Recieved a copy of Osprey's Lion Rampant yesterday and to look at it is exactly what you would expect from and Osprey. Pretty, well produced and full of pictures - some of which actualy may be of use.
This is my first foray into "Osprey Wargames" as none of the other titles have even remoely picqued my interest. After all how many similar skirmish games can you do (though it has to be said the forthcoming "En Garde" may be added later) what with Pirates, Samaurai, Victorian Sci- Fi assorted Fantasy etc etc etc I wondered if they were actually going to publish anything that was close to a set of "proper" wargames rules.
So after hearing or reading sundry blokes' opinions on Lion Rampant - being something of a medievalist- I thought I'd give it a bash .
Well it definitely falls into the "limited skirmish game" category
But despite that it has some nice ideas and the rules are presented with a light touch. For me they came across as quite old school and a bit simplistic. The basic system is actually not bad- and with a bit of tweaking could be better. The limited nature of the units and "organisation" is for me a serious drawback. I HATE set unit sizes especially for the sort of Petit Geurre this is supposed to represent. However much of that can be ignored if you choose and much to his credit the author encourages you to look deeper into the medieval period and go beyond the fairly narrow confines of the book .
As for the actual rules they are pretty simple- a child could follow these so Joe Wargamer should not have too much bother. If you want to get a bit less lightweight though you are going to need to tweak a bit. There are no formations in the system for anything other than spearmen types- despite the fact that there is a "drilled" skill for mounted Men at Arms .... bit odd that- you are a drilled unit but you have no formation ... Hmmmm
Also shooting and fighting- whilst basically good simple systems have a single silly foible that I can't see the need for. A unit can take up to 42.50% casualties without any loss of its fighting or shooting power. This is just daft- especially when the system allows for 1 combat/shooting dice per figure. I'll be dropping dice as a units is reduced thanks- its actually easier to do this than not ..No of figs in a unit = number of dice used - not exactly rocket science
Again for this type of Petit Geurre such large losses are a bit ovet the top
Fortunatly the system should allow such tweaking and IMHO will be better for it . Avoiding the silly points system should actualy help too though bizarrely the points system is slightly tied into the morale test - again shouldn't make a great deal of difference if you ignore it.
Scenarios and basic "army lists" are provided for the lazy but once again to his credit the author acknowledges that they are only basic. Indeed I applaud much- if not all - of his design philosophy.
On the whole these rules should provide a basis for some low level Medieval mayhem suitable for a child of ten or a wargamer of 47 - I plan to use my 40mm Wars of the Roses collection and possibly my 40mm Normans , Saxons etc. I'll play a run through or two - cold as the rules are written before Tweaking though.
The "Armies" are very limited in size around 40 figs being average though if you were mad I suppose you could do a peasants revolt where the maximum would be 24 units each of 12 serfs .... but that would be daft ... for your "24 point" "army" or retinue as the writer terms it.