Monday, March 16, 2020

Book of War Skirmish Rules: Odd Encounters

I've had a few inquiries lately about whether there is a skirmish-level (1:1 scale) version of my OED Book of War simple miniature-wargame rules. The fortunate answer is: yes, there is!

My game-design partner Paul Siegel wrote and tested this adjunct to Book of War, now in its 10th year of existence, call Odd Encounters. It gives a very nice stripped-down form of combat for individual figures and mid-level heroes (as you like it), d20-based attack rolls (so it's likely directly convertible with all your standard D&D play), and nicely balanced points costs and features for one-off games. I'm so appreciative that Paul wrote this and made it available for us -- and entirely released under the Open Game License. Get it for free at the link below and tell us what you think!

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  2. Interesting to see these skirmish rules (I've just started playing Book of War and posted a few thoughts on it on my blog).

    The first thing that struck me as this: "Individual players should be able to take their turn without need to consult with the other players". The rationale is well explained, but it is the opposite of the way in which many skirmish games have been moving (Song of Blades, Battlesworn, Fistful of Lead, etc. - all of which aim to break up a player's turn as much as possible to simulate simultaneous movement and fighting).

    One quibble I have with the rules is this: grouping polearms with spears and not with two-handed weapons always, in my experience, leads to debates on what's a halberd (polearm) and what's a poleaxe (two-handed weapon: the "poll" is "poll", meaning head!). The distinction is much less clear with fantasy miniatures than with historical ones - and, more importantly, being hit with a long two-handed axe is going to hurt a lot whether it's mounted on a ten-foot shaft or a five-foot one. I think the only real solution is to allow cutting polearms like halberds and bills to function as either a spear or a two-handed weapon in a given round - and to make them more expensive accordingly.

    Anyway, I'm very much enjoying Book of War. A question I posed in my review: how do you calculate attacks when converting D&D profiles? Apologies if I've missed it in the rules, but I couldn't work out how a troll ended up with two attacks when it has three in most D&D profiles and more in OD&D (eight?). Two felt exactly right in the game, but I was curious as to how you arrived at it. Thanks!

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