R – Variant Descriptions

RAIDS (Fl Montauban) ??/07

(1) MIGUEL LAMBOTTE in SoL 2 (October 1990)

Classic rules on a map of Northern Europe in 901AD

RATHER SILLY DIPLOMACY II1/2 (Jeremy Maiden, Dave Thorby and Peter Sullivan).

(1) Pete Sullivan in C’Est Magnifique 55, July 1988.

Ghod, do I really want my name associated with the likes of Maiden and Thorby? It is the considered opinion of such hobby luminaries as Richard Walkerdine and Conrad von Metzke that this variant is unplayable (or, to me more accurate, un-GMable). This despite the fact that Brian Creese has a run a game to conclusion, and mine and several others’ games are well on their way. The trick is, when you find a rule which makes things awkward to GM, you use GM fiat to remove it and replace it with an even sillier (but easier to run) rule. It also helps if you have players who don’t really understand what’s going on (or in extreme cases have never seen the rules) as this means they’re very unlikely to protest about GMing errors.

REPUBLIC I (Der Gravey) ??/05

(1) GORDON McDONALD in AC-MONG 39 (June 1991)

This is a game based on the whole of Ireland with Devon, Cornwall and south-west Wales thrown in. It doesn’t depict any particular historical event, but at the same time it is supposed to be representative of all the conflicts which have taken place in Ireland.

The powers in the game are: Ulster, Munster, Leinster, Connaught and Britain, Meath has been left out for playability. The games takes place after the death of Brian Boru and starts in Winter 1015. Players may build armies, fleets and bridges from supply points, ten points being available from each on-board supply centre; the British having two off-board centres which provide twenty-two supply points at the start of the game although this is reduced to one centre by Autumn 1018 and none by the next year. Players may also supply points to each other as part of a deal, do I get the impression that there are traces of Diadochi in these rules? Each unit requires seven supply points to maintain, whereas bridges need six.

I’m not so keen on the idea of bridges. Although they did play a part in military campaigns many of the rivers in Ireland have fordable points. Indeed, at the battle of Boyne, 1690, William’s main thrust was across a ford a number of miles west of Grogheda and so not far from the north of the river.

Bridges can be destroyed but a fleet may not travel directly between territories which are separated by a river unless that river is bridged at that point! This is because “guns, men, etc” are assumed to have transferred to the land. Apart from the fact that “guns” didn’t exist in 1015 and any siege weaponry available in Europe would not be part of the armoury of the forces involved in this game, it is highly likely that a force which has disembarked on one side of the river would find it quite easy to ferry troops to the other side using the ships available; they wouldn’t need something the size of the Titanic!

A player who builds a bridge stands to lose two supply points permanently if that bridge is destroyed, presumably to encourage him to retain it rather than burn it at the first hint of danger. As in a number of games the fleets can transform into armies on landing. The victory condition is 14 supply centres out of a total of 25.

The map and rules are of good quality and easy enough to understand. However, I am not overly enthusiastic about the bridge rules and there seems to be a slight lack of historical research and imagination as regards the names of the land areas — Belfast North, Belfast South for North and South Antrim; Galway West, Galway Central and Galway South etc all remind me of being in a train station, but then again, if the game is playable, and it looks it, who can complain — it may well be a very good variant, after all Lew Pulsipher did advise the designer.

REVOLUTION (???) ??/08

(1) MIGUEL LAMBOTTE in SoL2 (October 1990)

Revolution takes place in Europe in 1902 when the eighth player appears, the revolutionary.