I was fortunate enought to get a review copy of the upcomming release in the Osprey wargaming serie, OWG 11, HONOURS OF WAR - Wargames Rules for the Seven Years War by author Keith Flint.
I thougth that i should try to give you a short reviwe sins I now have tryed out the rules in a few games, you can see some picture from one of them here. Honours of War - first test game during the AWI.
HONOURS OF WAR - Wargames Rules for the Seven Years War
Osprey wargames 11
Author: Keith Flint
Illustrator: Giuseppe Rava
Short code: OWG 11
Publication Date: 20 Nov 2015
Number of Pages: 64
First of all I´m not a Seven Years War gamer, but these rules might have changed my mind and I somehow now got an lust to paint up some Swedish battalions to fight the Prussians…we will see...
The Honours of War book has a good layout in the same style as the rest of the books in the Osprey Wargames series making the book looking good with plenty of eye-candy pictures and easy read. The author Keith Flint have made a good work with the text as even I, that not have English as my first language, find it easy to understand his writing.
It was easy to get hold of the main rules after the first read so it was only some looking in the rules during our first game but not much. I must say that the rules was very easy to get in to, and that is good in my book, as I most often don´t bother to learn complex rules, they don’t give me a better game anyway.
The rules are mainly written for 28mm miniatures but there are several pages included with specific information and even QRS for the use of 20mm, 15mm 10mm and 6mm minis. The suggested basing for 28mm minis are for close order infantry 4 minis on a 40x40mm base and 5 bases to a unit giving you a battalion of 20 minis. That way a infantry battalion have a width that are about equal to the fire range of an infantry unit, all in line with the historical effective ranges of massed muskets fire, very neat.
Of course, as all good rules of today, they are very forgiving for the use of different sized units or different basing, I for example used my AWI collection during my playtest that are based with 5-6 minis on a 50x50mm base with 3 bases in each battalion, that worked excellent using the ordinary 28mm ranges etc.
For the game you divide your battalions in to brigades of 2-8 units, there are also the option to field a few independent units/battalions. Brigades and independent units are the formation that you activate during play, so when it is your turn you choose to activate one of your Brigades or one of your independent units and then the enemy does the same.
Each of the brigades as well as your army has a commander that very much will effect what you will be able to do during your activation. In good command and good circumstances a unit may do very much only in one turn. The command rules are of course written so you will want to have your units in linear formations as that was the main way of fighting during the SYW period.
Each turn is divided in several phases and in each phase both sides activate by brigade or independent unit, this way both player are active more or less all the time wich give a better gaming experience. There are even several initiatives in each turn, first one for movement and later one for firing and depending on your country’s fighting doctrine you may get to add to or deduct from the roll, this work very well when you get used to it.
When you activate a brigade or independent unit you roll for their command performance during that activation, this will effect each of the units in the brigade and dictate what options they have, like possible double move or maybe they are not allowed to advance closer to the enemy during the turn at all. Of course better commander and better troops give you a greater chance to get them to do what you had in mind.
The melee and firing is always only one unit against one unit, if you have several units involved in a melee, one do the fighting and the rest support. This might give some strange situation some times, but it really ease up the resolution of the melee and that is very good to me and it also speed up the play.
One more thing that I like with the rules is the way they handle the damage and morale of units, in the rules called Hits. Hits represent actual casualties and the morale effect of those casualties. Of course no part of a unit are removed during play, the whole unit stay in place until it is Done For and by then you remove the whole unit.
If you don´t want your lovely painted minis to end up Done For you might want to try to rally them, but that you can´t do in the face of the enemy. So you better make some retreat moves to get away from the fray to have your men in a proper line again, very neat rule that really represent how one could have expected it to work during a linear battle.
The rule also includes a short presentation of all nations involved (even Sweden, thanks Keith! ) in the SYW and their national differences/fighting doctrine. They effect how your troops performance during play difference from the other countries. There is also information how to grade different units in your army based on their historical performance during the war.
There are also 4 different sized scenario included, I have only tried out the smallest one with 5 units on one side and 4 units on the other and despite the few number of units it gave a very good and entertaining game and I love rules there you don´t have to invest to much money or time before you can get your first proper game.
The rules are dedicated to the European part of the SYW but there should be no problem to use them for different eras of linear fighting, like the American War of Independence.
In conclusion I really like the Honours of War rules as the rules are easy to learn and still they give very good and fast games. Good value for your hard earned cash, at least in my mind.
You can find out much more about the rules at the Author Keith Flints blog or at his dedicated Honoures of War web page.
Order your copy of Honours of War at Ospreys.