Saturday, 15 March 2014
I Have The New HOTT!
It is, basically, as promised; a reprint of HOTT 2.0, with no radical changes. It formalises the Warband/Shooter movement rate swap that's been common for the last ten years or so. It also suggests that players might like to try the base-width movement rates being used in DBA 3.0. This latter addition is all well and good, but all it does is suggest that; it doesn't offer any rules on how to apply it, and you certainly can't use it effectively without some kind of additional ruling - a game on a normal play area will have the deployment zones all wrong and troops starting pretty much in contact. Elements will rarely be out of command, and aerials can move pretty much anywhere. Essentially using base-width movement rates requires a change to the recommended play areas and possibly how the armies are set up. Apparently if you make these changes you get an interesting game; I'm unconvinced, but really this suggestion should have been either left out, or expanded upon.
The book itself is A4, and has larger text with wider spacing, which does make it easier to read. The diagrams are now immediately after the main battle rules, rather than right at the back of the book.
The most radical change is the in the army lists. These have never been prescriptive - HOTT isn't that kind of game - but are a great source of inspiration. The categories of lists have been reorganised a little, and a number of new lists added - Generic Zombies (plus opponents), 'British' Civil Wars of the 17th Century, Alexander Dumas lists for the early 18th Century, lists for an obscure, and slightly bizarre, old Welsh poem, and finally my own Australian Aboriginal and Hawaiian Mythological lists. I think some lists might have been removed, but I haven't done a cross-check with HOTT 2.0 to see if this is the case. Nothing obvious was missing. The link to the old Stronghold website has gone, obviously. There's still a link to the HOTT Yahoo Group, despite there being more HOTT activity on Fanaticus these days. Mind you, Games Workshop is still given as a great source of fantasy figures ...
There are a few typos. Not in the rules, fortunately, but a few errors in the lists. The Vendhya list still shows Behemoths costing 3AP, an error which has been present since the first edition of the rules. The new Irish Rebel list doesn't add up if you take one of the options given for the general. It also lists a 'Rider Hero'. And so on. Nothing major, but possibly things that would have been picked up by a more thorough proof-reading.
So, are these rules worth getting? Well, if you have a copy of HOTT 2.0, then probably not, unless your copy is falling apart and needs replacing. But if you only have the downloaded scan, or don't have the rules at all, then this is the chance to get a printed copy, and a nice one at that. And it's good to see the rules available to buy for new players - strange as it seems being able to buy a set of rules makes them more attractive than just having them available as a free download (and the free download didn't include the lists anyway).
My copy of 2.0 is still in good nick, but I bought a copy of 2.1 because somehow I thought that it might be expected of me ...