Siege of Bodenburg

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Tabletop layout for Siege of Bodenburg (1967)

Siege of Bodenburg is a wargame developed by Henry Bodenstedt. It is one of the earliest sets of rules for conducting battles with medieval miniatures.

The game is played on a tabletop using 40mm medieval Elastolin miniatures manufactured by O&M Hausser. Bodenstedt owned a hobby shop in New Jersey, and he gave away copies of the rules for free to promote the sale of the miniatures.[1] In 1967 the game was published by Strategy & Tactics magazine in five parts, starting with issue #6. The name of the game is presumably a play on Bodenstedt's own name, though there was an actual medieval castle called Bodenburg south of Hildesheim.

Playing the Game[edit]

The game requires a 6' by 6' tabletop divided into a grid of 4" by 4" squares. Battle is resolved using a combat results table similar to those used by board wargames such as Tactics II. One player is the defender, and in addition to the castle he has at his disposal 30 footmen, 15 archers, 12 mounted knights, and a supply wagon. The attacker's forces include 40 footmen, 14 archers, 24 mounted Huns, 3 catapults, 4 movable parapets, 4 scaling ladders, and a siege tower. The attacker wins if he eliminates all of the defender's knights or captures the castle within 15 turns. Otherwise the defender wins.

The Hausser Castle[edit]

Bodenstedt designed the battlefield to be used with a plastic castle manufactured by Hausser.

Legacy[edit]

Siege of Bodenburg influenced Gary Gygax,[2] author of Chainmail and later Dungeons and Dragons.

Jeff Perren developed his own rules for the game, and shared them with Gygax.[3]

The Hausser Castle, incidentally, appears in the photographs of miniature battles in Chainmail.

Bibliography[edit]

  1. ^ Army Men Homepage: Siege of Bodenburg
  2. ^ Interview with Gary Gygax @ Gamebanshee—Gygax refers to the game as Siege of Bodenstadt
  3. ^ Tresca, Michael J. (2010), The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, McFarland, p. 60, ISBN 078645895X