Sunday 29 November 2015

Wargames Rules

These days there seems to be hardly a month that goes by without yet another set of wargames rules being released. This is no bad thing, as some of the recent ones have become firm favourites with myself. Yet I am constantly suprised by the wide variance in price of said rules. As an example:

Maurice (with cards) - £47
Blucher - £40
Black Powder - £30
Kings of War - £25
Blitzkreig Commander II - £20
Bloody Big Battles - £18.50
Honours of War - £12

Now I am fully aware that there is a big difference in the size, number of pages and the production values of the above. If I had the inclination (which I don't), I could work out the price per page as it were to see which rules were possibly the best value. Now I know that many of these rulesets can be bought more cheaply off Amazon, Evil bay etc, but I'm showing the RRP to get a fair comparison.

For my money Blitzkreig Commander II used to be the best value ruleset going. You got the rules, scenarios and army lists all in one book. No need for supplements. I would now say that Dux Bellorum, Lion Rampant and Honours of War are the equals to, if not better than, BKCII in this regard. 

Now admittedly I'm at that stage in life where I no longer need loads of eye candy and fluff with my rules. Yet the aforementioned Osprey titles still provide beautifully presented, well written rules, with enough fluff and eye candy to keep most gamers happy. And all for around £10. Just as nice to look at as the 'GW style' rules, but at a fraction of the price.

Now I'm not alone in my thoughts on this. Most of my wargaming friends feel the same way. The general consensus is that £20* is about as much as we would be happy to pay for a set of rules. Afterall we have all been bitten too often when buying rules that promised so much but sadly failed to deliver. I'm hoping that the standard and pricing set by Osprey will help keep future rulesets within a reasonable (to my mind) price range. But I'm not holding my breath...

* Note: To my daughter £50 doesn't seem a  lot of money, but to me it does. There is obviously an age gap issue to be factored in as well. Or maybe I'm just a tight fisted old git...


  1. As you know I get very little gaming in due to other time constraints.
    But let us put the quality of the rules aside and assume you like the rules.
    I think if I were to game once a week, then a £50.00 set of rules played over say a year or two would be excellent value, coming in at roughly 50p a game.
    That is very crude but you get the jist.
    To me that is a very acceptable cost per game played.

    Maybe the issue is not the cost, but the fact that if you play lots of other games you don't feel you are getting your monies worth from an expensive game if you play it just a few times.
    I am of course unusual in that I pretty much only play one game with the same rules and the same scale of figures.
    One period on rules.

    After all what is worse, a single set of rules that cost £50.00 and is so bad you never play it, or 5 sets of rules that cost £10.00 each that are all so bad you never play them?
    Anyway, back to my sick bed (sofa)

  2. I used to ration myself with rules - I would only spend x and thus tended to buy cheap rules and regret it. With pricier rulesets there are associated non-gaming benefits. I stopped playin Wrmaster Ancients a while back but still read it for pleasure.

    I agree with your cost/play analysis approach otherwise, and BKC scores high - but the first edition of AK47 Republic cost me about a fiver, many many years ago, and it's still giving me pleasure to this day.