Review: SSDC – Engines of War (Battlelords of the 23rd Century)

Battlelords of the Twenty-Third Century: Engines of War
Engines of War is a supplement for the military sci-fi system Battlelords of the Twenty-Third Century written by Dr. Louis Norton and published by SSDC.
By Aaron T. Huss

Engines of War is the vehicle sourcebook for Battlelords of the Twenty-Third Century adding military and non-military vehicles plus massive mecha-styled armor called ultra armor. Here you will find an assortment of vehicles for your battlelords to drive around in on the weekends, plus you’ll find the tanks necessary to blow your opponents away. And if that isn’t enough, there’s a list of special weapons designed for vehicles and ultra armor. Not only is this a vehicle sourcebook, but it contains all the mechanics necessary to govern those vehicles taking your adventures from action and adventure to all-out warfare! This is epic-level military sci-fi.


Engines of War is the ultimate warfare sourcebook for Battlelords of the Twenty-Third Century with some non-military vehicles thrown in for good measure. It starts with a short story about what ultra armor can do for an alien race and then moves in quickly to the guts of the book. As this is a sourcebook for vehicles, you need the right mechanics to govern them as the core mechanics do not. Within the second chapter of the book, you learn all about the mechanics utilized for vehicles including their general rules such as movement, how combat works, how damage works, effects of damage, collisions, and more. Within this you find a number of mechanics explaining the different damage locations on a vehicle, following suit with the core mechanics for armor damage. Vehicles have many hit locations surrounding the entire vehicle. In addition, there are new skills associated with vehicles and the ability to repair them.

Following the mechanics is two chapters dedicated to the actual vehicles; wheeled and skimmer. There is a variety of military and non-military vehicles here and every single one of them is illustrated and fully detailed and described (including armor values for every hit location). This is a huge selection of vehicles and even include some of the oddball ones for the Battle Master (such as the skimmer delivery truck).

Moving on is the ultra armor; mecha-like armor suits for ultimate combat (look at the cover illustration for what that means). This is an interesting addition to Battlelords and really amps up the combat level from action and adventure to epic-level mass combat. Just like the vehicles, each ultra armor piece is illustrated and fully detailed and described.

Finishing off the content is a listing of new weapons and equipment for outfitting your vehicles and ultra armor. The book wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t have the right gear.


Engines of War is an awesome sourcebook and completely self-contained. With this one book, you get everything you need for vehicles and mecha-styled ultra armor, ready to be thrown into mass combat. The cover truly says it all considering the book’s potential, but don’t think it’s all weapons and tanks. The collection of civilian vehicles is a fun addition to the game allowing the players to add one more thing for their battlelords to spend money on.


Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
If I could, I would give this a rating of 25 out of 10. Every single vehicle and ultimate armor presented in Engines of War is illustrated, and illustrated very well. It’s a thing of beauty! Besides utilizing their properly established layout and formatting in all regards, there are so many awesome illustrations here that you may find yourself stopping regularly just to admire how cool the vehicles are. But I digress, in all regards, this book is perfectly put together and very easy to read. There is a great flow to the content and even the order in which the chapters are presented is of the highest quality.

Mechanics: 9 out of 10
Engines of War is pretty much all mechanics and content to explain those mechanics. In addition, this isn’t a collection of mechanics that expand upon those already available, it is an entirely new collection of mechanics to govern a new aspect of a Battlelords game. With the incorporation of military vehicles and ultra armor, your adventures and campaigns can go from skirmish encounters to all-out warfare. The only complaint I have is that some of the mechanics are a bit much at times (such as the number of hit locations on a vehicle), but it truly follows the standards set forth by the Battlelords of the Twenty-Third Century core mechanics.

Value Add: 10 out of 10
My take on Engines of War is that it carries one real purpose: to make truly epic games. If you want to keep your games at a skirmish level of action and adventure, then Engines of War has no value for you. However, that’s not what it’s designed for and if you consider it’s design, then it’s value is absolute. It takes all the concepts needed for adding military vehicles and ultra armor to Battlelords including governing mechanics and an awesome selection of vehicles, armor, and weapons to choose from.

Overall: 10 out of 10
If you want to add warfare into your military sci-fi adventures and campaigns, then I highly recommend Engines of War. You will find pretty much everything you need for running those warfare-styled games. If you don’t want to incorporate epic-level warfare, then you may not find much in Engines of War, although there are non-military vehicles included which can add a bit of fun for your players as they shop around for just the right vehicle. Considering only what it’s designed for, Engines of War is a definite must have.

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