First impressions of ‘Bloody Big Battles’ rules

Paul Le Long has provided a “first impressions” look at Chris Pringle’s rule set, “Bloody Big Battles: Rules for Wargaming the Late Nineteenth Century.” Paul plans to follow up with a more detailed review after further play-testing of the rules.

It’s on the Reviews page.

This entry was posted in Periods - Nineteenth century, Wargaming. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to First impressions of ‘Bloody Big Battles’ rules

  1. Mike Crane says:

    Paul, thanks for this well-written review. I have never been into board gaming, but the idea of replaying the Battle of Gettysburg solo–with miniatures–on an area the size of a normal table top is quite interesting. I am anxiously awaiting the articles about your play-testing results.

  2. Scott Hansen says:

    I really love the rules. I have played them 3 times and use them for the Russo-Japanese War. The Fire combat and movement tables are based on Fire and Fury ACW rules. The tables use six sided dice instead of Fire and Fury’s ten sided dice.

    One of my first wargaming loves was wargaming European 19th century wars: Crimean, 1859 Franco-Austrian, etc. I am currently painting armies for the 1877 Russo-Turkish War using 10mm Pendraken figures. I love the fact that there are several scenarios for the Russo-Turkish rules.

  3. Paul Le Long says:

    Well, I played my first game today and I have to say that I’m really impressed – BBB has great potential and it may become my favourite set of rules.

    Some perspective:
    I’ve only just recently become interested in 19th century Europe (though I’ve long been an ACW fan) and I don’t have any figures ready to go. I do have 10mm Franco-Prussian armies (which will look fantastic using BBB) but they are not painted yet. So for the playtest I used unpainted Risk figures (Napoleonic version) based on bits of card 1 inch square. This is the ultimate in ersatz, utilitarianism and should have been utterly lacking in appeal. But it worked.

    Why am I telling you? Because BBB games often call for 70+ units per side. That’s a lot of figures potentially and a big commitment to a set of rules that you might not like once you’ve played. This method – unglamorous as it was – nevertheless allowed me to get in a playtest game very quickly and I mention it because it illustrates that the BBB entry tariff is not necessarily as high as you might imagine.

    The Game:
    I played Montebello from the 1859 Franco-Austrian War. This is a training scenrio available from the BBB Yahoo group (or is it the BBB Blog, I can’t remember..?). Anyway, here are the links to both sites:

    Both sites have bags of info and are an entertaining read. They also illustrate that BBB can be used outside of the late 19th century european sphere – there’s stuff here for ACW, WWI, WWII and more. Worth a look.

    The scenario states that Montebello is too small to be a typical BBB game (only ~20 units per side) but it is designed as a training scenario to get you used to the rules.

    The game was great fun and I found the rules easy to pick up and intuitive. They are very simple really and the whole thing feels clean and intuitive – but not simplistic. Game time was a couple of hours, even though it was my first game and I was still having to look everything up – but that was 7 game turns which represented the entire battle. The point I’m trying to make is that you can fight very large actions quickly. Obviously the more usual scenarios have 3 times the number of troops that I was using – but then once you are familiar with the rules things will be 3 times quicker anyway.

    Even with this mini-scenario I felt that I was controlling an entire battle rather than a little microcosm as is the case with most wargames. You do get the feeling that you are swinging whole divisions into the fray rather than micro-managing a tiny section of the front.

    I won’t go into any more detail here; I’ll leave that for later. But after just one playtest & that with very sub-optimal ‘figures’, I can honestly say that BBB is possibly what I’ve been looking for in miniatures gaming for a long time.

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