Friday Night Book of War: Tale of Two Teams

Our good friends Kate & Matt came over the other night, and both cooked and queued up for a Book of War game -- my first chance to roll out the 3D terrain I recently made and new, bigger elephant miniatures. In order to get everyone involved, we played in teams of two, with each person controlling half of a 420-point army.

Turn 1: Kate & Matt at the top have horse archers, medium cavalry, heavy crossbows, elephant archers, trolls, and elite dwarves (3rd-level dwarves in heavy plate). Isabelle & I at the bottom have heavy cavalry, hill giants, heavy crossbows, trolls, orcs, and light cavalry. Terrain is one hill feature next to some woods. Weather is sunny so my big squad of cheap orc infantry are at -1 to hit and morale. Matt's horse archers have made a half-move on the left, shooting down one of our crossbow figures, but morale is good. Our cat Yowly looks on with suspicion at why horse archers chose not to take another half-move.

Turn 2: Isabelle's heavy cavalry caught those horse archers with a charge, and have routed them after two turns of melee. Also, Kate & Matt's crossbows and elephants chose to take a full move to the top of the hill, which allowed our heavy crossbows to get the first shot, routing their men and inflicting 3 hits (of 5) on their elephants.

Meanwhile, strange things in the woods: First, troll-on-troll action where each of our squads of trolls tears into the other and then regenerates the damage in the next turn. (Suggesting the mathematical problem of a random walk: will it ever end?) Secondly, while my orcs have surrounded and outnumbered Kate's dwarves 130-to-20 individuals, in the sunny weather I need to roll 6 + 1 = 7 on any d6 to score a hit. Which, as we say in the basic statistics class, will be assigned the descriptor of "impossible event". Except for the figures at the rear which can hit on a "6", but their blows ring down ineffectually...

Turn 3: Matt's medium cavalry is in a tough position; he decides to charge my light cavalry, but this leaves their rear open to my giants and Isabelle's heavy cavalry. Kate's elephant unit is shot down by our masses of heavy crossbows. Trolls keep clubbing each other with torn-off limbs and whatnot. My orcs are being chopped down in assembly-line fashion by Kate's dwarf swordsmen.

Turn 4: Our cavalry and giants catch Matt's medium cavalry in a pincer move, and trample the whole bunch of them into the dirt. Their routed crossbows run off the table with some parting shots from my own, which was considered broadly unsporting. My orcs just got routed, but other (better) units are circling to finish off the opposition, so we called the game at this point and switched to some Yahtzee.

Conclusions: First of all, I really need to get some better lighting in the living room for these photos. The 3D terrain I recently built was very enjoyable (but probably not something I could take on the road with me). Somewhat embarrassing realization at the end: We probably shouldn't form a team of Isabelle & myself, the number one and two experts at Book of War, against relative newbie players. That was one of the more overwhelming tactical mismatches that we've seen. Also, I got a double Yahtzee.


  1. This looks awesome.
    For the terrain, I would be inclined to say pick up a nice craft/cigar box that can double as your carry case/dice tray.

    Random question:
    Have you ever discussed a unit armed with just daggers in BOW?

    I got on a kick thinking about a scenario for mobilized city guard vs, a mob of cut-purses and civilians.

    Would the reduced range of the dagger act like an anti-pike? Allow the defending unit a free hit before the daggers fall?

    1. Thanks! That's an interesting question about the daggers, mostly because the base assumption in the BOW simulation is that everyone has 1d6 damage weapons or thereabouts. At one point I had stats for a mass of giants rats (like if a vampire summons them), with 1d3 damage, and so was giving -1 to hit in BOW to represent that. Probably the same as what I'd do for daggers... or I suppose you could say that's good for totally untrained forces, orc/goblins in sunlight, etc.

  2. Christ, in this day and age they could only be characterized as woeful photos and you a man of science. I can't make out the minis at all -- do you have parkinsons? Rest your elbow on something, man.

    What did you use to make the hills and trees? Im currently making pieces for underground caverns.

    1. See here it is not the lighting:


    2. Wow, rough review. :-) All I can say is that if I take a photo outside or with the minis in sunlight (otherwise the same way), then it looks entirely different.

      The hills and base of the woods were made out of leftover packing styrofoam from an Ikea purchase. Caution: spray primer/paint partly disintegrates them (probably into toxic gas), but I can live with that. The trees are store-bought.

  3. did the wine (good call);
    interfere with the camera work?