Saturday, November 24, 2012

Alternative Systems: Hostile Realms (Piquet)

I wanted to do a review of this system for a while.  Hostile Realms is a fantasy version of the regular game made by the company called Piquet.  Their website is here for anyone who wants to see it for themselves.  This is a game that uses a card based system to determine the flow of the game, in that a deck of cards is used to determine who and what is eligible to go for that turn.  For anyone who has played BattleMasters, I think that you get the gist as to how it works.  Also there is a system of pips as well to control the times.  I would imagine that you roll dice to determine how much of a different unit is allowed to function.  I have not looked at the cards, nor at the book as a whole to make a better description. 

It does sound like an interesting game and it does remind me a lot of BattleMasters from 20 years ago.  However, my experience over the last 20 years since playing BattleMaster has altered my view of war gaming in general.  I have a problem when it comes to a deck of turn card are being used in a war game. 

1:  Integrity:  While I would never would or have done it in BattleMasters, I can see someone literally stack the deck against an opponent.  Be that as it may, I would not be surprised that some people may do this.  Call me cynical, but I believe that a dice roll is harder to control or cheat with as opposed to a deck of cards.  I am not sure if this is a communal deck that is used, which would be my estimate but that is even worse in my mind.

2:  Portability:  While a deck of turn cards may not be that heavy or cumbersome, it is another damn thing that I am already toting and prone to forget as well.  I have a hard enough time remembering my measuring tape, what makes anyone think that I will remember to keep a deck of cards handy. 

3:  Sensibility:  This is not Magic:The Gathering or any other card game.  Perhaps that I am just biased on this issue but I just don't want to include cards into my war gaming.

4:  Necessity:  I honestly think that I can find a better way to do things than with a deck of cards that determine which does what.  I do like a concept of activation rolls or a more inclusive use of dice rolls to determine morale, fatigue, and competence.  A deck of cards is just too out there for my taste. 

Despite all of this that still stands for the reason why I don't like this part of the game system, I did read through the reasoning that the author produced to explain what they are doing.  He did point out why they used a card system, and honestly I do understand some of his points that he has.  Primarily what he is trying to do is to add randomness in to a gaming system that is more realistic than what is out there.  It is one of those things where I think that there is just a better way to do things than add a deck of cards to the mix.

Honestly it is one of those issues where I just don't want to spend a total for $40 to find out if I am right or wrong.  While I reserve the right to put it back on the list if I do end up playing a few games and actually like it I am taking it off of my list of alternative games systems which stands as follows:

List of Fantasy Game Systems:
1: Reaper Warlord
2: Kings of War (Mantic)*
3: Fantasy Warriors (Miltron)*
4: Armies of Arcana
5: Mighty Armies (Rebel Miniatures)
6: Hostile Realms(Piquet Master Rules)
7: Songs of Blades and Heroes
8: Rally Around the King
9: 100 Kingdoms*
10: For the Masses (Majestic 12)
11: No Quarter
12: War Engine/Shockforce
13: Pride of Lions
14: Battle Systems 2 ed.

On another note I have just received Armies of Arcana and once I have my other reading backlog caught up it is next in line for me to review.  From what I have looked at as I was flipping through the book, it looks very interesting to me.  I know that I have been a "Negative Nancy" on the past few reviews that I have done.  Hopefully this will be different in my next review. 


  1. Arrg! Someone on the Internet is wrong! I must fix this!

    No seriously. I just found your blog and read this Piquet post and your HoTT post. Sounds like you're more interested in a Warhammer-like game. Fair enough.

    I'm a Piquet, Field of Battle fanatic (Field of Battle is a simplified, streamlined version of Piquet - no fantasy version yet). I've been in a playtest game of the Hostile Realms but I didn't like it. There was too much detail in Hostile Realms - I look for simpler games. I'd rather spend my time either painting or playing that memorizing detailed rules. That's one of the reasons I don't play Warhammer either - too many exceptions and special rules in the various books

    HoTT is another favorite of mine. It only uses 1D6 per player. You roll 1D6 and that's how many stands you can move - if you have a bunch of stands in a formation then they all count as one stand for movement purposes. Combat is opposed D6 rolls with a couple +/-. A typical tournament army is only around 12 stands with 2-4 figures per stand. It only takes like 45 minutes to play a game. The main reason people DON'T like it is because it's very generic - no spell lists (wizards just make a generic "magic attack") and stands must be shoe-horned into one of a limited number of unit-types.

    Based on your list of games:

    Kings of War is probably what you are looking for - it's kind of a re-do of Warhammer.

    Armies of Arcana would work for you as well.

    Mighty Armies is like a HoTT variant - multiple figures on a stand. Has more customization options and has army books.

    Song of Blades and Heroes is a skirmish game for only a few figures on each side.

    WarEngine is really a Sci-Fi game, but you could use it for Fantasy. Again, this is a skirmish game where 1 figure represents 1 real person\monster\whatever

    Pride of Lions - Multiple figures on a base, 3 bases per unit. Magic has lots of spells on cards which is an added expense.

    1. I tend to believe that you are right in your post. I have been playing Warhammer off and one for about 20 years, so it is hard to break the mindset. Thanks for the heads up on the other games that you have mentioned. Honestly I would tend to agree with you that Armies of Arcana is right up my ally from what I have gathered so far, along with Fantasy Warriors from Militron, and may be one or two other systems that I have glanced through.