While I was searching a way through of 18th Century Imagi-Nation figures and accidentally pottering about what’s inside the basement where my player-icons are stored, I decided to wait for the operators to start their job down here. I switched in to few boxes of Caesar 1/72 magic figures I got recently and it got my creative juices on top. Now I already have a powerful pair of Hostile Realms rules (which act on the Piquet area), as well as Dux Britanniarum (by Too Fat Lardies which feature historical Dark Age wargaming). I also own Theater of War (campaign rules also by Piquet), and Rally Round the King (by Two Hour Wargames.
Yes, I know, I am a rules magpie.
Now I love the campaign system in Dux Britanniarum. I think they are simple, flow well and creative great narratives. I like the solo playability of Hostile Realms, and I like Rally Round the King for the same reason.
While my brian was trying to create a Frankenstein hybrid of these rules systems, I remembered that Mike Sagliano had sent me a copy of his Rally Round The King Campaign Rules. This meaty pdf weighs in a 90 pages, and is a treasure trove of cool ideas.
So I dragged my 7-year old home from the playground (I had been sat there for four hours) and booted up my PC, hoping that one pdf would be the electrical spark that animated my hybrid rules golem.
Image courtesy of: http://cheapfantasyminis.blogspot.com/2013/03/where-to-buy-cheap-minis.html – check out his awesome guide to 1/72 fantasy minis!
What’s in the book?
Quite a lot – but no table of contents. And no index. Which makes finding stuff a bit tricky.
However, if you wanted a guide on how to create a couple of fantasy nations for wargaming, this is a book you want.
Trade routes, walled cities, forts, diplomacy, ports, paved roads and their effect on nations are all covered here. There is a great set of tables for creating leaders of the different nations and will really help drive a story forward.
There is also rules for solo play which – for me at least – was super useful. Solo and multi-player rules are clearly marked in coloured text which I thought was a great way of doing stuff.
The way provinces are built, and they various resources they can generate also offer some really nice ideas for wargamers. It gives a really nice feel to the campaign at the expense of a little bookkeeping.
How does it work?
The campaign system obviously uses systems that are familiar to Rally Round the King Players, but they are very easily converted to other systems. There are a lot of modifiers and stuff to take in to account, but you can pick and choose according to your taste. The work does clearly show that Mike has put a huge amount of thought in to the work.
The section on diplomacy for example takes in to account a nation’s motivation (expansion, looting, commerce, etc.), as well as existing diplomatic relations, bribes, marriages and a host of other stuff. The result is that the results you get do have a realistic feel to them.
The same with the rules for going to war. They provide plausible rationales as to why nations go to war, which is great for solo gamers. It also give rules to allow nations to “buy off” aggressors with bribes. All of which is very good.
You’ll also find rules for quick sea-borne action resolution, as well as a fast way to resolve combats (so in a solo campaign with multiple nations you won’t have to play dozens of table top games).
The sections on resources and skilled labourers seemed a little complicated to me. It probably plays out fine, but was a bit too granular for me. Similarly, the sheer number and type of buildings you can construct had my head spinning. However, if you are a fun of “build and conquer” computer games, this will certainly tickle your fancy.
Located at the end of the rulebook is a series of scenarios that offer you the chance to get to grips with all the different rules in a step-by-step fashion. These are a great idea and a welcome addition.
Will I use it?
I will certainly use parts of it, although I don’t think I would use all of it. I do like the simplicity that Too Fat Lardies can bring, and I also want to run campaigns on a smaller scale. For thos elooking for epic, sweeping campaigns, or wanting a lot of detail and re-playability from random events – then this book is a must have!