I think one of the appeals of big battle classical ancients is that it does, in fact, provide a very ‘pure’ test of generalship with, quite literally, nowhere to hide. But there are plenty of instances of smaller battles and ambushes fought on campaign that provide variety.
I’ve had a love of classical ancients since reading the late Charles Grant’s “On Matters Military” column in Battle for Wargamers back in the 1970s and of course Tony Bath’s “Hyboria” campaign. All those swirling battles with nary a tree in sight, but still incredibly exciting.
Other than sieges, I think it’s probably only from the 1700s onwards, with the increasing use of light infantry, Grenzers and the like and ‘la petite guerre’ that I expect to see occupied terrain features playing a key part in games. Prior to that, dense woods, steep hills and so on tended to confine combatants to a relatively flat and open area between them – a number of significant medieval battles come to mind. At most, there might be one side occupying a dominant hill, or river crossing (someone above made the point that analysis reveals rivers to be a common feature).
All that messy terrain plays havoc with unit cohesion!
Good point about naval warfare, Mike. It’s only very recently that I’ve fallen in love with Age of Sail because of a fun ruleset (Blood, Bilge and Iron Balls by Alan Abbey) and the lovely GHQ ships, which are less expensive than Langtons and a great deal easier to assemble!
- This reply was modified 7 years, 1 month ago by Henry Hyde.