Review: Osprey’s Rebels and Patriots

Rebels and Patriots is the latest release from the Osprey Wargames series. It is the 23rd in the OWG series. Each book follows the standard and now familiar 64 page Osprey format.

The Rebels and Patriots (R&P) rulebook covers battles in North America from the French Indian Wars to just after the American Civil War (the French intervention in Mexico and the Fenian raids). In total, an impressive 47 army lists are offered. I'm sure these rules could be expanded with some tweaking to fit with games beyond the American theatre.

There is a lot crammed into the 64 pages. The rules mechanisms themselves will be familiar if you’ve got Pikeman's Lament, which itself is based on Lion Rampant. In fact, R&P uses the same honour system as is found in Pikeman's. Each unit is typically twelve models strong for infantry and six for skirmishers and cavalry.

R&P uses a simple alternative turn (IGOUGO) system, each side takes it in turn to activate a unit. This requires passing an activation roll on two D6. If the unit passes, it performs an action (typically move, attack or fire). Once each unit has tested, play then passes to the opponent. Unlike Lion Rampant, a unit failing a test does not end the turn.  Combat resolution is a single step, with two hits removing one enemy model (higher required for units in cover or cavalry).

The rules are simple and fast-play. Purists might shudder at 'basic' infantry from the Seven Years War (French Indian Wars) being classified as the same as ACW infantry (what, no Minié balls?) but given the aim of the rules (playing a fast and fun game) the writer may be forgiven for such abstractions. That said, the rules go to great lengths to customise the basic troops, with typically at least six different options per unit type. What this does is add flavour to each army list provided.

Twelve battle scenarios and some basic campaign rules are included. If you liked the Lion Rampant inspired series of rules, or simply like fast-play rules requiring a few dozen models a side, then these will be for you. Those requiring more of a simulation type game might want to look elsewhere, but will potentially be missing out on a lot of fun! These are a simple learnt set of rules which do what they say on the tin!



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