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""Twilight of the Soldier Kings" C&C system??" Topic

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nsolomon9910 Feb 2020 12:26 p.m. PST


I've just seen an announcement about these rules "Twilight of the Soldier Kings" and was hitherto unaware of them. Has anyone played them/read them/seen them played??

I'm particularly interested in the Command and Control system? There are many sets of Seven Years War rules out there but I'm yet to find one that captures the command system the way Christopher Duffy and others write of it? The command of Wings, Lines and Reserves was critical just like the wars of the French Revolution early on and VERY different to the way they ended with everyone following the French lead into Corps HQ's with Divisional HQ's and established staff systems.

The marketing blurb for "Twilight of the Soldier Kings" promises big battles, realistic tactics, reserves and even "manouvering" optional rules but when I followed the links to some videos I've got the impression there's no real C&C system at all?!?

I'm way past the period when I bought rules on spec, now my time is too valuable to spend time reading a set of rules that meets others needs but not mine.

Anyone know anything about these rules, a playtest review, an after action report, anything?


Fried Flintstone10 Feb 2020 1:25 p.m. PST

I think they were only launched a day or two ago – so I doubt many people will have experience with them yet

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP10 Feb 2020 2:17 p.m. PST

As Nick, I would have to see a lot more information about the rules, including basing of figures, figure size for which the rules were written, command & control system, etc.

So far there is little more than an announcement of availability from Wyre Historic Books.


dbf167610 Feb 2020 2:40 p.m. PST

You could look at the Twilight of the Sun King Facebook page. You can probably figure out how the basic mechanics work. I'm not yet sure what the WAS/SYW mods are but the basic mechanics are probably the same. My group has started playing the current Twilight of the Sun King 9NYW WSS rules and like them very much. You can use any size or number of figures as the size of the bases is what matters. Even that size is up to you, since movement and ranges are calculated on base widths, which are half the size of the unit. All units are the same width, except artillery. Most people use 10mm but we use 15mm, but you can use 28mm if your table is big enough.

coopman10 Feb 2020 4:45 p.m. PST

My biggest problem with the Sun King rules is that there is a rather long list of modifiers that need to be checked for each combat resolution. Now probably with practice their applicability gets easier to implement. When I first got the rules this was enough to get them shelved without any further consideration (at least for the time being), and in fact my interest in the entire period nose-dived.

nsolomon9910 Feb 2020 7:32 p.m. PST

@dbf1676 So what sort of Command & Control system is there in "Twilight of the Sun King"? Is there a Command phase at the start of the turn? What happens with units that are out of command? How are orders to formations changed? Is there a range of orders that seem to align with what Marshall Turenne or Marshall Tallard or the Duke of Marlborough or Prince Eugen would have issued? Is there a concept, even if astracted, of Wing commanders, or Line commanders? Is the player rewarded/encouraged in any way for maintaining Reserves?

dbf167611 Feb 2020 6:23 a.m. PST

Every army has a commander in chief and a number of subcommanders. In larger battles there can be intermediate wing commanders. The sub-commanders command groups of units, each unit usually representing a brigade of 2000 infantry or 1000 cavalry. The commanders help units under them to move and rally units who fail moral tests. Great commanders such as Turenne can positively affect the movement of up to three units, other lesser generals can affect fewer. If a unit is too far from its commander it can still move, but may have trouble doing so. Second line support and a reserve are crucial. The truly different thing about the rules is that there is that there are no separate rolls for firing, melee and morale. All is combined in one "morale" test. Usually units can fail three tests for infantry or two for cavalry during the game before they rout.

parrskool Supporting Member of TMP11 Feb 2020 8:58 a.m. PST

….."My biggest problem with the Sun King rules is that there is a rather long list of modifiers that need to be checked for each combat resolution" ……..YES, that's what i found too, and the list is not especially organised in a user friendly way….. that's the only thing, though.

Steamingdave211 Feb 2020 1:13 p.m. PST

The modifiers are for morale determination. In practice you soon work through the list and quickly recognise which are relevant to the situation of a unit. There are no conventional firing or combat resolutions to work through. I have played the WSS/LoA version for a number of years and find these rules very enjoyable. The comments below relate to this version, as I have not yet played the SYW set
The armies are usually set up with two wings and a centre, each usually having its own commander. Bigger armies may have a separate commander for each "line" of the army. There is also an overall CinC. Each commander has a rating from 0 to 3. These ratings are based on perceptions of historical performance for actual battles, but can be randomly generated for pick up games. The command rating allows them to order units under their command to attempt extra actions or to carry out more difficult manouveres. These additional actions may involve a single brigade or a group of brigades, so an excellent commander, such as a Luxembourg or Marlborough has the potential to move his command very quickly, as long as they are within command distance. A poor commander will not have this facility. Commanders who attach to a unit may also re-roll a failed morale test.
The Rules are picked up very quickly and allow big battles, such as Landen, Blenheim, Malplaquet to be played with several players per side, but they are also suitable for smaller engagements.
Basing is pretty flexible, as all movement etc is based on " base width" which is half the unit frontage when in line. I play with 10 mm, with two 60mm x 30mm bases making up a unit, so " base width" is 60mm. My SYW figures are based on 2cm frontages, so I will probably use 4 or 6 bases and either 4cm or 6cm as base width. I have played a few games with 28mm figures and I know of several gamers who use 6mm and even 2mm figures.
One big plus is that the author has a Facebook page and an IO group for the rules and is very active on both, answering queries quickly.
I can honestly say these are some of the most enjoyable rules I have played in 50 years.

dbf167611 Feb 2020 1:30 p.m. PST

The modifier lists have been revised and broken out in a more user-friendly format in the latest scenario book for the Sun King rules, which contain new quick reference sheets. My guess is that similar changes have been made in the Soldier King rules. After about six turns in our first game we rarely had to refer to the modifier list. Most of the modifiers are those that most wargamers would instinctively look for, flanked, multiple attackers, cover, elite and raw units and the like.

coopman11 Feb 2020 3:49 p.m. PST

Can you possibly post the new QRS here for those of us who bought the rules?

dbf167611 Feb 2020 4:51 p.m. PST

Coopman. I would suggest you go to the Twilight of the Sun King Facebook page and ask Nic Dorrell, the author, if he could do this for you.

coopman11 Feb 2020 6:46 p.m. PST

Thanks dbf1676. I just did so. We'll see what happens. In case he doesn't come through, what scenario book contains that revised QRS for Sun King?

dbf167611 Feb 2020 7:20 p.m. PST

Twilight of the Sun King Scenario Book Three Louis XIV vs the Grand Alliance. On Military Matters carries it.

Frostie11 Feb 2020 10:52 p.m. PST

check out

there are a few videos to explain the rule basics

they look quite good

Steamingdave212 Feb 2020 1:38 a.m. PST

You can also reach Nick (author) here:

coopman12 Feb 2020 10:50 a.m. PST

Mission accomplished. Thanks.

coopman12 Feb 2020 7:09 p.m. PST

Are you TotSunKing rules players rolling two average dice or two normal D6's for the morale checks? The two QRS's that I got from Nick differ on what type of dice are supposed to be rolled.

Steamingdave213 Feb 2020 10:33 a.m. PST

I use average dice for morale D6 for action tests, but recent revisions of rules suggest D6 for both. Makes a lttle bit of difference – with average die a score of 4 leads to dispersal, with D6 a score of 3. No doubt there are statistical nerds who will tell us that one is " better" than the other.
I like using 2 average dice for morale and D6 for action tests, as I think it is helpful to have slightly different mechanisms for the two types of test, but it is probably the fact that I have played it that way for more than 10 years and have reached an age where I reject new fangled ways! !

coopman13 Feb 2020 2:58 p.m. PST

I know – change is evil!

dbf167613 Feb 2020 3:50 p.m. PST

I use average dice because I bought a bunch of them specifically to use with these rules, and have no other use for them.

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP14 Feb 2020 9:48 a.m. PST

Bought them. Nnot received confirmation email though. Suspense when back in 2 weeks. Lots of expectations.

barcah200121 Feb 2020 3:04 p.m. PST

Got mine and THEY ARE GREAT! Can't wait for a Napoleonic version.

Allan F Mountford06 Apr 2020 3:21 a.m. PST

Stolen from ConsimWorld. Posted by that self-proclaimed unpopular gaming figure Charles Vasey:

'Twilight of The Soldier Kings

The third release of this series this time published by Wyre Historical Books.

The concept of the game is to get rid of fire phases (other than artillery) and subsume melees into a single moral test. So if you are the non-moving player and your unit is within fire range, is in physical contact, is infantry within cavalry range and without support, or under artillery bombardment then it will need to test for morale. That morale test will include most of the stuff seen in the old fire-morale-model. So (for example) being fired on by a better or worse musketry force, quality of cavalry charge, your formation. Failing a test is part of the battle degradation process: each unit can only take a certain number of fails before they decamp. Defender fire is covered by an Assault Test which may hold your opponents off. Units can in certain circumstances break off combat otherwise they will go through a process of mutually testing in each non-moving turn until one vanishes. At that point one will need a reserve line to pass through the victors to seal that victory.

Much depends on how the modifiers work since much of the old type of game is subsumed into a big Modifier Menu.

So if Foppington's Foot is faced with the advance of Royal-Foppington their Morale Test will be 2D6 with
+1 Fired upon by a less effective firer (Brits are FR1, French Line FR3)
+1 Defending (? define?) not moving and rated stubborn
+1 Rear Support: the Earl of Bexhill's Foot stand behind Foppington's.

So on a average score of 7 they'll get the 8 needed to pass. But (and here we must wonder) there is a 17% of our brave lads wavering. [Assuming they count as defending].

But they don't waver, Lt Colonel Carroll is a hard disciplinarian

Now it is the British Turn and Royal-Foppington must test as Foppington's Foot are within musketry range. Their score is modified
-1 Fired upon by superior firepower
+1 Rear Support from Franche-corps de Vasey

So on an average score of 7 they'll fail to pass. Take that you sons of tyranny!!!!

The rules add special cases to this for the specific period:

Rapid Fire (the Prussian habit of blasting off as many rounds as possible to terrify the enemy): this gives the Rapid Firer the option to ask for one Morale Dice to be re-rolled. Note the Prussians have a lower Fire Rating than our brave lads BUT get an advantage this way.

Improved Mobility: watch those crackers move in oblique order while your lads wonder about which is straw foot.

Assault Tactics (grenadiers, Heeland Laddies, and Hungarians) : they get a +1 modifier on the Assault Test as they breast the defensive fire.

Bayonet Tactics: This is the Maurice de Saxe and Early Prussian attack with shouldered muskets, used by the French at Fontenoy. These units only impose a Morale Test when they are in contact (as they cannot fire). They get a +1 modifier on the Assault Test (a +2 if they get an Assault benefit anyway). But they get no other benefit. [I'd want to think about that one].

The main rules give scenarios for Mollwitz, Kolin, and Krefeld.

The scenario book gives us: Chotusitz, Dettinghen, Madonna dell'Olmo, Kesseldorf and Lauffeld in the Austrian war and, Rossbach, Leuthen, Zorndorf, Minden, Korbitz, Warburg, and Torgau.

Units are brigadish in size: two stands/bases for each and one for artillery.

So Mollwitz (a wee battle) sees:

5 Cavalry (2 cuirassiers, 2 dragoons, and 1 Hussars)
7 Infantry (5 Line, 1 Grenadiers, 1 Elite)
1 Artillery

9 cavalry (5 cuirassiers, 3 dragoons, 1 Hussars. Some of these are smaller formations)
5 Infantry (small formations)

Which should be doable by many gamers. Each unit is given key factors,so an Austrian foot unit is Trained with Fire Rating of 4 and quality of E. (These are the old Austrian wooden ramrod boys). But our Prussian chums foot are Rapid Fire, Improved Mobility, Fire Rating of 3 and Quality of C. The Austrians will need to depend on their cuirassiers: Trained, Average Charge, Heavies with a C quality. The Prussian equivalent has values of: Trained, Inferior Charge, Heavies with an E Quality.'

greenknight4 Sponsoring Member of TMP03 Sep 2020 2:07 p.m. PST

Mine are on the way for On military matters :)

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