I am pretty sure we have all, as we have got older, wanted one set of rules that we can use to play most of our games. I am no exception to this and neither is my main gaming opponent Kevin.
Whilst we are happy with the rules we use for our skirmish games it is a different story for those big battle games.
We have been playing war games a very long time and have possibly tried out every type of rules for most periods, lately however we have been talking a lot about the games we play and how we would love a set of rules that allow us to change periods without the problems of remembering which rules we are actually playing.
The major downside of having used so many sets, confusion sets in as an example, for Napoleonic games we have used - To the sound of the guns, Grand manner, Shako (all versions), General de brigade (still use), Age of Eagles, Lasalle and many more besides. A game often fails to reach a conclusion partly due to the clarity of mind. Often because we play many games and no longer play one set of rules often enough.
Just lately that has changed, we were introduced to Black Powder, and a personal tutorial was given to us by one of the contributors. That game was for the Seven Years War era, and we have played it a few times since, we have added a single house rule to add a little more flavour and have had thoroughly enjoyable games, with plenty of laughter.
However we had major reservations about using these for Napoleonic games due in part to our liking of General de Brigade as a game and the historical flavour the rules give. The downside of these rules is the time it can take to play a full game, and three hours or so on a Thursday evening often means we don't always get a result and have to discuss the likely outcome based on the dispositions on the last played turn.
Thursday saw us play a trial game of Black Powder using Napoleonic peninsular forces, based on the statistics for troops in the main rule book. We had about thirty battalions of infantry, 6 regiments of cavalry and 6 batteries on the table. We did notice that the games we had already played, had put us in a good place as we are already familiar with the play sheet and are able to work out some of the combat and melee odds without having to reference the sheets. We did have a couple of rules queries, 3 to be exact, but a quick glance at the rule book soon had those resolved. We had a superb game and achieved a clear result. Now I have to admit there is some fudging of the period, but it still remained fully playable and with character too ( hopefully a copy of Albion Triumphant will resolve these) but it wont be a problem if not. Again a good fun game with plenty of laughter at those dice rolls.
We have decided to have another Napoleonic game next week, just to be sure it plays well, this time we are going to do a re-fight of a historical battle. We will then test it for the American Civil War. At present it certainly looks as if we may have found one set of rules that covers all our powder and musket period gaming needs.
One of the main advantages of these rules is you can adjust unit sizes to suit yourself and your opponents, something we as a group particularly like, as we often play on a 6ft x 5ft table. So large units make it very difficult to manoeuvre. So we have adjusted the standard size to suit giving us a better feeling the added bonus is it will increase the amount of battalions we can field. We have also opted to use the 50% play sheet giving us a better ground scale. So they certainly tick some boxes for us.
So not quite the complete Holy Grail of rules, but certainly a big chunk of our gaming seems to be covered in this one rule book, with only troop statistics to adjust between the various periods means we should be able to remember and play between periods without the confusion that often features.