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First look into Osprey's 'In Her Majesty's Name'

We received an advanced copy of the new Steampunk skirmish game from Osprey entitled "In Her Majesty's Name". I managed to skim over it during work.

The game is d10 based, which is cool. It's nice to see a game get away from d6. Turns are "My model, Your model". Attacking uses 1d10+skill+mods. Having seen the armor though, it will be VERY easy to hit. I didn't see anything resembling HP so I'm assuming it's 1 hit, 1 kill. Medics are in the game and can revive units if they get to them using normal movement within that turn. "Black magic" is in the game, which I assume is used by the Chinese faction. The Brits gets steam-tech / electro-tech. The tech does a variety of things, from adding pluses hit or damage, to teleporting you across the map. You must also charge them up after use. These items are also fairly heavy and will bog you down in battle, preventing you from running.

As well as blister packs and starter sets, they offer you the option to "create your own character". Several tables of equipment are provided along with their effectiveness and point cost. Want a steamhorse? You got it. There are also a handful of abilities to choose from.

As clean as the book places all the information, in order to make for an easy read, it is really uninformative about a lot of things. I couldn't find out about hit points anywhere. Combat rules are scattered. Combat is unclear. It mentions "Leadership" of a figure for roll-offs, but makes no mention about it, who has it, or any other information.

I look forward too seeing what this system has to offer. I'm sure it will do well in the market.

Comments

If it is a skirmish game most

If it is a skirmish game most models will only have a single hit point, like warmachine or Mordheim. I think the steampunk element may make it stand out above the rest, but I am yet to see how well a d10 system will work in a tabletio skirmish game. I feel there may be too much variation with a d10, though this could be taken into account with the armour value.

I just don't know though. With a 2d6+modifier system, an average warrior should hit another average warrior on an average roll. The d10 changes that and adds a huge chance element to the game. Sounds like equipment might be the make or break of the game.

Granted this is me just commenting on your statement without reading/knowing anything about the game, just years of experience playing tabletop wargames.

I had the same exact feelings

I had the same exact feelings about the 1d10, but didn't want to give an opinion; just a report. Armor is REALLY negligible from what I've seen. Heavy Coat gives, like, 10 armor. There are also "arc fire" weapons, which I think includes pistols, though I read that there are guns that can call down lightning for an AoE. "Fardalay coats" can protect from "Arc Fire" weapons, while regular armor does not.

Wow, what's the point of

Wow, what's the point of armour then?

Armor

Armor makes sure a bad roll is a bad roll. There are also modifiers, like firing into a crowd, or if the target is behind a bush or wall.

After being successfully hit, the downed character makes a "Pluck" roll using your Pluck stat. Your pluck stat can be anywhere from 6+ to 2+ (depending on the character). All you have to do is roll high and you shrug it off.

You can also make your own characters, so give your character 2+ pluck and you're impossible to kill. You have to pay big points for it though. That's the balance.

A little perspective :)

Hi Colonel,

Craig Cartmell here, one of the authors. I thought that I would pop in and discuss some of your concerns.

As you state it is relatively easy to hit if your target is standing still in the open. However, the moment that you or your target start moving things get a lot more difficult. If your target moved that is a -2 penalty, if he ran it's a -3 and if you moved it's a -4. Being in cover can also impose penalties of between -1 to -3. Charles is a shooter and I am ex-military so we put our actual experience into this :)

Of course there are positive modifiers that come from your skill, your choice of weapons and if your figure has any relevant Talents. For example a Military Rifle gives a +3, a British Rifleman has a Shooting Value of +2 and if he has the Marksman Talent he can ignore cover.

All this is balanced by the Pluck Roll, a measure of your toughness, faith in your cause and intestinal fortitude. As you said, if you are hit you make this roll to see if you can ignore it or if it takes you out of the game. A 2+ Pluck attribute may make you feel invulnerable but that doesn't take into account the number of weapons that impose Pluck penalties. These can nibble away at that invulnerability and as you say such a Pluck attribute comes at a considerable cost. I have seen very few playtests in which one or more of the 2+/3+ Leaders is not taken down.

We have found that effective fire can be deadly, but it is not the decider in most games. Good tactics is, with a wee smidgeon of luck ;)

The theme of the game is Victorian Science Fiction. So it is not full on steampunk. We wanted it grounded in the history and technology of the actual period but with a little twist from the contemporary VSF literature. So you still have the Lee-Metford Rifle and the C96 Mauser Machine Pistol - both quite deadly in trained hands, alongside Arc Weapons (based on the work of Nikola Tesla) which are short-ranged but ignore armour...

It was a period where most people still had a solid belief in the supernatural, spiritual and mystical. So we added a small range of Mystical Powers that a few companies can draw upon. Again, none of these is a game changer on its own. They are short-lived and usually short-ranged.

There are ten companies listed in the rules, with a number of variants for some of them. There is also, as you said, a fully-featured points system so that you can create your own companies. Once the rules are released we have an article lined up for the IHMN blog giving guidance on creating these.

We have worked hard to make the various factors balance across a game and have had a positive response from our playtesters. No-one has managed to find that unbeatable combo yet, though no doubt someone will. Honestly I don't care if they do. This game is aimed at players who want to play through a heroic story. The sort of game that you are regaling each other about your men's exploits in the pub afterwards.

Fingers crossed eh?

Cheers,
Craig.

sounds cool.

It sounds a lot cooler the way you explained it, than what I read from the book.

I DO have a question though... Can your whole army list be comprised of nothing but make-your-own characters or is there a set limit? If you can make all your own, does it bog down gameplay, having to memorize who does what ability, have this armor and that weapon?

Cool is as cool does...

There is no reral limit other than what you and your mates enjoy playing with. However, it is worth considering the following.

The points system was included so that people could develop their own lists. Along with the fact that there is at least twice as much equipment in the rulebook as is actually used by the included companies.

I have a detailed article in preparation to help people create usable companies of their own, but here is a summary to get you going...

1. Core design principles
Whatever you create it should be fun to play with and, just as importantly, against. Anyone can create an unbeatable killer force (the infamous W40K 'death-star'), but your fun will be limited to one game, then your opponents will just walk away.

2. The Theme
Every one of the companies we created began with a theme plucked from the period and literature. We then added that VSF twist and Robert's your mother's brother. A company without a theme is a bit pointless and will not be much fun to play with or against.

3. Leaders and Heroes
Every force needs a leader, so who are you going to choose? It could be a historical or fictional character, or a typical leader of the time (with that VSF twist of course). For example our British Army Rifle Company can be led by a generic Captain, or by the dashing Captain Napier.

4. The Poor Bloody Infantry
The rank and file, the men at your back, those brave chaps who fight and die for your leader and his missions. It can be hard to balance these so we recommend that you consider the standard Rifleman in the British Rifle Company list. Look at the ordinary foot sloggers in your list and consider would this chap be better than, equal to or less than a British Rifleman. Cheap and numerous can often be as effective as a few elites.

5. Specialists
Any good company needs the ability to face a broad range of challenges. This is where the specialists come in. These are the chaps who carry the special weapons or equipment, or have extraordinary talents or powers, but are not leaders. In the British Rifle Company it is the Sappers, the Royal Engineers with their Congreve Rocket Guns and other fun kit.

6. Arms and the man
It is always tempting to open the armoury, scoop it all out and dump it into your troops' backpacks. Think carefully about the figure's theme and role in the Company and then give it the most basic kit-out that suits that. You can always provide some other suitable kit in your Company's options list. In the British Rifle Company's options list there are Machine Guns, Grenades, Breath Preservers and various Talents on offer, such as Marksman or Tough.

7. Balancing it out
A balanced force has a primary leader, and perhaps a second in command so you can continue effectively should the leader fall. Then there are four to six troops and a couple of specialists. Some lists cannot be balanced like this because they rely on a mass of cheap troops led by a charismatic leader, or perhaps because they are an elite commando-style force.

A well-thought out company list can give you lots of fun and is worth exactly as much as you put into it.

Cheers,
Craig.

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