Sunday, 1 July 2012

First Look: Beneath the Lily Banners (2nd ed)

Having read through the first edition of Beneath the Lily Banners (BtLB) which I have had for quite some time, I thought they looked like an interesting proposition for my 15mm WSS project; however, a number of articles on the second edition indicated they were not only improved but were also clearer and better explained.  So based on that and a recommendation from Ray over at Don't Throw a 1, I decided to pick up a copy.

The rules are intended to cover the period 1660 to 1721 and can be used for either small engagements at 1:5 or larger ones at 1:40 ratios.  In the latter an 18 figure unit (3 x 6 figures) represents a battalion.

As I haven't played the first edition of BtLB properly I can't do a fair comparison between the two editions; however, the second edition is certainly thicker!  It's a full colour softback with around 117 pages (including some adverts), in a two column format.  The text is interspersed with various photos - mainly of lovely 28mm figures - some of which are annotated to explain the rules along with a few line drawings.

The rules are broken down into 11 sections, followed by some optional rules and events.  This is followed up by sections on the Great Northern War, Eastern Wars and King William's War providing various adjustments for those theatres.  A scenario, Steinbeke July 1692, follows along with sample armies, a painting guide, bibliography and roster sheets.  The rules also come with two separate double sided quick reference sheets (they aren't two copies of the same QRS).

The rules are well laid out and the explanations seem pretty clear.  The rules work on a simultaneous activation basis so placing orders is required.  You dice against the ability level of your commander (from Plodder to Gifted) to determine how many units you can order each turn; however, there is a mechanism to avoid being unable to order anything for more than a single turn.  The section on fighting in built up areas is a nice addition and something that is often skimped on in other rules and the random events provide a nice flavour (although these can be omitted if they're not your cup of tea).

Overall these are very nicely presented and look very interesting.  I am looking forward to actually trying them out on the table and see how they compare to Maurice.


  1. I love 'em, they give a real flavour for the period. The ability levels for the commanders can throw up some very interesting moves. It takes away that helicopter view, that most sets of rules seem to have and you can't always move all your units, which can really bugger up your plans!! Trust me, I know!!!

    1. I like rules which give you some real challenges. If everything does what you want when you want it then that's really just chess!