A recent blog post at ‘A Wargaming Odyssey’ (with a follow-up posting as well), brought the ruleset Te Wapen back to my attention. Te Wapen is a fantasy ruleset, heavily inspired by the game engine of Battlecry and Memoir 44, both excellent boardgames. I wrote these rules a couple of years ago, as part of my neverending quest for the perfect rules to fight fantasy battles with miniatures. This obsession started when I first read Lord of the Rings many moons ago, and over the years, as driven many of my miniature wargaming endeavours. Needless to say, I don’t think Warhammer is a ruleset that appeals to the needs of the discerning wargamer, but let us not open that can of proverbial worms.
Te Wapen (most recent rules, dated 2007, can be found on the Yahoo group) is actually fairly simple. It uses a hexgrid for movement and ranges, and the combat resolution is a direct derivative from the games mentioned above. The command and control mechanism went through some iterations, though. The original Battlecry gave the player some command cards, with which you could activate units. The next turn, those very same units could be activated again. This works well if all units are more or less the same in strength, but in fantasy games, where one unit can be a tiny battalion of goblins, and another a mighty dragon, this doesn’t work that well. Nothing stops a player from activating the dragon over and over again. Moreover, the Battlecry or Memoir 44 system also doesn’t work that well when each side has a different amount of units (e.g. in an attack-defence scenario), since it implies that units on the numerous weaker side get much more activations on average compared to units on the stronger side.
Hence, I started looking into alternatives: more cards per turn; activation counters with each unit (a unit cannot be activated again until everything else has), etc. Also, I had to find an alternative for the 3 fronts commonly used in Battlecry. Many scenarios do not adapt well to the three front battlefield.
The final version of the rules uses generals (each of a certain color, and partly inspired by Rudi Geudens’ variant rules), that can command any unit in their vicinity (replacing the three fronts), and a counter activation system that prevents activating units over and over again. This worked well, and I remember we played a couple of (very bloody) battles using these rules. If I would do the whole exercise all over again, I would probably look into the command&control system made popular by Blitzkrieg Commander or Warmaster.
However, in 2006, Battlelore was published, and development on Te Wapen sort of stopped. My own interest also shifted back towards more historical periods, resulting again in self-developed rulesets (ACW skirmish, Napoleonics, Infantry firefights), but I will keep a discussion of these for a future posting.