Sunday, September 19, 2010

The search for Napoleonic Skirmish Rules

Those regular readers will recall I spent quite some time working on a set of Skirmishing rules for Napoleonic games, now I quite liked what I came up with, but they lacked a workable points system (which somehow seemed essential) and as we moved onto bigger games, myself and Neil left them behind.

Still Neil has quietly been working on his French skirmishers, and has been looking for some alternative rules. We recently tried 'Black Powder Battles' (no relation to 'Black Powder') from Two Hour Wargames. The rules are essentially Igo-Ugo, but with great provision for reactions to what the enemy does. This is fine, and if we understood them correctly, the rules had some excellent concepts.

However, they are one of, if not the, WORST WRITTEN game rules I have ever encountered. I'm given to understand the main writer is English, but you'd be forgiven for thinking English was his second or even third language, given the lumpen, impenetrable language used.

For example, A table to decide how one reacts can result in a fail or a pass of the test, how would you refer to the two possible options; yes so would I. The author here however not only decided to refer to them instead as 1D6 pass, and 0D6 pass; but also then to put them in a table, written in such a way as we had great trouble deciding which result was the good one!

The game is in fact fast to play, though we did only use a half dozen models each; and it would be much quicker if we understood what the writer intended, as it is, it felt like we were improvising our own game in an attempt to emulate what he was thinking in the first instance! I'm honestly not sure I would recommend these after the first try, but I will give them another chance when Neil has spent more time studying them.

Still this left plenty of time for a mooch around. I discussed the Barrosa game with a few members and organised a Primer game to introduce the (proper) Black Powder rules to new players. I also took a few snaps of other models/games:

Malifaux; a Wild Western themed fantasy skirmish game, using a card based combat system. Lovely models are very tempting, perhaps when I get round to selling my 40k....

The regular DBMM players were in too. A minority interest though its players are very loyal, and clearly know the rules well enough to stick by them. I think this was a Crusades period game, featuring very nice 15mm models.

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