Tuesday 13 May 2014

Chivalry, Part 5: Crossed Lances Grand Melée.

Well. I don't really know what to make of the second part of the first Crossed Lances rulebook.

As with the first part, this review is based solely on the assumption that I have understood the meaning of most sentences in this second part of the rules. I know for certain, that some I haven't understood. I'm pretty sure, some don't make any sense at all, but, please, prove me wrong!

I like the movement part, at least the use of the special movement hexes. However, I find it very strange, that a knight opting to make a charge in the first of 3 moves in a turn will have to be a sitting duck for the 2 reminding moves, having no more movement to spend, while the slower moving opponents can outmanouver him. Silly. Just silly.

Again, the (randomly chosen) shield/skill cards are not used to influence the results of the combat roll, but are, in conjunction with the lord/personality card, merely used to inflict some hit point damage. I have NO idea how this works, however, as the authors manage to give 3 (three) different explanations in as many pages.

  1. In 'the sequence of play' it is stated that 'the difference in 2 points are awarded to the winner and scored against the opponent'. I have no idea what this sentence means. Can somebody please help me out??
  2. In the 'Attain Strike' section, it is stated that: 'the winners scores 1 hit point for each +1 difference against his opponent'. Sounds as the logical solution?
  3. In the 'scoring points in the 'attain melée' section, it says: 'the winner scores 2 hit points for the skills over the opponents, and any that are equal are shared 1 hit each.'
Either this is VERY bad form (and some of it bad English, too), or I must have sunken into dementia...

I could just chose one of these (one that makes sense), but, again, remember, I paid £20 for these rules. A bit of clarity isn't too much to ask for, methinks...?

The actual detailed beating in skulls happen with the usual 2d6. It works a bit different than in the jousting rules, in that one dice is attack, and the other defense. Interesting mechanic! Ah, no, wait, that's the foot melée rules in the second book (I'll get back to that in another post). But why the authors have decided to NOT use this - perhaps the nicest feature in the two books in their entirety - for the mounted melée as well as the unmounted, totally eludes me.

Again, the chord snaps, as two different explanations are given:

  1. In the 'scoring points in the 'attain melée' section, it says that the highest roll scores 1 point, and then both results are checked on the attain melée table.
  2. In the following example, though, the winner scores 2 hit ponts - and only the higher roll is checked on the table.

Again, in my opinion, I shall have to make radical changes to the rules if they are to become playable.
  • For instance, I need players to be able to play 1, 2, or 3 movement cards every time they move. I'll probably add a rule, that a horse that has charged is 'blown', and may not charge again this turn.
  • Again, I also need more control over the skill cards, and have them influence the outcome of the dice roll.
  • I'll probably use the attack/defense dice system of the foot melée rules.
  • I'm not sure if I'll use the combat result tables at all, other than for the jousts. Maybe I'll create something based on the critical damage system of Strange Aeons.

It may well be that this game, being quite spectacular to look at when set up with spectator stands, tilts, archery range, et al, attracts a lot of players at conventions. It also very well may be that the players are having a good time when the authors are running tings, so they won't have to check any rules in the books.

I dare say though, that if the participants buy the rules and try to recreate the game at home, they'll have a really hard time doing so, as the rules are a real mess, badly writtten, hopelessly structured, and seem simply not edited at all.

I really regret having spent £40 (+ postage) on these two books, as it would probably have been much easier for me (and 40+ quid cheaper) to create my own rules from scratch, than to work these into something useable. But now I have them, and I'll see what I can do about it...

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