Pendraken Miniatures Forum
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
22 November 2019, 04:14:56 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
We've upgraded our Sd.Kfz 251 models!
286833 Posts in 17064 Topics by 2192 Members
Latest Member: Trebian
* Home Help Search Calendar Login Register
+  Pendraken Miniatures Forum
|-+  Wider Wargaming
| |-+  Rules
| | |-+  To Ur is Human by Graham Evans - First Impressions
« previous next »
Pages: [1] Go Down Print
Author Topic: To Ur is Human by Graham Evans - First Impressions  (Read 629 times)
Ithoriel
Lieutenant General
*
Posts: 6513



« on: 31 October 2019, 09:11:34 PM »

I got a copy of "To Ur is Human: Tabletop wargame rules for conflict in Sumerian Mesopotamia" by Graham Evans in the post today.

Have to say that so far I've read through it a couple of times (it's a slim volume) and tried one solo game, so bear that in mind when you read what follows!

I have to say that overall, being a big fan of things Sumerian, I was rather underwhelmed.

Firstly, it is grid based. If you like that, fine, I don't. Despite Graham's assertion to the contrary and reference  to "To The Strongest" it's still a boardgame with 3D counters, IMNSHO.

Army Lists - there aren't any. Though there are points values for units. We don't know anything for sure so pick what you like seems a bit feeble. We can make some educated guesses so a rough guide would be useful for anyone not steeped in the period.

No armylists is explained away because games are best if scenario driven. But there are no real suggestions as to how to set up scenarios.

Perhaps you could have a scenario where one side is a Sumerian task force sent to intercept Amorite raiders and liberate prisoners and booty ... except there's no rules for Amorites .... or Gutians ... or Lullubi ... or Elamites ... or Mellukhans .... or anyone but Sumerian City States.

All that said, the rules themselves are simple, straightforward and quick to learn. They give a good, reasonably quick game. The Fear test mechanism is interesting but I need a few more games to decide if it adds anything over a more conventional morale roll.

Not sorry I got the rules but not convinced they are particularly Sumerian. Worth a go or two more though.
Logged

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!
Steve J
General
*
Posts: 7526


« Reply #1 on: 31 October 2019, 09:18:06 PM »

Thanks for the review and my order is yet to arrive. I'm not expecting anything spectacular from them, more along the lines of some nice and easy mid-week pick up games.
Logged

http://wwiiwargaming.blogspot.co.uk/

2017 Paint-Off - 2 x Winner!
Ithoriel
Lieutenant General
*
Posts: 6513



« Reply #2 on: 31 October 2019, 09:39:01 PM »

I think it should be fine for that Steve.

Would work just as well for Trojan War as Sumerian ones, I think, if you wanted a change of scenery Smiley
Logged

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!
Raider4
Major
*
Posts: 725



« Reply #3 on: 01 November 2019, 08:46:31 AM »

Hmm, I already the two Portable Wargame books, doesn't sound like this one will add much of anything.

Thanks for the review.
Logged
Steve J
General
*
Posts: 7526


« Reply #4 on: 01 November 2019, 04:07:31 PM »

The book arrived today and from a quick read through, not too bad at all. Not sure about the fighting across the diagonals of a square, but need to try some simple games first. I do like the fact he sets out his stall as to why the rules are the way they are: after all we have very little idea of how these forces actually fought. Off to do some more reading and research.
Logged

http://wwiiwargaming.blogspot.co.uk/

2017 Paint-Off - 2 x Winner!
Trebian
Cadet

Posts: 4


« Reply #5 on: 06 November 2019, 01:22:28 PM »

The author responds....Thanks to Ithoriel for posting a review, and admitting to playing the rules. It's the first solid feedback from someone I don't know personally. Thanks also to the others who took the time to comment.

@Ithoriel: I can see we won't agree on squares and board games. There's quite a few square based wargames out there - RFCM publish several - so I think it is an accepted way of figure wargaming. I've designed and published board games too, and the conventions are quite different, so I'm sticking with "To Ur" as being a table top wargame, - if you don't like the grid, then convert a square to 6" movement.

Army Lists: I had a large amount of agonising over this. As you remark, I did the points values, but then felt I was just making stuff up to get lists that would work, so I dispensed with them. I'm not a big fan of them anyway. I helped write the lists for Armati II and the pressure to include troop types to make an army viable is always there, so I don't think that the lists always give a historical result. It may sound feeble, but that's why. And fair comment, - I could have included a lot more on designing scenarios.

The only thing I would take issue with is the suggestion of the absence of Gutians, etc. Well, I didn't give a list of what troop types are used for which tribes, but I've used them for fighting battles against Gutians. I regard them as trained quality light infantry. I think the generic troop types are transferable to all of the groups fighting in the Mesopotamian area at the time. I don't think any troop type or tactical arrangement is missing.

As to whether they are particularly Sumerian or not, I reckon its as good a model as any other set of rules out there. And do persist with the Fear Test, - the aim of it is to link the morale outcome for the opposing units, rather than have them test independently, and it does achieve that.

Oh, and it is a slim volume. The aim was to bring it in at about 5, - less than the price of a magazine - as an introductory set of rules from a newly self-publishing author. I make about 1 from every copy sold on Amazon, once the production costs and Amazon's pound of flesh has been extracted. So, buy them, try them for a couple of games and if you don't like them it's still cheaper than going down the pub.

As for Trojans, - I don't know. I just wrote a blog post about using them for other periods.https://wargaming4grownups.blogspot.com/2019/11/to-ur-elsewhere.html

@Steve J: Yes, - you should get a quick but thought provoking game to play in an evening. Be good to know if they deliver that  for anyone other than me. The fighting on diagonals takes a bit of getting used to. Basically you don't, but conform to one of the sides of the square being attacked. It looks a bit odd, but it works. I suppose it is like DBA alignment, - as some one once remarked DBA is a grid based game, where each element takes its own grid around with it.

@Raider4: I don't understand your comment. I didn't write any of the Portable Wargame books. Also the system doesn't cover the ancient period at all, let alone the Sumerians as far as I know. Bob is intending to lift some of the mechanisms, - chiefly the Fear Test - for another set of rules, so the author of Portable Wargame thinks they add something, despite not being related in anyway with any common mechanism other than squares. But saying you don't need another grid based game because you all ready own one is like saying you won't buy Arte de la Guerre as you already own a set of rules that uses a tape measure. And did I mention that they only cost 5? Complete with QRS on the back cover.

Logged
Raider4
Major
*
Posts: 725



« Reply #6 on: 06 November 2019, 04:38:51 PM »

"Developing the Portable Wargame" has an Ancients variant, pretty sure it includes chariots. Good luck with this book, I hope it's a great success, but it's not for me at this time.
Logged
Trebian
Cadet

Posts: 4


« Reply #7 on: 06 November 2019, 05:35:18 PM »

Ah, - yes, he did put a generic set in that book. Still, not the same thing as TUIH. For a start, battle carts aren't chariots. Each to his own, but going back to what I said earlier I think you'll find that the approaches in the two books are very different. Otherwise the bloke who wrote TPW wouldn't have bought a copy.  Wink
Logged
paulr
General
*
*
Posts: 8596


« Reply #8 on: 06 November 2019, 06:54:01 PM »

Thanks Trebian, good to better understand your thinking, good luck with the rules

I found this comment particularly interesting as a DBA player, not something I'd thought about but true
I suppose it is like DBA alignment, - as some one once remarked DBA is a grid based game, where each element takes its own grid around with it.
Logged

2018 Painting Competition - Runner-Up!
Trebian
Cadet

Posts: 4


« Reply #9 on: 06 November 2019, 07:23:48 PM »

@paulr: That DBA comment isn't original, but it is quite profound. Thanks for the best wishes with the rules. Demand has been much greater than I expected. I thought if I sold 6 copies I'd be doing well, and mainly I just wanted some hard copies to let players buy as cheaply as possible when I run the game. So far, more than 6 and some reasonable feedback. Funny thing is I had an earlier even simpler version available as a free download for years. Never knew if anyone downloaded them of played them. With this version I do.
Logged
Ithoriel
Lieutenant General
*
Posts: 6513



« Reply #10 on: 06 November 2019, 11:38:19 PM »

OK, with two more solo games under my belt, I'm confirmed in my belief that this gives a very playable game, that I don't like grids (but lots of others don't have a problem with them) and it doesn't feel especially Sumerian (but I'm a Sumerophile so I'm a tough crowd Smiley )

The "it's a slim volume" was an explanation of how I'd managed to read it twice in a morning, not a criticism. I like my rules brief and to the point!

I don't agree on the troop types but admit your interpretation is every bit as valid as mine.

Trojans Wars - Core infantry with long spears and big shields, chariots carrying guys with spears not bows,  skirmishers with bows or slings or javelins - you cover all that. No rules for big, wooden horses though Smiley

Still intrigued but not entirely won over by the Fear Test.

They're a nice set of rules that play well and I hope they also do well.

After all, anything that raises awareness of armies from the first 25% of military history is a good thing in my book!
Logged

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!
Trebian
Cadet

Posts: 4


« Reply #11 on: 07 November 2019, 09:33:17 AM »

Well, that seems fair. As I said, you can probably drop the squares and just use 6" moves instead, with a bit of DBA style alignment at combat if you really don't like the grid.

It may not feel Sumerian to you, but honestly, is there anything out there that does? i mean there are rules that let you push Sumerian troops around, but is it Sumerian warfare? Comes down to interpretation, I suppose. I play things like "Hail Caesar" from time to time. It gives a nice game, but the units could be pretty much anything. I find that for any period I actually understand properly the generic commercial rules, whether ancient or horse and musket, simply don't cut it.

So, happy to be part of the 25% club, even if the only other member thinks I'm wrong.

But "they're a nice set of rules that play well". I'll take that.

Trebian
Logged
Pages: [1] Go Up Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!