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"The Men Who Would Be Kings Rules" Topic

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1,693 hits since 17 Feb 2017
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alexjones Inactive Member17 Feb 2017 2:31 p.m. PST

Just received these and love the content, very nicely put together.

I also have Lion Rampant by the same author – Dan Mersey. As you would expect, there are some differences in the rules but some core elements remain the same.

One major change is that a fail in activation of unit doesn't completely end the turn unlike Lion Rampant where a failure does indicate the end of the players turn.

Also, there are free activations in 'The Men Who Would be Kings' which got me thinking about whether there shouldn't also be free activations in Lion Rampant. Archers firing, for example, should qualify as a free activation.

Have others reached similar conclusions or is everything perfect as written? I wonder if Dan would allow every unit in a player's force to activate every unit before handing over if he were to re write Lion Rampant now.

boy wundyr x Inactive Member17 Feb 2017 3:26 p.m. PST

I think a lot of folks use that as a house rule in LR.

alexjones Inactive Member17 Feb 2017 3:45 p.m. PST

That was what I was getting at.

Is there a list of commonly used house rules anywhere?

21eRegt Supporting Member of TMP17 Feb 2017 6:52 p.m. PST

A Men Who Would be Kings question if you don't mind. We played one game, enjoyed it and then the Skirmish order made us wonder if you could roll to go to close order (for example) then do the "free action" to fire?

sjwalker38 Inactive Member18 Feb 2017 2:12 a.m. PST


Not in the same turn; you're limited to one action per turn, whether 'free' or 'rolled for'.

It's a nerve-racking decision for the Regular player as the tribal hordes advance; at what point do you form Close Order – leave it too late, fail the test and you're going to be chopped up like kippers.

21eRegt Supporting Member of TMP18 Feb 2017 8:17 a.m. PST

Thanks. That's the way we played it but just had a doubt when we examined the Skirmish order. Fun game. I see more in our future.

sjwalker38 Inactive Member18 Feb 2017 8:47 a.m. PST

There's a very good MWWBK group on Facebook if you're looking for various house rules and other ideas.

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP18 Feb 2017 9:40 a.m. PST

sjwalker38 do you have the Facebook link?

sjwalker38 Inactive Member18 Feb 2017 1:45 p.m. PST

Not sure how to post a link; search for The Men Who Would Be Kings Fan Group and you should be ok?

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP18 Feb 2017 11:43 p.m. PST

I've read the rules & like them as well.

Which is why I'm thinking of several mods.(it's me not the rules).I do know that Mr Mersey seems OK with the idea of House Rules.

In no particular order:

1. larger tribal infantry units. eg about 20 as this is what I have at the moment & I don't want to have to change my movement trays. This could be fraught & will probably need a few other tweaks to keep a game balance.

2. 90 degree fronts. I really can't get my head around a line able to shoot a target just in the 180 degree arc.

3. Higher command. For bigger games, really. I have various individual figures representing such & would like to give them a role. Morale, probably.

4.Firing. I like TSATF mechanism where a regular infantry officer can't fire his revolver at long range but gets two dice in short range.

5. Mounted infantry. Having gone to considerable trouble to have such units with duplicate mounted & dismounted figures, I want a use for them. Probably allow mounted shooting only at short range. Mounting/dismounting could either be a separate action or part of a move action….not sure.

6. Half size native skirmish units. I like the idea a set & limited number of such units to supplement full sized units in order to give some tactical nuance. These can do half moves & fire or melee at half effect, as per the rules.

I don't Facebook so unfortunately can't see any group's musings.

sjwalker38 Inactive Member19 Feb 2017 2:59 a.m. PST

Ochoin, some interesting thoughts there, some of which have been considered over on the FB fan page. I'll comment on a couple here:

2. I agree, especially if, for larger actions, you assume that a single unit of 12 regulars represents a company. (The core rules assume 1:1 with 360' line of sight). We've used 90' frontage except for units in Close Order, which can only fire straight ahead, or those using Skirmish, which can still fire in the 180' arc.

3. Yes, most definitely. For larger games standardise the Leadership value of the units and drop individual unit traits. Give the senior Leaders a trait and their own Leadership value, so they can assume command of a unit. Maybe also allow a unit that fails its Rally test to retake the test (once) if a Leader is within 6"?

5. Mounted Infantry aren't so well represented in the core rules; they act more like skirmishing irregular horse and can't do things, like form Close Order, which they did do. We've added Mount/Dismount as an Action, allow Regular MI to form Close Order and Volley Fire.

As another tweak, we've given Irregular Horse like the NMP in the Zulu War, 'Skirmish' as a free Action instead of 'Attack" which encourages more historic tactics.

6. Great idea, consider it borrowed. Small 6-man units of native skirmishers, poorly armed, poor shots and with 'Skirmish' as a free Action would have considerable irritant value but not imbalance the game.

There's also been some discussion on refinements to the Fieldcraft characteristic and Gone to Ground action, the possibility of a 'Reform' Action to combine 2 under strength units, but enough for now.

It's a great little set of rules that is eminently adaptable to add further depth to particular campaigns and your own interpretations.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP19 Feb 2017 5:34 a.m. PST


Thank you for your thoughts: surely to be absorbed in my games.

I'm quite excited by TMWWBK. I need to fit in a few solo games then I'm planning two games for later in the year to introduce it to my wargaming pals.

One will probably be a scenario from the book, using Mahdist troops & the second a bigger game with Zulus.

I'm also contemplating the card-driven turn system of TSATF but this might be a bridge etc.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP19 Feb 2017 11:07 p.m. PST

I was also thinking that camel units should travel slower than horses but with no penalty on Difficult terrain.

sjwalker38 Inactive Member20 Feb 2017 6:26 a.m. PST

Ochoin, another nice little detail 'borrowed', thanks!

Henry Martini20 Feb 2017 2:22 p.m. PST

Camel units should certainly receive no movement penalty on soft sand, but should be slowed in the same way as other mounted units in other types of difficult terrain.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP21 Feb 2017 3:10 a.m. PST

Although I still haven't had a game as such but I've moved a few figures, rolled some dice & thought long & hard.

Presumptuous, maybe, but I want to modify the rules thusly:

House Rules

1.Unit size. Tribal infantry should be in units of 20 figures. This will raise the total Field Force points total by 1 for 3 such units.
2.Skirmish units. For every 3 infantry units, Tribal groups can field a Skirmish group.
3.These units will be 5 figures strong and in addition to the usual applicable rules, can opt to move & fire in the same turn. They can move, fire & fight 360 degrees. However, movement will be at half the normal distance & firing at one dice per two figures (rounding up). Skirmish groups will have no designated Leader & must roll 8+ for an Action test.
4.Officers firing. Regular infantry officers are deemed to be carrying a revolver. They are eligible to fire only within short range but will then get double the dice allocation.
5.Higher Command. An agreed upon number of higher commanders (Induna, Emirs, Majors) will have additional powers. If attached to a unit, failed dice rolls for Action can be re-rolled once. However, if the unit experiences any casualties during the time they are attached, they will also become casualties on a 6'. Additionally, they will be eligible to replace an officer casualty in a unit to provide Leadership.
6.Camels will receive no penalty for movement on Difficult ground but will only move 7 inches per turn.
7.Mounted Infantry. MI may mount/dismount & move as one Action. They fire as per Modern Rifle when dismounted & Carbine when mounted.

Comments welcome.

@ Henry.

The rules are pretty lite. There is only Difficult Terrain, Obstacles & Impassable Terrain. So a lot is subsumed. For example Difficult Terrain doesn't mention 'soft sand', just rocky scree, river beds, villages, marsh etc

I'll think about your suggestion & either not differentiate or break Difficult up. Thanks for your input.

EricThe Shed24 Feb 2017 8:20 a.m. PST

I put together a review of TMWWBK on my blog at the end of last year – it has some extra rules/options


Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2017 6:08 p.m. PST

Thank you, Eric. Your comments are invaluable & will bear much thought (nice looking game, as well).

Justin Credible Inactive Member26 Feb 2017 4:40 a.m. PST

Has anyone used these rules for non skirmish games? I'd like to do larger actions using my armies built around Principles of War.

sjwalker38 Inactive Member26 Feb 2017 7:09 a.m. PST

We've been experimenting with larger battles in 15mm, and they've worked pretty well so far. We substituted 1 base of figures for each single 28mm and reduced the strength of each unit slightly: a regular infantry unit of 8 stands (32 figures) represents a battalion, tribal units are 12 stands of 3-4 figures, mounted units are 6 stands of 2-3 figures.

Main tweaks to the rules: we dropped unit leader traits and replaced them with some house rules for Force/Brigade Leaders, each with their own trait and Leadership value. Unit Leadership was standardised for each troop type.

We changed the unit arcs of fire, and added some theatre-specific adaptations to particular characteristics and units, but nothing much that would differ from the normal scale game.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP26 Feb 2017 12:56 p.m. PST

One of the issues Eric mentioned in his blog is the inability of units to return fire in the same turn.

I was thinking about the "Stand To" action.

Could this go from being a "free action" & allow any units in "Stand To" to return fire (maybe using half figures) if fired at? Kind of like a WW2 "overwatch"?

sjwalker38 Inactive Member26 Feb 2017 3:10 p.m. PST

Hmmm…that's quite a big change to the dynamics, Ochoin, why do you think it's necessary?

Given that a unit can only make one action per turn, a unit can only fire at an enemy having previously moved into range, or if the enemy moves within range in their turn; the latter allowing them to fire before the enemy moves again.

I suppose you could have a 'Present/Make Ready' action for units in Close Order that would allow a unit to fire at an opponent who moves within range later in the same turn, but not sure that I (yet) see the need or benefit. I just re-read Eric's review!


Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP26 Feb 2017 6:54 p.m. PST

apologies. Part of my thinking is just that: thinking aloud.

I also see the rules as open to all sorts of mods. Some/many/all of my House Rules(!!!) may not work but I'm going to have fun trying them out.

sjwalker38 Inactive Member27 Feb 2017 12:30 a.m. PST

No apologies needed. It's the exchange of ideas like this that make a good set of rules great.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.