Thursday, 6 April 2017

Line of Battle

They're always closer than you think.
Today I unveil a project I've been working on for several years: Line of Battle.  This is a universal set of wargaming rules for large scale line battles between 1600 and 1914, and I'll be putting them up for sale from today.  Read on for details about the game, as well as how to get a free copy for yourself!

What is Line of Battle?

It's a set of rules for historical wargames that we have developed over the last three years.  The concept was inspired by other big-battle rules, like Warmaster and Give Them The Cold Steel, and it has been developed from a set of house rules and amendments to become a completely unique rules system.  Almost every 2mm or 6mm game you have seen on this blog since 2015 has probably been one iteration or another of Line of Battle.

What are the key features?

The game is designed to be moderately complex; a balance between playability and realism.  The key mechanics all fit on two sides of A4, and the rest of the rulebook is devoted to explanations, examples and other historical tidbits.

Reserves and Morale

Line of Battle recreates the challenges of line warfare by rewarding players who marshal their reserves and plan ahead.  If you throw everything in at once, you'll find your troops' cohesion breaks down (even if they're winning!) and you'll have nothing left to follow up your defeated enemy.  You must allocate a reserve and decide when the crucial moment to commit it has arrived.  As Napoleon said; "At a crisis, I would rather have one fresh battalions of recruits than a brigade of exhausted veterans".

Realistic Command

Rather than generals being sword-waving morale-boosters, you'll have to use your corps and division commanders to effectively co-ordinate your battle plans.  Division commanders will need to be close enough to the action so they can order 'passage of lines', rotating exhausted troops and putting in those precious reserves.  Senior commanders can order troops from quiet areas of the battlefield.  But, where do you station the commanders?  They need to be close enough to direct the battle, but far enough away to keep the 'big picture' and stay out of danger.

Realistic Armies

The rules contain a guide to creating realistic armies of brigades, divisions and corps, equipping them with the right weapons, and sending them into battle.  The focus is on realistic battles, where the fighting gradually escalates as troops are pulled into combat - not an 'arena confrontation' of two equally-sized armies lined up 24" away from each other!

Flexible Models

This game is an evolution of our 2mm rules, and the scale certainly fits small-scale gaming well.  But it is deliberately written so that any models, of any scale, fitted to any bases can be used; you can try the rules with an existing set of models first before you painstakingly rebase your entire collection!

So, what am I buying?

You'll get a 54-page (A5) electronic rulebook, which includes two A4 playsheets at the end.

The A5 rulebook is designed to be viewed on a tablet or mobile phone (but can be printed out), and is thoroughly hyperlinked so you can easily jump from one section to another.  The two A4 playsheets are designed for printing out and having to hand while you're playing.

I intend for Line of Battle to be a living rulebook that feeds off community contributions.  When you buy a copy, you can choose to be put on a mailing list.  I'll send out free information on updates, errata and changes, and you can always email or comment here with your feedback, which will be incorporated into future editions.

But you said I could get a free one!

Indeed I did!  As a reward to my long-suffering readers, who have waited for years for these rules to appear for 'public consumption', the first three people to buy a copy, give it a playtest and reviews it on their own blog will recieve a full refund.  Just email me with the details and I will PayPal you the money back.


This is my first ever rulebook written for sale to the public, and I don't claim infalability.  As I mentioned above, buying the rules gives you free updates and corrections in perpetuity, and I expect it to change substantially based on feedback but of course anyone who isn't happy can get in touch within a month for a cheerful refund.

I hope that anyone who uses these rules gets some of the enjoyment our group has done over the last two years.  A huge thank you must go out to the rest of my gaming group, SB5, who have patiently playtested this game over forty times.

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