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"Polemos: Ruse de Guerre - Initial Thoughts" Topic

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Whirlwind25 Mar 2018 12:27 a.m. PST

Please see here link for some initial thoughts on Polemos: Ruse de Guerre, aimed at re-creating battles in North America from the French & Indian Wars to the War of 1812.

Durban Gamer25 Mar 2018 3:47 a.m. PST

Thanks for an excellent and very helpful review and AARs.
How long did the games take, and what was your table size?

Whirlwind25 Mar 2018 4:29 a.m. PST

Thank you. Game length was about 2 hours for the first game, just under an hour and a half for the second (although I got through more turns in the latter – familiarity with the rules increasing). The table was 6'x4' (roughly).

coopman25 Mar 2018 4:52 a.m. PST

Thanks for the fairly detailed review. I am probably going to get these rules and give them a try. How do you handle the tempo thing in a solitaire game? I like the way that you have your inf. units based – it is very obvious which way the unit is facing.

Whirlwind25 Mar 2018 5:39 a.m. PST

Okay, so solitaire tempo in Ruse de Guerre:

1. Roll a d10 for each side. Highest score chooses whether to use the higher or the lower of the two rolls. For this game, I ruled that the British would always take the higher score, the French the lower.

2. The chosen number is added to the base Tempo number.

3. A die is rolled for each side, corresponding to the highest die I have to hand which couldn't bid all the tempo points. E.g. total tempo points 14: D12 for each side. total tempo points 8: D6 for each side. These numbers are the tempo bid for each side.

4. Proceed as normal from there.

Durban Gamer26 Mar 2018 5:29 a.m. PST

About 90 minutes for one's 2nd and solitaire where one person is doing everything: sounds like games move really fast, which is a very positive feature.

Glenn Pearce28 Mar 2018 5:04 p.m. PST

Hello John!

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on Ruse de Guerre. Your comments are very important to me.

The use of the D10 actually puts a balance into the game that gives it an acceptable level of unpredictability that is hard to achieve with a game that is based on modifiers. When I read the AAR's on your games I didn't detect anything odd or peculiar that would have involved the D10's. That was also our findings during play testing. It also seems to create a bit of drama in the game. Everything comes to a standstill when it comes time to roll the dice. You can feel the tension in the air as all eyes are on those dice. Will the high side prevail or not! Even if the high side loses its generally only a setback. The actual results are pretty much decided in advance by the decisions that the players have already made. The element of chance is not as great as it might appear.

As you have pointed out cavalry had a limited role in North America and the rules have taken that into consideration. However, every game, battle, situation, period and theater is intended to be analyzed by the scenario designer. It's very easy to introduce different cavalry types within the structure of the rules, if you are looking at contemporaneous conflicts. We have adopted the rules as our "Club Horse & Musket Rules" for all our H&M games which are presently 7YW to ACW. Not just because I wrote them. They are just that easy for a scenario designer to work with. There is nothing worse for a club than having to force members to learn new rules every time they show up to play a game.

We have been using various types of sliding scales (levels) for well over 30 years in a few of our rule systems. Even if you tell the players that the game is played at a different level their oblivious to the changes as soon as the game starts. What a base represents or how far they can/should be able to fire etc. disappears from their thoughts as soon as the first shot is fired. Today there are a lot of Brigade games and tons of Battalion games that all have different rules. Ruse de Guerre allows you to play at any level you want and not have to learn new rules. The rules are designed to remove the players from low level tactics at every scale/level they play. There are more than enough problems at the higher commands to keep the players busy. The rules also allow new players to start with a low number of figures and slowly increase the size of their battles as the size of their collection grows.

It's wonderful to see that after only two games you managed to see the dynamics in place regarding Tempo and how the commanders are forced to deal with the changing situation every turn. Sadly playing solo you are not able to play against another player or team. In multi player games the start of every turn is a moment of high drama and often lots of laughter as each side struggles to figure out how a simple bid will best fit in with their changing game strategy. Providing of course that their able to keep up with it. As you have also discovered the game can be very fast and it's not uncommon to see that one side can't keep up with the ever changing situation. The C-in-Cs who command the armies do seem to feel the pressure of command and they actually get a sense of being at logger heads with each other. Not to mention the constant pressure of trying to keep their subordinates under control. When the game is over almost every commander can trace his victory or defeat back to his actions or inactions. It's never a dice roll.

Hope this helps explain things a little better, if not, just ask.

Best regards,


Whirlwind19 May 2018 6:31 a.m. PST

Hello Glenn,

Sorry I missed this when you posted it. You have written a good set of rules, very easy to play: I'm looking forward to getting it to the table a few more times this year. I'll write a more comprehensive review when I have more experience with them.

All the best

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