Saturday, 6 July 2019

Bonnie Blue Flag

I recently purchased the Bonnie Blue Flag rules from Caliver books.

They've had great reviews and are simple rather than simplistic. I absolutely agree - and what a breath of fresh air.

Now, we have a traditional style turn sequence, where it's IGO UGO, but it works admirably, in fact reminding me of the 'simple to learn, difficult to master' style of Steve's Muskets & Mayhem rules.

So you would think that a lack of interaction - or one sided play would be a bad thing, but we didn't find that during play at all.

An initiative roll decides who goes first in the turn, and a lot rides on this, but to be honest, the randomness of this didn't ruin the game; in fact both sides made plans for winning/losing the initiative each turn, which means that the game has its own built in tactical nuance.

The key takeaways however:
  • a percentile based system, rolled by the defender based on quality of attacked vs defender. You need to roll high on % dice after some modifiers - and roll 10% or less, and your unit will quit the field. At first this seemed arbitrary, but seemed to fit the narrative well in the end. Granted, the scenario was small, so losing a unit had its effect, but it still worked.
  • I shuddered when I saw the modifiers, but to be honest, they become seamless after a few turns. 
  • The same system is used for Firing and Melee. Now, purists will say 'Impossible!' but it seems to work.
  • Attrition points for each unit, high or low depending on quality, with the commander able to add as he can, works very well. Although there is a marker (a small dice) it works beautifully as a nice little morale/resource management system, and becomes a headache as to how you manage your troops when under pressure, and assign those precious command points (as it should be).
These rules would work so well for American Revolution and Nine Years War, and especially Marlburian, with very few changes, and a few period flavour elements.
 The Edinburgh Wargames site already appears to use them for Franco Prussian and Napoleonics if you visit their website.
There is also a Sudan pack out ('Up the Nile), which I see being amended easily for Indian Wars and/or WWI.
 These would work admirably for larger games, and multi brigade games. 

 Early moves onto table, one regiment at a time. It's a race to the crossroads.

Union elects to bring on artillery/infantry combo, while Rebs race to the fence line with infantry columns...

 ...and get the better of the initiative rolls.

Reb rolls were superb in response to Union Artillery, and they hold steady.


Rebs in a very strong position at the crossroads, as calamity strikes. Union troops (a Veteran unit) roll less than 10% during a roll and quit the field.

 The Union tries to press the attack despite the loss of a unit, but the Rebs are too strong (passing almost every roll - they roll two 100s).

 ...Disaster! Another Union victim of the infamous '10% rule'.

 Union guns are pushed back. There is no infantry ion the Union right to protect them now.

 By now, Reb artillery has taken the crossroads, and is in a very good position to affect the course of the Union assault.


 With confidence gained from their efforts so far, the Rebs abandon the safety of the rail fence to charge Union guns'. 'What bravado suh!'

 The charge ultimately becomes a stalemate over a series of turns...

 ...but the Union is forced back on the left, and ultimately, can not take the crossroads.

A really good set of simple rules, with some tactical nuances, lots of tactical flavour, and ohhhh...they can be hacked for other periods so very easily. 


  1. Better than Field Of Battle !!!!????????

    1. Well, I wouldn't go that far of course.
      Just quicker to set up if less time available.

  2. Looking good sir! I need to check these out as I've been on something of an ACW kick lately. Simple is always better.

    Wand speaking of simple, WOW Muskets and Mayhem! Now there's something I haven't heard or read in awhile! I ought to get my SYW guys out and play them :)

    1. Yes mate - very simple, with a a few innovations. And yes, such a reminder of M&M. I might do a game or two myself :)

  3. Very nice! I'm much in favor of percentage systems and APs. Simple rules that yield realistic results are also very much of interest. These rules seem worth a look.

    1. Most definitely Doug. I've always liked percentile mechanics (now granted they work equally well with a D20, as they are 5% graduations). Very easily hacked for AWI and other periods too.

  4. Nice ACW action Sir and sounds like a good set of rules.

    1. Thanks Jack.
      A very nice set of rules for sure - and simple without being simplistic as is always good.
      Just noticing that the percentiles are ranked in 5% graduations, so a D20 would work and make things even simpler.