The gaming gods are smiling upon me as I have received a rough draft of the upcoming "Hail Caesar" rules from John Stallard at Warlord Games to play test with my gaming group. Well to be honest, I received a bunch of word documents that have the text but no pictures, but it's more than enough to start testing.
Before anyone asks, I can not and will not share the files with anyone else so please don't ask. I will share the results of our play testing and, of course, my witty banter - what a deal!
As posted on the Warlord Website, the game is similar in structure to Black Powder, but with more emphasis on melee combat and, in my opinion, maneuver. The basic mechanics are simple, but there is a nice level of optionality in how various units and capabilities are combined. I've played a couple of basic turns with my 28mm Roman army and I feel that Hail Caesar plays a bit more deeply than Black Powder - there a few more things to think about. Of course, when playing solitaire, my opinions are of questionable value given the rather limited capabilities of my opponent. I have determine that Legionnaires with support are a very tough nut to crack.
I'm going to get my gaming buddies together over the next few weeks and do some proper play testing (assuming I can "borrow" my table from my son's robotics team).
One note - I remember when BP first came out, there was a lot of hemming and hawing about the cost of high quality books with glossy pictures and what a crime it was for publishers to "force" people to pay a higher price for a higher quality book. Well I've had the opportunity to see the rules in a rather basic format - just text, no pictures and I've come to a conclusion on this topic. With all due respect, those of you clamoring to save $20 - $25 dollars or so to get a stripped down version are, shall we say, ummm, "missing the point" (see, I was polite). Our hobby is a visual one and seeing top flight miniatures is half the fun and I think well worth a bit of a price premium. That's just one gamer's opinion, void where prohibited by law, your milage may vary...