Friday, 14 February 2014

Donnybrook Skirmish Rules - A Personal Review


I swear I’ll never buy another 25mm period…………. ever heard yourself say that??

But my hand has been forced by Messers Harrison and Hilton, of the League of Augsberg/Beneath the Lily Banner fame. As some of may be aware I’m quite partial to the floppy hat and frilly shirt period, infact  I’ve been collecting 15mm figures for the NYW for some time now… don’t you know??

So when there were murmurs of a new skirmish set of rules from Messers Harrison and Hilton on the Fighting Talk Forum, I was instantly hooked, although a bit miffed, I haven’t even finished the 15’s yet, do I really need to buy more figures and 25’s at that???

That inner voice (you know him) kept goading me, you know you want to Ray, yeh but?, just get them, treat yourself, but I haven’t finished the 15mm NYW or my FIW or my Flodden figures?? Really??

Then before I knew what I was doing an order had been placed………then the figures arrived a couple of days later!!

Bacon's Rebellion 1676
Any way on with the review of Donnybrook.........
If you’re interested and like any war in between the years 1660 and 1760 and you want to play skirmish games, then this is the only set of rules you’ll need!
For £27 plus postage, aside from the actual rules, you'll be buying 110 pages worth of Faction guides. Scenarios, Period history, great looking photos, some of which are included in this review and an excellent comic strip format example scenario.

Savages attack Scottish settlers in panama
I’ve got to admit I’m quite surprised and very pleased at how simple but effective the rules are. Long gone are the days when I want to play an in-depth complicated set of rules.
I can’t recommend them enough??

French Dragoon's in defence Namur, 1695


The Rules
Donnybrook uses a card driven turn system, one card for each unit and hero or character.
And its time to get out all the odd shaped dice that have been laying unused in a box as well, you’ll need D4, D6, D8, D10 & D12, these dice represent the ability level of units and characters, for Firing, Morale and Melee, needing 6+ to hit or pass your check.

Tangiers 1683 

You’ll need to pick a faction from the Army Lists, your choices are
Army, Civilian Mob, Covenanters, Cultists, Highlanders, Outlaws, Rapparees & Tribal.

I’ve picked Army and Tribal to fight the Tangiers War in 1661-84
You then have to choose which level of game you want to play, there are three levels.
A Basic 4 point force, A standard 6 point force and a Large 8 point force.
The first 2 levels can be played on a 4x4 table, while you may need a bigger table for the larger  8 force army.
For each point of you army you may choose a unit to field from the following list:
12 Recruits or 9 Mounted Recruits
8 Drilled or 6 Mounted Drilled
4 Elites or 3 Mounted Elites.

So as an example, your 4 point army could consist of
1 x 12 Recruits, (who use a D6) 2x 8 Drilled (who use a D8) and 1 x 3 Mounted Elites (who use D10)

No Surrender. Co Tyrone 1689


You also get a free Hero/Character and with each point you spend you can add another lesser character eg: Sergeants, a Standard Bearer or even a Imam, Master of Hounds or Doxy??

Charging Cult Bodyguard

Although the rules are written primarily with the years 1660 - 1760 in mind, I can’t see why they can’t be used for earlier and later periods of history, there’s already talk of the Three Musketeers, the Spanish Inquisition, Cossacks,  Samurai, AWI, Vendee Revolt, Border Reivers and the Scanian War.
So I think your options could be endless??


It will take me a while to get my new 25mm Warfare figures painted, so I’m going to work on the lists to make a FIW faction for my 15mm figures for both sides….....should be fun!!
If you’re interested in the rules pop over to the League of Augsberg site where you can buy them direct!  

 All photos are used with kind permission of Clarence Harrison and Barry Hilton and are from the collections of Barry Hilton and Dave O’Brien.


84 comments:

  1. Certainly makes for some colorful settings!

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  2. Sounds like fun Ray. I must admit skirmish games are great and it sounds like you won't need to paint to many figs up.

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    1. At the moment it'll be 32ish figures plus a few leader figures, but I've got to learn a little control or it'll be 132ish????

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  3. I am certainly tempted by these Ray even though I really don't have much in the way of suitable figures but as you say it's a lovely period. Who knows I may succumb soon - if I do I will be blaming you of course! :-)

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  4. Why can't you play them with 15's? I actually use 15s for all the skirmish games that I play.

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    1. No reason at all Chris, i did toy with the idea believe me!! I'll be using my FIW for a few games as well, I've just gotta sort the lists out for them.

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    2. You can use the rules with any figure scale you want it's just the group of us that did all the playtesting have loads of 28's. You would probably want to adjust the movement and shooting ranges to suit the scale you want to use.

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  5. Have to admit I almost crumbled and bought these at York having seen them doing a demo of the game, great review

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    1. Cheers Loki, you'll crumble in the end, you know you will!

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  6. Don't forget, you'll need to get some 25mm terrain as well to go with the figures.

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  7. Great report, Ray; thank you a lot. I am thinking about to use this ruleset with the Perry Border Reivers...

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    1. A perfect period for the rules Juan!!

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  8. Nice review.... "inner voice"? Oh, yeah, I know him well!! :>)

    Darrell.

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    1. He's a right bugger, I'm sure you'll agree!!

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  9. The voices!!! You too eh? Get the behind me Satan... Oh go on then...just a few few figures , it won't hurt?

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    1. No self control what so bloody ever Dave!!! Damn it!

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  10. No reason you can't use 15mm hey you might be able to make decent army out of your bits box.

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    1. No your right, it'd work just as well for 15mm figures as it would for 25's, I don't think I'd even change any of the ranges.

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  11. Great looking revue, no doubt!

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  12. The main appeal for me is its set over the Golden Age of Piracy - that presses my buttons straight away! I look forward to seeing what you do with it.
    Good thing is with Skirmish gaming, at first glance, you don't need a million figures... but actually, once you look at all the scenarios, forces involved, civilians types required etc etc,,, err, yes you do need a million figures!
    I look forward to your 28mm floppy hat endeavors!

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    1. I know what you mean about the extra's, they do all add up in the end. Pirates are in the Outlaw faction, you can buy a Henchman or First Mate,he adds a +1 for checking morale, or you could buy a Corrupt Magistrate, who is actually placed in an enemy unit??? on a throw of a 1 on a D2, he'll cause that unit no end of problems.You'll lose D3 inches for movement, re-roll any hits and a -1 on morale!!!!!!

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    2. He he.... always good having a man on the inside...

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  13. Thanks for the review :) Been thinking of getting the set myself, but luckily the lack of suitable minis in my collection has kept my credit card in the wallet...

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    1. You can always buy more......daft I know??

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  14. Good review, Ray. I've seen these rules advertised and I'm very interested - now more-so after reading your review. Well, Hot Lead is next month.(as he rubs his hands gleefully.)

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    1. How about a nice War of 1812 skirmish???

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  15. Nice review -- those rules sound interesting.

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  16. Just think of all the fun you'll have painting Huron, Iroqouis, Ojibwe, Sauk, and POTAWATOMI after all those boring Lace War troops. Now you can field some REAL fighting men! ;)

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    1. And think of all the fun you could have painting them up as well Dave!!!

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    2. There is a noticable minority of historical forces on my blog! I have them and have painted several, honest! I just keep getting distracted by new shiney Scifi....oooh look more Infinity releases....hmmmmm those Merc minis look like fun! ;)

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  17. Bl00dy hell Ray. Please stop writing reviews about stuff I'm already desperately trying to resist buying!

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  18. To get you to buy and paint 25mm figures, this must be good. I think this game must have come with a naked lady to get you to do this.

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    1. a nekkid bird? Someone plucked his budgie?

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    2. Naked bird's are always welcome!

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    1. Good observation on the cover. Myself, the damsel with her heart shaped face, generous bosom, and general form; she is very Frank Frazzeta. The Errol Flynn swashbuckler struck me as thwarting a crime. Despite the historical accoutrement, the cover does have a very pulpy feel which combined with the title seems to lend itself to gaming more than history and into fiction and " what if" sorts of gaming!
      It is true that " evil triumps when good men do nothing". Often our modern society seems to abhor family values and praise bad behavior. To make a long point longer. ;)
      In my occupation, I am not allowed to "profile" which is funny to me as it is natural and indeed inbourne to evaluate our surroundings for a threat assessment. If I do profile, I am sterotyped as a racsist which is very hysterically funny to me as I am AmerInd. To avoid undue stigma, I have resigned myself to greet everyone at work or on the battlefield with a smile and well meant hello while still being ready to shoot them in the face.
      The truth may be the cover was done by a sexist perv, or perhaps a story is there within the application of the " golden section" that bounces the viewers eye between Errol Flynn and a Frazetta Damsel. I'm just a simple soldier, so I could be wrong! ;)
      Donnybrook is such a grand word though, perhaps a more appropiate less controversal piece could have evoked the same pulpy feel of Errol and Frank. ;)

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    2. Not sure what Ev's comment was???
      But reading you're comment Dave I gather he didn't like the cover and the semi naked lady??
      I've got no problem with the cover art, and I don't think most would, but each to there own, we're all entitled to our own opinions.

      Loved the line " I have resigned myself to greet everyone at work or on the battlefield with a smile and well meant hello while still being ready to shoot them in the face."

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    3. Ev's comment was well worded and thought out, it is a shame he removed it.
      With constricting ROE on the battlefield and at work it does feel more reactionary than proactive. I just got to keep the mindset that I will be the one who goes home! ;) It is harder to be a "Goodguy" as the "Badguys" don't get bogged down with rules! ;)

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  20. Don't take the plunge Ray, it'll be too distracting (like that's ever stopped me!).

    Good review, but I'm not a fan of card driven games - just not happy with them; so I try to keep them to a minimum.

    While I agree with Ev to a point on the cover issue, I'm more bothered that it just looks a bit chatty. It's a shortfall with many sets of rules, but no, I don't have any ideas what they should be replaced with.

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    1. The only card based game I've played is Muskets and Tomahawks, which I enjoyed, so I'm quite looking forward to actually playing a game. Again I'm not sure what Ev wrote in his now deleted comment, but its inside what really counts.

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  21. Good review ray. I am also enthused about giving these a go.


    As far as the female "victim" goes... I was, at first, surprised to see her there on the cover. I then realized that I'm neither a grubby perv or concerned with what people may think of me if they see me reading it. Would people judge me more with these in my hand or more readily make assumptions about a woman buying a copy of "50 Shades"? Pretty sure that has sold more copies and is perfectly acceptable by many circles without acceeeptance issues.

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    1. Couldn't agree more, some people might find the cover a bit rude, but its a bit silly if they ignore the rules, because of 1 picture. Oh well???

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  22. Thanks for the review Ray. I really don't need another period to paint, but I already have some Ebor 28mm WSS figures sitting there and it is my favourite period and it is only skirmish...

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  23. Oh I love all this chat about art! Nice to hear Clarence described as a grubby perv!!!! Nothing further from the truth. A gentleman through and through as well as an artist. The cover was a very conscious decision finalised by Clarence's wife!(also an artist :)). For anyone whose delicate sensibilities are offended by its innocuous implications I recommend you leave it on the top shelf, it depravity may be too much for you! You'll be missing a trick though! No more offensive that the titillation of numerous 'female oriented' gossip mags purchasable at the checkouts of supermarkets; have a look at Air Head's Bimbo's Bikini shots on holiday in St Lucia etc. Come on lads man up! it's a tough world out there!

    Nice review Ray by the way! :)

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    1. You could always produce a special edition with a discrete brown paper cover . . . . nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

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    1. Since Ev deleted his thread, I hope you don't think I was implying that you or Barry were grubby pervs lol. I was replying to us being stereotyped as such.

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    2. Yep... I understood your post. I didn't see Ev's comments, but he was certainly entitled to his opinion. I never thought twice about the cover... modern comic books display waaaay more skin on their heroines these days and are on full display in every comic book store in America. Take a stroll through the romance section of a Barnes & Noble and look at the covers...

      Certainly the officer was suppose to be defending the damsel. The image was simply reminiscent of hundreds of pulp and fantasy novel covers from the past. I

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  25. These rules do look quite interesting. Since I haven't played much of anything I'm still trying to resist new projects.

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  26. that book looks really gorgeous visually, I love how they did the layout and pics

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    1. Its very comic boon Dez, a very clever way of getting kids to like the rules.

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  27. Greate review Ray especialy as you mention the Scanian War :)

    Best regards Michael

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    1. Loving you Scanian War stuff Micheal,keep it up!

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  28. I almost thought you had negative views with those first sentences, but wow. I like when you say it's simple, I think I could kinda sorta get the hang of it then.

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    1. Even I can get the hang of it, and that's saying something!!!

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  29. I swear I'm never going to start a new game/period/scale... right before Salute every year... and this time I mean it :)

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  30. Great review! I was wondering about the rules and now you have twisted my arm enough to where I will pick them up at the next con. Thanks!

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  31. Thanks for the great review and pics, Ray. It's made me think of for an alternative to F&IW - mainly for the other optional scenarios. The use of multi-sided dice for different types of troops seems like a good idea; also and excuse to pick up other dice than the mostly D6's I have. Dean

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    1. Using the different dice always you to forget a lot of the usual modifiers....good idea me thinks???

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  32. Nice review Ray!

    I have tried these rules and they are fast and fun.

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  33. I just couldn't help but laugh when I read this, "before I knew what I was doing an order had been placed." It reminds me of my hubby.

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    1. Crazy I know, I just couldn't help myself!! It was like a kid in a sweetshop, I want that one and that one and that one and........

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