Wednesday, July 11, 2012

After The Horsemen by 2 Hour Wargames Review

After The Horsemen, by 2 Hour Wargames was recently released and I decided to bite the bullet and ordered it. I'm familiar with the Chain Reaction system having played Nuts! and Six Gun Sound so I knew I would be able to get into it easily. I'm a fan of the post-apocalyptic genre having bought both Fallout 3 (Fallout 3 was released on my wedding day so I had to buy it) and Fallout: New Vegas and I've wanted to play a miniatures game in the apocalypse. I had read online that 2HW was coming out with one so I held out.

Like all 2 Hour Wargames games it runs on the Chain Reaction system and it's a system I really like. For those of you who have never played a game that used it basically it works on reaction. Many games including Games Workshop games have player A play their whole turn without interruption then it's Player B's turn. The Chain Reaction system allows player B a chance to react to what player A is doing even though it isn't player B's turn. There is nothing worse, and lets face it nothing more unrealistic than having player A attempt to enter the building player B is in but run out of movement then have player B stick their head out and blast player A point-blank and just smile because it's not player A's turn and there is nothing he can do. In the same scenario with the chain reaction system when player B sticks his head out and shoots player A makes a reaction test and upon passing it gets to take a shot back. The firefight goes back and forth until one player is hit, runs out of ammo, etc.

That's a quick review of how the Chain Reaction system works for all of 2 Hour Wargames games. Now let's dive into the specific rules for After The Horsemen. You start by picking from 2 different class types, Stars and Grunts. Stars are the characters you make for yourself and Grunts are generally the rest of the characters in the game. The difference between the two is first with Stars you choose what you want to do while the Grunts have charts that dictate what their actions will be. And second Stars can't be killed by someone at a lower level them themselves and when a character at the same level or higher deals a killing blow they have a chance to get out of being killed but when a Grunt rolls death you'd better dig out the shovels and bagpipes.

The first thing you do is pick your Reputation. Your characters reputation is probably the most important number in the game as the vast majority of all checks are based on it. In the rules the number you can pick from is between 2 to 6 and as you play and gain more experience that number could go higher. A reputation of 2 is either a very young or very old person or a sick person and a reputation 6 is an exceptional person. You are allowed to pick what you want your reputation to be, you can think of it as being able to change the games difficulty level, the higher then number the easier it will be although honestly picking 2 or 3 is not going to make a very fun game.

Each character has 3 skills based on your reputation number. You give one skill the same number as your reputation, the second skill is your Reputation number minus one and the third skill is Reputation minus 2. The skills are Fitness, it measures your characters physical ability, People which measures your characters ability to interact with other people and Savvy measures your characters ability to perform jobs as well as the characters common sense.

Characters also have attributes, Stars start with 2 and Grunts may only have 1. Other than your character you are not required to give any other characters abilities, it's up to you. With Stars, you roll to determine one and you may choose your second attribute and with Grunts, you must roll. The game has many different attributes and example is brawler which gives you +1d when in melee combat.

The last thing you need to decide about your character is its class. There are three choices; sheep, lone wolf, and pack wolves. Sheep are pretty self-explanatory and are what most of the characters you will meet in your travels. Wolves are the leaders, the people that make things happen. The difference between the two types of wolves have to do with the type of person your character is. Loners are characters that are honorable people that tend to travel by themselves and get along with sheep but usually have problems with pack wolves. Pack wolves are more like gangs who take what they want and are less honorable.

Now let's get to the meat of the rules, the campaign.

The rules focus more on playing the game than bookkeeping so the rules for items like fuel, weapons and medical supplies are fairly simple. There are no lists of items available in the game. Instead during an encounter, you find units of items. Your character needs one unit of food to survive for a month, your vehicle needs one unit of fuel to run for a month. That's not to say that you can't make up lists for every item you could possibly find. This way allows you to have a simple way to deal with items in your game but still allow you to get very in-depth if you wish.

One of the things I don't like about RPG's is carrying capacity. Each little item has a weight and you need to add them all together then consult your strength ability to see if you can carry that much or if you are slowed down by it. In After The Horsemen, any item that fits in a pocket doesn't count towards carrying capacity as well as clothes. All other items go by how many hands it takes to use. One-handed items like a pistol count as one item and a shotgun which takes two hands to use counts as two items. You then take your reputation number, multiply by 2 and now you know how many items you can carry. It's that easy.

There are also easy to use rules for item breakage. After an encounter roll, a d6 and on a 6 one randomly determined item has been damaged. If you can find parts to fix your damaged item and have the skill to fix it you can by rolling on a chart or you can find someone to fix it for you. Again it's a simple enough system that works.

During each turn of the game, you experience encounters. The game has two types, voluntary and involuntary encounters. Voluntary encounters are your choice and can be anything from going out to hunt for food to attacking an enemy encampment. Involuntary encounters are events out of your control like having your house robbed or being bushwhacked on your way to another location.

After The Horsemen also has rules for settlements that you may find in your travels or that you may start on your own. There are also rules for not having enough sleep which effects your ability to perform functions.

One of the rules that had me laughing was party favors. Say you need the help of an NPC and you want the roll to go your way so what you do is use party favors on them. Party favors can be alcohol, drugs basically whatever you want it to be. Once you break some out and share them with that NPC you get a bonus when rolling for what you need or want from them. Of course, as in real life, there are consequences to using party favors.

Once each encounter is over depending on if it went good or bad for you-you have to change for you and your follower's Reputation and skills to increase or decrease. Also, you will need to take a test to see if each member of you pack stays with you or decides he can do better on his own.

I think I've pretty much covered the basics of the game. I have not had the chance to run a game yet but from what I've seen it's looks to be a lot of fun. The rule book comes in at 98 pages and you can buy it from Two Hour Wargames site, it costs 25 dollars for a print copy or 20 dollars for a pdf. If you get the print copy they will also send you a pdf as well. I was very impressed with the rules and I highly recommend the game, 9 out of 10.


  1. Thanks for the thorough review, I may be picking this one up now.

  2. I'm glad you liked the review and i'm sure you'll like the game as well!


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