Last night, five of us from our group got together to try out the new rules "Vows of Iron" by Allen Campbell. You can find the rules at his website: Vows of Iron. I had watched a video about these rules that was posted on Facebook in the Medieval Miniature Wargames group. After watching it, I was intrigued and bought them. Last night was the groups first time playing them and my first time umpiring. The rule system allows you to use any basing system you currently have, so no re-basing is necessary.
If you are not familiar with the rules they have a nice dice based system for melee, missile fire and disorders. In the picture above you can see the dice used. Each unit is rated a die based on its color. The yellow die is the lowest die and red is the highest. A yellow die has only 1 and 2's on it while the red die has 2-6 on it. The other colors fall in between those. The troops are rated a color and then that die can be modified up or down depending on the situation. The troops are grouped together into "Battles" with a leader. Each side has 3 battles: the Main, Van and Rear. There is an option to have an additional "Captain" who is attached to a unit and functions outside of the big three. There are 8 cards for activation 2 Main, 2 Van, 2 Rear and 2 Captain cards. One side is colored Red and the other Blue. You shuffle the cards and whatever you pull, like Red Van, that command then moves. All missile fire and melees are simultaneous.
The rules are geared towards the wearing down of troops and the eventual break down of the army as a whole, which is something I like and too me represents what I've read. The armies have a Break Point Value. As units are removed from play their loss goes against that point value for the army. Once it reaches zero the game is over.
The battle we played was the scenario that come with the rule book. The troops are all ready filled in on the sheet and it was pretty straight forward and seemed like a good place to start. In the above photo the troops are on the table with the red side on the left and blue on the right.
The commanders for game are as follows: for the Red team (left) Andy and Andrew. On the blue team Kevin is in the back and Jeff is closer to me.
The start of play. After spending a few minutes to go over the mechanics of the system, the commanders arranged their battles they way they wanted and we started. The red side pulled the first card and the march forward began.
The armies drew closer together and crossbow and bow fire streaked through the sky causing hits on both sides.
The blue sides mounted crossbow unit takes a hit!
Now the fun begins. The armies have closed, the Knights begin their melees, most would turn into bloody, drawn out affairs.
Hits are starting to mount on both sides.
Andy and Kevin spent much of the game seesawing back and forth with their knights locked in combat. Both of them had their commanders captured at one point and Andy's ended up being killed.
The two photos above show the main battles from both sides trading blows and infantry units being wiped out.
The blank wooden disks were a reminder to Andy that his troops now had to roll to activate since his commander had perished in battle.
The slug fest in the middle wears on.
The Red's right melees the blues mounted crossbow.
The dials next to the units show much fatigue is left on the unit before it either routs or is destroyed completely.
The mounted crossbow won against one of the two units that attacked it.
The battle ended with the blue side reaching zero on its army break points and they scattered away from the heavily wounded red army. The game moved very quickly despite it being our first time playing it and my need to look up rules. After the first few turns the commanders were pretty much running the game with me holding the rule book and answering a few questions. I did miss a few things but that is expected on a first play through. The best part of the evening was when the four of them all said they enjoyed playing the rules and want to keep playing them!!! This, for me, is excellent to get such a perfect consensus on a set of rules.
I will run another game next month.