Well last weekend I managed to read through a new rules system called "Fantasy Warriors." I is a game system that was originally created by Nick Lund of Grenadier Models, back in 1990. These days a company called Mirliton has the rules as a free PDF. You can get them here. While they do have some additions, the rules really have not changed that much since when they were originally created.
For starters I would have to say that Mirliton is very kind for doing this. It is in the same thing as Mantic does with their rules, which is another system that I want to review as well. I do like some of Mirliton miniatures out there, but not a whole lot of them. Just a different style to what I like to see in a Model, I guess.
How it works:
When putting together an army in Fantasy Warriors, you do things that are rather different than what I have seen in other systems. You establish a command structure in your army and break up your army in commands. You have the main character as a warchief, which functions as the primary commander for the army, and is eligible to have his own command of troops. After that you have battle leaders who are subordinate to the warchief but lead their own commands. I didn't see any specific rules against a warchief commanding the whole army, however, I can see how that can get the army into trouble in this system. Obviously a change in what people are accustomed to these days.
The units are organized differently which effect their functioning through the game in that you have elite, veteran, average, poor and unpredictable as a quality, and than a type of disciplined, tribal, fanatic, and stupid. The characters are rather different as well in that some characters can be bought that really only augment someone like a battle leader or warchief. For instance a Battle Standard Bearer is just one guy that augments the battle leader, rather than being a separate character as in Warhammer Fantasy. There are also more variety of characters that can be bought.
On top of more and different characters, there are rules where you are eligible to scout and determine table sides and who has the option of going first. These are basically dice roles, however, using units designed for scouting can augment that roll. The catch 22 is that the scouting unit must be held back at the edge of the table basically when you start, and the whole command must scot, which is one of the reasons for multiple commands. They also have rules for day and night combat which can be effected in this phase as well.
Fantasy Warriors is a game that is a phase based rules system, like Armies of Arcana in that you do both sides phase before you move to the next phase of the turn. The various different phases that you and your opponent move through in a turn in order are threat, shooting, movement, combat, new order, influence, and command test. Most of these are pretty obvious phases of the turn. I have a hard time believing that anyone who reads this needs to have the shooting phase explained to them, along with combat, and movement. They have their own idiosyncrasies that make them different from other systems, and it depends on what you are looking for in a system as to whether you like them or not. I will point out that to hit and wound are similar to Warhammer but your dice throw is modified by a few more factors. The other phases of threat, new orders, influence, and command test do stand for a more in depth explanation.
Before I get to that, I believe that one of the concepts of the system that needs to be explained first and foremost in that every unit has more or less a standing order once they begin the game that they are ordered to carry out. They are attack, hold, and oppose. Attack is basically like a unit with Frenzy in Warhammer in that the unit will always move to combat, multiple combats are not allowed in this game. Hold obviously is an order where a unit will stay and defend their one spot, and react any opposing force once they are attacked. Oppose appears to be more like an order of harassment where a unit is mobile and basically under your general control. These orders can change once they are in contact with the enemy ranging from basically a counter attack to running away. There is no official fleeing the unit is just removed from combat. When you get the new order phase there is the time where you can re-evaluate the order that the unit has and change the standing order. Of course it requires a dice roll and can be influenced by the commanders at hand.
At the start of the turn, you have a threat phase, which is basically a psychology test to see if the unit is going to continue with their orders or route. This can be modified by any number of factors.
The influence Phase is where the battle leaders can step in and shore up a unit that is going to be removed from combat in the next turn.
The command test is more or less a test on the individual parts of the army to see if they route when the battle is going bad from what I gather. This is where separating commands is good in that one command can collapse while the others are still active.
I am sure that I am missing some things but this is the gist of the game.
I would have to say that this game is very clunky in terms of game play, and most likely considered by some as outdated. Personally I find it an interesting game system and I would be interested in playing it. However I would not put it on a as my most favorite games just yet. This may change after I play it but there is a lot that I did not go over still even though we are at over 1000 words right now. There is a lot of content and charts that are harder to memorize than what you have in Warhammer, and that is a worry. Hard to believe but I found a game system more convoluted and complicated than Warhammer ever was.