After reading Daniel Collin’s post
about the 5E battlesystem coming out (and it being wanting), I decided to grab his Book of War and give it a read. It is over three years old at this point and is a OD&D interpretation of mass combat rules using complicated math and simulations to balance everything out (what do you expect from someone who does math and statistics full time?). There’s some interesting anachronisms that carry through to wonderfully neat, d6-based combat.
While I’m too young to have ever played OD&D, I have been playing since 3.5. None of the games I’ve played in have ever accomplished a suitable mass combat. They either ended up overloading the game master with hundreds of minis, slowing combat to a crawl, or treating blocks of soldiers like a swarm, needing complicated rules for routing and formations.
I can definitely say that the system presented here would not only suffice as a solid war game ruleset, but provides ready conversions of any monsters, groups, and heroes into a mass combat scale in line with normal D&D expectations. While it is built for classic D&D scaling, I see no reason why the formulas presented would not work just as well with newer editions, including 5E my current favorite. I’ve tried running mass combat as individual monsters, I’ve tried treating formations as swarms, and now I’m excited to try this style of mass combat.
If I’ve peaked your attention, check out the basic summary here
. The book is well done and is well worth the money’s I paid for it, and his other books are now on my wishlist. When some good mass combat comes up in my game, I’ll follow up with a quick post about how it all worked.