Friday, 11 December 2015

Langensalza - A Bloody Big Battles intro game

Having become very comfortable and happy with 'Honours of War' over the past few months, we decided to give 'Bloody Big Battles' a go to see how they compare as a ruleset. Dave had had the good fortune to play a game with the author, Chris Pringle, at Warfare, so had a basic grasp of the game mechanics. I was a complete newbie to these, despite having had a cursory glance at the rulebook.

For an intro game we chose Langensalza off the Yahoo Group, one that works perfectly for our purposes and fits on a 4'x4' table. Dave also happened to have the correct figures for this scenario in 15mm, with a few 'counts as' which as usual didn't bother us one jot. 

As this was very much a learning game, there is no AAR as such, just a few photos of the game showing the action

The battlefield with the Prussians on the left, whose aim is to keep attacking across the small river, thus preventing the Hannoverians from crossing over and threatening Langensalza.
De Vaux's 2nd Brigade at Merxleben deployed to halt the Prussian troops advancing in depth.
Fabecks' advance guard of the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha Regiment come to blows with De Vaux's Brigade.
The Hannoverians mass their troops to overwhelm the Prussians by sheer weight of fire...
..Except that 3 Turns in a row I rolled some shocking die, with the last being a Double 1. The Minion looks on speechless...

Post Game Thoughts
Well for a first of game, things flowed really easily and I picked up the broad mechanics after a Turn or two. Naturally we were checking stuff a lot, but most of this was answered by using the excellent QRS of the Yahoo Group. Re-reading the rules in the clear light of day, we missed a few things, but then this is to be expected for a first game. So for a first off game, very happy with how things went. So as usual a few observations:

  • Using the recommend basing system would certainly make the game easier to manage in terms of unit losses, who could fire etc. This is certainly the plan for games next year when Dave has re-based some of his 6mm figures.
  • Concentration of fire is very important to allow you to really degrade your opponents troops. Unless you roll badly as I did in this game...
  • Knowing when to put units in column, in depth or in line is quite an important part of the game. Each has its own advantages etc.
  • Plan ahead. As units can move very quickly and can get into action, you need to think ahead maybe a Turn or two to account for this. This is true in most games but it seems that things can turn for or against you very quickly.
  • Terrain is rather important in these rules, with roads certainly confering large movement bonuses to troops on them if deployed correctly. For games on a 6'x4' table I know that I certainly don't have enough of them. So one option is to go down the rather 'classic' route of using felt roads to give you maximum flexibility when laying a table out. Hills are another issue but one that I haven't quite figured out yet.
  • These games are obviously for big battles and for 6'x4' tables with 4 or more players. Now for an evenings gaming we could never put on one of these, but could easily take a part of a battle and recreate that. In the future the plan will be to play a larger battle, but that will have to wait until next year.
  • The scenarios are very well written, with plenty of detail and advice. It is nice with each side having their own objectives etc, which makes for a very different game. I will certainly be delving into Bruce Weigle's rulebooks and the scenarios contained therein for use with BBB.
So all-in-all I'm very happy to have bought these rules. Next week all being well we plan to refight this scenario, now that we are more familair with the rules and to possibly tweak it a bit to allow the Hannoverians to cross the river earlier on to threaten Langensalza and the Prussian flanks.


  1. Hi Steve, thanks very much for the nice AAR, and for your perceptive observations.
    Concentration of fire: yes indeed.
    Formations: yes, you can optimize for either mobility, firepower or the assault.
    Planning ahead: yes, BBB is designed so that the situation can change significantly each turn, so that players have interesting new decisions to make every turn.
    Terrain: the terrain shapes the battle, and historical battles on this scale do tend to need a lot of terrain. For how to do hills, there's an essay on my blog with a bunch of ideas.
    Scenarios: scenario design really matters. I try to make each one a balanced game, and something more interesting than just "kill them all", while still capturing what the battle was about. There are a lot of BBB scenarios which work as an evening's entertainment for two players, so do chip in on the group and I'll be happy to point you towards some.

    Glad you had such fun with BBB, and I hope to see more reports here in future!


    1. Glad you liked it Chris:). Thanks for the 'heads up' on your Blog and will have it look at it now. My problem is that as a professional modelmaker, I like all of my terrain to look nice and fit together visually. I've got some ideas of how to do the hills and it will be interesting to compare them to your ideas.

  2. Oh and I meant to link to the BBB Yahoo group:

    1. Ah, I meant to do that in my report, so thanks for helping me out!