domingo, 14 de julio de 2013

The Ruleset


Finally, I have selected the ruleset to play this project. This one is "Through the Mud and the Blood" from Too Fat Lardies. Chris Stoesen talked me about this rulebook and I think, after reading it, that can be a good choice; I need only to do some modifications to reflect this small colonial campaing in the XX Century.
 
 
"Through the Mud and the Blood" is a 60 pages ruleset aimed at the large skirmish game level based in the Great War, with thirty to a hundred figures a side. It has been written by Richard Clarke of Too Fat Lardies fame and its main area of operations is the Western Front, but it is very easy to adapt it to other theaters of the war and, also, other conflicts of that age.

The ruleset uses a 1:1 figure to man ratio, so the innovative "small unit" tactics of this conflict can be used in the game. The ground terrain scale is 12" = 40 yards, something that is both aesthetically pleasant and practical for the use of ranged weapons. Each turn can represent less than a minute of real time, so the best game can be, in my opinion, an small clash between patrols, a trench raid, etc.
The dice used are the most common of them: D6, D8, D10, Average die and Deviation die.

There are two sort of men in "TtMatB": Big Men and Men. The first ones are the heroes and leaders and the latter are the member of the Groups, units of section or squad size that shape the forces and need the Big Men to operate efficiently. Something very nice, in my opinion, is that, in this ruleset, the Player can form his men into Groups of his choosing, combining them to tailor make, as in the reality, the forces he need to win the battle.

As in many other Too Fat Lardies sets, the turn sequence in "TtMatB" is determined by a Game Deck of cards that contains cards for each Big Man and, also, other aditional cards used to reflect the forces involved in the fight. All the cards for both sides are put in the same deck and then are dealt out one at a time. In this way, having one of your cards dealt means that it is your turn, but there is a random movement mechanism that means that only the Big Man or Support Unit named on the card can take his/its turn (the Big Men can influence units to act as a part of their own activation).
These cards represent Big Men, different units, the end of turn and also national characteristics, as the "Hesitant Troops" or "Dynamic Commander" cards.

A Big Man uses his Initiative valor, from one to four points, to undertake actions such as taking his turn, activate a Group of men, remove points of Shock from a Group, etc. When a Big Man uses one point of Initiative to activate a Group, this one may use its full allocation of Action Dice to Spot, Move, Fire, etc. All Groups have two Actions Dice per turn.
About the troops, they are defined by two areas: Experience and Morale, and there are also some troops types: the Rifleman, the Bomber, etc.


These are some of my Woodbine Design figures, ANZAC´s
In "TtMatB" there are two types of movement: on Blinds, when a force is not spotted by the enemy, and on tabletop once the force has been spotted and the figures are on the table. This system of Blinds allows some "fog of war" in the game because the Blinds are 6" x 2" cards which may represent a force up to two Groups in size. The Player can also have some dummy Blinds to confuse the enemy or to represent scouting parties. With the use of these Blinds, spotting is an important element of the ruleset, but it only need a page to be clearly explained (something very common in this rulebook).

Each Group and Big Man (not Officer) may use their Actions Dice to fire and some figures from a Group can fire whilst other move. The number of dice a Group uses to fire depends on its weapons and any Shock marker it has. There are also some modifiers to the number of dice used. Finally, the dice are rolled and they are compared with the score needed to hit the objetive, Lastly, it is necessary to determine the effect of the hits, from "Near Hit" to "Killed".

In a game dedicated to the Great War in the Western Front, the rules for the off-table support are very good and complete, with the Artillery Barrage taking a pre-eminent place.

About the Moral, a unit can be in three states of it: Good, Reasonable and Poor. The accumulation of Shock points affect to the Morale of a Group, which will become shaky and incline to "refuse to fight".

There are also chapters of the rules dedicated to the Wire (of course!) and Engineering tasks; the Armored vehicles (with a good selection of them) and Aircraft. These rules are short but very well designed.
On the other hand, the ruleset has a very large supplement about the Artillery in the Great War and its representation in the game. Finally, there is also a second supplement with national guidelines for Germany, Great Britain, France and USA, very useful to create a force.

Too Fat Lardies has published, in their Specials, many interesting rule supplements, scenarios and other articles for this game system, and one of them, "Insurrection in Mesopotamia" by Max Maxwell, has become the base of my gaming project.

Summing up, "Throught the Mud and the Blood" is a very well though and designed game system for the skirmish game based in the Great War. The rules are not complex, the text is not excesive, but there is a very good level of detail all around.
 
In this blog, from my very good friend Benito, there are a lot of information, game aids and AARs about this ruleset:
 
 
I´m now writing the first scenario, based in the Gumatti affair, to use as a sort of introductory game and to test the rules.

Nota: He incluido una traducción al castellano de esta entrada en mi otro blog, "Jugando con Muñequitos".


7 comentarios:

  1. I've often wondered about these ruleset so I'll be following your progress with interest; as for the ANZACs - wow! They look tremendous.

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  2. Thank you a lot, sir. I expect to paint some more of them soon!

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  3. Great looking ANZACs. I think you will be happy with Mud & Blood. They have a supplement that covers some interwar stuff called Triumphant Standards. Covers Freikorps, Russian Revolution, Irish Civil War and Very British Civil War. It might give you some ideas. In the bi-annual supplements, they have a couple of additional scenarios including a few from Alan featuring the Mad Baron and Max's Insurrection in Mesopotamia. Good stuff.

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  4. Hiya. Seems an interesting ruleset. Your Anzac Figs look great top stuff

    Greetings
    Simon

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  5. I have the aditional scenarios of the Mad Baron and Mesopotamia and I´m working with this one to prepare my first scenario (and thinking about the Mad Baron, I have that miniature from Copplestone...).
    I like a lot that this rulebook is not complex but has a lot of detail.

    Thank you for your comments!

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  6. Would the Anzac figures work for a Waziristan scenario? Or do they need the sun helmets to be appropriate?

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    Respuestas
    1. I would use the figures with cap; I have not seen any picture with British soldiers in hat in the Frontier.

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