Friday, August 7, 2020

Riot: A Game Twenty Five Years in the Waiting

One of the projects that has been on my 'to-do' list for over twenty-five years is a good old-fashioned, downtown riot.  Something about the asymmetric nature of the conflict, the confined corridors of battle, and the fluid nature of the fight just screams for a proper wargame.

Maybe it's the Pac-Man fan in me.

Whatever the reason, something in the air inspired me to finally quit with the wishing and get with the making.  About forty bucks and a Saturday afternoon later saw the early stages of a nice waffle-iron downtown set-up that fits into a neat little package.  

Irregular Miniatures sells a set of figures for about forty-five bucks, and a set of rules for five bucks.  The rules are twenty-five years old, and are very tongue-in-cheek, with scenarios suitable for Olde English tax protests, Napoleonic riots, Central American crackdowns, and modern American urban insurgencies.  Called Riot: From Watt Tyler to Watts, I gotta admit to needing a quick lookup to understand the first reference.  From the Infogalactic Entry:
Walter "WatTyler was a leader of the 1381 Peasants' Revolt in England. He marched a group of protesters from Canterbury to the capital to oppose the institution of a poll tax. While the brief rebellion enjoyed early success, Tyler was killed by officers loyal to King Richard II during negotiations at Smithfield, London.
For the record, the other battle-packs available at Irregular Miniatures website are a lot cheaper, and they are built to provide just about everything you need to play one of the scenarios included in the Riot rules.  So if you want a cheaper entry, get the Poll Tax Rebels or the Revenge packs.  The Revenge one in particular contains a fun surprise, as does the scenario for which they serve.

Some advice for those whose interest I have piqued:  The rules call for square bases 25mm in size for everything, and roads of either 25mm, 50mm, or 75mm width.  The rules assume an invisible 25mm grid for the play area - invisible for the purposes of aesthetics - and call for movement only in the four cardinal directions.  No diagonals!

By building my city before cracking open the rules, I've already shanked my chances for playing RAW.  My roads are too wide, and it's not yet clear how that will affect game play.  It'll take some wiggling and house-ruling to figure out how to move mobs in a way that keeps within the spirit of the rules.  And in a way that diagonals won't wreck things, because...come on.  It's miniature wargaming, grids are for RPGs!  I might also forgo the square bases in favor of cheaper and more readily available washers.  I'm allowed to do that.

As usual, and as a wargamer with a limited capacity to remember things, I've thrown together a quick reference sheet (pic related).  You know, just in case anyone out there wants to give these somewhat obscure rules a shot.  It's not enough to play the game - you'll need point costs for forces, scenarios, and a lot of rules buried in the text before you can play - but if you've got 'em, you'll find this sheet very helpful during play.

Congratulations.  This post just about provides more information about this game than any other website out there.  You're almost an expert.

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