This is a suggested way to set-up for a six-player game, which could perhaps be the climactic last battle of a campaign, in which politics play at least as big a role as combat.

You have to imagine that there have been skirmishes before this battle. The premise is flexible, but might be something like this: an area has revolted against the authorities, and three charismatic rebel leaders have put together forces that are fighting for control. The authorities (perhaps the king of the nation) have sent three commanders to the region to quell the revolt and restore order, with the promise that the one who distinguishes himself in this task will become governor, while the others might if they do quite well serve under him in lucrative but less prestigious posts.

This is the final show-down. Each of the six commanders has to think about what position he will have in the peace after this encounter. Perhaps it will be better to throw in one's lot with the other side, to be rewarded with a position of power and wealth by the victors. Because perhaps forces started off unequal, or perhaps because of losses and gains from the previous skirmishes, the starting strengths of the six forces are not equal. The first playtest worked very well with forces with points values of 133, 116, 96, 96, 92, and 62.

The two sides were 133, 116, 96 for the king's forces and 96, 92, and 62 for the rebels. The strongest of the king's forces sided with the rebels, and the weakest rebel then sided with the king. The defecting king's man then took over the rebel side and became its centre. The largest force on the king's side did not command, because the commanders all agreed to have the second largest in command, which meant that he ended up in the centre, which was just what the largest commander on that side wanted, because he planned to negotiate with the force opposite him. He then changed sides twice, most of the time standing idle with his archers in range of the forces near him. The situation for the king's centre was therefore hopeless, and this force was pounded to dust by elements of all three opposition forces. The end result was a victory for the defecting king's man, who didn't have to worry about sharing his glory with the man to his left, who was conveniently killed in battle while destroying the smallest force on the table. Indeed, the smallest force - the defecting rebel leader - did so much killing that he could have negotiated for a good position in the peace, had he lived.

The style of this last battle is perhaps not suitable for all periods and scales of battle. Ideally the setting would be one in which personal reputations would be well-known, and many factions would be competing over an area, and the winners on the field would also be winners of peace-time rewards. Conscripted soldiers fighting in big armies of World War Two, where there were two sides - axis and allied - would not suit this system. To work, one has to believe that any player might conceivably side with any other. It is near enough impossible to believe that a platoon of British WW2 Tommies might rally to Rommel's banner just because he was doing well at the time, whereas in the Barons' Wars of medieval England, or the clashes of the Border Reivers, or Italian Renaissance mercenary bands, or bronze age Achaean raiders, or dark age cheiftains warring over a small island, or clashes between Mouri, or American frontiersman, one can more readily believe that troops would rally to the flags of individual personalities who were successful and charismatic, and desert their previous commanders.

The battle has all players deploying on-table, knowing exactly what forces the others have. If everyone sides with the strongest player, then he automatically wins. Players have to make sure that they are on the winning side, but preferably after doing a minimum of fighting. The smallest players have the least to lose and make the most loyal allies, but the largest players have the most to lose, and threaten everyone and so have many enemies. Is it better to side with the biggest player? Perhaps it is easiest to back-stab from there, but perhaps it is easier and safer to corm a coalition against him.

Printing the system out

Right then, here are the rules, in a downloadable, printable format. They include the campaign system and three fight system discussed on other pages. 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.



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