Saturday, January 03, 2015

Honours Of War Rules 'Beta' Playtest SYW Prussia versus Austria

Played a game at Stephens today to properly blood my Seven Years War Prussians against his Austrian forces (which have not seen tabletop action in several years !!).
We decided to test out a set of rules that are currently in development entitled 'Honours Of War' by a Mr Keith Flint due to be produced by Osprey later this new year.
Rules are in fourth (and almost final ?) draft.
They are a fast play style set and in that regard do exactly what they say 'on the tin'.
Systems are slick and easy to pick up with shooting & melee resolved with Average dice (not used these types in ages) and very few factors.
Units are rated as Superior (Grenadiers, good Cuirassiers and Guard) Standard (most 'average' types) and Inferior (ummm.....inferior types).
There are no army lists (at least not in the draft) but units point costs are included and there are National Characteristics.
Examples are Prussians moving more efficiently when moving obliquely and Austrian having access to Superior rated Artillery.  
Units are organized into Brigades with a maximum of three Independent units per side.
Brigadiers can be 'bought' or rolled for randomly (with only Prussians then paying a small premium) to generate Dithering, Dependable or Dashing type.
These types roll each movement phase with chance to have a Steady result wherein units move normally, Poor wherein they halt with no forward moves or can be Admirable with double moves allowed (there are Feeble and Inspirational as well).
Movement and Firing is by alternating per Brigade/Independent unit after a 'dice off' to decide which side has option to go first (with Early Prussians getting a +1 modifier to a D6 roll, Austrians no change and other nations differing somewhat). 
Hits equate to casualties and morale hits and units are ok with 1-2 hits, suffer combat penalties with 3 hits, Retreat (and must Reform) with 4 hits and are 'Done For' when 5 hits.
Hits can be Rallied off automatically at rate of 1 or 2 depending on enemy proximity (except last hit).
There is no casualty removal with hits being recorded/marked, which suited our unit basing as Keith recommends units of 5 (20 figs) bases whereas ours are 3 (12 figs) bases for Infantry with Cavalry in units of 6 on 3 bases.
As long as both armies are based the same basing size is not important as far as we could discern.
This all makes for a fast flowing and decisive game and we had a very enjoyable game with these rules which we feel have great potential.

Only gripe we had was that Infantry Musket fire as written was way too powerful and we amended this to a more plausible level which was virtually identical to a 3rd draft version we found on hand.
As written we felt it was nigh impossible to get to close range never mind melee contact as musket firing (especially by Superior Grenadiers) felt more like Machine Gun fire on First day of The Somme !

Stephen just set up terrain beforehand and with hindsight there was probably too much which kind of thwarted any meaningful manouevres by either sides Mounted arm but nonetheless this was a fun experience.

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