Our search for the perfect system to use for fighting inside the keep led us to Outremer, a medieval skirmish wargame from Osprey Games. In order to learn the rules, we gave the game a try at our local bookstore’s game night. We didn’t have the keep model itself, but we threw together a board using some of James’ generic buildings and the scenery we had to hand. We used the warbands that we created in our last Outremer post.
We decided to play a rescue mission scenario, in which the retinue of Guido Embriaco would try to recover some hostages from the troops of ‘Adud al-Dawla.
Outremer has a lot of character customisation options, but in play these didn’t turn out to be too confusing (although we did probably forget to use some of the characters’ Traits, or special abilities). We definitely forgot a few rules, some of which were important, but that’s the first game of any system for you.
So what was our verdict on the game overall? Will it be right for fighting inside the castle?
- Outremer works well with a small handful of characters. We had six each side; you could go larger, but beyond a certain point the differentiation between individuals could make them very hard to keep track of. It would be good for duels, brawls, and assassinations, all of which might well happen in the castle.
- Outremer has quite a lot of detail, but probably just the right level for the kind of smaller skirmish game we’re thinking about. Fears of losing track of its complexity proved to be unfounded.
- The Saracens in Outremer are definitely the high-mobility, hit-and-run choice, who rely on their excellent archery to whittle their foes down at range. They would be at a significant disadvantage in a confined space, so if we use Outremer for a game set solely in the castle we’ll have to take that into consideration.
- We’re not totally convinced that this kind of spread-out skirmish combat really happened a lot in the middle ages, but that’s something you can say about most premodern skirmish games, not Outremer in particular.
Overall, then, Outremer makes a welcome addition to our repertoire of games for the project. It probably won’t be the last one, though.
Is there a game you’d like to see us try out? Check out our previous post on our game library and let us know which you want to see a post about! And if you have some experience of Outremer and want to share your thoughts with us — or if you just want to follow the project as it develops — come and join us at our Facebook page.