Saturday, 20 February 2010

Polemos - Napoleonics

A quick note on Polemos while I think about it. Not really a review, just some thoughts.

First thought. I think the approach of the rule mechanics. So much so that I thinking (somewhat idly) about another period from Baccus. The Seven Year War is looking interesting as is the War of the Spanish Succession.

Second thought. 6mm figures are a lot to paint. I made a mistake in buying sooooo many infantry in one go. Now after painting a large Russian army for Flames of War I though I had my production line techniques sorted, but these little guys really tested it. I am trying to figure out how many I painted but it must be in the order of 800 infantry alone!

To be fair it is more of a colouring-in exercise than truly painting (though there are some 6mm artists out there), but still.

The figures are actually quite cheap. It is just the investment in time.

By the way - 6mm figures on the Polemos 60x30mm bases look fantastic. No doubt. Pictures to come.

Third thought. The rules are really pretty simple. They play well and are, all-in-all, easy to learn. There are ambiguities - as expected - but so far common sense has generally cut through the problem and we have moved on.

I have now played two real games and I am still on the learning curve - and I can feel that curve flattening off already. Really nice work - considering my new found requirements for simple, playable and good games that can be retained between monthly games..

Recommended. Check them out at Baccus miniatures.

Thought of the Day

I was reading the latest White Dwarf today and made an interesting observation. Don't worry, I have not turned back to the Dark Side.

I was reading a battle report for some Warhammer Fantasy Battles game and realised that they pretty much just crashed into each other after an initial setup phase. Now while this might be typical for Warhammer Fantasy (it was pretty much tactica de jour in 40k) it struck me as odd. Why? I have started playing 6mm grand tactical or strategy games. At this scale - on the same sized table - manoeuvre is necessary, but also an important part of the battle. This sort of manoeuvring is what really tips the advantage. The combat plays out in a pretty straightforward fashion. After all - how detailed can you get when one base represents an infantry battalion?

This follows on from a related discussion on the 6mm Yahoo group about initiative mechanics in rules, and the relevance of these rules to reality. There were various positions being taken, but the thing I took away was that historically position (and the prior manoeuvring) often gave the initiative.

So we come back to the Warhammer Fantasy battle report and by association 40k. I now understand something that has been bothering me about the Games Workshop rules. The bulk of the "manoeuvring" is represented by the initial placement and so represents two forces that have just made contact. Not necessarily contact with sharp and pointy things, but enough contact to draw up battle lines. Any remaining manoeuvring is cramped and somewhat incidental I think. I may be underselling the GW stuff a little here, but it does seems a little contrived now. As a result games are decided by the will of dice - not particularly tactical or strategic, other than a rock/paper/scissors style stacking of odds.

The realisation for me - was that I appreciate the opportunity to manoeuvre prior to contact. Whereas Warhammer Fantasy & 40k put you in the position of T-1 turn before first fighting, a ruleset like Polemos can give you 5 or 10 or more turns before contact. Plenty of time to consolidate position or drive some advantage. Now I appreciate this may prolong a game, but to me it seems preferable to grunt-rushing the enemy.

I like it. :)

[[includes some minor edits for readability]]