*
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
January 28, 2022, 09:57:18 PM

Login with username, password and session length

Donate

We Appreciate Your Support

Recent

Author Topic: Playtesters wanted for Sword & Spear Ancients & Medieval rules  (Read 4967 times)

Offline Polkovnik

  • Librarian
  • Posts: 171
I am now looking for extra playtesters for my Sword & Spear rules.
Sword & Spear is a set of wargames rules for large battles set in the Ancients & Medieval period. They are suitable for any scale figures and any basing standard. The only requirement is that figures are organised into units of equal frontage. A typical game consists of about 12 units on each side and games take around 2 – 3 hours. The rules are designed from a top-down perspective, focusing on outcomes rather than detail.
The rules feature a clever and innovative system for activating units that creates interesting and challenging decisions, keeps both players involved at all times and has a lot of depth and subtlety. Each turn is split into phases, where players each receive a number of command dice, which are rolled and then used to activate their units. The number shown on each dice determines which units it can activate (with better quality units being easier to activate), what the unit can do when activated, and the numbers also determine the activation sequence. Certain dice also give bonuses to combat, movement distance or shooting range. So there is a lot to think about, and allocating the command dice well is the key to success (although rolling lots of sixes helps as well !).
In each phase command dice are allocated, then units are activated in order. When a unit is activated it does everything – movement, shooting and melee combat. So there is no turn sequence to remember and work through. A unit cannot be activated more than once in a turn, and typically most, but not all, units can be activated in a turn (although this depends on the quality of the units involved, so a horde of poor quality troops will not have so many units activated each turn.)
Each unit has a type (for example cavalry), a discipline rating (depending on the quality of the unit) and a strength rating. The strength depends on the unit type (for example cavalry are strength 3) and determines both the number of dice rolled in combat and the number of hits required to rout the unit. Many units will also have some specific weapons or characteristics such as Bows, Armoured, Spearmen or Impact, although an average level of protection and offensive ability is assumed, so for example, a unit of cavalry may simply be: Cavalry D4 S3.
The rules are relatively straightforward, and there are no "to hit" tables, charts or lists of dice roll modifiers. They can be played using only the one sided playsheet with very little reference to the rulebook after the first couple of games. In fact we find we hardly ever even refer to the playsheet now.
Missile shooting and melee combat use the same mechanics, with both units (all combat is one unit vs one unit) rolling a number of dice, lining the dice up highest to lowest and comparing. Each lost dice roll may result in a hit, which represents a combination of actual casualties, cohesion and morale loss. Hits can be rallied, but when the number of hits equals the strength of a unit it is removed as routed.
The number of dice rolled by each in combat is equal to the strength of the unit, and may be modified upwards if the unit has impetus, and also according to a very short list of situations which give a unit extra combat dice (for example being uphill or having extra friendly units in contact with the enemy).
There is not as much rock-paper-scissors in these rules as in many other ancients / medieval games, but it does appear in the mechanic for impetus. If a unit involved in a combat has a command dice allocated to it this phase, it may have impetus in the combat and will gain one (or sometimes more) extra dice. There is a list of situations where the unit does not get impetus (for example cavalry vs elephants, mounted vs spears). This creates differences in the way certain troop types interact together, and gives them strengths and weaknesses other than their two basic stats. This is probably the most difficult part of the rules to remember, but all of the situations should be intuitive to experienced ancients & medieval gamers.
Each army has a number of leaders, which are important as units do not perform as well if they are out of command range and perform better with a general attached.
We have played numerous playtest games, covering some of the classical historic match-ups (such as Rome vs Carthage, Indians vs Persians, Persians vs Saka, Medieval English vs Irish & Welsh, Normans vs Anglo-Danish). The playtest games have all gone very well, and we are finding that the rules work well, with very little tweaking needed after each playtest game.
The rules are very much suited to multiplayer games. Many of our playtest games have involved two players on each side, with each player having a command of around 7 – 10 units.
The strengths of the game are that it gives an exciting, interesting and challenging experience, plays relatively quickly for the size of battle that is being depicted, and the rules are straightforward to learn, whilst having the depth to retain interest after repeated play.

To find out how to get hold of the rules and get involved in playtesting see my website :
http://polkovnik.moonfruit.com/sword-spear/4583102656

There is a forum to discuss these and my other sets of rules here :
http://polkovnikproductions.freeforums.org/index.php

Photo from a recent game :


For the full AAR see http://polkovnikproductions.freeforums.org/aar-romans-vs-seleucids-t15.html

« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 11:15:32 PM by Polkovnik »

Offline Polkovnik

  • Librarian
  • Posts: 171
Re: Playtesters wanted for Sword & Spear Ancients & Medieval rules
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2014, 11:14:28 PM »
Here are some comments about the rules from the playtesters :

The rules are …"very uncluttered"…" nice, simple mechanics and play mechanisms. I think they're well worth a try."

"What I particularly liked was that it used a deceptively simple mechanic for both of breaking from the tyranny of IGOUGO and giving the feel that one was dealing with the real problem of pre-radio battle"

"having now played them, I can honestly say that I enjoyed the experience"…"much more than I normally do when faced with a new ruleset"

"For me, the game gave what I thought was a very realistic feel for a Dark Age (or probably an Ancients) battle. It made more sense of things like battle duration and move distances than any other set that I've played with. It seemed to focus on transmission of the Players' wishes to their troops, their receipt and how promptly and enthusiastically they were acted upon. "

"I particularly liked that movement measurement has been made so very simple"

"What I've found most interesting is that the right decision and the interactions are not obvious."

"Certainly the dice gods play their part"…"but ultimately the player's decision is, nine times out of ten, the critical factor. That I like."

Offline WuZhuiQiu

  • Mastermind
  • Posts: 1143
Re: Playtesters wanted for Sword & Spear Ancients & Medieval rules
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2014, 09:30:08 PM »
For your information, there used to be a Sword & Spear ancient skirmish ruleset, which was published by Milgamex in the USA in the late 1970s. That was long ago, so there should not be much risk of confusion, yet I wonder if there might be some legal constraint about titles, assuming that somebody would still hold copyright to the older ruleset?

Offline Polkovnik

  • Librarian
  • Posts: 171
Re: Playtesters wanted for Sword & Spear Ancients & Medieval rules
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2014, 10:21:09 PM »
Thanks for the info. I googled the name before settling on it and nothing came up so I assumed it was safe to use. I'll stick with it unless someone who holds copyright to the name contacts me and has a problem with it.


Offline Elbows

  • Galactic Brain
  • Posts: 8792
Re: Playtesters wanted for Sword & Spear Ancients & Medieval rules
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2014, 08:39:48 AM »
So...Spear and Sword then?  lol



2022 Painted Miniatures: 12
(2021: 148, 2020: 207, 2019: 123, 2018: 98, 2017: 226, 2016: 233, 2015: 32, 2014: 116)

https://myminiaturemischief.blogspot.com/

Offline Polkovnik

  • Librarian
  • Posts: 171
Re: Playtesters wanted for Sword & Spear Ancients & Medieval rules
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2014, 03:21:13 PM »
As these are now nearing completion, here's a preview of the cover and a couple of pages from the rulebook for my Sword and Spear ancient & medieval wargames rules.

http://polkovnik.moonfruit.com/playtest/4583356843

Offline BjörnF

  • Librarian
  • Posts: 112
Re: Playtesters wanted for Sword & Spear Ancients & Medieval rules
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2014, 09:48:14 PM »
I didn't see your original post when you needed playtesters, I suppose it is now to late?
It look interesting and I look forward to try it when it is finished.
Making Makedonian dart-slingers: http://kestros.blogspot.com/

Offline Elbows

  • Galactic Brain
  • Posts: 8792
Re: Playtesters wanted for Sword & Spear Ancients & Medieval rules
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2014, 11:02:34 PM »
Looks like a nice preview, other than the use of the always-horrible Algerian font.  lol

Offline Polkovnik

  • Librarian
  • Posts: 171
Re: Playtesters wanted for Sword & Spear Ancients & Medieval rules
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2014, 10:26:23 PM »
I didn't see your original post when you needed playtesters, I suppose it is now to late?
It look interesting and I look forward to try it when it is finished.

Hi Bjorn

The rules are very nearly complete – I just ordered a sample copy from Lulu today. They should be available to purchase in the next couple of weeks, for £6 GBP for the pdf or about £14 GBP for POD from Lulu. You can pre-order the pdf on my website and if you do that I can send you the last playtest version, which was complete apart from photos and appendicies, so you can start with them immediately. I would then send you the proper final version when it's released.

Online Mindenbrush

  • Supporting Adventurer
  • Mastermind
  • *
  • Posts: 1150
Re: Playtesters wanted for Sword & Spear Ancients & Medieval rules
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2014, 01:14:08 AM »
I didn't see your original post when you needed playtesters, I suppose it is now to late?
It look interesting and I look forward to try it when it is finished.

Same late appearance as Bjorn and I doubt we gamers here in Montreal and Ottawa would be able to get togther before August due to vacation time in Canada.
But if you need a set of players taht will find any loop holes it will be us :-)
Previous playtesting on Brother Against Brother, Age of Reason 2nd Edition, Age of Napoleo, Age of Eagles, Age of Discovery to name a few.

Cheers,
Graham W
Wargamers do it on a table.
YNWA - It is not a badge, it is a family crest

Offline Polkovnik

  • Librarian
  • Posts: 171
Re: Playtesters wanted for Sword & Spear Ancients & Medieval rules
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2014, 05:04:28 PM »
Looks like a nice preview, other than the use of the always-horrible Algerian font.  lol

Thanks. I've put together an alternative cover, with a different font, and put it on the same webpage. I think I prefer the new version.

Offline Polkovnik

  • Librarian
  • Posts: 171
Re: Playtesters wanted for Sword & Spear Ancients & Medieval rules
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2014, 09:54:53 PM »
These rules are now complete and available to purchase as a 40 page pdf for £6 from http://polkovnik.moonfruit.com/shop/


Offline Elbows

  • Galactic Brain
  • Posts: 8792
Re: Playtesters wanted for Sword & Spear Ancients & Medieval rules
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2014, 12:11:55 AM »
Much better font choice...definitely prefer that one!  :)

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
0 Replies
668 Views
Last post June 01, 2013, 08:39:37 AM
by Anatoli
2 Replies
1622 Views
Last post June 25, 2014, 09:53:50 PM
by Polkovnik
0 Replies
1553 Views
Last post September 26, 2014, 06:13:13 PM
by Polkovnik
2 Replies
633 Views
Last post July 14, 2020, 04:15:59 PM
by Norm
34 Replies
2018 Views
Last post November 18, 2021, 05:55:55 AM
by Atheling