SQUARES - The Civil War Battle Game

A Strategy Game of Military Maneuvers and Tactics



SQUARES - The Civil War Battle Game is an abstract representation of a typical Civil War battle between 2 opposing armies: the Blue and the Gray. Each army is comprised of 9 Infantry units, 3 Artillery units, and 4 Cavalry units. The game is played by opponents moving their units on the gameboard (map) and attacking enemy units until one player fulfills the conditions necessary to win the game. The map is made up of 32 spaces (called squares, although most are rectangular); there are 6 forest squares (3 on each side of the board), 24 clear squares, and 2 Reserve Areas; each player has a Reserve Area at his end of the board.


A player is declared the winner when he accomplishes one of the following goals:

1. Occupies his opponent's Reserve Area with any of his units.

2. Eliminates ten of his opponent's units. Any opponent's unit eliminated counts, regardless of how the unit was eliminated. Artillery units count as double. If more than half of a player's Cavalry units are eliminated (3 or 4), then all Cavalry units lost count double.

3. If his opponent is unable to perform a legal action during one of his turns.

If both players accomplish goal #2 (ten units eliminated) on the same attack, then the winner is the player that has eliminated the most enemy units.

For example: Player 1 has eliminated 9 enemy units: 1 Artillery (counts as 2), 2 Cavalry, and 5 Infantry. Player 2 has eliminated 8 enemy units: 1 Artillery, 2 Cavalry, and 4 Infantry. Player 2 attacks and eliminates an enemy Cavalry unit at the cost of 1 Artillery unit. Both players have now eliminated "ten" enemy units, but Player 2 wins because he has eliminated 12 enemy units to Player 1's 11: Player 2's total = 1 Artillery unit worth 2, 3 Cavalry units worth 6 (doubled since more than half have been eliminated), and 4 Infantry, (2 + 6 + 4 = 12), vs Player 1's total = 2 Artillery worth 4, 2 Cavalry worth 2, and 5 Infantry (4 + 2 + 5 = 11).

If both players accomplish goal #2 on the same attack and have the same number of eliminated enemy units the game is a draw.


To start, each player places all his units on his Reserve Area. The Reserve Area is the only space on the board that can hold more than 1 unit. All other map squares may only be occupied by 1 unit. Players may decide for themselves who will get the first turn. Play proceeds with players taking alternate turns. During a player's turn he may either MOVE, ATTACK or PASS as described in detail below. The same unit may not MOVE on 3 consecutive turns, nor may it ATTACK on 3 consecutive turns (supporting an attack does not count as an attack).


A player may MOVE his units by performing one of the following actions during his turn:

1. move 1 Infantry unit into an adjacent non-forest square,

2. move 1 Artillery unit into an adjacent non-forest square,

3. move 1 Cavalry unit a total distance of 1 or 2 squares through adjacent connected squares (but not into nor through a forest square),

4. move 2 Cavalry units 1 square each; each entering an adjacent square (not a forest square),

5. move 1 Cavalry unit into an adjacent forest square.

Movement may not be into or through a square occupied by another unit (friendly or enemy), except into one's own Reserve Area. Infantry units may not move diagonally except by use of a double move (as a result of a PASS, see below). Cavalry and Artillery may move diagonally. ("Diagonally" being into a square whose only connection to the exited square is a single point: diagonals exist only in the center 2 rows). Moving units may otherwise move in any direction as long as the square they enter is touching the square they exit.

A double move is the only way an Infantry or Artillery unit can move into forest squares, and the only way for an Infantry unit to move into a diagonal square; it costs a player's entire double turn to perform these actions. (Infantry may enter a forest square as a result of advancing after an attack - see below). Infantry moving diagonally may do so regardless of the presence of units in adjacent squares (this move is not just 2 lateral moves combined; it is a true diagonal move). Movement out of a forest square does not require a double move.


A player may elect to PASS when it is his turn, which means he declines to either Move or Attack with any of his units. After a player passes his opponent gets his regular "next" turn. A player may not PASS on 2 consecutive turns. A player may PASS regardless of his opponent's actions in the previous turn; i.e. both players may PASS back-to-back.

On the player's turn after he PASSes he must execute 2 turns worth of actions (i.e. a double turn). This means he must perform any 2 of the moves listed above (a double move), or MOVE and ATTACK, or ATTACK and MOVE, or make 2 ATTACKS (a double attack). If both players PASS back-to-back both players get double turns. Double turns due to a PASS are counted as 2 consecutive turns, however the PASSed turn is not counted (this is applicable to a single unit's 3 MOVE/ATTACK limit).

For example: Player 1 moves unit A on turn number "x", on his next turn (turn x + 1) he PASSES. Player 2 executes his turn, and then Player 1 (turn x + 2) moves unit A again, and for his double turn (turn x + 3) moves unit A yet again. This is legal even though the last 3 actions performed by Player 1 have been to move unit A. On his next turn (turn x + 4) Player 1 may not move unit A; he may however attack or support with unit A on turn "x + 4".


There are two types of attacks; SUPPORTED and UNSUPPORTED. An UNSUPPORTED attack is performed by a single unit against an enemy occupied square. A SUPPORTED attack is conducted by 2 units against an enemy occupied square; 1 unit is designated as the attacker and 1 unit is designated as the support. An attack may only be made against an enemy occupied square and only from an adjacent connected square. An attack may not originate from a square diagonal to the enemy occupied square. A supporting unit must be adjacent to the enemy occupied square, however support may come from a diagonal square.

For an Unsupported Attack, the attacker designates which unit is attacking and which square is being attacked. If the enemy unit in that square RETREATS then the attack is over with no further effect. If the enemy unit STANDS (does not RETREAT) then both the attacking unit and the defending unit are eliminated (i.e. removed from play).

For a Supported Attack, the attacking player designates which unit is attacking and which unit is supporting. If the defending unit RETREATS, the attacking unit may enter the vacated defender's square (the supporting unit may not enter the square). If the defender STANDS, the attacker has the following options:

1. eliminate the defending unit, RETREAT the supporting unit, and then RETREAT the attacking unit, or

2. eliminate the defending unit, eliminate the supporting unit and optionally advance the attacking unit into the defender's vacated square, or

3. eliminate the defending unit and eliminate the attacking unit, or

4. RETREAT the attacking unit, or

5. RETREAT the supporting unit.

These options may be further restricted by limitations placed on the specific units involved. The conditions listed above are considered to be general; specific conditions given below take precedence.

Flank Attack

A Supported Attack where either the attacking unit or the supporting unit (or both) is closer to the defending unit's Reserve Area than the defending unit is called a Flank Attack. If a defending unit is attacked by a Flank Attack it must RETREAT if possible. If a defending unit cannot RETREAT from a Flank Attack it is eliminated with no effect to either the attacking or supporting unit (neither are retreated nor eliminated). The attacking unit may advance into the vacated defenders square after a Flank Attack.


Artillery units may not attack Infantry or Cavalry units, they may only be used in support or attack other Artillery units. Artillery units may never advance after an attack. An Attacking Artillery unit may not RETREAT as one of its attacker options (i.e. Supported Attack options 1 & 4 above). Supporting Artillery may RETREAT; however, if it does the defending unit is given a second chance to RETREAT before the attacker opts to RETREAT the attacking unit (i.e. option 1). If the defending unit takes this second chance RETREAT it is not eliminated and the attacker may advance into the vacated square.

Artillery units may not RETREAT if attacked (unless defending in a forest square - see below). Artillery units are never eliminated if attacked by unsupported Infantry or Cavalry (the unsupported Infantry/Cavalry unit is eliminated).

A unit that is adjacent to an enemy Artillery unit (including diagonally, but excluding enemy Artillery in their Reserve Area) may not attack nor support an attack into any square other than the one occupied by the adjacent enemy Artillery. A unit adjacent to more than one enemy Artillery unit may not attack nor support an attack at all.


Cavalry units may not make unsupported attacks against Infantry units. Cavalry units RETREAT if attacked unless any of the following conditions apply:

1. the Cavalry unit is unable to conduct a legal RETREAT (see below) in which case it must STAND, or

2. the Cavalry unit is attacked exclusively by unsupported enemy Cavalry, in which case it has the option to STAND, or

3. the Cavalry unit is in a forest square, in which case it has the option to STAND.

Attacking Cavalry unit may never RETREAT as one of its attacker options. Supporting Cavalry units may RETREAT.


Infantry units have the option to RETREAT or STAND whenever attacked (Supported or Unsupported attacks), except when attacked by Flank Attack. When an Infantry unit RETREATS it is moved directly into its own Reserve Area, provided there is a clear path back to its Reserve Area. A "clear path" is defined as a path of connected squares (including diagonal) from the retreating unit's square to its Reserve Area, none of which are occupied by enemy units. Each square along the path of RETREAT must be closer to the Infantry's Reserve Area than the preceding square in the path. An Infantry unit that cannot make a legal RETREAT must STAND.

Infantry units in forest squares may RETREAT into a vacant adjacent forest square instead of to their Reserve Area, at the owners option. The entered forest square may not be adjacent to an enemy artillery unit and must be closer to the retreating unit's Reserve Area than the exited forest square. This rule may not be used by an Infantry unit in a clear square to RETREAT into a forest square, nor by Infantry displaced by retreating friendly Cavalry; it only applies to Infantry units attacked while occupying a forest square. An Infantry unit that RETREATS may not move, attack or support, in the turn immediately following its RETREAT.

Artillery units may only RETREAT if supporting an attack, if forced back by retreating friendly Cavalry, or if defending in a forest square. Artillery units RETREAT using the same procedure as Infantry, including RETREATS from a forest square into another forest square. An Artillery unit that RETREATS may not move, attack or support in the turn immediately following its RETREAT.

When a Cavalry unit RETREATS it moves into any adjacent unoccupied square that is closer to its Reserve Area than its original square. If a Cavalry unit cannot RETREAT into a vacant square it may RETREAT into a friendly occupied square, however the friendly unit in that square must RETREAT (following its own RETREAT procedures). This may result in a chain reaction RETREAT of several units. If any unit in this chain cannot meet its RETREAT restrictions then the original Cavalry unit must STAND. Cavalry units may operate without restriction in the turn following a RETREAT.


Forest squares cost double for all units to enter. The only way for an Infantry unit or Artillery unit to MOVE into a forest square is by the owner PASSing on one turn and using his double turn to move the unit into that square. Infantry may also enter forest squares by advancing into it after an attack. There is no additional cost associated with exiting a forest square.

Unsupported attacks against a forest square results in the automatic elimination of the attacking unit with no effect to the defending unit. Infantry and Artillery units defending in a forest square may RETREAT into an adjacent forest square provided the entered square is not adjacent to an enemy Artillery unit and is closer to the retreating unit's Reserve Area than the exited square. Infantry has the option to RETREAT normally and both Infantry and Artillery have the option to STAND when defending in a forest square.


Certain unique rules apply to a player's Reserve Area. A player's Reserve Area may be occupied by any number of friendly units. Units may not RETREAT out of their Reserve Area. Units may never attack or support an attack from their Reserve Area.

Any attack (supported or unsupported) into a Reserve Area results in the automatic elimination of one unit from that area (owner's choice) with no effect to the attacking unit (i.e. the attacking unit is not eliminated nor retreated). Any unit (including Artillery) may attack into an opponent's Reserve Area.

Units may only enter their opponent's Reserve Area if it is unoccupied (including advance after attack), and such entry results in automatic victory for the moving player.


The Civil War Battle Game








playing piece


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"It is well that war is so terrible, lest we grow too fond of it."

- R.E.Lee

game design:
G. Myers
D. Cummings
test & development:
A. Large, F. Miller, E. Uber
special thanks:
Carol T., Maarten B.,
Mike R., Erich L.,
Bill L., John R.,
and Jeremy B.
(blind play test group leads)


The Civil War Battle Game

comes complete with:

  • 32 Plastic Imex Playing Pieces representing Union (blue) and Confederate (gray) Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery
  • 12 x 13 inch SIX color GameBoard; wood mounted and fully laminated
  • Rules
ALL for only $24.95!

(see our Ordering Page for details)

Compare Quality to an all paper game for $40+

copyright 1995, G. Myers, all rights reserved - however read the LEGAL CONDITIONS

"SQUARES - The Civil War Battle Game" is the trademark of Deer Valley Game Company, Mesa Arizona

photograph courtesy of Library of Congress - "Council of War": General Ulysses S. Grant examining map held by Gen. George G. Meade. Timothy H. O'Sullivan, photographer. 1863 May 21. (LC-B815-0730)

IMEX is the registered trademark of Imex Model Company Inc, of Brooksville Fla.