Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Middle Earth Battles: The (Beta) Rules

Well, here you go, the beta for my Middle Earth Battles rules.  After a very successful playtest last weekend I incorporated many updates and got the Rohan and Isengard army lists into a playable state.

You can download the rules in PDF format here (v1.5)

To be clear on a few things:

  • I'm sharing these so that other wargamers may enjoy them, but the primary purpose of these rules is to serve my own purposes with my group. They are a work of fan fiction and in no way meant to replace any official rules offered by Games Workshop.
  • I've only just started playtesting the rules.  While many elements are based on my Empires at War (Napoleonic's) and This Hallowed Ground (ACW) rules, this represents a major shift in the core game away from a "shooting focused" game system for horse and musket periods to a "melee" focused game that I intend to use for not just Middle Earth, but for other historical periods such as the 100 Years War and War of the Roses.
  • I'm absolutely all ears on any feedback you wish to provide, simply just pass it along.  Also happy to answer questions as time permits.  However, please do realize that I have a full time and very demanding job - so any "rules support" is strictly as time permits.

Finally, I'm not saying these are the best fit for everyone - they are very much written and presented for those who are experienced wargamers and have some background in historical wargame rules. If you are a Games Workshop pure-blood wargamer, these may not be for you.

I'm very focused here on mass battles - hence many granular aspects of the field of battle or units/heroes are intentionally abstracted into units/special rules.

Screenshots of the pages are below.  There are 10 total pages at the moment.  8 pages cover the rules and everything after is just army lists.

And that is it - hopefully you can find some enjoyment out of the rules.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Middle Earth Battles: Battle Report (Playtest)

Ran the first playtest of my new Middle Earth Battles rules today.  Dan Kerrick and Roy Scaife joined me for the action.  Turned out to be fairly hot outside so I didn't open up the garage door - which meant it was a little darker for taking pictures.

The purpose of this game was to get a lot of different/mixed units on the table to see how most of the different unit types and heroes influenced and interacted with the game system.

For the "bad guys" I had Uruk-hai Assault Ballistas, Uruk-hai Phalanx (pikes), Morannon Orcs, Isengard and Mordor Trolls, Wild Wargs, 2 x Warg Riders (with Sharku in one of the units), and 3 x War Mûmaks.

The good guys had Haldir's Elves, 2 x Oathsworn Bowmen, Oathsworn Warriors, Riders of Rohan Éoreds (2 with no heroes, and three with - Eomer, Erkenbrand and Elfhelm), and a Royal Guard Éored (with Théoden, Gamling and Déorwine).

There was a good mix of small (2 bases), standard (4 bases), large (6 bases) and very large (8 bases) units.  I essentially put out everything I managed to get based so far - which heavily favored the good side.

The game actually went very well.  I kept the table very basic. It is a melee/close combat heavy system as it should be - with a special new phase I added called the Impact Phase.  The impact phase represents the favor of charging troops into melee - with the initial impact of the charge being the damage done by say cavalry horses crashing into a unit, infantry bracing for the impact, the inertia/physical momentum of the charge.  This essentially has charging units deal hits before the actual melee is fought.

I have several notes and some clean up to do but will be posting the rules for anyone who is interested very soon (on the blog).  I'm VERY happy with the look and functionality of the clear basing here - it really makes the units blend into the tabletop.

Until then, enjoy some pictures of the game below ... first up the "fancy" camera ... then after that the phone pictures ...

Phone pictures below ...

Lots more to come on this front.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

WW2 Naval Action: Battle of the River Plate

I headed over the Roy Scaife's place on Saturday afternoon for a WW2 naval game using Roy's rules entitled Dark Seas.  Dark Seas is a hybrid between our Beat To Quarters naval rules and Victory At Sea.  Roy has a collection of 1:1200 ships that are just beautiful!

We played through the Battle of the River Plate scenario that pitches the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee against three Royal Navy cruisers, the HMS Ajax, HMS Achilles and HMS Exeter.

The great thing about naval games is the setup --- roll out the blue mats and put out the ships and you're done!

The Admiral Graf Spee makes a run for the far side of the table - can the Royal Navy ships sink her before it can escape to a neutral port?  Yes, we pulled it off - just barely!

I ran the HMS Exeter which started the closet to the Admiral Graf Spee and also was isolated from the other Royal Navy ships.  Fortunately I was playing against Roy and he has fairly terrible dice so he was unable to sink me before making the run through the other Royal Navy ships.

Pictured you can see the ship card that covers the weapon systems, special rules, speed/turning, and damage tracking - templates - and the ship itself with the wake marker that is used to set the current speed of the ship.

The other two Royal Navy ships pictured above with their ship cards and the QRS for the rules.

Below are some action shots of the battle.  All together we played through this game in ~2 hours at a leisurely pace.  Rules are streamlined and very fun. 

Just to give you an idea of the size of the ships.  Normally WW2 is played at 1:2400 - but we like larger ships.  Below you can see the USS Missouri (US Battleship) and the German Bismarck along side a regular D6.  The rules are designed to be easily played on a 6 foot by 8 foot table.

Very nice ships and the larger size adds some real visual depth to the game that is so often missing from games using 1:2400 scale ships.