Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Search for Napoleonic Skirmish Rules: II

Well, I was singularly unimpressed by the last set of Napoleonics rules I tried, but Neil proposed we gave yet another set a go, after all there are plenty about.

Song of Drums and Shakos is a neat little set which manages to get reasonable subtlety from a simple set of game mechanics. There is enough detail to make for the variety you want for a skirmish game, but it is not so complicated as to be down to individual combat.

We've been trialling it for our display game at Pudsey Recon, and it works pretty well. Essentially a model can attempt between one and three actions in a turn, and rolls against it's command rating to see how many successes you get. For each success you get one action, and for commanders this can include giving group orders to units of men. However fail two or three orders at once and initiative passes to the other player.

This makes for fast play, there being only a small number of basic action types. Measurements (and scales) are fairly short, so that no more than a four foot square table is required (we found using the scale recommended for 40mm figures to be most pleasing with our 28mm models).

The rules contain troop details for five major nations, and a number of scenarios; we tried the Raid scenario, and found it functional, but a little basic. Still this is a set of rules that certainly allow a game with 20 or more figures per side to be played out in only a couple of hours, and one free of confusion. Definitely worth playing.

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