This afternoon I gave Neil Thomas’s ‘Simplicity in Practice’ a first go, using my South American Wars of Liberation paper armies. Although I have some misgivings about the close combat system, I enjoyed the game, which is more subtle than it first appears. The actual battle was a Grant Tabletop Teaser. Of course.
I didn’t apply any period-specifics to the game, since I wanted to play the rules in their vanilla state (or, at least, that of the play-sheet I downloaded, which I suspect isn’t quite the original).
As I suspected, the rules on the AMW Yahoo Group are Simplicity in Practice Plus, where the Plus is some bits the poster added. These include activation rolls to move units with DPs, additional bits on how artillery fights in close combat (which are mentioned in passing in Neil Thomas’s original article, but not in his rules), the addition of generals and a few other minor changes. There’s also some notes on specific periods with the Horse and Musket range.
I used the unit activation, and rather liked it. Generals were OK too, giving you a chance to get reluctant units moving, as well as allowing an extra factor in melee. The artillery in melee rules seem a bit odd, though – neither the artillery or the attackers get any melee bonuses, so it just boils down to a 50/50 fight. Even if the artillery is flanked. As I say – odd.
Not sure about the shooting light cavalry, either. Were they really that shooty in the 18th/19th century?