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Ring of Rule 2nd Edition
Published by Zvezda in 2004
160 Pages, Cost £17.50

review by Colin D. Speirs

Although now out of print, even the website has gone, this can still be found lurking around model shops. Boxes from Russian manufacturer Zvezda of 28mm fantasy figures (Cursed Legion [Undead Romans], Royal Infantry/Cavalry [War of the Roses appearing Humans] or the humongous Orcs).The logo at the top proclaims them to something to do with a "Ring of Rule" and inside the box, as well as the extremely multi-part figures, you get a troop list for use with the game however the second edition rules came oput somewhat after the figuires were being sold.

An expanded version of Zvezda's "Age of Battles" system, this book provides rules for controlling troops, moving them about the battlefild in different terrain, how combat, magic, monsters and even rules for sieges and flying creatures.

The commander of a "Ring of Rule" army controls multi-figure regiments with a minimum of 3 figures and no maximum. A regiment's soldiers do not all have to be armed alike or be of the same quality, though the troop lists give special abilities and formations for regiments that meet certain criteria, e.g. two ranks of spear or halberd armed human infantry get first strike against charging cavalry if they have the Strike of Scorpio ability or the undead Legionaries get the formidable and flexible Legion formation if they assemble 8 full cohorts.

After setting up, and the rules recommmend hidden deployment, the game proceeds by each side performing its actions at each stage of the turn (magic, move and combat, melée first then missile).

Although there are a few things to keep track of during the game, current morale and tactics, they are not that difficult to keep on top of as each regiment has a laminate covered card that you can mark current modifers on with a felt pen. Again you only get these with the boxed sets but you can download them from the Ring of Rule website, print and laminate them yourself. There is no explicit key for the icons so while you can decode most of them from the rules a simple key would have been nice and smaller graphics and more space to write the numbers and make the marks would also have been preferred.


As it should be in a wargame, morale and leadership are essential for controlling your forces and winning battles. Morale changes for a unit as it wins, or loses fights, and as combat is decided by a calculation based on current morale minus the casualties just suffered anything you can do to keep morale up is important. There are situational modifiers like "do you have your flank covered" or "are you in multiple ranks" or "have you been attacked in the rear", all of these being noted on the regiment card as well as your current tactics.


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 is involved..

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 move 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 game.

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.

Spells 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.