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Sunday 21 January 2024

Rules Rules and more bloody Rules.

 There are times when bits of this mostly fascinating hobby of ours bores me witless. The obsession with rules is one of my personal bugbears. Rule books become ever thicker and denser and often more expensive and equally often moving further and further from the historical prototype. I suspect that this is inevitable as each rule writer/ game designer has his own hobby horse to ride.

Could I really use these 40mm TYW with Renatio et Gloriam- somehow I doubt it .

This does not mean that new rules are all dross, but you do have to be more careful  these days than formerly when trying to pick the chocolate bar out of the cess pit.

Now one of the possible gems out there may well be the new Renatio et Gloriam set. Now I don't own these yet  but on the back of a few games of the ancient version -Mortam et Gloriam they do interest me. At least as much as any set of rules ever can. Being card driven they allow a bit of thought about how to play the hand you have been dealt and was it not Clauswitz or one of those 19th century thinking dudes who opined that war was more like a game of cards than of chess? So something a little more intriguing than the usual picture book with a few rules in I hope.

 The trouble is  when I get a copy I'll have to puzzle them out and not having a massive amount of time for such it may take me a while.

Moving swiftly on our groups next game will be a new period for us. I finally have enough Indian Mutiny stuff table ready. Not a huge amount but enough for a club game. So there is another problem- which rules?

The 'regular' part of the current Mutineers collection. I can add almost the same again in assorted 'irregulars' .

  I have several possibilities.

 1/. John Company- a phonebook thick American set of some age. I have tried to read these but gave up. Anyway my collection is not even remotely similar in basing.

2/. Black Powder- either version. Yes I could use these if I could actually read them. 2nd Edition is printed in brown on cream paper so is difficult to read in anything less than perfect light. There is some good stuff hidden in there but can I deal with the eyestrain?

3/. The Men Who Would be Kings.  Easy enough but small units and  some odd organisational quirks (no General Officers). Feels very dice heavy. Set unit sizes - which I have never been a fan of and rather a lot of 'abstracting out'. Tied to a silly points system which should not be hard to get round . Need a bit of setting up with unit stats and suchlike.  Artillery rules are not much use.

4/. Charge !  with  period amendments .  I know and like Charge- I use it for the 'Shinyloo' games and it has hidden depths not apparent in simple reading. Unlike more modern rules you can actually read the book. Playing  does not bore the arse off you  but I'm not sure I can make them fit the period. Hmmm.

5/. The Sword and the Flame. Pretty simple but possibly a bit long winded with card driven movement. Not sure they really fit the Mutiny but are rather for later 19th century.

So a bit of a quandary which I have to solve before next Saturday.  


  1. The plentitude of rules available is one of the reasons I have developed my own rules over the years. I usually start with a simple basic framework for a period, and after each we game we add/remove aspects we didn't like. So we end up with a ruleset tailored to our specific likings, but it works. I still buy new rulesets, mostly to find inspiration and to see how "others do it".

    But indeed, trying to use published rules these days can be a PITA, it feels like work. Hence, my own rules ;-)

    1. I don't play as much as I once did but definitely see your point and have done the same in the past. Up to a point I will do that with Charge! Eventually I'll have Indian Mutiny rules and for another project perhaps TYW rules for 40mm- the problem as ever is finding the time.

  2. Not sure I'd even want to try and pick a chocolate bar out of a cesspit, but when it comes to rules I share your views on ever larger rule books filled with extraneous information and gratuitous art work / photos.
    When it comes to rules for the Mutiny, it depends on what sort of game you want - for me I'd opt for a Pony Wars variant where everyone plays on the outnumbered imperial side and the ever-growing numbers of mutineers are controlled by the rules. You have to work fast to rescue various groups of civilians and get them back to the Residency before you get overwhelmed. Great fun, but you may not have enough mutineers although the do get recycled in the rules.

    1. Definitely one possible option- especially as all our games are Umpire controlled so he would control the Mutineers. Want to start a little smaller though with a straight engagement. The Brits will still be out numbered and out gunned as far as artillery is concerned so we will see.

  3. There's no perfect set of rules that suits everyone except... the set you write yourself! Even then perfection may slip away with familiarity - but meantime it might be worth a go - especially if there's elements of different games that you like. As for hard to read print - print on textured background - small point sizes - print over pictures - white text on black... I have fought against all my life. It is a losing battle. Ist edition Black Powder is way easier to read - better font and point size and the background tint is less intrusive.

    1. True- there is no such thing as the Holy Grail- all rules have their faults- often especially those you write yourself. I look back at some of the messes I scribbled in the 80s and 90s and would not go near them now fortunately they were only for my own use. And yes BP1 is easier to read than many.