Sunday, 12 February 2017


of the earth!

The Duke of Wellington having a ponder
I too have been pondering but not in a picturesque setting. I have been reading the beta version of Scum of the Earth by Nordic Weasel. I don't think this game is a derivative of their earlier Starport Scum skirmish games and it looks like a new system to me, although familiarly weaseley (and don't ask me about the stoat joke again!).
The French system of conscription brings together a fair sample of all classes; ours is composed of the scum of the earth — the mere scum of the earth. It is only wonderful that we should be able to make so much out of them afterwards. 
Duke of Wellington speaking about soldiers in the British Army, 4 November 1813
I'm assuming the title comes from the Duke's famous saying and the game is, of course, about black powder warfare (broadly Napoleonic Wars to the Crimea).

I have to say that I really like this system. The key things are that it is simple, has clever mechanics, low rules overheads and is very, very small. One important thing is that, like the Rampant/Lament system, it allows you to play battles which are not just skirmishes with a couple of bods. But, as it says in the rules, this will look just like Sharpe on the telly.

Broad outline of the game:

  • Played on a 24" by 24" board (DBA sized!).
  • 3-5 units a side, 6 infantry figures or 3 cavalrymen per unit or one gun per artillery unit.
  • Unit can have traits (including scum so watch for looting!) and characters (musicians) which impact on movement or combat.
  • There are leaders (on white horses) who inspire courage tests and combat results.
  • There are simple basic formations, but no facing (yet).
  • IgoUgo with rolling for initiative each turn.
  • Units attempt to roll for movement (d6 plus a modifier e.g. 3 for cavalry) and the total is the move in inches.
  • Crossing bad going or obstacles requires a minimum score on the movement die.
  • Scoring 0 on the d6 (modified or natural) allows the enemy a reaction move by one unit.
  • After movement there is artillery fire, infantry fire and close combat.
  • The attacker fires a volley (d6 plus modifiers) and the defender rolls a d6 (plus modifiers) to see if it withstands the fire or is shaken and retreats with losses.
  • Melee is a similar d6 plus modifiers comparison.
The beta version contains only the basics so far and is not yet complete. It does look very promising though. The reason for this being that it will fit on a six by six hex grid and therefore can be used with the OHW scenarios! I feel a hex grid conversion coming on!!!!


Kaptain Kobold said...

Sounds similar in scale to Sharp Practice.

Do the formations mean that units have to be made up of individual figures (in order to depict them), or is it possible to play with single-base units? Since most of my troops for this period are based on elements, this is kind of a deal-breaker for me on any game.

Ivan Sorensen said...

Cheers, author-bloke here.

If you put a little die next to them to track figure loss, you'll do fine.
You'd have to keep track of who is in what formation, but black powder gamers are used to doing that anyways and units are in a regular line most of the time.

The figures are removed to show loss of cohesion, rather than casualties as such, so using single-base would probably look more accurate.

Hope that helps!

If you're not sure, you can grab it for zero dollars, then if you like it, you can always re-buy for a few bucks should you be so inclined.

Maff said...

Hi Both
Glad you like the rules.....yes, the title is a direct reference to The Peer's comment. Single elements? Well, it was written with single figures in mind because that's what I have but.....I can't see why it won't work. You'd have to mark formation and keep a note of casualties but that's not hugely onerous. You may want to have the odd single figure handy though because the full version will have a mechanic for heroes - who can influence units or dash off to do heroic stuff - the problem being that they may need to resolve a complication. So a scarred captain of the 95th may be sent over to bolster the defences of the farm - but on the way the provost mistakes him for a French spy. That's still being hammered out but I thought you might appreciate the gen.
Again thanks for the feedback

Old Trousers said...

Thanks for the comments guys. Most of my stuff is small scale and based in units so I'm planning to quickly paint up some 20mm plastics to use these rules. I'm also thinking of using 3, 2, 1 basing as has been suggested for Pikeman's Lament. Cheers


Kaptain Kobold said...

I tried it out and blogged it (and paid money for it too :) )

It ran and looked good with my 6mm South American Wars of Liberation stuff. I may try it with my paper figures at some stage as well, hence the question about single-base units. I don't mind tracking casualties, although I use stones as markers rather than dice, because ... aesthetics :)

Ivan Sorensen said...

The 3, 2, 1 idea is really keen actually. No matter what, you can "make change" to fit what you need at the moment.

harada57 said...
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