EXERT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)
"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."
-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013
Monday, September 26, 2011
Yes, like Lemmings or fashionistas following the latest trends, several of us hauled out 25mm (or bigger) Ancient armies and tried out Basic Impetus to see what all the buzz is about.
I liked the thought of being able to field sufficient troops in a fast game but while I had puzzled out individual rules in advance, I had a very hard time getting my head around what play might feel like and how it would all come together.
On the day we ended up with 7 gamers, 2 tables and a choice of 8 armies from 3 periods, allowing a variety of historical match ups. Carthage vs Syracuse, Medes vs Assyrians and Romans vs Spanish were the 4 games played in the end. In order to get a feel for the rules, we tried basic, set-em up games straight up using the rules for choosing Attacker/Defender and selecting terrain, something I haven't done a lot of recently. The rules handled it well though and since the army lists are well thought out, the resulting clashes felt reasonable.
I just spent an hour writing up 2 battles and lost almost all of it in the blink of an eye. Apparently one's drafts don't get saved when one gets accidently logged off google without knowing it. Nor is one warned that the thing will freeze when one clicks on insert picture when unknowingly not logged on. Sighhhh!
Anyway, there will be more battle reports another day, hopefully reports of more such glorious victories but I don't have the oomph to rewrite these ones so I'll just summarize my thoughts on the rules.
We ended up playing 4 games, sometimes with 2 players on 1 or both sides. All the games were exciting and briskly paced. Most were also close but even the one that wasn't close in the end could have easily have swung either way. The rules were easy to pick up despite none of us ever having played them before and despite the occasionally clumsy translations. I was also pleased to find that minor variations in troop details resulted in armies having quite a different feel. These seem to be quite flexible rules that would adapt well to TT Teasers and to staging historical refights.
While I am not saying that the rules produced an accurate simulation of what it was like to command an ancient army of several thousand men, I will say that it produced a wargame that felt as historically plausible as any other set I have played, especially any of the fun sets and generalship seemed to outweigh luck and specialized rules knowledge and cheesy tricks. It was nice to feel that 35 years of playing Ancient wargames and studying history was useful despite not knowing the rules well. No names but that has not been the case with every set of rules that I have played.
In an odd way, the rules remind me of a sort of cross between WRG 3rd Edition and Armati with a few other twists thrown in.
So how does the picture at the start of the blog fit in? Well, perhaps the most telling comment on the rules is that I have sent out the fiery cross through the new shelf full of HotT armies, rallying 100 or so Scots pikemen, archers, knights and highlanders to the cause of FREEDOM!
Born and raised in the suburbs of Montreal, 5 years in the Black Watch of Canada Cadets, 5 years at the Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean followed by 4 in the navy. 25 years with CPC in IT simultaneous with 23 years running a boarding kennel. Inherited my love of toy soldiers from my mother's father. Married with a Whippet, 10 Italian Greyhounds, 4 cats and a bird. Prematurely retired and looking forward to leisure to game, garden and sculpt in our 150 yr old farmhouse.