Yesterday I received my pre-order copy of "In Her Majesty's Name".
Like a bounder I tagged my order on to the shirt tails of those that had blazed their way through the fund raiser when there were only hours left before the fund raiser closed.
I would have loved to have spent a bit more to secure some of the figures, but there were out of my budget. I didn't want the figure packs on offer, rather the never to be sold figures only for those funding the project with higher payments could get.
Contenting myself with just the rule book I waited with anticipation for it to arrive.
Enough of my waffle - on to the review.
In Her Majesty's Name
The book is the same size of the Osprey Men at Arms series, so most readers will be familiar with the dimensions.
In total there are sixty four pages in the book, including contents and reference sheets.
The way the rules are laid out is a bit similar to some military publications, in that each section has a 'chapter' number, and each sub section is also numbered. Thus section one is divided into "1", "1.1", "1.2" and so on.
As you read through the rules any reference to another rule within an explanation also gives the numbered reference to the other rule as part of that explanation.
For example 3.2.2 Running mentions figures in certain armour types can not run. This sentence also has a reference number to the armour types mentioned by including (5.1) within the rule.
This makes it very easy to follow the logical progress of the rule and quickly find the following up section to fully understand the rule in question.
The rules are broken down into easy to read and understand sections.
The introduction includes standard information such as standard gaming conventions describing dice rolls and what you need to play.
Next comes a description of attributes for each figure within the game. As the game is not stat heavy this is far from taxing on the brain.
Following that is the core rule system itself, covering movement, shooting and melee.
The remainder of the book covers setting up a game, charts listing all the equipment stats for the game, pre-generated groups of adventurers (referred to as "companies' within the rules... not a business type company, but a band of fellow like minded chaps), scenarios, settings for your games and then the briefest of campaign notes.
As mentioned the rules are very easy to read and understand. Even though they might appear simple there is plenty of scope for tactics and rewarding clever thinking whilst playing a game.
One really good thing about this game is that each player doesn't need a lot of figures to play a game (between five and twenty figures per side is suggested) and a 3' x 3' playing area (that is roughly 91.5 centimetres for us metric types).
Designing your companies does have a point value system to prevent players from going potty and fielding 100 steam tanks against five newspaper boys but, unless you are playing against a complete bounder, gentlemen could dispense with the need for the use of points should they be so inclined. I for one will keep to the point value system, and I am one that normally hates points values.
Within the rules are notes for designing your own armour, weapons and mystic powers. This allows for players to add new aspects to the game.
What there isn't is a system for designing your own 'weird science' (read steam powered vehicles, weapons of confounded design or simple gadgets). Hopefully this will come out with the second book planned for the game, or failing that, a third book.
The campaign rules are very brief, but not hard to flesh out should a player feel the need to do so. Within the campaign rules is a system for advancing your intrepid heroes or adding new equipment or adventurers to your company should you feel the need.
Over all I think these are a great set of rules with enough flavour to capture the feel of Victorian Science Fiction / Steampunk.
And I think they will work nicely for a play by blog game... but not until I have finished the planned zombie game.
So, if you like VFS / Steampunk or are interested in it, I highly recommend the rules to anyone still wondering if they want to get them or not.
Now to order the figures I need for my first game.......