GBB Rules


The August 2021 appearance of a Little Wars TV video has generated a bit of interest in a new set of quick play, grand tactical WWII rules that I’m working on (

These rules – tentatively entitled Gained By Battle (which phrase I stole from a contemporary US Army field manual) — are intended to enable large scale, multi-day battles at division or corps level, very much like the 1870-series did for 19th century European conflicts. Although this operational niche is hugely important, it seemed to me to be severely under-appreciated.

The GBB rules have been under development since 2018 and have finally reached a point where they actually seem to work. As with the 19th century GTR rules, this meant that the units are relatively large, combat resolution and command systems are simple, and the results are quick — with minimal die rolls and tables. Some very un-19th century elements also had to be incorporated, of course: logistics and replacements, indirect artillery fire, tactical air, combined arms techniques, and a huge array of weapons and machinery. But simplicity, speed and accuracy were most important …and of course, they had to delivery believable results.

Like the GTR rules, GBB has several scales, enabling medium, large, and extra-large battles to be fought without requiring countless figures: a single stand of infantry (very nearly the same size as those used in 1870) represents a half-company, a full company, or a half-battalion, depending on the size of the scenario. The ground scale ranges from 75m to 250m per inch. It all works!

Although GBB games have appeared at gaming conventions since 2019, the rules still aren’t ready for publication, unfortunately; COVID-19 set back everything about a year, and I’m currently hoping to make them available – most probably in a PDF format – by the end of 2021, with as many scenarios as have been completed by then. Scenarios to date have included some from Tunisia 1942-43, Normandy 1944, and Malta 1942. Next I’ll probably add some from the 1940 campaign, Barbarossa 1941 …and others as I think of them. If you’ve got some favorites, or would like to test some scenarios yourself, please let me know. And go watch that video! It’ll make the LWTV guys happy, introduce you to one scenario, and give you something to do while I slowly bring this project to completion.