Friday, 12 January 2018

Rebels & Patriots - forthcoming rules from Osprey

Over the Xmas break last year, Michael Leck of 'The Pikemen's Lament' fame, dropped me a line to see if I would be interested in helping playtest some new rules that he and Dan Mersey were developing. Well, does the Pope pray? Of course I would!!! Having helped out on the aforementioned rules as well as 'Lion Rampant', I knew that they would be rules that I would enjoy playing. 

So out came my wooden blocks, some printed labels and away I went, having great fun trying out scenarios, troops types etc. However, I had to keep stumm, as the rules development was not in the public domain. But last week Dan and Michael were able to talk about these rules and below is the 'press release' from their respective websites:

Rebels and Patriots – Wargaming Rules for North America: Colonies to Civil War

We are glad to announce that we (Daniel Mersey and Michael Leck) are once again teaming up with Osprey Games to bring you a new set of wargaming rules!

Rebels and Patriots will be a set of easy to learn and fast-moving miniature wargaming rules offering you the chance to lead small armies of soldiers across the North American continent in the late eighteenth to mid-nineteenth centuries. The rules are written with a focus at conflicts on the North American continent from The French and Indian War (1754–1763), through The American War of Independence (1775-1783), War of 1812 (1812–1815), Texas Revolution (1835-1836), Mexican–American War (1846-1848), up to the American Civil War (1861-1865).

Rebels and Patriots will help you to refight company-sized skirmishes, ambushes, escort scenarios, and other tasks performed by a small company of soldiers rather than a full army. Game play is intentionally easy and cinematic, and your success is driven by the quality of the officers leading your company: the rules play up the feeling of adventure, where Heroic Officers lead their men to glory…

As with our previous rules, we’ve focused on the overall ‘feel’ and ‘flow’ of the game, rather than worrying ourselves about the minutiae of historical simulation. Our design goal has been to write a set of broad-brushstroke rules that depict the Horse and Musket era by combining elements of our Pike and Shot wargaming rules The Pikeman´s Lament and Dan´s colonial wargaming rules The Men Who Would Be Kings. The aim of the game is to roll some dice and move some models in a Horse and Musket battle game inspired by American history between 1754 and 1865, enjoying yourself as you do so.

More than anything else, we once again wanted to work together to create miniatures game for an interesting period of the history that is easy to play and enjoyably fun. We hope you will agree that we’ve done so: when Rebels and Patriots is released in early 2019, you’ll be able to judge this for yourself!

So far I've had a lot of fun with these, even just using my versatile wooden blocks. Now I like Dan and Michael's rules as I just get were they are coming from. Not everyone does, but then what ruleset does everyone like? Naturally my aim is to replace my blocks with figures, but I'm trying to be good and finish off my forces for use with 'The Pikemen's Lament' before moving onto a new project. At least I'm getting games in though which is great.

Period wise I'm torn between the American War of Independence, the Fenian Raids or the American Civil War, as Pendraken do lovely figures for all 3 periods. Given that I already have loads of AWI figures, it is likely to be this conflict that wins out. Maybe the odd bit of rebasing will be required as well as a few figure purchases, but nothing too major, famous last words.

Even though the rules are for the wars in the Americas, I can't see why I couldn't use them for some Imagi-Nations gaming in Europe, straight out of the tin as it were. The only downside with Europe is that there are less figure poses to choose from from the Pendraken ranges. Again I have loads of figures for the Seven Years War and the 1860s period, so will have to check them out to see if they float my boat.


  1. I can see these being a huge success, perhaps even out-selling Lion Rampant.

    1. Hopefully they'll be a success as Dan and Michael are putting a lot of effort into these rules as one would expect. They are certainly easier to get going with than Sharp Practice II, which are very good rules.

  2. Morning Steve one of our chaps has been passed a copy, perhaps we could compare notes, all of Dan's rule sets so far always give a close run game and perfect for those BIG club games or a quick evenings outing.

  3. Very satisfying to have a hand in developing a new set of rules. I wish Dan and Michael every success.

  4. I truly wish I had the opportunity to help playtest these rules. As someone who plays both Sharp Practice and Muskets and Tomahawks, I'd ask Dan and Michael to be very careful in how "bloody" they make the musketry in these rules.
    Given the limited number of units in these games, around 4-8 generally, I hope they don't make musket fire too deadly (as I think Muskets and Tomahawks did). Instead mechanics in which units more gradually deteriorate (through morale penalties) can be more satisfying.
    I'm sure these rules will be very successful given the setting and popularity of the "Lion Rampant engine" and I look forward to their release.