Bloody Big Battles Resource Page


On this page of my blog I share both standard and variant resources for Chris Pringle's Bloody Big Battles rules.   

I  began this project to provide materials in support of a variant for playing BBB at half scale using kriegspiel blocks on maps (a pdf guide for how I manage this is included on this page).  However, given that our group also plays BBB at regular scale, I also created resources for playing a "straight" version of BBB as well (those resources would probably be of more general interest). I think the differences will be clear, but I thought that I should add a disclaimer to bring attention to this.  I should add that the half scale references and resources might also be of interest to BBB players in general (but that's up to the reader), in particular those interested in gaming in limited spaces.  On this content page, there are images of the resources for previewing with links to pdf downloads under the titles.   You may click on the pictures to enlarge for better previewing. 

On this page, you'll find:

        STANDARD SCALE RESOURCES
    1. BBB PLAYER REFERENCE                                              
    2. BBB EXPANDED TURN SEQUENCE             
    3. BBB EXPANDED TURN SEQUENCE (REACTION FIRE VARIANT)
    3A. ALTERNATIVE ASSAULT PROCESS
    4. BBB TURN RECORD WITH NIGHT INTERVAL SUMMARY

       HALF SCALE RESOURCES:       
    5. HALF SCALE PLAYER REFERENCE
    6. HALF SCALE TERRAIN EFFECTS, FORMATIONS, AND MOVE ILLUSTRATION
    7. GUIDE FOR HALF SCALE BBB USING KS BLOCKS    

       SCENARIOS
    8. KONIGGRATZ HALF SCALE ON KRIEGSPIEL MAP
    9. AUSTRIANS V RUSSIANS CIRCA 1879 HALF SCALE ON KONIGGRATZ MAP

1. BBB PLAYER REFERENCE 

Front
Back 
The above player reference sheet has been proofed in our group and works for us. Page references (in parenthesis) are included for each of the sections. One other thing of note is that I color coded the range bands on the reference...

...which correspond to the colors I use on my range sticks.  This shouldn't impact anyone's use, but thought I'd add the explanation. 

2. BBB EXPANDED TURN SEQUENCE


This expanded turn sequence pulls together all of the rules and puts them in game-turn sequence.  We go through this, checklist like, for each turn, and it really smooths out play for us. At the bottom of the page are some quick references as well (things that frequently come up).  The rule numbers and page numbers are included on each line if we need to do a deeper dive to the rulebook.  Having said that, we find that our trips to the rule book are much reduced when using this expanded turn sequence in combination with the player reference. 

3. BBB EXPANDED TURN SEQUENCE (REACTION FIRE VARIANT)
DOWNLOAD PDF

In our group, we found that it was much more natural for us to execute defensive fire in two steps as opposed to one.  Thus, we retain the discrete "Defensive Fire" phase, in which we target units that have completed their moves, but we execute what we term "Reaction Fire" during the active player's movement--that is, the defender choosing to fire against opposing units at some point along their movement path. This is basically what is known as "opportunity fire" or "pass through" fire in other rules sets.  This expanded turn sequence adds this "Reaction Fire" to the movement phase.  The defending player may stop the active player and declare reaction fire (as eligible) against a moving unit, which is resolved immediately at that point.  A unit that does reaction fire may not also fire in the subsequent defensive fire phase.  During the "Defensive Fire" phase units are targeted (and resolved) in their final locations, as opposed to BBB defensive fire which can be applied at any point along the unit's previous movement path. Basically, as the defending player, you are deciding whether to let the unit complete its move and then fire in the "Defensive Fire" phase or to do "Reaction Fire" at some point before it completes its move (in a nutshell). 


3A. ALTERNATIVE ASSAULT PROCESS (V6)
The above alternative assault process does not alter BBB outcomes. It simply uses a different process to arrive at the same BBB results. It translates the BBB assault resolution into a more familiar--parallel--process. Each player rolls the dice (as per BBB) and then applies modifiers independently.  Then the attacker and defender compare final modified results to determine the final difference, spelled out as "advantage" and "margin" in the above table. The steps are outlined in the reference and should be self explanatory.  The reference also includes some helpful notes on post-assault actions.PS this reference was updated to V5 based on the helpful suggestions of Richard Speedman on the Bloody Big Battles Forum (thanks, Richard!) 

4. BBB TURN RECORD WITH NIGHT INTERVAL 
Not much to explain. Came up with this for a mini campaign game. Night interval aside, the font has a nice period look to it. 

5. HALF SCALE BBB PLAYER REFERENCE
DOWNLOAD PDF
Front
Back
In the half scale player reference, I rounded out some of the distances to 2" as opposed to splitting them to 1.5" (mainly for movement)--it is always fiddly to track half inch moves (more so than it is worth, I think, and the difference in practice is transparent). Given that I produced range sticks for fire, I maintained the half inch increments when reducing the ranges (since you don't have to find a point along a scale). To summarize,  a 3" BBB fire range is accurately reduced to 1.5" at my half scale, for instance, whereas a 3" move penalty is generally rounded to a 2" move penalty. These mods have worked for us so far with no issues. 

6. HALF SCALE BBB TERRAIN EFFECTS, FORMATIONS, AND MOVE ILLUSTRATION
Front
Back
Of course, this is a half scale TEC, so move distances are going to be off if you're playing straight BBB (use the regular BBB terrain effects chart).  Having said that, most of the terrain effects in this TEC  are consistent with BBB, but some of the rounding that I speak of earlier is present here (using 2" as opposed to 1.5" increments for half moves for instance).  There is also a simplified version the line of sight/line of fire rule for shooting higher to lower and  over friendly units. Additionally, on the back page there is a movement diagram that would be of use for any BBB game (worth a look, I think), as well as some specific notes on formations  using the half scale kriegspiel blocks (there are now two kinds of columns). I would recommend looking over my Guide for Half Scale BBB with Kriegspiel Blocks for more (the next download). 

7. GUIDE FOR BBB HALF SCALE WITH KS BLOCKS
The pdf at the above link provides a guide on how I configure maps, mark my Kriespiel Block armies, and created apparatus to support playing BBB at half scale using Kriegspiel Blocks. 
This guide might be of interest to those seeking small space gaming solutions. The above picture shows the footprint of my BBB collection: the small cabinet contains five complete KS block armies, and all supporting apparatus needed to play. The map is the equivalent of a 4'x6' playing area. Here is a game report for a game played on this map (with scenario). 


As always, feel free to get in touch.  These materials have worked for me and our gaming group; I'm always interested to hear how others have found them--in particular, it would be of interest to know if the the player reference and expanded turn sequence are finding use with others.  

SCENARIOS

8. Koniggratz at Half Scale on Koniggratz Kriegspiel Map 

                                                       For more, See the Game Report 

Images provided for preview (click for larger versions). Click the link above images for pdfs.  

Prussian (left) and (right) Austrian Deployment/Planning Maps

Austrian Roster/OOB (left) and deployment (on reverse: right)
Prussian Roster/OOB (left) and deployment/arrival (on reverse: right) 


Prussian Unit Labels (left); Austrian Unit Labels (right) 


9. Russians v Austrians, Circa 1879 on Koniggratz Map at Half Scale 
A speculative clash between Austria and Russia in the wake of the Russo Turkish War. Uses the Koniggratz Kriegspiel Map but not as a generic piece of terrain to fight over. Two evenly matched forces, composed of two corps each, of two divisions each stumble into each other and develop the situation from there. This was intended as a mini-campaign that could be played over two days (with a night interval between).  Day 01 begins at 0800 and runs to 1900; Day 01 begins at 0600 and concludes at 1900.  See Scenario download for details.



Excelsior!

19 comments:

  1. Some very interesting ideas there, Ed. I hope other BBB players will find your playing aids and suggestions useful. Thanks very much for doing this.

    Chris
    https://groups.io/g/bloodybigbattles/topics
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1412549408869331

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  2. Thanks for sharing these resources. I'm not sure when my next game of BBB will be but I've downloaded your Player Reference sheet and your Expanded Turn Sequence sheet to try when I do run a game.

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    1. Even though I produced it, I was surprised at how much we tended to relied on the expanded turn sequence in practice (with the player reference coming in mainly for combat resolution). Hope they prove helpful for your gaming.

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  3. Your KS using BBB notions are blowing my mind a little bit!
    #1: What a crazy fine notion.
    #2: I can't quite figure out how the scale works, but it seems to. BBB bases are, after all, much bigger than a 1/2 battalion!
    #3: I gather, though you don't say so, that you've not tried an umpired KS this way?

    As you say, Excelsior!

    Jim

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jim: thanks for dropping in and leaving a note. By the way, I've watched many of your Armchair Dragoon Youtube games, to include your channel on Kriegpspiel. I have Tabletop Simulator, but have yet to get into a game (maybe in the future?). Anyway, regarding your questions:

      #1: I'll accept "crazy" and "fine" happily :)

      #2: As I have only embarked on this, I am using BBB scenarios and units--the bases in BBB aren't structured on organization but headcount, so it can't be said that they represent battalions, brigades, etc, per se (at least that's my read). However, given the stated size, I would say that they are roughly brigades, and the larger formations are divisions. Having said all of that, I see no reason why the system would not work if units were based on organizational echelons: ie, each could be a half battalion, or a company, or a battalion. In the future, when I start designing my own scenarios, that would be my preferred method: off the to of my head, I could see each "formation" being a battalion and each base being a company (four bases per battalion, ie four company battalions), with one "S" to represent the light company (you get the idea). As far as ground scale, I see the same thing (nothing magic about it as long as the units move and shoot relative to one another).

      #3. I have not yet done a KS this way, but I am heading in that direction--easily done with one master (umpire) map and two player maps.

      PS: By the way, I grew up in Milwaukee (Northwest Side) and came up gaming there in the 70s (small world)!

      Best,
      Ed M

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    2. How cool. Did you play Napoleonics at "Napoleon's" perchance?

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    3. Hi Jim, I was a regular at Fritze's and often oogled the big Napoleonic 25mm battles that were set up in the basement of the store, but never was in the circle who played there. Our group was younger and poorer (in general) and so we were 15mm Nappy players back then (in addition to board wargames).

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  4. Minor typo on expanded turn sequence assault: eliminiates

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the catch: v3 and v4 here we come! :)
      Despite the type, hope you find the refs useful.

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    2. Well, I can't even respond to a typo without another typo: ("type" oughta be...well, you know).

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  5. I find the refs very useful. I just happen to be a proof-reading obsession.

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  6. Umm, make that have a proof-reading obsession. Including my own posts.

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    Replies
    1. Your secret would have been safe with me ;)

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    2. While I was at it correcting the goof on the player ref (see below), I updated the expanded turn sequences (eliminating the elimniateds).

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    3. One more: cavalry penalized 3" (not 1) if change of direction > 45 degrees.

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    4. Thanks, Vincent. Fixed and new player ref posted (V6). The 1" carried over from the half scale version (mathematically, the exact translation would have been 1.5" to half scale, which was too fiddly, so we rounded down to 1" for simplicity--and since we have yet to see anyone actually make this move, it hasn't been an issue. .

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  7. Hi ED, on the charts which are great and really helpful, you have ZOC has 2" not 3" and the evade move is 6" not 12", are those house rules ? Thanks

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jeff: GOOD CATCH! The player reference began life as a half scale variant. When I made the full size version, those ranges slipped through. They should be ZOC 3" and Evade 12" (as you point out). I've updated the player reference (V5) and posted it in place of the erroneous one.

      Thanks!

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