Tuesday, 14 May 2013
In the name of...
It's firmly in the "warband of a dozen or so individual figures" definition of skirmish, rather than the "very small battle with a hundred or so" school that games like GASLIGHT belong to.
Mechanically it's fairly straightforward - roll D10, add modifiers, beat target number. Figures are statted for Pluck (i.e. morale), Shooting Value, Fighting Value and Speed (which is a rare bonus value, most figures are at Speed 0)
Remember my complaint about Empire Of The Dead, how it restricted you to a narrow set of army lists limited by the boxed sets that Westwind wanted to sell you? Not only does IHMN give you a broader selection of army lists with pre-generated characters, but you get the points values and formulae to assemble a completely original force from scratch.
The campaign missions in the game are split up into two aspects - Scenarios, which give objectives and deployment instructions, and Landscapes, which are basically suggested terrain types. Pairing different Scenarios with different Landscapes gives a wide variety of possible games, such as King Of The Hill in the Dockyard, or Catch The Pigeon across the rooftops. If nothing else the Landscapes descriptions provides some good ideas for terrain-building projects.
I was a little disappointed to see no activation mechanic - players alternate moving figures one at a time until all figures are moved, then repeat the process for firing and melee.
One thing that did irritate me a little - the target number to cause a hit by ranged and melee combat is based on the figure's armour, with most figures in the army lists being equipped with various breastplates and brigandines. Sorry chaps, but that really doesn't sit too well with the psuedo-19th century thing for me. Although steampunk armour isn't unknown, it's far from the norm in the way that it would be in a dark ages or medieval setting. Basing the core combat resolution around such an exception - not a great move.
All in all though not a bad set of rules, very reasonably priced and fairly open ended. I hope we get to give them a try soonish.