Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Hundred Years War: In Search of Rules

I am obsessed by the Hundred Years War. I admit it, let's just start there, and move on in this discussion.

I'm looking for a great set of rules for the period, and haven't quite found them. I'm really interested in staging a Battle of Poitiers game for a future Enfilade (probably two years off.) Last weekend I tried Warhammer Ancient Battles, the Age of Chivalry supplement, which covers the later middle ages. The rules were fun, but weren't flexible enough to handle the special scenario issues Poitiers presents. I'd like to continue having the option to play WAB for the points vs. points play Warhammer does best, but I'd like to search for something else for better scenario play.

I'm seriously considering using the rules in Poitiers 1356 by Don Featherstone. They are similar to WAB, but with one less die roll to adjudicate fire. I'm also not terribly sure I like the melee system, but it's so simple the rules lend themselves to modification.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Sword and the Flame on Mars

In 1989 RAFM released a range of figures depicting some great British colonials--although the premise was weird. They were red-coated regulars with magazine rifles. Including in the range were a bunch of yellow-skinned Martians. These figures were based on Frank Chadwick's role-playing game, Space 1889, and were supported by a set of rules called The Soldiers Companion. The premise of the Chadwick universe was that the science fiction of the late 19th century--Verne, Wells and others--was possible, making space travel possible. The age of imperialism was extended to Mars, aided and resisted by the native inhabitants there.

I began purchasing the excellent Bob Murch sculpts when they became available back in 1989, and have slowly added to them. The RAFM figures continue to be available from their on-line shop, and they have also added to them. More mounted figures, artillery, and Martian sepoys also found their way into my pile of unpainted lead. London Warroom also produces the Parroom Station range of Martian figures, which are very interesting, but I don't like them as well as the Murch figures, and they are pricey.

Finally, after some discussion and shared enthusiasm with Mark Waddington, I painted all my Martians last summer. However it wasn't until this summer we actually dragged them out to play with them.

A lot of the push to get the figures on the table goes to Mark. He is a master designer and scratch-builder. His scratch built Aphid gunboat does not appear here, but it's amazing. He brings so much to the table in terms of his ability to create whacko Victorian Science Fiction war machines. We also agreed to look around for a set of rules we were comfortable with, and he made some simple adaptations to The Sword and The Flame.

On August 19th we finally got together and played our inaugural game. It was fun, and just getting the figures out and trying out the rules was the point. The rules played out beautifully, with the potential for one or two minor modifications. We're planning another game for our October 14th date at The Museum of Flight.