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"The Old West Skirmish Rules, Mike Blake" Topic


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589 hits since 30 Jun 2020
©1994-2020 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP30 Jun 2020 7:11 p.m. PST

All,
I generally use either Fistful,of Lead or Pulp Alley for my western games. I've heard so much over the years though about Mike Blake's rules, the "original" skirmish rules? What can folks tell me about them? I do have the impression that they are very detailed.

advocate01 Jul 2020 3:03 a.m. PST

I first used his Colonial Skirmish Rules in the 1970s. The Old West rules are very similar, and I have a copy (tattered, somewhere…).
The rules are indeed very detailed. Turns are split into 1 second phases. Many actions such as reloading take multiple phases. Characters might be veteran, regular or greenhorn and would take different reaction times as a result – when shooting, being shot or when something unexpected happens. Firing can result in light wounds, heavy wounds or kills in a number of locations; but a clever table manages this in one percentile roll. Melee is a variation of this, but uses opposed rolls.
We got to know the rules pretty well and could bundle phases together and get games played pretty easily. Covers pretty much everything you would want from a Western set of rules, including a very large number of weapons.

advocate01 Jul 2020 3:07 a.m. PST

As you would expect, characters have different abilities in shooting and melee. We would often use the default values to avoid remembering to use the appropriate modifiers; or have all guys of a certain type having specific ratings (eg the Mexican bandits might have a couple of characters with decent ratings but a large number of chaps with a standard but lower set of ratings).

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP01 Jul 2020 12:15 p.m. PST

Just looking at the QRS made my head hurt!

Aredlancer02 Jul 2020 12:59 a.m. PST

I have the rules, and they are very detailed, and personally think over complicated, for a general afternoons gaming,you have to spend a long time with this, and well the solo rules included in the Curry edition are really worthless.

advocate02 Jul 2020 1:29 a.m. PST

The Colonial rules, with which we started, are simpler, in so far as they have less detail. It is a 70s game, so there are a fair number of modifiers for melee and shooting. But honestly, the flow is straightforward and you can pick it up after a while. It's a game of its time, and you certainly can't pick it up from the qrs.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP02 Jul 2020 7:20 a.m. PST

Our group played these almost 50 years ago and had
a great time.

Yeah, they are detailed, yeah they take some time
to learn and yeah, they can be 'fussy' in game play
but just for the richness of the information they are
well worth it.

4DJones02 Jul 2020 10:27 a.m. PST

There is a 'lite' version of the Colonial rules (which can be used for Western settings) in the PS Guide to Wargaming, edited by Bruce Quarrie (now OOP). And a similar version in Featherstone's book Skirmish Wargaming. … Or the other way round?

advocate02 Jul 2020 12:26 p.m. PST

Ed, I preferred '70s' to 'almost 50 years ago'.
But it sounds like I need to start planning a golden anniversary game. Luckily I have 20mm Zulus and British…

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP02 Jul 2020 1:14 p.m. PST

Advocate, apologies – I was referring to the Old
West rules and not the Colonial rules.

Basha Felika03 Jul 2020 11:06 a.m. PST

They were very much a product of their time, making full use of that exciting new piece of kit – percentage dice!

Still remember some great games using 54mm figures, but there are much better ‘simple yet sophisticated' mechanisms now in use – much like many other rule sets of the same vintage, they're better remembered with affection than actually used these days!

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