Saturday, March 20, 2010

Rules of Engagement

While on a recent vacation to Disneyland I made a quick stop at Brookhurst Hobbies. The last couple of times I have stopped in I haven't found much to get excited about, but to be fair they have been doing lots of work and the place has been in disarray. I did not have big expectations this time but I was very surprised to find a copy of Rules of Engagement.

This is a set of World War II rules for 28mm figures. The rules are published by Great Escape Games in the UK and are a bit of a bitch to get in the US. In fact, I was not aware that Brookhurst had these rules. The only place listed on Great Escape's site where you can get the rules in the US is On Military Matters. The main reason I did not order these from OMM is they want $65 for the book and a set of templates...ouch. Brookhurst not only had the rules, they were on sale for only $35! No templates but who cares?

Now, on to the good stuff. The book is a nice hardbound edition. The rules are fairly well written but have the typical English rules style that Americans can find a bit frustrating. There is a nice table of contents as well as an extensive index.

The rules section covers everything you need to know to play the game. The rules are infantry centric and seem to be inspired by Warhammer 40K 2nd through 4th editions. There are also some influences from Flames of War. There are rules for vehicles, fortifications, and artillery support. There are nine scenarios and well as a simple ladder campaign.

After the rules section there is a brief history of World War II centered on the Western Front from the Normandy invasion to the end of the war. After this there are several Orders of Battle for creating forces for the game. These include 5 different German armies, 4 British and Canadian armies, 4 US armies, and a French Resistance army. Each of these lists includes the weapons stats and support options. In the middle of the book there is a hobby section with some painting and modeling info. At the end of the book is a quick reference chart and the templates and counters for the game.

I have read through the rules and so far it seems like it will play well. As a fan of 40K I was really looking forward to trying these rules. The plan is to get in the first game tomorrow. I have been looking for a game like this for a very long time but have failed to find anything that I liked. It has been so frustrating that I started work a few years ago on my own rules. The problem with writing your own rules is you become 'that guy.' You know, the beardy git who carries around his rules binder. I never wanted to be that guy, so hopefully, these rules will play well and I can get out of the rules design business.

More to come...


Dean Vuckovich said...

Rob, looks interesting. Have you checked out the rules yet from Crusader called "Rate of Fire"? Just curious what your thoughts were on these if you have seen them.

Robert said...

I am aware of the Crusader rules but I don't know much about them. I know it is a platoon level game similar to Rules of Engagement. It is on my list to check out. OMM stocks these and they are much cheaper than RoE.

Col. Corbane said...

Out of interest, what do you mean by style of English that Americans find frustrating?

Robert said...


What I mean is the tone is very passive and the language is at time vague. It leaves room for questions about whether the rule means what it says. Think of almost any GW game and the endless rules issues that come up. I perfer language that is clear and to the point - simple. Don't dazzle me with mastery of the language, just tell me what needs to happen.

Col. Corbane said...

Interesting, so are American written rules clearer in general than British ones?

Soz about all the questions, but I'm finding this fascinating

Robert said...


Well, that is a good question. I am trying to think of a set of American rules and I am having a tough time. Not too many of them around. The only one I can think of off the top of my head is Battleground World War II and it was clearly written. The rules were too complicated for my tastes but I had no issues understanding what was meant. Legends of the High Seas was well written but it was based on a set written in the UK so it is a bit of a hybrid. US rules have an advantage, as far as I am concerned, in that there are fewer mispelled words (unlike my posts) - not all those extra 'u's all over the place. ;-)

In the end the question of how well something is written has as much to do with the reader as it does the writer. I have a certain cultural bias and set of expectations that are different from someone in the UK so things that are perfectly understood to a UK reader may go right over my head. The same is true in reverse.

In the end I am not an English speaking person, I am an American speaking person and there is a difference.

Mike G. said...

I believe these rules are now available through US distributors so you should be able to find it and the supps as they come out.

Col. Corbane said...

Yeah, I know what you mean regarding cultural differences. Brit rule sets don't need to be as exact since as a nation, we're not as competitive as you Yanks and so the rules can be a little laxer since we're more able to sort things out between ourselves. Hope that makes sense.

.... and don't blame us because one of the founders of your nation took across a dictionary that had been typed up on a type writer with a dodgy 'u' - lol.