|*Image copyright Sam Mustafa|
Aurelian is the new rule set from the well known rules author, Sam Mustafa. Most people will be familiar with his other rule sets; Lasalle for the Napoleonic period and Longstreet for the American Civil War. Aurelian is set in the late 3rd Century with Rome besieged on all sides from the barbarian hordes of Germany, Persia and Sarmatia. The rules are simple and the game does not use any dice nor does it really require any figures (which is good in keeping the figure buying to a minimum this year!)
Che came around to Chez McBeth and we set up the first scenario from the Appendices, the Battle of Dura Europus. I played the noble and civilized Romans and Che took the part of the barbaric and decedent Persian. The game is controlled by a hand of cards. Each card has several uses; they can be used for rallying (after which they are removed from the game), for movement (to indicate how many groups or units can move that turn), for shooting and combat (the highest card played each of these rounds is also removed from play) or as an event to screw over your opponent. As you lose units from the table, an amount of cards are removed from your deck equal to the value of the unit lost. Those Veteran Cohorts and Persian Cataphracts being a value of four cards each means you need to protect your best troops! The game is one either by scenario or by one side running out of cards before the other.
It did not take us long to read through and learn the rules, in fact it took longer to print out the required pieces of paper and stick them to handy 8cmx6cm bases (yay 15mm Impetus!). After about 15 turns in two hours we had a result and the mighty legions of Rome triumphed over the weak Persians after breaking all three Cataphract units on the hills of Dura Europus. Che ran out of cards while I only had three left!.
I like the card system, it makes you plan out your moves a bit more and see if you can think about what the opponent is going to do to counter your moves. We had fun, and that counts most :)