Britons Celtic Warband Skirmishes

Jim Wallman, creator of many excellent free miniature wargames rules sets has released another: Britons!

Jim writes that in Britons!, players control heroes (and, of course, heroines), who in turn have contingents of fighters under them:

These rules concentrate on the actions in a raid. Raids could involve anything from a few dozen to several hundred, and could involve considerable fighting.

Why ‘One Brain Cell’? Well, many sets of wargame rules these days are horrendously complicated, with big thick rule books to read, dozens of additional books to get (at unreasonable expense) and exceptionally complicated rule mechanisms that take ages to work out.

Dark Age Infantry Slog

The Dark Ages Infantry slog, by Andy Callan, originally appeared in Miniature Wargames #7, back in 1983. Now they’re available here.

It’s an interesting system. Callan writes:

As for the battle itself, I decided that the armies weren’t going to be capable of much tactical manouvre, so this meant that I would have to find some other focus for the wargamers attention (since tactical manoeuvre is at the heart of most conventional games). I therefore decided that, in keeping with the spirit of the period, it would be LEADERSHIP rather than GENERALSHIP that would be the central factor. The player would have to LEAD his army to victory, rather than just issue orders. Accordingly he would need to be involved in forming up the army, and ‘psyching up’ the warriors for the fight, as well as getting stuck in and setting a good example for his men when it came to the crunch. All this was allowed for by giving each leader a number of ‘Leadership Points’ (LP’s) which he can use, each turn, in various ways.

Each group of warriors carries three separate ratings:

1) AGGRESSION: a measure of their enthusiasm for the fight and blood lust! Ranging from 1 (craven) to 8 (psychopathic).

2) FORMATION: a measure of orderliness and density of the ranks. Ranging from 1 (chaotic mob) to 8 (shield wall).

These first two are capable of adjustment by use of Leadership Points, which is not true of:

3) STRENGTH: an amalgam of numerical strength, physical freshness (yes, I know Vikings didn’t use underarm deodorants!) and military efficiency. The rating established at the start of the game can only decline as the battle progresses.

But the best way to describe these rules is actually to print them in full, together with some explanatory notes. The game mechanisms, which include elements of whist, poker and playground games, are unconventional, but the intention was not to be obscure for obscurity’s sake. Its just that these simple mechanisms seemed to me the best way to create a game which (to quote Ian Greenwood, whose passion for Anglo-Saxon warfare is second to none) ‘wouldn’t offend the sensibilities of Viking or Anglo-Saxon devotees who like their games to look and feel like the real thing … (and in which) … the player himself, in the role of leader, could win or lose battles according to his ability to bluff, counter-bluff or pre-empt his opponent’.

Caliburn’s Wrath Arthurian Rules

Caliburn’s Wrath is a set of free wargames rules from Matt Cappetta for the Arthurian period. The rulesCaliburn’s Wrath are “intended to represent intense clashes between small bands of foot soldiers.”

Ironbow rules

From The Perfect Captain, Ironbow is one of their series of beautifully illustrated wargames where the graphics are not just eyecandy, but integrated into the rules and play of the game. Truly innovative stuff. Ironbow covers the crusades era from 1096 to 1192.

Into The Dark Rules

Into the Dark is a set of free wargames rules by Dan Abbott for mass combat in the Medieval period. Designed for 25mm to 30mm figures, the rules seem designed to allow players to easily manage large numbers of figures. In combat, 1d6 is thrown for every four figures in combat. Modifiers are kept to a minimum.

More from Dan:

I’m aware that there are many rule sets on the market designed to deal with medieval armies. However most of these sets are meant to deal with skirmish fighting. Even some of the better known rules for armies are really just skirmish rules done on a giant scale. The rules you see before you are designed for battles between armies, similar to those found in history or heroic literature. Large scale battles can be fought to a conclusion in a reasonable amount of time.

These rules were originally designed for 25mm/30mm figures, although they can easily be used for 15mm by dividing all ranges in half, or by using centimetres instead of inches. Don’t be put off by the size of the rules, use only the basic rules until you are comfortable with play, then add whatever optional rules you like. The section on game preparation takes up a lot of room, but is only needed when first creating your army.