Wednesday, 20 November 2013

IHMN Review

With the Heroes, Villains and Fiends expansion released today (and my copy en route) I thought it timely to share my thoughts on the core IHMN book and rules system.    Note that I have yet to play a game against a live opponent so this is more a list of thoughts vice a proper review.

Bottom line up front: I like this game.  The 64 glossy page book flows well, is easily understandable and the full colour layout with lots of pics is lovely.

With only four stats per model (Pluck, Shooting Value, Fighting Value and Speed) it is not a complicated game - the strength of the game is in its flavour and theme.  Firing is a d10 roll, adding the figure's Shooting Value and any weapon bonuses vs the armour value of the target (7 being an unarmoured target in civilian clothing).  If hit the target rolls a save using its Pluck value or is removed.  Melee is effectively the same except using the Fighting Value.  Figures can 'mob up' to increase the overall power of a shooting or melee attack, which means that a large group of cannon fodder can be dangerous to any character, no-matter how skilled or well armed/armoured they might be.

Turn sequence is not IGO-UGO, rather each player activates one figure in turn.  I think I would prefer a more random system so you never know who will be activating a figure next, similar to Bolt Action or The Sword and the Flame.  I'll definitely give that type of system a try.

There are a range of Talents which gives skills to your figures, and there is a list of Mystical Powers which special characters can use on themselves or others, depending on what it is.  Unlike some systems these don't seem overpowering, those I have yet to see many of them in action yet.  Weird Science apparatus lend steampunky options to your troops - and this is another area ripe for further expansion in the future.

Finally, the book contains 10 scenarios and 10 Landscapes, which detail terrain set-up, hazards and benefits.  Very basic campaign rules are included for character progression.

A highlight of the rules is that they give you everything you need to build your own forces and characters from the ground up.  The ten diverse Companies provided in the book are an excellent starting point, backed up by some beautiful minis by North Star for six of them.  But if you want to build your own force from the ground up, everything is here for you to do that.  Want an Eastern European Anarchist group? that's no problem.  Want to field a steam walker or vehicle?  The rules are there.  One of those new fangled flying contraptions? Sure thing.  Vehicle construction rules aren't it there - I'm sure that will come with more time, but there are enough basic models in there to keep you sufficiently amused in the meantime and its an infantry based game in any event. 

My chaps from Scotland Yard: 3 more companies are under construction!
Curiously, are no Victorian Horror elements in IHMN which seems a strange omission for the VSF genre.  Possibly, this was in trying to avoid an overlap with West Wind's Empire of the Dead, but such creatures would be straightforward to include using some special mystical powers and unique talents, so if this is your bag you don't have to go without your Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies and Ghouls.  Similarly, this approach would let you transform this system for Lovecraftian Horror gaming with few issues.

Using the errata is key due to some errors in the initial calculation for machine guns, which then flows onto a number of units.  You can get the latest from the downloads section of the official IHMN blog here.  Indeed you should go visit that site regardless as there are lots of other goodies to enjoy there, including some great Company lists made by other players.

Overall its a simple skirmish set of rules which are quick to play but neatly include many nuances, the theme is wonderfully integrated throughout, and the inclusion of everything you need to build your own units from the ground up is excellent.  I'm now developing a Company List for a Royal Naval landing party, equipped with (patented) armoured Kelly suits and supported by a bomb-toting dirigible - no doubt they will give Johnny Foreigner a good what for!


Michael Awdry said...

I sorry to confess that after my initial viewing my copy got shelved after I started looking at all things zombie. I really need to get back onto the Victorian tip.

J Womack, Esq. said...

I have yet to play a game of it. But I think I will rectify that after Thanksgiving, now that I have two Companies completed. I could probably also put out an Automaton Company, and I need to paint my Society of Thule. They are probably about a January finish, I am thinking.

John Lambshead said...

I have played a couple of games and like them.

c12 said...

Nice review for a simple and yet very addictive skirmish game. I've been playing it for a while and I must say it's a lot of fun.
The build your own company system gives way to the craziest ideas while it keeps things balanced.
A must try!

PMMDJ said...

Horror elements definitely come in with the first expansion - Heroes, Villains, and Fiends.

An exploration of debauchery, vice and other reasons to be a man!

An exploration of debauchery, vice and other reasons to be a man!