Friday, June 21, 2024

Henry Hyde Limited: Shot, Steel & Stone: The Bare Essentials - Wargame Rules

Henry Hyde Limited: hot, Steel & Stone is an easy-to-learn set of horse and musket era rules that first appeared in the author's best-selling book The Wargaming Compendium (Pen & Sword, 2013). They are suitable for playing battlegames set in the era from approximately 1685 (when bayonets became common) through to about 1850, when rifled muskets started to dominate the battlefield. Expansions to the rules are planned to cover the earlier, late Renaissance era, as well as later conflicts both in Europe and the Americas up to the 1870s.

This version of the rules has been fully updated and expanded with the collaboration of many wargamers over the course of ten years. It has been playtested in games both small and large, including huge, multi-player games in which armies numbering thousands of miniatures per side have clashed in 18th century pitched battles set in the author's Wars of the Faltenian Succession imagi-nations campaigns.

The rules are scale-agnostic, and there is no need to re-base your miniatures as long as your basing is consistent. The size of your miniatures doesn't matter either, and games have been played successfully with figures ranging from 6mm up to 30mm. It is possible to adapt to very small table sizes, or increase the number of miniatures per base for a strikingly realistic look and feel to your games.

The system is IGO-UGO, with variation to enable the non-active player to react to enemy action, and there is no need to write orders. It's entirely up to you whether you decide to remove casualties inflicted or record them using small dice, dials or other markers—even the old-fashioned method of writing them down!

A key aspect of the rules is the command and control system, which places real emphasis on the abilities of local commanders on the spot controlling individual brigades. Players must think carefully before stepping in with their commander-in-chief, lest he blunder in his attempt to take over and cause problems for the entire army.

The combat systems are fun and involve plenty of dice-rolling to deliver crashing volleys or devastating charges. One innovation in the rules is to recognise the importance of being able to strike first in melee, such as when pikemen or lancers attack units who have shorter weapons.

This edition also includes a section of more quirky and interesting rules to cover colonial warfare, including some requested by players participating in the campaigns taking place in the author's imaginary settings of Byzarbia and Dahlia-Chindrastan. Fear not, they work just as well in real colonial campaigns, such as in Egypt or India!

Games of around a dozen units per side can easily be played in an afternoon or evening, and even much larger battles rattle along at a good pace. Of course, your wargames can be played in a more leisurely fashion if so desired, with plenty of opportunities for chat as games unfold in a 'narrative' way, with the fate of favourite regiments and brigades hanging in the balance!

This version of the rules has been deliberately stripped back in what some might even consider to be an old-fashioned way, to provide the bare essentials of the rules with a simple, black-and-white presentation, in order to keep costs—and therefore the cover price—to a minimum. By doing so, the author hopes to enable as many people as possible to give the ruleset a try.

However, those who like the 'eye candy' aspect of wargaming will not be disappointed, because a full-colour, hardback 'Deluxe' edition with additional material is planned. The rulebook contains links to downloadable PDF playsheets that you can print out at home or keep on a hand-held device, as well as additional material for inspiration. Finally, the rules may look and play in a simple way, but they are based on the author's 50+ years experience as a wargamer with a passion for military history, and game results are always historically plausible.

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