is immediately disorganized. If the first rank is forced to retreat the second is again disorganized but remains in place. In either case the doubled unit is now separated.

Unless the unit has the special “Caracole” characteristic (see the Fifth House Rule), the second rank will only fire its point blank pistols if and when it becomes the front line.

The front rank (A) of doubled trotters gains MM+2 with the presence of the rear rank (B). As long as the rear rank (B) is not engaged all tests are preformed on the front rank (A)

Doubled Trotters also have the ability to share casualties to the un-engaged rear rank. This process is shown in the VBU SHARED REDUCTION TABLE below.

Forth House Rule – Clan Levy Warbands

While Clan Levy Highland Warband -WB(HL)- units may be used as a single or massed unit, a single unit may double other highland Warband units (WB(H), WB(HE), WB(B) or a Highland fencibles musket and pike unit (P&M(F)). The Clan Levy unit is always the rear component.

Such doubled units move as per the front rank unit and are treated as “massed” for artillery fire. If the front rank is routed the second rank clan levy is also routed. If the front rank is forced to retreat the second rank (clan levy) is routed and removed.

The front rank unit unit gains MM+1 with the presence of a rear highland levy rank. All tests are performed on the front rank only.

Casualties are also shared as provided in VBU SHARED REDUCTION TABLE below.

NOTE: this doubling rule MAY also be used for certain ad hoc and local levies if so stated in a battle scenario.

Fifth House Rule – Caracole Special Characteristic

Certain doubled trotter units may have the Caracole Characteristic which allows a unit, on passing a discipline test, to fire all pistols IN BOTH RANKS point blank before engaging. This characteristic costs 15 points.



On Activation doubled units may separate voluntarily by simply moving apart. They are then treated as different units and may not recombine.