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Subject: The best miniature rules for ironclads rss

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Brian Morris
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I belong to a historical miniatures group. We play a variety of games ranging from Shako, Fire & Fury and Flames of War. I recently decided to try and add a bit of naval flavor to our game nights and being a Civil War buff decided to go with ironclads. The choice then becomes what rules set to use.

There are several different rule sets one can use for ironclads. Smoke on the Water is like the most well know and it has the advantage of being free for download online. However Smoke on the Water may not be a good choice for your group if what you are looking for is an accurate simulation. While SOTW is not a bad set of rules and plays quickly, it doesn't have the detail that Raiders & Blockaders offers.

In short Raiders & Blockaders is a Civil War Ironclads miniatures rule set made for miniatures of 1/600 and 1/1200 size. Titan MMP which publishes the rules also makes a series of 1/600 ship miniatures for the game.

The strength of the R&B ruleset is it's mixture of historical simulation with playability. So often in gaming one has to make a choice between something that's playable vs something that provides an accurate historical simulation of events. In this rule set you get both. Ships have such detail as gun size, damage to specific areas of the ship and speed in knots. At the same time the game runs along smoothly thanks to simple charts that are extremely easy to follow. In the first game my group played using the rules most players were computing their own firing within 3 turns of the start of combat.

R&B also has a very intuative movement system. No more fiddling with degrees for turning. The game uses instead movement wheels with 1 inch movement marks. Depending on your speed when you turn you place down one of 5 different wheels and move your ship along the outer edge of the wheel using the marks. A very simple and yet accurate way of dealing with the often fiddly problem of ships turning in miniature games.

One strength of the system are it's details. All areas of the Civil War ironclad era are covered with this rule system. Torpedoes (aka mines), ramming, mortar rafts, forts, magazine explosions and boarding. You can even send flaming cotton barges down the river at your opponent. It's all covered in the rules which are written clearly with good examples to help new players get up and running quickly.

Another great advantage to this system is the number of ships available. The designer of this game has created sheets for something in the area of 70 different ships! Most available for download free on the publisher's website. Not just ironclads like the USS Monitor, CSS Atlanta and USS Cairo but blockade runners like the CSS Robert E Lee and rams like the CSS General Price. There is no other miniature ironclad system that matches R&B in terms of numbers of ships available.

I truly believe this is the best ironclads rule set made. The rules play quickly and yet will satisfy even the most hardcore Civil War buff.

I rate this game a 10
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Chris Fawcett
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While I think there are some good elements in these rules, I would not go so far as to claim they are the best rules out there for ACW ironclads. Perhaps when the OP prepared his review there were no other rules out there, but now 7 years later there are, and Raiders & Blockaders is merely one of many rules set that are available.
 
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Tanks Alot
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Im looking for a good simple ruleset as well.. what are your thoughts on Iron & Oak Boardgame?
 
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Chris Fawcett
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Iron & Oak is a very abstract game on ACW ironclad combat, and may not satisfy those who are looking for a game that strikes a good balance between authenticity and playability. In my opinion, it falls a little too far on the side of simplicity, and the mechanic of using competitive dice rolls for everything in the game (including movement) may be off-putting to many.

I'm currently using Sail and Steam Navies as my go-to set of rules for ACW naval combat, as they seem to provide the right balance that I'm looking for.

http://www.deepfriedhappymice.com/html/rd_sail_and_steam_nav...

http://seanavalgazing.blogspot.com/2011/12/looking-at-rules-...

http://nhmgs.blogspot.com/2011/08/my-ironclad-gamble-sail-an...

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/sailandsteamnavies/info
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