I bought Neil Thomas's One Hour Wargames as soon as it came out and devoured it in a single setting. Nice simple rules, easily modified. It comes with 30 scenarios, which is great value in itself and I had visions of playing the scenarios with other rules, or at least using a heavily modified version. That was September 2014 and I put them aside.
Links of use
Here are some links to reviews/replays using these rules:
Heretical Gaming blog post review
El Rincón de Slorm blog post review
KEITH'S WARGAMING BLOG blog post review
John’s Wargame Page blog post review
Wargames Illustrated review
Cambronne's Reply blog post review
SPEAR TO THE STRIFE blog post review
Yahoo groups for discussion on Neil Thomas's rules
You can buy it via Amazon, Pen and Sword, On Military Matters and likely others.
Fast forward to a few days ago (November 2014) and my eight year old daughter says "when are we going to play with your ancient figures - the ones in the drawer?" I have a set of map drawers and there is always a few ancient games set up on 2'x2' boards inside. We used to occasionally get one out and push some figures around. No rules to speak of - just line them up in pretty rows.
My daughter struggles with maths and I have been doing extra addition and subtraction (with numbers under 20) for the last couple of months, usually using online maths games, verbally or the abacus. As soon as she said ancients game I thought of Neil Thomas's rules - it has adding or subtracting 2 from a die roll (damage inflicted), and adding numbers to 15 (15 is the "hit points" of a unit). So today, we set up a table a played a game.
Plans and children do not mix, but this went brilliantly. So brilliantly and so rarely, I felt the need to write a blog post!
It was a going to be a quick game. I had some medieval figures in a box I had ready for another game that never happened. My daughter loves horses and you get a lot in the medieval part of the rules. I played with just one WRG DBx base is a unit and used a 30cmx30cm cork tile I had from years ago. Distances would be measured in cm. And we would use a roster off the board to score the hits (as part of the aim of the game to add up the hits!). I cut two pieces of timber - 6cm and 12cm - to be the movement and archery range measuring sticks. I would go for 5cm and 10cm next time and this fits in with the 30cmx30cm table. Rules are originally designed for 36"x36" with 12" long moves; this would convert on a 30cmx30cm board to 10cm long moves, not 12.
The scenario would be a simple flat table, no terrain. We rolled for the units. The rules have a simple system to roll a single d6 per side for random forces. I setup first and let my daughter set up after seeing my setup. I did not help her with her deployment but she copied mine to an extent. She has never played a game of miniatures with rules before so she does not have a grasp of tactics and occasionally I explained possible options for her to choose from.
|My daughters forces, mostly Romanian Franks|
|My forces, random medieval. Note that I only have two figures on my archer base, but this is just to easily differentiate them from the other side.|
For those that are interested, here is a summary of the medieval rules:
- Alternate turns and each player turn is move, shoot, melee. Cannot move and shoot.
- Mounted move 12, Infantry 6, archers range is 12.
- For shooting, select a target and roll 1d6+2. This is the damage inflicted on the target.
- For melee, roll 1d6 (+2 for Knights, -2 for Archers) for damage to the target.
- Men-At-Arms halve damage received due to their armour. Flanks attacks double the damage.
- A unit is eliminated when is reaches or exceeds 15 hits.
- Game ends when one side is eliminated.
|Game start - I am at the bottom, Daughter at the top.|
My daughter went first and promptly moved her Knights to within a few centimetres of mine. This meant I would charge next turn and get in damage first. But she did not care! I helped her with moving the archers (i.e. don't move them to where I can charge them).
|My daughter's first move. A normal knights tactic!|
Note: I pivoted my archers and then fired. I should not have been allowed to fire. I realised my mistake later and gave my daughter a bonus move later on.
|I charged the few centimetres in response.|
On the left, I charge my Levies into the Archers. My Levies had already taken 13 points of damage from good archery fire, so I needed to at least damage the Archers to regain some honour. On the right the archers move to get into a position to fire on my daughter's Archers.
|I moved to destroy the flanks.|
|My daughter loses two Knights, then next turn I lose one Knight and the right flank Levies.|
|My daughter is not upset by this at all! She is having too much fun!|
|Knights charge the archers (top right); Men-at-arms charge my Archers (bottom right)|
As expected, my Levies fail against my daughter's Archers on my left flank. Although she had some bad rolls, and Archers subtract two from the die roll, I was only 2 points away from elimination when I charged. I charge the Knights I forgot to move last turn into the Archers. Victory for both of us on my right flank. Her Archers gone, as are mine.
|My Levies gone and charged with the Knights, on the right we both lose an archer unit.|
|The Men-at-arms, after routing my Knights on the right, move to attack my Knights on the left.|
Her Archers were never going to last very long against my Knights. But my Knights know have a total of 14 damage form all the melees so far. And the Men-At-Arms charge in the flank for double damage. And roll a 6. My daughter is excited once again. She does not add it up: 14+12 is obviously more than 15. Her Men-At-Arms are the last unit standing. A close game. She has won!
|The last melee. It ended as bad.|
|The last unit on the table. My daughter's Men-At-Arms.|
My daughter could not resist writing out her win. And put her winning army on display around it. And forced me to take a picture.
A well deserved win to my daughter. My first game with actual rules against her.
It took about 40 minutes to play. Without much tactics - just getting in - that seemed reasonable playing time. I had fun, and there is lots of adding and a bit of subtraction, which was the aim of it after all! Having to halve some hits and double flank attacks was a bonus for the maths too.
After the game I asked her what she thought. Her answer "That was awesome!" makes me think we will be playing again!
Oh, and the rules. I like them. And without any modifications!