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News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave
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Friday 19 August 2022

Lion Rampant - Second Edition

 My copy of the new edition of Lion Rampant thudded onto the door mat yesterday. I say thudded because this is a weightier tome than the original standard Osprey softback. This is my favourite set of rules for small battles in the medieval period. 

For those not familiar with these rules, they are fast-play small battle rules written by Dan Mersey. You command a Warband, typically of five to seven units. Cavalry units usually have six figures and infantry twelve. There is a point system, but this is a scenario-driven game, raids, convoys etc. It doesn't take itself too seriously; the emphasis is on fun games that can be all over in an hour or so. Most games are played in 28mm, but you can play with any scale.

The mechanisms have spawned versions for later periods, including the renaissance and the horse and musket era. There is also a fantasy version called Dragon Rampant. Some of this learning has been imported into this new edition. There are also a couple of excellent supplements for the crusades and the Vikings, published by Edinburgh University.

So what's new, and what do you get for the extra hard cover dosh? Well, in terms of the rules themselves, not a lot. The basic mechanisms work well, so he hasn't changed them much. Some of the unit names have changed to reflect a broader historical period, back into the Dark Ages. And units failing a Wild Charge can still test for a move in the ordered activation phase. There is quite a bit of rule clarification, which adopts the many house rules some of us have been using. There is also a stack of optional rules, including playing with smaller and larger warbands, flanks, shieldwalls, weather and group moves. Unit variants introduce camels, chariots, and later troop types such as pikes and handgunners. 

I am surprised that the unit proximity rule from three inches to one is only an option. He rightly changed it in Pikeman's Lament, and the one-inch proximity is probably the most widely used house rule. The problem with three inches is that players started forming their units in columns to get them onto the table, which looked ridiculous. 

There are 16 scenarios and a simple campaign system. You also get many more sample 24-point warbands in this edition and some legendary fun ones like Robin Hood and his merry men. The production quality is all you would expect from Osprey. Lots of lovely artwork from their books and nice eye candy models. 

I suspect a few folks will complain that a lot of the extra fluff isn't necessary and has just added to the cost. The cynic might think the driver is - this is a very popular rule set, so let's produce a new higher value version. I believe the saying, 'you may think that, but I couldn't possibly comment,' may be apposite here! It is certainly less easy to use in this format, although many of us use our own club quick reference sheets, which have already been updated (thanks, Rab!).

Anyway, I personally don't begrudge the cost of a new edition that I enjoyed reading. I just need to find time to play it more!

On the subject of eye candy, I can now field my Vikings.


  1. I've played the fantasy version and really enjoyed it. I'll be picking up this version now that it has been extended backwards to cover the dark ages/ early medieval period more.



  2. A good simple rule set but I don't see any need to buy a second edition

  3. I did buy the first edition, but have never played it. I suspect I’ll not need to buy the second edition. Cheers,