God of Battles – A rules review

Yet another purchase at Colours, was the new Foundry fantasy wargaming rules by Jake Thornton (ex-GW) God of Battles or GoBs as I shall render it as a TLA!

I bought it from the Dave Thomas stand who normally deals with all Foundry, Perry and associated products. Half price too !
(RRP £30, mine bought for £15)

It’s listed as unavailable on Amazon, and as ‘Coming Soon’ (dated 2011) on the Foundry website. The cover artwork also seems to have changed, the original artwork similar to the Tribes of Legend book.

A half overheard conversation at Colours, and the changes in availability and cover indicate something is up with the publication/distribution of these rules. Conspiracy aside, what did I get for £15 ?

The Book

A hefty hardback with glossy full colour cover, and full colour through out the pages. Lots of eye candy of many (as yet unreleased) well painted Foundry figures with excellent terrain. Lots of easy to understand diagrams, and lots of illustrations. The production values are high. My only gripe is that the fancy font used for the titles of sections, and the background page watermark sometimes clash and make it difficult to read.

The Rules

As per the Foundry Manifesto that Bryan Ansell penned back in the late 1990’s everything is done using d6s or that ubiquitous but never corporeal dice the d3. This isn’t Warhammer. Its close, and clearly related but it is not a copy. The basic rules have really been stripped down. The use of the Unit Leader, where they become the focal point for movement and shooting is really good – it removes so much ambiguity from the rules. People might not like this in terms of realism, and certainly I do like the strict line of sight rules in many games, but this would be of real use in large wargames. Warhammer certainly has become bogged down in multiple, often contradictory, and incomplete rules. So these rules are a breath of fresh air.

Game Turns

One thing many games suffer from is the I Go You Go (IGoYGo) syndrome which makes it very difficult to have more than two sides playing a game. certainly for gaming Laserburn, BoB, AVBCW and other games with multiple factions these (IGoYGo) systems fall at the first hurdle. Even in Warhammer you can and should be able to have multiple forces fighting each other. So it is good to see that these rules could conceptually cope with more than one faction. This isn’t explicitly stated in the rules though and would need some play testing.

Swapping the initiative between players as these rules do, means that each player is kept active throught the game.

Strategems are a really good concept I’ve not really come across before. The nearest is the Brink of War game I played with JP where you can surrender initiative to the other side, but GoBs is far more subtle and wide ranging than that. These enable you to stop your opponent activating units, and or activating your own units out of sequence. I think this is going into any ruleset I write !

Movement, Shooting & Combat

As commented, everything is done from the leader of the unit, its all straight lines, no mucking aorund with wheeling and other malarky, so this sounds like a good idea. Backing Off, Threat Areas and Recoiling are all also good ideas. I think I’d need to do some play testig to work out how good they are, but on paper, they’re a good idea.

Shooting is also nice and simple, though I did struggle to find ranges of weapons (but it turns out is almost an either/or situation), and very few modifiers to remember. Hmm, maybe taking simplification too far, again play testing will bring out my true feelings on this. I do like the idea that a unit shot at from the side/rear loses some of its defence, a nice idea. Similarly harrasing fire is a good idea.

Combat is similar to Warhammer (actually more like LoToW, but again very much stripped down, and results in removing casulaties (no markers here) and a test of courage.

Miracles, Soul Engines & Sacrifices

What passes for magic. Its much more linked to Gods of Battle (duh, where did the game’s name come from ?). Not Warhammer but similar. You need a card deck (minus jokers and picture cards), which is something becoming more popular/frequent in many games systems – and that’s not a bad thing ! However, Priests only get activated to call for Miracles once, well unless you have used one of those pesky Strategems I mentioned earlier !

Other Stuff

There are rules fo allies, which is always useful and until Warhammer 8th edition something WHFB missed. There are rules for working out who is the Attacker or defender, not sure how this works with Scenarios.

There is a very interesting section on terrain, that starts off with describing what size terrain pieces should be, and also details of terrain that is a Habitat much like a random encounter. This seems much better than the current WHFB rules which are OTT.

Similarly there is an excellent and interesting section on Weather. Scenarios are listed including Camps & Baggage Trains.


There are some standard fantasy tropes here, and some very diferent ones such as the Sea Elves and T’lekkans. Unlike WHFB, units are bought in standard sizes for standard points, which does make things very different. There aren’t many (if any) options for units, which makes Characters more unique. This makes things a lot simpler, but the downside is you don’t get as much choice. all the armies are included in details in this book, along with painting guides. All the miniatures are by Foundry which indicates that they have a lot of as yet unreleased miniatures. (Which makes the recent announcements of a hiatus on new releases in favour of re-releases, all the more mysterious!)

The End

The book ends with a battle report, a list of Abilities, some Quick Reference sheets and most important of all an Index.


So is it any good ? I’d need a good few games with multiple factions to answer that question.
So is it interesting ? Yes. Emphatically Yes.
So is it Warhammer ? No. WHFB players will pick it up quick, get frustrated with some aspect, and welcome others !
Is it worth it ? At £15 definately. Guess you should have gone to Colours. 😉

On reading it I like it.

There are some excellent ideas in here, and the simplified games system is initially appealing. Some games play is in order.
(Hint to the Byakhees)