5 Ancient Wargames That Need A Modern Review

I love it when a plan comes together. Since a few years I have been pondering ‘systematic reviewing’, because I’m unhappy with the common ‘hey – I love this new ruleset of mine’– reviews that I read ever too often in cyberspace. I now know where too start.

My idea would be to continue where blogger Heretical Gaming stopped. Play one scenario but with different rulesets, to make a comparison.

Heretical Gaming used the Mons Graupius battle as a template: a relatively quick uphill battle, Romans vs Caledonians. The strong Roman legions are invincible in flat terrain but more vulnerable uphill.

I plan to compare 5 systems.

  • De Bellis Antiquitatis. Grandfather of all fastplay ancient rulesets. Updated to version 3.0 now. Influential.
  • Art de la Guerre. A tournament ancients wargame, much like DBA and with game mechanics inspired by DBA and FoG. Popular in the UK, replacing FoG and DBMM to a certain extent, and more recent than both.
  • Hail Caesar. A commercial game, from Priestley, due to company support relatively popular, promoted by Warlord. Inspired by the Warmaster system.
  • Age of Hannibal. Home-brewed LWTV-rules. I include it because I was critical about the Little Wars TV-reviews. Besides I’m sincerely curious how their ruleset works out.
  • Mortem et Gloriam. These relatively new rules use a non-standard system, with command cards and special dice.

I can’t review every and all systems available, so I will limit my comparison to a few common rules and a few more recent books. I have experience with DBA, AdlG and HC already, that helps. Of course, being a chaotic wargamer with a wife, kids, other hobbies, and too many wargame priorities, I have no idea yet when exactly I will play my test games. Somewhere in 2020, I hope. But at least I have a plan, a goal, an idea! Come on!

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