New Year's Book of War

So I'm scrambling a bit to square up some very basic fortification rules, and the setup to properly playtest them a few times. New Year's Day I put the finishing touches on a model and sat to down to run an assault on a, um, certain castle situated on a high bluff overlooking a river. (I'll also be running this scenario at the RECESS convention in New York on the evening of Sunday Jan-16 -- ironically in the same place as the martial arts class where I got the black eye that I'm currently sporting. But I'll tell everyone it was my previous players. Ha! Anyway, see nerdnyc.com for more info.)

As Moltke the Elder would tell you, your understanding of any scenario changes immediately upon contact with the players. On setup and explanation my girlfriend asked, "Do I get a princess in the castle?" And I had to reply, "Geez, I don't think there are any women in the entire complex -- except maybe a serving wench in the tavern." That started things off super-well with the feminist opposition. (Gygaxians may make whatever they wish from the foregoing).

Turn 1 -- Situation: Monsters have poured out of the nearby woods in the dark of night, surrounding the castle and attempting to scale the bluff face before a full alarm can be raised. Of course, underworld monsters can see at night, but men defending the castle have to carry torches, and can only light up to the base of a wall where someone is stationed (otherwise location is known only vaguely by sound; archery, for example, is effectively impossible). Defenders are in red, mostly men in chainmail with crossbows, polearms, and a small number of heavy men-at-arms in plate. I'm controlling the monsters in blue, including a bunch of light goblins, medium orcs, hobgoblins with crossbows, and a squad of hill giants. I've already shot a number of the defenders off the walls. (As usual, each figure represents 10 of the given creature type in a certain space.)

Turn 2 -- General chaos. As monsters get to the top of the bluff (a task of significant difficulty in itself), they pull up ladders and attempt to escalade over the wall.

Turn 4 -- Attrition. This is a tough task for my monsters. None have gotten inside yet; one unit of orcs has already been routed off the table.

Turn 6 -- Giants (after hitting some of my own guys with thrown stones) decide to clamber up the bluff and start over the wall. A force of 60 men await them in the inner bailey.

Turn 7 -- This was a real crappy turn for me. It started out well with a larger-than-usual number of monsters getting up the bluff to the base of the wall. Unfortunately, a series of excellent rolls by the opposition killed them all, and then all but one of the attached units routed. Neither did the giants get over the wall (instead taking hits from defenders now on the rampart).

Turn 9 -- Last of the orc attackers flee into the night.

Turn 10 -- Final defeat. 'Twas the serving wench that killed the beast?


  1. Brilliant :)
    Am looking forward to play more BoW, hopefully the local campaign will start soon: they're not wargames but I totally expect them to lead angry mobs of villagers towards their doom.
    When is the new version coming out by the way? :)

    And... where did you get the model of the Keep on the Borderlands? O_O

  2. Hey thanks! Built the model myself. :)

    I'm broadly aiming for a late-February release. Hopefully.

  3. Very cool Delta, and rather timely. There may very well be a situation in my home game coming up that really could use some siege rules. I can't wait to see them.

    Also, very nice model. What's it made of?

  4. On setup and explanation my girlfriend asked, "Do I get a princess in the castle?"

    Is your girlfriend and my @thePrincessWife related? She just informed me that ALL castles have a princess - whether in distress or in court.

    Time to get this model for your future castles: a Ballerina Fairy Princess on Flying Pink Pony Unicorn with Rainbow Laser.

    Just please don't tell @thePrincessWife... she'll want 3. As all princesses would.

    (BTW, like Paul and tsojcanth - I would like to build a model of the Keep as well! How did you do it?)

  5. Are these rules available for download and beta testing?

  6. Hey guys, thanks for the interest! I've made a few castle models like this.

    Most of what you see is -- Foam core base, posterboard walls & standing structures. Big round towers are made out of paper towel cores (perfect size), battlements are made with a looseleaf paper punch, painting is done with "stone look" canned spray paint (has bits in the paint for texture).

    This particular one I spent more time on to get everything just right. Curtain walls and protruding machiolation on the tower tops was made of 1/8" foam core -- but that was such a pain to cut & punch that I don't plan on using that again. Roofing solution I discuss here.

    CW: Definitely a different person. Liking the oven-mitted fairy.

  7. My favorite part of that model is the overhead shot, where it's quite clear that you carefully copied the exact layout of the keep from B2. That keep really is the perfect poster-child for Book of War. Nothing quite shouts for mass combat rules that integrate with D&D quite like a module that gives the players a castle to call home. What GM wouldn't want to lay siege to it?