Help support TMP

"Conquistadors/Aztecs Recommendations" Topic

24 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Renaissance Discussion Message Board

Action Log

02 Jan 2017 8:11 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from DBx board

3,432 hits since 19 Dec 2012
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Allen57 Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2012 9:20 a.m. PST

I am interested in gaming this period but know nothing. Please offer opinons on gaming this period and make recommendations. I prefer simple rules and currently have DBA, HotT, and Principles of War Renaissance. Please recommend: Books on the conquest of Central/South America; simple rules; and Figures (I would prefer 6mm but figures up to 15mm are OK).



Sundance Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2012 9:27 a.m. PST

A basic starter book would be Osprey's combined volume on the Conquest in Mexico. This was the topic of a couple of courses in grad school for me, but I don't have my detailed reading list here. For some different perspectives on the Conquest, look up Dogs of the Conquest, by Varner and Varner, which discusses the Spaniards use of war dogs against the Indios, and can't find the title now but there's a very good book that details the ships built by Cortez on Lake Texcoco and their actions. There are also a couple of excellent books written from the point of view of the Aztecs.

Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2012 10:06 a.m. PST

Our group has played this conflict many times with DBR. A bit more complicated than DBA-RRR but not so much so, if you are limited to just two armies. The difficult point of the match up is the technology difference. An equal number of Aztecs and Spanish is just not a fair match for the native people, nor historical. If you are going to use a 12 element army, then give the Spanish only a couple of elements with guns and steel, and fill out the ranks with native allies, as was the historical case.

DBR works on a point basis and you can do a small game with 100 points. The native peoples are low points

Cuachic shock troops Wb (S) @ 5 AP
Suit wearers Bd (I) @ 4 AP.
Clan warriors Hd (S) @ 2 AP
Skirmishers with slings or bows Sk (I) @ 2 AP

While the Spanish are higher, so you get fewer. The Spanish are part of the Tlaxcalan army list. Phil does state:
"The Spanish troops can also be used separately as a 100 AP Conquistador army to fight other pre-1524 armies from this section. However, these will still not exactly be small games, since 100 AP can he a lot of natives."
The element numbers below are intended for troops as part of the Tlaxcalan army, or actually vice versa.

Spanish war dogs Wb (S) @ 5 AP.
Spanish sword-and-buckler men Bd (O) @ 7 AP.
Spanish arquebusiers Sh (I) @ 4 AP.
Spanish crossbowmen Bw (S) @ 7 AP.
Spanish field guns Art (O) @ 20 AP
Spanish light guns Art (I) @ 5 AP.

RudyNelson19 Dec 2012 10:17 a.m. PST

Both DBARRR and DBA will work and offer fast games.
In regards to castings,some of the best castings are Falcon UK by Quatermaster out of VA. They have the Aztecs, their enemies, mayans, Incas and many of the Incan enemies.

All of the custom DBA armies that I compose out of this range I sell without a problem.

War In 15MM19 Dec 2012 10:39 a.m. PST

In putting together my Aztec and Conquistador collection, I used Gladiator Miniatures for most of my Aztecs and Indian allies, and I used Essex for most of my Conquistadors. Because I couldn't find a manufacturer who made Aztec civilians/villagers, I modified the African villagers from the Blue Moon 15/18mm Deep Dark Africa line of figures. That modification mainly involved giving them new hair styles using Milliput. I also used the Deep Dark Africa canoes for my Aztecs since I couldn't find a better option. You can see my collection in diorama form at link

Sundance Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2012 11:26 a.m. PST

Khurasan makes Chichimecs (lived north of the Aztecs and fought both them and the Spanish), Chinantecs (lived in Oaxaca – fought Aztec, allied with Spanish), and Mapuche (fought against the Inca)

LorenzoMele19 Dec 2012 11:44 a.m. PST

A good book is "Armies of the Aztec and Inca empire, other native people of the Americas and the Conquistadores 1450-1608" by Ian Heath. It has interesting information including many plates to paint the miniatures.
Recently in my club I have played a DBMM100 tournament dedicated to this period, you can see here some pictures of the armies used
The armies in 15mm were quite small, the games were fought in one hour and were very fun.
DBMM100 is a simplified version of the rules. It is still a bit more complicated than DBA.

Yesthatphil Inactive Member19 Dec 2012 12:31 p.m. PST

Rules … Will McN put on this Conquistadors game for the Lance & Longbow/Society of Ancients at Recon


The game was New World DBA and seemed to work very nicely.

Will's figures are 20mm plastics. It will be interesting to see what suggestions people come up with for smaller scale figures. I know the 15mm ranges better, but don't really like Gladiator (too chunky) or Essex (too Essex-y).

10mm Aztecs would be quite a sight does anybody make them?

good luck with the project …

SoA Shows North

ancientsgamer Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2012 2:30 p.m. PST

Black Hat sells the old Gladiator line of 15mm Aztecs and they are VERY nice. Naismith makes some nice figures too but they are the smallest 15mm figures I have seen. Since you prefer smaller figures, this may work for you. I suspect some 10mm lines are about the size of the Naismith 15mm figures :-)

Super Mosca19 Dec 2012 2:39 p.m. PST

For a detailed first hand account of the conquest of Mexico check out 'The conquest of New Spain' by Bernal Diaz, one of the original conquistadores.
It's a truly amazing document and a cracking read.


John Leahy19 Dec 2012 3:34 p.m. PST

Love his 1/72 Aztecs and Spanish! Very cool.



Oh Bugger Inactive Member19 Dec 2012 4:44 p.m. PST

Yes Bernal Diaz is a great read.

Minifigs have Aztec too but were I starting from scratch it would be Blackhat/Gladiator for me.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2012 6:19 p.m. PST

I really like the Tin Soldier Conquistadors. This range is really 18mm:

I haven't seen their Aztecs, but presumably match in size and style:

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2012 9:05 p.m. PST

Cuachic shock troops Wb (S) @ 5 AP
Suit wearers Bd (I) @ 4 AP.
Clan warriors Hd (S) @ 2 AP
Skirmishers with slings or bows Sk (I) @ 2 AP

Anyone who bothers to read the recommended books by Bernal Diaz, or Ian Heath, or John Pohl, or Ross Hassig, etc will discover that an Aztec army did not fight in units as described above. DBA, DBR and DBMM are not the only rulesets to blame for this, as this is continued by FOG, amongst others.

The term "clan warrior" is another fabrication of Mr. Barker, as you will not find this term used by any of the above authors either.

mumbasa19 Dec 2012 9:25 p.m. PST
makes 10mm Conquistadors and Inca figures. It is located in Germany.

LorenzoMele20 Dec 2012 12:23 a.m. PST

@ Bowman
DBX system has no units, unless you consider as units the elements.
Apart this, I read that aztec army was organized in units, arrayed on the battlefield in "squadrons" and entered in action in set order (pages 32-37 in cited Heath's book).
Last but not least, in DBMM Aztec can fight with skirmishers in front, followed by military orders and then by Macehualtin. From what I have read it seems quite realistic.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP20 Dec 2012 4:18 a.m. PST


The Aztec army did fight in discrete units, specifically a unit of organization of 400 men called a "Tzontli". This is what the Conquistadors incorrectly called "squadrons", a term typically used to describe a cavalry unit.

Whether the game consists of units or elements or battle groups is not the point. The Aztec army did not fight in uniform bunches of similarly attired and uniformly armed men, as did the armies of Europe. There were no uniform blocks of Cuachiques, followed by uniform blocks of Eagle Warriors, followed by uniform blocks of Jaguar warriors, followed by uniform blocks of regular troops, etc.

Each Tzontli was based on a "calpulli" or barrio or neighborhood within an Aztec city. Originally, during the founding of Tenochtitlan, these calpulli were based on extended families. This is probably what Barker means by "clan warriors". This is a meaningless term, not used by anyone else. The point is that each Tzontli consists of a mass of warriors from the same section of town and was made up of every type of warrior. Therefore, an Eagle warrior would stand next to a Warrior Priest, who would be next to jaguar warrior, next to a 2 captive taking Tlamani, who could be next to a Novice, who was in his first battle.

By the way, the term Macehualtin refers to the lower class of society, such as farmers and laborers. While they had some military training, they were not part of the standing army, and usually fought as bow and sling armed Skirmishers. They usually did not take part in most battles. If they were present, they would not be in front of the Tzontlis, but rather on the extreme sides, protecting the flanks of the Tzontlis.

There is much that we do not know about the Aztec army. However, we do know that the existence of uniform blocks of similarly attired and armed troops is a fantasy only found within certain rule sets.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP20 Dec 2012 4:36 a.m. PST

I can recommend Aztec Warfare: Imperial Expansion and Political Control, by Ross Hassig.


A review of Hassig's book:

LorenzoMele20 Dec 2012 4:43 a.m. PST

Still after a skirmishing stage, the Tzontli advanced and fought with military orders at the fore, followed by veterans and by novices. I think to represent the Aztec army with a succession of ranks of different quality troops can be correct.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP20 Dec 2012 6:35 a.m. PST

Hi Lorenzo

Yes you are right to a certain extent. Generally, pairs of Cuachiques stood in front of the Tzontli battle line. Usually the Military orders would stand to the front with the ranks going lower as we go back. Think of an ancient German "swines-head" formation. However, that arrangement wouldn't last too long.

It is known that the front Aztec battle ranks would fall back to be replaced by soldiers in the rear. This is one of the innovations that made the Aztecs so successful in battle. Hassig estimates that these substitutions would occur every 15 minutes or so, and were signaled by drum or conch trumpet blasts. This means that not long after combat began, the Tzontli would have no recognizable order concerning rank and warrior distribution.

Now try to accurately simulate that with wargaming rules! Believe me, I've tried it. wink. WAB tried to mimic something like that with the movement of the maniples of the Republican Army.

I think the Osprey hardcover book by Pohl shows an accurate illustration of an Aztec battle line.

I'm also not sure by what you mean by a "skirmishing phase". Most often the opposing armies would come within an short distance of each other in order to begin an atlatl barrage. At close distance the atlatl can penetrate the armoured ichcahuipilli vest and the shield. Once one of the lines began to soften from the missile fire, Tzontli commanders (usually Eagle Warriors) would order their troops forward to exploit a perceived weakness in the enemy line.

This is not meant to be a criticism of any rule set. Aztec warfare is so different from that of other Meso-american armies and the armies of the Conquistadors, as to defy accurate simulation. That doesn't mean you can't have an enjoyable game with Aztecs on the table. I do.

Bill N20 Dec 2012 9:32 a.m. PST

Curiously PSR just did a review for Caesar's Aztecs. They also did a set of Conquistadors as well as Inca and Maya. There is also the comparatively rare Revell Aztec and Conquistador sets. I know Allen specified 6mm to 15mm, but perhaps these are worth a look.

HarryHotspurEsq20 Dec 2012 9:37 a.m. PST

I'd certainly second (or third) Bernal Diaz as a source of inspiration.

Khurasan has some great 15mm Mesoamericans as has been said, and their Spanish range is pretty spot on as well.

For rules for quick, fun games, you could always check out my Irregular Wars: Conflict at the World's End link

Here are some Essex Aztecs, used in my Colonial Spanish army as generic mercenaries.



Sundance Supporting Member of TMP20 Dec 2012 11:54 a.m. PST

Actually, Hassig has several books on the Aztec that bear reading if you are interested in rounding out your understanding of society and warfare among them, because the two elements are so interconnected, it is hard to separate them.

khurasanminiatures Inactive Member21 Dec 2012 6:49 a.m. PST

Khurasan has some great 15mm Mesoamericans as has been said, and their Spanish range is pretty spot on as well.

Thanks for that -- we took the risk of portraying them as they would likely have appeared in the early 16th century, in a combination of a sedate version of European fashion (the Spanish were conservative and a bit slow to adopt the full-blown fashion trends) and protection of native manufacture, the long, thick fabric jacket.

This is risky as the iconic portrayal of them is in fully-developed Morion (a later 16th century development) and European dress. A Spanish soldier was much more likely to actually wear a broad brimmed sun hat, perhaps with a "secret" (small skull cap helmet) underneath.

In terms of the natives we tried to offer forces not done by others, such as the Chichimeca (enemies of the Aztecs), Chinantecs (ditto) and Mapuche, enemies of the inca. The Chichimeca later were formidable enemies of the Spanish, as were the Mapuche, and the Chinantecs were allies.

But by popular demand we've broken down and are having made a complete range of inca -- line spearmen and slingers are being cast, guard spearmen and halberdiers are being sculpted now. These can fight the Mapuche and Spanish and can also serve as allies or auxiliaries in our Spanish line.

Of course we make Iroquois as well, with models suitable for both pre- and post-contact, but they are a bit too northern for the Spanish! grin

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.