An Introduction to Modern Spearhead

Modern Spearhead is a miniatures rule set written by John Moher and Alex Macris with assistance by Arty Conliffe. Like the World War to version, Spearhead, the rules are designed for wargaming divisional level engagements .

Modern Spearhead uses a troop scale where each stand generally represents a platoon of four to five vehicles or a platoon of infantry. Therefore, company would typically be represented by two or three stands. These companies are together formed into a battalion and along with a battalion headquarters stand and a selection of support weapons the battalion forms the basic game formation. Each stand is mounted on a 1.25″ square base. The most common figure scale is 1/300th scale.


Each game turn represents 15-30 minutes of actual battlefield time. Two ground scales are given in the rules. The default where 1″ equals 100m and the alternate where 1″ equals 125m.  Using the alternate ground scale our typical playing area of 6′ x 4′ represents a battlefield area of around 9km x 6km.

While many Modern rule sets start with a technical bottom level approach, usually with detailed range and armour classes and little consideration to command or doctrine or planning, Modern Spearhead does the opposite. Rather it starts from the top and works down. This results in significantly less detail in individual weapon systems and instead the focus is on battalion and brigade level command issues. This allows the wargamer to operate at the level of brigade or divisional commander where command, planning and army doctrine are all important. The individual fighting stands operate along traditional doctrine to execute, or at least attempt to execute the wargamer’s plan.

At the beginning of the game each player must organise his army and allocate his resources dependent on his plan of operations. This takes the form of allocating support units such as reconnaissance, indirect artillery and anti-tank units as well as air support units to the different battalions under his control. Some of these fighting battalions will be initially committed to battle while others will be held in reserve. This committment involves the drawing of command arrows for each battalion given “attack” or “timed attack orders”. This critical phase of the battle will in many ways form the basis of victory or defeat though careful use of order changes and commitment of reserves will also be important.


Once fighting battalions are in the area of the enemy much of the detail of the combats are handled by the rule mechanics. These include individual target prioities depending on stand and target types. These engagement prioities are based on the assumption that individual platoon and company commanders are making decisions consistent with training and doctrine. This allows the wargamer to focus at the level of a brigade or divisional commander while still allowing large formations to be deployed on the table and battles resolved in reasonable amounts of time.

Modern Spearhead comes complete with detail on all the major weapons systems from 1950-2000. The base rules, for ground combat, are well supported by additional rules covering air support, engineering tasks electronic warfare without significant complication. The result is the Brigade or Divisional commander must consider the impact of all these systems on his operations. Three introductory scenarios are included, as well as brief suggestions on designing your own scenarios. Finally the rules package includes Tables of Organisation & Equipment of the major armies of the Arab-Israeli Wars, 1980 Cold War Europe and the First Gulf War.