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Apologies to the non-wargamers on the forum but I wondered which rules people like and what attracts them to a certain set of rules. For me it would be (in no particular order of preference)
Crossfire - I love the slow burn as you gradually get your troops into their starting positions without taking risks and then the constant calculation of risk as the action unfolds which involves you really trying to look at the ground from an infantryman's point of view. Where is the dead ground? I might attract fire but will I at least have some cover? Can I use smoke to shield the next move? Have I now got to a position where I can risk a big push? I think they really give the feel of small unit combat.
Lion Rampant - They are just so playable but still manage to give enough of a period feel - not super realistic and perhaps not for the purist but give a great game. Just the right amount of what we call the "buggerance" factor to test the quality and flexibility of a plan, especially when your expert archers decide that they'd rather stand around chatting instead of firing at the shedload of knights thundering towards them! (not that I'm in any way bitter about the 6 points I spent on the bunch of layabouts!)
Homegrown Dark Age rules that grew out off the Command and Colours boardgame system - I just like big sweaty blokes in mail with dangerous choppers. Seriously, it's all about the specialist dice with symbols that allows you to lower or reduce the likelihood of casualties without having to use shedloads of dice and the movement system that punishes breaking up your army into small bits that makes it harder and harder to manoeuvre.
There are lots of other rules I like but these are my favourites, on the other end of the scale is Saga, I know lots of people like them but I never felt like I was actually playing a wargame and it is was more about understanding the battleboard than the capabilities and tactics of the historical troops your are using.
What are other people's faves?
I'm a big fan of the "Perfect Captain" range of free rules not just because of their innovative neatness but also the detailed, immersive knowledge of the periods and spectacular graphic chrome which show they are an obvious labour of love for the subject matter. Oh and did I mention they were free? They ask instead you make a donation to charity for every download but no obligation.
1) "Red Actions" which is for the Russian Civil War and related conflicts such as the Polish-Bolshevik and Polish-Ukrainian wars post WW1 - one of my main interests and Strelets have the figures including the upcoming Polish Haller's Blue Army.
2) Their suite of War of 1812 rules: "Cousin Jonathan" for the larger battles, "John Bull" for the smaller actions/skirmishes and a campaign system "Obstinate Beyond Description" covering the Niagara campaign of 1814. Again, Strelets is coming up with the figures.
3) "A Coat of Steel" are contingent-based rules for the larger battles of the War of the Roses (just as "Lion Rampant" are for smaller contingent/retinue based medieval games - I'm also a fan of those). The USP of ACOS is they make these sorts of battles anything but a boring scrum with everyone just piling in. Must confess I have only a passing interest in the War of the Roses but I'm attempting to convert these to 12th-14th century Japanese samurai warfare for which they would be excellent.
All of their rule sets:
Their yahoo discussion group:
Finally I should say I have no connection to Perfect Captain even if this sounds like an ad But even then, did I mention they are free....?
Thanks for this interesting reply, I shall certainly look into the Perfect Captain rules. With Lion Rampant we fight bigger battles than skirmishes. We simply use our multiple based figures, so, for example 4 bases of 8 figures per base represents a large unit such as yeomen or sergeants but only two bases for a men at arms of bidower unit. We don't worry about facing or the 3 inch rule and it gives the feel of a nice big battle that is very playable.
Surprised that nobody else has replied - obviously, a topic that is less interesting to people than I thought!
SYW: "A Glorious War". Probably the best rules ever written.....umm, by me!
Fast play & meets all my prejudices about Lace Wars' battles. Large battalions, bloody & you need to appreciate the tactics of the period to get the best out of them. Only $10 for a PDF.
Field of Glory: Ancient & Renaissance versions. A moderately dense set of rules but once you get the hang of them they produce exciting games that mirror the periods of warfare they propose to represent. Meant as a tournament game set but fine for "normal" games too.
General D'armee: new Napoleonic rules. Yet to play them but they will replace our long standing but clunky former N. rules. Reading them suggests they tick all of the boxes. Written by one the most respected rule writers out there (David Brown).
Blitz Krieg Commander: fast play WW2. They simply work. Probably not great for "rivet-counters" who want endless "accurate" detail but good enough for me.
The Men Who Would Be Kings: Colonial set. We've been gaming the Mahdist Wars in them recently & they give a quick & nail-biting game not unlike the venerable The Sword & the Flame but without the clunky mechanisms (carrying your wounded etc).
SAGA: Dark Age skirmish rules that produce short but fun games. The meanest intelligence could learn them.