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"Rick Priestly's "Hail Caesar" rules article" Topic

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Empgamer Inactive Member04 Feb 2011 3:52 a.m. PST

Not sure if this has cropped up already, did a search and couldn't see it. Interesting article about the rules:

Understandably a lot of talking up of the rules and they do SOUND good, particularly as WAB seems to have gone quiet in terms of any new products or coverage of gaps in army lists.

I bought Black Powder and while I like the book the rules, or rather the concept, didn't really do much for me. I just wasn't really sure of the point of it all or whether it was worth it. I'm equally not sure how much it will catch on as a major player. It did seem to me that there was a lot of ideas but that you ended up doing most of the work yourself.

One problem in my view that BP has, and that the ancients version will have, is army coverage. My bookshelves are bulging with both history books, rules books, army lists and whatever such that I could put together an army for just about any period I play. Trouble is, particularly in attracting newcomers, you need that with these rules as BP at least has no army lists. As such I think BP will have a much more limited appeal (e.g. to established gamers) and even then, only amongst those who like the rather vague style.

If Hail Caesar goes the same way I'm not sure how it will catch on. I've yet to read the article fully and hope it's not a skirmish based game. What will be a killer for me though is the take up of the rules. I still play WAB but will ditch it if something else comes along that covers the armies I play more effectively such that people elsewhere will have access to and likely be playing the same lists. If however it adopts the DIY approach I can see it getting not very far given that unless it's by way of agreement at a local club, there will be all manner of interpretations of what armies can/cannot comprise.

All that may be fine for some folks but as I see it it may lead to insufficient take up and the subsequent large player base which would be essential for me to bother with it, particularly given that other competitors are on the horizon (War and Conquest and Gripping Beast's). A book that has a load of abstract ideas and concepts about how I might use armies I already have, where people elsewhere might have their own and very different approaches and theories I don't need. It's all well and good 'fondling the glossy pages" and "feasting on the sumptuous contents" but are people going to be buying and playing it enough to make it worth considering as a rule set for mainstream play?

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP04 Feb 2011 4:28 a.m. PST

I don't really understand your post – in particular the last two paragraphs. You seem to be saying that you have a rule set you are happy with but are looking to ditch it in favour of the next new ruleset that appears which sells and is played.

Isn't that putting the cart before the horse ? If you have good rules now, why not just stick with them ?

I can only assume this has some aspect of tournament play associated with it. Why not just wait and see what tournaments people put on and then buy that ruleset ?

Ken Portner Inactive Member04 Feb 2011 4:37 a.m. PST

You won't like Hail Caesar. Move on.

Empgamer Inactive Member04 Feb 2011 4:43 a.m. PST

I have a rule set which I'm happy with where it covers armies I play. It doesn't cover them all. If I find a rule set that covers all the armies I play, as well as WAB, I'll likely ditch WAB seeing as I'm too old and lazy to memorise more rule sets than I need/have to. I am not sure if Hail Caesar will do it.

Not really sure why it's difficult????

advocate04 Feb 2011 4:44 a.m. PST

Waiting to see what happens seems to be a reasonable idea, especially since the rules haven't been published yet :o)

Personally I play with a limited number of other players, and am not worried about "other people's interpretations". Even with generally accepted rulesets with lots of army lists I'm inclined to prefer my own take (and often house-rules) on my particular period of interest – especially if the rules purport to cover millenia. So horses for courses.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP04 Feb 2011 5:04 a.m. PST

It's up to you, and do as you like, but my "confusion" was that you original post seemed to say – "it ain't broke – how can I replace it ?".

You have a ruleset that covers all the armies you play and you are happy with the rules.

Plus you have a lot of research material and are happy to design new army lists.

So you're looking for a new ruleset why ? Why not just stick with WAB since it already covers everything you want to do ?

Gloria Smud Inactive Member04 Feb 2011 5:34 a.m. PST

"Army Lists" for BP – I think you've totally missed the point of playing BP – it's about large (ish) games (re-enacting battles or creating scenarios) using lots of troops and generally having a good game in the spirit of whatever period you happen to be playing.
As it stands they're not for competition play and thank the lord for that!

Marcus Brutus Supporting Member of TMP04 Feb 2011 5:37 a.m. PST

What I find a bit amusing is that people are getting worked up about games that haven't been produced. I went down that path with FOG (a decent but pretty mediocre product in my opinion.) Not again.

We play Impetus. A great rules set for my liking. Not to everyone's taste for sure but it is actually in print, has army lists, has a growing fan base and is properly supported by the author.

bruntonboy04 Feb 2011 5:59 a.m. PST

Well I was a little suspicious about BP at first. Since the first game I have dusted off 2 different 18th century set ups and some long forgotten Napoleonic armies and have played little since. No ancient army lists? Think for yourself? play scenarios?..have fun??? Bring it on.

Personal logo Jamesonsafari Supporting Member of TMP04 Feb 2011 6:00 a.m. PST

Hail Caesar will NOT be for tournament style army list and points driven games. Basing will be flexible. the game will be scenario driven with an emphasis on having fun. Sounds perfect to me!

Your armies based for WAB will be able to try out HC without rebasing. So will any DBx armies out there too.

The authors assume that anyone who is going to build a big army will also be doing enough reading about it to come up with their own 'army list' for it.

aecurtis Fezian Inactive Member04 Feb 2011 6:46 a.m. PST

Who's Rick "Priestly"?


Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP04 Feb 2011 6:47 a.m. PST

Jamesonsafari : That seems very reasonable and as it should be.

Personal logo Buff Orpington Supporting Member of TMP04 Feb 2011 7:12 a.m. PST

In a magazine article Rick recommended using existing lists such as WAB to give you the general make up of an army. As James said, not for tournaments. Tournaments aren't the be all & end all.

Personal logo Jamesonsafari Supporting Member of TMP04 Feb 2011 8:14 a.m. PST

ancient gaming has been overly dominated by the tournament mindset to be healthy.

Too much worrying about points and army lists and basing schemes.

DeanMoto04 Feb 2011 8:44 a.m. PST

Wow – that article is very detailed on the basing convention(s) – it is appreciated as it is something I would like to know up front – having all my Ancient/Medieval stuff based for WAB. Dean

brevior est vita Inactive Member04 Feb 2011 8:57 a.m. PST

Hail Caesar will NOT be for tournament style army list and points driven games. Basing will be flexible. the game will be scenario driven with an emphasis on having fun. Sounds perfect to me!

Your armies based for WAB will be able to try out HC without rebasing. So will any DBx armies out there too.

The authors assume that anyone who is going to build a big army will also be doing enough reading about it to come up with their own 'army list' for it.

James has it exactly right. However, Rick Priestley has also said that, while players are encouraged to design their own scenario-based armies, there also will be army lists available for those gamers who feel that they need to have them. Sounds like a 'win-win' situation to me! thumbs up

For those who are interested, Rick has already posted a sample rough-draft army list in the Files section of the Hail Caesar discussion group in Yahoo: link

In addition, there are other useful tidbits to be found in the various group discussion posts. For example, you may rest assured that Hail Caesar definitely will not be a "skirmish based" game. grin


ancientsgamer Inactive Member04 Feb 2011 9:32 a.m. PST

Well, James, I don't see why people get in a tiff over tournaments. If you don't like them, don't play. The purpose of army lists is to come up with balanced opponents for games. They can be tournament games or one-off games.

Point systems aren't perfect and I can understand where people get concerned over players that take advantage of the imperfections and come up with army lists that tip the scale in there favor.

As we all know, very few battles were balanced in this way and it was a bring what you got affair. Most battles have one side at a numerical disadvantage. Hanibal was outnumbered at Canae and won. I think if someone were to point the troops out, we would see the Romans with more points but not by as much as the numbers would imply (Hanibal outnumbered Rome's cavalry by at least 2:1)

Tournaments are not unhealthy as you state. They actually attract gamers and can be a focal point for more gamers to get together. If you don't like competition, this is fine. But making such statements do nothing to help the hobby. Horses for courses. I know plenty of people that don't play in tournaments but they are supportive of them as it helps the hobby in general.

San Antonio, TX USA

Empgamer Inactive Member04 Feb 2011 9:44 a.m. PST

@20thMaine – sorry but I can't really be bothered to get into a debate about why I made the post. I did say early on that for me WAB had some gaps. Happy to discuss the article or whatever.

Also odd that some other posters view a thread discussing a rule set as "getting worked up". It's a discussion forum? Oh well, nature of the internet I suppose. Largely the reason I rarely bother with it these days, and avoid arguments and all the associated.

Anyway, interesting article I thought, will definitely wait and see before I buy this, especially after Black Powder (not to mention the pre-order v post-release issue – costs wise).

JJartist04 Feb 2011 10:17 a.m. PST

Tournaments per-se are not evil.
Making a set of rules that has to conform to rigorous tournament competitive mentality, are evil.
WAB was once a nice game that worked well in many environments, currently it is being hacked into tournament only mode. But that's fine for the thirty or so players in England that want their tournaments to be fair and balanced, so Sumerians can stand toe-to-toe with Spartans…
So I understand the sentiment that a WAB like game for people who want to play a historical game is the next thing for me as well.

I feel that any good game can be made into a group play tournament setting.. it takes work by the organizer. It is not monolithic… it does not have to be. What goes on at Historicon, does not have to be the same at all that goes on in Nottingham. Unfortunately the world wide anal retentive nature of tournament gamers believe that any game across the planet should have the same set guidelines…..
these are the people who like to see their names on the top of the worldwide ladder for theri games… more power to them, I don't care about such things.

WAB could have this structure as well, just don't hoist it on the whole community. Too late.

I believe Hail Caesar will be an excellent book to own, and I'm sure the production quality will be excleent just like Black Powder is. I enjoy Black Powder completely as a very cool miniature book, in the old style like my Charles Grant books. I don't need to play Charles Grant's rules to still enjoy that old book!

I general I've found the new rush to heavy hardcover books for the actual rule sets to be a bit over the top. WAB in hardcover is simply a pain in the ass- it is already falling apart, my old paperbacks are better for gaming.
I lifted WFB 8th edition and started to get a cramp, then somebody handed me the paperback reader's digest version.. but I could not read the 6 point type… :)

Maybe it's time to graduate to 54mm gaming so I can see everything.. rules with 14 point text. Reversion… Fun with Dick and Jane. Jane is playing Greeks. Dick is playing Persians. Run Persians run. Run Persians run. Dick fell down. Jane ran him through with a xyston. The end.

Personal logo RelliK Sponsoring Member of TMP04 Feb 2011 10:52 a.m. PST

I hope with these rules that there will be some good flavour for Characters.

(I am a sick person) Inactive Member04 Feb 2011 11:40 a.m. PST

Looks like just another big table set of rules to me. If it won't fit on a 5'x3' table then no-one I know will be playing it.

getback04 Feb 2011 12:36 p.m. PST

Warlord just posted this.

Detailed description of the game.

brevior est vita Inactive Member04 Feb 2011 1:26 p.m. PST

From Rick's latest description on the Warlord Games site, Hail Caesar just keeps sounding better and better, at least to this long-time ancients gamer!

YMMV of course… 'different strokes,' and all that. grin


JJartist04 Feb 2011 2:26 p.m. PST

All I want is Stallard's game room…

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP04 Feb 2011 5:13 p.m. PST

I hope with these rules that there will be some good flavour for Characters

That's an interesting thought. Do characters actually play a large part in big ancients battles though ? Other than a morale effect, of course, and some influence on "zone of control" for want of a better phrase to represent how efficiently they controlled their chain of command.

DeanMoto04 Feb 2011 5:53 p.m. PST

All I want is Stallard's game room…
I usually like light colored walls, but I have to admit that red seems appropriate for a "war" room. Oh, and I do like how he has bayonets affixed to the firearms. Dean

Empgamer Inactive Member05 Feb 2011 2:12 a.m. PST

While a points based system (and accompanying army lists) is perhaps essential for tournaments I think it has value elsewhere too. Mainly in giving people who may not play together regularly, or those who may wish or have to travel to events (campaigns and themed weekends etc) to get a game, the ability to put armies together knowing that the others players will be working from the same lists and restrictions etc.

Personally I'm not that fussed on a point system designed to balance armies across hundreds of years so people can pitch ancients against medievals but I don't mind the points approach when it is designed around a period such that armies can be prepared with players facing the same restrictions etc. That was, and for the armies it covers still is, where WAB did it for me. Trouble is publications have dried up and the expected flood of releases post WAB2 never happened. There's no info coming out from FW and one can almost expect the next gap to be plugged will be at Salute 2011. So what after, Salute 2012?? So, for the Crusades I need something else.

This looks interesting and as JJ said, it might just be a nice book anyway. At the moment though I suspect War and Conquest might be the most likely contender for me. Provided it will be supported in terms of of lists etc. FoG and FOW have done a good job on that front IMO. A "flash in the pan" set of rules that arrives in a blaze of publicity, looks promising by having a few lists and maybe even a period book released, but then withers on the vine as the author/publisher flits from one interest to another I won't be buying into.

Cyclops Inactive Member05 Feb 2011 5:20 a.m. PST

Two Owl Bob said

Looks like just another big table set of rules to me. If it won't fit on a 5'x3' table then no-one I know will be playing it.

The same was said about Black Powder. The rules give you the ability to use huge amounts of 28mm figures on a massive table, but you don't have to.
My (fledgling) 10mm 1870s Prussians and Brits have a frontage of 12cm, 8 bases 2 deep, 3cm frontage. Works fine and I assume the same will be true of these rules. All frontages mentioned in the article are for 28mm figures. Just half them or thereabouts (as well as the movement and ranges) and you're good to go on a smaller table with smaller figures. As long as the units have generally the same frontage everything's fine.

Wargamer Blue05 Feb 2011 9:35 p.m. PST

I am really looking forward to HC hitting the stores.

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Feb 2011 2:24 a.m. PST

Worth a look, I reckon. To paraphrase Nelson "No captain can do very wrong if he places a large number of pretty wargames figures on a very large table."


mashrewba07 Feb 2011 8:58 a.m. PST

Does anyone know when these are coming out?

Personal logo Who asked this joker Supporting Member of TMP07 Feb 2011 9:24 a.m. PST

Dunno but they are not for Pre-order on Amazon yet. If Amazon does the same thing they did with Black Powder, I will order this set. If they don't, I won't!

brevior est vita Inactive Member07 Feb 2011 9:43 a.m. PST

Does anyone know when these are coming out?

The most recent 'guesstimate' by the author is late March, or thereabouts.


Fred Cartwright Supporting Member of TMP07 Feb 2011 11:24 a.m. PST

I would guess for Salute in April – the big UK wargames show! I'd be surprised if they weren't pulling out all the stops to have it on sale there.

Dave Crowell08 Feb 2011 6:37 a.m. PST

Army lists of some sort are great for pick up games as well as tournaments. The Lasalle aproach of Army Core + Support Choice(s) is a viable alternative to a points system.

It is handy to have some way of quantifying what to bring and how to have it organized for non-scenario games.

Saying bring "2,000 pts", "a consular legion", or "a core with two supports" of Romans all will let me know what I should bring to meet your Gauls on Thursday night.

The advantage of standardized (published) lists is that we do not have to belong to the same gaming group. I can show up at Cold Wars, Salute, or Joe's game room find an opponent and start playing.

As for Hail Caesar, Rick's description of the design goals and preferences of the group make it appear that this will not be the game for me. I have a different set of needs and druthers to accomodate. HC looks like a game i would love to play, I just don't think they will become my main rules of choice.

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