What's this? Thin A5 booklet of 'skirmish' rules written by Pete Berry? Haven't I recently reviewed a set of thin A5 skirmish rules written by Pete Berry? Well yes I have.
But these are slightly different from "Once Upon A Time In The West Country".
Whereas "Once Upon A Time" are for 1:1 skirmishes, "File Leader" is designed for slightly bigger engagements at 1:10. So you might field a troop of horse to take a bridge from a detachments of dragoons, and there may be up to 50 figures, in total, on the table.
Those of you who worry about basing requirements, well there aren't any.
If you have been around the block a bit, these rules will feel in many ways familiar. The morale tables are a direct copy of WRG 1685 - 1845 Rules. The move sequence is "I Go - You Go". Troop classification is entirely normal, with no fancy twists.
The firing system is simple and effective, but the close combat rules are a bit too labour intensive.
The combat effect system is a novelty, as a unit can elect not to lose figures by giving ground. If you press home your attack you will take casualties: if you aren't prepared to take casualties you can not win.
Then there is the infamous officer incidents: officer incidents are what give File Leader their character, for some these incidents might be deemed "too jokey" and immediately turn the player off. At the end of each move, officers roll to see if they have been involved in an incident - if they have, there are 60 potential incidents which vary in seriousness of death of the officer, and rout of his men to no effect whatsoever.
The rules are well written, even though hand to hand combat is clunky. A fun game.
A detachable card quick reference sheet is included in the centre of the booklet.
Second edition (1994) still available new from Caliver or OMM depending if you are on the correct side of the Atlantic or not.
- Measuring tape/ruler inches
- Some D6
- A D10