I am definitely a faithful fan of rules, good ones, bad ones, and mediocre ones to boot. I don't have a massive collection by any stretch of the imagination, but I enjoy them all. When the British Grenadier! Deluxe Edition (BG! DE) by Eclaireur, were first advertised over at The Miniatures Page, I was chomping at the bit to finally order a set.
Being that I live in the land of rebellion, I pre-ordered a copy from On Military Matters, which is the US distributor for Partizan Press. After a few patient weeks, it finally arrived and was it ever worth it. Opening the mailer package, I felt like Little Ralphie on A Christmas Story when he opens the box on his "Red Ryder carbine-action, two hundred shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock" BB gun. Ooooh, Shiny! :-) I have long since been reading others reviews and battle reports on the rules but was hesitant to purchase them for fear of change. For you see, I really like Eric Burgess' Guns of Liberty.
Eric's Rules are easy to read, fast play stylized, and offer a great feel for the period. After reading a few reviews of BG!, I had long since held the fear that the rules would be as complex as Johnny Reb III and thus feel more like a simulation rather than a game.
Don't misunderstand me, I really enjoy Johnny Reb III, but it has its time and place. That time is when you have a lot of it, and that place is when you have a lot of that too! Now, back to the focus of this post: To start, BG! DE has a rather handsome drool resistant gloss cover that contains its well bound interior. The pages are in a satin finish with a common background artwork that is classy and does well to create a feeling of genre. I have seen many other rules that strive for this backdrop feeling, but all too often, the artwork is either too bright or too cluttered causing a distraction to the reader. The introduction is short and straight forward which seems to be due to the ease in which the rules can be consumed. The edition also has the luxury of being printed with all of the latest modifications, upgrades and edits. The table of contents is laid out in a logical manner and the chapters are artistically divided with the paintings of Bob Marrion. Throughout the book, there are numerous beautiful examples of painted armies in action on equally beautiful terrain. The author also provides helpful notes on building gameable armies which is sure to reduce the time it takes to put the rules into action on your own gaming table. At the end of the volume, the reader is provided with a handful of well drafted scenarios coving the FIW, AWI, and War of 1812.
After conducting my first perusal through the rules, I quickly knew ascertained that this was money well spent. I have yet to run them, but I have little fear of being disappointed. I called my buddy Steve over at Sound Officers Call! and joked about his life being lived less completely without these rules in his possession, but I worry that he doesn't know how serious I actually am! :-)