Tuesday 27 February 2024

New Pike and Shot Wargame Rules and Army Lists


I recently acquired copies of these two books from Helion and Co, part of their Helion Wargames series. Now, I have not played these rules, although I have used their sister set, Mortimer et Gloriam, so my opinion is mostly based on reading and understanding them rather than on how they play. As n experienced and somewhat set in his ways wargamer I find new ideas a struggle at times. Not in this case though.

The main rule set is a fully revised second edition of the rules, originally published elsewhere. The layout is really good, with lots of diagrams and examples of play to support each phase of the game. These are the stars of the book as, unlike many other rules sets where such things are often missing, they provide clear guidance in order to help players through their first games until they are more familiar with the mechanics.yes, the mechanics are interesting, look complicated but are not. They are different (unless you’ve played MeG), but easy to get to grips with in pretty short order. The Colour Based Command (CCC) system, using, if you wish, bespoke dice, is intuitive and quite a challenge, in a good gameplay way. It is NOT necessary to buy special dice, as any other method to activate troops can be adopted to fit into the CCC approach.

I think these rules are well worth trying out, and perhaps I will give them a go sometime in the near future.

The army lists cover the Thirty Years’ War and the British Civil Wars, all 60 of them. The lists need to be read in conjunction with the main rules, but are presented in such a way as to make it possible to adapt them to any other preferred rules. I’m pretty confident that the lists of those armies about which I have more than a passing knowledge are ‘accurate’, although that term can be rather subjective knowing the psyche of most (all) wargamers. Whatever your thought on army lists, these are really handy, especially someone new to the period and the rules.

The last section of the army list book is devoted to a campaign or pre-battle system which I quite like as it can help provide an appropriate context for a game.

Both volumes are well set out and I like the large print in the rule book, are easy to follow, and the unique game mechanics are actually quite simple. The rules are beautifully illustrated throughout with photographs of troops (as I’ve said earlier these provide a good guide to interpretating the rules) and a good number of lovely colour images drawn from other Helion books from the Century of the Soldier series.

ISBN 978-1-804514-56-6 for the rules, soft back,  238 pages, A4 format
ISBN 978-1-804514-45-0 for the lists, soft back, 140 pages, A4 format.

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