- Plausible outcomes where reasonable tactics are rewarded.
- Simple and fun with limited scope for arguments (we're gamers so NONE = impossible!)
- Good for multiple players per side with everyone involved most of the time.
- Visually attractive.
- Fast enough to resolve a decent sized game in 3 hours.
- Not needing rebasing.
The RulesThe core of the rules is the activation system, which has something in common with Bolt Action. One dice is placed in a bag for each unit, different colours for each side. Seven dice at a time are drawn, rolled, and used to activate units. Units have an activation score and meeting or exceeding the score allows different actions. You can place multiple dice against a unit to increase combat power, movement, or morale. You can also use dice to counter enemy actions. The turn is over when all the dice have been used.
So an interesting twist on "friction command" with less randomness than games like Lion Rampant as you should always move a good proportion of your army each turn. The plus is that it forces you to make choices all the time. The fact each mini-turn has a mix of both sides dice means you are involved throughout and there is some subtlety in use of your dice.
The down-side is its "friction command" at the end of the day. So if you don't like that, find it gamey, or want to have full control of your troops then it will not appeal to you.
The GameAs we had the figures available from our recent Lion Rampant games we decided to pit our Early Crusaders verses Turks. We played with 450 point armies on an 8'*4' table with a couple of players a side. Since it was a practice game we just lined-up with infantry in the centre and mounted on the wings
|The Crusader right - lots of doughty spearmen and crossbows|
|The Crusader left - Teutonic Knights subbing as Brother knights|
|Turkish right - the elite cavalry|
|Turkish left - the average / poor stuff|
|Turkish infantry - not much expected from them ;-)|
|Turks advance on their left|
|Brother Knights rumble into action|
|Turks do well on the left|
|A general melee ensues!|
The VerdictAn interesting set of rules that did force you to constantly make choices and keep both sides engaged throughout as you had to counter enemy activation dice placement. The attraction is the friction command system, so if you don't like that approach, then Sword and Spear will likely not appeal.
We've decided to play a second game with the same armies so we can focus on the tactics not learning the game / armies.
So how does it do against my checklist?