Prolific games designer Rudi Geudens offers Afriboria, a fast play, card driven set of colonial rules. What’s really neat about this game is that Rudi has designed some gorgeous custom cards, as well as labels to stick to six sided dice for use with the game.
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’.
I own a copy of the original Grenadier Fantasy Warriors boxed set. In fact, all the dwarf and orc miniatures that came with it are still unpainted and on their sprues. (I already had hordes of Games Workshop orc and dwarves and simply played with those).
The game had a lot to recommend it: the figures were great, they were a good bargain, and the rules were a marked departure from Games Workshop. What we liked most about the rules was the emphasis on command, rather than on individual super figures. Sadly, however, it’s been out of print for many years.
Now you can get the original rules as a download here. As for the figures, I understand that there is an italian company that produces them, but I’ve had no success in finding them.
Loose Files and American Scramble by Andy Callan was one of the first American Revolution games that I played. Originally published in Wargames Illustrated in 1987, it is a lot of fun. For thouse of you who don’t have a copy of the magazine, it’s been reprinted here.
Pot that Fellow, Somebody is a set of free miniatures rules for the colonial era. Author RP Bergman writes:
These rules are intended to fight Colonial quasi-skirmish level games with multiple players and 2-3 units per players. Colonial players includes Europeans, Americans, and any other modern power with advanced military technology. Native players include includes Zulus, Dervishes, Pathans, etc. Units are rated according to Morale Quality, Melee Skill, and Firearms Skill. The Morale of units degrades as they lose leaders, take casualties, suffer from the heat, or fail to take action during the battle. Eventually, even the best unit may “run away” to live, fight (and die) another day. Units take a variable number of actions each turn, with the better quality troops having a higher chance of taking more actions.