Field of Glory: Renaissance

Next set of rules to come under the spotlight are Field of Glory Renaissance.  An interesting, and very different set of rules to those already reviewed here...

Field of Glory: Renaissance (henceforth FoG:R) come, unsurprisingly from the Field of Glory (FoG) stable Slytherine. FoG originally was an ancients ruleset developed by Slitherine and published by Osprey in 2008. Big hardback generic ancient rulebook with lots of supplements that give specific theatre/period armylists. These were quickly followed by Renaissance and Napoleonic (FoG:N) variants. 


Sounds familiar? The precursor of FoG was a series of rules from the Wargames Research Group called De Bellis Antiquitatis (DBA) - a set of ancients and medieval rules that spawned a whole host of variants and army list books including renaissance (DBR) and Napoleonics (DBN). The FoG games are very definitely the heir to the DBA games.

A standard set of game mechanisms, tweaked for specific periods would be utilised by the now defunct Warhammer Historicals; Warlord Games appear to have picked up the baton with the generic Black Powder, and its variants for renaissance and ancients/medievals.

All of the FoG variants are currently out of print but there are enough copies in circulation that they can easily be picked up second hand for anything between £15 and £50.

FoG and DBA are both *the* rules to use in competition gaming; so, whilst FoG:R is out of print, there is a very active rules forum, with errata, army lists and updates available in PDF format. I believe that a new version of FoG, FoG III, is now available as a physical book from Partizan Books. Will the variants get new printed versions?

The hardback core book is lavishly illustrated with Osprey artwork and figures in action photos

Slitherine have 'translated' some of the FoG games into computer games (more recent versions are very much in the style of a Risk/Age of Empires hybrid), with tabletop gaming becoming a second string to the company's bow. Slitherine have two ECW games - English Civil War, a tactical campaign level game, and Pike and Shot Campaigns (which is more of an Age of Empires animated battle game set in a campaign) has an ECW campaign.

The core rulebook of FoG:R is just that, a core set of rules covering everything 'early modern' from the Italian Wars through to the death of pikes and the rise of black powder (so pretty much late C15th through to the end of the C17th regardless of where it is in the world). There are rules for elephants and camels - something that hasn't appeared in any of the rules previously reviewed here.

As you would expect from rules that are regularly used for competition, they are very strict on basing, numbers of figures etc. As I am not remotely interested in competitive gaming I, as always, ignore these bits and plough my own furrow. Also, the rules are very prescriptive, these are very definitely not toolbox rules. If it isn't in the rules then you can't do it (again, as you would expect from rules that have been picked up for use on the  competition circuit).

The relevant army lists supplement for FoG:R is Wars of Religion 1610-1660. Which, unsurprisingly, is solely a book of army lists, there are no ECW specific rules or adaptations to the core rulebook.

The rules are fairly straightforward, and very well explained (which is where the comparison with DBA ends). Game mechanisms are further explained with copious diagrams. The rules are presented for 15mm sized figures, with alternative measurements/stats for 28mm figures.

Games are very dependent upon army lists, both sides fielding equal points. Camps are an important feature of the game, as they were in DBA. If you are familiar with any of the FoG games then you should pick up FoG:R relatively quickly, if you aren't, it does feel like an uphill slog to get on top of the rules (even though the rules are fairly straightforward).

Play turns are alternate, with five sequences per turns: impact, manoeuvre, shooting, melee, joint action. Expect lots of dice rolling, and even more table consultation. 

Not so much a quick reference sheet, more of a quick reference chapter, is included in the book.

Fans of the game are quite evangelical, but I have to confess that I have struggled to get along with both FoG:R and FoG:N. Sorry fans of the game, but neither game floated my boat; maybe because the rules do come across as very much competition orientated, which is just not for me.

Equipment needed:

  • ruler or tape measure (marked in mm, or inches)
  • 3 different colours of D6: 10 of one colour, 5 of each other colour
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