Friday Night Book of War

As I think I've mentioned previously, my girlfriend I now have a regular Friday "date night", which involves ordering Chinese food, watching a TV show on Hulu, and then playing Book of War. It's actually our favorite game at this point, which is rather surprising because: (1) I was never a wargamer as a younger person (although the idea was vaguely attractive to me), and (2) she was outright traumatized by her older brother demanding that she play various complex Napoleonic wargames when she was a girl. Here's a game from last Friday that just happens to involve a lot of cavalry of different types:

Start -- We agreed to play by Basic Rules only, at 200 points each (the minimum we play with; game takes about 1 hour). Opposition at the top has selected light infantry, heavy cavalry, and heavy crossbows; at the bottom, I've selected a more lightweight force of light cavalry, light infantry, and horse archers. We play on a smallish table, 3×3 feet, which generates a total of 4 rolls for terrain. Surprisingly, the only terrain that showed up was one section of woods; this probably benefits my army. Opposition has initiative and will move first.

Turn 1 -- In this turn, opposition moved forward, with crossbows taking a half-move to shoot at my horse archers, scoring 1 hit (white die shows damage; another hit will remove a mounted figure). I've charged forward on the left, and managed to rout her light infantry there immediately. I've also sent light cavalry into the woods (an unusual and risky move), while my horse archers on the right shot at her central light infantry, routing those as well. (Note that shooting at heavy cavalry at this distance was a non-option, since I can't penetrate their AH 6 armor beyond short range.) That's a good turn for me.

Turn 2 -- Opposition heavy cavalry now charge my infantry in the center, immediately killing 5 of the figures (50 men). On the morale dice, I need at least 9+ in order to avoid routing -- which I succeed at (shown in picture)! This is fortunate for me, since it means her heavy cavalry will be hung up for at least one more turn dealing with those infantry.

Turn 3 -- A turn-and-a-half later, and I've first charged my horse archers into melee (versus both crossbows & heavy cavalry), followed by my light cavalry and infantry units from the woods (with light cavalry finding the rear of the enemy for +1 to hit). The crossbows have been totally destroyed, but I've only managed to score 1 hit against the heavy cavalry. In response, my already-damaged light infantry have now been routed from the table (see tag at bottom edge), I've lost a horse archer figure from each unit, and her 2nd unit of heavy cavalry is now in the fight. Opposition calls this action in the center "a big pukey mess".

Turn 5 -- In the prior turn, I managed to maneuver one of my light cavalry units into the center melee, scoring another hit on the heavy cavalry (one figure lost), and forcing a morale check. This was disastrous for the opposition -- she could pass the morale check on any 6+ (2d6), but only rolled a 5! Thus, you see the heavy cavalry unit running away from the action. Meanwhile, I've lost the remaining horse archers and most of my infantry in the center. In subsequent turns, my light cavalry will pursue the routing heavies to the edge of the table, getting rear attacks each time.

Turn 7 -- More crazy good luck for me and French-idiom curses from the opposition. Her remaining heavy cavalry (yellow) is scoring hits on me, but in the picture you see my morale checks for the turn (all 6's!). In particular, those two infantry figures had been routed, but now they'll get to turn around and re-join the fray.

Turn 8 -- I'm trying to beat down those remaining heavy cavalry, but it's never easy; again, only die-rolls of 6 score hits (except for rear attacks). Here I manage to eliminate one figure, although her morale is still good. On the next turn she'll rout the near unit of light cavalry (green) off the table, but I have another unit circling around the woods after finishing off the heavy cavalry that routed earlier.

Turn 10 -- The End. Here I needed one more hit to finish her off, and although my attack roll was not great (pictured; almost all 1's and 2's), there is a single 6 in there that does the job. Victory! This was actually a more lopsided game than most, definitely owing to several unlikely morale checks that all went in my favor (my light infantry saving, and her heavy cavalry routing); plus, the terrain was to my advantage, and I didn't make any egregious mistakes. I wouldn't expect to beat heavy cavalry quite so easily a second time, but I'll take my wins where I can get them.


  1. That looks like a card table sized palying area, 20-30 minis to a side, and an hour long game?

  2. And I like seeing the Lionheart minis in action with what look like some pretty old school infantry. A 30mm knight vs a 25mm footman ... really communicates the intimidation of knghts!

  3. Here's a quick question on horse troops since it came up this week:

    Do horse get their full move and attacks only on terrain which is specifically rolled as "open" or on all terrain which is not restricted?

    That is, when I roll for terrain and get an open square, does that imply that the remainder of the table is not open (i.e., somewhere between an open meadow of a die roll and a dense woods or hill of another die roll)?



  4. Hey Chris -- That's a good question. The intent was that the whole board is "open" unless otherwise rolled; i.e., rolling "open" is the same as "nothing" (as we say it). On p. 8, I've got this line "Open terrain requires no tile" -- because it's identical to no special terrain whatsoever -- but maybe that was a bit more oblique than I intended.

    For example: In the blogged game today, the only place I wouldn't get full move & attacks is that single Woods tile (which is why it was a bit dicey for me to send cavalry in there). We also rolled 3 "Open" results, but they didn't change the board in any way.