My blog about my wargaming activities. I collect a lot of 15mm miniatures for the American War of Independence and so collect a lot of rules for this period. I started miniatures with Napoleonics, so I have a number of armies in 6mm and 15mm figures for skirmishing. I have15mm WW II figures that I use for Flames of War, Memoir '44, and someday, Poor Bloody Infantry. Finally there is my on-again, off-again relationship with paper soldiers that I sometimes write about.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

One-Hour Skirmish Wargames Review – Part 2

This is a continuation of my test game of One-Hour Skirmish Wargames by John Lambshead and published by Pen and Sword Publishing. If you did not read Part 1, you might want to start there.

Turn 2

When we left off the British had inflicted three casualties on the French, who had inflicted two in return.
One note I should make is that I read the scenario wrong. It is the British that must get within 6" of the cannon at the end of the game, not the French. I wrote it correctly in the last post, but my brain did not register it correctly. Change of plans! Thank goodness I am playing this solo!
The French gain the initiative and get 8 Action Points (AP). The French infantry behind the rise continue to fire at the British line in the woods, while the main body of infantry head towards the British right flank in order to clear out the woods of enemy. The French cavalry retreats back to the woods, not wanting to be picked off by the rifles, and an infantryman moves to cover the mounted French Lieutenant.
If a target is behind an obstruction that is ½ its height (or more) line of sight is considered blocked. I have been playing that a model on foot qualifies as such a blocking obstruction. If not, Mounted Leaders would be bullet magnets. Further, in this mission a British Rifleman has infinite range and a bonus to shooting Mounted Leaders, so it seemed rather strange to make such a critical model so vulnerable. I wanted to allow an opportunity shot or two for this scenario, not make the Officer's demise a foregone conclusion.

The British also receive 8 AP. They use those points to fire with four line and two rifles, downing four of the French infantry that were foolish enough to run into the open.
What I am finding out is that you have a basic choice when receiving an 'average' number of AP: move a few figures multiple times; or move a lot of figures once each. So far, moving a lot of figures at once has not worked as they have been shot down. I suspect had the French been the second player, there would have been a possibility of being the first player in the next Action Phase, giving them a 'double move'.

The French again get initiative, but only gain 5 AP. The cavalry makes a double move and charges the closest British infantryman in order to make it harder for the British to bayonet the downed French. The Chasseur succeeds in cutting the infantryman down. Given that the British has the next action, will it be a sacrifice?

The British get 7 AP and they make the cavalryman pay. One soldier shoots the cavalryman (making then 'downed') while another advances and bayonets them.
By the way, I do not consider a 'downed' model to be literally on the ground (although they may be). For example downed cavalry might be the rider trying to bring a rearing or wounded horse under control, making them easier to defeat in close combat. Basically I see this as a decisive combat mechanism that requires you provide at least two models cooperating against a single model. The first model shoots them successfully, getting a downed result, with the second coming in and finishing the task.
As the threat in front of the British has largely been neutralized – at least for the remainder of the turn – the Line Sergeant makes a move towards the cannon, but does not have enough AP to get there.

With the Joker drawn the turn ends.

The British have three casualties, a 3 motivation, so they pass morale automatically. (The British will draw a minimum of an Ace (1), add your Motivation score (3), and have to exceed the number of casualties (3) that you have. So the British automatically pass. You should still draw the cards, however, as it might affect Casualty Resolution later.)

The French have four casualties, a 2 motivation, so they need to draw a 3 or higher. Because they have a Leader with a Leadership (2) skill, they get three cards, discarding the lowest two. They easily pass.

After casualty resolution, two of the French infantry were determined to be dead, while two have recovered.

Turn 3

The British win initiative this time, effectively giving them a double move. I must say that so far, the British have generally had more AP to spend and more double moves.

The British receive 9 AP. The Line Sergeant finishes his move to the cannon and fires at one of the French in the open, as do other line soldiers. Finally one of the line moves twice, bayonetting the downed French soldiers, ending the threat to the woods.

With 8 casualties and the British in possession of the cannon, things are starting to look desperate for the French. Worse, the French draw 1 AP. The soldier behind the rise downs the British infantryman that bayonetted the French soldiers.

The French get the initiative, giving them a double move, but draw a miserable 2 AP! The soldier behind the rise fires at the Sergeant taking cover at the cannon and downs him. Meanwhile the soldier by the road advances on the cannon in an attempt to bayonet the Sergeant before the end of the turn.

There appears to be a lull in the action as the British also draw 2 AP for the Action Phase. The soldier at the edge of the woods succeeds in downing the advancing Frenchman, stopping the threat to the downed British Sergeant.

The French again get the initiative, getting 10 AP. This allows for a bold move by the French cavalryman by the road. He charges the downed British Sergeant and cuts him down. Noting that he is within 12" range of the Rifles Sergeant, he decides to take a potshot at him, despite him being in cover. He must have caught the Rifles Sergeant unawares as he downed him with a single shot!

The French soldier guarding the mounted French Lieutenant decides to take the opportunity to charge the downed British, bayonetting him, and then firing his musket at the British soldier hiding behind the tree. (A Joker comes out and the turn ends making him automatically miss.)
Although I knew that I could move and fire with a figure, if I spent the two points, initially I did not take advantage of that combination, to my detriment. You see a lot more figures on both sides starting to move an fire. I don't really have a problem with that in a Napoleonic skirmish game, but it feels a little too much like modern maneuver warfare.

The French have 8 casualties, a motivation of 2, so they need a 7 or better. They still have their Lieutenant so they draw three cards and pass the morale check.

The British have 5 casualties, a motivation of 3, so they need a 3 or better. They have lost one leader and the other is downed, so they will only draw one card. They still pass their morale check, however.

Casualties are resolved and it appears that the Rifle Sergeant was indeed dead from that lucky Chasseur's shot. So the British have now lost both of their leaders. One of the French soldiers also proved to be out of the fight.
Although I use terms like 'dead', 'killed', 'bayonetted', etc. I am just using those terms for color. The figures are really all just out of the fight for the rest of the scenario. If you are playing a campaign game all figures that were casualties at the end of the game would have a card drawn for them, just like for Casualty Resolution. Red is Dead and Black is Back, so it really takes two red cards to kill a figure or take it out of the campaign.

Turn 4

The French have been maintaining their casualty spread – about 50% more than the British – but they have a Leadership advantage. Although the card they must draw is higher in value than the British, they draw three cards to the British one due to their leaders still being in action.
So far I have kept the French leaders out of the fray in order to protect them. Leaders, however, not only draw additional cards during the end of turn morale check, they also draw extra cards when they are attacking or defending. So leaders are better fighters, but if you lose them, your whole force may rout from the loss.
The French get the initiative and receive 5 AP. The French Lieutenant advances forward, so I can use his combat on the following Action Phase. As he is mounted he is better in close combat, in addition to being better because he is a leader. For example, he would draw five cards in close combat when attacking (four when defending) compared to the one for an infantryman. When being shot at in the open, he draws three cards rather than one, making him harder to down.

Meanwhile the French infantry shoot at the British in the woods, downing one (who is subsequently bayonetted by an advancing French soldier), but missing the last one.

The French Chasseur, fresh from his victory over the Rifle Sergeant, charges the British line at the rear and cuts him down.

The British need to hold on as they are losing figures at a rapid rate. They draw 10 AP.

With the French Lieutenant exposed, the sniper moves twice to a new position where line of sight is not obscured by the rise. He raised his rifle, aims, shoots, and downs the Lieutenant. (Three cards firing versus three cards defending, so a 50-50 shot.)

The other remaining rifleman takes a shot at the Chasseur but misses. The last remaining Line soldier, seeing his position flanked by the charging Frenchman, moves back into cover before taking a potshot at him. (He also misses.)

The British gain initiative, giving them a double move. They draw 9 AP.

The sniper, seeing an opportunity, moves twice to the cannon, draws a bead on the French Sergeant, and drops him with a single shot. (Note that the sniper does not get a bonus for shooting leaders, just the French Officer. So this was another 50-50 shot.)

The second rifleman draws a careful aim against the Chasseur and also drops him with the shot. Finally, the Line soldier shoots and downs the French soldier, but runs out of AP so he cannot bayonet the downed foe. Three shots and three hits. That really hurt the French. They only have three models remaining that can act.

The French draw 6 AP. Both soldiers fire at the sniper and miss. The Joker is drawn, so the turn ends.

The French have 9 casualties, so they need an 8 or better. As both French leaders are downed, they have only one card. They draw a Queen and pass the morale check.

The British have 8 casualties, so they need a 6 or better. They draw the Ace of Clubs, the lowest valued card in the deck, and fail their morale! The British decide that this cannon is not worth the blood that has been shed and retreat, ending the game in a French victory.

The British that were taken out of action.

The French that were taken out of action.

Initial Thoughts

I obviously changed the way I played as I got a better feel for the rules. All of the play after Turn 1 was done in about an 90 minutes, but that includes taking notes, picture taking, and the actual gameplay itself. It really felt like the action was moving very fast. Also, I did not have the rules at my side with this session, so once you get the hang of it, you really do not need the rules any more. The odds of success are basically I have X number of cards, you have Y number of cards, whoever draws the highest card wins. Determining how many cards you draw is easily memorized.
Ironically there is one strange rule (to me): determining who has the highest card when you draw the same card value, but with different suits. The author uses the card suit ranking system from bridge, which I have never played, and indicated the best way to remember the order is some little mnemonic that I could not remember. Rather than fetching the rules I went to Wikipedia to determine the suit ranking and they had a much more memorable method for remembering: the suits are ranked in alphabetical order, ascending. So Clubs is lower than Diamonds (C comes before D), then it is Hearts, and finally Spades. His little was something about Super Heroes Do C...? Hell if I remember.
The rules are dead simple. The play is very fast once you get the hang of the mechanics. It makes for a good game where you want to throw figures on the table along with some terrain and get to playing quickly. One hour? Not sure about that, but that is okay. It matches the concept even if it runs over the time.

Rules Ratings

Using the review system from before, here are the game ratings for One-Hour Skirmish Wargames (OHSW).

Drama – do the rules create tension during play?

For the most part, combat actions have a 50-50 success rate. Many times both sides were drawing one card in the attack and two cards in defense, but because both sides had the same odds, it largely felt even. In either case, fortunes could swing wildly from phase to phase.

One element that supported that drama was close combat being so decisive. Losing meant you were out of action, rather than merely downed, and if you were downed when attacked, you automatically lost. This led to lots of action around downed figures. Maybe as I play it more and understand the risks better, the drama will reduce, but there were several time where I had 50-50 shots and got four hits in a row. That can decimate a force's ability to act in a heartbeat.

These rules rate 3 out of 5 in Drama.

Uncertainty – are there enough elements that introduce uncertainty into the game?

The three primary mechanics that create uncertainty are: will I act first or second; how many AP will I receive; and when will the turn end. This last element, when will the turn end, could cause the turn to end rather quickly, generally not impacting you in terms of accomplishing something that turn, but very probably ruining your chances at winning the scenario. If you are not playing a time-restricted scenario, this element will probably not produce much tension.

The order of acting being randomized allows you to gamble with your actions when you are second player. If you get first player next action phase and get a sufficient number of action points, you will likely look like a tactical genius. As for the opposite occurring, well it was a great plan but the cards were against you.

These rules rate 4 out of 5 in Uncertainty.

Engaging – do the rules allow the player to make meaningful decisions that lead to consequences?

Moving out of cover into the open definitely changes your odds. The basic combat is the attacker shooting with one card. A defender would have two cards in light cover and three cards in hard cover, Not impossible to overcome, but still not in the attacker's favor. Move out into the open and suddenly you defend with one card, a 50-50 shot.

I see spending AP like managing a hand of cards in a Command & Colors game. You need to be patient and take no rash actions until you build your hand. With OHSW you need to turtle when you draw low AP and make the bold moves when you have high AP, especially when you are second player.

These rules rate 4 out of 5 in Engaging.

Unobtrusiveness – do the rules get in the way?

No. Obtrusive have lots of exceptions for special cases. These rules have few such special cases to worry about.

These rules rate 5 out of 5 in Unobtrusiveness.

Heads Up – are the rules playable without frequent reference to a quick reference sheet?

Basically you need to memorize the stats for your troops at the beginning of the game, but given that most figures are the same, this is not really an issue. Stats may change as you switch from period to period, but within the period being played, pretty much everyone is the same, save for a few key figures.

The majority of my test game was played without the rules being nearby. Once you get the hang of the rules, you will only access them to refresh on stats before you start a new game.

These rules rate 5 out of 5 in Heads Up.

Appropriately Flavored – do the rules 'feel' like they represent the period or genre being played?

If anything, this is where the rules 'fail'. Yes, there are differences between weapon systems, even within a period. For example, in the Napoleonics test game the Rifles were infinite range, the Muskets an 18" range, the Carbines a 12" range (if the cavalry was firing while mounted, otherwise it was the same range as a Musket), and the Pistols 6". Everything was one shot per Fire action. Compare that to a single-shot breechloader in the Colonial period, where it has an infinite range and a single shot. The issue is not the range, but: a) the weapons are equally accurate; and b) the firing rate – every action phase – is the same.

Only time, and playing other periods, will tell if these have the right flavor. Right now, it feels really good for Age of Machine and onwards. It felt funny for Napoleonics.

These rules rate 2 out of 5 in Appropriately Flavored.

Scalable – can the rules be scaled up or down – in terms of figures or number of units played – from a 'normal' game?

Although the number of figures may vary from scenario to scenario, that really does not address scaling. The two primary mechanisms for 'how much can I do' are determining action points and determining when the turn ends. There is no scaling mechanism based on any factor, much less the number of models you are using. If you use a small number of models per side you will find that a higher percentage of models will get used in a game compared to when you use more models. Activity tends to cluster around a few models making aggressive moves. This system is designed to limit the number of points a single model can spend, so high AP draws will tend to allow figures on the periphery of combat to act, When you have the same number of points but more models, the periphery of combat will expand, so I suspect larger games will feel like more figures standing around doing nothing. But hey, you got the figures on the table!

These rules rate 2 out of 5 in Scalable.

Lacks Fiddly Geometry – do the rules require fiddly measurements or angles?

Anything with freeform movement will result in games in which you are 'just out'. Infantry moves 6" per move action and cavalry moves 9". Being forced to pay for a second move because you are 'just out' is actually very costly as second moves take more action points than first moves. This game would benefit from a grid. (Note that I say that with all games.)

The other aspect of the game that is fiddly is determining cover. Part of this may be that I do not like area terrain for a low scale skirmish game. Trees should not move around on a piece of felt and be 'just wherever' at this scale; they are immovable trees. So because I played that way I was basically eyeballing line of sight, which I find fiddly. Playing solo. this does not bother me, but I would never play it this way competitively.

These rules rate 3 out of 5 in Fiddly Geometry.

Tournament Tight™ Rules – are the rules clear and comprehensive, or do the players need to 'fill in the blanks'?

Let me start by saying that my preference is towards tighter rules, where everything is spelled out clearly by the author, not looser rules where the author leaves certain mechanics up to the individual players, gentlemen's agreements, and a roll of the die where agreements cannot be found. So a high value means 'tight' and a low value means 'loose'. If you like looser rules, subtract my rating from '6' and that would probably be your rating!

Although the author defines the different periods and weapon systems pretty sharply, he clearly intends that players develop their own modifications to suit their taste. Clearly a set of rules that covers from Muskets to Laser Rifles is not going to lock everything conceivable down.

That said, there is one area that they left wide open and clearly state they intend the players to work out before starting a game: terrain effects. They give you some basic game effect that you can apply to terrain, but leave it to you to determine which ones are in effect by talking it over with your opponent when going over the scenario. This is very much like Flames of War version 2 was. Effects described, suggestions made, few hard and fast rules.

Only one situation came up where they do not resolve it in the rules. Because there are two Jokers in each deck, and the turn ends after the first Joker is drawn, it is very possible that a Joker will be drawn while checking morale or resolving casualties. The rules state that a card's value is from 1 (Ace) to 13 (King), but if a Joker is drawn it is undetermined. (I ruled that it counts as a 0.)

Many decks have a Red Joker and a Black Joker, so if you draw one during casualty resolution, just use the color of the Joker to determine Dead or Back.

I think the lack of hard terrain definitions is significant, hence scoring this factor as average. Otherwise I cannot think of any ambiguity during play. Then again, that is pretty typical of solo play.

These rules rate 3 out of 5 in Tournament Tight™ Rules.

Solo Suitability – do the rules have elements conducive to solo play?

There are no hidden elements to the game so that alone usually grants the rules high solitaire suitability. Having a mechanism to randomize which units act next is usually an element that solo gamers inject into other rules, sometimes with disastrous results. So having that mechanism built in and accounted for is just icing on the cake. Because it does not have a mechanism for which figure acts, it is not given a perfect rating.

These rules rate 4 out of 5 in Solo Suitability.

Component Quality – are the components provided made with quality?

This is a new rating, meant primarily for board games and books, which addresses the quality of the physical components.

These rules only come printed. This is a paperback book with quality binding. However, it is not a lay-flat binding. Given the thinness of the book (just over 100 pages) it is capable of having a lay-flat binding. The quality of the paper and the legibility of the type screams quality. At $23, I think this book is a good value. I wish it had more scenario material, but I am happy with my purchase.

These rules rate 4 out of 5 in Component Quality.


There is much of this book that I did not cover – such as the scenarios for the other periods, the differences between periods, the points system (it is a little lightweight), and the notes on running campaigns (again, pretty lightweight) – for the most part I review rules, not books. These rules are very accessible, in my opinion clear and understandable (moreso when you break out the figures and try them), will possibly lead to disputes about terrain and 'just out' cases, and can provide a decisive game in a reasonable amount of time.

Will everyone like these rules? No! Every rules author must decide where to add detail and where to abstract them away and players will not always agree on where that line should be drawn. If you think that there is "no way" you could play a set of rules that don't have modifiers to your probability to hit based on range or a myriad of other circumstances, you probably won't like OHSW. If you think there is "no way" you could play a set of rules that don't care about facing, then you probably hate board games and probably won't like OHSW also.

If you like Neil Thomas and wish he had come up with skirmish rules closer to his later design principles – after Wargaming, An Introduction but before One-Hour Wargames you will probably not like these rules. Neil Thomas liked tables and modifiers in that design period and these have none. If you like the raw simplicity of One-Hour Wargames and were always tempted to tweak them (or did), it is very possible that you will like these rules. This is probably why Pen and Sword decided to brand these under the One-Hour label.



Even though I think this feels better for Age of Machine and later skirmishes, I cannot understand why the author felt this system should focus on the Age of Firearms. I think they would do well for ancient and medieval skirmishing too.


  1. A great review, looking forward to having a go at these rules after xmas, they are under the tree. May be we will see a new title for anchient and medieval soon.

  2. Thanks for this review. It's more than whetted my appetite for this book and I'm looking forward to trying out the rules for myself.

    Your thoughts on the Jokers in casualty determination and morale make sense. It does mean, of course, that you also enter a new turn knowing that at least one Joker has been accounted for ans with there being less chance, therefore, of the new turn ending suddenly.

    As for getting the 'feel' of Napoleonic skirmish, is there something to be said for requiring a figure that has fired to expend an action to reload above and beyond the one or two required to fire? Obviously this would crap on the Rifles (since they already cost two to fire) but I'm assuming that two could be justified by them taking more time to aim. (Maybe a Rifle can be fired like a muslet at up to musket range, and only costs 2 actions to fire over that range?)

    1. Interesting comment, as you point out something I did not consider. You see, I automatically shuffled both player's decks at the start of every turn in order to reset the odds for drawing a Joker. I went back and re-read the rules and found this is another unspecified area; it does not tell you when to shuffle. If you do not reshuffle, then yes, it would make for an interesting following turn knowing at least one of the four Jokers were gone. (In at least two of the four turns in my test another Joker came up in the end-of-turn draws, leaving only two Jokers in the two decks.) So, this is something to consider on how you might want to play it. I chose to reset the odds each turn. Note that it is not just Jokers, but high cards too. It might make learning how to count cards worthwhile as a turn of dealing high cards would make the next turn's odds of dealing more high cards in combat much lower.

      The author explicitly indicated that the extra action point for rifles was due to slower reloading. So he has taken that into account I do, however, think an extra action point for the Fire action is an excellent idea to getting the fire rate down. I will have to try it. Yes, I have thought about allowing Rifles to fire a Muskets (not patching the ball), but did not want to introduce that in the first test.

  3. I wish all reviews were this thorough. This book just became a last minute Christmas list addition.

    1. Thanks. I have been using that rating system for a while, adding a little bit here and there. It reflects what I think makes for a fun and challenging game. Your mileage may vary. :) Over the years I have discovered that I need to play test games before giving the review because sometimes, what looks novel on paper doesn't work out on the table. I don't want a repeat of The World Turned Upside Down incident. :)

  4. Thanks Dale! I like to write thorough reviews / playtests, and appreciate that this probably took a lot of time and effort.

    I will not buy these rules, but would look them over if a friend did:

    1. There may be decisions but there aren't tactics. Or not at least as we use them in reality.
    2. It is far too random. I'd say it is random enough that player decisions don't matter for who wins. Yes, they may matter during play, here and there, but the bottom line is if I have a streak of high cards, I will act more, fight better, and take you to the shed. The same would happen if this was dice, however...
    3. with cards, the "War" mechanic of 'I draw higher card, I win" is not 50-50 odds. You actually have to completely recalculate the odds every time a card is drawn. For example, if I draw 8 cards worth 12 and 13 for my first run, and you draw 8 cards of 1 and 2 for your first run, I will of course beat you like a red-haired step child. HOWEVER, I've now spent my 8 highest cards and you have only spent your 8 lowest cards.

    I deliberately chose the two extremes, of course.

    Going forward, you have a better chance of drawing a higher card than I do.

    If you changed the entire system to d12, you would get random results.

    Finally, it drives me nuts when someone wants to charge for rules that aren't finished. I've gone on and on about this with Neil Thomas' rules [which I like enough that I don't mind finishing them] but if you aren't putting them up for free, *finish them!*

    My new maxim is "table top mechanics enable table top tactics" and the reverse is true. You can't have historical tactics if you don't have table top mechanics that enable them.

    If they were $10, I'd consider buying them to play with my son, but I already have things like this for him.

    Finally, I suggest you re-think OHW rules. The math involved with the rules is subtle. However, I must add that I did not leave the rules alone!

    Best, Alex

    1. The more I game the more I realize that there is one main tactic: concentration of force. Games that minimize that principle tend not to work (for me). For example, if I attack with two units to your one, do the rules: a) allow me to make two attacks, with each attack being independently resolved, ignoring that the target is being attacked by two units; b) allow me to make two attacks, with each attack taking into account that the target is being attacked by two units; or c) allow me to make one attack, with the attack taking into account that the target is being attacked by two units? Which method the rules use, and what the benefits of ganging up are, will largely determine whether I am going to enjoy the rules or not.

      TSIA and OHSW are both a), by the way. Most Richard Borg Command & Colors designs are also a), but Fantasy Flight Games changed the design to b) for their Battles of Westeros games series. De Bellis Antiquitatus is a mixture of a) and b), of a sorts.

      What tactics are you referring to, specifically? Something like 'if in column your firepower reduces by X, while in line it does not'? I tend to avoid games that micromanage units these days. See my comments about flanks and TSIA.

  5. Been reading Portable Wargames, and Bob Cordery's card method for turns seems like it could work in this game - you basically take the number of figs in the force, halve it, and that is your baseline number of APs. So if you've ten figures, you'd use all the 5's in the deck. You then take the cards one up and one down, so the 4's and 6's. You now have an action deck of 4-6 AP. For less predictability, you could pick 2 up and 2 down instead, so you'd have 3s, 5s and 7s as possible AP values.

    I think the system as-is would make for an exciting narrative game, especially campaign, where I am playing solo and am not invested in winning v. losing. I think for playing with people, especially newbies or children, the potentially punishing card draws could make it no fun at all.

    There are a few other ways to keep the game unpredictable but a bit more even [and therefore more fun for opposed players] so I retract my statement that I wouldn't get them. I would just modify a few things [but I'm a wargamer, so that's no surprise!].

    You could switch to dice for resolution and not slow the game much while defeating the card-counters and keeping the odds clean. While this would mean a little more handling time, I don't think it would add much.

    Again, thanks for the great, detailed and balanced review!

    1. The action point mechanism sounds interesting, but the idea seems centered around the 'average' turn, every model will get 1 point to act. I think that is inappropriate for OHSW for two reasons.

      1. OSHW is intended to start with both sides pretty much in each others faces. This is not a game of maneuver, grand or otherwise. So having one point per soldier is not as necessary as games that are trying to keep figures in formation and getting units across the field intact.

      2. The wide range of APs available make the action more 'cinematic'. Struggles go back and forth as one side or the other gets a burst of activity (as represented by a high card draw). Like all games with a large spread in their random elements, you just have to accept that sometimes you are going to lose a game, badly.

      I agree that it plays better solo than competitively. All of my early playtests were solo.

      The fact that you don't reshuffle the deck after each turn tells me that the author wants the deck to deplete in order to reach the joker. Without card draws for the combat, you would have very long turns, which would impact the casualty determination phase. Remember, once a figure goes down, it is out of action until the end of turn phase, when you determine if the figure is back in action or out. Long turns mean you have fewer and fewer models to act with as figures on the front lines go down. Downed figures are vulnerable to instantly being removed (out of action) due to melee.

      Interesting ideas, nonetheless.


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Huachuca City, Arizona, United States
I am 58 yrs old now. I bought a house in Huachuca City, AZ working for a software company for the last three years. To while away the hours I like to wargame -- with wooden, lead, and sometimes paper miniatures -- usually solo. Although I am a 'rules junkie', I almost always use rules of my own (I like to build upon others' ideas, but it seems like there is always something "missing" or "wrong").