This entry was posted on November 22, 2016.
I’ve been playing Swordpoint for a while, with a ‘proof’ version Martin at Gripping Beast gave me. It was good enough for me to grasp the mechanics of the game and write the review in WS&S 87. However, flipping through several pages of A4 in a small font does get a little tiresome. Last weekend at Warfare 2016, I managed to pick up two copies - one for myself and one for my boss Jasper who is keen to try it for Project #217BC.
Swordpoint is, I believe, reasonably priced at £20. What you get is a sixty-eight page softback publication in full colour with full rules and a selection of army lists. There is only one scenario in the book, but I am told there will be a dozen more to download from the Gripping Beast site. The logic for this is simple: it leaves more space in the book for army lists, etc, but may also point to this being used as a competition set of rules. The online scenarios will, however, add the variety of play which most wargamers like.
Another surprise is the fact there are no war machines in the book. The rules argue (successfully in my opinion) that these were primarily for sieges or defending camps and not battlefield weapons. However, all the old favourites including Elephants and Chariots are in there.
A total of twelve army lists is offered in pairs. These include Carthage, Republican Rome (ideal for 217BC!), Early and late Imperial Rome, the Sassanids, Dark Age Britain, Vikings, Later Saxons, Anglo-Danish, Normans, Medieval Russians and Teutonic Knights. More lists might appear in, oh, your favorite wargaming magazine…
That’s certainly a good start and a lot to choose from! Each of the lists is in a compact format, typically taking up no more than a page. Veteran players like me will lap this up, but I can see newbies asking what a ‘Theign’ is or what a ‘Polk’ looks like.
Overall I am very happy to see it in print. I’m already rebasing my armies and I’m not the only one - rumour has it that sales of base clippers have gone through the roof. Of course, new models will have to be bought for old armies as Swordpoint has a different balance from other games. Without any disrespect to existing (and popular) rulesets for the era, but for me the age of big Ancients and Medieval battles is finally back!