MHWC members have all spoken about different sets of rules at meetings or on our club forum, many tempted but wary of the expense. So we took the top five sets that had raised interest and bought them to create our own mini members rule book library. This is what we have bought;
First up is SAGA, this rules really seem to have caught on....despite the heavy cost, £25 for a fairly thin book and four cardboard counter boards. The game seems to have countered any cost concerns but it seemed reasonable to buy a club set so everyone could see what the fuss was about for themselves given the interest.A test game was played at the last club meeting and looks to be a hit. There are a few concerns for some, it is a game first and historical simulation second...like most rules to be fair but this set more so. That doesn't mean it isn't any good, one or two quirks aside it works well and makes you think. It uses sets of army specific dice to control possible actions and these can be £12.00 for a set of eight!!! This is an expensive hobby as we know but the costs involved in SAGA are very high for such a thin rule book. that said, the armies are small and with the rise of plastic figures can be very cheap, perhaps this balances things out? Just nine possible armies at the moment but I can see this changing, there are already a number of home spun variations to use the game mechanics with other periods appearing in the magazines.
I can see this becoming a bit of a club favourite, many already have figures that can be pressed into service and others, myself included, have embarked on an army since seeing the rule book. A wise purchase that has actually encouraged members to go out an buy their own copy.
Next we have Operation Squad Modern War. The WW2 version has been a great hit with the members and so all were very interested in taking a look at the latest offering. It works on the same principles, using a squad of figure with a one figure one man ratio, most forces use a dozen figures at the most so this is a really accessible game in these troubles economic times. The rules have been adapted to take into account the more varied forces involved in modern combat theatres and the weapons. Units are built using a points system but these units are nation specific and so you purchase from a given pool of nationally accurate options. This is another game that makes you think, you need to plan but also need to adapt in equal measure. Some find the rather unique turn sequence difficult to get the hang of but it does work and works well. I can see these being very popular, small units on a 4ft x 4ft table....what's not to like?!
Pike and Shotte is one of the more traditional 'big battle' sets compared to the more skirmish based rules we have bought. That said, many asked for it and so we were happy to oblige! This is a warlord Games publication, essentially Black Powder for the seventeenth century but with enough period tweeks to make it a stand alone rule set. If you have played Black Powder then you will take to this quickly, there is also a lot of info and arm details so plenty to help get newcomers to the period up and running quickly. List price is £30.00 but can be found on Amazon for just £19.50! Bargain!!! We have a few members that play this period and others that just enjoy playing it with other peoples armies, part of the joy of a club of course! This will get plenty of game hours at the club, the Black Powder systems lend themselves well to club nights, big games can be fought to a conclusion and a good game is had by all...except the losers of course but there is no helping some people.