Lion Rampant / Dragon Rampant 'quick-play' skirmish wargame rules


Book Reviewer
Lion Rampant
Dragon Rampant

These rules are Osprey's fast play skirmish rules, designed for fun and ease of use rather than strict accuracy. Both mostly share the same rules, with options such as magic for the Dragon Rampant fantasy version.

If you know how DBA/HoTT operates then the basic method of creating units will be familiar. They are such categories a Missile Infantry, Skirmishers, Heavy Infantry and so on. Each unit is essentially fixed in terms of stats and cost, although there are a few options within each category to better model the type of troops you want to portray, so you might buy your heavy infantry some missiles ability, for example. Units have either 6 or 12 'lives' and these are removed as you take damage. They also have a morale value which is used exactly as you would expect. Units must pass an order test to actually implement the order they are given.

The rules are very simple and might be too simplistic for some. There is no reinforcing of melee, no ganging up with multiple units on one victim and no advantage to attacking from the flank or rear, for example. However, the rules do give a fun and fast game within half an hour or so and do reward careful use of your unit strengths and tactical ability.

One huge bonus for newcomers and veterans alike is the flexibility of portraying units. The rules suggest using a loose collection of figures, the number equating to the unit strength in 'lives' (6 or 12) and removing figures as casualties are taken. I prefer to base my units on large square or round bases (according to the type - 'regulars' look better on square) and keep track of the casualties. Like the old HoTT rules, what you use to portray your units is entirely up to you. I have armies using old Warhammer figures, Wars of the Roses figures and a plethora of old Airfix 1/76 and similar plastics such as the Ancient Britons and Romans, Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham, and the Atlantic Egyptians and Greeks, Trojans and Romans. I have also seen armies using Minions figures and some of the more bizarre 28mm ranges available.

My 13-year old picked up the game very quickly and was last seen pouring over the rules trying to build different armies. He bought and began to paint a set of Italieri Celtic Cavalry as a start. I doubt he will become a rabid gamer just yet as he lives with his mum many miles away and she doesn't like 'mess' so he won't be allowed to paint or strew toy soldiers all over the table. I can't see her allowing him to go to the local gaming club either. Oh well.

In short, these rules are a fun way to wargame on a budget. They require little set-up compared to most 'proper' gaming rules and are simple enough to act as a 'gateway drug' for those who have never gamed before. They are not the epitome of historical simulation, but that is not their aim. Many other, similar, rules are produced by Osprey, so many different periods are covered if medieval and pseudo-medieval fantasy are not for you.
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These are a cracking family of rules; there's a couple of other sets that use the base / core engine for other periods:
Pikemans Lament - Pike and Shot era
The Men Who Would Be Kings - 19th Century Colonial
Rebels and Patriots - American wars from FIW to ACW

I'm in the process of assembling a small Union skirmish force for the latter; a box of Perry plastics and a couple of blisters and away you go.

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