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Flying Lead $8.00
Average Rating:4.5 / 5
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Flying Lead
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Flying Lead
Publisher: Ganesha Games
by Paul F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/30/2016 22:31:08

This rule set will be an excellent purchase for some gamers, but not for all.

It contains very clever ideas that build long range projectile weapons into the Song of Blades and Heroes engine beautifully.

However, Flying Lead is a tool kit you might take bits and pieces from, rather than a fully-defined game, and as a result it requires some interpretation. It works very well if one person sets up a scenario and squad lists ahead of time for a friendly, but it would never work competatively, or even in a pick-up game against a 'gamey' opponent. If you want something more clearly developed, other rule sets exist with the same scope.

This flexibility in Flying Lead, conversely, makes it well worth purchasing if you have time to tinker with it. Beyond writing scenarios with these rules alone, you can replace the shooting rules from Drums and Shakos (the nearest equivalent) with those from Flying Lead, allowing you to play American Civil War skirmishes very nicely. Doing the same with Song of Blades and Heroes allows for sci-fi games with guns and alien beasties.

Even when considering it as a tool-kit, though, Flying Lead doesn't feel as finished a product as other titles from Ganesha, as there are several ideas which are casually mentioned but never properly developed. For instance, rules for flamethrowers mention defence provided by "asbestos suit or other material with similar properties", but there are no rules or points values for such suits in the book or the 'builder' webpages (available at the Ganesha website). The 'better weapon' rules for melee combat include a long listing of weapons, but again with no further rules or points values, and in their place a reference to suppliments that never came (bar one). The inclusion of 'improvised weapons' on the list makes the enterprise seem RPG lite rather than wargame. Drums and Shakos uses the same 'better weapon' idea, but presents it less amorphously and with points values provided in its builder. Some of these loose ends could be fixed by fleshing out the Flying Lead builders, but some of it required more attention to detail or restraint of scope in writing of the book.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Flying Lead
Publisher: Ganesha Games
by Paul R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/28/2012 12:48:40

These rules are incredibly flexible and straightforward (for the most part). I prefer a little more detail, but for quick battles these rules are rock solid in my opinion and well worth the $$$ - especially for players just starting out with tabletop wargames.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Flying Lead
Publisher: Ganesha Games
by Dan P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/08/2012 15:43:49

Simple rules for a fun game. Adds a little more complexity to the SoSH rules but not too much. Like the added vehicle rules. I see a lot of potential for this game. Even though designing ones own scenarios is fairly simple I can't wait to see what else they have in store for these rules.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Flying Lead
Publisher: Ganesha Games
by Greg S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/13/2011 23:36:15

I've been playing Flying Lead for about 6 months now, and couldn't believe it when I saw that no-one had written a review yet. Best put that to right.

Flying Lead has become my go-to rules set for WWII and generic-ranged-combat miniatures games. I stumbled upon at a time when I was feeling burnt out by all the usual d6 based, your-turn-my-turn rules variants. I was looking for something different, and this is it.

The real beauty lies in the elegant simplicity of the unique initiative system. Rather than moving your men one after the other during your turn, then repeat for your opponent, you must "activate" each miniature individually during your turn by getting at least one success against his Quality score (usually 3 or 4) on a roll of 1-3 d6. Sounds easy enough, doesn't it? Also, the number of successes you get determines the number of actions he can take. But here's the catch - if you get two failures, the initiative passes to the other player. When the heat is on, you're stuck with the inevitable hard choice of "do I roll 1d6 to be sure that I don't lose the initiative, or do I take the risk and roll 2 or 3 so that I can do more stuff and try to turn the tide?". This initiative system is the simplest, most exciting and most engaging one I've come across - try and be too conservative, and you'll achieve nothing; be more aggressive, and you never know at what stage your plan will slip through your fingers. It really keeps you on your toes during the whole game, not just your turn.

Another facet of the rules that keeps you switched on is the way in which combats are resolved. All attacks are opposed rolls (ie you roll your attack, I roll mine, we compare results to determine the winner). So for melee, you attack me and I attack back, for ranged you shoot at me and I try to dodge - it lends a great feel of competing against the other player, rather than sitting back as he goes to town on you while you wait for your turn to reciprocate.

The rules are simple enough that they fit on a single page Quick Ref sheet and are easily absorbed after one game. The core rules are on the minimalist side and remain unobtrusive, but there are so many small options with which you can develop and personalise your warband (think Feats in 3rd Ed D&D) that you can make the game as crunchy as you like.

There are in game modifiers for all of the usual suspects - cover, armour, range - but these are consistent and easy to remember. Also represented are grenades, vehicles, leadership, group actions, overwatching, ambushes, medics - there really isn't anything that I wanted that got left out.

The book features sample warbands for historic and modern theatres, sci-fi, gangster, SWAT and pulp style action, as well as a section on building your own troop lists, scenarios and campaign play.

One caveat worth being aware of is that the rules as written call for the use of measuring sticks. This didn't really appeal to us, and we played for some time with tape measures, thinking that the sticks were a bit too simplistic or clunky. When we finally did give the sticks a go, we came to appreciate how much they facilitated quick and easy troop movements. (With even weapon ranges measured by stick, I recommend having a couple of double length ones on hand for each length - ie short, medium, long, short x2, medium x2, long x2 - with the half-way point marked out: range bands run to four or five stick lengths, and measuring this out one stick at a time tends to amplify inaccuracies). Just something to be aware of.

What didn't we like? The rules state that you can only move in a straight line; if you want to go around a corner, you need to make a second move action. This is too restrictive for my taste - we want to spend our actions doing cool stuff, not basic maneuvering - so we house ruled it (we even made some measuring sticks out of bendable pipe cleaners that you can bend to the shape of your move, lay at the foot of your mini, then just move him/her to the other end around the corner - easy!)

I've gone through over a dozen rules sets in the last eighteen months or so, and this one is the best. It is simple yet flavoursome, and quite unlike any that I've played before. Check it out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Nice idea with the double length measure sticks and the pipe cleaners measuring sticks. I will have to try that!
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