When I read about a new set of wargame rules coming out, I always hesitate. Unlike many people, I do not rush out to buy the newest thing just because “new” is cool. Actually, new isn’t always good. So when I heard about Sam Mustafa’s new wargame rules, Blűcher, I was cautiously interested. I really like the one base equals one brigade grand tactical scale for Napoleonic wargaming. I have played a lot of Volley & Bayonet, but the lack of meaningful command and control rules has always left me wanting more. I liked Grande Armee and Fast Play Grande Armee, but I could never seem to figure out how to integrate them into a campaign system given the nature of SP losses in the games. So Blűcher seemed liked what I was looking for, especially with the emphasis on campaign games.
In an earlier post I linked to some of the free downloads on Sam’s Honour Page for Blűcher. I downloaded all of these and read through them. My first impression was Blűcher uses the SP system from Might & Reason/Fast Play Grande Armee along with some ideas from LaSalle, as well as some new innovations. I couldn’t (and still can’t) see how better overall commanders impacts the command system, but I am sure it is probably somewhere in the rules or could be easily added in. The system seemed interesting, but I had some hesitations. I’ve reached the point where I hate to buy yet another set of wargame rules only to try it a few times and then discard them.
Then I heard about Sam’s podcasts about Blűcher. I thought I’d give them a listen. I found that Sam did a very good job explaining the basics of the game, and most importantly a lot about the design philosophy that went into the rules. The podcast was an explanation of the rules rather than a sales pitch. I’ve listened to the first three podcasts (all that have been posted as of December 6). The podcasts answered a few questions that I had, and therefore made me far more likely to purchase the rules. The rules seem to be about the right focus in scale, design concepts and complexity. They seem to be about a 5 on a complexity scale of 1-10 (low to high), but they are close enough to my ideal complexity of 6 or 7 for me to consider. That is refreshing as so many rule sets are now oriented to super fast play and very low complexity (and therefore super silly in my opinion).
If you want to hear the podcasts you can find them at: http://www.sammustafa.com/honour/category/podcast/
The first three have been about 20 minutes long. I felt like Sam had a good depth of discussion in them without getting bogged down in too many details. So take a listen if you are interested in learning more about Blűcher.