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Monday, 14 November 2016

One set to bind them!



Well on Thursday Colin, John, John and myself returned to the SYW, using Honours of War wargame rules. We started using these rules as soon as they were released, and I really enjoyed them, I felt they gave a more SYW type of game as opposed to the Black Powder, Argument of Kings rules we had been using.
 The game itself turned into a rather fractious affair, due to a number of things, but mainly because we hadn't played the rules since August, and well we had forgotten how they worked,and by the time we did, the Prussians, ie me and Colin had lost.
 The result was actually a tonking, with the Austrians not really being troubled.
 After the event I had a long think about the rules we were using, and why they just didn't have the allure that I had previously identified.
 Ignoring the bickering, which to be honest does happen now and again, I simply hadn't enjoyed the actual feel of the game. The Austrian artillery can be very powerful due to their historic rating of
' superior, ' and to be honest everything I have read backs up the fact that the Austrians had a very good artillery arm. However as John Reidy pointed out, one spends a lot of time rallying from causalities, because woebetide any commander marching into a firefight with 3 causalities already to there name. [ One can only take 4 before being forced to retire or 5 when they become destroyed] The trouble is it is very easy to receive causalities from good troops.
   So is this  post a critique of the Honours of War rules, well no I would like to think not, there are a good number of great ideas in the rules. What I can say is that after 40+ years as a wargamer I still haven't found a set of wargames rules that I can honestly say captures the 'feel' of the period I am fighting whilst being fun to play.

George Gush's Renaissance rules that I used for many years in the 1980's before I moved onto simpler things?
 
 This is actually a ridiculous state of affairs considering that wargames has been around far longer than my mere 40+ years.Is there any other hobby/sport which hasn't been able to formulate an accepted set of rules after such a  period. It may go some way to explain why wargames rules are released with such depressing frequency. Wargamers are still looking for the Holy Grail of rules that will satisfy what we are looking for, except of course we wargamers are all looking for different things, so therefore the Grail can never exist or ever be achieved.


Controversially during the early 1970's there was an attempt by the London Wargames group to have their rules accepted as 'the universal' set. 

It comes as a bit of a shock that I will probably never find that set of rules that ticks all the boxes I am looking for and that I will always have to settle for compromise. So what boxes do I actually want ticking? well in no particular order, it has to be playability, ie easy to learn and use. They have to 'feel' they mirror the period being fought. There needs to be enough balance that no army is a 'super' army that can never be beaten, and most importantly they need to be fun, even for the person who actually loses the game.

 So is it back to square one, using Featherstone or Peter Young, somehow I dont think so. They were of their time, and although they have many merits, they are also, well, dated. So where does one go from here one may ask, well I like a lot of Blackpowder's ideas and a lot of the Honours of War ideas, but can one use the best of both and make a set of rules that works? Or is it back to square one, maybe WRG!  






16 comments:

  1. While I have only two games of HoW under my belt, I found Austrian artillery rated as "Superior" to be devastating to Prussians attacks. Of course, both games were refighting Kolin so a frontal assault against artillery on high ground ought to witness losses.

    I find much to like in HoW but two games is not enough to form a definitive conclusion yet for me. I ought to pull the SYW collection from its storage trays and undertake a few more trials.

    The Holy Grail, by nature, is elusive!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jonathan,
      If you had asked me in August I would have raved about HoW, now, well I dont know. There are some great ideas in the rules that give a nice feel to the games, but I think its the inability to 'save' the hits from all fire. Basically if one hits, then that is it. We found long range artillery fire was enough to cripple my advance before it had even started, somehow it just didnt feel right, but then what do I know.

      Delete
    2. Often it takes repeated playings of a set of rules before "proper" tactics develop. Confounding HoW with other rules likely lengthens this learning curve. I plan to revisit HoW next time I have the urge for SYW action.

      Delete
  2. I find I have a problem with remembering and relearning rule sets that I have not played for a while so am leaning towards the simple sets nowadays, Tony

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tony,
      That was another problem the other day. We have been using Baroque lately, with some Black Powder thrown in. Talk about confused.

      Delete
  3. I am sure we will sort something out in the next 40 years

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Colin,
      You do realise the clock is ticking rather quickly nowadays, so we better hurry up and find what we are looking for.

      Delete
  4. We saw a game of HoW at Targe which looked great. I have had the rules for ages but have done nothing with them yet apart from a wee read through. I must give them a go soon...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dont get me wrong, I have enjoyed using these rules and felt they gave a good game. Somehow it didnt work the other day, maybe because I wasnt in charge of the Austrians as I usually am.

      Delete
  5. Robbie,
    Welcome to the club! In reality the holy grail is very much an individual thing and may never be found.
    I still thoroughly enjoy the wargame as I do feel they give a good feel for the period. H.O.W. work but only if you restrict the number of batteries on the board ( forget the ratio) they then have a sphere of influence without dominating

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Graham,
      Do you not think its very strange that after all these years of wargaming we still havent found that perfect set of rules.

      Delete
  6. The closest I came to the holy grail was classic Piquet. Great set of rules which cruel lay worked across multiple periods.

    Like Graham I find the Wargame, with a few house amendments, provide a good game and are easy to remember.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Morning Mark,
      Im afraid its back to the drawing board for me re SYW rules.

      Delete
  7. I don't ask for much from a set of rules. Just easy to remember the basics. Not too many steps for each activity. And a bit of historical balance to the results. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. David,
      The rules sometimes all run into one complex mish mash, due to continually looking for 'the' set.

      Delete
    2. Yes I have been subconsciously ported rules from one set to another during games. Esp recently.

      Delete

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.
Austria 1809.

Austrian Hussars

Austrian Hussars
Hinchliffe figures

Austrian Grenzer

Austrian Grenzer
Austrian Grenzer

Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2013
Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2012

Smoggycon 2012
Smoggycon 2012

Smoogycon 2009

Smoogycon 2009
My French getting another beating