Overall, the rules give a decent game - so we were less concerned with the actual history on this occasion, hoping to find a set of rules that could ultimately be used for the American War of Independence (Black Powder).
Of course, with our positive experience with Maurice, there had to be comparisons - good and bad. Main points of discussion that came to light included:
- The Pike & Shotte / Black Powder rules are straight forward and lend themselves to using multiple players, unlike Maurice, which is pure player vs player (despite its attempts to be otherwise).
- Although a good read over the rules is required, they are eminently 'pickup-able' with some classic mechanisms - including those (sometimes) unfortunate 'characteristic' style additions which have found their way from warhammer style rules. This is no surprise considering the authors involved of course. I say unfortunate, as these little advantages seem to get forgotten mid game, unless you have multiple players to remember the respective benefits and bonuses of their individual units.
- I missed the card mechanic of Maurice; although the Black Powder rules have a command mechanism which can (and ultimately did) considerably restrict the freedom of movement of brigades and battalia and tried to restrict movement and command, it seemed more random than with Maurice - where most of the time your turn was based on resource management and the restrictions that go with it; a player could spend barrels of cards just to make one thing happen if desperate enough, at the expense of everything else. With Pike & Shotte, you face the blind luck of a command dice roll, with some modifiers - although a better commander will get to do more of what he wants.
- Although appearing basic, hand to hand combat and charging takes longer, and is less intuitive, than Maurice.
- One issue with Maurice sometimes is that it is so fast that units disappear very quickly, leaving an almost empty battlefield (see the Boyne game last year for instance) - but that's purely a visual issue. That doesn't happen with P&S, as mauled units can still stay on the table if they pass a break test.
Having said all that, it's still a decent set of rules and will require more testing/playing- especially so where the projected AWI games are concerned. Warlord Games also do excellent scenario books - something which is lacking for the Maurice rules.
And so to battle:
...until next time.