I have recently been given a copy of the the new set of rules War & Conquest for ancient and medieval battles.
The rule set written by Rob Broom and published by his company Scarab Miniatures show Rob well known pedigree of various, now sadly defunct, Warhammer Historical and WAB publications.
Once again the rule set is in the the form of a coffee table book, hard bound and with lots of eye candy through out, and anyone with some of the aforementioned WAB books will recognise many of the troops from them (obviously from Robs own collection) plus many others too.
The rules themselves are made up of the usual sections; Intro 'Preparing for War', Movement, Charging, Terrain, Shooting, Combat and Combat Resolution making up the core of the rules and the first two thirds of the volume. The last third is made up of the exceptions to the core rules; Personalities of War, Strategy Intervention Points, The Armoury, Skirmish Formations, Chariots & Elephants, Battle Begins and a final Section, 'The Rearguard'.
The rules themselves will be familiar in principle to anyone who has played WAB and the terminology throughout the rules is quite similar in flavour.
The rulebook is full of, well...rules. There is not really any padding to the volume and indeed no army lists or scenarios except the taster towards the end, the 'Battle Begins' and Rearguard' sections which cover quite interestingly basic scenario concepts and a random generation system for creating on the spot games, an interesting and useful section in it's self.
The rules are well laid out and with the now expected high production values, the rules keep up with the other newly released rule sets for the periods lately, though I do notice a fair amount of 'space' but this does lend some clarity to the rules if increasing the page count.
All the mechanisms in the rules are illustrated well using miniatures (rather than diagrams) which I like and these work well.
The actual rule mechanisms do not in themselves appear to earth-shatteringly novel or ground breaking; throw to hit/wound/save/kill with modifiers for weapon types, formations and so on, but there one or two little gems thrown in to the mix which again add to the flavour like the 'surge' rule for warbands which amounts to mob rule, 'there's more of us than them, get 'em' and the Frontal Attack Zone, ala Impetus-esque zone of control and a few other tweeks making this a bit of a tasty gumbo of a rule set.
There has been much in the wargaming press recently regarding Hail Ceaser (HC), Clash of Empires (CoE) and War & Conquest (WaC) and the authors doing a pros and cons comparison for the rule sets. HC seems to be winning the publicity battle to date at least from where I stand, with CoE running a bit behind and WaC tagging along. This may be due only because that was the order that the relative rule sets have been released, but also because of the hype generated by rule supplements and army lists that the other two have generated have helped their profile. WaC does not seem to be going down that route and instead is releasing army lists through the Scarab Forum but more through the rules dedicated yahoo group.
Though I have not yet played these rules in anger yet, I do like how they read and they do seem to be taking on the WAB mantle quite well and any WAB army/army list would translate to WaC very easily with many terms (and indeed rules) being the same between both.
It will be interesting to see how the various rules turn out in terms of popularity and staying power and if there's room for all three (plus the other dis-similar rules) on the block. I would guess that at least one of the three will disappear, but not without a fight, but I'm not saying which one I think it will be...