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Bloody Big Battles!
Bloody Big Battles!
by SkirmishCampaigns (2014)
Player Count
2 to 8

Player Ages

Playing Time
1 hour, 30 minutes to 6 hours
  • Wargame
  • Miniatures
  • American Civil War
  • Napoleonic
  • Civil War
  • Post-Napoleonic
  • Designers
  • Chris Pringle
  • Mechanisms
  • Simulation
  • Dice Rolling
  • Rating: 9.2/10 from 5 users


    Rules for wargaming the Late Nineteenth Century with historical miniatures. Bloody Big Battles! (BBB) does exactly what its title says. It is intended for fighting the biggest, bloodiest battles of 1850-1900 in a manageable way. Specific design goals included:
    to tackle the major battles such as Solferino, Gettysburg, Königgrätz, Sedan or Plevna, often spanning several days’ combat;
    to fit them on a 6’x4’ tabletop;
    and to fight them in their entirety, in a single 3-to-4-hour session, with 2-6 players (typically 4).

    BBB is not intended for small actions of a few thousand men a side. There are plenty of rulesets that do that. But BBB is distinctive in:
    Enabling players to command entire armies of 100,000+ men;
    Fitting battlefields of up to 20km across on the table;
    While still producing a fast, fun, flavorful game and a result in an evening.

    Scale varies according to the battle but is typically:
    Figure scale 1,500 men or 36 cannon per 1” base (organized into multi-base division or brigade-sized units, usually of 3-7 infantry bases, 2-3 cavalry bases or 1 artillery base);
    Ground scale 1” per 200-250 yards;
    Timescale 1 hour per turn.

    BBB uses simple mechanisms and memorisable tables that fit on a clear 2-page QRC.
    Turn sequence: IGO-UGO
    Command and Control: reflected partly by how many generals get represented on table, partly by how units are rated.
    Movement: 2D6 movement table incorporates difficult terrain, generalship and doctrine, troop quality and morale, loss recovery.
    Fire Combat: calculated by adding fire points. 2D6 fire table to determine casualties, recorded by base removal.
    Assault: opposed D6 roll incorporating a few relevant factors.
    Night Interval rules to allow multi-day battles.

    BBB is meant for fighting historical battles. BBB and its companion volume, Bloody Big European Battles, therefore provide fully playtested scenarios for 25 of the most important battles of the period, linked into full campaigns. Further free scenarios are also available on the web.

    All the scenarios fit the battles they depict into a beautiful, tightly engineered game structure. They have clear, simple, but carefully thought-out victory conditions, designed both to recreate the historical situation and to generate an exciting and balanced game that can be completed in a sensible period of time. A particular joy of fighting historical actions on this scale is that usually both sides have several different viable strategies available, meaning the scenarios are full of replay value and can produce quite different games each time.

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