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Never Mind the Billhooks
Never Mind the Billhooks
by Wargames Illustrated (2020)
Player Count
2 to 6

Player Ages

Playing Time
1 hour to 2 hours
  • Wargame
  • Medieval
  • Miniatures
  • Book
  • Designers
  • Andy Callan
  • Mechanisms
  • Simulation
  • Dice Rolling
  • Scenario / Mission / Campaign Game
  • Measurement Movement
  • Line of Sight
  • Family
  • Magazine: Wargames Illustrated
  • Country: England
  • Wars of the Roses
  • Players: Two Players Only Wargames
  • Rating: 8/10 from 2 users


    Never mind the Billhooks is set at the Big Skirmish/Small battle level, the sort of thing that probably went on a lot of the time, particularly up around the Scottish borders, without ever troubling the chroniclers.
    My original inspiration was Nibley Green, Gloucestershire, fought in 1470 between the private armies of Lords Lisle and Berkeley, with no more than 1,000 men a side.

    Billhooks is a card-activated game with points-based random army generation and using only good old D6s.
    You roll dice to hit and dice to save (depending on armour) so it’s very familiar Old School in that respect.
    Longbows are deadly but not dominant since their arrow supply is limited, so to win a battle you have to get stuck into Melee.
    Cavalry and skirmishers have their uses but it’s the heavy infantry – Men at Arms, Bills and Pikes – who will win the battle for you.

    All the key rules are on a short Cribsheet (with no confusing tables of plusses and minuses) and you should find yourself playing along without too much reference to the main rules after only a few turns. A typical two-player game with about 100 figures a side will play out in 1 to 1 ½ hours but it will easily expand to a bigger, multi-player set-up once everyone is familiar with the common and easily-memorized mechanisms.

    —description from the designer at WI

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