Friday, October 19, 2018


A general comment BP2 is better written, with more detail and much better layout than BP1.  You will see from the number of rules that I thought were changes from version 1 that the greater clarity in the latest version has revealed rules which I an experienced player had been unaware of hitherto.!  Many thanks to John Ewing my helpful proof reader.  

I have also added this post as a permanent page on the blog.

There is only a 1 word change between the QRS from BP2 and BP1 ignoring the error in the new QRS see page 196

Page 25 Artillery - this states that guns have limbers and teams.  See Page 38.  Something to forget! [see page 33 BP1 for similar requirement]

Page 27 Sequence of play- this is unaltered.  Sadly a chance missed to improve the game!

Page 29 Orders – Not stating an order before rolling command dice is a Failed Order and a Blunder. [see page 24 BP1 for identical rule]

Page 29 Orders – command Test results as now.

                Further Rules about Orders – Good explanation

Page 30 A Few Words about Charge Orders – clarifies charge orders very well.

Still allows units to charge opponents they cannot see.  But also see Page 60

Page 32 Blunders – these are now an Optional rule. [page 29 BP1 for same option]

Page 32 The General – A General or one of his ADCs accompanying a Brigade can give 1 command reroll a turn to a Brigade commander.

Page 33 Initiative Orders – Disorderly Retreats get a first mention see Page 51 for more.

Page 34 Free Moves – A blunder cancels any Free Moves by units concerned [p30 BP1]

Troops evading also get a Free Move

Page 35 Troops that leave the Table and Orders – returning units are placed where they left the table and cannot make any more movement that turn.  [p32 BP1]

Page 37 Interpenetration – as before

Page 38 Moving Artillery by Horse – Limbers and teams are required to move artillery by horse.  As I said at Page 35 this is something to forget.  I cannot afford that many limbers and teams for my armies. [p 33 BP1]

Siege artillery takes 2 moves to limber/unlimber. [p 33 BP1]

Page 41 Woods – movement thru woods is as before i.e. form skirmish order. Sadly did not take chance to change to go for a better system e.g. as set out in Glory Hallelujah! 

Page 49 Shoot – skirmishers no longer get a +1 to hit their target.

Page 49 Morale Saves – table of Morale Dice modifiers is the Command Dice modifiers.  What!  However the QRS at back of the rules is correct!

Page 51 Disorderly Retreats – A disordered unit may retire 1 move under Initiative.  Its disorder is not removed at the end of its turn – it continues to be disordered until the end of its following turn unless it makes a further Disorderly Retreat.  Note this is more complicated than the rule in Pike & Shot which is a simple retire move.  This needs some form of marker - possibly give them two disorder markers?

Page 53 Enfiladed Targets – Instead of doubling their dice firers now reroll their misses.  Marching columns are automatically enfiladed if shot at thru their front or rear quarter.  Guns do not enfilade at long range. [p49 BP1 same Marching Column rule]

Page 53 Skirmishers – if a full unit of skirmishers cannot see their target then their number of are reduced proportionately. [p 51 BP1]

Page 54 Closing Fire – Charging units becoming shaken by closing fire or suffering artillery hits take an Engaged in Combat Break Test.   This is as BP1 as written however this was amended by the FAQ No 18 as below.

The Quick Reference Sheet (QRS) states that a break test is required for units suffering artillery casualties from closing fire (b. Test if Shaken or suffering artillery casualties from closing fire). Because the best result that cavalry can get from such a test is ‘retire’ this makes it practically impossible for cavalry to charge home onto artillery (they would have to suffer zero casualties from 3 shots per cannon requiring 3+to hit and -2 saves).

This is a case of a rule being added a little late in the day and not quite being explained properly. Originally we had things arranged so that only Shaken units tested – and this works well enough. After a while we felt that units taking artillery casualties on the way in – but not being Shaken – should also have to test their resolve to see if they charged home. What we failed to make clear is that this test should be taken using the Shooting results on the Break Test, and not the Hand-to-Hand results as you would for a Shaken unit. August 2010

I am assuming that this is Forgotten Again and not an actual rule change!

Page 55 Traversing Targets – this is simplified into 1 type of traversing fire rather than the 2 that were in BP1.

Page 56 Shooting at Skirmishers – Artillery can fire thru skirmishers over 12” away at targets behind them which are not counted as Not Clear.  If the skirmishers are within 12” they apply the Not Clear factor to the target behind them.

Page 60 Measuring the Charge – Clarifies that only the final move to contact the enemy is a Charge Move.  If the units leader cannot see the target at the start of this Charge Move it cannot Charge. [see p 56&57 BP1 for similar rule]

Effect on Counter-charging see question on page 66

Page 60 Position the Charging Unit – Fully clarifies that the front of the enemy to be contacted is the front a charger was facing at the start of their turn not move.  All of this is simplified. [p58 BP1]

Page 62 How many units can contact – Only 1 onto each facing of the enemy unit.  The only exception is 2 small units charging the front or rear of a large unit.  This needs some clarification as the rules talk about a 2nd small unit charging  when another small unit is engaged.  Does this mean in the same turn or in a later turn?

When a friendly tiny unit or gun is engaged in melee against an enemy unit a friendly unit can charge into the same facing.  This will be a very rare event.

Page 62 Charging More than One Unit at once – clarified  in the diagrams.

Page 65 Turn to Face – Disordered Marauder cavalry can turn to face a charge.

Page 66 Evade – new system using command rolls to evade and if chargers contact evaders are destroyed.  Disordered Marauders can Evade see Page 103

Page 66 Cavalry Counter-Charge – Confused working refers to both sides Counter- Charging.  Question - Is a Counter–Charge only declared when the charger gets to declare his final Charge move?

Page 70 Supports – added a new restriction on supports.  A unit cannot be supported from any quarter if there is a combat engagement taking place in that quarter and within 6”.  Interesting Change – people will miss this!

Page 72 Draws – why did they not amend the vague “Units that are already shaken”.  The “already” is erroneous here!

Page 72 Advance Upon the Retiring Enemy – this is a new option for Victorious units.  It allows a unit which has won a melee to keep in contact with a retiring enemy even if they are shaken or disordered.  The melee continues next turn with the advancing unit counting as the winner of the previous round.  This is taken from Hail Caesar.

Page 75 Bonus attacks from Commanders – suggests an attached level 8+ commander can give an extra dice to a unit.  A few can be better.

Page 78 Tests for supporting Units – infantry and cavalry ignore breaking artillery or tiny units unless they are tiny themselves. [p71 BP1 has same rule]

Page 83-85  Victory and Broken Brigades/Army  – Much improved system for Broken Brigades and Units in Broken brigades.  I would possibly use this now.  To be honest in BP1 we ignored the equivalent rule treating it as Optional.

Page 89 Units with the ‘Form SquareSpecial Rule – I think this question is a hangover from BP1 does a unit that rolls double 1 and fails to form Square get to shoot?

Page 95 Rockets – Amended rules for this wayward weapon.

Page 98 Shooting from a Building – No penalties for shooting at Skirmishers or Artillery in buildings.  New rules for assigning casualties on multiple units in buildings.

Page 98 Fighting from a Building – usually only a single unit can engage each side of a building as per normal contact rules on units.

Page 99  Tall Buildings – rules now cover tall buildings.

Page 98 Setting Buildings on Fire – units can now attempt to set unoccupied buildings on fire!

Page 103 Mounted Infantry – New Useful rule

Page 104 Poor Shooters – New Useful rule

Page 104 Steady – they have kept the Steady Rule which I never liked as I preferred my own Stoic Rule to allow a reroll for a first Break Test rather than Steady’s automatic pass.

Page 108 Useful Rules for Commanders – this simpler voluntary system replaces the previous 3 Personal Quality ratings for commanders which most players I understand never used.

Page 110 Rules for Generals – some optional ideas for higher ranking commanders

Page 111 General with ADCs – some optional ideas for a role for ADCs of higher ranking commanders.  This is extra to Page 32.

Page 196 QRS – Tactical modifiers for enfilading infantry and artillery is the BP1 rule i.e. shoot double dice – it has not been updated for the new reroll rule.


  1. Thanks a useful summary as I'm just starting to read the new version.

  2. Wow! Thanks for this rundown. I've yet to read through the entire book and this is very, very helpful. BTW, what did you mean by a lost chance to improve the game sequence? Maybe shooting before moving? Thanks again, Dean

  3. Thanks for this Bill, I will no longer need to use both books to highlight the changes.You probably know my opinions re the poor proof reading in BP2, but it is a common problem nowadays sadly.

  4. That's really useful info Bill. Many thanks for posting it. I am a big fan of Black Powder but only since I made the changes published on Angus Konstam's website. The change of sequence of play helped to make it a superb game. It always struck me as ridiculous that a unit run up three moves towards non-responsive enemy and give them a volley right in the face! Your sequence change to fire then move made it really work (plus other changes) - so many thanks for making BP brilliant for me.

  5. Thanks so much for posting your analysis of the BP1 & BP2 differences!

    Question on your "stoic" rule: is it "Re-roll first Break Test" or "Re-roll first FAILED Break Test"?

    1. Reroll first break test as it is a replacement for Steady which I never liked. 'Re-roll first FAILED Break Test' is the existing Brave rule which I haver used.

  6. Thanks for this, I'd better order a copy now.

  7. Bill,
    Very much the curates egg. It seems the proof reading has been either mediocre or too many last minute changes made and not checked. There are some definite Useful Rules.Mounted Infantry, Poor Shots, skirmishers which are not crack shots etc.
    One solution would be to have a pint size version of the rules that covers what you want, removes all the pretty pictures etc. And then use it for a period i.e. Sudan. So the Sudan can have a heliograph rule (if there are two between unit and general then there are no distance modifiers)

    1. If you get Hail Caesar you will find that it has a complete summary of the rules at the end. Not an idea added into BP2.

  8. Bill, Check Hail Caesar re small units attacking. The frontage of a small unit should be more than half a standard unit but less than half a large unit. It's covered in the forum. by some chap called Priestly. But yes in BP2 this is not clear as they have used the same diagram as BP1

  9. Thanks for posting - I having been trying to do the same thing and you picked out a few things I didn't. One point though about skirmish screens, my reading of the text on p.56 is that within 12 inches the skirmishers can still be ignored, but they can't be shot through to a target behind. Interestingly the rules on mixed formation, p.90, state that cannons can shoot through the skirmishers at targets beyond but at all ranges. The difference between the two wordings suggest to me that the mixed formation becomes redundant against a force including artillery. Thoughts?

    1. I would go with the rule on page 56 if it was not so obscurely written but that the skirmishers cannot be ignored within 12" whilst I think that on page 90 simply missed the 12" range factor. Not the only problem in the rules.

  10. I have to say slightly disappointed with how little has changed without you r detailed review would of missed the few that have changed. Very good review.

  11. Page 89 Units with the ‘Form Square’ Special Rule – I think this question is a hangover from BP1 does a unit that rolls double 1 and fails to form Square get to shoot ? according to the bpV2 intro video on yourtube from the author, you do not have to form a square, if you choose to do so, then a roll of double 1 is a failure to do so but then you have not time for a close fire

  12. If a unit has the 'Form square' rule it must form square it gets no choice! The rules state 'can and must' and 'have no choice in the mmatter'! Units that test to form square do not get to shoot - they don't have time to do anything else - succeed or not.......

  13. In BP2 read the Form Square rule on page 102.