Saturday, October 16, 2010

Song of Drums & Shakos

I finally found some more good rules!  I think I'm coming very late to the ball because I have heard of these before, but I just now got around to testing them out.  Anybody who knows me at all knows that I am a huge fan of Two Hour Wargames because of the versatility and the ability to actually play and finish a lot of games.  The only problem is that Ed doesn't cover everything.  My first original love was Napoleonics but I hate all the traditional rules out there because they are too complex and it is too hard to get a group of gamers together who know the rules well enough to make it enjoyable.  You sit around all day long and then on turn two you "call the game".  No thanks. I have all but quit playing for many years because of this.  Since we have discovered skirmish gaming our gaming world has been great and I got to thinking the other day that I should apply that to my favorite period.  Some detailed searching and reviewing turned up two rules sets.  Song of Drums and Shakos which is really only a very tactical squad level game, and Sharp Practice by Too Fat Lardies which is more of a company level game.  I have already purchased and read, and played both sets and they are both very good but they are not really competing products. SDS is tops for fast play skirmish while SP let's you put together some beefier formations.  Simply two different tools for two different jobs.  I will not get into Sharp Practice here as I plan on doing a detailed review on it soon but I can tell you it is a very good game.
Song of Drums and Shakos is a fantastic game for quick sessions.  It is very easy to learn and plays very quickly which are two of my biggest requirements for a good game.  Last of all it gives good results which is my third.  The heart of the SDS set is the initiative system which allows the player to play conservatively or to gamble. This makes for a lot of fun and some built in command control problems which simply makes a great game. I have started working on some 28mm figures for playing this game but until then I am using my 6mm Baccus miniatures of which I have thousands of.
Here is a mini batrep/review of a game played between me (Rifles) and my son Nick (Legere).  Nick thinks that Sharp is overpowered in the series and now we can find out for sure.


  1. Napoleonic wargaming is definitely not my cup of tea, but I do love skirmish gaming and that was hugely entertaining. To be honest though, when are your games anything less than entertaining? Your speech bubble comments add a great deal of humour to the game. "Get up, Cooper. I didn't give you permission to lay down!" had me laughing out loud. It looks like you're onto a winner here, Willy.
    By the way, gorgeous looking scenery! Very evocative of the period.

  2. Nice table, I thought you went 15mm first but then read that these are 6mm troops. Fantastic!
    And yes, your comic was another great read too!

  3. I kept waiting for zombies to swarm the troops...

  4. Thanks, we are having fun with it. I just got back from Jil's place where we were hiding out all day with no kids. We gamed 8 hours straight of Napoleonic skirmish, it was great.

    David - What a fabulous idea! Nappy Zeds! Now to see who makes figures for it..

    1. You may well have discovered this for yourself in the past 2 years.

      Alternative Armies make fantasy Napoleonics in their Flintloque/Slauterloo range. Sculpting quality varies but they are generally very characterful. If you want zombies then you will need the Undead of the Witchlands>Armies of the Star Wraith.

      I have a few painted (not enough for a game of Sharp Practice yet) but a huge 'lead mountain' :-(

  5. I love the "Song or..." series of games. If I had known that you didn't know of them, I'd would have given you the link. Right up your alley (and since you already have three session reports, you'd agree)!

  6. Brendan, you should have. I'm all over these games.