Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Men Who Would be Kings Rule Review

Dan Mersey and Osprey have the unique ability of bringing many of my figure collections out of retirement and back on to the tabletop, first there was the Narnian Forces with his Dragon Rampant Rules and now the Boxer Rebellion with The Men Who Would be Kings.


My gaming preferences tend to lean towards larger skirmish and playing the game rather than recreating the real thing in miniature so anyone who opens their rule writing with the compulsory viewing of Zulu at Christmas and Easter gets my vote... (53 viewings and counting just for the record..).
Although the wife and kids are getting rather annoyed by me quoting the lines before they are actually said.

The Men Who Would be Kings Rules landed on the door step this Saturday morning and it's fair to say I am not disappointed by Dan's latest offering. 64 Pages of Colonial goodness, with plenty of Illustrations and eye candy to get the juices following.

The unit sizes are very much in keeping with his earlier rule sets and my own collection for that matter and Dan has made the troop types fairly generic allowing them to fit most conflicts.

  • Regular and Irregular infantry: 12 models per unit.
  • Regular and Irregular cavalry: 8 models per unit.
  • Tribal infantry: 16 models per unit.
  • Tribal cavalry: 10 models per unit.
  • Crewed weapons: 1 gun plus 4 crew models.

Each unit must have a leader and keeping them intact appears to be key to keeping your troops in order and pin free to win the the scenario's of which 8 are included in the book.
 
A typical field force consists of 24 points with unit costs broken down as follows.
 
  • Regular units: 6 points per unit. 
  •  Irregular units: 4 points per unit. 
  •  Tribal units: 3 points per unit.
  •  Crewed weapons: 4 or 6 points per weapon.
Units can be adjusted by upgrading or downgrading unit abilities which gives you the national variants - e.g. Zulu's with Fieldcraft at +1, but perhaps poor shots at -1 if you follow the movie....

After sneaking off for a quiet read in a pub at lunch time no less.
They appear to be a rule set where leaders of units are the key to winning the game.
Each unit of troops has to 'activate' each turn using their leaders Leadership Score, however some actions for each troop type can take a Free action these are different for each unit type.

The unit Leaders quality is rolled for and will be influenced by whether you are Regular or Tribal and extra colour is added by applying traits for officers, very similar to those found within the Sharp Practice Rules another favourite of mine.

There are some nice features within the rules such as the ability to fire through pinned units which allows you to spread your fire and keep the sword welding hordes at bay rather than having to break or destroy the closest enemy before you can turn your attention on the unit hiding behind it...

A whole chapter is dedicated to playing against "Mr Babbage" or Solo play which takes me back 20 years when "Soldiers of the Queen" was popular and everyone wanted to be British sitting in a square. :-)

Dan has included 30 army lists to allow you to build your forces for various encounters from the likes of The Sudan and Zululand through to the Plains Wars in America. (tempting...)

My only niggle is that with a number of references and illustrations relating to the Boxer Rebellion it would have been nice to see an army list for the conflict.


But it does give me an excuse to dust off my own collection and with 7 days before the first real outing it will allow me to draw up the forces for both sides and play around with the troop traits, with only a small number of generic unit types it should not take long to create such a list.

It's nice to get the Boxers back out of storage, just as I was thinking about letting the collection go.

12 comments:

  1. You get mail delivery on a Saturday!? Which Utopia do you in?

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    1. A pleasqnt surprise on both fronts Rich.

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    2. U.S. Postal Service always runs on Saturday, and even special deliveries on Sundays!

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  2. My copy is coming from Amazon, not expected till release date 🙁

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    1. Guess you get a preview on Sunday then.
      Nice to put a game on without having to paint the units first.
      Cheers
      Stu

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  3. Not ordered my copy yet (too many current projects that need attention) but useful to have an early review.

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    1. I know what you mean Steve.
      And with show season starting up it can only get worse.
      Cheers
      Stu

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  4. Have not ordered a copy so will wait to see with interest how other get on 😀

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    1. Matt First outing on Wednesday night so I should have something on the blog by Friday.
      Cheers
      Stu

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  5. I'm also looking forward to giving these rules a go!

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    Replies
    1. Tomorrow night Gordon - Stay tuned...

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