My first impressions last week were that SP 2 was over-complicated & not intuitive to play (as usual with every other Too Fat Lardies game I've tried). My second go at it did nothing to change my opinion:
- Since last week Barrie had prepared more summary sheets. Not only do these extend over no less than 6 pages but they were confusing & difficult to use - they really didn't help that much. A lot of time was spent looking up rules about fundamental things that should have been re-memberable after a couple of games.
- The firing rules are the pretty standard stuff: So many dice - so much to hit - then re-roll hits for effect. But they manage to make it confusing by it not being obvious which factors affect no. of dice, which affect score to hit & which affect damage. The handfuls of dice also tend to get a bit over the top (like 20 dice at a time).
- Hits can cause figure removal or disruption counters (like BA pins). Disruption reduces the no. of dice when firing & when disruption exceeds no. of figs there are morale issues. Not bad.
- The command system & use of leaders is very complex & un-intuitive. I'm sure there is a great deal of scope for skill in optimising the chits as they are dealt & using commanders but it's a matter of learning the game system - not simply applying military principles.
- There is a lot of fiddly details that can be tricky to keep track of, eat up game time, & make it necessary to have specific knowledge of the game system to do basic military tasks.
- There is a lot of unnecessary detail like random events that don't appear to add to the skill of the game but slow it down.
- Movement is typically 2D inches with deductions for difficult terrain & an extra dice for road movement or fast movement causing disruption. Not bad.
- I can't comment on the hand to hand combat system because we never figured out how to use the system well enough to get into contact.
- Some issues I had as the game progressed turned out to be misinterpretations of the rules which were later corrected. But the fact that the rules can be so easily be misinterpreted is a fault in itself.
- Some of the slowness was due to learning curve, but Barrie & Darren were on their 3rd game & were not improving.
With wargames rules one man's meat is another's poison. It seems SP2 has a following, but it does not suit me - for the same reasons that I prefer Bolt Action to Chain of Command. I believe that a good set of rules should be playable pretty much on basic military principles, have an easy to use QRS, have simple easy to remember systems & be fast to play. I think SP2 fails to meet any of those criteria. Muskets & Tomahawks is similar in scope & scale to SP2 but I think it is a better game.