First of all, I know two of the authors personally; secondly, I didn’t pay for my copy of this RPG: the three of us were talking on-line about an idea of mine regarding either skirmish wargaming or roleplaying (or both) in medieval England (or Palestine, or both) during the reign of Richard Coeur de Lion or his brother John, and I was wondering what system to use. I was considering Hârnmaster, as it’s gritty, and the magic system is easily ignored if you wish. And they said ‘Why not look at C&S?’
So, here I am, looking.
This review refers only to the PDF version, which I am viewing mainly on a 12.9” iPad Pro, and it is very much a ‘first impression’.
First of all, the file loads very quickly into GoodReader. Secondly, it looks beautiful: this is a well-designed, well typeset and laid out publication. Navigation around the huge (602 page) tome is quick and easy thanks to excellent hyperlinking. It’s easy to get to the table of contents or index too - alternate pages have links to one or the other (as well as to every chapter); I might have preferred hyperlinks to both on every page, but it’s still very quick and easy to use. It’s a good example of how rules presented in PDF ought to be: the added functionality outweighs the ‘it isn’t a book’ feeling you get from rules on a tablet: it would be great for use at the table because looking something up in the index gets you a hyperlink straight to the relevant text - no scrolling required!
The artwork is good but ‘minimal’ and unobtrusive - the book is big enough without loading it with pages and pages of gratuitous pictures. What art there is, is evocative and suits the ‘feel’ of the subject well. The text is clear and easy to read, though the extensive use of ligatures reduces the readability a bit and their appearance ‘jars’ a little - at least for me. The tables are well laid-out and easy to refer to.
My first impression of the rules is that the system is quite ‘old school’ - complex and ‘crunchy’ - there are lots of rules, lots of acronyms, lots of tables. And I’m sure it harks back to the previous four editions - using mechanics, acronyms, etc., which are probably very familiar to aficionados of the earlier editions. For a tyro like me though, it’s pretty daunting at first glance! More to follow as and when I ‘get to grips’ with the nitty-gritty of the system.