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"What Rules for 28mm Ancients?" Topic

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Brushstroke Bill Inactive Member03 Dec 2014 6:18 p.m. PST

So, I kind of went hog-wild during Wargames Factory's Black Friday websale, and among other things, bought myself boxes of Hoplites, Amazons and Persians without giving the slightest thought as to what I'm…y'know…gonna use them for.

It seems like most DBA games I hear about online (I'm not finding a real strong wargaming community where I live, so no first-hand experience here) are being played in 15mm scale or smaller. What rulesets are people using and enjoying in 28mm?

Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP03 Dec 2014 6:22 p.m. PST

Sword and Spear, Impetus, Hail Caesar are all good choices.

Coyotepunc and Hatshepsuut03 Dec 2014 6:23 p.m. PST

I do DBA in 28mm. The armies are small enough to paint up both sides, and host the games using your models.

princeman03 Dec 2014 6:49 p.m. PST

To the Strongest! These are great rules for ancients and very affordable. Written by Simon Miller. Available here –

BelgianRay03 Dec 2014 7:09 p.m. PST

Warhammer Ancient Battles, as most people over here.

kallman03 Dec 2014 7:32 p.m. PST

Warhammer Ancient Battles or Hail Caesar would be my choices.

Buck21503 Dec 2014 7:43 p.m. PST

Warhammer Ancient Battles and Clash of Empires for me…

IGWARG1 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian03 Dec 2014 7:46 p.m. PST

Warhammer Ancients and Hail Caesar. 2 systems are very different from each other and can be played without any re-basing. Both games are easy to learn.

DBA, DBM, DBMM and Field of Glory are popular in some circles but quiet different in their abstractions. DBA is a simpler version of DBx set of rules. All the DBx systems are written in "Lawereese" and very hard to understand without an experienced player's help. FoG uses some similar concepts as DBx, but not very elegant set of rules. I found it historically correct but tedious. Some people like those kind of games, not me.

Can't comment about others mentioned above.

Yesthatphil Inactive Member03 Dec 2014 8:40 p.m. PST

Rules mechanisms are not scale dependent … anything that works well played in 15mm also works well in 25mm or 28mm (or 20mm etc. etc.) …

DBA works very well in 28mm. I prefer 15mm because i prefer the smaller figures.

Basic Impetus is great (and is free) … I like Field of Glory though the original version is better than V2 … Armati is excellent if you can get a copy and I thoroughly recommend having a look at Neil Thomas's Ancient and Medieval Wargaming. All these give good and plausible feeling games in 28mm.

Enjoy your ancient wargaming. Whichever you choose, all the popular system work well and give good games.


starkadder Inactive Member03 Dec 2014 9:29 p.m. PST

Advanced Impetus.
Just that.
Advanced Impetus.

TMPWargamerabbit03 Dec 2014 10:04 p.m. PST

WAB which in recent years has become Clash of Empires since rabbit's 25mm/28mm ancients collection dates back many years.

rct7500103 Dec 2014 11:31 p.m. PST

Another one for Advanced Impetus Most enjoyable gaming i have had in years..

wrgmr103 Dec 2014 11:39 p.m. PST

A very tactical set of rules is Armati 2. Basing is standard no matter how many figures you have. Army lists and clearly defined rules make for some very close games.

Martin Rapier04 Dec 2014 12:09 a.m. PST

As above, most sets are scale independent. Our group likes Lost Battles and Command and Colours Ancients (played in 28), although we are also trying Neil Thomases rules.

Depends what you want in a game. My stuff is based for DBA which works for many other sets.

madmick Sponsoring Member of TMP04 Dec 2014 12:25 a.m. PST

We're using War and Conquest.

Bjorn Seleukos Inactive Member04 Dec 2014 12:53 a.m. PST

Hail Caesar! But you will need a lot of figures for that.

getback04 Dec 2014 12:54 a.m. PST

Current favourite for us is Sword and Spear. Clear rules that force you think hard about what you are going to do.

MajorB04 Dec 2014 3:01 a.m. PST

Hail Caesar! But you will need a lot of figures for that.

Not necessarily. HC works just as well with units consisting of only a few figures as it does with large figure count units because everything in the rules is based on the unit. How many figures you have in each unit is entirely up to you as long as you can distinguish large, normal, small and tiny sized units.

Das Sheep Inactive Member04 Dec 2014 3:30 a.m. PST

I play Hail Caesar with 120mm frontage for most 28mm (and 200mm frontage for my 10mm and 15mm armies. Strange like that, but they do look great). In 28mm I put beween 8 (skirmishers) and 18 figures (pike/warbands/etc) on my 120mm frontage bases. Basing on 40mm or 60mm bases lets you put your men in formations, though I just use formation markers for men who are on 120mm wide single bases.

Hail Caesar and Impetus are both really fun, and in my view they have the advantage that you can base all your men on a few stands if you like (or 1 per unit!) so you can create mini diorama's and the like. Though individually basing the will allow you to play a lot more rules sets.

Sword and Spear also looks super fun, and I am going to order it to try soon I think. There are a few others which also look great. I have so many rules sets I have ordered based off suggestions on here that I still need to try though :D

Good luck with your figures!

Ferbs Fighting Forces04 Dec 2014 3:41 a.m. PST

'L'art de la guerre' now available in English. Great set of rules, well worth a look.

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP04 Dec 2014 3:48 a.m. PST

Considering the mix you have, HOTTS might be an option. Amazons vs Hoplites etc. DBA style rules but freedom to make your army as you want.

Brushstroke Bill Inactive Member04 Dec 2014 3:50 a.m. PST

Wow, plenty of options here! I'll start reading Basic Impetus and then work my way through the list!

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP04 Dec 2014 4:01 a.m. PST

Realistically it is going to take a long time to assemble and paint up those plastics. Why not make up some coloured bases, stick one or two figures on each one, and try out the various rules systems mentioned above. I did something similar for a play test where I lacked suitable models.


That way you can get playing in around a week, and it'll help motivate you to paint the minis. By the time they are finished, you'll even know what system to base them for!

Many of the rules mentioned above are good; I particularly recommend the "To the Strongest!" rules, though, 'cos I wrote them (and because they aren't too hard, and written with the ancients novice in mind).

Best, Simon

advocate04 Dec 2014 5:32 a.m. PST

Base them on 60mm frontage. Depth to taste. You can then use them as DBA elements or for Rally Round the King (two Hour Wargames) units; or in pairs for Hail Caesar, Impetus, Sword & Spear, or Armati, as well as many other rulesets I haven't personal experience of.

For armies of less than 100 figures, I'd tend to go with DBA or RRTK; the rule sets I've mentioned tend to be a bit larger (though most if not all would also work with single element units).

lkmjbc304 Dec 2014 8:07 a.m. PST

I do about 1/2 my DBA 3 gaming in 25mm. I just finished doing Guingatte 1479 last Tuesday. 36 elements per side. I used the later Burgundian army vs the early French Ordonnance.

DBA 3 works fantastically with 25mm. We finished the battle with an almost historical outcome in 2 hours. The Burgundian Pikes took huge casualties advancing on the French center (artillery and the Franc archers.) The French left broke the Burgundian right (as in the battle). The Burgundian center closed and the French center gave way. The French right became exhausted in futile charge vs the Burgundian left.

The game looked great. It played well. Consider DBA 3 for your 25mm rules.

Joe Collins

Who asked this joker04 Dec 2014 8:22 a.m. PST

The kind you like really. If you have a lot of figures, Hail Caesar perhaps?

DBA really only requires about 40 figures per army. A fine choice. You could make all stands double wide and deep and make the DBA stands look really nice.

With the latter, Basic Impetus/Impetus would be good choices. Or Sword and Spear or, perhaps, To the Strongest though i have not looked at the last one closely.

If you are looking for figure removal, WAB or Tony Bath Ancients just to run the gamut of time.

Personal logo The Tin Dictator Supporting Member of TMP04 Dec 2014 9:10 a.m. PST

My favorite ancients rules are Tactica.

pogoame04 Dec 2014 10:25 a.m. PST

after years of DBM, FOG, Hail Caesar
definitely Sword & Spear


Marcus Brutus04 Dec 2014 10:39 a.m. PST

Impetus is my favourite. The games move quickly and there is always interesting choices to make as the commander.

Marshal Mark Inactive Member04 Dec 2014 12:42 p.m. PST

Nice to see my Sword & Spear rules getting some recommendations. However, before a recommendation can be meaningful for you you really need to give a bit of consideration as to what type of game you want. Otherwise all you're going to get is a list of peoples favourite games.
The main decisions you need to make are :
Skirmish or big battle.
Individual basing or unit / element basing (although you can combine both using sabot bases or movement trays).
Rules covering a wide period (allowing you to learn one set of generic rules to cover all of your ancient / medieval gaming) or period specific rules.
Then there are further considerations as to the type of game you prefer, for example IGOUGO where you can move everything on your turn, or a game with a more interactive turn sequence and command and control restrictions (representing battlefield friction).
If you can narrow your requirements down you can receive more meaningful and useful suggestions. Then you can get a shortlist of rules that might interest you, then take a look at some reviews and battle reports.(If you want to see some reviews of my Sword & Spear rules I've made it easy by putting a summary of them on my website link )
BigRedBats suggestion about trying rules out using cut-outs is a good idea. You can print out units from the Junior General website and get playing straight away then, without waiting for your armies to be ready.

Steve W Inactive Member04 Dec 2014 1:36 p.m. PST

I am enjoying Sword and Spear at the moment, reminds me of both Impetus and Armati. I like the activation system in it

Korvessa04 Dec 2014 6:00 p.m. PST

Why no love for "War & Conquest?"
I have moved from WAB to W&C

Bandolier04 Dec 2014 7:38 p.m. PST

I like Sword & Spear and Civitantes Bellantes. The latter is more challenging because of the excellent Command & Control system.

Teklea2018 Inactive Member04 Dec 2014 11:59 p.m. PST

War & Conquest every time!

This review is well worth a read:



Khusrau Inactive Member05 Dec 2014 7:55 a.m. PST

DBA3 basing will pretty much let you use the figures for anything. Despite all the 'Barker-bashing' – the legacy of the Wargames research group (WRG) has at least pretty much standardised basing conventions – in 15mm – 40mm for a base, in 25-28mm, 60mm.

I highly recommend DBA for most cases. In DBA, each army has 12 'units' (bases) each side. In FoG, Impetus and Armati – each army has pretty much between 9 and 14 'units' (multiples or large bases with markers) – it just depends what level of granularity you want.

CptKremmen05 Dec 2014 3:20 p.m. PST

My vote is for Sword and Spear
Impetus and Armatti are also very good games.

Tricorne197108 Dec 2014 9:52 p.m. PST

Started using Tony Bath rules in 60's. Ancient figures exceed 5,000 25-30mm, so our group likes to use big units.

Ancient Warfare with some local amendments.
Tactica with a lot of local amendments.

Herce Salon de Guerre09 Dec 2014 5:02 a.m. PST

Another vote for Impetus!

womble67 Supporting Member of TMP04 Aug 2016 4:18 a.m. PST

I would use Hail Caesar Rules hope it helps.

Take care


Teklea2018 Inactive Member05 Aug 2016 10:39 a.m. PST

Blimey, a year and a half after my first post and I've chucked War & Conquest (sick of the messing around with army lists and general lack of support for it)and am firmly back in the WAB camp, where everything you need is there and ready for the important stuff – the gaming!

Codsticker06 Aug 2016 9:23 a.m. PST

Blimey, a year and a half after my first post and I've chucked War & Conquest (sick of the messing around with army lists and general lack of support for it)and am firmly back in the WAB camp, where everything you need is there and ready for the important stuff the gaming!

Too bad the WAB Forum appears to be dead. Regular events in the UK keep chugging along though.

BTW, I just recently took advantage of the free shipping to buy To The Strongest. It seems to me, with it's lack of measuring and dice, the perfect tournament system.

Teklea2018 Inactive Member07 Aug 2016 2:41 a.m. PST

Too bad the WAB Forum appears to be dead.

It is very quiet these days. The odd post here and there at best, but I suppose that was likely to happen with the demise of WHW. As long as the game is still being played, that's what matters though :-)

Simon has done a great job with TtS and is really working on supporting it.

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Aug 2016 3:48 a.m. PST

Cheers Dave and Codsticker; plugging away! Very big game Raphia game to come at Partizan, two weeks today. I am just finishing the last phalanx.

You at Partizan Dave?

Teklea2018 Inactive Member08 Aug 2016 9:49 a.m. PST

You at Partizan Dave?

It's possible – still working on the brownie points score though!! ;-)

VVV reply09 Aug 2016 3:06 a.m. PST

Another review of War and Conquest


Codsticker09 Aug 2016 6:03 p.m. PST

I just received my To The Strongest!. Simon kindly threw in some chits, a card and a couple of markers on top of the free shipping. Very excellent service!

freecloud13 Aug 2016 5:24 p.m. PST

After DBM, dabbled with quite a few without really getting into them, quite liking Sword & Spear now

Kenntak Inactive Member14 Aug 2016 6:39 a.m. PST

I have tried and own many. My favorites are Centuria and Civitates Bellantes.

roundie07 Dec 2017 11:19 p.m. PST

Another for Impetus

Personal logo Dervel Supporting Member of TMP Fezian08 Dec 2017 6:08 a.m. PST

My suggestion go to the local cons or clubs and try out a few systems to see what fits and also what is being played locally so you have opponents. 15s are definitely more popular in ancients.

If you happen to be at Cold Wars, I will be doing a Crusader battle using Triumph in 28mm.

It will be 144pt battle using three commands per side.

In addition there will be demos and other events all weekend using these rules.

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