Friday, 9 January 2015

Sample Issue of The Journal

One of my other roles besides being responsible for the Freewargamesrules website is I am also the webmaster of the Society of Twentieth Century Wargamers website.

Exciting news for the SOTCW is we are going digital for our next subscription and as such we have produced a sample issue of our magazine The Journal for people to get an idea of the contents and and quality of the magazine.

The sample issue can be downloaded for free from Wargames Vault where you can also subscribe to The Journal.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Lion Rampant AAR

I bought Ospreys Lion Rampant rules by Dan Mersey a couple of weeks ago, they are reasonably priced and I managed to get a copy for £8.29. They contain rules, army lists and scenarios are illustrated with colour photographs of a good quality.

So far I've had 2 games with them a couple of weeks ago using Lord of The Rings Combat Hex figures (40mm) and last week a War of The Roses game (20mm figures). I will give my thought to the rules at the end of the After Action Report.

Overview of Rules
The rules are well written and very simple,  units are made up of either 6 or 12 figures and classified from one of 11 types. Each unit type has a point cost from 1 to 6 points and a Retinue consists of 24 points. On your turn you try to activate a unit to either Move, Shoot or Attack (Charge into Melee). Each unit has a stat for those 3 action types and that is what you have to roll on 2D6 (between 3 and 5). If you fail a roll that unit doesn't complete its action and the turn passes to your opponent.

If you pass the roll you complete the action and select your next unit. Shooting and Melee are carried out the same. If your unit is full strength roll 12 dice if at half strength roll 6 dice. You need to roll your stat for shooting or attacking (usually 5 or 6). Count the number of hits achieved and divide by the targets armour number and that is the number of figures removed. Every unit that takes casualties makes a Courage Test (morale) which consists of rolling 2D6 subtracting the number of casualties lost. If the number is equal or greater than units courage stat (usually between 3 and 5) the unit passes. If it fails the roll but is still a positive number the unit becomes battered. If it fails and is zero or a negative number the unit routs. So lose 2 figures and roll double 1 your unit will rout from the table (and yes that happened to me in my first game).

Battered units may only attempt to rally at the begging of your next turn and if they don't you lose another figure and remain battered. The only other 2 things you may do at the start of your turn is Offer a challenge to the enemy CinC (see AAR) or roll for Wild Charges (impetuous units attempt to get in combat once within move Distance).

There are also some special abilities units have or may purchase but these are kept few and within period so does not bog the game down).

War of the Roses (AAR)
So the second game I had with was with Will McNally using his War of The Roses figures and using the war of the roses variant from Boardgamegeek.

The Scenario was Will was on a Forced march from 1 table edge to the opposite edge (his special rule was that he must attempt to move a unit every turn and failing a move activation test did not end his turn). He had 1 unit of mounted knight, 1 unit of retinue longbow archers, 1 unit of shire archers, 1 unit of retinue billmen and 1 unit of shire billmen.

I had to split my force into 2 for the scenario and had to stop him from crossing the table. My first unit consisted of 1 unit of mounted men at arms (Mounted sergeants in the book), 2 units of shire billmen.

The second unit on the opposite table edge was 1 unit of retinue longbow archers, 1 unit of  retinue billmen and 1 units of shire billmen.

Will started moving across the table but it wasn't long before units were getting left behind (his archers required 7+ to move).

I had the same issue with my archers on my right flank (who were later to become cursed!).

The first action was on the left flank where my shire billmen and his shire billmen went head to head and my dice rolling was bad so I lost 4 figures to his 2 and I lost the combat and retreated.

My other billmen were hit by his retinue billmen (which are better quality troops) and my billmen were dispatched quickly after I failed by courage test. My Mounted Men at Arms containing my CinC managed to cause some casualties on his billmen making one of them rout. But lost half of their 6 figures. (The green counters mark the Retinue units. the white counter is for battered units).

Then with my 2nd unit of billmen on the left flank battered and retreating all that was left on that flank was my CinC unit with 3 figures. This was a critical part of the battle. I took a gamble to try and regain some lost ground and with the 2 CinC's within 12" of each I issued a Challenge to his CinC. You may do once pre game each (if Will refused the Challenge all his units would require a Courage test). However, he accepted.

Both Commanders meet half way and fight a duel by rolling 3D6 each and hitting on fives and sixes. The one who causes most hits kills the other. If a draw the challenge isn't resoved. I rolled 1 six, Will rolled 2 sixes and my CinC died and all units had to take a Courage Test. My other billmen routed and 2 of my units on my right flank were battered. (if battered units aren't rallied they start to deteriorate quickly and soon rout). 

On my right flank 2 billmen units were in place to block his force and I tried to move my bows into range. Just as I managed to get them into range Will fired on them with his retinue Billmen who were hitting on 4's and not getting a minus for range. (We later decided that this rule in the unofficial variant was too powerful to longbow. Having a better hitting number and not losing a modifier for range. It should be one or the other and we thought it should be the better hitting number only).

Superb rolling by Will, with an Armour of 2 that meant 5 figures lost. Rolling 2D6 -5 meant I fell back battered and on my next rally roll I rolled a 3 meaning the unit routed. My Archers had spent the whole game moving across the table and were wiped out after 1 round of shooting. 

By now I had lost 5 units to Wills 2 and the end was nigh for me. Once down to a single unit that has to test Courage each turn. I lost a couple of figures from bow fire and the first turn it became battered and before Will could contact me they routed after failing a rally test.

The whole game was completed within an hour and a half and a major victory for will.

Lion Rampant are a very quick set of rules to play and after a couple of turns you know what you are doing with just a unit reference sheet at hand. It can be frustrating with units not doing what you want them to do but this is the Middle Age period after all. If you don't like games where your units don't always react to what you want them to do then this is the game is not for you. This is similar to warmaster and its derivatives (BKC, CWC, Black Powder and hail Caesar)

Yes you can lose a unit after a couple of figures are lost with a bad snake eyes roll but this is a game which is meant to be quick and fun to play and it certainly is.

I have seen some complaining on forums that a unit continues to roll 12 dice until it is half strength but that is all part of the simplicity of the game. If you don't like this you can make a quick house rule to lose a D6 for each casualty lost on 12 figure units and 2D6 lost for each casualty lost on 6 figure units but we are quite happy with them as written.

Will is hoping to use the rules for the Lance and Longbow society participation games in future as they are so easy and quick to use. Since I have bought the rules at least 2 others in the club have also bought them so I can see many more games in the Club. I would say they are simpler than Black Powder but give just a good game in an evening and highly recommend them.

On boardgamegeek there are already variants for War of the Roses, American Civil War and Zulu Wars. I'm already thinking of modifications for 18th Century periods as they get figures on the table quick and its a fun game.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Website Update

So as of 10th October 1,435 entries have been made on the new website (manually).

Although many people offered to help only 1 has come through with their word so I would like to personally thank Sirrob01 for their help.

If you have not visited the new site then please feel free to come along as their are many advantages:

  • Anyone can amend or add entries.
  • Photos can be added to each entry.
  • You can add rules by writing and saving them on the site in the entry (e.g. Link)
  • Files of PDF and ODT can be uploaded onto it, max size of 10mb per file. (e.g. Link)
  • Photos can be added to entries (e.g. Link)
  • Comments can be added on each entry, such as a review or thoughts on the rules.

So come along and have a look. If you see an error correct it dynamically. If we are missing something feel free to add it.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Derby Show

I had a very good weekend in Derby at the annual Derby World Wargames Show. I and a couple of mates travel to this every year and make a weekend of it stopping over. It was busy again this year with lots through the doors but according to some of the traders I spoke to they're not spending as much as they used to.

One downside this year was the lack of a Bring & Buy (as they could not get sufficient staff to staff it). Some visitors were not aware and were seen humping items to sell only to have to hump them back to their cars. I don't know why they didn't run a Flea Market instead where you hire a table for a couple of hours and sell your own stuff. This takes minimal admin (only 1 person needed to collect hire costs). As a result several people were selling items at their display/participation games.

Anyway my purchases were as follows:

  • Future War Commander rulebook (second hand copy)
  • No More Room In Hell rulebook, you can never have enough Zombie rules and the scenario/campaign rules look very good in this.
  • Some jungle terrain
  • Khans of Tarkir Magic The Gathering intro deck and some Conspiracy booster packs.
  • Avengers v X-men Dice Masters game. I have played Quarriors and enjoy it so thought another Superhero game won't hurt.
  • A box of Plastic Soldier Company Early War Germans (15mm)
  • After The Horseman rulebook by THW (dirt cheap)
  • 5150 Infestation scenario book 1 by THW (again cheap and you can never have enough Aliens type scenarios).
  • A 4 Ground Fantasy Realm house. A bit pricey at £33 but I spent 3 hours puting it together on Monday (it has over 300 pieces) and it looks superb.

However Bargain of the weekend was Fanticide rulebook and card deck (normally about £30 for £11) and 3 army packs RRP £145 and I got them for £30.

The rulebook is lavishly written and it seems a solid set of simple rules that can be adapted for all sorts.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

URL of Freewargamesrules wiki

Ok I thought I had publicised the new Wiki by:

  • Circulating on all major wargames forums
  • Adding to RSS feed
  • Circulating it on twitter feed
  • Adding it to every page of website (and in large letters on the home page)
It seems that some still can't find it in that case the new site is at:

Hope you can now find it, and please join in.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Freewargamesrules Wiki update

Since launching the wiki I have made 1,271 edits to the site and have transferred 7 out of the 13 Categories across.

Sadly although many promised to help no one else has stepped up to the plate but this only convinces me I made the right choice to transfer the site to the wiki. When I have completed the transfer which is still going to take me several more sessions over the coming weeks that will be it.

It will be up to the community to keep it alive and if, as I suspect, they don't the site will wither and die but the choice is theirs.

So I am having another few days off from it so my RSI recovers ready for the next session.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Freewargamesrules - The Next Generation

When I started this site back in 1997 there were very few wargames sites, Google did not exists and there were no blogs where people could share whatever they wanted instantly. BAck in '97 I made it my mission to catalogue and collate all the available free wargames rules on the Internet.

Back in those days as there was so little new content being added it didn't take much time to add content. In 1997 only 1.7% (70,000,000) of the Worlds population had internet access fast forward to 2014 and it is now 40.7% (2,937,000,000 users).

After 17 years of trying to keep up and having recently retired from a 30 year Government job I have lost the enthusiasm to continue as I have. I have gone from daily updates to weekly updates then to monthly updates and I am struggling to catch up.

Many people have offered to kindly take this site on, but without knowing them or their commitment longterm I cannot guarantee that in another 5, 10 or 20 years all the hard work is lost for ever.

I am aware what a valuable resource it is and am unwilling for it to die a slow and painful death.

I have seen the power of social media and collective collaboration, therefore, I have a radical proposal to ensure the continuation of resource:

I propose that we have a "wikipedia style" resource of Free Wargames Rules where the whole community maintains it, adds new content, amends incorrect data and removes obsolete information. I will continue as overall Administrator.

This way everyone  can contribute and the resource survives. This is a mammoth task to convert this data to a wiki and it will need a great deal of work. I do not want to start this if there is support across the community so please comment below or send me an email at: