1. Select a battle from the scenario booklet. First time players should start with Bemis Heights (Scenario #1), which will introduce players to the basics of the game and tactics of linear warfare.
2. Place the board in the center of the table. Each scenario specifies which army is at the top and bottom of the battlefield, and players should sit on the side closest to the army they will command. Each player takes a unit and terrain summary card.
3. Place the terrain hexes onto the battlefield as indicated by the scenario map.
4. Separate the blocks, Continental (blue blocks), British (red blocks) and German (dark blue blocks).
It is recommend that players initially set one block of the required troop type or leader block on the battlefield, using the board’s borders and flank boundaries (dotted lines) to quickly locate the correct hexes. Then fill each infantry, cavalry and artillery unit with three additional blocks.
Note - Each unit symbol on the map represents an entire unit with 4 blocks.
5. Shuffle the Command card deck thoroughly and deal Command cards to each side per the selected scenario’s battle notes. Keep the Command cards a secret from the opposing player. Place the remainder of the deck facedown, alongside the battlefield, within easy reach of both players.
6. Each player shuffles his Combat card deck thoroughly and draws the number of Combat cards as indicated by the scenario’s battle notes. Keep the Combat cards a secret from the opposing player.
Set the remaining deck of Combat cards facedown alongside the game board near the deck of Command cards.
7. Place the eight battle dice and Victory Banner counters along side the battlefield.
8. Review any special rules and victory conditions that apply for the battle.
9. The starting player, as indicated in the scenario’s battle notes, begins play.
Prior to the start of a battle when Opening Cannonade rules are in effect for the scenario, the starting player will start the opening cannonade.
Prior to the first turn in the battle, when opening cannonade rules are in effect, all artillery units may engage in ranged combat when the artillery unit is in range and has line of sight to an enemy unit. The side that moves first designates one artillery unit to fire. Then, each side will alternate firing their artillery units and possibly retiring until all artillery units on both sides have done a cannonade.
After an artillery unit has fired its opening cannonade, it may retire back 2 hexes toward its baseline or hold its position. If the unit retires, it may move through friendly units, leaders and terrain that is not impassable. No rally check is required on the cannonade retire movement.