A base question of rules…

I find myself in a bit of a quandary…

I have been a fan of the Impetus rules ever since Basic Impetus was first published – the trouble is, it has never caught on at the wargames club I belong to.

I can certainly see their point of view – many are DBA / DBM / HOTT players, so when they play Ancients, they will tend to play one of these games – either that, or Commands & Colors: Ancients.

Now, you all know by now that I’m a big fan of the C&C:A game, but DBA and it’s family?…not so much.

But I want to play a ‘proper’ set of Ancients wargames rules – and more than that, because of the wargaming project I have in mind, I want to keep a similar set of rules for the Medieval and (if possible) Renaissance periods as well.

Field of Glory has been tried and found wanting (far too long a game) which leaves me really with only one option – Warmaster Ancients.

This rule set has several advantages – for a start there are people who already play it at club. It’s also a hugely popular rule set, so if ever I move I shouldn’t have trouble finding opponents. Thirdly, it fits in with several other systems that we already play (Blitzkrieg Commander, Cold War Commander & potentially Black Powder)

I really like the command & control system in this style of game, and in many ways having a similar style of rule set for many gaming periods certainly helps when it comes to learning new rules and new periods.

So, I bought the Warmaster Ancients rules along with the Medieval Armies supplement several weeks ago, and I’ve even gone as far as buying several packs of bases…

But then…I read issue 22 of Battlegames magazine, and more to the point, Mike Siggins’ thoughts on Black Powder and Bob Barnetson’s on Warmaster Ancients. And you know what? I can see their respective points about the downfalls of this system. And so, I’m having second thoughts…again.

So where does this leave me?

Well, at the moment, with several hundred (if not thousands) of 6mm figures in bags and boxes unpainted, and enough MDF bases to tile my bathroom floor with.

Is it back to Basic Impetus? Or forge ahead along with the Warmaster route?

Luckily, I don’t have to decide immediately, as my next few projects have nothing to do with either set of rules…

So I will do what I do best, and put off the decision until later 🙂

8 Comments on A base question of rules…

  1. “But I want to play a ‘proper’ set of Ancients wargames rules…”

    The correct answer is of course DBMM. The working draft version of the rules used at the Society of Ancients Zama game is still available for download from the Yahoo group: http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/DBMMlist/

    That said, you can have your cake and eat it too. A quick look shows that DBMM, FoGm and WMA all use 40mm frontages in 15mm. Impetus uses 80mm frontages. I’m not sure what the future Baccus ancients rules will use, but I expect a multiple of 20mm or 40mm judging by how Peter is casting his strips.

    Base everything up to 40mm wide and make up some card sabot bases to take two units for Impetus and you are set.

    • PatG

      Let it not be said that I am unwilling to try any rule set, but I’m not optimistic.

      Yes, I’ve considered sabot bases, but there are a couple of things to consider…

      I like the ‘big base’ approach of a game like Impetus. In 6mm, for example, if I use a 60mm x 30mm base (which is half 28mm size) I can easily have a Roman Legionary unit (FP) of 48 figures, which will look quite imposing.

      Using that scale of bases, I can play Basic Impetus/ Impetus with 6mm figures on a 4×2 board very easily.

      The Baccus Polymos rules systems use either 60mm x 30mm or 60mmx x 60mm bases – I expect that the Ploymos rules due out soon for WotR and Ancients will keep with this convention.

      …I suppose I’m starting to answer my own question here…

  2. Neil, I have the exact same problem. My friends don’t like Impetus. I don’t like DBA or DBM. No-one likes Field of Glory. Everyone is ordering WAB2 for their 28mm figures. I have been looking at WMA myself so I will watching your journey with interest.
    I guess I will stick to WWII in the meantime.

  3. Mark Watson // May 5, 2010 at 12:02 // Reply

    All rulesets have deficiencies and advantages. I think the ancients players who have the best time are those who can, through the forbearance of their gaming friends and the extent of their figure collections, try out lots of rulesets on an ongoing basis. Over the last two years on Slingshot we featured 19 different rulesets, most of them with their own adherents. At 15mm, you should probably also look at Armati, as well as those others mentioned (same basing rules again).

    Also – and as a reminder – you promised me a review of Impetus for Slingshot, I think! There’s a new editor – shall I have him chase you?


  4. Hi Neil

    I must admit I do like Impetus and as there are mods for Napoleonic and Fantasy it means I can use the same base rules and play a lot of different games with them (so less time trying to learn the basics)

    but then I am lucky as my mates all like Impetus as well, so it seems the only thing you can do is move to South Wales, or give warmaster a go and see if you like it who knows it may work for you


  5. Just for interest see this on the Warmaster Ancients Yahoo group:

    > On 31 May 2010 19:41, ay101uk2001 wrote:
    > > I thought the same: Warmaster feels clunky compared to Black Powder.
    > >
    > > Be interested to hear other opinions and if you think an Ancients variation of BP could be published?
    > I know a Pike & Shot variant of BP is in the works…

    There are quite a few supplements in the works – though all at the development and manuscript stage as I understand. Paul occasionally posts updates on the
    Warlord forum.

    An ancients game based on BP certainly could be published – we’ve been playing with a modified version of the rules – my only concern is that the world is chock-a-block with ancients rules. I’m not sure what most traditional ancients players would make of a game with no army lists or points values!

    BP did start out as Warmaster for 25mm models though – so there’s a certain
    justice in it!


  6. Dave Beatty // November 19, 2014 at 15:51 // Reply

    You might try Mighty Army Ancients (MAA). It is somewhat similar to DBA but with many subtle improvements (IMO). Link here for rules discussion (there is also an underused Yahoo Group): http://www.mightyarmiesonline.info/ Link here to buy the rules (there are also some on eBay): http://www.rebelminis.com/miaranhco.html


    Dave Beatty

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