Kevin Smyth, Phil Bardsley, and I gave Osprey's recently-released En Garde! rules a first play on Saturday at The Panzer Depot in Kirkland, WA.
These rules are a variation on the author's earlier Ronin rules. The game engine is pretty much the same only the game is moved from feudal Japan to 16th-18th c. Europe (or places where Europeans trod in that era, for example, the Americas). Kevin and I are working on Aztecs and conquistadors for these rules, as well as for a variation of Lion Rampant. In lieu of any figures for the period, we reached back into the Bronze Age for our play test and used my 40mm Monolith Designs prehistoricalistic Europeanoids for the game.
The rules work for this era without any variation required; the technology is all there. I made up some character sheets for Bronze Age warrior types and checked to see who I could sucker in. Only Phil and Kevin were takers, so we played a 3 against 3 scenario (theoretically, that is. The game wound up as 2 against 1 with me being the 1).
|Splitting my forces, a great tactical maneuver in the Custer tradition|
|Kevin advances into the woods—against me|
|First shots of doomed men|
|Phil's band cowering behind the hedge|
The 3-2 advantage worked in my favor. I managed to put two of his warriors hors de combat before he brought the rest of his warriors, including his champion and chieftain, against me.
|Bardsley, last of his tribe, steps into the open|
I wound up with 50% of my war band killed off and had to check morale, which I passed easily. However, we called the game since it looked like certain doom for me (Kevin and Phil operating under a truce).
The game played very well. The rules are pretty simple, once you get the habit of them. We did one thing wrong. I assumed that combat results went either way. Instead, an attack that fails spectacularly is just a failed attack; the attacker suffers no adverse effect. My chieftain was lightly wounded as a result of a poor die roll against one of Kevin's schlub warriors. The result would have been grievous if not for the chieftain's armor.
In making the character sheets for the war bands, I gave the slingers a 2 shooting value because I feared that they would prove to be anemic otherwise. I got that wrong. Kevin's slingers were death-dealing sharpshooters. My bowmen, with only a 1 shooting value were outclassed.
We each had nine figures in our war bands. Handling them was no problem. We completed the game in just over an hour, though it might have gone longer if we played it out to the bitter end.
Kevin, Dave Schueler, and I are planning another En Garde! game at Meeples in West Seattle later this month. I'm hoping to have some conquistadors, Aztecs, and Tlaxcalans ready to roll by then.
Dice fetish update
We used my newly-acquired 3/4" vintage bakelite dice for the game. I got these just this last week from an Etsy shop. This purchase may just satisfy the bakelite phase of my ongoing dice fetish. I rolled consistently badly. Phil and Kevin tended to roll much better. My evaluation of the shooting may be skewed by Kevin's hot-dicing me in the missile exchange between his slingers and my bowmen.
|Looking all vintage-y|