With Musket, Pike & Drum Wargame Rules Review

12 December 2022
A review from Miniature Wargames Magazine

Caliver have just released a new set of rules by Chris Swan, contributor to this very periodical. For those that know Mr Swan’s style of gaming, this will be a very interesting read, although – even if you haven’t read his work (and, on that basis, I’ll say ‘why not’ and draw you attention to the piece Das Fahrzeug Kaput Ist in this very issue) – it should still provide some interesting ideas.

With Musket, Pike & Drum is subtitled Wargames rules for Engagements with Small Forces from 1500-1700 and – as the well-used advertising trope suggests – it ‘does what it says on the tin’. Printed with a soft cover in full colour it is 120 or so pages in (what I’m going to say is) ‘almost Osprey sized’ (a quarter of an inch smaller but... hey, what that between friends?). Following on the from the well received Beyond The Empire rules by the same author, it is suitable for any scale of figures (although all of the photography included is of 28mm figures, as far as I can tell), and most of the conflicts of the period throughout the world are touched upon.

As is usual with this Author’s work, the game system involves random activation of units; a d10 system for combat and pretty much everything else (so you’ll need a handful); and playing cards (so dig out a regular deck). There are Tactical Event and Search cards at the rear of the book although they are not ‘backed’ so it’s probably best not to slice them out but scan them and print them instead. You will also need an inch ruler (and you can use metric for 15mm games).

There are eight scenarios covering (bearing in mind the two century and geographic spread that the rules encompass) fairly generic subjects, such as an Attack In A Town, a Surprise Attack, Raid and so forth. There are also Solo Rules along with extra rules for things like night fighting; smoke and others. Finally, there are some sample European, New World and Asian army lists and – at the very back – five pages of reference sheets. If I had a tiny gripe it would be that reference sheets at the rear could be usefully shuffled into six sheets that I could just cut out and laminate!

Highly recommended.

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