Liber Militum: Tercios

The latest ruleset to come under the KeepYourPowderDry microscope will be the last rules review for a wee while (until I purchase some more). The writers of the Spanish 30 Years Wars rules Liber Militum: Tercio have tweaked the rules so that they can be used for a number of other conflicts within the pike and shot period with the Kingdoms expansion booklet.

Described as a 'ruleset for large scale battles with miniatures set in the Thirty Years War' the rules have been translated into English. The publisher keeps changing website (currently Tercios Miniatures), and  has a  free slimmed down version of the game to download: Brevis Editio: Tercios

Finding a printed copy might need a little shopping around: North Star currently have the core rules book, but not the Kingdoms expansion. 

The rules are intended to be fast play so the basic mechanics are pretty simple. Turn order is alternated, and each turn consists of two elements: planning and action phases.

Units are allocated orders (Ready, Fire, Double, Assault, or Resist) denoted by cards placed for each unit. The Ready order, for example, allows movement, reforming, shooting (reduced effect) or a facing change if attacked. Interestingly whilst the order cards are illustrated in the rulebook I can't find, or recall, any being made available to purchase. A quick search of the web will bring up some fan produced cards in pdf format. Photocopiable cards are located in the Kingdoms expansion booklet.

horse statistics for the wars of the Three Kingdoms from the Kingdoms expansion

Actions are weighted to units that are attacking, rather than defending. Combat is resolved by throwing D6, followed by saving throws.

mechanisms are clearly explained and illustrated

Movement, shooting and fighting factors are reflected in 'advantage' or 'disadvantages', for example horse charging formed pike get a 'disadvantage'. These advantages and disadvantages affecting  the outcome of your charge/movement/attack.

Artillery does little damage but can soften the enemy up, allowing other troop types to exploit the disruption.

The Kingdoms expansion booklet introduces the Three Kingdoms (if Spanish writers can give the conflicts a more accurate name, why can't British ones?) and provides army lists, unit formations and statistics. 

The game is pretty quick to learn, having a stripped back Brevos edition as an introduction really helps. 

All in all an enjoyable game, the Brevis edition giving you a chance to try before you buy. There is nothing lost in translation with these rules, they read well, and game mechanisms are well written and explained.

Equipment needed:

  • tape measure
  • lots of D6
  • order cards
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