Pike and Shotte: Epic Battles Version

Along with their new range of 'true15mm' Epic sized figures for the Wars of the Three Kingdoms/Thirty Years War, there's also a new version of the Pike and Shotte rulebook. Let's take a look inside and see what is different...

The young pretender

Now before I begin, what do I expect from the new rulebook? Different pictures, layout, distances (movement and ranges), the errata and some of the 'new' rules from the supplements being incorporated into the main body of the rules. What don't I expect? A major revamp of the rules. They ain't broke, they don't really need fixing. The odd tweak maybe, but nothing major. 

The original, and still the best?

The most obvious differences are size and price. The original rules are hardback A4-ish sized and cost £35 (supplements are an extra £25 each). The Epic version, A5-ish, softback and £22.

A different cover, in keeping with the Epic box set artwork, and the photos of beautiful set pieces of 28mm sized miniatures have all been replaced by photos featuring the Epic range. But is that it, are the Epic rules just a shrunk down version of the hardback with different photos?

New piccies featuring the Epic range

The introductions to both books are completely different, gone are the broad sweeping descriptions of the different conflicts of the 'pike and shotte period', replaced by a much more W3K/30YW Epic-centric approach. Very understandable, considering that these 'new' rules are included in the big box sets.

On to the rules themselves: they have been rewritten, but are essentially the same; the biggest difference is that traditional units of foot are now made up of combined pike and shot, rather than counted as separate units operating together. I've yet to get my head fully around this shift, so I shall update this bit with an appraisal of how this new tweak changes the game play (this was my main stumbling block with the original rules).

You can read my review of the original version of Pike and Shotte here.

Now the bit I struggle with. The original rules were primarily written for 28mm sized figures, those of us who used the original rules with our 'not-28mm' figures invariably just swapped inches to centimetres to keep things simple (it is even suggested in the rules on p204). This new version is aimed squarely at Epic size/true 15mm, but there has been no change to movement distances or firing ranges - they are exactly the same as the original rules. 

What is included from the supplements, and is anything thrown out from the original rulebook?

Apologies I don't have a copy of the Devil's Playground supplement, so I'm unable to comment upon the 30YW lists and rules.

It's inevitable that the pruning shears fall heaviest on the conflicts not currently covered by the figure releases: so out go the Italian Wars , Tudor, and Sun King army lists.

The siege rules from To Kill A King have been included and appear to have been expanded; arson now comes into play! 

The extensive W3K army lists have also been included (I presume the same can be said for the 30YW ones too). The scenarios, however, did not make it into the new rules.

Worth buying if you don't have Epic based figures?

I'd say that this version is better than the original rules. The A5 size feels good in the hand, but I do wonder how long the binding will survive in comparison to the hardback version.  Quick reference sheets are included, but visit the Warlord site to download and print original A4 quick reference sheets (they are easier to read, and include the blunder table missing from the Epic QR sheet).

This is a bit of a bargain - £22 instead of £35 + the majority of the two £25 supplements too. If you already own the A4 version and supplements, I wouldn't rush out to buy a copy though (although if you see a cheap copy on a certain online auction site, it might be worth it - depending upon how cheap it is...).

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