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Squad Hammer Core
Publisher: Nordic Weasel Games
by Tim G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/19/2019 19:34:34

I own many of the "Hammer" products. It's a fun and easy game system to learn. And this Core version is the cleanest version to date. Even if you own some of the other Hammer products, I'd still recommned it.

If you're new to Squad Hammer: At first glance, it might seem simplistic, but there is a fair amount of subtilty. You need to soften up an enemy unit in cover, but long range shooting probably won't shift it out of a defended position -- you'll need to get up close and personal for that. in other words, the rules encourage realistic tactics without a massive amount of rules. A combination which many/most rules are not able to achieve.

I also want to make special mention of the layout and design. Nordic Weasel has in the past had fairly simple layouts for their products (which I actually appreciated since I like to print out my pdf's). However, this product sees a much slicker presentation with photos illustrating the rules and a very nice quick-reference sheet. But it won't kill you printer cartridge either.

Well worth the suggested pay-what-you-want price. Looking forward to seeing what Nordic Weasel does with the Squad Hammer system!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Squad Hammer Core
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Scum of the Earth. Black Powder gaming for the rest of us.
Publisher: Nordic Weasel Games
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/15/2017 11:34:24

The game is intended to use just a handful of miniatures so that you can break out some of your figures that have been collecting dust or explore a period without having to invest large amounts of time and money. For example, an infantry unit consists of six individually-based figures.

The rules only take up about 24 of the rule's 67 pages. The rest are optional rules including campaign rules and some tools/inspiration for developing scenarios. The rules are straight forward. It is generally an I-Go-You-Go turn sequence, but there are opportunities for the passive side to interrupt the active side. Shooting and hand-to-hand combat use opposed rolls. The results of these rolls incorporate disorder and units breaking as well as casualties. This makes for a quick game and one that is visually appealing – Shaken units can be shown by a staggered line while broken units are represented by a mob of figures skulking at the rear.

Overall, I enjoyed the game. It was quick to learn the basics, but there are definitely some tactics that will increase your chances of success – like shooting at a unit twice in the same turn. If you don't concentrate your fire, it is hard to drive enemy troops from the field. However, all things being equal, that is probably a realistic result and actually models a black powder firefight pretty well.

Another thing that became clear by the end of the game was that two forces simply marching forward and exchanging volleys until one side breaks would become stale fairly quickly. That is, the rules are so straight forward there is little "rules-gamesmanship" to engage in. But this is a good thing as it encourages players to have the proper historical mindset. Real life soldiers would not have been thing about maximizing modifiers. Moreover, it makes scenarios and campaigns worthwhile – almost a necessity. And to his credit, Ivan has included some nice scenario generating tables and campaign rules.

The only area that seemed a little off to me was that units could move and fire in the same turn without any ill effects (This is probably because I'm so used to that type of mechanic and not because of any particular knowledge of black powder warfare). And I don't think is would break the game to have units give up their movement to "reload." Indeed, I think it might add to the tactical challenge. I will definitely be trying this house rule out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Scum of the Earth. Black Powder gaming for the rest of us.
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Last Era. Big fantasy skirmishes
Publisher: Nordic Weasel Games
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/13/2016 21:30:06

Last era is a solid game. The mechanics are straight-forward, and may seem overly simple at first glance. However, there are 20 special rules which can add a lot of nice character to the game’s simple stat line. And the combat results and morale rules subtlety reward using appropriate ancient/medieval tactics. Indeed, I’m planning to try the rules out for some historical battles as well as fantasy.

As an added bonus, the background/world-building given, while brief, is pretty interesting, and I think it can be great inspiration for scenario building.

The army list included contains a mix of troops from several different factions and aren’t really complete by themselves. But many new troop types have already been published in the expansions with the promise of more. So, this is less of an issue.

Overall, I feel I received a lot of value for the money, and I’m looking forward to the continued support for the game.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Last Era. Big fantasy skirmishes
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Creator Reply:
Thank you for sharing and I am glad you found the rules to be of value. Let me know how you get on with a historical variant. In the future, there will be more troop types that can \"double up\" as historical types, but i am not 100% certain where they\'ll fall in the timeline.
All For Me Grog
Publisher: Mount Zion Press
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/10/2016 17:09:54

All For Me Grog is an excellent game for recreating books like Treasure Island and movies like Errol Flynn’s Captain Blood. The layout is clean and uses the artwork of Howard Pyle which wonderfully reflects/sets the mood of the game. The book also includes many, very helpful, examples. At thirty-six pages, it is a slim volume, but it packs a lot into its pages.

The game uses a dice pool mechanic for all actions. All rolls that come up even are successes. This allows you to use use a variety of polyhedral dice. Indeed, the author suggests using a variety of ice/jewel colored dice, or even coins or “doubloons” to add some atmosphere to the game. The pool is a combination of the characters attributes, vocations (skills), and embellishments (unique items). The pool has an upper limit which varies based on a character’s current “Salt” - an abstract measure of the character’s physical and mental health. I found this to be a wonderful mechanic to keep the size of the dice pools reasonable and to show that being wounded by a cutlass would slow a person down.

The basic mechanic is simple and solid, and could be used for many other types of cinematic action rpg’s. Where All For Me Grog really shines is in its integration of ship-to-ship actions with character actions. To sum up, ships are basically a type of character. This allows players to go from seeing the white sails of an enemy ship on the horizon, to swinging onto the enemy’s deck and dueling the enemy captain seamlessly. Ship-to-ship battles aren’t separate rules - they are part of the core mechanics where characters can use their skills and abilities to affect the outcome of the naval battle. And this is pretty key if you want to play a cinematic, Hollywood-style, pirate game. That is, the ship-to-ship rules aren’t really meant to stand alone. Rather, they’re there to provide a dramatic prelude to the real action - fighting hand-to-hand on a galleon’s deck.

A couple reservations. First, the game provides a random generator of pirate names, ship names, locations, and treasures. I wish the author had gone just a little bit further to tie these lists together into a scenario/adventure generator. But this is a minor quibble. Second, the game assumes the players are experienced gamers. In particular, the results for non-combat actions are really left up to the players to negotiate. This isn’t a fault, just something that may or may not be your cup of tea - or rather grog.

Overall, a very simple, but flavorful, pirate game that I’d definitely recommend.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
All For Me Grog
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