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"New Skirmish Action Wild West Rules " Topic


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1,702 hits since 19 Aug 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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forwardmarchstudios20 Aug 2017 12:30 p.m. PST

While trying to write down notes on my own house rules, I began thinking about which set of rules I've come across which are models of what a well written set of rule game rules should be. As I thought about it, I began to recognice rwo distinct patterns in wargame rules-writing.

1: Rules as entertainment/product. Black Powder and GW are examples of this. So is Flames of War. With these rules, the books, not history, create the atmosphere of the game and drive the experience. FoW is a good example; World War II history exists outside of FoW, but the rules are designed and written to present an experience of a WW II game that really has very little need for extrinsic knowledge about WW II. The rulebook, not the rules or history in the broader sense, creates its own narrative.

2: Rules as math/Math as rules. These rules assume a knowledge of history and present a barebones, rules-only approach to writing. In order to understand the signifigance of what they purport to show one needs to have a grounding in the subject extrinsic to the rules (for instance a scenario book). DBX, Armati, and any 1980s style technocratic-style rules layout would fall into this category.

I'm not referring to the character of the rules themselves, but to the style in which they are written. Although, as I thought about it, it seems that all entertainment rules have certain features in common (simple, limited processes for example), as do math rules (an interest in simulating historical outcomes).

Most rulesets I can think of fall neatly into one of these two categories, but then I wondered if I'm missing something. Has anyone found a set of rules that would Fit in both categories? I'm referring to the writing style, not the mechanics themselves- but like I said, they tend to have similar features.

Lee49420 Aug 2017 12:30 p.m. PST

Skirmish Action rules are for 10-28mm WWII games. People who have played them asked if I had anything for the Wild West. Yes, now I do. There are Rules and Army Lists as Free PDFs you can download on the website.

You will need the original rules to play Wild West as only the new additional rules are on the PDF.

SkirmishAction.com.

Enjoy! Cheers.

Whitestreak Supporting Member of TMP20 Aug 2017 1:52 p.m. PST

Lee, your link needs the "." removed from the end of "com"

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP20 Aug 2017 2:23 p.m. PST

DBX assumes a knowledge of history?
Wow. I think it's just the opposite.

Old Peculiar20 Aug 2017 3:00 p.m. PST

The best written and most playable and enjoyable set of rules ever? Charge, never been bettered!

Personal logo gamertom Supporting Member of TMP20 Aug 2017 3:34 p.m. PST

The Complete Brigadier, a long out-of-print set of gunpowder era rules, best fits what you have described. IMO they are the best written, organized, and understandable rules I have read and used. Unfortunately I did not like the rules system itself as I felt it was too easy to predict once one knew the modifiers (it did not use die results for combat and morale resolutions).

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP20 Aug 2017 3:48 p.m. PST

Second the endorsements of Charge! for rules as entertainment, and Complete Brigadier as being remarkably clear and straightforward. ALL discussions of representation for players coming over from 1:1 should begin with the illustrations in Complete Brigadier.

But for rules as math, Charles Grant's The War Game can't be left out. It's NOT bare bones, but walks you carefully through the numbers, reasoning and calculations behind the rules.

(Of the three, it's a modified Charge! I continue to play--but in that sense, rules are very much a matter of taste.)

Timbo W21 Aug 2017 12:27 a.m. PST

Old school again, but for clarity and explanation I think Operation Warboard were excellent. Written by a thriller author, introduction to wargames, chat and scenarios played through at the front, rules in the back, and a section explaining particular rules.

cherrypicker21 Aug 2017 12:51 a.m. PST

Slaughterloo, is a great set, and although fantasy I think could be used for historical.

I always loved Warhammer historical, but I think BP and HC are a good replacement

Jules

parrskool21 Aug 2017 2:09 a.m. PST

Battle by Charles Grant.

M C MonkeyDew21 Aug 2017 5:05 a.m. PST

I second "Charge!" A pleasure to read and easy to find what you need to know when you need to.

USAFpilot21 Aug 2017 7:31 a.m. PST

As far as writing style goes, the best set of rules I've come across is "Might of Arms". The rules are very well organized, clear, logical and easy to read with lots of diagrams which help explain the rules. Every sentence in the rules is meaningful. If I was to write a set of rules they would look like these. And I don't even play ancients.

I'm biased though as I can't stand fancy rules which prioritize pretty color pictures and fluff over substance. When I read a sentence in the rules I ask myself was that important or is it just fluff. If it's fluff, I'm wasting my time.

Thomas Thomas Supporting Member of TMP21 Aug 2017 1:17 p.m. PST

You are correct about the presentation of the various DBX rules – abstract on paper but great history on the table.

But I understand why the translation is difficult. You have to play DBX (and understand medieval battles) to appreciate them. Ironically though its not really math that's important to DBX concepts but the overall flow of the game – the number aspect is almost trivial.

I tried with Knights and Knaves to bring present DBX concepts in a more narrative friendly way. Teaching a bit of history while explaining the rules.

While I understand why people play FOW style games – long on game play and short on history – I still cling to the idea that history based games (like DBX) can be great fun (though not to read the rule book..) I like the feel strapping on Henry V's helm and facing the conditions and factors he did. Its one of the few systems where you could time travel a commander forward explain the basics and have them playing (and playing well) very quickly. Where as Creightion Abrams would have not idea what's going on in an FOW game. (Why do the Germans get to move again? Is Trusscot trot caused by something we ate?)

TomT

corona66 Supporting Member of TMP21 Aug 2017 2:24 p.m. PST

Hear, hear Tom T. For me DBR delivers a game with an historical narrative, as does Big Battle DBA.

coopman21 Aug 2017 2:38 p.m. PST

I thought that Sam Mustafa's "Blucher" rules were very well written.

marshalGreg22 Aug 2017 5:29 a.m. PST

ESR- is very well written and recreates history very well.

MG

Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP22 Aug 2017 12:54 p.m. PST

I'm surprised you include Armati in the "math" category. Arty Conliffe was an early adopter of the "productization" method of selling rules, and while Armait is leaner than Tactica or Shako, it's still got an awful lot of photos, diagrams, and "extra" pages unnecessary to strict elucidation of the rules mechanics. I think Armati (and Conliffe's other "leaner" rules like Crossfire and Spearhead) might actually be approaching the balance you're talking about.

The Fire & Fury family (1st edition, 2nd edition, Regimental) are definitely on the "product" side, but approach the hybrid you're talking about. Hasenauer fluffs the first part of the book and small parts of each section with background, photos, and sometimes rationalizations of the mechanics, but for the most part, the text describing the mechanical operations of the game gets to the point; "extra" prose is for clarity, or to rationalize the abstractions and/or results into the context of the history. Wordy descriptions of the history and the war itself are left in the introductions to the rulebook, the beginning of each section, and the introduction of each scenario.

I also find the Check Your Six! rules to be close to the balance you're talking about. If you remove the introduction at the beginning, the scenarios at the end, and all the photos and paintings and ads, the remaining text is actually pretty spare and concise, with only a bare minimum of explanatory prose to relate the results to the context (and sometimes not *quite* enough context…).

- Ix

Personal logo sillypoint Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2017 3:57 a.m. PST

Crossfire, Might of Arms, Black Powder.

Lord Sunderland23 Aug 2017 4:09 a.m. PST

Another vote for "Blucher". Also Sam Mustafa's Grande Armee rules, although black and white were I thought really well written and took you through what to me at the time were a load of new concepts really well, whilst explaining the rule writers thoughts.

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