Although odd, once you get used to it the
system works well and smoothly. Regiments can adopt offensive or
defensive postures which affects the chances to kill each other on a
simple d20 hit test. A hit is followed by another d20 pierce test so
combat is resolved quickly and effectively, no cross checking of tables
The unit officer and musician/standard
bearer are more than just a Warhammer style combat bonus command group.
Not only can't your unit form any kind of formation without leadership,
a regiment cut off without leadership is liable to retreat from the
field of battle. Some troop specific formations, e.g the human cavalry
wedge, require a standard and/or a musician, the standard bearer to
provide a point to form up on and the musician to provide the beat to
As well as forming units purely of missile armed
troops, normal units can have skirmishers attached who can be deployed
to harrass the enemy but are vulnerable if attacked, and infantry can
even build bridges in the midst of battle. The Siege and terrain rules
are simple and useable and there are no seriously complex bits to this
Troops are bought by points value, called coins for
the purposes of the game. There are economies of scale here so if you
buy a lot of the same troop type you gets a discount. There are not
that many types of individual heroes and creatures. Beserkers are
mercenaries who have special abilties and can act as bodyguards for
characters, e.g. Also Mercenary are Dragons and trolls, though trolls
onlly fight for Orc armies. These two monsters can take multiple wounds
and have scary attacks to make any regiment think twice about getting
into combat with them. Orcs can also buy chieftains and of course each
side has magicians, shamans of one of three kinds of totems for orcs,
necromancers for the undead and five types of wizard for the humans.
cost mana which wizards get so much of a turn and necromancers get for
being part of a unit that wipes out an enemy unit. Economies of scale
work here as 5 wizards, one from each school, can create a Ring of Rule
and 5 Necromancers can form a Ring of Death.
A mage can
cast any spell from his school that he has the mana to cast but the
cost of most spells is more than most mages have available so mages
will have to save mana from turn to turn though Rings of Death/Rule
pool mana and can receive aid from single mages. Too much mana can be
worse than not enough as mana buildup can cause the death of the mage.
Orc magic is even more prone to mishap!
The book is well
presented, with nice artwork, though some of it reused from the figure
box art, and clear easy to read text. The language is reasonably
idiomatic English. There are a couple places where I was a bit unsure
of a rule and in some places there are three terms used for the same
thing (An attacker has Might which is subtracted from a defender's
defence when determining if a hit has wounded them but that is also
known as Power in places in the rules) and I admit to having checked
the Age of Battles rules to confirm my interpretation. However the
contents page is limited to the basic chapter headings and as there is
no index so you do have to hunt down specific rules by flipping pages
until you get there.
The only problem with the Troop Lists
is that they are not included with the rules. You get them included
with the boxed sets of figures, though 1st edition Troop Lists aren't
compatible with this edition, or you could have downloaded them from
the Ring of Rule site, if you read Russian, when the site was up. I may
have my translations someplace. If I can find them then I will make
them available for download from here.
Overall I like this
set of rules, despite being asked, by one Russian, why I would play
these when I have access to "Warhammer". Simple yet flexible and with
the possibility of larger battles having a different feel to smaller
ones. However they missed their chance and didn't marklet it
effectively. It wasn't the Warhammer clone it superficially appeared
and potentially had appeal to older gamers. If you can pick up a copy
cheap, well work it. The figures are a nightmare to put together though.