I'm a great lover of wargame rules ever since I discovered "Little Wars" and progressed to dice based games with Donald Featherstone's "War Games", back in the days of black and white television.
I started zombie gaming with Two Hour Wargames' "All things Zombie - Better Dead than Zed by Ed Teixera" rules after reading many recommendations. I had however already encountered the "Chain Reaction system" whilst looking for rules for a gangster skirmish game well before taking up zombie gaming.
The Two Hour Wargames Chain Reaction system has evolved into many, many different sets of rules covering periods as diverse as Ancients to Space, but all of them have at their core the same system of I act you react, I react to your reaction and so on, a game mechanic I really like.
You can see from the left hand photo that the core rules in use then were CR3.0 these were "updated" with CR3.0 "final version" and have since been updated with CR3.1 "Final (final) version".
The changes between the sets of rules are sometimes subtle and easily missed between versions whilst other changes are complete overhauls.
The beauty of the entire system though is one of "pick and mix" what you do and don't like.
I didn't like the single characteristic given to each figure (Reputation or more simply REP) that dictated how good the character was at everything they did and opted to have several characteristics, shooting, melee etc, to make the game a bit more like a role-play game. The game is generally accepted to be a roleplay "Lite" (Americanism) meaning it has elements of role-play games in, but are basically wargame orientated.
The greatest plaudit for these rules is that "they say what they do on the tin", you can finish a game in two hours, something that appeals to many gamers.
For those that know the system here a few of the changes implemented by 3.1 final, final version, in no particular order.
The "In-sight" test has changed (again). This is the key feature that starts the reaction system and this is the third incarnation of its implementation that I know of.
Reaction tests have been somewhat streamlined but the old reaction of "hunkering down" has re-appeared.
The Meleeing rules have changed subtly, no penalty for being unarmed and a mandatory test for Grunts (read rank and file) having to break off from melee is no longer present.
I haven't looked at the sections for setting up a terrain as I think I have enough experience to set up a terrain for a game without having rules for it, but they're still there !
The rules for Potential Enemy Forces (PEFs) have had a slight overhaul in both their generation and effects, which I will need to think about before deciding whether or not to use them.
As I've always done (and is actually encouraged by Ed at THW) I'll be altering and adopting rules to fit with my way of playing including some of these latest ideas.
I also recommend anyone trying any of the THW rules to join the THW Forum where a lot of answers to questions about the rules can be found.
Did I also mention that the CR3.1 rules are free as are the "Swordplay final version 3.1 " rules ?
Well, they're both available from the THW site as free downloads with only the slightest techy knowledge needed ! Even with just these two downloads it is easy to see how one game mechanic can be applied across two different genres.
That's it for this week, with World Cup matches getting sparser I've done much less on my zombie project other than a lot of zombie fiction reading and rules writing. Next week though I'm hoping to have finished three more scenic pieces to blog about.
As always you comments are both welcomed and appreciated.
I have mixed feelings about the THW rules. I can't fault anyone for liking them as having tried them I do know that they work with sound mechanics. For me it comes down to personal taste.ReplyDelete
I agree wholeheartedly with you, I'm forever cherry picking the bits I like from the various rule sets I have.Delete
I have dabbled with the rules for a bit of skirmish gaming, nothing wrong with them.ReplyDelete
I agree in part, there a quite a few bits I really dislike, but the rules on the whole are soundDelete
The beauty of CR3.1 and all THW rules is that nothing is writ in stone. You can mix and match and change them to your heart's content. As with any good game the number one rule is simply have fun. I have just recently dowmloaded the CR3.1 rules but I need to read them very carefully before commenting on them. Even so, good review, Joe, and they do have more good points than bad.ReplyDelete
Yep, I'm in total agreement. The only thing I would say about the whole THW rule thing is that I'm betting no two gamers using THW rules play the same game and will undoubtedly have their own house rules.Delete
I don't really know anything about the THW rules, but I do like your approach of taking what you like and changing what you don't like. To me, that captures the spirit of wargaming, being creative, experimenting and doing your own thing. Cheers, Paul :-)ReplyDelete
Thanks Paul, I've always done this sort of thing with ideas from one set of rules or period and adapted them for another.Delete
I can't comment I'm afraid, don't think I've played them but if Fran says he has,then I must have.......if that makes any sense??ReplyDelete
Thanks for commenting about not commenting Ray, but I bet like many wargamers you too will have rules you like but have never used.Delete
I've always been a fan of THW rules. They play clean and can be used any way you want. Dont like hunkerin down with 3.1? dont use it. Combine 3.0 and 3.1 into your own ruleset if you want. Thats the beauty of this system. I can see how that could turn off some gamers who like rules set in stone though. You could never tournement play THW games (why would you want to?) and even demos could be different from con to con.ReplyDelete
My latest mistress has been Pulp Alley though, and it is getting hard to top as the go-to set of rules. Dont let the name fool you, with a little tweaking these rules can be used to game just about any genre. Check em out if you havent yet.
Thanks PS, I'm totally with you; someof the wording in THW isn't clear enough as to the intention but they are a good set of rules generally speaking.Delete
I've read a lot of Pulp Alley batreps and theydo sound very tempting for many skitimish situations, not just pulp, which appeals
great reveiw Joe. I downloaded the latest CR rules as I'm toying with some 3.75 inch action figure gaming. TEd's whole system took me a while to get my head around but once it clicked I got it. IMO, the best set of narrative driven solo gaming skirmish rules aroundReplyDelete
Thanks Za, it didn't start as a review, but merely to inform of the latest development with CR. These rules do easily lend themselves to a narrative, again something I like.Delete
From reading the many batreps online, it seems to be a better system than I go you go.ReplyDelete
It's not really better, but it can certainly be different. A long "chain reaction" aspect doesn't seem to really happen that much from what I've seen and experienced first hand, but it can.Delete
I only had a read through the free CR rules set and never really sat down to really try it as it seemed quite complicated from the reading alone (I know...). If so many people play it, there has to be something they're doing right, I suppose (but same could be said for a certain Evil company, too).ReplyDelete
I find it hard to see what is so great about being able to ignore certain parts of the rules? You can honestly do that with just about any rule set. And you can change them as much as all the people that play agree. I'm not saying this is bad, but it's not a novelty, either.
It took me a long time to get my head around the original CR3.0 rules too.Delete
You're right of course about being able to change any set of rules, but there is a lot of opposition to such a move as many new sets of rules are aimed at points systems and "even" forces etc. for a "tournament" style of play, something TWH have to the best of my knowledge never done.
Furthermore changing rules in many systems can be quite tricky not so with THW and its fairly simple d6 system.
Great review, thanks! I like THW rules.ReplyDelete
Thanks Tito, it wasn't really meant as a review, but I like the THW rules concept more than their execution.Delete