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"Really, really simple Ancients rules?" Topic

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3,402 hits since 11 Oct 2010
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Comments or corrections?

Pierce Inverarity Inactive Member11 Oct 2010 5:40 p.m. PST

Do these exist?

I mean REALLY simple ones. As in, 5 pages of rules. Significantly simpler than DBA, Impetus, etc. Yet fun to play.

Any suggestions welcome.

Irregular Miniatures seem to have published rules like that. Anyone know what they're like?

trailape11 Oct 2010 6:18 p.m. PST

What could be simpler than DBA? I'd be interested to see,…

Sundance Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2010 6:55 p.m. PST

I don't have any specific rules recommendations, but go to There are a number of rulesets on there and they tend to be very much on the simpler side. You'll have to wade through them to decide which ones look good to you, but you should pretty much have your choice.

Coyotepunc and Hatshepsuut11 Oct 2010 7:01 p.m. PST

DBA v1.O is availble for free from the WRG website and is significantly simpler than the current version. Also, don't confuse DBA with DBM. DBA uses 12-element armies and plays very quickly.

Nick Weitnauer Inactive Member11 Oct 2010 7:11 p.m. PST

Look at Charge! over at the freewargamesrules site in the Ancients section. They are only half a dozen or so pages and look like fun. I read them but haven't gotten a second army built yet to play them with.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2010 7:21 p.m. PST

Well, I would stay away form Newberry "Fast Play Ancient Rules" if I were you.

Volstagg Vanir11 Oct 2010 7:25 p.m. PST

Cant beat the free suggestions already given for price, but; {PDF} link {HC}
I haven't found any simpler than Mighty Armies.
Plays a little like DBA, a little like WarMaster.

TMP link

Note that 'Ancients' and 'Fantasy' use the same core mechanics;
(in case my advice or the reviews seem confusing)
'Ancients' adds a build point system
(and doesn't use magic, obviously).

Keraunos Inactive Member11 Oct 2010 11:22 p.m. PST

when I was 16, I wrote a set of ancients rules for my plastic romans to fight my friends plastic gauls.

of course, they also relied on Mah Jong blocks to make a celtic hill fort -= to compensate for his guys having no armour, you see.

I think you cna probably make up as good a set as that, on 5 pages or less.

sector51 Inactive Member12 Oct 2010 1:36 a.m. PST

DBA, 2 pages of rules. One of the simplest out there.

jameshammyhamilton Inactive Member12 Oct 2010 2:01 a.m. PST

DBA, 2 pages of rules and 40 pages of explanation ;)

Seriously I was going to suggest C&C ancients until I saw the five pages of rules requirement.

Have you looked at Basic Impetus? That is significantly simpler than Impetus.

psiloi Inactive Member12 Oct 2010 2:01 a.m. PST

How much depth are you looking for, and what kind of game – army or skirmish?(one man = one man) I have some i could shoot over if you want to take a look.

Personal logo Shaun Travers Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2010 3:16 a.m. PST

DBA is only 4 pages and Basic Impetus is only about 6. I have been blogging with my experience with various fast play rulesets. Fast play does not equate to simple, but some of the rules are simpler than others.

The blog is at:

Specifically, you asked about the Irregular Miniatures Ancient Rules – I did a review and a replay of these!:

Review here:


Replay here:


They are not simplier than Basic Impetus and you have to create your own army lists.

I second Mighty Armies: Ancients as simpler, and loads of fun to boot. Did a replay with that too:

Rather than post more links, just look at this page for link to to replays:


The rules that may fall into you category that I have also played are:

Fantasy Rules! (TCE version is the best bet here)
Justified Ancients

Another set of rules that may qualify as 'simple' (it is all a bit relative here as I have only read the rules) would be Ancient and Medieval Wargaming Rules by Neil Thomas.

Lastly, I also second going to as there are loads there that may be 'simple' but can't help you on which ones – I haven't really played any of them, although I have read through quite a few of them – they start to blur.


Lee John Ayre12 Oct 2010 5:18 a.m. PST

Try The Junior Generals website. I've not played them but they seem simple enough.


Pierce Inverarity Inactive Member12 Oct 2010 5:58 a.m. PST

Thanks guys, that's very helpful. I'll check it all out.

Given Chess is simple, I guess I shouldn't have said "simpler" but "shallower." IOW, you had a beer or three, and little experience with the rules, and yet you still stand a fighting chance. Unless you keel over, that is.

Also, 6'x4'.

Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2010 6:36 a.m. PST

DBA is a simple game, but difficult to understand. If you do not plan to play in competition, then do not worry about getting it "right." Just play it as you read it. By the way, the basic game is for 12 stands of figures per army, but easy to expand to any number of elements on any size table, with any scale figures.

Who asked this joker12 Oct 2010 7:29 a.m. PST

DBA can be difficult to play well. however, even after a few beers, you can still understand how to play DBA. You might not play well though! YMMV.

I would definitely check Free Wargames Rules. Mighty Armies Ancients is another good choice for simple.

Junior General: Doesn't get easier than that! Lots of stands on the board. Very few rules and modifiers.

Jeff965 Inactive Member12 Oct 2010 7:56 a.m. PST

Simplicity in practice or sip over at the AMW yahoo group, there is a set of rules there for classical and medieval periods based on the one page H&M rules in this months battlegames. You will have to join the group to access the file section but thats no hardship and it's a goldmine of simple rules.

bruntonboy12 Oct 2010 9:02 a.m. PST

I was just about to suggest "Ancient and Medieval Warfare" as well….

Quite simple rules and plenty of back up in the book as well.

parrskool12 Oct 2010 9:05 a.m. PST

"Ancient and Medieval wargames" by Neil Thomas. It has all you could want as a beginner.

rddfxx12 Oct 2010 9:11 a.m. PST

There are two classics, "A Fistful of Miniatures" and "Rules According to RAL"

Here is a link to the latter

TKindred Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2010 11:56 a.m. PST

Oh… I second the "Rules according to Ral". Great intro set of rules and easy to modify to other, earlier eras.

Smokey Roan Inactive Member12 Oct 2010 12:45 p.m. PST

Keraunos,do you mean plastic Roamns and Guals from Marx, in 54mm, or Esci, in 20mm?

Either way, you brought back fond memories of me as a chil'

mollinary12 Oct 2010 1:03 p.m. PST

Never mind the five pages. Go for C and C ancients. The basic game, whether with blocks or figures, is quick, fun, addictive and easy to pick up. And it gets better the more you try it. And it is pretty well immune to alcohol! Unlike the players!



Klebert L Hall Inactive Member13 Oct 2010 4:47 a.m. PST

Roll a D6.

1-6: Romans Win!!!

There you go.

jameshammyhamilton Inactive Member13 Oct 2010 6:45 a.m. PST

"Roll a D6.

1-6: Romans Win!!!

There you go.

Or you could go for the 'advanced' version

Roll a dice, 1-5 the Romans win, 6 Roll again ;)

Asterix Supporting Member of TMP13 Oct 2010 7:20 a.m. PST

I've used several versions of Ancients rules starting with Tony Bath's found in Donald Featherstone's WAR GAMES. In the early 1990's I discovered DBA 1.0 and liked it a lot. Kept with it up to 2.2, but got tired of the repeated "tweaking." In the last two years I've switched to Neil Thomas' ANCIENT and MEDIEVAL WARGAMING. It's only six pages long and very easy to play unlike the various DBAs and their obsession with geometry. I recommend the Thomas rules for their ease of understanding and play. I also like the influence of the late Tony Bath on them.

Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP13 Oct 2010 9:29 a.m. PST

No "tweaking" of DBA in past 7 years.

XRaysVision13 Oct 2010 10:18 a.m. PST

It just doesn't get simpler than DBA or historical HotT.

The percieved complexity, in my experience, stems from competitors trying to "interpret" the rules to thier advantage. I had dozens and dozens of fast, easy, freindly games before I played in a competition. Even then, I played many competative games before I ran into a "rules lawyer."

The HotT rules are a little easier for a beginner to comprehend because they use simpler language and more diagrams.

As for "tweaking"; the current version of DBA is 2.2. Over the years there have been some adjustments to army lists and clarification of some rules and a few changes to some. However, you can looka t v1 and v2.2 they are clearly the same game. It never ceases to amaze me that the same people who ask for adjustments or clarifications are the same people who complain when a new version is released that contains what they asked for.

mashrewba Inactive Member13 Oct 2010 12:35 p.m. PST

I love the Neil Thomas rules and also DBA/HOTT.
Maybe Justified Ancients.

lebooge Inactive Member13 Oct 2010 8:09 p.m. PST

Command & Colors Ancients is a great choice IMO.

Asterix Supporting Member of TMP13 Oct 2010 8:19 p.m. PST

Hey folks, I said I LIKE DBA. I thought that the 2.0 version was tops, but then there was a 2.2 version which, if you really look at it was a "tweak" of 2.0. Now I have heard of a possible 2.3. That's not surprising when you consider DBA's lineage with the WRG.

But I'm not going to be pushed into a DBA vs Neil Thomas fight. I like both and they have given me and my opponents a lot of enjoyment fighting Ancient war games. Can't ask for more than that.

sector51 Inactive Member13 Oct 2010 11:47 p.m. PST

In the early 1990's I discovered DBA 1.0 and liked it a lot. Kept with it up to 2.2, but got tired of the repeated "tweaking."

I think you are talking about DBM – and agree the tweaking of DBM turned people off.

Keraunos Inactive Member13 Oct 2010 11:48 p.m. PST

Hi Smokey,

They were Essex – we couldn't find Airfix ones, and the Atlantic ones had disappeared by the time we discovered pre ww2 as an option.

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