Yesterday´s post was about some favourite miniature rule sets, but later that night I also had a discussion about rule sets at the birthday of Michel with Hans and Ed.
Hans is working on a fantasy rule set (For Reign or Ruin, see him testing it here) and very interested in what happens before the battle and how that affects the battle. Delays in the arrival of troops or in their deployment would offer their enemies opportunities for pre-emptive attacks or send an battle plan into disarray. Pre-battle speeches could lift the hearts of the troops.
Ed is thinking not so much of a rule set, but more a scenario generator because he feels that in many rule sets there is no context to the battle and organising and above all keeping campaigns going is hard work.
|Maurice, by Sam Mustafa|
Another example of a new direction in wargaming is Dux Britanniarum, another Too Fat Lardies set about the struggle between Arthurian British and Anglo-Saxon invaders. The rules focus on the main characters in the war band as it raids or defends the frontier over several years. With rudimentary character generation like in an RPG and with opportunities to rise through the hierarchy and expand your force, the simple campaign rules offer a structure to each battle.
|Dux Britanniarum by Too Fat Lardies|
What I like about the rules is that they are aimed on a small period of time (you know, just a century or two) and move away from the generic setting so common in ancient and medieval wargaming (why is there no rule set just for the Pelopponesian War?). The other side of the coin is that it offers only a relatively small sales volume at reasonably low costs for the designer.
I think there are opportunities for new products by combining card decks a la Maurice with limited ancients/medieval settings like Dux Britanniarum. The card sets build a mini campaign or act as a scenario builder, compatible with whatever rules people use to fight their battles. You could link it to new miniatures ranges, but I think there are also advantages in offering players new ways to use armies that they already have.
The upside is that creating a deck is not expensive. You can sell the decks themselves or offer them via print on demand services. It requires some research to include the kind of events and characters and the dynamics of a particular conflict or campaign. There are a lot of ancient and medieval wars and campaigns so this adds up.
A possible solution to that challenge is to provide a much larger set of cards that players can use to build decks for particular campaigns or wars themselves. It is a good way to engage players with the product. If you allow them to publish their decks on a forum it will build a community or when they publish in magazines they advertise for you.
What do you think? Is this something you are looking for? Do you think it is viable?