Sorry about the title, I tried to connect this review to my last one on BattleScribe Army List Builder, but I think it worked better on that one.
ANYWAY, today I am going to look at another (digital) hobby tool of mine, Battle Chronicler.
Just because this tool’s logo only has a feather, while BattleScribe’s has a feather AND a sword, does not mean that this tool is any less useful! In fact, I will go out on a limb here and say that I have used Battle Chronicler much more than BattleScribe. Not because IT is better, but because I quite enjoy writing battle reports, and most of the time I do so with the help of this great piece of software. Plus this logo has a shield, and you know shields are awesome!
This Review is also going to be a How To use it. It’s the best way to explain it, I think, and hopefully it ends up being a little helpful. This will be Part 1, though, as there is a lot to cover.
So, quite a few times on the blogs and DakkaDakka (where I used to post batreps as well) I have been asked what program I use for the pictures of my batreps. This review will be an easy way to answer that question from now on, so let me go through the program a little and some thoughts on it.
First off, and a big bonus, it’s free. Two quick downloads (program and component collection) and you can get started right away. And you really can, as it’s so easy to use! I’ll actually go through the program by writing a batrep for Warhammer Fantasy. We’ll pretend that one of the armies is completely new.
Creating a New Army Template
So the first thing we need to do is create an Army Template. As you can see in the pic below, I’ve got a bunch saved. Every army I include I keep a template for, although I often have to go in and change it up before doing the reports as the lists change frequently.
So under Edit I click Army Template, which brings up the upper left small screen. Clicking New, I get the upper right big screen. I’ll call this Template Wood Elves (for obvious reasons) and I definitely want a unique colour scheme for this one, so I click Edit Army Colours, which gives us the lower left small screen. This I personally base on either the ‘standard’ army colour scheme or how it is painted on the table. For the Wood Elves I went with a ‘standard’ bright green Background and White for the Border and Glyph, just because I want them to be bright and eco-friendly. I always keep my External Long Label as White and Horizontal, and I usually don’t do anything special with the Scheme or Symbol, unless I think the army requires it like my Empire army.
So with that done, we can create units back in the big screen. Clicking New gives you a standard template on the right, similar to this one but with no Unit Name/Label, ’10’ Models and ‘Square 20mm’ as your Base Size. It is REALLY important that you change the Model count and the Files size to reflect the unit on the table now, as it is more work to fix it later once you’ve started the battle report imaging. So for this unit of Treekin, the Label automatically becomes T, although I could change it if I wished (and would if there was another unit with a single ‘T’ name). There are only 3 Models in the unit, with Base Sizes of 40mm, so I change both of those. Now some units are not 5-wide, so I would change the Files to reflect this. Also, not all units are in Tight (standard) formation, so I might have to change this to Loose Files if they are Skirmishers.
I continue like this with new units until I’ve got everyone. This includes Lords and Heroes as separate entries, by the way, as I like to have them individually represented on the map. You don’t have to do this, of course, especially if they never leave their unit or otherwise become alone. If you ever have duplicate units, like 2 Eternal Guard or whatever, it will automatically differentiate their Labels by adding 1 and 2. You can manually do this, if you want to. Like I said before, i fyou have multiple units with the same Label but that are different units, like a Chieftan and Clanrats in a Skaven army, you will have to find a way to differentiate them so you don’t end up with C1 and C2 when that doesn’t make sense. I like to say “Chieftan BSB” for the Name and then BSB for the label, or something like that. Or CR for the Clanrat label. It’s personal preference, and might be something you figure out once you’ve started with the images, either because you forgot or just wanted to see how it looks fleshed out on the map.
Oh, and I don’t bother with Points, Type, etc. as they don’t come up in the images.
Starting a New Battle
Okay, with our Army Templates done we can get to the purpose of this whole endeavour, pictures for a batrep!
So, when you click File -> New you’ll get the leftmost New Game screen. This is where you define the details of the game, such as number of turns, how big the board is, and which armies you are working with. I usually just leave it at 6 Turns and 6×4 feet, although sometimes for smaller games that use less table space I will make it smaller, as it’s less work. For other game systems, you might be using a 3×3 or 4×4 table, so change that accordingly.
Next you will add the armies. I always make it so that the top army, Army A, is my opponent, as that’s how I see the table. Clicking Define will bring up the Army Definition screen. Just click on Template and find your first army. Then click on Unit from Template and then choose which units you’ve previously created that were involved. In this case, all were used, but for armies that I have written multiple reports about, I won’t be using them all since the list changes each game. Click OK when done. Do this for Army B, and we’re ready to go. Oh, and while it’s not super important, remember to click First Turn for the army that went first, as on the following screens this will help guide you. If you don’t nominate the correct army, it’s okay, it’ll just be backwards and possibly confusing.
Next we have our map and are ready to lay down Terrain. I won’t be able to explain too much here, as it all depends on YOUR game. But this is how my Tomb Kings vs Wood Elves game looked Terrain-wise. As you can see I shortened the width to 5 feet, as we did not use the last foot of the table.
I chose Ash as my Background, as it is my favourite, but there are other options, including 3 styles of Grass, some Snow and others. One reason I like using Ash is that when making hills, I can use the “Cliff” pieces under the Ground heading, as they match. I think I will have to write a completely separate tutorial on placing Terrain, as there are so many options.
Generally, though, you choose the most appropriate Terrain elements for your game, like trees, wood templates, buildings, hills, rivers, fences, etc. etc. etc. There really are so many options, but you will often find that what you have on your table is not accurately represented here. It’s a shame, but apparently you can take pictures of your terrain and create Components for Battle Chronicler yourself. I have not yet tried this, but I would lik to, especially if it means more accurate batreps.
The most important thing that I find is taking good notes and good pictures when you set up the actual table. I often measure distances between objects and board edges, and take plenty of pictures or written notes to help me later on. In fact, when I set up tables, I keep Battle Chronicler in mind and try to line stuff up at actual measurements.
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Okay, that is all I am going to write about today. Tomorrow I will cover Deployment, actual Game Turns, and as much info about moving units and showing model losses as I can.
I hope beginning tutorial has been helpful, and if so come back tomorrow for more.
Thanks for reading.