Saturday, June 22, 2013

Rules Doldrums...

Gosh with the house and job and baby there hasn't been much time for prepping the hobby area but I've been managing a little bit every few days.  The wife, bless her, took all of the cardboard and extra trash out of the hobby area man cave / thousand legger ville for me the other night which was a nice surprise.

Of late I've been thinking about rules that I like and don't like.  There's always an obsession to  have a "definitive" rules set when you don't play regularly at a club.  For me, when I did have a gaming buddy or 3 to play with, there were our favorites and then ones we always wanted to explore.

When you play solo, you have only your own ideas and curiosities to satisfy.  That being said, it's quite hard for me now to decide on a "definitive" rules set (or if i even need one?).  I have my "tried and true" rules that have served me well in the past.  Like a well-worn tool they are always there in a pinch when I need them and I have a great familiarity with them.

Some would say then, why do you even need a "definitive" rule set?  I guess that the answer is probably "no, you don't" but then I wouldn't have a good blog post either...

Volley and Bayonet seems to be a good fall back rules set for me.  I always end up going back to it after however long a hiatus.  Same with Guns of Liberty (tactical AWI).  GHQ WWII MicroArmour makes a really great WWII miniatures combat rules set, as does Spearhead.

Blitzkrieg Commander is one of my favorite WWII rules sets to play with.  Granted, I don't really know the scale or level of command it represents, but it is alot of fun.

Shako for Napoleonics is also hard to beat for playability.

GHQ's modern system though?  Not as well liked by me.  Fire and Fury too - which used to be an absolute staple of mine, has also fallen by the wayside.

Seek Out, Close With, & Destroy makes a great game for toy soldier battles, but I don't care for the sequence of play and the lack of reactions.

Reactions you say?  Great segway into my next topic which are rules sets that seem to be hugely popular now.  Reaction tests are hard to beat for intensity and randomness in games and Force on Force makes a great game.  General De Brigade and British Grenadier are wildly popular (I own BG and have not played it yet).  Same with Grande Armee which I have not played yet.  Black Powder isn't a bad game, but it's missing something, that is somewhere in between Guns of Liberty and Volley and Bayonet.

So I guess the point of all this rambling is the fact that I started out in search of a definitive rules set but ended up with more questions than I initially began with.

The question still stands though - do you need a definitive rules set?  Or are you happy with a few or more than a few???  The roll makes the sandwich and obviously the rules make the game.

Here are a few of mine:

AWI: Guns of Liberty
SYW Volley and Bayonet
Napoleonics: Shako
ACW: Volley and Bayonet
WWII: BKC, Spearhead, GHQ WWII Microarmor
Modern: SOCW&D, Modern Spearhead, Cold War Commander, Fistful of TOWS, Force on Force.

Basing becomes the biggest question of the post.  Commiting to a rules set, in many cases, commits you to a basing scheme.  So finding the best rules is important if you want to get a project done!  In my case, having found a "general" basing scheme, I can move forward with a scheme that's applicable to most rules that I like.  But finding that golden rules set is crucial to basing my troops and finishing a project.

take the AWI for example.  I like the Guns Liberty Rules set, which has troops based in files, with many stands for a Battalion.  Volley and Bayonet is another favorite - where each stand is a Regiment!  There's no way to substitute for those 2 rules sets because the Regiments in V&B are 3 inches long!!!  Food for thought...


  1. I think part of being a gamer is that ingrained search for "a great set of rules." We're looking simple but not simplistic, highly detailed, historically accurate (if appropriate) and gorgeous on the tabletop all at once. I doubt any of us are ever going to find our Holy Grail ruleset but that search still drives us.

    1. Ski,
      And we'll always continue to look too. For me, I think that a long time ago I was really, really into writing rules and now I like to peruse as many as I can to get what's out there and see new ideas. That's part of the fun for me - digesting a rules set to see what the concepts are.

  2. I'll host my first big game of Volley and Bayonet next saturday. I've heard a lot of good things about the rules and the test game I played as a corps versus corps ACW action promised a fluid system. We'll see if the three days of Gettysburg well prove a treat. Speaking of which, I better start looking for a hardtack recipe, I don't want my opponents going hungry :)

    1. Mikko,
      I really think you'll love Volley & Bayonet. I have said many, many times - when I want a simulation - I play Volley & Bayonet. It is one of the best games out there IMHO.

      Hard tack on the menu? I'm in! Hardtack and bacon with black coffee. Staple Union diet!

  3. I guess I’m an oddity because playing the game is just a distant goal. As you look at my blog, you will find few AARs, but every single post will relate to preparing for a wargame: whether figures or terrain. I guess for me gaming is just an excuse for being an excessive collector.

    I still need to decide what rules to use for these 18mm figures though. It will most likely be a “home brew” set.
    Good luck on getting the rest of the house set up!

    1. Ben,
      We're all oddities in this hobby! That's the best part - all personal preferences. Home brew sets are great - I had a terrific homemade set of ACW rules I used in College with friends and it was immensely popular. I like rules that you come up with yourself. Like I said in a different reply - one of the reasons I obsess over rules is to find ideas for when I write myself.
      It's always very satisfying to see how others simulate various aspects of the battlefield.

  4. I try to stay open minded about rules, but in practice I am not. I play Volley and Bayonet for Napoleonics, AWI, and ACW. Earlier this year I rebased my Civil War figures permanently from Johnny Reb to V&B. I only run WW II games in Command Decision; I'll play other rules if someone else in the group puts on a game. I will also play other rules at conventions.
    For me, V&B and CD really fit what I want from a game; and I know the rules well and that's a plus.

    1. Mike,
      Open minded is the way to go otherwise you drive yourself nuts (like me). I am having an increasingly hard time finding a basing that "fits" for all or most of the games I play.

      Basing guys for the "Black Powder" rules seems to work for different games, except for tacking them down on Volley and Bayonet sized bases, which to me don't look right with a "brigade" of 4 dudes standing there but it's all perspective I suppose...

  5. If I was going to do it all again; I'm 56 and I'm not changing scales at this point, all of my stuff would be 6mm, using reduced bases and measuring. Borodino on my dining room table really appeals to me.

    1. MIke, I have a huge, huge huge collection of 6mm troopers, mostly Adler but a few baccus. 6mm are hte ones I prefer to use for V&B and I have about 2 Corps of 6mm based for ACW however I based them on the Regimental sized bases.