So, in conclusion, I’m sure Pikeman’s Lament will generate practical, enjoyable games that work on the tabletop. The couple of solo games I have played so far bear this out. But, I’m disappointed because I don’t think a lot of thought has gone into these rules. It is possible that the core mechanics from Lion Rampant are so good they can be transferred across historical/military ages unaltered, but I’m not convinced this is the case. I can fully understand the author’s motivation; you have a ‘winning’ mechanism which you can easily apply to a widening range of periods – so, just do it! Many rule writers have followed this path (e.g. the DBX series, or the Black Powder series etc.), but this can be a cul-de-sac and is a ‘sterile’ approach to game design. When playing large scale skirmish games of the Pike/Shot period, I don’t want to feel that it is just the Medieval Lion Rampant with different figures! The rules might work well but I want to ‘feel’ that I’m playing a different game, a different period, with different mechanics; otherwise where will it all end?
Grump over! I am actually looking forward to trialling Pikeman’s Lament in opposed games and getting my ECW skirmish figures on the table after a long absence. After a few games I will probably write a comparison with other rule sets which aim to cover a similar period at this scale (e.g. Donnybrook, Once Upon a Time in the West Country etc.). I might even get my Highlanders and/or pirates on the table as well!