Rules


Over the past few years I've collected a vast amount of rulesets, and it doesn't seem to get to an end any time soon. Silly enough, most of them I've never played - mainly because I'm merely an occasional gamer.
Here you will find a list of a few sets I've used, as far as possible along with a short description, my impression and (when they become available) after action reports.

.45 Adventure [2nd edition 2011]
Focus: Early 20th century
Scale: Small Skirmishes
Minimum Requirements: 2 or 3 miniatures per side, at least one of them to be a 'hero'. Any scale will do, 28mm is standard. Tables should be 60x60cm.

Thoughts
If you like role-playing, this is probably as close as you can get to it with a genuine miniatures ruleset. Basically, you can play with as little a force as two miniatures per side, due to the rules' focus on heroic action. However, you have different "grades" available, ranging from epic heroes to helpless henchmen, which makes it adaptable to all kinds of scenarios. The core game is, as the name suggest, mainly about gangsters and pulp-style settings. [The new edition even added the genre of classic horror.] But in general, with hints and tips available online at the Speakeasy Forum, one should be able to tweak the rules for almost every setting. In fact, there are already three dedicated stand-alones available: one for swashbucklers, one for Fantasy and one for classic Sci-Fi.
Of course, there's a bit of preparation involved, since every character needs his own stat sheet to keep track of wounds, equipment etc. However, the mechanics are quite simple, and a gamemaster isn't mandatory due to the use of encounter markers which drive the game's story.
This is one of my long-time running sets, and it never failed me. Highly recommended!


Forces Available

Beneath the Lily Banners [2nd edition 2011]
Focus: Late 17th to early 18th century
Scale: Tactical
Minimum Requirements: to be added

Thoughts
to be added

Forces Available

Broadsword Adventures
Focus: Fantasy
Scale: Small Skirmishes
Minimum Requirements: 2 or 3 miniatures per side, at least one of them to be a 'hero'. Any scale will do, 28mm is standard. Tables should be 60x60cm.

Thoughts
The Fantasy Spin-Off of the .45 Adventure rules (see above).

Forces Available

Crusader
Focus: Antiquity to Late Middle Ages
Scale: Tactical
Minimum Requirements: 4 or 5 units (preferably infantry and cavalry mixed) à 4 bases each with one or two commanders. The rules are made for 28mm figures on square bases. Tables should be 120x180cm.

Thoughts
Draws a lot of inspiration from WAB. In fact, one could see it as a lite version of the  Warhammer engine, stripped from most cumbersome mechanics as well as heroes and magic, of course. Crusader provides a fast and enjoyable game - if you get your head around the somewhat unusual activation system. Personally, I prefer it to WAB, especially for the use of multibasing. Production value is at high quality level, and there are some expansions and free player aids available.

Forces Available

Gloire
Focus: 17th to 18th century
Scale: Small Skirmishes
Minimum Requirements: 2 or 3 miniatures per side, at least one of them to be a 'hero'. Any scale will do, 28mm is standard. Tables should be 60x60cm.

Thoughts
The Swashbuckling Spin-Off of the .45 Adventure rules (see above).

Forces Available


Impetus
Focus: Antiquity to Renaissance
Scale: Grand Tactical
Minimum Requirements: On average 8 to 12 units (= elements) for a start, according to the army list chosen. Since the game depends on base sizes, not the amount of miniatures, it can be played in almost every scale, though 15mm or 28mm are preferable. Tables are about 120x180cm for even bigger games in 15mm and basic games in 28mm.

Thoughts
Straight forward set of rules for simulating huge battles. Best compared with DBx or FoG, so not quite my cup of tea. However, its use of big - I mean BIG - bases with great potential for vignette building got me interested. Add to that low cost as you can place as many miniatures as you want on your bases - hooked! Games are still to be played, but the visual aspect alone has won me over.

Forces Available

Rank & File
Focus: Early 18th to late 19th century
Scale: Tactical
Minimum Requirements: 4 or 5 units (preferably infantry and cavalry mixed) à 4 bases each with one or two commanders. The rules are made for 28mm figures on square bases. Tables should be 120x180cm.

Thoughts
Another Crusader system. Interesting mechanics, well laid out, but needs some time to get used to the rather unconventional order of phases. The rules cater for the age of linear tactics, so are quite generic. Some special rules were added for period flavour - won't work for everyone. Anyway, not too hard to learn, providing a (relatively) fast-paced game with average sized units.

Forces Available
Song of Blades and Heroes
Focus: Fantasy
Scale: Skirmishes
Minimum Requirements: 6 miniatures per side, more if you want to make use of the squad rules. The rules are written for 15mm, although 28mm measurements are provided, too. Tables should be 60x60cm (15mm) resp. 120x120cm (28mm).

Thoughts
Quite typically for rulesets stemming from the "Mediterranean", this system is based on a few, simple mechanics and exempt of any dead weight. Only two stats per model, sometimes enhanced by one or two special rules, which cancel some of the basic rules - that's it. It makes for very low learning curves and fast-paced games. Therefore the rules are usable to introduce all-new players to the hobby or for playing a whole campaign during a single gaming session. Admittedly, the simplicity is not everyone's cup of tea. Though there are a lot of supplements with hundreds of 'army lists' available (I've used the Arthurian one) and even adaptions of the core rules to different genres (to date namely Napoleonic, Modern and Postapocalyptic Warfare), the mechanics stay mainly unchanged. If any, a kind of "flavour" is merely added by the special rules. That most likely leads to quite unspiritual gameplay and consequently to a lack of story-telling - which I've found essential for skirmish games. The games we've played so far enthused neither my gaming buddies nor myself, as much as we like 'beer & pretzel' rules.

Forces Available
cf. Broadsword Adventures
This Very Ground
Focus: French and Indian Wars
Scale: Big Skirmishes
Minimum Requirements: 2 squads of 5 troopers each per side. Single based 28mm miniatures are preferable, but especially drilled regulars can come on multibases. Tables should be 120x180cm.

Thoughts
These rules are about real warfare, so don't expect any kind of heroic stuff. Of course, there are characters as well, but they act merely as leaders giving your troops certain bonuses. Accordingly, the rules focus on your ordinary foot sloggers, and being set in the 18th century, on the differing values of their tactics and training. You'd better not send your neatly arranged line infantry into that Indian infested wood but wait for the savages to run into your volley on open ground... The rules aren't hard to learn, and all you'll ever need is provided by a single book (NB: there's a section on the publisher's site with additional free rules for cavalry, artillery and fortifications). They are meant for the so called Wilderness Wars in mid-18th century, but could be easily adapted to any setting from the late 16th to mid-19th century or maybe even beyond. Gaming itself is fluent unless you get bogged down in close combat, which is time-consuming, yet very bloody - but that's all due to period flavour. TVG is by far my favorite ruleset for skirmishes involving larger units for said era.

Forces Available
cf. Gloire
Triumph & Tragedy
Focus: Late 19th to early 20th century
Scale: Big Skirmishes
Minimum Requirements: 2 squads of 5 troopers each and a leading character per side. Single based 28mm miniatures are recommended. Tables should be 120x180cm.

Thoughts
The rules are relatively straight forward. Only casualties require a bit of book-keeping, everything else is provided on stat cards for each unit/character. I was intrigued by the broken turn order: At the start of each turn you determine when to activate a certain unit and give them their orders. Then in each round initiative decides which unit goes first and so on. That way no one has to wait for his opponent too long, and multiplayer-games become manageable as well. Though, as fluent gameplay is and as easy the rules are to learn, I'm not hooked yet. Possibly I'm not convinced of the writers' solution to combine abstract handling of units (as needed for grand tactical actions) with 'narrative elements' (like heroes). Maybe I'm also put off a bit by the rules' theme - that might change with the arrival of announced supplements for Colonial and - even better - Napoleonic Warfare.

Forces Available
In an attempt to stuck together some small skirmish parties for a big game - as well as to reduce the amount of idle lead - I created a British landing force of the Napoleonic Age to be used with slightly altered T&T rules. It's been inspired by the Peninsular adventures of certain chaps called Sharpe and Aubrey, so don't expect too much historical accuracy.
Most of them have been portrayed in detail, namely:
  1. Riflemen
  2. Light Bobs & Sailors
  3. Marines
  4. Spanish Guerrilleros
There is no overview available on this blog yet, in the meantime have a look at them here.

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