|The Royalist Centre - from the wonderful collection of Millsy (a staunch and worthy King's man)|
Available (legally) off the Internet for free here: Link
These are my thoughts, noting that this was the only time I have played them.
Bottom Line Up Front - these are a fun, easy to pickup set of rules which really captured the period flavour without an overloading stack of detail.
The key mechanism is randomised card driven system. Each unit has a card randomly shuffled into the deck so you don't know what order they will come in. Shuffled in are Artillery units (both sides fire together), Reload Cards (which allow Volley Fire) and a Turn End card which ensures that you never know if a unit will get to activate or not before the deck is reshuffled. The end result is a tense randomisation that can be as frustrating as heck, but definitely gives you the feeling that you aren't fully in control (which of course was exactly the situation).
Units get 2 or 3 dice per element to fire, depending on what they are, with 5+ (on a d6) being the target roll. If you get three hits you inflict a casualty and cause a morale check roll. After 3 casualties the unit dissolves. Melee uses a similar to hit roll but the unit which inflicts more casualties winds the combat and repels the enemy unit.
Available units are Foote, Commanded Shotte, Dragoons (which can dismount obviously), Horse (Gallopers, Trotters, Cuirassiers) and Artillery (which is immobile) - each unit is comprised of 3-4 elements. Army and Brigade Commanders are modelled individually. Units are rated as Veteran, Trained and Raw, which gives them various modifiers in Combat and to their morale test.
Overall, the system works nicely without getting too bogged down in detail. You can feel the difference between the different units types but its not overpowering. The real challenge is trying to run a battle with random unit activation and no guarantee of any specific unit getting a turn before the turn over card shows up. It was really enjoyable and we were quickly fighting the battle, not messing about with the rules.
With a view to 6mm battles vice 28mm scared ones, we've been thinking about how that might work with 12+ Regiments per side and single base units. We think that Brigading the formations would be the obvious way forward. Looking forward to giving that a try sooner rather than later!
We are hoping to try the same scenario with a few different sets of rules too, so we can compare them: these have been a good start, and also in the mix are Baccus' Polemos and the newly published Baroque Impetus.
Thanks for the great day out and taking us through the rules Millsy!