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Song of Drums and Shakos
by Christos S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/29/2013 08:43:14
I never thought I would play a Napoleonic period wargame until Song of Drums and Shakos! Amazing skirmish game. Full of variaty of troops, very fun to play, strategic and most important not expensive! I suggest it to everybody who likes wargames. Not only the Napoleonic period. You will not get dissapointed. Try it!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Song of Drums and Shakos
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BattleSworn - Bid for Victory!
by Russell C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/12/2013 07:53:09
I knew nothing of Battlesworn until I saw it on the Wargames vault Top Ten. It immediately caught my eye because a) it was by Ganesha Games (and was designed by the same chap who wrote Song of Blades and Heroes) and b) the look and clean visual style of the actual document really jumped out at me. I picked up copy then and there and I’m really glad I did because this looks like it could be a great little game.

Like SOBH it is a fantasy skirmish game designed for about a dozen figure and quick play. In all other respects it owes nothing to the Song of Blades rules and there are a number of aspects that set it apart from other systems I have seen.

First the game uses a bidding system for initiative and combat. At the start of each turn, players bid for 'initiative' by secretly selecting a number between 1 and 6. The player who bids lowest has the initiative and can activate their forces, but the number of figures that can be activated is equal to their actual bid. The player who lost the bid may also activate figures, but they may only react to what the initiative player’s forces do and are similarly restricted in how many reactions they can take based on what they bid for initiative.

Melee combat also uses a bidding system, again by secretly selecting in a number between 1 and 6. The player that bid the lowest attacks first (combat is not simultaneous) but the number of dice they roll for their attack is equal to what they bid. If their opponent survives they may now attack with as many dice as they bid.

This bidding system looks like it could be a lot of fun as you try to out think (or out guess) your opponent and provides a nice risk versus reward style of play. The nature of the rules also keeps players fully engaged throughout the game with little or no ‘down time’. It also looks like it will play very fast.

Another feature that looks interesting is there are no set movement distances for figures; they can all move any distance the player wishes, but may only move in a straight line and must stop moving when they encounter either another figure, or a piece of terrain. Because of this the game recommends that there should be plenty of terrain on the table to prevent combatants from zooming across the battlefield willy-nilly and also creates ‘hotspots’ of action. This slightly abstract movement system means that in theory you can play on any size (or shape) of table with any scale of figure.

In addition there are no ‘stat lines’ for figures; each combatant simply has a Class (or multiple classes) that slightly alter the way they interact with the rules. This gives each figure a unique feel and role within the combat and by combining different classes you can actually get a lot of variety for your forces. The rules for the different classes are quite subtle and not too game breaking (for instance the Shooter class allows a figure to make a ranged attack at the nearest enemy in LOS, whereas the Sniper class may make ranged attacks against any target within LOS – near or far).

There’s more to the game of course (rules for magic, campaign play as well as advice on adapting the system to other genres including SF and historical play are provided). The rules themselves are not overly long or complicated and look like they will give a very interesting and tactical game. As for the rulebook itself, it is very nice; simply but attractively laid out with many colour illustrations that have a stylised ‘cut-out’ look. The pdf also looks great when printed out in booklet form.

In conclusion if any of the above intrigues or interests you, I heartily recommend you pick up a copy. Although some of the mechanics are slightly more abstract than normal for a table-top wargame, it still seems to feel like an actual miniatures wargame (rather than say a boardgame). I’ve yet to play a game myself so can’t really say for sure, but having read the rulebook a couple of times now, I certainly want to give this system a try because it looks like a heck of a lot of fun.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BattleSworn - Bid for Victory!
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BattleSworn - Bid for Victory!
by Pete M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/20/2013 00:06:10
Saw this advertised on a miniatures related page I frequent. I though, interesting art work but will it get old figures back onto the table? I dare say absolutely!

The rules portion of the book is less than 20 pages long. You will be up and playing in an hour. The games take all of 1 hour to play. You can run several scenarios in one night with this. The rules are designed for you to apply 1 or more generic classes to your figures. The army building rules are pretty easy and fair looking. Within limits you should be able to reason from effect and pick the right classes to create just about anything. The fast and very interactive play mechanics will keep everyone involved. I can see this working pretty well with multiple players either on teams or in a three way game. Hard to say for sure without trying it. However I can say that from what I read, a duel between warbands with two players should be a real blast.

The game relies upon a table set up with from 6 to 10 terrain pieces. These are needed because the action flows around them. There aren't rulers or measuring sticks in this game. A character moves to any point in line of sight. Its not crazy if you play a lot of chess. :-)

The bidding system is used through out and seems to be pretty cool. I think it's a great mechanic the way it is laid out and I can't wait to get a game in.

Overall this game was a great spot purchase, unseen. I think it will definitely help get a few figures out of the basement and onto the table that haven't seen the light of day in a decade. I'm really excited by the idea of using this game to play out a fantasy skirmish campaign. It's been ages since I've had that opportunity.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Song of Blades and Heroes
by Tiago H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/16/2013 13:50:22
This game is one of my favorites, perfect to waste an hour or an afternoon with every miniature you have!

The most remarkable feature of this game and its greatest quality is it's emerging complexity. By that I mean: The game is very simple, every unit has two stats that you use during the game, and some special rules, very easy to remember that modify the unit in some situations. With just that the game manages to be very strategic and new at each play. No two combats play the same, whenever you expect the tide of the battle may turn and you have to be prepared for that! The combat is easy to roll, fast and very engaging!

Simple rules, challenging gameplay, what's not to like?

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Song of Blades and Heroes
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Flying Lead
by Paul R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/28/2012 12:48:40
These rules are incredibly flexible and straightforward (for the most part). I prefer a little more detail, but for quick battles these rules are rock solid in my opinion and well worth the $$$ - especially for players just starting out with tabletop wargames.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Flying Lead
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Song of Blades BUNDLE
by James C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/06/2012 11:49:13
SBH and all its off shoots - Simply one of the simplest yet intuitive and fun small scale rules available. Backed up by a thriving community and unparalleled support from the author.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Song of Blades BUNDLE
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Mighty Monsters - Giant Monster Combat Rules
by Tom A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/30/2012 12:27:38
Having giant monsters battling each other is great fun. This is more complex than Song of Blade and Heroes because each monster takes multiple damage and has a large variety of moves. Each monster feels "big" and is more than an elf with more hit points. You really can re-create movie battles with these rules.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mighty Monsters - Giant Monster Combat Rules
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Song of Blades and Heroes
by Mauricio P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/10/2012 21:10:26
Great little gem! If you're a fan of small skirmish games but hate to stop the game to look rules up, this is for you!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Song of Blades and Heroes
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Tales of Blades and Heroes Fantasy RPG rules
by Alejandro A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/05/2012 07:12:19
After more more than two decades of roleplaying, I find the holy grail in the shape of TALES OF BLADES AND HEROES.

The good: Easy and fast rules but deep enough to portarit characters and their abilities, and a limitless options magic system. Beware: if you are a fan ranks, modifiers and detailed to the core mechanics, this is not for you; if you want fast and fun games or/and games in which roleplaying can prevail over mechanics, with vast freedom for character creation without class or race restrictions, this is for you.
Another remarkable aspect is the union with tactical miniature gaming; this is a perfect mix of RPG and fantasy wargaming if you want, and can be used as a wargame on it´s own (being based on Song of blades and heroes)

The bad: No setting and no profiles for monsters and antagonists; it´s not really a bad thing for experienced gamers, but a couple more pages with goons and setting ideas could help newcomers.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tales of Blades and Heroes Fantasy RPG rules
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Flying Lead
by Dan P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/08/2012 15:43:49
Simple rules for a fun game. Adds a little more complexity to the SoSH rules but not too much. Like the added vehicle rules. I see a lot of potential for this game. Even though designing ones own scenarios is fairly simple I can't wait to see what else they have in store for these rules.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Flying Lead
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Mutants and Death Ray Guns
by Dan P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/29/2012 19:56:42
First off I'd like to say that this is a fun, fast playing game. Fans of TSR's Gamma World should enjoy this. That being said, I do have a few dislikes about it.
1. No point system. Not everyone likes them, but I lke having a point system allowing me to build unique armies. Though a point cost table can be found on Ganesha's yahoo group.
2. No vehicle rules. Though there is mention of a future expansion adding these rules.
3. Using sticks for measurments. Not a big problem. I still enjhoy using a ruler and the rules do provide the actual mesurements in millimeters.

Though I rated this only at three stars, it is still worth the price and makes for some fast, exciting games.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants and Death Ray Guns
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Tales of Blades and Heroes Fantasy RPG rules
by Auston B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/23/2012 13:04:39
Keeps true to the SBH engine Quality artwork throughout the book. Mechanics make for a quick and lite role-playing session with options to increase complexity. Rewards role-play. Open ended to allow freedom of how your character develops. I have been waiting on this book for a while and was not disappointed. Thanks.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tales of Blades and Heroes Fantasy RPG rules
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Fear and Faith Horror Rules
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/08/2012 18:46:22
A great little miniature skirmish game. The rules are fast, simple and easy to learn on the fly.
Some situations tend to work better than others, such as an attacking zombie horde or a bunch of vampires in a grave yard, but all in all I like it.
I actually plan to try it out in conjunction with other Horror RPGs and see how well they mesh. They game was not designed specifically to do this, but it certainly can be easily adapted to this.
And even to make it perfect there is a list of links of where to get some quality horror minis.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fear and Faith Horror Rules
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Pride of Lions - Mass Combat Fantasy Miniatures Rules
by Shawn C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/30/2011 12:32:39
This product did not live up to my expectations based on the "Song" series of games from Ganesha. While this game has many intriguing concepts for handling combat, the rules are not very clear in some critical places, especially those concerning monsters and constructs. The army lists are also fairly rudimentary, and the unit construction system is very underdeveloped as well. Manuever is also minimized in the game as well with the establishment of linear battle lines being a primary tactic. There is also no method for determining a winner other than: "If it isn't obvious at the end of play which side has prevailed, treat it as a draw, or as something to argue about over post-game refreshments." I also remain hung up on the magic system, which interjects many of the author's personal belief system into the game, even though I might be inclined to agree with many of his thoughts in real life. The Yahoo group has also reported that a 2nd edition is being released in early 2012, and I have hopes that this will fix many of the issues stated above.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Pride of Lions - Mass Combat Fantasy Miniatures Rules
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Flying Lead
by Greg S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/13/2011 23:36:15
I've been playing Flying Lead for about 6 months now, and couldn't believe it when I saw that no-one had written a review yet. Best put that to right.

Flying Lead has become my go-to rules set for WWII and generic-ranged-combat miniatures games. I stumbled upon at a time when I was feeling burnt out by all the usual d6 based, your-turn-my-turn rules variants. I was looking for something different, and this is it.

The real beauty lies in the elegant simplicity of the unique initiative system. Rather than moving your men one after the other during your turn, then repeat for your opponent, you must "activate" each miniature individually during your turn by getting at least one success against his Quality score (usually 3 or 4) on a roll of 1-3 d6. Sounds easy enough, doesn't it? Also, the number of successes you get determines the number of actions he can take. But here's the catch - if you get two failures, the initiative passes to the other player. When the heat is on, you're stuck with the inevitable hard choice of "do I roll 1d6 to be sure that I don't lose the initiative, or do I take the risk and roll 2 or 3 so that I can do more stuff and try to turn the tide?". This initiative system is the simplest, most exciting and most engaging one I've come across - try and be too conservative, and you'll achieve nothing; be more aggressive, and you never know at what stage your plan will slip through your fingers. It really keeps you on your toes during the whole game, not just your turn.

Another facet of the rules that keeps you switched on is the way in which combats are resolved. All attacks are opposed rolls (ie you roll your attack, I roll mine, we compare results to determine the winner). So for melee, you attack me and I attack back, for ranged you shoot at me and I try to dodge - it lends a great feel of competing against the other player, rather than sitting back as he goes to town on you while you wait for your turn to reciprocate.

The rules are simple enough that they fit on a single page Quick Ref sheet and are easily absorbed after one game. The core rules are on the minimalist side and remain unobtrusive, but there are so many small options with which you can develop and personalise your warband (think Feats in 3rd Ed D&D) that you can make the game as crunchy as you like.

There are in game modifiers for all of the usual suspects - cover, armour, range - but these are consistent and easy to remember. Also represented are grenades, vehicles, leadership, group actions, overwatching, ambushes, medics - there really isn't anything that I wanted that got left out.

The book features sample warbands for historic and modern theatres, sci-fi, gangster, SWAT and pulp style action, as well as a section on building your own troop lists, scenarios and campaign play.

One caveat worth being aware of is that the rules as written call for the use of measuring sticks. This didn't really appeal to us, and we played for some time with tape measures, thinking that the sticks were a bit too simplistic or clunky. When we finally did give the sticks a go, we came to appreciate how much they facilitated quick and easy troop movements. (With even weapon ranges measured by stick, I recommend having a couple of double length ones on hand for each length - ie short, medium, long, short x2, medium x2, long x2 - with the half-way point marked out: range bands run to four or five stick lengths, and measuring this out one stick at a time tends to amplify inaccuracies). Just something to be aware of.

What didn't we like? The rules state that you can only move in a straight line; if you want to go around a corner, you need to make a second move action. This is too restrictive for my taste - we want to spend our actions doing cool stuff, not basic maneuvering - so we house ruled it (we even made some measuring sticks out of bendable pipe cleaners that you can bend to the shape of your move, lay at the foot of your mini, then just move him/her to the other end around the corner - easy!)

I've gone through over a dozen rules sets in the last eighteen months or so, and this one is the best. It is simple yet flavoursome, and quite unlike any that I've played before. Check it out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Flying Lead
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Publisher Reply:
Nice idea with the double length measure sticks and the pipe cleaners measuring sticks. I will have to try that!
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