What scarce hobby-time I did have in the last year, I mostly spend on the playtesting of Aurelian, the new game of Sam Mustafa. It is his first ancients-game, and since I am a fierce fan of his rulesets and was drawn by these into both the Napoleonic Wars and even the ACW (periods I previously had fiercly denied to play for many years), this really was a treat for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
A very special aspect of it all was that I got to provide all the pictures - both for the rulebook (well, rule PDF really) and the unit tiles, which can be used as playing pieces.
So, in a sense, now everyone can play with my miniatures collection simply by using these unit tiles which even come as a free download.
For me, Aurelian has many strengths and not many weaknesses, and I really enjoy this game. Thus I have taken the time to plunge into a new aspect of modern hobby-communication and have done some viedos about it on youtube. You can see a little teaser here...
...and if you think you can enjoy it and bear my terrible pronounciation, you can watch the preparation...
... and the setup-procedure of the game.
Part three which will cover the turn sequence and the battle itself with shooting, moving and fighting. It is uploaded right as I write this, however, it may take some time until you can sse it as I have asked Sam to preview it first - just in case I made any mistakes.
To sum it up, here is what I like most about the game:
1) The Focus of the Period
Instead of the usual "Moses to Cortez" - aproach, the focus on a relatively short period of time really gives flavour to the game and is - in my oppinion - much more historically accurate then the "one size has to fit all" mechanisms of some other games.
After you've choosen and "bought" your army, it will recieve a personality by the addition of heroes, priests, experts or traitors. They really add character, fun - and unpredictability.
I've never before encountered a system that is so suited to mirror the increasing fatigue and loss of stamina of an army. After several rounds of fighting, your options will be limited and fighting results will decrease in quality. In most other games the chances of rolling high is unchanged from the beginning when the army is freshly deployed to the end when it is anxious, tired and demoralized. Not so in Aurelian - here you will experience the strain that's put on your troops by the gradual loss of your good cards.
4) Strategems and Interrupts
The cards also allow for the use of strategems - and for your opponent to undermine them. You can make plans, but they won't succeed all the time...
So the game is fast, fun and solidly based in history in a timeframe I really enjoy. As you can guess, this won't be the last post about it you'll read here.
At the moment I'm begging/annoying Sam to use a similar approach for the Crusades or even the Carthaginian Wars. Whether I succeed with that cunning scheme largely depends on the success of Aurelian - so do me and us all a big favor and buy the PDF ;-)
Best, see you soon,