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Battle Masters Revamp

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let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011

My brother and I resolved last year that we would hold an annual BattleMasters contest round the holidays. We discussed and agreed last time that the "vanilla" game left a lot to be desired, most significantly in terms of depth in tactics, maneuverability, and the effect of terrain.

My brother has played a lot of the Total War video game series in these past several years and wants to relive some of that tactical brilliance and spectacle, but in a turn-based format. I'd like to give it a try, and I'm looking to this community for some ideas.

If you were going to make even a single change that maintains ease-of-play with even a slight increase in nuance to add to strategy and tactics, what would it be? Here are a couple realms of thought, to start your brain working...

  • The large map hosts a variety of terrain types: fields, roads, mires/swamps, etc. How should these affect the regular game? Movement speed, firing range, line of sight, etc.
  • What specific advantage do you think the lone Tower can provide to the occupying unit?
  • The game uses a hex map. What thoughts do you have on flanking units (approaching a single unit from the "sides" to increase combat effectiveness)?
  • There are a number of additional tiles and terrain features to add to the game, specifically dugout fortifications and hedges. How might these affect game mechanics in more interesting ways?
  • Any idea how to implement morale, routing, rallies, and other soldier-attitude-based bonuses or penalties?

Any ideas will be considered, folks! Bring 'em on. :)

For more information about BattleMasters, have a look here:

PS: As a side note, my brother and I are big fans of pop-up matches of BattleBall at this time of year, as well. Any interesting ideas for that? :)

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
For tiles and such

I would check out "The Game Crafter" (TGC) for their various MATS. Like the Invader Mat:

It allows you to use a "larger" size of "connected" Tiles and then just mesh them together rather than SINGLE Tiles configuration. The reason I suggest this is because I get the feeling you guys are NOT about the whole "build-your-map" type of game play... You guys sound like the type of people want to snap some pieces together and be ready to "do battle"!

That's my physical "breakthru" to help accelerate the time to having "FUN".

Let me think about it some more and I'll see what I come up with!

Note #1: To me it SOUNDS like you want "hex tiles" without the necessity of building the terrain ONE-TILE-AT-A-TIME. The Invader Mats are great for meshing things together much QUICKER and you still have that "customization" it just won't take 1 hour to put everything together... If you know what I mean(!?)

Note #2: Just to add to this, I would think something like 10 minutes to "assemble" and then 50 minutes of "play" might make it a compact 60 minute adventure... At I would suggest making it scenario based with like a Campaign book with various "setups" (Troops per team, victory rules, type of terrain, points of interest — like your Tower idea, etc.)

And then have a relatively QUICK 50 minute battle which is COOL and satisfying without the BLOAT of having it take an hour to assemble and then tear down, etc.

If I'm incorrect with your vision, just say so. I'm just seeing this as "quick" military interventions with clears objectives, etc.

Anyways tell me if any of this makes sense or is this the WRONG direction(!?)

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
Hex Map Factors

questccg wrote:
Note #1: To me it SOUNDS like you want "hex tiles" without the necessity of building the terrain ONE-TILE-AT-A-TIME.
Not sure if you've ever seen the game, but the vast majority of hexes are printed onto a large plastic map that's laid out on a tabletop or floor. The original link to the BGG write-up on the game can show you details.

There are a few additional/optional chipboard hexes that one can lay on the map proper for some terrain variation, but that's low priority. Set-up time is not an issue. There's also a collection of scenarios in the rulebook, as well as fog-of-war variant rules and so on. Within the vanilla game, there are some adaptations one can make to add to replayability. What I'm hoping to learn is what can be done to add complexity and utility to maneuvers, flanking, etc.

Regarding the map, I'm more interested in how to include the terrain itself factor in how the game plays out. Apologies if this was unclear in my original post.

Seriously: how would you wargamers address this?

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
I just sold my copy 2 weaks

I just sold my copy 2 weaks ago. It freed a lot of space in my closet.

Some variants that I tried many years ago:

- The HP is equal to the Number of figures.
- Both sides roll dices, for reciprocal damage.
- Players has a hand of 3 cards for their faction and chose which card to play.

Some untested ideas you could explore:

- The confrontation miniature game has a similar card system where if it was one of your faction card, you could hold it in your hand and play another card, while if it's an ennemy card you have to play it immediately.

The problem with stacking both faction in the same deck is that a bad card stack can make you lose the game. It happened to me. Reciprocal damage could partially prevent this.

- 1 card per unit (unique cards or generic: a scecific footman). I printed some cards, but never used them. The card play would be different, you might play more than 1 card in a turn, or maby you can play more than 1 card if they are of the same type. Lot of possibilities to explore here.

- Army configuration: Have more units, more factions so that you could change the composition of your army. having various races with different stats like in battle lore.

- More stuff: More structures, defenses, objectives, maps, etc.

- Fewer roads, but with movement bonus when using them.

- Moving 2 space for regular foot solvier dand 3 space for cavalry. Adding flying unit to the mix can be awesome too.

- Of course, a smaller board

- Check heroscape for more ideas.


I might someday redesign this game, or use it as a minigame within another game (ex: battle resolution, inside a strategy game).

That's all I can think of so far.

john smith
Joined: 06/26/2017
Military pace is 3 MPH. The

Military pace is 3 MPH. The tougher terrain to traverse the more you knock of per turn from that pace. Wargamers would use map scale for example 1 inch = 50 meters. We would convert the Military pace into inches per amount of time a turn represents. That gives you a base move per unit. Then reducing that base by the extra time it would take to traverse bad terrain would yield move rates per turn in all terrain types. If Hexes are used all the same apply it the answers would just be in hexes per turn based on how much space a hex is meant to represent. A site like this or some app of on a phone can do most of the math.

AS to how much is reduced per terrain most use "US Army FM 21-18."

What is most often overlooked in these games is the effect of weather on march speeds. Heat, cold, wet, and high wind, can all make Marching worse and slow the speed down.

As far as Movement on a battlefield. Its all about 1 MPH as formations being kept tight was of utmost importance. A lot of Wargames from the era do not take into account dispersion of formation that can some with uneven ground (no ground is totally flat),fatigue, and poor training or moral. It was common to have formations break not because all men ran but a few. Or a few where not in the right place in formation. These gaps can be exploited and if the enemy gets inside one it will break up.

AS far as Terrain effects on battle. Contrary to the Total War:Rome game, Commanders would never form a line in or fight in adverse terrain. Open Terrain was essential to battle. Holding Bridges or high ground is realistic but the hill would be stripped of any trees or rocks if any were there. Those kinds of terrain features make the formations needed near impossible and missile weapons like Bows useless. Commanders that tried even marching in woods were foolish. The Varian Disaster of 9 BC IWKNA "The Battle of Teutoburg Forest" set that tone for the Romans.

AS far as BattleMasterds the game IIRC it was a watered down Warhammer Fantasy. If it is to light, I would think the progression to warhammer itself would be easiest

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