I am delighted to announce the publication of "Bloody Big BATTLES!" (BBB), a new set of rules for wargaming the Late Nineteenth Century, and of a companion scenario volume, "Bloody Big EUROPEAN BATTLES!" (BBEB). Both are published by SkirmishCampaigns.
BBB does exactly what its title says. It is intended for fighting the biggest, bloodiest battles of 1850-1900 in a manageable way. Specific design goals included:
to tackle the major battles such as Solferino, Gettysburg, Königgrätz, Sedan or Plevna, often spanning several days' combat;
to fit them on a 6'x4' tabletop;
and to fight them in their entirety, in a single 3-to-4-hour session, with 2-6 players (typically 4).
BBB is not suitable for small actions of a few thousand men a side. There are plenty of rulesets that do that. But BBB is distinctive in;
Enabling players to command entire armies of 100,000+ men ;
Fitting battlefields of up to 20km across on the table;
While still producing a fast, fun, flavorful game and a result in an evening.
Scale varies according to the battle but is typically:
Figure scale 1,500 men or 36 cannon per 1" base (organized into multi-base division or brigade-sized units, usually of 3-7 infantry bases, 2-3 cavalry bases or 1 artillery base);
Ground scale 1" per 200-250 yards;
Timescale 1 hour per turn.
BBB uses simple mechanisms and memorisable tables that fit on a clear 2-page QRC.
Turn sequence: IGO-UGO
Command and Control: reflected partly by how many generals get represented on table, partly by how units are rated.
Movement: 2D6 movement table incorporates difficult terrain, generalship and doctrine, troop quality and morale, loss recovery.
Fire Combat: calculated by adding fire points and applying a few relevant column shifts. 2D6 fire table to determine casualties, recorded by base removal.
Assault: opposed D6 roll incorporating a few relevant factors.
Night Interval rules to allow multi-day battles.
BBB is not meant for tournament games or for generic encounter games. It is meant for fighting historical battles. BBB and its companion volume, Bloody Big European Battles, therefore provide fully playtested scenarios for 25 of the most important battles of the period, linked into full campaigns. Further free scenarios are also available on the web [now including some smaller 'training scenarios' for learning the rules before embarking on the big battles].
All the scenarios fit the battles they depict into a beautiful, tightly engineered game structure. They have clear, simple, but carefully thought-out victory conditions, designed both to recreate the historical situation and to generate an exciting and balanced game that can be completed in a sensible period of time. A particular joy of fighting historical actions on this scale is that usually both sides have several different viable strategies available, meaning the scenarios are full of replay value and can produce quite different games each time.
Dr. Nicholas Murray of the Naval War College and formerly of the US Army Command & General Staff College uses BBB to teach decision making and history to US and international officers. He specializes in the evolution of warfare in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is author of The Rocky Road to the Great War.
The BBB rulebook contains not only the rules, but also a complete campaign of linked historical scenarios for nine of the largest battles of the Franco-Prussian War.
Scale & Organisation
Sequence of Play
Scenarios, Campaigns & Victory
Franco-Prussian War Campaign Scenarios
Borny / Colombey
Loigny / Poupry
Quick Reference Sheets
BBEB is a companion volume to the BBB rules. It provides 16 historical scenarios. Most of these are connected to create mini-campaigns, so that players can fight through the entire course of the major European wars of this period.
European Wars 1853-1897
Scenarios, Campaigns & Victory
The Crimean War
Risorgimento! Italian War of 1859
The Second Schleswig War
Dybbøl & Als
The Austro-Prussian War of 1866
Nachod, Trautenau, Skalitz
The Russo-Turkish War
The Second Battle of Plevna
The Third Battle of Plevna
Metchka / Tristenik
The Serbo-Bulgarian War
The Greco-Turkish War
BBB was launched at Fall In in November 2014. It is available from dealers including Brigade Games and On Military Matters in the US, and in the UK from Caliver Books or Irregular Miniatures. To keep informed of availability, join the BBB Yahoo Group
or monitor the SkirmishCampaigns website:
Vendors who carry SkirmishCampaigns books will have BBB products:
The Yahoo Group files include:
Colour versions of the scenario maps from BBB and BBEB;
Additional free scenarios [including some small 'training scenarios'];
Quick Reference sheets;
A list of the biggest European battles 1854-1897;
Tables listing the scenario size and troops required for every scenario in BBB and BBEB;
Colour versions of scenario maps, along with more photos of wargames with 6mm figures than anyone is likely to want to look at, can be found in my Flickr photostream: