Tuesday, 4 July 2017
Rules of the Game
As the Duc de Gobin mentioned in his comment on the previous post, I did indeed say that I was intending to use Brent Oman's Field of Battle 2 rules with my Grand Alliance collection. As the Duc says, they area great set of rules - one of my top three of all time I would say. They are elegant, ingenious, full of great ideas and bring some much needed "fog of war" to the table top.
But sets such as these touch on a theme that our group is wrestling with at the moment - generic or period specific rules. Basically this has come about through our fairly widespread use of Black Powder over the last couple of years or so. Whilst generally unimpressed with the rules when I first read them, I was quite happy to give them a go when one of the lads organised a game. Whilst some of my fears were confirmed, what Black Powder did offer was a result in a reasonable time frame. This, it has to be said, counted for something, as many of our games seemed to end without any clear conclusion. We have since used them to play several periods, including AWI, Carlist Wars and more recently the Great Northern War. It was during this game that the problem arose. Whilst the game was enjoyable enough and played in a great spirit amongst old friends, I found myself trying to appreciate the differences between these three periods, separated by almost 150 years of history. And I couldn't. All the games were played in the same way using the same tactics, which were essentially driven by the rule system itself. I was left feeling a little deflated at the thought of accumulating different armies, which would essentially give me the same game.
Now in my opinion FOB2 are infinitely better as a rules system than BP, but be that as it may, the basic problem is the same: do I want to have essentially the same gaming experience with several different historical periods? Much as I like FOB2, I have concluded that I don't. Which brings me at last, to the point of this post. I have decided that even though learning several rule sets is a challenge for my ageing brain, it has to be done. Where Grand Alliance/Marlburian is concerned I am going to try out the Grimsby club's Corporal John and the Sun King rules that I mentioned nearly two years ago (19/07/15 post). Whilst decidedly "Old School" - actual figure casualties begod - they seem fun and pretty simple, whilst covering most of the historical bases. I have streamlined a few things, amended a few others and added a basic card system (a la Piquet), to mix things up a bit, but they are very much the Grimsby rules. I look forward to finally getting this collection on the table in the very near future. I will certainly report back when I do.
Whilst I don't usually go in for wargaming philosophy posts, I wanted to get this off my chest. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on this thorny topic.