Fred Diamond has a simple set of free wargames rules for playing the Indian Wars in the America of the late 19th century.
I’m currently painting some of Wargames Foundry’s Plains Indians for a 7th Cavalry game. I found this site, with descriptions of symbols that the Native American warriors painted on their horses.
Hex Command Gunpowder are a set of free wargames rules for the horse and musket era. They are designed for a 1 stand = 100 men scale. The authors write:
These rules were designed to bring a simplification to wargaming with miniatures because it resembles a board game more than a complicated historical simulation. These rules are intended for any horse and musket era and with slight modifications can be used for any conflict in that range.
These rules do not consider formations as influencing the outcome of battle, other than if a unit is ordered or disordered, because the system compensates for the effects of various tactical realities. The game is intended to be played on hex grid pattern of 4 inch hexes, though this is
not required (numbering each hex is essential for playing via the internet), with the top left corner being a whole hex, and the hexagon orientation being that the flat top and bottom are parallel with the long sides of the surface (hexes are not “pointed up”). Game Mapper is
recommended to assist scenario creation and game tracking.
Pirates anyone? Pieces of Eight is a set of free wargames rules from Andy Watkins portraying Hollywood pirate skirmishes. They are a relatively simple set of rules — but that’s a good thing! Who wants complications when you’re playing pirates.
The Perfect Captain produces some of the most amazing free wargames rules out there. Cousin Jonathan is the Captain’s set of miniatures rules for the War of 1812. The Captain writes:
What are these rules like? Well, I’ll tell you. This system is based on morale as most of our rules are for other periods. We have tried to faithfully reproduce the qualities of every unit that fought along the Canadian border. Not just one morale number is given- the units react to each type of situation differently, depending on the circumstances.
Some troops are afraid of Indians, others, artillery. Some take being flanked worse than others. On top of all this, units have a motivation value that drops as things start to go bad. Fighting qualities vary also, from some units being better shots to others being demons with a bayonet! Included in the rules are blockhouses, entrenchments and boat assaults to test your men in any action of the war.
We’ve tried to include every leader of significance in the game, and made them an important element. Each leader has NINE characteristics that affect play. Some are so timid that they are best left guarding the baggage. Some are desperate for glory and interpret caution as cowardice. Some so self willed that they won’t obey orders and cause other commanders on the tabletop to suffer also.
Perhaps the best part of the game is its ease of play. Charts are easy to read and there is one for every situation, so no reading through lists of modifiers that don’t apply. Every phase of the game is made to be understood at a glance, speeding up play significantly, while giving you the feel of the details of the period. The rules themselves are made to form into a professional quality booklet that lasts.