Saturday, 21 November 2015

Sword & Spear

I recently played and enjoyed my first two games of the Sword & Spear ancient rules. The armies were Late Roman vs Germanic Tribes. I lost with both armies, but the second game in which I commanded the Romans was quite close run.

S&S is easy to pick up and remember with virtually no need to refer back to the rules. This was particularly assisted by the Charlie Foxtrot Models customised measurement stick marked with specific movements and ranges, an idea I will be stealing for other games. After just one game I was able to drive a lot of the next one.

S&S's central mechanism is the allocation of dice to units allowing them to be activated with potential bonuses for fighting or movement. A particularly clever aspect is the way in which, for combat, strings of dice are compared resulting in damage or tests leading to damage. I thought this mechanism was extremely elegant and extendible...

There is no doubt that S&S works superbly as a game, and that is the first requirement. The question of whether it works as a simulation or is 'realistic' begs huge questions about all tabletop miniature wargames. The most questionable aspect is, perhaps, the way in which you can micro-manage the odds for each combat. Suffice it to say that S&S seems to have all the elements you'd expect in any set of Ancient wargame rules but without unnecessary detail or tortuous linguistic riddles. It's thus a quick and easy game and ideally suited to the limitations of club evenings.

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