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Review of GMT Games:

Men Of Iron, Volume 3  a GMT P500 Game

Blood & Roses- Battles in the Wars of the Roses 1455-1487

Blood & Roses


DESIGNER: Richard H. Berg
DEVELOPER: Ralph Shelton
COUNTER ART: Mike Lemick, Charlie Kibler, Rodger B. MacGowan
MAP ART: Charlie Kibler
PRODUCERS: Mark Simonitch, Tony Curtis, Rodger MacGowan, Andy Lewis, Gene Billingsley

Price: $59.00

This latest offering from GMT in their “Men of Iron” series sees Richard Berg turn his attention to the late medieval period using his “Men of Iron” system. For those unfamiliar with this series the first two games dealt with high medieval warfare in Europe with the resurgence of infantry and warfare in the middle east with the Crusaders taking on the Muslim armies.

This game includes the battles of 1st St Albans, Blore Heath, 2nd St Albans, Towton, Barnet, Tewkesbury & Bosworth.

The game components are to GMT’s usual high standards with sturdy colour printed box containing two colour maps one of which is back printed’ two colour printed quick reference sheets one game tracker sheet, 2 ten sided dice, 2 and half double sided colour counter sheets, a rule book and a battle book detailing the individual actions.

The rule book is clear and concise and for those who have played the previous games in the series, any changes are minimal to reflect the anomalies of the period chosen. For anyone coming to this game and who have not played the other games in the series the rules are unambiguous, clear and relatively easy to master.

The battle book not only details the special rules and setup for each action but also gives a potted historical background to the battle as well as the historical outcome. This gives a wealth of detail and will be enough to whet the appetite to find out more down at your local library. Each battles setup is illustrated by a full colour map accompanying the written order of battle for each army making the text clear as to where your troops are initially placed

The game itself is, as the rest of the series, governed by a turn-less sequence of play that is to my knowledge unique. Each side attempts to activate part of its force, or activate a standard or pass. If you fail to activate or pass then your opponent goes through the same procedure. In this way play passes back and forth the initiative swinging from one side to the other, the trick being to make the most of the initiative when you have it. There is also opportunity for you to try to seize the initiative from your opponent but the penalty if you fail can be severe. Combat is simple and includes missile fire as well as shock combat, results either disorder a unit or force it to retreat or retire, retreating or retiring units must be rallied before they can return to the fray and dependant on circumstances can be eliminated. Unlike the other games in the series this game includes artillery and units armed with primitive gunpowder weapons, these have special rules which make the powerful but unpredictable. The rules also have provisions for the peculiarities of the period of the Wars of the Roses including morale and leaders.

All in all from my first playing of this latest incarnation of the Men of Iron series I can highly recommend it. This game in all respects continues this excellent series with another very playable historical war game, for anyone interested in the period I would highly recommend this and the rest of the Men of Iron series and for anyone looking for a different take on war gaming this is for you.

Reviewed by Bill Ray

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015