Valor & Steel & Flesh by Bob Charrette

I just received Parroom Station‘s rules for Victorian Science-Fiction skirmish wargaming, that go by the name of “Valor & Steel  & Flesh” (VSF – what an appropriate acronym!).

These rules are the direct competition to Buck Surdu’s “G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T.” and GDW’s earlier “Soldier’s Companion” (both of them are sets I have owned for some time), and I wanted to have a look at these – especially since I saw they were regarded very favourably by the chaps at the Lead Aventure Forum.

V&S&F are skirmish rules (1 figure = 1 man) with 1D10 roll- under mechanics and some use of poker and event cards for things like unit initiative and vehicle breakdowns.

Unlike G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T., the rules come preloaded with a default setting: a mix of Wells’ “War of the Worlds” (Martian cephalids and tripods), Burroughs’ “Barsoom” (four-armed green Martians and other weird creatures) and Frank Chadwick’s “Space 1889” (redcoats in a Mars populated by elf-like city dweller Martians – as well as by the other inhabitants mentioned above). This might make V&S&F a little less flexible and generic that G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T., but on the other hand it might be less of a burden for players wanting to give it a go without extensive pre-game preparation.

The book itself is a 96-page B&W softcover, filled with maps, diagrams and pictures mainly of the attractive range of miniatures by Parroom Station (lately available from Brigade Games). There are rules for the whole paraphernalia of VSF contraptions, like landships, cavorite fliers, steam automatons, etc.

Aside from the rules themselves (less than half the total page count) there are several chapters detailing the gaming world background, the troops and organizations of the different armies taking part in the Martian campaigns, as well as some typical ready-made scenarios.

All in all, a quite complete set that allows the gamer to play out of the box – as long as he has ready minis and a table, that is!

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~ by G. K. Zhukov on March 4, 2010.

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