Home Forums General General Whats you favorite “Unpopular” Rule Set?

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  • #139437
    Battleback
    Participant

    I know unpopular is subjective but I guess what I’m asking for is what rule set do you really like but very few people seem to be playing, its hard to find Youtube videos or blog posts with AAR using the rules etc.

    My favorite is Micro Squad The 1:1 Scale Game 2nd (MSTG) published by GHQ, Author George Chrestensen. You can download the rules free at Wargame Vault or get a printed softcover version for $31 usd. This is a 2nd so it was popular enough to get a second edition and you can still get printed versions of the book but I don’t run across anyone posting videos, blog posts, Twitting or even see forum posts on GHQ’s own forum about the rules. I’ve played the game several time (solo) but I liked it from the start and I know it will be a great fit for my group once we get together again this winter.

      What I like about the game

    The rules are short (28 pages) and easy to learn but still gives realistic results:

    This one is important to me because my group only meets a few times a year and when we do play we really don’t want to spend half our time looking up rules. MSTG can pretty much be played from the QRS and unit stat cards after you’ve read through the rules. Also the battle outcomes are realistic and the different units/tanks don’t feel generic.

    Unit Determination:

    This is an optional rule that adds a morale system. If you’ve played Battlegroup its basically the same as pulling a chit after you lose a unit. Only in MSTG each side has a poker deck and you draw a card (Ace = 1 King = 13) instead of a chit and when you’ve reached your Breaking Point (determined before the game) you lose. A house rule I use is to leave the Jokers in the decks and add a rule that fits the scenario I’m playing.

    Unit Cohesion:

    This determines the relative effectiveness of your troops. This is nothing new, many games use the same system but I like that they added in the game. You have to pass a Cohesion test for just about everything in MSTG using a 20 sided dice.  Its easy to find your unit’s Cohesion just look up the TO&E for the unit an it lists the rating range. This is another great thing about MSTG all the TO&E’s for the majority of WW2 are free to download on Wargame Vault as well. Even if you don’t want to play MSTG they are handy to have.

    The Combat Results Table (CRT):

    I don’t believe this is a unique feature to MSTG, actually I think its an old concept from my understanding but I love it and haven’t see it in other WW2 rules I own. For those that don’t know your gun has a AP and or a HE rating and your target has a defense rating. When firing you compare the firepower rating to the defense rating and roll 2d6, add in modifiers for cover etc. and look up in the table to see the results. Example; a Sherman M4 75mm has a AP value of (7) and a Tiger 1 has a front defense of (9) (tanks have 4 defense rating front, side, rear and top).

    So if a Sherman is firing at a Tiger’s front armor in the open at normal range and there are no modifiers to add, the Sherman would roll 2d6 on the (-2 column) on the CRT to find the results of the attack.  In this example the Sherman could not destroy the tiger at that range from the front but it could suppress it on a roll of 7-4 or Disorganize it on a roll of 3-2. Neither result will keep the Tiger out of the battle mind you but it will add modifiers (+4, +3 respectively) to the Tiger’s Cohesion roll until it removes the Suppression/Disorganized tokens. Suppression can be removed by passing a Cohesion test but Disorganized can only be removed by a natural roll of a “1” on a d20, so long term being Disorganized is far worse state to be in.

    But in the next turn if the Tiger passes its Cohesion test its gun it still just a powerful as it was before, AP 10 compared the Sherman’s front armor of 7 so a (+3 column) on the CRT. The Sherman will be Suppressed on a roll of (13-10) Disorganized on a roll of a  (9-6) and eliminated at (5) and below. The Sherman is clearly at a disadvantage since it will at the very least be suppressed by the Tiger when fighting it head on. Its a simple, fast and elegant way to handle combat in my opinion and something I wish other games had. The Sherman 75mm has a chance to affect the Tiger by causing it to miss a turn or two or more if its gets lucky and disorganized the Tiger but the Tiger is far more deadly and has a greater chance to disable the Sherman or destroy it. So realistic results in a quick combat system!

      What I dislike

    The thing I like least about the system is there’s a lot of d20 dice rolling for Cohesion. Because a Cohesion test is required for any action and a unit’s Cohesion changes depending on their state you roll a lot of d20’s. But I would rather roll one dice then say 5 d6’s but it still slows down the game in larger battles but it’s not a problem in smaller battles which is what I mostly play anyway.

    So whats your favorite unpopular game?

     

    (EDIT, got rid of the wall of text, Also I forgot the Author)

    #139450
    ian pillay
    Participant

    Just based on the posts topic heading I was going to (tongue firmly in cheek) Reply with 40k… 😬

    However reading the fully scope, I would say for me it’s Battle sworn, bid for victory. I have the rules only played them once but would like see more coverage of them. To see if I have understood the rules.

    Tally-Ho!

    #139459
    Mr. Average
    Participant

    Dirtside II tips the list. Great game that people carp about endlessly endlessly because of the chit pull system. No idea why people hate it so much.

    #139469
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    Dirtside II tips the list. Great game that people carp about endlessly endlessly because of the chit pull system. No idea why people hate it so much.

    I always had the impression Dirtside II is generally considered venerable. Live and learn.

    #139473

    I can’t think of any my favourite rules are Benith the lilly banners.  And while not everyone likes it, it is a popular set of rules.

     

    #139474
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    Dunno. You tell me what’s unpopular, and I’ll tell you whether I play ’em 🙂

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #139478
    Usagitsuki
    Participant

    “Lost Battles” for ancients. Best set by a country mile IMO, but hardly anyone plays it.

    Alessio Cavatore’s “Deus Vult” too. Some great ideas in there, but never took off for some reason.

    #139481
    Battleback
    Participant

    There’ s some games listed that I’ve never heard of before, its interesting that even in a niche hobby such as ours good products fall though the cracks because they don’t have name recognition or enough hype/marketing to find a sizable player base.

    #139483
    Shaun Travers
    Participant

    A ruleset I really like that I do not know how popular is used to be but is not heard of much is the Irregular Miniatures Ancient Rules.  I have not played them for a few years but have plans to play them again a few times in the next year.

    Here is a detailed review I wrote for the game, if anyone interested:

    http://shaun-wargaming-minis.blogspot.com/2010/07/irregular-miniatures-ancients-rules.html

    There are two games reports on that blog with them as well.

     

    #139493
    Jim Jackaman
    Participant

    Imperial Commander from TTG. Haven’t played it in years but I played loads of games back in the 80’s. I’ve never met anyone else who’s played it or even heard of it since, apart from online where there’s a small fan base.

    #139509
    MartinR
    Participant

    I play a lot of OP14 for operational WW1 games and NATO Brigade Commander for WW2 and moderns. They are both a bit obscure as they were only really published in the Wargames Developments Journal.  Also a huge fan of De Bellis Navalis by Colin Standish, DBA with battleships. Published in WI in Jan 2000.

    I used to play Lost Battles a lot but these days I prefer Command and Colours Ancients.

     

     

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

    #139510
    Mike
    Keymaster

    A ruleset I really like that I do not know how popular is used to be but is not heard of much is the Irregular Miniatures Ancient Rules.

    I remember them and all that laborious copying from paper to screen.
    I never played them but remember at the time thinking they had enough oomph to be playable with getting bogged down in detail.
    I quite liked the different dice for different qualities too.

    I was thinking about them only a few weeks ago as it happens.

    #139511
    Sane Max
    Participant

    Dunno. You tell me what’s unpopular, and I’ll tell you whether I play ’em 🙂

    pah, and you one of the world’s leading ‘Tractics’ players! You know the sort of stuff he means.

    I will go for a borderline case, a game which was once huge but seems to have almost faded away – 1st Edition AK47 republic. Short, simple, fun. ‘what sort of Tank is that? It’s a tank.’

    Pat

    #139519
    Thomaston
    Participant

    I like Epic 40k. It’s just so simple and easy to hack.

    Tired is enough.
    R-rated narcissism

    #139526
    David Kershaw
    Participant

    Hammerin’ Iron. ACW river boat combat… now I think about it though, no-one really plays ACW river boat combat with any set of rules…

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
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    #139560
    Thorsten Frank
    Participant

    Outlands. I know nobody who plays them. Or even knows them. And I´ ve got a love/hate relationship to the rules but I frequently return to them.

    "In strange grammar this one writes" - Master Yoda

    #139565
    madman
    Participant

    Did someone print Tractics? How I got my start in the hobby in the early ’70s with GHQ micro armour. Still have, plus the almost 40 year old GHQ minis, it but haven’t played it in years. I like the way the system goes, multi step combat resolution but the infantry system is definitely tacked on with no thought. If anyone is interested I worked up specs for pretty much every WWII and lots of Modern guns. If anyone can use them, plus lots of specs on WWII tanks.

    #139571
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    Hammerin’ Iron. ACW river boat combat… now I think about it though, no-one really plays ACW river boat combat with any set of rules…

    Used to, back in the 80s . We used rules published by, I think, Dodo Publications. Or it may have been TTG. Anyway, I’ve still got rather a lot of the old Navwar ACW ships.

    As it goes, Yaquinto’s ‘Ironclads’ was a rather good ACW naval boardgame. Really old school, lots of stats for armour, guns etc. If anyone has the Ironclads Expansion Kit they’d like to sell I’m interested. 😉

     

     

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #139572
    teppsta
    Participant

    Johnny Reb 2 – for the crazy cross board charges !

    #139580
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    Unpopular as in “not very many play it” (which statistically is true of 95% of the games we buy) ? Yeah, plenty. Im like the one internet advocate for Slammer after all.

    UNpopular as in “the hive mind has decided its bad?” I dont mind Bolt Action though it’s not a fave and 2nd edition 40K (disliked by 40K fans AND forum grognards who hate 40K in general) is my fave game of all time.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

    #139582
    Mike6t3
    Participant

    I like Games Workshops War of The Ring Mass battle game (The one with units of troops). Never really seemed to take off in a big way unlike the other GW Lord of the Rings rules. The points system seems broken and the rules can be exploited by a certain type of gamer but for a friendly game in a LoTR setting I like them.

    Get there fastest with the mostest and roll highest.

    Mike

    #139587
    John D Salt
    Participant

    Back in the old days of being a Strategy & Tactics subscriber, and reading the table of “aceptability ratings” published for games in print in every issue, I found that I really enjoyed “Grunt” (SPI), “Year of the Rat”(SPI), “Hue”(SDC), and “NORAD”(SDC), but they all received some of the very lowest acceptability ratings. In three cases of the four, I ascribed that to the unpopularity of Vietnam games to a predominantly American audience, the Vietnam war being a recent and unpleasant memory (and “Year of the Rat” was one of the few games published while the campaign it represented was still in progress). Admittedly it’s guesswork on my part, but I suspect that the unpopularity of the fourth game, “NORAD”, was due to that same predominantly-American audience finding the nuclear destruction of North America no more amusing a subject than Vietnam.

    All the best,

    John.

    #139593
    Tony S
    Participant

    Iron Stars.  I think it was destined to be unpopular.  As if VSF isn’t niche enough, it decides to be Edwardian science fiction instead.  And not land warfare, but rather space – er – ether combat.

    I must admit the background is fascinating, probably because it includes both the Prussians and the Austro-Hungarian space, um, ether forces.  The rules themselves are actually quite clever in my opinion.  To me, an “elegant” rule system (a greatly over used term) or rules mechanism makes things happen without any special work.  No extra modifiers, no extra rules.  It just “happens”.  For example, in Iron Stars, larger calibre weapons find it harder to hit smaller targets.  There are no special rules, or die roll modifiers – it just happens.  Torpedoes are more likely to hit certain parts of the ship.  Again, no special rules or anything.

    I think the designer rather likes them, as there are two supplements to the rules and a whole book of nothing more than Edwardian scientifictions, to get players in the mood.  There is the beginnings of a Iron Stars range at Brigade, but as it never expanded, I suspect sales were dismal.  The author even ported the background and universe to his other, much more popular game, Starmada.  Which I thought was a shame, as I think it lost some of the charm as it was forced into the generic Starmada.

    (As an aside, there are on sale at Wargames Vault right now, during their “Summer Offensive Sale”.

     

    #139598
    madman
    Participant

    Ha! I also have, and played, NORAD.

    #139601

    System 7 Napoleonics by GDW. I played it a lot as a kid and I am sure I am looking at it through the rose-colored lenses of nostalgia, but I recall having a hell of a time playing it and feeling that the results were very similar to what I read about in history books.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #139607
    DM
    Participant

    I like Epic 40k. It’s just so simple and easy to hack.

    Dunno. You tell me what’s unpopular, and I’ll tell you whether I play ’em 🙂

    pah, and you one of the world’s leading ‘Tractics’ players! You know the sort of stuff he means. I will go for a borderline case, a game which was once huge but seems to have almost faded away – 1st Edition AK47 republic. Short, simple, fun. ‘what sort of Tank is that? It’s a tank.’ Pat

     

    First ed AK47 stop has quite a following, Martin reissued the rules as a PDF due to popular demand. 2nd edition doesn’t seem to have captured the imagination, and I don’t know any first ed players who liked and moved over to second

    #139612
    MartinR
    Participant

    Another thumbs up for AK47, first Ed. A great set of rules👍

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

    #139613
    jeffers
    Participant

    Another vote for AK v1. I actually dumped all my AK kit when the group moved to v2.

    However, to answer the OP I had hours of happy gaming in the garden with Recon and my 1/32 figures.

    More nonsense on my blog: http://battle77.blogspot.com/

    #139615
    deephorse
    Participant

    Hammerin’ Iron. ACW river boat combat… now I think about it though, no-one really plays ACW river boat combat with any set of rules…

    Oh yes we do.  ‘Smoke on the Water’ anyone?

    Less enthusiasm, please. This is Britain.

    #139635
    Jim Jackaman
    Participant

    I still play first edition AK 47. Has to be my all time favourite set of rules

    #139638
    Jim Jackaman
    Participant

    With a nod to Mr Manley I also really like his Schnell Rules for Schnellboote, which are only four or so pages long but work very well for coastal forces. They’re also free😁

    #139643

    I always really liked the DBR rules.

    I also really like A Firebell In The Night  ACW rules – available on Wargames Vault.

    Also Zouave 2 rules and Field Of Battle rules – stand alone rules developed from the Piquet rules.

    Gun Dog Miniature Painting Services
    https://m.facebook.com/gundogminiatures/
    Sniffing out unpainted armies!

    #139659
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    Anecdotally but the AK47 groups I’ve known have all either stuck with 1e or reverted back to it.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

    #139671
    madman
    Participant

    OK, I have “copies” of both and intend on giving them a try when I can get together with others, but what does 2nd edition do or not do any more that has proved disappointing?

    #139673
    Mike Frang
    Participant

    Another thumbs up for AKv1, only version I play.

    Armati is still my favorite ancients/renaissance rules.

    #139681
    ian pillay
    Participant

    Armati is a great rule set. It was my introduction to historical Wargames many years ago at the club in Grimsby. I might have to dust my copy off and have a read again.

    Tally-Ho!

    #139700
    fairoaks024
    Participant

    I’ll add to the shouts about v1 AK47.

    i don’t know why, but v2 just seems soulless when we tried it out.

    #139715
    Tony S
    Participant

    I think we can rule out AK47 1st edition as unpopular then!

    I missed the flowcharts in the second edition.  Not sure why, but it just seemed more specific.  Still, have give credit to Martin at Peter Pig for still offering the older edition for this game (and others).  So many companies completely remove earlier editions in an Orwellian unhistory purging.

    #139717
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    I think we can rule out AK47 1st edition as unpopular then!

    Goes to show how regional these things can be though

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

    #139910
    Paul Liddle
    Participant

    Fantasy Warriors by Nick Lund.

    Free to download on the eM4 website. I spent about three enjoyable months playing them last year and will certainly play them again. The scouting rules and the good light/bad light time system really appealed to me. The combat system is pretty solid too if a little old fashioned but they are an old set of rules!.

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