Baptism at Bull Run. The Battle of First Bull Run. July 21, 1861.

Official Baptism at Bull Run Ladder Tournament Rules



A ladder tournament is an event where a list of players play a competitive matches in order to improve their ranks on the ladder. Specifically, each player or participant plays a match against another participant who is adjacent on the ranked list in an effort to advance up the list or ladder. Match winners will advance halfway up the ladder, while their opponents will drop halfway down the ladder. The participant who is ranked #1 (the highest ranking) at the end of the current tournament is the "Champion".



The objective of this ladder tournament is to promote playing Baptism at Bull Run in a competitive, but friendly manner. Polite behavior and good sportsmanship are expected at all times.


Overview: How to Participate

  1. To join the current ladder, contact the Tournament Administrator (TA) via e-mail at:     (Click the hyperlink to reveal the e-mail address.)

  2. Once the current BaBR Ladder Tournament begins, check the ladder rankings. The lower ranked player of each match pair (that is, the player with the even-numbered rank) must send an e-mail message to his/her opponent with his/her opening bid. Bidding continues by e-mail exchanges until one player passes (see Bidding for Sides below).
  3. The player winning the bid must contact the TA with the bid results.
  4. The TA distributes the appropriate game file to each match participant.
  5. The Confederate player begins the game with his/her cube placement (see the "The CyberBoard Guide to Baptism at Bull Run" [BaBRCBGuide.pdf] in the Downloads section).
  6. Upon completion of the game, the winning player notifies the TA of the match result.



Each ladder match shall consist of one complete game (15 rounds) of Baptism at Bull Run (BaBR) using the standard scenario where match participants will bid to determine sides (see Bidding for Sides below). Match participants may optionally decide to play the historical scenario as long as both match partners agree to such in advance.


Game Play

The default method of playing BaBR Ladder Tournament matches is via remote play using CyberBoard v3.03. The latest version of CyberBoard may be downloaded from:

If both participants prefer not to use CyberBoard, then a pair of match partners may mutually agree to play their match via VASSAL, or any other agreed upon method for that matter. For Linux or Mac users, a number of Windows emulators exist which may allow these operating systems to run CyberBoard.

To download the latest version of the CyberBoard game box (or VASSAL module) for BaBR, visit the Downloads section.


Individuals interested in participating in the BaBR Ladder Tournament should register by sending an e-mail message, including name, time zone, & e-mail address (if different), to:     (Click the hyperlink to reveal the e-mail address.)


File Naming Convention

For matches played remotely, move (or log) files should be named sequentially beginning with "001" for the first file. (For example, 001.gmv for CyberBoard.)


Match Rules

Ladder participants should use the downloadable BaBR rules for their respective matches. Paired match participants are free, however, to adopt whatever gaming format, scenario, optional rules, combat resolution, and/or error correction conventions, they wish as long as both match participants agree to such in advance.


Determining Victory

The victory conditions for a ladder tournament match are described in the BaBR rules. Either match participant may concede victory to their opponent at any time prior to the achievement of one of the game's victory conditions.


Bidding for Sides

Players will bid morale in order to choose which side they will play: USA or CSA. A bid is the amount that a player is willing to deduct from that army's normal starting morale. The default starting morale is 21 for the Union and 20 for the Confederates.

The process of bidding morale occurs prior to game setup and is performed as follows:

  1. The lower ranked player will offer the initial morale bid.
  2. The player making the initial morale bid names which army he is bidding for and the amount of his bid. The initial bid may be zero (0) or more.
  3. The opposing player must then either propose a higher bid for that army or pass. If he proposes a higher bid, the opportunity to bid or pass reverts to the initial player. As long as higher bids are proposed, the opportunity to bid or pass alternates between the two players.

Once either player passes, the last player to propose a bid assumes control of the named army and subtracts his most recent bid from that army's starting morale. The player who passed assumes control of the other army at its normal starting morale.

Match participants are responsible for informing the Tournament Administrators (see Tournament Administration below) of the match's final agreed upon bid, so that each match partner may be sent the appropriate game file.

Example #1: Player A bids USA zero (0). Player B mulls this over and then bids 1. Player A declines to bid. Player B will play the Union but with a starting morale of 20 (instead of the normal starting value of 21).

Example #2: Player A wants to play the Confederates and so bids CSA 1. Player B decides that he does not want to play the Confederates with a 2 point starting morale penalty (he would have to bid CSA 2) and therefore passes. The starting morale of the Confederate army is 19 (one less than the normal starting value of 20).


Additional Information

  • Each ladder tournament lasts approximately three months.
  • Participants may not usually join a ladder tournament after the match pairings have been announced. However, if there is an unpaired participant an attempt will be made to find an opponent for him/her.
  • The participant in the #1 position will become (or remain, as appropriate) the Champion.
  • A participant who does not win his/her match (i.e., the loser) will move half way down the ladder. For example, in an event with 24 participants, the loser of the championship match will begin the next round ranked as #13.
  • New participants will be added to the bottom of the ladder in the order in which the Tournament Administrator receives their request to join the ladder.
  • The overall ladder position table details the current ladder rankings, opponent matchups, and match outcomes.
  • A participant may withdraw at the end of a round in which case all other participants below the vacated spot move up one position on the ladder.
  • Any participant who does not start a scheduled match at the appointed time may forfeit that game (see Disputes below) and be seeded at the very bottom of the ladder.
  • Any participant who does not complete a scheduled match by the appointed time—including after reasonable extension of time, if such has been granted by the TA—may forfeit that game (see Disputes below) and be seeded at the very bottom of the ladder.
  • After a round, a player may pass in subsequent rounds.
    • If you pass once, you will drop one place in the ladder (i.e., if you were ranked 10th at the end of the last round you played, you will be ranked 11th at the start of the new round).
    • If you pass two consecutive rounds, you will be reinstated at the bottom of the ladder but above new participants.
    • If you pass three consecutive rounds, you will be dropped off of the ladder; if you re-join the ladder after having been dropped off, you will be considered a new participant.
  • The ladder tournament is seeded as follows:
    1. Winners,
    2. Losers,
    3. Reinstated Participants,
    4. New Participants, &
    5. Forfeiters.


Match Results

Results from each completed BaBR Ladder Tournament match should be sent to:     (Click the hyperlink to reveal the e-mail address.)

All participants will be AREA rated. Submission of all AREA rating data will be handled by the Tournament Administrator following the conclusion of a competition.


Tournament Administration

The Tournament Administrator (TA), or any designated assistant(s), is responsible for administering the ladder tournament and addressing all issues that may arise during the course of a match. Additionally, the TAs are responsible for distributing the game files necessary to play ladder tournament matches.

Assistant TAs, if any, will be designated at the commencement of a ladder tournament.


Currently, the TAs are: László Á. Koller (TA) & Garry Haggerty (Assistant TA).



Any disputes will be resolved by the TA (and/or Assistant TAs). Such decisions will heavily depend on copies of players' correspondence (including game move or log files): It is in both parties' interest to keep accurate records.

The TA may—after communicating with the involved parties—declare match forfeiture by a participant who is responsible for excessive delay in the start or finish of a match. Cases involving forfeiture, or any other irregular match outcome, will be adjudicated by the TA (and/or Assistant TAs) on a case-by-case basis.

Any outcome of a disputed/irregular match resolved by the TA (and/or Assistant TAs) is final.




These rules are subject to change at any time. Such changes will be announced on this website.

Last Updated: 2009-05-13 12:30 EDT


For questions and/or feedback, please send e-mail to:     (Click the hyperlink to reveal the e-mail address.)

Further discussion about Baptism at Bull Run can be found at either of these game hobbyist websites:  BoardGameGeek  ConsimWorld

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Copyright © 2008-2011. László Á. Koller. All rights reserved. Unauthorized distribution prohibited.
Pencil & Wash Drawing: "Colonel Burnside's brigade, First and Second Rhode Island, and Seventy-first New York regiments, with their artillery, attacking the rebel batteries at Bull Run.", by Alfred R. Waud (1861).