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"Hammer's Slammers - Wargame" Topic

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Personal logo MrHarold Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Jun 2012 8:56 a.m. PST

Hello all,

I was thinking about picking up the starter set and the Crucible for Hammer's Slammers. It looks like a beautiful book but I still have some questions.

Does anyone know if there is a US distributor?

How does the game play? Is it easy to learn and fun?

Can I play without a gigantic army and huge table? I'll be doing 15mm (and it comes with forces in the starter set) will it be fun with the starter set armies?

I don't know how I missed these, it looks great!

Thanks all!

Failure1627 Jun 2012 9:36 a.m. PST

I cannot speak to the distribution aspect; your best bet is likely to go directly through Pireme, perhaps.

The game plays very smoothly. It is very easy to learn and intuitive. The book is indeed beautiful and packed with data, but the rules themselves are but a small portion of the presentation and easy to pick up. John Treadaway, the primary flag-bearer for the game, is always available for comments/questions and has done a great job of supporting the game with FAQs, clarifications, game supplements/cheat-sheets, even miniature buying guides.

At its core it is a skirmish game, but it plays very nicely at a company-plus level with 15- or 6mm forces (the latter is what I use). Thus, you do not need to use massive forces or spaces to play. It strikes a very good balance between playability and granularity. The focus is on people and not specifically technology and nearly everything a force needs is on a couple of data cards (or the masterful 'Big Unit' sheets).

Mechanically, it is turn-based game and not a reaction-driven system like many recent rulesets. However, a lot goes on in those turns, so it is not a typical IGOUGO game.

The starter pack is a good start. Some feel that the Lightning Division is a bit underpowered, but I have found the key is to not try to put all of the Slammers' gear on the table at first. For instance, try out the Slammers' tank and infantry squads against the the LD's force minus an APC at first. That will give you a nice selection with which to learn without getting carried away.

You can also use whatever force you have on hand already. The game does not have a true "construction" element, but it is easy enough to parse together your own forces once you have looked over data cards from extant sources. As a rule of thumb, the Slammers and Terran Mariens have the best gear, so use them as the top-of-the-line for what is avaialble and downgrade from there.

One thing about the game: you will need a lot of terrain. Most AFVs can easily shoot across any reasonable gameboard, so you *need* to break up lines of sight in order to have fun and encourage maneuver.

Personal logo MrHarold Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Jun 2012 10:16 a.m. PST

thank you very much, seems like just what I was looking for… I was gonna get the starter pack and the crucible…is the crucible more goodness, or should I hold off?

Failure1627 Jun 2012 10:59 a.m. PST


I may be completely off, but I was under the impression that the Starter Pack (Pireme Code PUB-HDL1) contains only the models and a MiniWargs magazine with appropriate content; no rules.

The 'HS Deal' (PUB-HDL2) contains the Starter Pack and the actual rulesbook itself (PUB-HTSC). Given the crazy savings involved (~$23!), I'd say go for the latter combination. However, given the cost of the Starter Pack (which is just a shade less than the cost of its component models) and its touting as a "complete game in a box", maybe there are rules in there. (I don't think so but I don't own it since I play 6mm).

I am fairly confidant that there are no rules in the Starter Pack, but does anyone know absolutely?

Personal logo MrHarold Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Jun 2012 11:36 a.m. PST

Ah, well, I was gonna get that anyways…just wanted to make sure it was a good idea :)

I think I might use the rules for my Desert Corp wars in Shadowrun…

John Treadaway27 Jun 2012 12:32 p.m. PST

Mr Harold

First off what Failure16 said (and many thanks for those kind words sir). If you buy the rules I hope you enjoy them.

Although I don't do any of the selling of this stuff (I leave that up to the publishers) as far as I'm aware, the starter pack is 15mm scale Old Crow models with GZG figures and a copy of the MiniWargs Magazine with a scenario in.


1 Slammers Blower Tank,
2 Slammers Combat Cars,
2 Squads of Slammers Infantry,
1 Lightning Division Tracked Medium Tank,
3 Lightning Division Tracked APCs,
4 Squads Lightning Division Infantry,
Copy of Miniature Wargames featuring a Hammer's Slammers scenario.

The "Starter pack and Crucible" comes with a set of the hard backed Crucible rules at a cost saving.

The rules also come with a scenario plus others are available on the web site as stand alones and in Supplements

All support material (including 3 supplements* and lots of other play sheets, a printable FAQ list and so forth for all three scales [28mm, 15mm and 6mm]) are all available from the Slammers website.

John Treadaway

* Including additional rules and more useful stuff

Personal logo MrHarold Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Jun 2012 12:50 p.m. PST

Thanks John! I appreciate the heads up…and am enjoying following your new project!

John Treadaway27 Jun 2012 1:20 p.m. PST

Failure16 – that's a very nice – and concise – review, BTW. Would you mind it I used it on the Slammer's website? Unbiased reviews by someone that actually uses the system aren't always as easy to come across as you might think.

Drop me an email* if you would if you would like to say yes (if not, I do understand).


* via the contacts page on the web site

Failure1627 Jun 2012 2:00 p.m. PST

E-mail sent, sir.

MrHarold, if you want to model Shadowrun-style adventures (even the pseudo high-intensity conflicts such as Desert Wars), I would heartily suggest looking into the various on-line (free)supplements that deal with things like power-armor.

They will give an insight into how the rules interact with concepts not present in the rulebook (like the cybertech rampant in that milieu where it doesn't feature heavily in the Slammerverse). Alternately, you can classify some cybertech as the so-called Elite Skills available to give your forces some individuality while minimizing departure from the core system.

On the other hand, The Crucible doesn't need that level of granularity to succeed if you simply want to dot the sand with burning tanks and screaming men. Pick out your favorite Shadowrun vehicles, find your closest proxies, and hit the road!

Personal logo MrHarold Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Jun 2012 2:42 p.m. PST

Thanks, Failure16, that's incredibly useful!

McWong7327 Jun 2012 5:20 p.m. PST

Failure16's review has also gotten my interest in these rules.

Failure1627 Jun 2012 6:58 p.m. PST

Thanks for the kind words, folks.

It's a great game that is (at a bare minimum) the equal or its peers. John T and crew did a nice job…few of my gaming books have garnered as much attention from non-gamers when left oh-so-casually on the coffee table. True story, that.

One of the reasons that I champion it is that people naturally assume it is set up only for battles from the books. This does the game engine a great disservice. Because it focuses on the men along with the technology it can be used for a variety of uses.

It can function as a pure skirmish game when using 25/8mm figures and all the optional rules or as a 6mm multi-company combat system (I hesitate to call it a "mass-combat" or "operational" level game because it really isn't set up for battalion-plus/regimental actions) using just the basics. It has a validated point-system but prefers force-lists; the best of both worlds.

Yadda-yadda…you get the point!

(Jake Collins of NZ 2)27 Jun 2012 10:32 p.m. PST

John T, have you ever considered doing a version with just the rules – so minus the colour pics and the fluff? That would certainly tempt me if it was a reasonably priced pdf or the like.

John Treadaway28 Jun 2012 6:56 a.m. PST

@Failure16 and thanks again!

@McWong73: good I hope you give it a spin. Have a look at the reviews on the web site as well link

@Collins355: problem is that the sales of the rules are out of my control and something I don't want to get involved with. Pireme invested a lot in the project and obviously they'd like to sell as many sets of The Crucible as they can.

My plan instead of cheap PDF rule sets is to support the game with free PDF downloads of all of the game aids needed so that after the initial investment players shouldn't have to buy anything more (except toys, obviously [and we all want them!]).

I suppose that as for me (having met Dave and poured over the books [and done internal illustrations for the hardback releases]) the background is such an important element I've never considered excising it from the rule book.

However, as a compromise, if you want a cut down set you might still find one of the two predecessor volumes available for sale. The Crucible is the third incarnation, with lots of rule enhancements, but there was an original Hammer's Slammers Technical Manual and Hammer's Slammers: The Anvil in smaller (and cheaper), softback format. The first had the basic rules (and some fluff) the second had add on rules (and more fluff).

You might find one of those still for sale.

As opposed to the first two volumes, The Crucible (the third [and final] volume) is more fluff, all the rules (including corrections) from the first two volumes. Then still more rules and so forth. The core rules are still only 20 pages, mind you, with another 20 pages or so of add ons and so forth.

Have a look at a set if you can. Meantime, I can show you a few example pages from the Slammers web site PDF link

John T

Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP28 Jun 2012 6:56 a.m. PST

Just do It !!! thumbs up

John Treadaway28 Jun 2012 6:59 a.m. PST

Thankyou for that L4. You are my man on this: Front and Center every time grin

And indeed thankyou everyone for your support on this project.

John T

Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP28 Jun 2012 7:12 a.m. PST

Any time Soldier … thumbs up

John Treadaway28 Jun 2012 10:11 a.m. PST


One other thing. You'd asked:

Can I play without a gigantic army and huge table? I'll be doing 15mm (and it comes with forces in the starter set) will it be fun with the starter set armies?

I regularly play club night games with quite small forces.

A common game to start with would be one detachment* a side, possibly two detachments if you have more than just a couple of hours to play. With an experienced player I can do a game of 4 detachments a side and it'll last about 4 hours.

On that basis, a short two player game of a single detachment each might have six or seven vehicles a side with a dozen or so infantry figures per player.

The boxed set gives close to a detachment for each player: the Slammers (Elites) would normally field 8 TUs but only get 7, and the Lightning Division (Veterans) field 10TUs but get 12 in the box.

I hope that helps.

John T

* A detachment in The Crucible is between 8 and 30 TUs (a TU being a group of usually 4 figures or a single vehicle). Most planatary forces are Regular Trained troops with 15TUs per detachment. Most Mercenaries are Veterans with 10TUs. Elite's like the Slammers have 8TUs. Untrained troops have 30TUs.

Personal logo MrHarold Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Jun 2012 10:18 a.m. PST

Thank you John Treadaway, that's exactly the kind of thing I wanted to know :)

You've convinced me! Time to save up to buy the starter set and crucible, and pick up some Hammer's Slammers books while i'm at it!

John Treadaway28 Jun 2012 11:53 a.m. PST

MrHarold – speaking from the perspective of my contact with Dave Drake, all I would say about his Slammers books is that they are an interesting reflection of the man and quite a 'raw' work that really seems to speak to Dave's actual experiences during the Vietnam conflict.

The paperback versions of the 3 volume set has pretty much everything in them (except my illustrations!) and I find them a fascinating read.


It's probably where I'd go for the books although there are ebooks available of some of them.

John T

boy wundyr x28 Jun 2012 1:48 p.m. PST

I've acquired my HS collection through hunting through used books stores – have some redundancies amongst books from different decades, but that's to be expected. If I had to recommend starting books, Rolling Hot or The Warrior would be the two.


John Treadaway28 Jun 2012 2:14 p.m. PST

I like 'em all (and I'm not just saying that because I have to grin).

Probably one of my favourites is the last full story he wrote: Paying the Piper.

But, I guess, if you can only find one to start you off, the original collection (just called Hammer's Slammers) with short stories including the first and last stories (ie the formation of the Slammers and their standing down) is as good a place as any to begin.

That sample from The Crucible I put the link to earlier PDF link has a list (on the last page) of all of Dave's Slammers books up until two years ago and I think it's still accurate.

John T

comstarhpg28 Jun 2012 5:15 p.m. PST

It's a shame Mr Harold you don't live in the UK as the 7th and 8th I'll be putting on a participation / demo game of Hammers Slammers at Battlegroup South at Bovington Tank Museum. If you look at the gallery on the Slammers website you will see the last two years games :)

Oh and John I can't wait to next year for your large game at Salute :)

Keep painting :)

Cheers Matt

Personal logo MrHarold Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Jun 2012 8:50 p.m. PST

Yes, that is a shame! I don't think the wife will let me go on vacation for that :(

And thanks for the novel suggestions!

John Treadaway29 Jun 2012 10:22 a.m. PST

And talking of constant PDF updates, I've just added another Big Detachment Play sheet to the site for the Hashemite National Army, as it was previously missing.

In 15mm it is PDF link but they're all available in the different scales from here link

John T

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