Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Pride of Lions Impressions
First off, I should say that I am a big fan of Splintered Light figures in general, and most specifically their historical ones. I've got a good part of my Late Imperial Roman army composed of their miniatures, and I've been adding to my Norse-Irish force with a significant component of their stuff. Their fantasy line is just great also. So, my thought was, if I liked their miniatures so much, I should at least give their rules a look over, especially with such an attractive price as they were offering.
Pride of Lions is a unit-based game aimed at 15mm scale, designed to be very fast moving, that is compatible with WRG basing. The author suggest using three 40mm square bases per unit in 15mm, but since only frontage matters, then this works directly with the bases I already use for games like Field of Glory or Warrior. Although the author includes some fluff for use with their line of figures (a bit cheesy in my opinion), the rules are really generic and can be used with any fantasy world players like. Shooting and combat is by opposed die rolls, with die types increasing or decreasing depending on unit quality, armor, or other circumstances. Other than a few special actions though, such as "plant spears" or "shield wall", weapon types are abstracted into the unit base die type - this is a little too abstract and generic for me, but I'm sure it does help to speed gameplay.
Movement and combat are simultaneous, and order chits are used in a manner very similar to that used in Command Decision to determine what actions a unit takes in a turn - such as charge, rush, or hold. Units have states such as disordered, shaken, or elated which are distinguished by markers, and the unit is removed once it is destroyed or leaves the table. Commanders issue orders, rally units, and allow units to form up in battle lines. Heroes help in combat, allowing for various rerolls in different circumstances.
The magic system is very detailed, filling almost half the rule book, but doesn't seem like it would dominate the game - acting more like a fantasy version of artillery, and sometimes helping with things like increasing unit morale.
All-in-all, Pride of Lions appears to be a very nice mass combat fantasy gaming system, that would allow for a large, multi-player game to be completed in a reasonably short amount of time. Since it has very simple mechanics, and the players on both sides are always involved, it would probably make for a nice set a rules to use for a convention game. It appears to be a little abstract though, and the unit types too vanilla for my taste, but I'd be happy to try them out sometime. For now though, I still think my primary fantasy rule choices are still either Hostile Realms or the Hail Caesar fantasy variant.
Finally, I do have one other complaint about Pride of Lions, although in all fairness, it doesn't really affect the rules themselves. The author is obviously a deeply religious Christian, and although I have no personal objection to that, there are several sections of the rules where these religious beliefs are rolled out in front of the reader as uncontested facts. I do find this mildly offensive - I paid for these rules after all, and when spending my money on something, I do not anticipate being subjected to proselytization without any forward warning. Like I said though, it doesn't ruin the rules, but it did rub me the wrong way.