HORSE & MUSKET SERIES UPDATES
In 2017, Hollandspiele began publishing Sean Chick's ambitious Horse & Musket series – a flexible, adaptable sandbox game that intended to chart the evolution of military doctrine, technology, and tactics over the course of six main volumes and 120 scenarios covering battles both obscure and famous from the 1680s to 1860s. We've published three of those volumes, and are preparing to publish the fourth this June. We've also released a prequel volume, and in 2019 began a series of annual battle books with additional scenarios designed by fans.
The series has been a phenomenal success, and has a passionate and involved fanbase. Over the years, you've asked questions, made suggestions, and shared your experiences. This feedback has been on our minds during this last year especially, and has helped us identify ways in which the game system could be easier to approach, to learn, and to use. The production and development delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic gave us the space and time to give the series a facelift, and make some quality of life improvements that will allow it to put its best foot forward, and to expand its appeal and fanbase.
Effective May 2, 2021, we're going to stop taking orders for all Horse & Musket titles, until June, when we release the fourth main volume, Tides of Revolution, and relaunch the series as a whole. First, we'll go over what's different, and then, we'll explain how and when our early adopters can upgrade.
New Core Rulebook: We've rewritten the core rulebook to clarify the various ambiguities that have arisen, particularly those ambiguities that came out of the various Optional Rules. We've applied more consistent terminology. To make the game easier to get into, we've rated the base game scenarios for their difficulty, provided many additional historical notes to give context to design decisions, and provided an illustrated and comprehensive example of play.
New Counters: Units are identified with a new two-letter code in large typeface, making it more legible for gamers with imperfect eyesight. Counters now have a color indicator so as to increase accessibility for color-blindness, as well as a Volume indicator to ease in sorting. Victory point values are now printed on the counter. Charismatic leaders are marked as such on their counter.
New Player Aids: New gatefold PACs for each title – including, at last, the base game – will provide a more comprehensive list of actions and their costs, DRMs for the various kinds of combat and morale checks, and other reminders. The Battle Charts and Terrain Effects Chart have a new streamlined presentation that is more intuitive and accessible for wargamers both new and seasoned.
New Scenario Books: Every scenario diagram has been redone from scratch, and will now include most of the unit set-up information as part of the diagram itself. No more going through long lists of hexes and units every time you want to set something up. This visual approach will also make it easier to browse the dozens of scenarios and determine, at a glance, the essential nature of the situation.
Easier Storage: The base game box is, to put it mildly, a bit overstuffed. To make it easier to close the lid, we're shipping the base game out in TWO boxes bundled together.
As you can see, we are essentially re-doing everything that comes in the box for every title. This means that we can't really provide a simple "upgrade kit", especially given our razor-thin margins. At the same time, we want to try and do right by those folks who already own previous titles, and who enabled the series' success.
Want the new rulebook? The new core rulebook will be in the box for all copies of Volume IV, Tides of Revolution. That book will also be available for free download via BGG.
Want the new countersheets? Later in the summer, we'll be offering Horse & Musket Annual 3 ($20). Simultaneous with that release, we'll be offering the Horse & Musket Countersheet Upgrade Bundle ($60). This contains all six countersheets for the first three volumes plus Horse & Matchlock, and a copy of the same Horse & Musket Annual 3. If you want the new counters, and are going to be getting Annual 3 anyway, this is your best bet. Unfortunately, we can't really provide new sheets for only one or two of the games.
Want new scenario books and PACs? Send us an email with some proof of purchase (order number works great), and we'll send you free digital copies of the scenario books and Player Aids. If you want physical copies, well, we're not offering that through our website, but if you email us and can use PayPal, we can arrange a special order.
Is upgrading necessary? Not really! This is mostly an aesthetic/accessibility upgrade to make the game easier to play and to learn. I say "mostly" because there have been some minor balance tweaks made for 34 of the 122 published scenarios. Those are provided below, so upgrading really is optional.
Killicrankie: British have Inferior Infantry.
Fleurus: Grand Alliance wins if they get 5 VP, or avoid enemy victory.
Aughrim: Game length is 16 turns.
Neerwinden: Grand Alliance wins if they get 5 VP. River hexes now run through hexes L3, M5, K7, J8, J9.
Klissow: Game length is 15 turns.
Blenheim: Bourbons win if they get 5 VP.
Turin: Bourbons win if they get 5 VP or avoid enemy victory.
Almansa: Grand Alliance wins if they get 4 VP.
Poltava: Russian baseline CAP is 0 for the first three turns.
Villavicoisa: Game length is 16 turns. Bourbon baseline CAP is 4.
Samarra: Game length is 15 turns.
San Pietro: Game length is 12 turns.
Ogoula Tchetoka: Bourbon baseline CAP is 4.
Karnal: Game length is 16 turns.
Mollwitz: Game length is 14 turns. Austrian baseline CAP is 4.
Chotusitz: Game length is 16 turns.
Fontenoy: Bourbons win if they get 6 VP.
Prestonpans: British have Inferior Infantry.
Soor: Game length is 14 turns.
Kesseldorf: Leader Grunne (1) should be Elverfeldt (1). Not really a balance tweak, since they're both the same generic leader counter, but wanted to make it right for all those Elverfeldt fans out there.
Monongahela: Native troops roll 1 extra die when Firing from Woods.
Lake George: French win if they get 5 VP.
Leuthen: Austrians win if they get 4 VP.
Fort Carillon: Every two entrenchment hexes not occupied by the French give the British 1 conditional VP.
Kunersdorf: Both sides need 6 VP to win.
Ramillies: Grand Alliance wins if they get 5 VP. Bourbons win if they get 6 VP, or avoid Grand Alliance victory.
Fort Rosalie: Towns/Forts occupied by French at set-up are worth 1 VP to the Natchez if they are vacated or Natchez-occupied.
Falkirk: Due to rain, Infantry roll one less die in all kinds of combat.
First Newbury: Game length is 14 turns.
Marston Moor: Parliament wins if they get 8 VP. Stuarts win if they get 8 VP, or avoid Parliamentary victory.
Auldearn: Stuarts win if they get 5 VP. If neither side wins, both lose.
Naseby: Both sides need 7 VP to win, and both sides have baseline CAP of 6.
Seneffe: Bourbons win if they get 6 VP. Dutch Alliance wins if they get 6 VP, or avoid Bourbon victory.
Dunbar: Scottish have Inferior Infantry.
Inverkeithing: Game length is 10 turns.
Gemauerthof: Russians win if they get 4 VP.