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The Acrid Smell of Powder early version
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The Acrid Smell of Powder early version

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Welcome to The Acrid Smell of Powder - Mass skirmish rules for black powder warfare.

What is Mass Skirmish ? It's "1 figure equals 1 soldier" warfare but on a grander scale than the norm. 

Written to be usable with any figures based 3-5 to a stand, you can grab your miniatures based for games like Fire&Fury and put them right on the table in a "what you see is what you get" skirmish fight, using close to realistic weapon ranges.

The rules use a creative Initiative Dice system, adding uncertainty to what your troops can do each turn, without ever wrestling control away from the player completely. 

Combat is handled through the popular FiveCore system using a combination of "kill dice" and "shock dice" to resolve a volley of fire in a single dice roll, without looking up modifiers: Simply roll and you know if you hit them and if they are retreating.

The close combat system attempts to portray the importance of morale and the relative rarity of hand-to-hand fighting: A well disciplined unit may be able to break through the enemy line simply by a determined advance. . . if they stand up to the enemy volleys that is. 

We round out the mechanics on offer with the "Flow of Battle" table, representing that your action is part of a greater battle: Flanks are menaced by cavalry, infantry columns advance and the skirmish lines are reinforced from the line.

Of course should you wish to follow your skirmish company across multiple battles, we've provided for that opportunity as well.

Mechanics are included for repeating and rifled weapons, allowing you to use the rules from the 7 Years War all the way to the Franco Prussian war (and possibly beyond).

It is my sincerest hope that you will find The Acrid Smell of Powder to be a refreshing take on "mass skirmish" warfare in the age of black powder weaponry.

* * * * *

Each troop stand represents 3-5 individual soldiers.

A good starting battle might require 15-25 troop stands per side, plus a few individual leader figures.

Options are provided for scaling up to quite large battles. Who said skirmishing had to be about 7 guys searching for a bag of potatoes?

* * * * *

This is an Early Version of the rules. 

The core mechanics are fully operational though they will of course benefit from additional testing and tweaking.

The full version is anticipated to add: 

*Set-up instructions for randomized battles. 

*Random army generation tables.

*At least a rudimentary points system.

*Promotion system for your leaders.

*A bunch of optional rules, variants, rules for special troop types, early machine guns and all that jazz.

*Illustrations, more examples and more general goodies. 

Most of these items are already completed, but i decided that it would be better to get the core rules out there in the wilderness for players to chop apart.

That way, the core engine can be fine-tuned as much as possible, before adding all the chrome.

We've endeavoured to make the Early Version as complete a game as possible. It is a complete game that you could get many hours of enjoyment out of.

* * * * *

If you purchase the Early Version, when the full version is released, you will be able to get it by only paying HALF the difference in final price. 

Not bad eh ? 

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Reviews (0)
Discussions (4)
Customer avatar
Nigel T September 23, 2018 10:17 pm UTC
Any timeframe for the final system. Some clever ideas here.
Customer avatar
Nigel T July 14, 2018 7:34 pm UTC
Hi had a test game today - played really well, but question re run away, and rallying, does a unit that is forced to run away just stop once it’s completed it’s action and stay there and can be activated with a dice the following more OR can it do nothing until rallied or runs away again. I may be misunderstanding the rally idea is it only an attempt to recover a stand if you fail the test does anything happen? Lastly when will full set be coming out.
Customer avatar
Ivan S July 16, 2018 5:53 pm UTC
Glad you had a good time!

Yeah, it's a bit different from other games and probably needs to be explained better in the final version.

The run away move is a one-time event: The unit stops once they've put some distance between them and the threat.

Rallying lets you "recover" troops (picking up stragglers and berating the men until they form a proper line again). Failing just means nothing happens.

Full version is going to be a little bit unfortunately, but I am working on it.
Customer avatar
Russell C June 18, 2018 7:10 am UTC
Can I lead my skirmishers against a formed line of battle?
Customer avatar
Ivan S June 18, 2018 5:43 pm UTC
Since there's no abstractions at play: Everything is 1 to 1 scale, at the moment the game focuses just on fights between the skirmishers themselves.

There are events in the game that simulate the advance or retreat of the main lines but for the moment, the actual action is skirmish only.

Hope that helps!
Customer avatar
Michael S April 16, 2018 1:10 pm UTC
I have almost all of your other works and based on them decided to give this title a spin. On a quick first read, this has some interesting concepts. Will have to dig out some miniatures and give these rules a try. Really looking forward to the full version. Any release date and cost projections?
Customer avatar
Ivan S April 16, 2018 8:34 pm UTC
Cheers and thank you!

I want this to be a big, beefy book with a lot of options and material, so I am expecting the final book to be 15 dollars.

If you bought it early, you'll get it at half the difference of what you already paid (so3 bucks or so).

Im hoping about a month for the full version as a lot of material is already mostly finished, but it may be pushed out if fan feedback yields any big revelations or suggestions.
Customer avatar
Michael S April 16, 2018 11:29 pm UTC
Sounds great. BTW how does this relate to your Scum of the Earth and Powder & Bayonets games? Hope you are looking at providing some sample units in the final version as examples of what can be done with these rules. Regardless $$ waiting for release of full version.
Customer avatar
Ivan S April 17, 2018 12:28 am UTC
Scum of the Earth is heavily abstracted in that your units don't really represent anything in particular. You might say they are battalions (f.x.) but it's not really specific.

The goal here is to be a complete 1-to-1 game: If you see a unit of 5 stands of figures with 3 figures on each stand, that's 15 men.

That carries through to ground scale as well.

Yeah, we're going to have a number of pre-made units for at least the main history periods. Not sure what the actual count will be though.
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File Last Updated:
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This title was added to our catalog on April 10, 2018.