We reported on the new release of Horse & Musket IV from Hollandspiele today, but we didn’t cover options for veterans of the series. Grognards get their own article around these parts!
First, there are quite a few new components so let’s look at those first:
New Core Rulebook: If you love Horse & Musket, don’t worry! The updates provides consistency for the terminology applied across the games in this update alongside expanded and illustrated examples of play. Additionally, the ambiguities of optional rules are ironed out here alongside a scenarios difficulty rating system for existing scenarios. In all, this is additive in the best possible way.
New Counters: These counters offer the color blind a code to indicate unit color since so much relies upon that. Way to go for catering to accessibility as a means to open up your title to more players! VPs are printed on the counters and a larger two-letter code is added for folks with eyesight that isn’t what it once was when they started in this hobby. Again, these are cosmetic changes and are not game altering changes that need to be back-ported to older titles. That said, moving forward it sounds like the first three volumes will incorporate these changes which is welcome for new fans of the series.
New Player Aids: This is a gatefold PAC (three panel per side essentially) that will incorporate all titles including the base game into it. THIS is a long time coming H&M fans will agree. Hollandspiele has streamlined (not sure what that means in practice) the terrain effects chart and the battle charts.
New Scenario Book: This is the biggest update in my eyes- the setup diagrams will now put the units on the board rather than having to go through the lists of units and move them to the right place on the board. It’s not game-changing, but it’s another welcome addition to an already great series.
The new fancy counters from H&MIV: Tides of Revolution
So, given these changes, do you REALLY need to upgrade?
A resounding: Not REALLY…34 of the 122 scenarios HAVE received “minor balance tweaks.” However, as you can see, the bulk of the changes are largely cosmetic.
The game will play as it always has and for those who purchase volume IV: Tides of Revolution, you’ll get the new player aid card and can see the updated counter layout before making any decisions about what you want to do next.
The new rulebook will be available on BGG if you don’t want to get volume IV to see the new rules layouts and get rules clarifications. A classy move.
If you want the countersheets, Hollandspiele will be offering Horse & Musket Annual 3 (I know…bury the headline Keith!) for $20. With THAT purchase, if you want to purchase a 6 countersheet upgrade set you can do so for $60. There will not be an option for a game-by-game upgrade which makes total sense to me. Trying to figure out who gets which sheets and then package accordingly is asking for problems.
If you’re keen for the new scenario books and PACs for prior games, you’ll need to reach out to Hollandspiele with your proof of purchase (order ids for example) to request a special order. Again, this is NOT necessary, but is offered for those who simply cannot live without purchasing the same content twice from Hollandspiele or they desperately need to re-fight those 34 scenarios because it just drove them insane that the minor balance tweaks weren’t already in the game!