Whereas my other system works well and gives nice realistic results, I did find that large games took too long. I started writing it in order to speed up big role-playing game encounters, and came up in the end with something just about detailed enough for role-play gaming. With more than 30 figures a side, though, the game was just too slow. I was in e-mail correspondence with a chap called Richard Crawley, and we swapped rules. I sent him mine, and he sent me his. I tried his out, and liked their simplicity, but disliked most of the results I got. I thought that he had something, though, and so I started tweaking his rules, that were originally created for Wars of the Roses games.
My early versions I credited "by Richard Crawley, tweaked by Lloyd", but as time went on and my tweaks became more and more radical, there came a point when I changed it to "by Lloyd, inspired by a set by Richard Crawley". I have lost contact with Richard (his old e-mail address is dead), and if he finds these pages, I hope he isn't affronted by my rephrasing the credit this way. Many things, like the rules for movement, evading, morale, and shooting, are entirely mine, and nothing of his rules survives intact, but the core mechanism of melee combat, and the simple grouping of figures into Quality Ratings 1,2 and 3 come from his rules. I don't have Wars of the Roses figures, and so have added a couple more weapon types, and have made the rules more general (they now work fine for bronze age encounters, for example).
I will not go through all the rules on this page, since this would be repeating what is on the printable file (see bottom of this page). Instead, I will just stick to some general discussion of them.
One great strength of the rules is the simplicity of the points system. A man is worth his Quality rating (QR) regardless of his equipment, and to mount him on a horse costs 1 point. Having a simple points system is very useful, I have found, and I can put together equal-points forces in a jiffy, unlike with other rules I have tried. I found coming up with a fair and simple points system for my other skirmish rules impossible. So, a contingent might be 40 points in total, and could be made up of ten peasant archers (10 points), commanded by a mounted knight (4 points), with 4 mounted men at arms (QR2 + horse = 3, x4 = 12), which brings the total so far to 26, leaving 14 points which could be seven QR2 spearmen. Peasy.
The system has a lot of randomness in the allocation of adverse melee results. When a group of men fights another group and loses, which men suffer what fate as a result is fairly arbitrary. Knights are much harder to kill than peasants (the rules assume that QR3 fighters are well-armoured and tough), but one unlucky die roll can mean that a knight bites the dust while the peasant around him survive. One rule is that a player rolling a 1 when determining who won a round of combat loses a figure, even if he goes on to win the round (which is possible if he has some tactical factors in his favour, and his opponent rolls low too). That figure could be a leader. Skirmishes are quick, unpredictable, brutal affairs, and I like it that a player can never feel that a particular figure in combat is safe.
The rules are called "Medieval" and use words like knight, and include weapons like handgun, but they do work fine for other periods. I most commonly use them for British dark-age encounters. I recommend them for anything up to the musket period.
Printing the beggars out
I dislike having to leaf through dozens of pages when I'm playing a game and looking up a rule, and I consider that it is a satisfying intellectual exercise in rules design, concise English, and type-setting, to keep the number of pages to a minimum. You should find that it is possible to print out the rules on just three sides of A4 paper, and the fast play sheet is one side of A4. I should warn you, though, that you may run into trouble with formatting if you have a different edition of software from the one I used to create the file. I wrote it on Word for Windows 97, but I find that whenever I take the file in to Newcastle University to use the printers there, I have to tweak the pages or otherwise it comes out spread out oddly over five pages, which is very annoying. The University machines use a more recent version of Word.
Right then, here are the rules, in a downloadable, printable format. The file is in rich text format (.rtf) which you should be able to print even if you don't use Word. If you are truly baffled by them, feel free to e-mail me and ask questions. There are two separate parts to writing rules for other people to use. One is getting the rules to work, and the other is getting them across clearly to other people, and I may have succeeded at the first and failed at the second.
The .pdf format will probably be more convenient for people using a paper size other than A4, or those having trouble with the fotrmatting because their word processing package isn't the same as the one I used to create the .rtf file.