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"Scum of the Earth. Black powder games for the rest of us" Topic

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1,829 hits since 19 Mar 2017
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Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP19 Mar 2017 2:57 p.m. PST


"Sire, the reinforcements have arrived on our left flank!"

"Excellent Windsor, let's give these French degenerates what for"

"But Sire, their uniforms… "

"What about their uniforms?"

"They look… well Sire, I swear they look like Austrians"

"By God man, if they are shooting at the French, what does it matter what they look like?"

We all have a shelf full of dusty miniatures: Those 8 grenadiers you bought because you were going to build an army, 20 Austrians and a few Seven Years War cavalry you never got around to using.

Scum of the Earth is a game intended to help get those figures off the dusty shelf and on to your table.

The goal is to remove as many barriers as possible to play: We use small units (6 figures/stands for infantry), the game plays on a 2x2 foot table and require only a couple of dice to play.

Features include:

*Core game rules that can be explained in a couple of minutes.

*Character figures such as flag bearers and leaders are included.

*A Trait building block system letting you construct units that are colourful and interesting. Your French Hussars might be Arrogant and Stalwart while my British regulars are Veteran Scum.

*Campaign rules using a card system, letting you play a character-ful campaign without relying on maps.

*Rules for retaining your battle hardened veterans across multiple games.

*A quick scenario generator.

*Random terrain and battle complications.

*Notes, rules adjustments and traits to let you play the following conflicts:

English Civil War, Seven Years War, American Revolution, Napoleonic Wars, First Schlesvig War, Crimean War, American Civil War, Second Schlesvig War, Austro-Prussian War, Colonial battles, Franco-Prussian War, Spanish American War, Russo-Japanese War and 1914.

Each period is brought to life with a few rules to adjust the core game mechanics as well as colourful traits such as "Courtesy of Norway", "Rebel Yell" and "Every man a Marshal".

* * * * *

The goal of Scum of the Earth is not to provide an exacting simulation, it is to provide a flavourful microcosm of warfare in the black powder era (and just beyond).

Most importantly, it is about getting picking up a pack of figures that you like the looks of, painting them as you like them and getting them on the table.


daler240D Supporting Member of TMP19 Mar 2017 5:19 p.m. PST

congratulations on this.

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP19 Mar 2017 5:30 p.m. PST

Thanks mate :-)

As an aside, when I have a chance this week, I'll rework the beta version a bit to become a demo version.

Ragbones Supporting Member of TMP19 Mar 2017 5:50 p.m. PST

Can't wait to get a copy! Sounds like a lot of fun.

Personal logo Coyotepunc and Hatshepsuut Supporting Member of TMP19 Mar 2017 7:44 p.m. PST

How to convince a gaming group with hundreds of members spanning several thousand square miles to try this game…. Hmmmm…

TKindred Supporting Member of TMP20 Mar 2017 5:13 a.m. PST

Best wishes, mate! Hope you make a tidy sum and get great reviews!

daler240D Supporting Member of TMP20 Mar 2017 6:23 a.m. PST

Just finished reading it last night. Going to put some odd 20 mm Naps on the table this weekend and start a mini campaign. Really appreciate the rules rationalization discussion at the end. It's a well written rule set that is a pleasure to read.

teboj1720 Mar 2017 7:31 a.m. PST


Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP20 Mar 2017 8:46 a.m. PST

Thank you so much guys!

Daler – do share when you get started.

Personal logo The Beast Rampant Supporting Member of TMP20 Mar 2017 1:48 p.m. PST

I wasn't aware that this would cover anything prior to the 18th century.

As the playscale is largely ambiguous, and (I assume) that the small numbers does not necessarily imply a "large skirmish", how do the rules handle mixed units and/or pikes for the earlier period?

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP20 Mar 2017 2:17 p.m. PST

Cheers Beast

We included English civil war mainly because I urgently wanted to play it, though it's a little bit of a stretch, the rules are primarily for linear musket warfare.

For ECW (and other pike periods), "Infantry" is always combined musket and pike, we suggest 4 pike figures to 2 musket figures but whatever you like the look of.

These units have more random firepower and tend to be less effective than their later counterparts (6" range, generating 0 to 5 firepower per attack compared to the typical 9" and generating 2-5).

On the upside, until you have removed at least 2 figures from an enemy infantry unit, they cannot be charged by cavalry from the front.

This means that to some extent, to reliably break the enemy line, you pretty much have to close in to let the pikemen do their job but the infantry can fire against incoming threats when needed which seems to support my readings of the period.

Hope that helps!
As I said, it was a little bit of a stretch to fit it in, but I think the result is workable.

Originally pike and shot were going to be separate units but I don't know if I've seen a lot of evidence that the shot ever operated particularly far from the pikemen, at least in England.
I could be wrong though.

Personal logo The Beast Rampant Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2017 6:29 a.m. PST

That helps, thank you!

Queen Catherine21 Mar 2017 8:16 a.m. PST

Hey Weasel,

The full-sized preview button doesn't bring anything up, btw, and the quick preview is so small, I can't really read or see much.

just to clarify, this is a finished product and you're going to be posting a beta demo version we can try out for free?

Also, I'd be very interested in the turn sequence mechanics what route did you take with that?


Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2017 10:39 a.m. PST

queen – Yeah, I fiddled with the preview to get it to cooperate but I think it's having issues due to the size of the file.

I'll try changing it to display fewer pages and see if that helps.

Yes, there'll be a demo version, probably by the weekend.

For the turn sequence it goes like this:

The basis is IGOUGO, I move all my gits, you move all my gits.
You can play it phased (move all, fire all) or move and fire each unit in turn.

Whenever a unit fails to move (usually due to terrain) or hesitates when changing formation, the other player can perform a reaction move.

If a player Breaks an enemy unit during that enemy's turn, they get to perform a counter-attack.

After much fiddling with cards and other mechanics, the above seemed a strike a decent balance between being able to coordinate armies and still having an element of uncertainty.

Queen Catherine21 Mar 2017 12:12 p.m. PST

sounds interesting. I have a few card methods I've worked with, as well as dice ones, and so far all are trade-offs and work best in certain scales, etc.

Eager to try the demo!

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2017 12:34 p.m. PST

At least one of the beta testers used cards and he had no problem at all, so that's a possibility, we just kept it simple.

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP22 Mar 2017 11:22 a.m. PST

A few simple Q&A's from the past week or so, which also got posted to the blog.

How many units should I have to play a game?
We assumed 3-4 units for starting out, moving to 6 or 7 for a "proper" game.

How are figures based?
Use the figures you already have based.
To get the frontage the rules assume, bases should ideally be in the 20-25mm wide range.

The number of figures per base is up to you: In 25 and 28mm, we assumed people would use individual figures while smaller scales will probably want to stick a few guys on each base.

Units are 6 bases for infantry (occasionally 5), 4 for "dragoon" types and 3 for proper cavalry.
Artillery is one gun and 3 crew figures.

What happened to the beta version?
Since it doesn't look super nice and had some differences from the final rules, it was taken down.
You should still be able to access it through your Library on the Wargame Vault.

I am working on a Demo version which will be available to take its place.

What does a unit represent?
We follow the approach of games like DBA, AK47 or 1 Hour Wargames where units are intentionally vague.
They could be companies, battalions or even regiments as you find the need.

Mostly, they're just your troops.

Doesn't a sliding unit scale mess with range, frontage and a million other things?
It does, but the game works out okay in any event.
Essentially, we assume that larger units also have correspondingly more ability to project themselves.
To take an example, a company of troops can only spare a few men to range ahead but a division may well have an entire battalion skirmishing.
This means that we can justify retaining the same weapon ranges across the scale options.

Players with very specific situations can of course adjust to taste.

Do I have to use the Average dice?
We recommend it as it produces the sort of even performance that characterizes linear warfare, but you can throw it out and just roll a D6 instead and the game will work just fine.

Weapons seem inconsistent across periods?
They are at times.
The aim of period rules is always to reflect the period in question.
So a given weapon may be more or less effective for a particular period, because of how it relates to other weapons in use and the troops employing it.

I have things to say about my favorite historical period!
Let me hear what you have to say.
The intention is that missing periods are filled in over time and trait lists get expanded as we go.

Will there be other games based on this engine?
Probably yes.

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