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"Why so little attention for Swordpoint?" Topic


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Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2021 3:14 p.m. PST

So I haven't played Swordpoint yet but it seems like it would be a popular alternative to Hail Caesar.

Especially as Swordpoint appears to use considerably fewer miniatures while advertising that it still offers historical outcomes.

They have some nice campaign books for Ghengis Khan and Alexander.

In fact, I could only find 10 posts at TMP with Swordpoint in the title.

Does anyone have any experience with or thoughts about Swordpoint…positive or negative?

Thanks as always.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2021 4:03 p.m. PST

"Having thoughts or experience" is not the same as "why so little attention?" Uesugi.

In my case, the "little attention" is largely burnout/cynicism. Seems as though hot new rules come along faster than I will rebase or can learn, and "fewer miniatures but with historical outcomes" has been with me since Empire, Napoleon's Battles and DBA. I'd pay more attention if they said "not quite as historical but cheaper and faster." (At least I'd consider it more likely they were truthful.)

Someone else's turn to take point. But by all means learn the system and tell me about it.

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2021 4:26 p.m. PST

"Having thoughts or experience" is not the same as "why so little attention?" Uesugi"

-True dat!

"But by all means learn the system and tell me about it"

I've got the rules & the Medieval army list too so far. I'm working slowly on Hundred Years War for it but I'm quite some ways of from gaming it yet.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Personal logo aegiscg47 Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2021 4:39 p.m. PST

I'm seeing that there's not much of a middle ground for rules any longer. Either you play skirmish games where you only need a few figs, or you need large units using a ton of figs for games like Hail Caesar. This just seems to be how the rules have diverged in the hobby the last decade or so. If you play either of those types of games (i.e., skirmish or large battle), then you're probably not interested in purchasing any set of rules that's in between.

Marcus Brutus07 Jan 2021 5:41 p.m. PST

The current ancient rules scene is pretty saturated. Think about the current active sets already existing before Swordpoint.

1. DBMM
2. FoG
3. ADLG
4. Impetus
5. MeG
6. Hail Caesar
7. TTS

Then there is Warrior, Warhammer, Armati, C&C Ancients etc.. I am sure I am missing some big sets in this list (there are a couple of Warhammer next edition types out there.) Point being there isn't a huge need for another set of rules that I can see. It would have to be revolutionary and exceptional to push into an already overcrowded scene.

PaulByzantios07 Jan 2021 7:30 p.m. PST

The authors of Swordpoint have complicated the Ancients rule situation themselves by coming out with a larger scale set of rules called Milites Mundi. MM uses the same army lists as Swordpoint. Ah for the good old days when Phil Barker had one set of rules to rule them all.

Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2021 10:00 p.m. PST

The 1990s Tactica players might disagree that Barker "ruled them all". grin

Olivero08 Jan 2021 3:09 a.m. PST

I am with Marcus there are so many (good) rules out there. What I wonder is, might the descision to publish separate books with army lists be a bad idea for a new system? The ones that did gather a following recently either include army lists like L'Art De La Guerre or have/had them free online like Mortem et Gloriam and To the Strongest.

And regarding

Either you play skirmish games where you only need a few figs, or you need large units using a ton of figs for games like Hail Caesar

I don't know. At least with Lion Rampant etc. by Daniel Mersey "big skirmish" seems to be the middle ground (like never before). Then came Clash of Spear, I recently looked into Fistful of Lead: Bigger Battles, or have a look at Captains and Kings. I don't know if Feudal Patrol is "too small" to be seen "in the middle" or "Men of Bronze" is "too large", but what I recon is there is plenty of choice if you have a closer look.

Bede1900208 Jan 2021 6:00 a.m. PST

free online like Mortem et Gloriam and To the Strongest.

Where is MEG free online?

Bede1900208 Jan 2021 6:14 a.m. PST

large units using a ton of figs for games like Hail Caesar.

This is really a misconception.

In HC the number of figures plays no role in combat calculations. Therefore your units can be any number of figures you like, and the game works fine. I know from experience.

Marcus Brutus08 Jan 2021 6:20 a.m. PST

Olivero was mentioning army lists being free on-line.

https://mortem-et-gloriam.co.uk/meg

I agree. We play Impetus and quite enjoy the system but I think its major detriment is army lists. They are slow in coming and fairly costly. On this I think other sets have a decided advantage.

Personal logo aegiscg47 Supporting Member of TMP08 Jan 2021 6:26 a.m. PST

"This is really a misconception."

Depends upon what basing you're using and how you want your units to look. I'm using 40 man pike units for my Seleucids, so 8 units of those is 320 figs and that's not counting all the cavalry, skirmishers, etc. Yes, that's my choice, but from looking at many of the pictures on the FB Hail Caesar group, there's quite a few other gamers who think the same way.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP08 Jan 2021 6:52 a.m. PST

I think the same could be said for many rule sets.

How about "Triumph?" A DBA style game that launched at the end of 2019 and disappeared into the hell of Covid. It has loads of free army lists, an online army generator "Meshwesh" and a nifty terrain generation system.

The market is over-saturated in many periods, but new rules keep getting released every day. Kinda like pop singles, only a few become hits.

pogoame08 Jan 2021 7:08 a.m. PST

@aegiscg47
take a look at the BigRedBat of TTS fame :)
he does it in the grand scale

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP08 Jan 2021 7:42 a.m. PST

In HC the number of figures plays no role in combat calculations. Therefore your units can be any number of figures you like, and the game works fine. I know from experience.

I think this is true for a lot of the games systems of recent years, where people can use as many or as few minis to represent a unit as they wish. Personally I like to use excessive numbers of minis, but I know people who represent a unit with as few as four 54mm minis, and it looks good enough and plays exactly the same.

This winter I'm working on Swiss units which will have 96 minis each, I expect to have six in the field by April.

picture

picture

Olivero08 Jan 2021 8:56 a.m. PST

If I had to I would rate Triumph! in the same group of (more or less) successful rules like ADLG, MeG and TtSt. It's been around since 2016 and has its group of active players I believe? Especially as a rules system closely related to DBA it has strong competition, of course. The publishers are about to launch a campaign book this year, by the way.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP08 Jan 2021 9:03 a.m. PST

I lean more and more to two basing systems: either big enough to be handled individually and removed when "dead" or uniform frontages of tiny soldiers--so many they still look like units and not color guards.

BrockLanders Supporting Member of TMP08 Jan 2021 9:49 a.m. PST

Those minis are spectacular BigRedBat! I just purchased ToThe Strongest and am looking forward to my first game

Bede1900208 Jan 2021 10:25 a.m. PST

Depends upon what basing you're using and how you want your units to look. I'm using 40 man pike units for my Seleucids, …….Yes, that's my choice,…."

Right. Like I said, it's a misconception to think that HC requires a large number of figures.

I hope we're not going to debate what "requires" means….

The Last Conformist08 Jan 2021 1:27 p.m. PST

How about "Triumph?" A DBA style game that launched at the end of 2019 and disappeared into the hell of Covid. It has loads of free army lists, an online army generator "Meshwesh" and a nifty terrain generation system.

Rules-wise Triumph is distinctly un-revolutionary, basically DBA with more equipment-centric troop classifications. But the online army list database is a thing of beauty, which should be studied by anyone intending to do a game with army lists in the future.

madaxeman08 Jan 2021 3:50 p.m. PST

There was a post from Gripping Beast on TMP towards the end of last year saying that the first print run of 2,000 copies of Swordpoint was almost sold out, and that they'd be reprinting soon.

So, someone is certainly buying it as that sounds like a huge number of mass battle Ancients rules to have shifted to my mind.

Whether it's then being played, or if the Gripping Beast brand and eye candy content is enough to simply get it sold and it then joins the other sets on the shelf is another question entirely.

JJartist10 Jan 2021 10:58 a.m. PST

"Does anyone have any experience with or thoughts about Swordpoint…positive or negative?"

Swordpoint is basically a streamlined version of WAB that uses casualties by bases rather than individual models. The 2x2 basing on 40mm square bases are nice building blocks for units, but create issues for the all the rage skirmish game world of popularity we find ourselves in.

I found the game worked better outside the Hellenistic period since that is where my interest lands, it did not gain traction among my diasporic group. There has been since that time a specific version supplement for Hellenistic armies. That may or may not have solved some of the issues.

The issues that landed hardest for me was the system of streamlined WAB meant if a whole base was not eliminated then extra losses were simply ignored. Many situations occurred where it was plainly impossible under normal odds to inflict losses. Accumulated action markers were always plentiful enough to reduce the threat of unit destruction, plus the game instituted battle line cohesion rules that spread out the consequences of a combat over a whole line- which further reduced things happening. Missile troops often hardly could inflict enough damage to remove each other- let alone affect hardened close combat troops.

In effect the wilder effects of units routing and chaotic outcome became more moderated, and often the game seemed to be about an attrition mode of wearing out the momentum chit pool, and once one side had some and the other none- then things started to happen, with less impact of casualties.

I found the way that base removal and the streamlining of the WAB-like D6 to hit mechanics actually increased the effectiveness of some troops. Unarmored Galatians often had the ability to defeat a pike phalanx in one on one combat frontally, and cost less. This was simply because they rolled more dice and had better chances to inflict a base loss- where the phalanx could barely achieved 4 hits on them back.

Our banter after the games was that there wasn't enough tension in the games- and many of the troop types did not act in ways that old grognard WRG/Tactica/WAB/DBA experienced gamers expected.

Sadly this shelved interest. I found little desire to rebase an game force to 40x40mm bases for this system.

Again for some periods I think the system works, in fact one can argue that the WAB system that it evolved from always worked better as Dark Ages period scrum style rules set. So I expect that Swordpoint remains popular because those armies (Vikings Saxons Gauls etc.) are a lot more capable of winning than they are in most other game rules against Romans and combined arms variety forces.

So not wanting to be dissing on the rules- which are nicely presented and have a following, there are plenty of pluses for the rules- especially if you find they fit your period and style of game. I agree with some other posts, the rules may have been more widely accepted if there were not so many other competing rules to try to gain space while FOG was all the rage, and then somewhat replaced by ADLG and now many others.

It pains me to be so blunt in my review as I have great respect and admire the author, have worked with him. Actually I comment only in the hope that others explore the rules themselves. Ultimately I feel that Swordpoint suffers like all rules that attempt to cover everything from Sumerians to Agincourt in one system.

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP11 Jan 2021 3:20 p.m. PST

Thanks for that JJ.

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