War game rules are a very personal thing. There are numerous sets of rules out there. Which rules we use with our miniature figures are a deeply personal thing and reflex a lot about us and how we view our games. It is also something I feel that is great about this hobby of ours. There is something for everyone. Find a set of rules that appeal to you and how you would like the game to play. Stick to them, learn them and enjoy the game.
I will state right off I am a big fan of certain types of rules. Here is what I look for in a rules set.
I like simple rules, but with a twist. Mechanisms which create challenges. You do not need complex rules to do this. I am thinking of the one brain cells types. The Disorganization Points (DP) in "Loose Files and American Files" represent a variety of problems to a battalion. They effect fire power and morale much better then complex math formulas. A simple move first and fire second or fire first and move second also makes for numerous command problems for a player.
I like regiments to look like regiments. They should have a good number of figures arrayed in two ranks with regimental colors in the center of the battalion. A most noble sight! It is important to me that that a group of colorful miniature soldiers represents such and such a regiment. The history of that regiment, and what it did in real life means something to me. There is often a reason why I paint the regiments I paint. After all its why we read and research our chosen periods of time. Otherwise we could spray paint our figures and he done with it. And I like to command regiments and brigade. I enjoy that of game rather then higher command. The rules Volley and Bayonet are a wonderful set and are a fantastic game. But I cannot relate to the units on the table. It is too abstract for me. I am happy to play them, but I will not be investing my time and energy bin creating armies for them. My happy place in miniature wargames is a lower level of command. Find your level or type of game.
I want a game I can play in a evening and gives a period "feel" for the time period played. For my Crimean War Rules I want the British to act like British and Russians to be Russians. I want to have fun, throw lots of dice and occasionally have battalions collapse and run away. I would like the game to come to a conclusion in a reasonable amount of time.
In addition, I view my miniature games through the experience of my days in the reenactment community. My miniatures are dressed alike in as correct uniforms as I can research. But they, like many reenactment regiments are more uniformed and parade ground then in reality. Regiments advanced across fields and had to stop to dress ranks and restore order. Men tripped over branches or small holes, got hung up going over fences or fell out when winded. Weapons misfired and needed to be cleared. Regiments needed to be halted and ranks dressed before advancing again. These are things I think about when moving my battalions. Do the game mechanics on my table top rules reflex this? I have read and studied the period manuals and use these. But the experience of being in a 100 plus man "regiments" also effects my thinking. Far too often regiments can do things in the table top they could not do in real life.
I find that individuals who have been in reenactment units view the game and rules in a slightly different vain then pure gamers. They get into what the regiments on the table are doing far more then playing a set of rules. They get into the spirit of the game if it is historically correct. Send the Light Brigade down the valley against the Russian guns? Well if That is my orders, here goes the last of the Brudenells old boy.
Groups like HMGS talk about recruiting for the hobby of historical wargaming. my understanding it was created to do so after historical wargamers were marginalized at some conventions. Many members of this organization feel this should be done by converting fantasy gamers. Hence the increased number of fantasy games at a historical wargamer convention. I have always felt there is a bond between reenactors and miniature wargamers. Something that HMGS has not explored enough to their benefit. What to I mean? In August 1976 at the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Long Island two wargamers showed up and sold copies of their rule set "1776". A bunch of us participating at that reenactment bought those rules. A number of us are still playing miniature wargamers today. For myself I had long been interested in miniature wargames, I had bought figures But was at a loss how to play. These were the first serious rules I bought and we played them for a very long time.
So here are The rules I use for my games. I will described why I liked them and how they play. If they sound interesting please do try them. I would enjoy to hear how you found them. If you already play any of them I would enjoy hearing how you play them and modifications or house rules.