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    Avatar photoMike

    I guess you like them, but what about them do you like?

    Avatar photomadman

    Not miniatures (yet) but clean and clear. In Conflict of Heroes to hit rolls are 2D6 + attacking unit’s combat value + if adjacent or in the same hex a close bonus. The defense value of the target is the unit’s defense value (front or flank) plus any terrain modifiers. To hit the modified roll has to exceed the defense value. If it exceeds by 4 or more the unit is eliminated. If hit but not eliminated pull a chit and apply the “damage” effect. Quick and simple and easy to remember.

    AND no roll to hit then roll to save crap.

    Avatar photoMike Headden

    I like different things about different rules.

    I like rules that are easy to learn but hard to master. But I can cope with complicated rules if they give a good game.

    I like rules that give a game that I win because I’m brilliant but lose because I was unlucky.

    I like rules that give a game that feels like the right level for the type of action being depicted. For me Warmaster plays like a battle, Warhammer plays like a brawl, for example.

    I like “roll to hit, roll to save” type mechanisms because they keep both players involved.

    I like hex movement for naval and air games but not for land ones. Despite which I’m pootering about with a set of hex grid rules for Seguko Jidai Samurai and enjoy Cruel Seas which doesn’t use a grid.

    I like learning new rules and exploring new rule mechanisms, so any game with a novel mechanic or a new twist on an old one, will grab my attention.

    I like co-op games, games where you have to co-operate but one player winds up as winner, and head-to-head games.

    I like solo, two-player and multiplayer games so rules that can cope with all three are a plus.

    I like one-off games but prefer games which are part of a campaign, so want rules that cater for both.

    Things I’ve played recently include Blitzkreig Commander, Tribal, Warmaster, 5 Parsec From Home, A Billion Suns and Poseidon’s Warriors and I’m about to try the Horizon Zero Dawn board game.



    There are 100 types of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who can work from incomplete data

    Avatar photodeephorse

    It’s full of pretty pictures, and the clarity is sufficiently lacking that we can argue about the smallest thing for hours.

    Play is what makes life bearable - Michael Rosen

    Avatar photowarwell

    I use my own homebrew rules. I like them because they are simple enough that I can play without referring to them.

    Avatar photoSane Max

    which ones? I use so many…the ones I am using now I like because

    -The units look like units to me.
    -the rules are so simple even I don’t need to look much up.
    -The flow is pretty intuitive. I cannot learn rules that are not intuitive.
    -The designer wrote them and then forgot them. No version 2, 1.5 or 3rd Edition to clutter up my tiny brain.
    -They are not tied in to some company’s Marketing plans for World Domination.

    on the other hand, the OTHER sets of rules I like don’t hit these points at all.

    Maybe I like the rules I use because I like them….

    Avatar photoian pillay

    Anything by NT and useme titles they tick my boxes, simple, easy to play, quick to play, low cash outlay for putting a game one.

    Tally-Ho! Check out my blog at…..

    Avatar photoStephen Holmes

    The rules I enjoy tend to reflect the character of units, portraying strengths and weaknesses. This often requires more than a simple stat-line with different numbers, or the notorious “+1 for sharing the author’s nationality”. Often rules that reflect effectiveness when charging, impetuous troops, at taking advantage of cover, or movement in rough terrain.

    I also enjoy it when the proportion of game time consumed by different activities matches the importance of those activities to the battle. If the battle is likely to be decided by a clash of two heavy battle lines, I don’t mind some time and detail occurring here, but I would hate it if skirmishers were moved on individual bases, used detailed measurements for shooting range and cover, and consumed more than 50% of the play time.

    Avatar photoSane Max

    Oh I missed one – almost no book-keeping.

    Avatar photoMartinR

    I like rules which are simple, tell a good story, have meaningful period appropriate command decisions and unit footprints, movement rates and combat outcomes bear some relation to their real life counterparts.

    For the last two years of remote gaming, I’ve gone even more heavily into grids than before.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    Avatar photoNorm S

    I like rules that after one play, can mostly be played by just referencing a simple play aid sheet. I don’t want a major rule pre-read each time I sit down to play and I am not keen on rules that rely on you buying army list type supplements booklets. An all-in-one solution suits me fine.

    For boardgames I am trying to get more games that are part of a series rule systems and for figures, cutting down to just one rule book per period is a goal.

    I am slowly returning to the good old fashioned, time honoured, activity of writing my own rules, not because I think they would be better than what is available, but because I can know them and play them with ease.

    Avatar photoRobert Dunlop

    The Great War is my interest. This stems from talking with my Grandfather when I was young. He served in the New Zealand Machine Gun Corps. Unlike many veterans, he was prepared to talk about his experiences but, interestingly, only in the third person. I wanted to understand more about the context in which he fought, including the German perspective. One of his mementos was a photograph of a German soldier and his young family. The soldier had passed it to my Grandfather as he lay dying in a captured trench.

    My favourite ruleset is Great War Spearhead. It simulates division- and corps-size battles throughout WW1. One thing that I have enjoyed is the ability of the rules to scale easily for much larger engagements. A group of us replayed the First Battle of the Marne for example. More important is the insights I have gained from replaying historical actions. Being able to recreate the terrain was important. Here are the 20 metre contours being put in place with Hexon terrain pieces:

    The Hexons are then covered with battlemats and representations of forests, rivers, main roads, etc. This photo is part of the trial run for creating the Battle of the Marne terrain:

    And the final outcome, with all of the relevant terrain set up in the commemorative chapel in Dormans on the 100th anniversary of the battle (2014):

    When setting up historical scenarios, it has been important (and really enjoyable) to research as much as possible. The rules have prompted this. I can access and read sources in other languages now, so a new set of skills acquired from that perspective.

    Assembling the details of an historical action has another benefit. The results of a game(s) can be compared with the historical outcome(s). This has provided very important validation checks for the rules. There have been very few changes required in the rules over more than a decade, testament to the original Spearhead concepts and the work that Shawn Taylor put into the Great War variant. One example is the rule on the Mad Minute. British infantry companies (the company being the smallest unit represented on a stand) had a firing bonus in the first version of the rules, based on the British accounts of terrible casualties inflicted on the Germans in the Battle of Mons (August 1914) for example. Research showed, however, that the British version of the battle was incorrect. Yes, German attackers went down in large numbers under British rifle fire but the German soldiers were taking cover as trained. Casualties were relatively light overall; far fewer casualties than the British estimated. The Mad Minute ‘bonus’ was dropped from the second version of the rules, not least because research also showed that French and German soldiers were trained in the same technique of massed rifle fire known by the British as musketry.

    Which brings me to the most interesting aspect of all, personally. Thanks to the rules, I can spot unexplained gaps in historical accounts. Three examples stand out. The first two relate to the development of Gallipoli scenarios. I modelled the Battle of Sari Bair. Historically, the New Zealanders managed to take Chunuk Bair. Here is a game of the battle:

    After the failure to take the high ground during the previous day, the Ottoman forces were heavily reinforced on day 2. This can be seen from the density of infantry stands in the foreground. How on earth did the New Zealanders even get onto Chunuk Bair, which is located under the set of stands labelled ’64IR’ (Ottoman 64th Infantry Regiment) in the photo above? The terrain did not help; there was no defilade for the New Zealanders. The terrain set up helped to confirm this, as illustrated in this view along the Sari Bair ridge with the Battle of Lone Pine raging in the foreground:

    One New Zealand account mentioned that the Ottoman machine gunners facing them were asleep. This did not seem like a plausible explanation. It was possible to get the Ottoman battle map, with the dispositions of the defensive forces and the set up on the table illustrated here:

    The key to the successful assault was found in the Ottoman regimental accounts. The combined naval and land-based heavy howitzer bombardment preceded the New Zealand assault. The naval gunfire was direct observed fire and the effects can be seen in the game with the thinning of the Ottoman regiment and the suppression markers on two surviving infantry companies.

    In a similar vein, it was hard to understand how the Ottoman defenders of the Cape Helles landings succeeded in holding up the British. The defenders were pounded with super-heavy naval shells for example. The game illustrated some of the factors at play. Here is V Beach landings, showing how the uncut wire contributed:

    But the game pointed to other variables being at play to protect the heavily outnumbered Ottomans from the devastating naval gunfire support. Ottoman sources provided further insights. The Gallipoli peninsula had been subject to ‘modern’ naval gunfire before WW1 and the Ottomans had taken appropriate counter-measures in preparing the Cape Helles defences. I was even able to discover details of the forts that over-watched V-Beach and how these were designed to accommodate and protect the tenacious Ottoman defenders.

    The final example relates to an action my Grandfather was involved in. It was the defensive battle on March 26th 1918. The Germans had broken through the British lines on March 21st and were about to exploit a gap in the hasty British defences between Hébuterne in the north and the Ancre river in the south. The New Zealanders arrived and, with the support of Whippet tanks, stopped the German advance and plugged the gap. I remember my Grandfather showing me the British battle map of the area that he had kept. I found all but one of the German regimental accounts for this action. Replaying the action pointed to the importance of understanding what happened to this regiment. I intensified the search for information and have been able to establish why the regiment failed to appear on the battlefield that day.

    Historical wargaming has really helped direct my wider research efforts and to understand more thoroughly why the Great War played out as it did. The rules have been instrumental in driving these efforts.


    Avatar photoPhil Dutré

    What I like about rules also is evolving our time, but I can say what I like in my *current* rules:

    – simple, elegant, and unified mechanics. No “a different system for every procedure” type of rules.

    – unit-activation instead of a classic turn structure. Unit-activation rules (and they come in many variations) are much better suited for good rules-design.

    – grids


    More on the meta-level:

    – focus on moving and manipulating the figures (that’s where the fun is!). No tedious combat resolution. Players want to pick up and move figures!

    – No figure removal to track unit status. I like the visuals of having full units. Keep track of hits or casualties or whatevers in some other way.

    – No army lists or point systems. Scenario-based setups are much preferred.

    Avatar photoPhil Dutré

    I like rules that after one play, can mostly be played by just referencing a simple play aid sheet. I don’t want a major rule pre-read each time I sit down to play and I am not keen on rules that rely on you buying army list type supplements booklets.

    It’s also one of the goals when I write my own rules: everything has to fit on one page. Sometimes it’s quite a challenge, and writing short and concise rules is often more difficult than writing lengthy complicated rules. Everyone can always invent more procedures, more mechanics, more exceptions, … to deal with some all sorts of situations. But it’s harder to come up with systems that don’t need these additional exceptions at all.

    Or as Goethe said: In der Beschränking zeigt sich erst der Meister.

    Avatar photoStephen Holmes

    It’s certainly a lot easier to pile in additional situations, modifiers, troop types and mechanisms for your 2nd edition.
    A harder, and under some business models, less profitable, route is to iron out the wrinkes in 1st edition and optimise play.

    My own experience has a happy few systems where the 2nd edition represents a major improvement.
    Rather a lot where a fun game starts to creak under the weight of additional abilities, super troops, supplements or splatbooks.

    Avatar photoAlex

    My depression addled brain can actually absorb them to some degree.

    Alex (Does Hobby Stuff)
    practising hobby eclecticism

    Avatar photoDarkest Star Games

    The rules I prefer to use for battle level games feel more like you’re commanding, and less like you have total control like Chess.

    Those that I use for more intimate fights, skirmish style, I like because you get a more realistic action/reaction from the troops.  Individuals are important.

    None of them are IGOUGO.


    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    Avatar photoAndrew Beasley

    My depression addled brain can actually absorb them to some degree.

    +1 to this

    Oddly enough, I find I read rules when I cannot manage a book as it helps me relax – I think it’s the short paragraphs, simplicity (esp the rule set I select), pictures and the fact that I’m not fussed about reading them to remember a story / characters but just to stir the sludge a bit!

    Avatar photoTactical Painter

    I like this quote from Peter Perla:

    ‘A wargame must be interesting enough and playable enough to make its players want to suspend their inherent disbelief, and so open their minds to an active learning process. It must also be accurate enough and realistic enough to make sure that the learning that takes place is informative and not misleading.’

    I look for simplicity and accuracy. Rule designing is an art not a science because getting that balance right is not easy to achieve and we all interpret ’accuracy’ and ‘simplicity’ slightly differently.

    I play games for fun, but I look for more than just that in an historical wargame. I want to have a small window on history that adds to my learning about a specific period, so the rules must deliver a good, playable game which despite the necessary abstractions is a reasonably accurate reflection of the period. As an example, if command by voice was the only means of communication in the period I don’t expect to be able to have my commanders shout orders hundreds of yards across a crowded battlefield and have them clearly understood and instantly acted upon. A rule that allowed that would certainly tick the box for ‘simple’ but not for ‘accurate’.

    The Tactical Painter - painting miniature armies for battles on the table top.


    I mostly prefer my own rules.

    Throw me a 6

    Ancients D6

    A modified version of Featherstone’s Horse and Musket Rules.

    WW2 Rules using Featherstone’s H&M mechanics.



    "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

    --Abraham Lincoln

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