Monday 14 January 2019

Balkan Wars book published!

I am delighted to report that Konstantinos Travlos's book, "Bloody Big Balkan Battles!", to which I also contributed, is newly published by Brigade Games.

This is a wargame campaign scenario book designed for use with the “Bloody Big BATTLES!” rules (BBB), but also a work of very serious research on a neglected topic, the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913. Its lead author is Dr Konstantinos Travlos. (I am his co-author, but my contribution was limited to some help with scenario design and playtesting, a bit of language editing, and creating the scenario maps.) Konstantinos’s full description of the book is below.

The work is published by Brigade Games. It is available in pdf now, with print copies due to be available by end of January 2019. Both pdf and print editions will include full colour throughout. Ordering details are below.

Konstantinos’s outstanding work fills an important gap and should be appreciated by any wargamers interested in the Balkan Wars.

Update 25 Jan 2019: a nice review already from Dave Watson, better known as "Balkan Wargamer" and an expert on the Balkans and its many conflicts down the ages, who rates BBBB as "highly recommended"!

Also a nice positive review (I'm told) in Turkish from Kahramangiller

For almost 600 years, from the fabled shores of the Bosphorus, the Ottoman Sultans ruled over a vast land in Europe, stretching from the Mediterranean to the Danube.  Sometimes enlightened, sometimes cruel, the rule of the Caliphs of Islam had steadily receded before the fury of national ideals and the rising might of European imperialism promoted by bayonet and capital. And yet it still survived, still stubbornly clinging to Balkan territories rich in history, industry and population. The “Sick Man of Europe” seemed to spite Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro; the states created by bloody struggle by those who once were termed the gavur rayahs of the Sultan. They saw with worry the growing appetite of aggressive great powers, all making claims to what they saw as their just inheritance. And then by coup and counter-coup, the fall of a Red Sultan, and the rise of a Committee, the rapaciousness of a young Great Power, and the entente of two old foes, the Balkan states saw danger and opportunity and struck. In the span of just a month of the greatest battles seen in Europe since 1871, the dream of Osman was shattered. 

This scenario supplement for Bloody Big Battles! permits you to re-fight those great battles that saw the end of the Ottoman Empire in Europe and the formation of the basic modern borders in the Balkans. Nine scenarios cover some of the most important battles of the First Balkan War, covering the campaigns of Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria against the Ottoman Empire which would drive the Empire to the very gates of Istanbul/Constantinople/Tsarigrad.  Five scenarios then cover the Second Balkan War, the conflict between the successful allies which pitted Serbia, Montenegro and Greece against Bulgaria over the legacy of the Ottoman Empire.

Each scenario provides a distinct operational and tactical puzzle for war-gamers to resolve. From straightforward assaults against fortified positions like the First Battle of Chataldja, to complex double envelopments like the Battle of Lule Burgas, from the extensive broad fronts of the Battle of Bregalnitza, to the knife fight at close quarters of the Battle of Bizani. There are small scenarios easily played in one or two hours, like the Battle of Dioran (the actual First battle of Dioran), and more substantive scenarios like the Battle of Kumanovo, still playable in an evening.  There are battles fought on rolling hills and plains, like the Battle of Kirkkilise, and battles fought in some of the worst ground where people have ever thought of fighting each other in an organized manner, like the Battle of Kalimanchi. 

You will see how these wars were similar to The Great War and how they differed from it. You will understand the crucial role of terrain as a military variable and grapple with key decisions of force to task allocation in an unforgiving strategic, operational and tactical environment. You will see the last glory days of the bayonet charge, and the opening bloody howl of modern artillery.  There is challenge to satisfy all types of war-gamers.

An included overview of the historical events and biographies of many of the commanders whose roles you reprise on the table-top will provide you with the background to give you an inkling of the vast stakes and human drama associated with these battles. An annotated bibliography provides you both with the sources used to build the scenarios and further reading to enrich your understanding and experience. A figure guide helps you find suitable ways to represent the armies in almost all scales of miniature war-gaming.

A struggle for a vast future awaits! Take command and see how history was forged!

You can purchase the “Bloody Big Balkan Battles” Supplement at
Additional Online Resources to enhance your experience
The relative position of scenario maps plotted on the theater operations maps
Photos and reports from the playtest phase, useful to give you an idea on how to represent the terrain of the scenarios
By Konstantinos Travlos and Chris Pringle
Kresna Gorge
Other Battles (Dioran, Kilkis-Lahana, Prelep, Kumanovo)
Battle Report, including Video Report, of a session of the Battle of Kirkkilise Scenario and the start of Scenario Campaign titles “Liberation and Catastrophe”
Two field trips to the sites of some of the Eastern Thrace battlefields of the First Balkan War. It will give you an idea of the ground we tried to model in the scenarios.
The Ottoman Army of Konstantinos Travlos in 10mm

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