Bruce Laue
BattleSystem is the best miniatures game I've found for playing out large battles (or wars) from your D&D campaigns. It is limited in what magic is put into the book, but there is plenty to be had at the various web sites. The rules are fairly well covered, and can handle most situations, but there are times when you will have to make a decision as to how you will handle specific situations. This isn't all bad: we get the chance to be our own game designers in the process.

The points system for "balancing" games leaves much to be desired. I've found that you can't really rely upon their point ratings, but they offer a good starting point.

Magic is very powerful, and it's quite easy to under-estimate its impact on a game. Terrain is not covered as to how it will balance/unbalance a scenario either. These are matters which can best be learned from experience.

The saddest part about this game, is that it continues to gain in popularity at conventions, and with gamers across the country, long after it went out of print! The last edition was printed in 1989. If you enjoy this game, please write Wizards of the Coast a polite letter requesting that they reprint this game. It is, after all, one of the better fantasy miniatures games around.

Douglas Rockwell
I have been playing miniatures for about 20 years, both historical & fantasy. Battlesystem is above average for fantasy rules.

I like the CRT. Rolling different-sided dice for various strengths and the table showing how many hits you get is a nice way of expressing a non-linear function.

Bowfire is weak -- you only get one shot before they charge you & then melee. I am thinking about doubling the bowfire distance.

The game suffers from not having an 'Evade' rule. This is critical for skirmishers.

It is difficult to make up points armies -- the points values are not well thought out.

Magic is not bad -- usually this aspect overpowers the game & it is where most fantasy rules sets fail.

Andrew L. Miller
I like Battlesystem as a set of fantasy miniatures rules for three reasons:
  1. The combat is easy and quick
  2. It is compatible with AD&D
  3. It is expandable since it has guidelines on incorporating new monsters.
Since there is only one small, easily-memorized combat table, combat goes very quickly. Even rookies memorize the table their very first game; the rest is just dice rolling and picking off figures.

As an AD&D gamer, I like a system where I can use armies as part of the AD&D campaign and have player characters participate. Also, my figures do double duty as Battlesystem miniatures and as AD&D encounters, and I don't have to make up stats for them!

Since AD&D and Battleystem are highly compatible, anytime I see a cool miniature for an AD&D monster type, I can buy it and use it in Battlesystem using their AD&D-to-Battlesystem conversion guidelines. There is no arguing about the creature's attack and armor values among players. Also, I don't need to buy a whole new book just to learn the monster's abilities.

There are some things in Battlesystem that need to be changed, but overall I like it best of all the fantasy miniatures rules I've played.

Bryan Donaldson
I've played a couple of times with the BattleSystem. The first time was just a small war, 3 battles or so. The second time was a relatively large battle (defense of the homeland).

My impressions were:

  • Have an experienced Battlesystem player make up the army sheets, and then explain them to the commanders of both sides. It's easy to make a mistake and there are a lot of entries to make a balanced army.
  • Keep the mages to a minimum, maybe one or two on each side. We still refer to that big battle as the 55 fireball weekend. Too many mages will be hard to balance, and it doesn't take all that many to destroy an army as an effective fighting force.
All in all, not a bad way to resolve combat for AD&D. The spells are all integrated, and hero warriors can have a significant effect on the outcome.

Battlesystem is a fun game, especially if you are new to wargames, but it is extremely limited. In the campaign I played for about 6 months, every week, we had more house rules written down than the rulebook had real rules.

There are also a few flaws in logic in the game, and I don't like the figure ratios: It is not trying to re-create real battles, and as a system supposedly compatible with AD&D, it falls WWWAAAAYYYYY short -- the spells for Battlesystem have nothing more in common with the rpg spells than their names. It is a fun game, but ONLY if you play it as a separate game from AD&D.

It might seem a little pathetic, though, if you are used to more complex wargaming rules.

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