Saturday Night Book Of War

The last few Saturday nights, the girlfriend and I have stayed in and played Book of War (the lightweight mass-combat game I've been tooling on for some time that statistically recreates D&D results at 1:10 scale). Here's a quick recap of the most recent game.

Setup -- We play on a smallish 3x3 foot table, so a 200-point game works well for us (think: about 2,000 gp per side as per standard D&D men-at-arms costs), which works out to around 20-30 figures per side (or about one medieval battalion). On my side I've got infantry in chain, regular archers, and heavy cavalry (blue color); the opposition has several units of horse archers and pikes (red color). You can see the random terrain that we generated for this game (notably, she placed a hill near the center that would be advantageous for her horse archers; I responded by trying to block her approach with a bunch of heavy terrain I was rolling). You can also see our cat, Yowly, who generally sits on the "neutral party" ottoman and watches the proceedings:

Turn 2 -- Actually 1.5 turns in, at this point my girlfriend (acting first) has had 2 turns of movement, and managed to get her light forces all the way across the stream, and also up the hill in the center. With only one turn myself, my heavier forces are bogged down, only halfway across the stream, and I've got fairly cruddy options at this point. I really don't want to take my heavy cavalry into the middle, surrounded by archers & pikes, but I can't turn around & get out of the stream in one move.

Turn 4 -- At this point my heavy cavalry have fought their way back out of the river, taking casualties from archers & taking a rear attack from the pikes. My archers drove off the pikes, but were themselves then routed by the hill-top horse archers (note "routed" arrow markers on fleeing units). Look closely and you'll see how my medium infantry have moved under cover of the woods to the edge of the hill, while her second pike unit is coming up through the marsh.

Turn 6 -- My demise. My girlfriend's horse archers came off the hill, and managed to rout the rest of my heavy cavalry off the table. Her pikes ascended the hill and took a brave assault by my medium infantry, but kept morale even after having the whole hill showered by their horse-archer allies; note her 1 figure of pikes left and my infantry routing back through the woods.

Turn 7 -- The End. My already-broken infantry are surrounded in the woods by the fast-moving horses and eliminated on the next attack.

So in this case, my girlfriend beat me. (Which -- ahem -- doesn't usually happen.) Total playing time including army selection & setup was 1 hour, 40 minutes. I think this is also the first time in a few weeks where there wasn't a rules debate that caused me to edit something afterward, so that's probably a good sign for the shape things are in.


  1. Do your rules include guidance how to handle magic? Do they have guidance on how to put a PC into the mass combat battle?

    I've been tooling with HOTT for about a year, and I'm close to being done with how to "plug in" OD&D/AD&D PCs, but I'm always curious for other inputs and inspirations.

  2. I have to say, Book of War is one of the things which excites me most these days, as far as game rules that I have not yet seen.

  3. Hey ChicagoWiz -- Yes, BOW includes rules for Heroes & Wizards who are at least Name Level. (Lower levels are subsumed as serjeants, lieutenants, etc., within units.)

  4. *drool*

    Ahem. Sorry about that. I can't wait to see you release these one day. I've been noodling with HOTT for awhile now and I'm not quite satisfied with what I've come up with.

  5. Much appreciate the interest! Hoping to have this out early in the new year. :)

  6. Very cool. Wish I had the time to play war-games, but alas I am losing the battle

  7. 1 hour 40 minutes? That sounds like something I would play. Will this be something you're selling or free? Not sure I'd buy it without a test run but it sounds like you've put a lot of work into it so I can understand if you'd like to get something for it.

  8. Hey, Mike: My plan is to sell it at a fairly modest cost on Lulu.