Thursday, 25 July 2013

What draws you to a set of rules?

I'm a rulebook junkie. I have loads of rulebooks, some of which I've never even played, and I'm always on the look out for more. For example I have Bolt Action, which is a perfectly good set of WWII rules, but I'm looking at buying Chain of Command from TFL when it comes out on 21st August. I also have Johnny Reb III which I like and used to play lots of years ago but I'm going to be buying Longstreet when it comes out in a few weeks.


So why do I do this? Well, some of this is the 'Ohh! shiny' syndrome that affects most wargamers but some of it is related to how the rules work. In my case what often piques my interest is the ability to exercise my imagination.

This usually manifests itself as a flexible points system with standard unit types. For example Gruntz is an excellent set of rules for sci/fi combat which has troop types like Mecha, infantry, support vehicles, tanks, VTOL's and artillery. The points system lets you customise your choices by adjusting things like speed, armour and weapons. So you could build a high tech sci/fi aerospace fighter or a pterodactyl with laser eyes that poops explosive excrement, a magician shooting firebolts or a space marine with a plasma gun. Both would legal under the rules but I know which I would prefer.


It's this flexibility that so appeals to me, and truth be told it allows me to indulge myself by buying lots of new shiny toys. It also attracts me to games I'd never considered.

I'd had a look at Kings of War from Mantic when it first came out but it didn't really do anything for me. But then I read an article about the flexibility of the Kingdoms of Man list. The article described how easy it was to use ACW or Napoleonics or ECW figures for Kings of War. Any infantry figure with a rifle or a musket could be used as 'Missile Troops', cavalry could be 'Knights' or 'Mounted Scouts' etc. The idea of Union troops facing off against Ogres or an army of Undead really appeals to me. It's this flexibility got me interested in playing 'Kings of War' a game I would never otherwise have considered.

So what is it that draws you to particular rulesets?

6 comments:

  1. I like rules that have three aspects - fairly simple basic mechanics, lots of flexibility in unit traits and have command friction (units don't always do what you want). That's why I like rules like BP or Hail Caesar.

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    1. I like friction too but I found BP's approach too constraining.

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  2. From an historical context I'm looking for a set of rules that gives me a reasonable representation of the tactics of the period and yet keeps things pretty simple. Its probably one reason why I keep coming back to Fire and Fury for as my rules for ACW. I have played all three editions of Johnny Reb and while I enjoy playing them I find they tend to be overally complex in places. I'm looking forward to Longstreet, but I'm hoping it keeps my attention better than LaSalle did for Napoleonics. It becomes possible to get to abstract with rules and that's the direction LaSalle went although its certainly not as abstract as DBA. I haven't tried Bolt Action yet but then most of my WWII gaming is in 15mm not 28mm. I much prefer Command Decision over Flames of War. Command Decision "feels" like more of a WWII game than Flames of War.

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  3. I like games that are well supported (like FoW); I love mucking about with lists. Others in my group liking and playing the same game helps massively to, even if its not my favourite rule set (eg saga, I think its OK but as most of us have armies for it it gets played a fair bit). I liek my games to look nice; I grew up with the TTG Challenger/Firefly type sets, and modern production values are just so much higher its scary; the new Malifaux and Warmchine books are works of art.

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    Replies
    1. Wow, Firefly that takes me back :-) Readability is much improved too.

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