Saturday, 9 April 2016

Sword & Spear intro game

My good friend Craig invited myself and another friend Chris, over for a game of something or other, as it had been far too long since we had all met up. As Craig was hosting, we left it up to him to select the game etc.

He chose Sword & Spear, which he had mentioned in passing the last time we met, as an updated version of the rules had been released to coincide with a new print run. I vaguely recall hearing good things about these rules, but frankly hadn't payed much attention to reviews etc as I was not in the hunt for another 'medieval' ruleset.

For the scenario it would be a simple meeting engagement so that Chris and I could learn the rules whilst Craig umpired. The Crusades were the chosen setting with each side having around 400 points each from memory. Both sides had a nice mix of troop types so that we could see how they worked in relation to each other. So unsuprisingly Christian Pilgrims are not as good as Saracen cavalry. 

So after our usual catching up and chatting about wargaming stuff, we finally sat down at the table and started playing. I ended up as the Crusaders with Chris with the Saracens. We both picked up the mechanics within a few turns and were then, broadly speaking, able to focus on tactics and manouevre. Any queries Craig was able to answer for us and at times we charged in etc when we may not have normally done so, just to see what would happen.

The Crusaders push through the gap between the town and fort to carry the fight to the heathen foe. All the figures are from Pendraken with the buildings all scratch built by Craig.

The Crusader leader tries to get the Pilgrims moving forward whilst the archers and crossbow men deplete the Saracen ranks.

In the end the game lasted around 2 hours with the Crusaders having a resounding victory, despite an almost last minute Saracen recovery. Both Chris and I were very impressed with the game and its mechanisms for command and control as well as combat resolution and morale. So much so that we are both highly likely to buy the rules. In fact I have made a note to pick them up at Salute next week, this despite resolving not to buy any more rules this year!

I must say that these rules rank alongside 'Dux Bellorum' in their ease of play and the fun that they generate. I have tried 'Hail Caeser' and whilst they promise much, I have found them a bit too complicated for my liking. So now I seem to have found a good ruleset that gives a fun game in a few hours and covers quite a large time period. Although a few army lists are contained in the rulebook, there are an awful lot available for free via their website. The plan is to get my 'Dux Bellorum' armies out and use these as a basis for some more trial games of 'Sword & Spear'.

We also chatted about the forthcoming release of 'Sharp Practice 2' which sound fun, so maybe my plan of no rulesets this year will be put under pressure once again...



  1. I have had my eye on this set for a while and the fact that you rate them with dux bellorum for ease of play intereste me even more. Do they use individual figures or elements. I take it there's no casualty removal?

    1. Hi Robert,
      they are 'unit' based rather than single figures. You record the hits on a 'unit' and when they reach their limit, the 'unit' is removed.

      I was pleasantly suprised at how quickly Chris and I were able to get to grips with the game. Some really nice command and control mechanisms make this challenging and fun and also very suitable for solo play.

      Hope this helps?

  2. Looked like fun Steve.
    Dux's did not quite cut it for me, so these might be another option.
    Order SP2 yesterday - I am weak :-(

    1. I can see Le Canard and chums getting another run out soonish with SP2:)