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Great Escape Games

United Kingdom

Rules of Engagement
As Delivered

Long Review: Rules of Engagement is a new set of rules. Very new. So new, in fact, that they actually appeared ahead of schedule at Salute 2007, months before their intended release date. Of course, the question "why another set of WW2 rules?" has to come up. So. What do you get for your money? Well, I'll be honest. My first impression was "great, £25 for a set of rules that look like an amateur did them". Boy, was I wrong.
I corresponded with Mark and Stuart on one of the many forae I frequent, and was impressed by their enthusiasm, although I must admit that I found the price somewhat above what I'd expect to pay for "just rules". Compared to many other sets, these cost half as much (or more) again. Still, after having paid up at Salute, and having had opportunity to page through the book now, I can confidently say that I'm not at all disappointed. The book comes as a hard-cover A4 book similar in feel to a typical Games Workshop product- slick, neatly laid out, good quality paper and lots of eye candy in the form of period pictures as well as photos of wargames miniatures. It does, quoting an advert here in the UK, what it says on the can. The book contains the rules, several scenarios, orders of battle, a potted history of WW2 post-D-Day and a section on modelling. It is, in other words, a self-contained system. Admittedly there is room for expansions, but apparently these may/will end up being freebies off the GEG website. There are already a number of extras on the site to add further value to the cost.
First impressions really don't do the rules justice- the cover is very uninspiring as it looks like a not-very-talented painter's attempt at a WW2 scene. However, that said, the book compares very well with (love them or hate them) Games Workshop's Warhammer hardcover in terms of quality. In fact, they seem to have borrowed a large portion of the layout design from GW- introduction, rules, army lists, fluff and modelling guides are all standard GW bits. That said, the book is well-laid out, as the text remains legible at all times, and the illustrations used for the rules are clear and cover the described situations well enough. Another reason the book equates well with GW products is because the rules were written for use with mainly 28mm figures, although they will work equally well with other scales. The illustrations show figures from a number of leading manufacturers, but feature mainly Bolt Action Miniatures and Artizan Designs products- the authors have even teamed up with BAM to supply packs of figures tailored to the rules.
The rules are set at about platoon-level, with about 75 figures, possibly with some artillery or vehicle support, per side. A game is supposed to last about two to three hours on a 1.2m*1.8m table that has "loads" of terrain on it, which is about par for a game of this sort. Ranges are pretty much line of sight, although the effective ranges are somewhat less.
All of the die rolls are made with D6, and on occasion it's a "buckets o' dice" approach- again very similar to GW. All measurements are in cm, and the game is a basic IGO-UGO, with no major surprises anywhere in the rules. All the rules are familiar to a greater or lesser degree, and most have been borrowed from other sets. The good thing is that they all work in this mix, and the rules rely on you to use realistic tactics. There is no point system as such- each army has a "combat effectiveness rating", and additional support units are added to the main force to fill out the numbers. The extensive army lists also cater for the most exacting players.
The scenarios (10 of them) have been well-considered and are varied enough that you can just about game any sort of operation you may have read about in a good history of WW2. The scenarios also can include side missions, which allow a player to conduct a parallel mission and possibly turn a defeat into a draw...
In a nutshell, the rules are easy to learn as they are (mostly) familiar, so they are fun and easy to play. It should be a good set to introduce players to either wargaming in general, or WW2 in particular. The timeline from D-Day to Berlin is also suited pulling in newbies, who may only know WW2 from films/TV like Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan. Admittedly the lack of early war information will be a little annoying for those who favour this period, but, as mentioned earlier, GEG do suppor the rules well, and will be adding a lot of free content to the site- there is already an impressive amount of info there since Salute.
The fairly extensive, almost obligatory, hobby section covers everything a newbie might need, and even includes some useful tips for more experienced gamers/collectors. It covers things like preparing figures for painting, colour references, basing, terrain building and such.

Period:       WW2.
Scale:        28mm, but also works with 15-20mm.
Basing:      Vehicles and figures are based individually.
Contents:   120-page A-4 hardcover book with colour cover. Rules, army lists, history and modelling sections included.
Historical Accuracy: Average.
Sources: Purchased for own use, review discount applied.
Designer: Great Escape Games.
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