A First Look At TooFatLardies New Rules Infamy, Infamy!

June 17, 2020 by avernos

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The TooFatLardies have just placed their most recent ancients skirmish ruleset as an offering on the altar of wargames and I've been lucky enough to get a PDF copy of Infamy, Infamy! to look at. It's available to preorder with as many bells and whistles as you want from their website and will be out in early July but for now, I want to walk you through the book and my initial thoughts.

Infamy Infamy - TooFatLardies

Infamy, Infamy! Skirmish Miniature Wargame

I will preface this all by saying I won't be going into a ton of depth on the rules and this is after my first read-through so it's possible that I may pick things up incorrectly or if you need clarification ask below and I'll do my best to answer any questions you may have.

Infamy, Infamy! - What's Inside The Rule Book?

First off the general look of the book is superb, as we have come to expect from the Lardies. It's full colour throughout and has some beautiful illustrations by Chris Collingwood, which you'll see sprinkled in this article, along with some fantastic miniatures painted by Jim Ibbotson and John Savage, you'll have to buy the book to see those.

Infamy,Infamy! advance

Romans Advancing

Secondly, the rules are not an all-encompassing generic ancients ruleset. It instead focuses on a period from 60BC to 100AD and covers only five lists, more on those later, but in focusing on a tight window in time it has allowed them to write a system and accompanying lists in such a way as to accurately reflect the forces and style of warfare that was practised. As the Lardies themselves are keen to say...

"play the period, not the rules"

The book is divided into three sections, Game Overview, The Rules, and Army Lists. There is also a campaign system at the end of the book.

Infamy,Infamy! Barbarians

The Wild Gauls

So, with a quick look at what you get inside the book, we should dive in and talk about the game right?

Infamy, Infamy! - Game Overview

The first section of the book breaks down the game itself, and I'm not talking here about the minutiae of the rules. The beating heart of the game is here I feel, and you can see that in the choices of what is included. You'll find the typical things here, what you'll need to play and specific tokens and paraphernalia.

Miniatures can be any scale and basing convention, there are suggestions for 28mm and smaller scales but as long as you can remove figures or mark wounds you are good to go. Tabletop forces start at around fifty to sixty men but this number can be modified by other factors.

We get force organisation in this section also, allowing you to build your valiant defenders of Rome or the unwashed barbarian masses, and with this force selection, you also get the Drill Manual.

Infamy,Infamy! Drill

Romans Brace For A Charge

The Drill Manual expounds on how your force will fight on the tabletop the Roman forces drawing on various drilled manoeuvres in movement, formations or combat. While the Barbarians have commands and fervour to aid them.

This truly gives you the flavour of your forces and sets it apart from games where the force composition and stat line are the only things to differentiate the armies on the tabletop. A Roman force acts and feels like a professional body of fighters, doing a job and doing it well. Meanwhile, the Barbarians have that aggression, with the commanders fighting to hold cohesion of their mob before unleashing them on the southern invaders. Fervour as a mechanic is a nice leveller as well, giving extra range to movement or charges, or additional dice in combat.

Last, but by no means least, we have terrain rules and scenarios. You may set up your table in any way you see fit. For those of us who lack imagination or time, there is a random table set up, complete with tables for the four main regions in which to fight the enemies of Rome. For example Gaul is likely to feature less dense forests than Germania but in return will have more habited areas on their boards. I'm always a sucker for random table generation and this has some nice touches like rivers only being included when both players roll the same number when randomising the table.

Infamy,Infamy! Rules

 Miniature Armies Clash On The Tabletop

The scenarios being here are key, and this is why I feel it's important that they are here and not as in many other rules tacked to the end of the book. The game is based on small unit actions, not full armies fighting massive battles and the scenarios are a key feature. There are eight listed but within those some have options. The first scenario is a Village Raid, but that could be a simple mission to burn crops or embracing a full scorched earth policy as the entire village is razed to bring Pax Romana to the savages. Combining this with varying deployment zones and that the attacker rolls to see what support to their core force is available, even replaying the same scenario several times in a row you'll find it a different experience every time.

Making the scenarios central to the game, and integral in how forces are composed brings you a more realistic feel to your games. When not playing a massed battle some skirmish games can devolve into dull games where the side who wipes out their opponent is the victory. Not so here in Infamy, Infamy! the purpose of your force is the scenario, burning the whole village takes far longer than setting a wheat field ablaze and as such it's Task Roll is higher.

These rolls can be called for in a variety of scenarios and require a high target number, which is rolled cumulatively. Thus while possible to burn a village in three turns, five or six is more likely, and the tribe are unlikely to sit back placidly and allow you to do it. Sometimes people ignore scenarios and attempt to play straight-up fights and in doing so the armies feel unbalanced and inaccurate, by bringing them to the forefront of the rules it looks as if the Lardies have managed to sidestep this potential pit of stakes.

Infamy, Infamy! - The Rules

The Games being with a scouting phase with ambush points being selected depending on whether the attack is into Barbarian or Roman lands, and the Barbarians gain some bonuses to ambushing a Roman force on their home soil. See what I mean about narrative and scenarios rewarding you?

Infamy,Infamy! cards

Infamy, Infamy! Cards

You may be familiar with the card decks used in some of the other Lardie games. Infamy, Infamy! is no different, cards for your leaders are drawn randomly and when the Tempus Fugit card is drawn the turn or Act, draws to a close with only Signa cards in play or in the hand able to be used, albeit in a reduced capacity. Units in combat that haven't fought will automatically fight two rounds of combat, so we don't see a Yojimbo style standoff occurring with belligerents staring at each other and no blows being struck.

Signa cards also serve an interesting function later in the game, while they can be husbanded to greater effect later on they can also be spent and added to the game deck to be shuffled back out in following turns. However there is danger in this as when four Signa cards are dealt the activating unit must roll on a random event table, and depending on the action they were performing that could be very bad indeed, either ending your combat unfought or causing flooded rivers to potentially cut off your forces. So while the cards are potent frivolous use may cause Mars to show his contempt (please note other war gods are available).

The rules are concisely written and feature plenty of colour diagrams and examples to ease you into playing as painlessly as possible, the various types of manoeuvres you expect are there, forming lines, columns of march, testudos and wedges, even mobbing up to replenish the units fighting in the front which I know will make Lloyd happy. I won't get into all of the technical details of the rules now, as I'm frantically painting two forces to get a Let's Play ready for the release, but I do want to mention one other type of card the Infamy card.

The Infamy! deck contains a set of cards that can be played at different times, even sometimes interrupting your opponents turn. Most games will begin with the players having one or more of these cards and they add a layer of the Lardies mischievous whimsey into the game. Suddenly having your plans interrupted by some political backstabbing or worse literal backstabbing will only leave you looking to repay your opponent in kind at the most appropriately inconvenient moment.

Infamy, Infamy! - Army Lists

The army lists in Infamy, Infamy! are split into Late Republican Roman, Early Imperial Roman, The Gauls, The Britons, and The Germans. Each list is prefaced with a short introduction and several sample core armies and their support options. This is followed by a table of all the options once you get into the topic and game and feel confident in building a force from scratch.

Infamy,Infamy!

Roman Commanders Leading The Way

Although not listed in the index after the lists we have the campaign rules which follows the civilised ideas of warfare with a 24-week campaign system starting on the Ides of Martius and ending on the Ides of September. The method for determining battles is simple to track and only really necessary to worry about if your leader comes a cropper at some point. You can choose to fight while they are still convalescing but alternatively, you can hand your opponent the victory if you don't want to risk a further beating, it looks bad in the Senate after all.

Titles can be earned along the way and bonuses bestowed upon you by the Gods themselves, although watch out because they are not always forgiving in whom they mark. Your leader's retinue may also grow to aid you and each of these are again tailored to the factions to give a feel of a British warlord or a Roman Tribune making their way in the world.

TooFatLardies // Caesarian Romans Force

Overall I have to say from my initial read through that the rules are thoroughly engaging. Written with the Lardies tongue in cheek humour, who wouldn't want a Gaulish cook called Gastronomix?, it shouldn't be viewed that the rules are in any way dumbed down. Indeed if you have a kid getting into wargaming there is enough to have them smiling and reaching for a dictionary in equal measure.

The rules are on first blush a solid foundation well written and explained and I imagine that this will not be the last foray into these for the Lardies. Focusing on other regions and time periods could easily see these expand to cover periods and regions from Peloponnese to the Punic wars or the fall of Rome to the Successor Wars. The robustness of the rules coupled with their ability to draw you into the period is a great strength and factor into that the relatively low model count and this could become the first foray into ancients for many people, and I would be hard-pressed to suggest a better ruleset for the task. While the random factor will not be everyone's cup of tea they are not just there to upset your best-laid plans but add the fog and friction one should expect to face with any tabletop wargame.

TooFatLardies // Gaulish Forces

Mechanically they offer a very good amount of options for people who are looking for small scale actions with command and control. It seems to fall neatly between Warband style games and full rank and file massed battle. So if you want to be able to form close order, or turtle up against a human wave of Germans, but don't have the time or space to dedicate to hundreds of figures then Infamy, Infamy! will fill that void for you.

Once again though I have to come back to the scenarios and campaign as it is these aspects of the game that I think will draw people in the most. While it won't force you to play like the historical counterparts you will find it much harder to be successful if you don't.

What do you think of the rules, and what factions would you like to see on camera?

"The robustness of the rules coupled with their ability to draw you into the period is a great strength..."

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