Sword & Spear is a set of wargames rules for Ancients and Medieval battles. They are suitable for any scale figures and any basing standard, the only requirement being that figures are organized into units of equal frontage. A typical game has around 8—15 units on each side, and games take around two to three hours. The rules are designed from a top-down perspective, focusing on outcomes rather than detail.
Sword & Spear features a clever and innovative system for activating units that creates interesting and challenging decisions, keeps both players involved at all times, and has a lot of depth and subtlety. Each turn is split into phases, where players each receive a number of action dice, which are rolled and then used to activate their units. The number shown on each dice determines which units can activate (with better quality units being easier to activate), what the unit can do when activated, and also determine the activation sequence. Certain dice also give bonuses to combat, movement distance, or shooting range. So there is a lot to think about, and allocating the action dice well is the key to success (although rolling lots of sixes helps as well!).
The rules are relatively straightforward, and there are no "to hit" tables, charts, or lists of dieroll modifiers. They can be played using only the one-sided Quick Reference Sheet, with very little reference to the rulebook after the first couple of games.
Army lists are available as free downloads online, covering a wide range of Ancient and Medieval armies. These include points for each unit, so that players can play relatively balanced games by building armies to a set points total. There are currently over 40 army lists, including many of the most popular armies, and more are being added each week, with the aim to have over 100 lists available. The rules also include guidelines to help in recreating historic battles, and there are three generic scenarios included as alternatives to the pitched battle.
The strengths of the game are that it gives an exciting, interesting and challenging experience, plays relatively quickly for the size of battle that is being depicted, and the rules are straightforward to learn, whilst having the depth to retain interest after repeated play.
- Sword & Spear: Wargames Rules for Ancient and Medieval Battles