Home Forums Ancients Ancients rules observations…

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • Author
  • #108645
    Avatar photoAutodidact-O-Saurus

    As I trundle along painting Carthaginian and Romans I’m really beginning to focus on rules. So I’d like to hear the TWW collective’s views on the following candidates. Have you played these? Strengths and weaknesses?

    Impetus/Basic Impetus 2 — These are OK. They tick most of the boxes but I’m not in love. I do like the basing and the army sizes. In fact, I bought Basic Impetus 2 mostly for the army lists to give me an idea of troop types and typical proportions of each. My figures are being based (sort of) for this system. Game play seems a little fiddly to me which why I continue to look at rules.

    Lost Battles — currently reading these but haven’t yet taken them for a test spin. I like a lot of the concepts here. Not too sure I can wrap my head around the rules though and the game play looks like it might be a bit static. Might be a real contender, especially if I can find some sort of QRS.

    Age of Hannibal — Really enjoyed the WargamesTV videos on this set and it certainly focuses in on the period I want. I’ll probably pick these up in the next couple of weeks for a read-through. I’m a bit concerned about the basing conventions. While the author says any basing should work some reviewers have pointed out that bases really need to be square for formation changes to work as intended. Re-basing figures will not happen. So if rules are dependent upon basing conventions, they’re probably not the set for me.

    Triumph! — I’ve played a couple games of this but it seems a bit sterile for my tastes. Still, army sizes are achievable for me and I know there are local players (though not in my preferred scale). I don’t think my Impetus style basing will be too much of an issue since I’m not intending to play competition games and most likely I’ll be providing all the figures.

    To the Strongest! — This seems to be the most popular right now. Bit steep in price for my tastes but I haven’t heard anything about them that sets off warning bells that they wouldn’t work for me. I’m not opposed to trying gridded movement in wargaming but I’m not convinced it will help me suspend my disbelief.

    All comments appreciated.

    Self taught, persistently behind the times, never up to date. AKA ~ jeff
    More verbosity: http://petiteguerre.blogspot.com/

    Avatar photowillb

    Join the Lost Battles Yahoo Group.  https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/lostbattles/info

    They have QRS and additional scenarios in the files section under Strategos.  I have read Impetus and played To the Strongest.   No preference for either set.  Saw the Age of Hannibal video.   Again no preference.  Have not read or played Triumph.   Other rule sets that are actually more popular are Le Art De La Guerre and DBM/DBMM, at least among tournament players.    The rule set I use is Scutarii.

    This blog  has a lot of battle reports for Lost Battles  https://prufrockian-gleanings.blogspot.com/search/label/Lost%20Battles


    I’ve played BI v1.  Buckets of 6s and every pair of 5s you roll cause a hit.  This is an odd game mechanic.  There are people that decry the auto morale pass on a roll of a 1.  You also fail a morale check on a roll of 6 regardless of the odds.  If you remove the autopass on a 1 thing, you can essentially turn the game into a buckets of 6s game, getting similar odds for hits.  The game is decent enough and does play quickly.  My other complaint is that missile wepaons are over engineered.  Too much variety, especially when you consider melee weapons don’t get the same treatment.

    Lost battles is more of a simulator.  It is quite fun but the army with the edge in strength points will usually win the battle.  That said, there is a handicap system so you only need to do better than your predecessor to win!

    I have not played Age of Hannibal yet but have played Fantasy Rules!  and Days of Knights a fair bit.  The engine is fun.  Think DBA with D10 and a morale system.   It is a fast playing system.  Most games will likely be over in 2-2.5 hours.

    To the Strongest is a grid based game.  You activate units and move to fight.  I own it but have not played it yet.  You do need counters to mark hits and cards for activations.

    If you want to play without  a grid, go with Age of Hannibal.  Grid based, go with To the Strongest.  Whatever you choose, Lost Battles is an invaluable source book for Ancients gaming just for the orders of battle.  It’s also a lot of fun to tinker with “what ifs”





    "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

    --Abraham Lincoln

    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank

    That is a good summary from Who Asked This Joker. The reasons why people like or dislike different rules are very variable.

    Impetus – I used to play Impetus and Basic Impetus a lot, and am currently waiting for my copy of Impetus 2. I always enjoyed the games I played. However, if you found Basic Impetus 2 fiddly, I think you will probably find a similar effect in ‘full’ Impetus. The full version has more options, but the basic ‘engine’ is the same and I understand that some of the ideas that were new in Basic Impetus 2 have found their way to Impetus 2. Personally, I liked the auto morale pass/fail, as it meant you could never be certain of the outcome, no matter how strong or weak your unit was. Also, I see the missile variety as a way of adjusting the basic unit stats, which are primarily for melee, to give suitable shooting results. To my mind, if Impetus has a weakness it is that the way activations work, unit by unit, can result in a very fragmented battle.

    Lost Battles – I have the rules but have never played them. It is gridded, but with larger grids than To The Strongest! (TtS!). It is my fault, I’m sure, but I didn’t find them easy to understand, with lots of conditions and modifiers.

    Age of Hannibal – I do not have the rules but have seen the video and read the concerns about base shape. They seem to be rules that use a lot of small bases, rather than the Impetus model of fewer, larger, bases. If your figures are based in the Impetus style, either you’ll need lots of space or you’ll have to make adaptations to make the game work for you. If you get the rules, you’ll be able to tell how easy or hard that will be.

    Triumph – This seems to be the US child of DBX, as Art De La Guerre (which willb mentioned) is a European one. Art De La Guerre is very popular in the UK, particularly for tournaments. I think that, if you were comfortable with the parent DBX, it is probably a case of finding which child you find most attractive. If you didn’t get on with the parent, the children have inherited enough characteristics that you are unlikely to be enamoured by any of them.

    To The Strongest! – This is the game I currently play most often. Yes, it is gridded, but the grids can be pretty unobtrusive. They certainly simplify the game-play. I’m surprised at your comments about cost; the price of the print and paper versions both seem similar to those of Age of Hannibal. Maybe postal charges affect this, depending on where you are. If you don’t like the cards idea, you can use chits or even D10s, as the cards are just a way of generating number values. I think that, to enjoy TtS!, you have to like, or at least be able to live with, a high random effect in your games. There is always a chance your units will fail their activations, and your attacks can end up with your units more damaged than those of the other side (all too frequently in my games yesterday!). If you like to be able to activate everything, or want to be able to predict combat outcomes, TtS! is not for you. They can be great fun if you like trying to manage uncertainty. They can cope with the largest of games (they were originallly designed for that) but still work well for smaller or tournament games.

    For me, the choice is between Impetus and TtS!, but if you are looking for something other than Impetus, and can work out a way of coping with base sizes, then I’d agree with Who Asked This Joker’s conclusion.


    Avatar photoAutodidact-O-Saurus

    Ah, I neglected to ensure I was comparing apples to apples. Upon rechecking, the electronic version of TtS is actually a bit less expensive than the electronic versions of AoH and the others. The price I was remembering was for the electronic + printed version. Thanks for cluing me in. I stand corrected and happily so!

    I played quite a bit of DBA when it first came out. I think I have copies of 1.0, 1.1 and 2.0 though I haven’t played in years. If I was to go the DBx route it would be Triumph! simply because I know there are local players around here and I do like some of the changes incorporated. Realistically most of my games will be solo so I’m not certain local players are that much of a factor.

    I have to agree that ‘Lost Battles’ is a great resource whether you play the game or not. Every ancients player should have a copy.

    Self taught, persistently behind the times, never up to date. AKA ~ jeff
    More verbosity: http://petiteguerre.blogspot.com/

    Avatar photoShahbahraz

    It really depends what you want. Set some parameters and that will dictate your choices. Personally, lately I have played some old skool rules (Crusader) and I still much prefer the sophistication of DBMM.

    --An occasional wargames blog: http://aleadodyssey.blogspot.co.uk/ --

    Avatar photoOB

    Not on your list but Ager Proelii by James Roach gives an interesting and fun punic wars game.  It’s a Piquet Field of Battle derived game so cards are involved.  If you can get a copy it’s certainly worth giving it a try.



    I love advanced impetus and detest basic, the difference is too big, having glanced at the new impetus, I feel it has wrecked horse cavalry armies completely.

    my two cents



    "walk the battlefield in the morning, wargame it in the afternoon"


    Avatar photoA Lot of Gaul

    I have played Impetus and To the Strongest!, but others above have already covered those rulesets very well.

    I recently received my copy of Age of Hannibal. After a few test plays, I find that they really strike a ‘sweet spot’ for me! The rules cover the Classical Mediterranean from the Peloponnesian war to the fall of Rome, although the authors do have a particular fondness for the Punic Wars. For historical scenarios, army sizes can range from roughly 30 to 100 bases per side, but players are encouraged to use whatever size armies they already have. Although the rules author does prefer games based on historical scenarios (the rulebook includes scenarios for Issus, the Trebia and the Sabis), he has also included a simple points system for pick-up games.

    For 6mm – 18mm figures the recommended basing is 40mm squares. There are no ‘formation changes’ in AoH, as each unit is comprised of a single base. I can’t see any reason why rectangular bases wouldn’t work with the rules, as long as all bases have the same frontage. But if you wanted to use squares, you could easily accommodate Impetus-style bases by placing two of them in column on an 80mm square sabot. Doubling the movement and missile distances in AoH would bring them very close to those used in Impetus, so you would then be good to go.


    "Ventosa viri restabit." ~ Harry Field

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.