Home Forums Ancients What's your favourite ancients ruleset and why?

This topic contains 134 replies, has 73 voices, and was last updated by Usagitsuki Usagitsuki 2 weeks, 4 days ago.

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  • #109494

    Henry Hyde
    Participant

    Thank you everyone for all these fantastic answers. I just happened to pop back to this thread because I’ve just interviewed Richard Lockwood of the Society of Ancients on my Battlechat podcast, now nearly four years since the last post on this thread!

    So, of course, if you’re reading this, what ancients ruleset choices would you make now, several years on, and why? Do you think there have been any major developments in the period? What rulesets do you feel have now faded from view? Have new figure ranges affected your choice, or are you still happily playing with the same stuff you had back in 2015?

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    #109501
    willb
    willb
    Participant

    Checked the original post for this topic and noticed it was started five years ago.   I started playing ancients back when WRG just changed from third edition to fifth edition.   Over the years I have played many different sets.  Most have been fun.  Some have been more tedious than need be and a few have been ancients in name only.

    What I want in a set of ancient rules is the ability to duplicate the Gallic charges described in Caesar’s “Conquest of Gaul” where there are thousands of barbarian warriors charging across the field without small groups of them halting,  for a much smaller, but well trained and led army to defeat a much larger army of less capable troops even if elephants are part of the opposing army as Alexander did at Hydaspes,  and finally a set of rules where the winner does not duplicate Pyrrhus victories, but instead breaks the opposing army while suffering very few casualties.  Also to be able to field a full Republican Roman consular army on the table.

    While I still have all the ancient figures that I had back in 2015, there have been additions to the armies I had and some new armies have joined them.

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 6 days ago by willb willb.
    #109502
    A Lot of Gaul
    A Lot of Gaul
    Participant

    I still like Hail Caesar for all of the reasons mentioned earlier, and I have recently played several enjoyable games of Swordpoint and To the Strongest!. I like Swordpoint for the Momentum tokens that can be used to influence initiative and combat rolls, adding ‘fog of war’ and encouraging aggressive play. I enjoy To the Strongest! for its grid-based movement and diceless card (or chit) system for initiative and combat resolution.

    I am also quite keen to try Age of Hannibal, since years ago I was a big fan of Chipco’s Fantasy Rules!, and AoH is built (with royalties paid) around many of the same mechanics as FR!.

    Cheers,
    Scott

    "Experience is the teacher of all things."
    ~ Gaius Julius Caesar

    #109507
    Ochoin
    Ochoin
    Participant

    I like FoG but I really wish the movement rules weren’t such a massive pain in the backside 🙁

    Can I suggest you look at FoG; R & add some of its slightly looser mechanisms?

     

    donald

    #109511

    Doug Melville
    Participant

    I’m still playing DBA and DBMM.

    I prefer DBMM for the spectacle, the limitation to command and control, the depth of the rules and the fact they build a convincing narrative, and feel like a big battle. Ancient skirmishes, such as are modelled in some of the other sets (work out the figure and ground scale based on archery ranges), just don’t appeal to me in the same way.

    DBMM is a truly good game, hidden away in a text that could have been substantially rewritten and wrangled into a modern and much easier to use format. The ‘cottage industry’ mentality of WRG meant squeezing the word count and dispensing with niceties like pictures, examples, guidance and explanation.

    I do like Command & Colours as well for a giggle, but for me it is too constrained for me to enjoy multiple replays, with just a little too much randomness in the card play for my liking.

    Arguably Armati is one of the best representations of particular periods, but the tendency to discover on deployment reveal that you have lost, but have several hours to suffer through, doesn’t appeal much.

    I’ve also played Crusader recently, but frankly it just feels like a buckets of dice skirmish set, with very old fashioned mechanics.

    #109521

    McKinstry
    Participant

    I vacillate between Hail Caesar and Impetus but have not tried Impetus 2. My basic requirements are for generally single base units and playable in 6mm with games generally in the 3-4 hour range, So far, those two work for me with both having merits if somewhat different.

    Never wrestle with a pig. You both get muddy and the pig just likes it.

    #109850
    A Lot of Gaul
    A Lot of Gaul
    Participant

    I am also quite keen to try Age of Hannibal, since years ago I was a big fan of Chipco’s Fantasy Rules!, and AoH is built (with royalties paid) around many of the same mechanics as FR!.

    UPDATE: I recently ordered and received a spiral-bound print copy of Age of Hannibal. After a few test plays, I find that they really strike a ‘sweet spot’ for me! Although the authors are particularly fond of the Punic Wars, the rules in fact cover the Classical period from the Peloponnesian war to the fall of Rome. 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.

    Core mechanics are based on those found in Chipco’s Fantasy Rules! – with appropriate royalties paid. The rules are simple yet surprisingly subtle, with plenty of tactical depth and decision making opportunities. There are numerous special traits and abilities that add historical flavor for individual commanders and units. 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. Very enjoyable!

    Cheers,
    Scott

    "Experience is the teacher of all things."
    ~ Gaius Julius Caesar

    #109874
    Autodidact-O-Saurus
    Autodidact-O-Saurus
    Participant

    Cool! I, too, have just acquired ‘Age of Hannibal’. I’ve read through it but not yet played. However, I’m going to test drive it with 25/28mm figures based for Impetus. I’ll never have the space required to use the number of bases the rules seem to be aimed at. So, I’m looking at using Basic Impetus armies. A quick calculation indicates that a BI army is roughly 700 points in the AoH system. I like the simplicity of the mechanics, though, and I don’t think the reduction in the number of bases will make much difference. I’m not sure I like using D10s for combat and rallies–perhaps too much randomness there. I’m thinking about using 2D6. That should slow down the destruction of units by putting the average roll on a bell curve (around 7)–not a bad thing since I’ll only have ~15 units in an army rather than ~40. I’m not sure how it will affect rallying.

    Of course, since I’ve not even played a test game yet I’m just talkin’ out my arse! Can’t help but tinker!

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

    #109950
    A Lot of Gaul
    A Lot of Gaul
    Participant

    On page 16 there is an optional rule for decreasing randomness in AoH by using a d8 rather than a d10 for all close combat roles, so you may wish to try that as well.

    Cheers,
    Scott

    "Experience is the teacher of all things."
    ~ Gaius Julius Caesar

    #109969
    Steve Williams
    Steve Williams
    Participant

    I still think my favourite ancient ruleset is still Vis Bellica I like the C&C and the big bases and the scouting and hidden movement. I am enjoying ADLG at the moment though as its simple,quick and lots of people I know play it so I can always get games

    #110034
    telzy amber
    telzy amber
    Participant

    I liked WRG 5th and 6th. I played DBM through various and sundry versions. FoG which I didn’t like. I did like Comitatus v1 quite a bit. Comitatus v2 I couldn’t understand. I’m not really fond of ADLG but no one plays it, here.

    #110038
    MartinR
    MartinR
    Participant

    We still mainly play CnC Ancients on Hexon terrain with he odd diversion via Neil Thomas’s various Ancient rules offerings.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #110072
    Steve Burt
    Steve Burt
    Participant

    Having gone through WRG 4th,5th,6th,7th,DBA, DBM, DBMM, Field of Glory, Hail Caesar, Strategos, Sword & Spear we’ve ended up with ‘To the Strongest’ as our go-to set. Unlike most of the other rules listed, you can actually finish a large ancients battle in a couple of hours, there are plenty of interesting player decisions, and it is fun. The grid and use of cards really speeds things up a lot.

     

    #110094

    Doug Melville
    Participant

    Having gone through WRG 4th,5th,6th,7th,DBA, DBM, DBMM, Field of Glory, Hail Caesar, Strategos, Sword & Spear we’ve ended up with ‘To the Strongest’ as our go-to set. Unlike most of the other rules listed, you can actually finish a large ancients battle in a couple of hours, there are plenty of interesting player decisions, and it is fun. The grid and use of cards really speeds things up a lot.

     

    I can’t say I have ever had any problem finishing a DBM or DBMM game in three hours. For good or ill…  but then I believe firmly in what Montrose said. ‘He either fears his fate too much, Or his deserts are small, That dares not put it to the touch. To gain or lose it all.’

    😉

    #110096
    Usagitsuki
    Usagitsuki
    Participant

    Still playing Phil Sabin’s ‘Lost Battles.’ To answer the OP, because it fits with my idea of how an ancient battle was fought (which, I guess, is likely to be most people’s answer for their own preferred set). It takes a ‘grand tactical’ approach, so no ‘pilum chucking sub-phase’ etc. It is aimed at recreating historical battles with a variable scale so you can use as many figures as you like.

    "It takes a brave man not to be a hero in the Red Army" - Josef Stalin (attrib.)

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