Saturday 25 January 2014

Donnybrook: The Rules Arrive!

A week earlier than expected the Donnybrook rulebook has arrived and mighty fine it is too. 112 page full colour with soft cover, it is wonderful looking tome and very inspiring, choc full of photos of well painted miniatures for the period 1660-1760.

Of course this "Beano" annual look to rulebooks is not uncommon but the excellent production qualities are in this case matched by the rules and supplementary sections within. I think this is the first rulebook I have read from cover to cover in decades!

The rules are wonderfully simple and I am looking forward to trying them out asap. The default score for any action is a 6 (although it can be modified) and different types of miniature, use different dice - recruits use D6, Veterans D8, Elites D10 and Heroes D12.

The key to the game is the turn sequence, decided by a deck of shuffled cards, one for each hero and unit. This introduces a random sequence to events and with the inclusion of a "turn over" card some units or heroes may end up unable to undertake any actions in a turn (this is not a unique system, David Manley's Sudan rules use it, but it is one I really like).

There are a number of additional rules that can add some level of complexity but at its heart this is a wonderful simple fun game that is hugely entertaining, the kind of beer & pretzels game you would play at a show. The simplicity of the system should allow for it to be expanded in whatever weird and wonderful direction your imagination wants. This game could easily extend backwards and forwards historically, and it would not take much to add fantastical elements (yep, I thinking Solomon Kane for starters!).

The rest of the book contains the faction ("army") lists, some great ideas here including cultists, outlaws/pirates and tribal factions, several scenarios, a superbly illustrated battle report of Scots against Natives in Latin America and a section on period theatres of conflict from Tangiers to the War of Spanish Succession.

Overall this is a great looking game, a well produced and written book and one that has lots and lots of potential for this period and others. Well worth checking out.


  1. Good review Steve. I may well give these a look.

  2. Thanks for the review, Steve. The rules are remarkable easy to adapt to any pre-vehicle period. I've used them for Warhammer, Napoleonics, and Colonial Africa with minor modifications.