Help support TMP

"Test Battles for Ancients Rulesets" Topic

14 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 Medieval Discussion Message Board

Back to the Ancients Discussion Message Board

Action Log

03 May 2019 5:08 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from TMP Poll Suggestions boardCrossposted to Medieval Discussion board

Areas of Interest


Featured Hobby News Article

1,101 hits since 4 Oct 2016
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian05 Oct 2016 11:00 a.m. PST

Any new battle-level set of rules should be tested against certain battles to see if the rules work properly. Which battles would you suggest as test cases?

DColtman05 Oct 2016 11:08 a.m. PST

I use Cannae because of the contrasting and interacting diverse troop types and the potential for double envelopment.

piper90905 Oct 2016 11:27 a.m. PST

Marathon. Cannae. Issus? Zama? 1st Mantinea for hoplite on hoplite clashes. Pydna for later phalanx warfare vs. the Republican Roman machine. Something from the Gallic wars to test Marian Roman against barbarians.

MichaelCollinsHimself05 Oct 2016 12:22 p.m. PST

As rules are generalisations based upon standard operating procedures I would not use an exceptional battle like Cannae to test an ancient rule set at the outset.

At Cannae, the Roman army was not drawn up in an established, conventional battle array for the period.
Zama would be a much better test of the manner that both armies operated throughout most part of the 2nd Punic War.

To test basic rules one needs battles with no unusual conditions… exceptional cases like Cannae call for special scenario conditions, rules or modifiers.

What is useful is to select parts of battles in which you should expect a definite results in a test somehow the dice + modifying circumstances should cover the range of results that are possible in those tests.
I think this is true of the various episodes that have taken place in the contest between the Roman Legion and the Macedonian Pike Phalanx.

ChrisBrantley05 Oct 2016 1:05 p.m. PST

Several classic battles that I would offer as suitable for testing and making rules comparisons:

Kadesh (Hittites vs. Egyptians)
Platea (Greeks vs. Persians)
Gaugamela (Alexander vs. Darius)
Zama (Scipio Africanus vs. Hannibal)
Pharsalus (Caesar vs. Pompey)
Hastings (William vs. Harold)
Agincourt (Henry vs. Charles)

I'd add one of the great phalanx vs. legion battles (e.g. Pyda, Magnesia)and one of the classic Roman vs Gallic/German/British battles for a more comprehensive list.

John Leahy05 Oct 2016 4:39 p.m. PST

The Trebbia. I have a good OB. it's not a huge battle. The armies acted according to their intrensic strengths, Numidian Cav on the flanks, Punic treachery, Elephants, the legion moving to close and smite the enemy and so on.

Dexter Ward06 Oct 2016 1:12 a.m. PST

Battles with a fairly evenly matched pair of armies with very different tactical systems are the best test.

Plataea (Greek v Persian)
Issos (Macedonian v Persian)
Magnesia (Roman v Seleucid)
Cannae (Roman v Carthaginian)
Sambre (Roman v Gaul)

mollinary06 Oct 2016 12:05 p.m. PST

I agree with you Dexter, but I don't think you can ignore battles between armies with similar weapons and tactics when play testing. If a rule set is too rigid in its definition of troop types available, and their capabilities, then battles between armies of similar abilities are likely to be bore draws. We all know these existed, but many other battle arszultss in de isive victories for one side or the other. A good rule set needs to allow for differences within similarly armed and trained armies to be able to produce decisive results. For example, Pharsalus is a fascinating battle, and is, in my opinion, a very good test of a set of rules.


Who asked this joker06 Oct 2016 12:07 p.m. PST

Battles that test out the various tactical systems against one another are best. I think Cannae is a poor choice if only because it is a very, very specialized case.

Mons Graupius

mbsparta07 Oct 2016 6:35 a.m. PST

If you are going to use one battle it has to be "Magnesia"

So many different unit types … If your rules work for Magnesia they should work for most all battles.


6mmACW07 Oct 2016 9:23 a.m. PST

Would you be willing to share your OOB for Trebbia, John? I'm interested in giving that a go with my 6mm ancients armies.

williamb07 Oct 2016 7:27 p.m. PST


SteelViscount08 Oct 2016 2:32 a.m. PST

Chaeronea is also an important one, especially since it seems the pike phalanx didn't seem that much more effective against the shieldwall phalanx in head-to-head combat.

Marcus Brutus08 Oct 2016 4:01 p.m. PST

I agree that Cannae is not a good battle to test out a set of rules. As was said, the Romans abandoned normal tactics to gain depth and most rules sets would need special rules to accommodate the Roman deployment.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.