Played “A Gentleman’s War” at NJ Con

Eric and I headed up to NJCon for the day on Saturday.  He and I both played in a RevWar game using The British are Coming rules.  It was a fun game with an old school feel and the need to multiply two digit numbers together to reach the final percentage needed to hit.  We had a good time.

The cover of “A Gentleman’s War”

The real hit for me was playing A Gentleman’s War with Howard Whitehouse.  When these rules were announced on TMP, I immediately ordered them.  My dad has been collecting old toy soldiers as long as I can remember, and he must have 20,000 of them.  I cut my teeth on Little Wars and the illustrations of the same toy soldiers my dad collects being used in games.  Of course you wouldn’t want to fire lead projectiles at valuable antiques, so A Gentleman’s War doesn’t require spring loaded cannons.  I bought the book and read the rules, which are quite enjoyable to read, even if you never play them.  When I saw that Howard was running the game at NJ Con, I signed up to play.

Below are some picture I took.  There is something charming about gaming with old toy soldiers.  Whether it is something inherent to the large, glossy figures, or the people attracted to gaming with large, glossy figures, gamers tend to be less focused on inconsequential minutiae and more willing to just play the game.  The rules are easily grasped after a couple of turns.  They could benefit from a PDF chart card that could fit on a single pice of paper, but in general, these are really, really fun rules, and we had a great game.

My gallant French colonial troops moving forward to flank the town.

I really like the activation mechanism, but there seems to be a fatal flow when a force has been heavily attritted.  A player activates units based on a card draws.  You can see the blue and red markers, indicating that those units have activated.  A unit may not activate again, until all of a player’s units have activated once.  (There is an exception to this, but let’s go with this for purposes of the blog entry.)  Once all a player’s units have activated, all markers are removed, but the turn isn’t over, so units may activate many times during a turn.  The problem is that if a player is down to just one or two units, he may activate that small set of units, clear markers, and activate them again, while the other player must cycle through all his units.  There must be a way to solve this.  I would like to borrow this mechanism for a set of rules I am writing for a secret project for a miniature manufacturer.

The British beat me to the town, which was both our objective, and immediately captured three of the five buildings while my Frenchmen dithered.
A view of the French side of the table after the initial deployment.
A view of the British side of the table after the initial deployment. The Nordfeldt caused a lot of damage on my colonial troops until we charged it and killed the crewmen.
Another view of the table.

I highly recommend these rules.  The are an improvement on Charge!, McDuff, and other similar rules without losing that really old school feel.