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Iron and Fire

Naval Wargames Rules for the Ironclad Period - 1850 to 1880

by David Manley

with revisions and additional material by Andrew Finch and Alan Butler


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The American Civil War saw the beginnings of the use of steam-powered armoured vessels for naval warfare. The guns are smoothbore and rifled cannon, though in some cases of quite a large weight or calibre, which can cause significant damage. Ramming is a valid tactic and can cause your opponent some headaches.

In this edition of the rules the initiative roll from either side determines who will activate first for movement, then for shooting and finally for boarding, though play alternates between players in each phase of the turn. The gunnery rules show the minimum score to hit, and the gun penetration at a given range, as well as the damage inflicted when you hit the target. Critical Damage can be caused which will adversely affect the target. There are rules for ramming, mines and early torpedoes including fixed spar torpedoes, as well as shore batteries and forts, and howitzers and mortars to attack them.

The rules also include over 300 game data sets for the American Civil War with:

  • over a hundred Union Seagoing and River Ironclads, Seagoing Warships and River Gunboats.
  • more than sixty Confederate Ironclads, Gunboats, Static Batteries, Commerce Raiders and Blockade Runners.


  • Chilean and Peruvian vessels.
  • Austrian and Italian Ironclads and Unarmoured vessels.
  • Danish and Prussian Ironclads and Wooden steamers.

as well as typical Russian, Turkish, French and British vessels, with additional data for generic transports.

All the necessary information is also included to allow you to recreate further historic vessels of your choice (or you can design your own).


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Product Support

When accessing the files laid out below, the following rules apply:

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If you Right-click you will see more options about what to do with this file. If you want to download the file to save onto your computer use the menu option 'save link as...' (on a Windows PC) or the equivalent on a Mac.

Quick Reference Sheets

Quick Reference Sheets for Iron and Fire

Rules Support

Turning Circles (x2 for inch and centimetre movement), Firing Arcs, and blank Ship Record Sheets for five ship types for use with these rules are available in the following PDF:

Iron and Fire Rules Support Package


There are no Clarifications at the moment.


There are no Errata at the moment.

Rules Updates

For added excitement there is a set of Chance Cards that can be used during play:

Iron and Fire Chance Cards (2015)

Additional rules including a Campaign system for the American Civil War, and Gun Firing Tables for Shore batteries are available. These can be used to add an extra dimension to your games and can be downloaded here (revised 25 April 2016):

Iron and Fire Additional Rules (2016)

David Manley wrote some Solo rules to introduce you to the rules. These were written for the earlier editions of the rules, but are equally applicable to the 3rd Edition:

Red River Blues - Solo Rules for Iron and Fire (2005)

Earlier Editions of the Iron and Fire also had rules for the use of Sail Power. These have been updated and are available to download here; the document includes the Sailing Circle.

Optional Sailing Rules (2018)

New Data

There is no new data at the moment.

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