Thursday, 11 August 2011
Mr Grumpy's Got His Hat On
They’ll no doubt be an update on the game in due course. It’s been a while since we’ve dabbled with Black Powder so I had a quick re-read of the rules. I’d forgotten how badly written and laid out the book is. The actual rules themselves are simple and effective (so, make it clear right now I LIKE THE MECHANISMS) but they are really poorly laid out, with key information scattered around seemingly at random. There’s a contents list, but no index so there’s lots of page flicking backward
and forwards to find what you want. A quick refresh isn’t exactly quick to do, and the speed with which quick reference sheets popped up on the Black Powder fanboy group would indicate that the QRF in the back of the book isn’t up to snuff. (BTW It was pointed out to a friend of mine by one of the authors that the rules weren’t written for people like me. Whatever that means. People who like to play wargames and paint their own toy soldiers, I’d guess.)
In fairness to the fanboys there’s been some really good discussion on the WSS seeing as the rules, whilst claiming to cover them, actually don’t. So I’ve got some useful ideas from there. (The “It doesn’t cover WSS” issue still rankles me a lot, - I really do feel I was sold a set of rules under false pretences, - it says WSS in the introduction, it has a section of “history” in the back, and the people demo’ing the game said it did. It’s a big, poorly laid out book. How are you supposed to know the rules don’t work properly for WSS?*)
So we have the opportunity for Warlord Games to sell us some supplements to fill in the gaps. The first one of these is now available for pre-order on the website. Note that this means that the rules that should have been in the first book are not available as a free down load. You have to pay to get what you’ve already bought. The author says that the book has rule modifications, lots of background on the various conflicts and the write up of quite a few refights. All perfectly interesting stuff, but as I already understand the period and have a shelf full of books I don’t need a potted history (although I accept a lot of people do want this, so okay for them). All I want is the rules I’ve already paid for.
You can hop over to the Warlord games website and get more details on the offering. There’s a long essay by the book’s author explaining what he’s tried to achieve, which all sounds really worthy. They’re called “Last Argument of Kings”, which is a fine name, and number 100ish pages in full colour. With a softcover (not “Paperback” you note) they retail for £18.
Although you do get a free figure if you pre-order. Which is nice.
I may just try to pick up the gist of the changes from the fanboy group and flicking through the rules at a show and then write my own changes.
* It has pointed out to me that I can make my own changes. As regular readers will know I don’t have a problem with writing my own rules or adapting rules for other purposes. The point is that I bought a set of rules that purported to cover the period but didn’t. if they hadn’t I would not have bought them. Ironically I might have bought them even if I’d known they didn’t do WSS with the intention of adapting them, but that would have been my choice.