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"Best rules for large battles " Topic

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Bustermadison Inactive Member19 Mar 2017 9:54 a.m. PST

Hi everybody,

Have not played any ancients miniatures battle since years, but want to come back to the hobby. So know i'am searching good 15mm rules which should be focus on large battles but should also be historic "accurate".
Any recommondations woulb be highly appreciated.


MajorB19 Mar 2017 10:25 a.m. PST

Here's a few suggestions:

Hail Caesar
Lost Battles
To the Strongest

Personal logo Stosstruppen Supporting Member of TMP19 Mar 2017 10:27 a.m. PST

Impetus works well

wrgmr119 Mar 2017 10:32 a.m. PST

We play Armati 2. It can be used for large or small battles.

Ney Ney19 Mar 2017 10:42 a.m. PST

WRG 6th edition still is a very good game for large battles. As is Amrati and Armati 2.

YogiBearMinis Supporting Member of TMP19 Mar 2017 10:48 a.m. PST

DBx is fine historically in-period. People blast it for ahistorical matchups, which are a feature of the tournament scene and not the rule book.

warhorse19 Mar 2017 11:04 a.m. PST

DBx fails miserably in some areas though – Rome vs Carthage, and the Greco-Persian wars come to mind. A points system would go a long way to fixing a lot of the issues of balance. I found Persians play well if they have a 2-3 element advantage over Greeks. Otherwise it's a total blow-out. Which is not how either Thucydides or Herodotus remembered those wars…

idontbelieveit19 Mar 2017 11:10 a.m. PST

If you don't want to do ahistoric matchups you might look into something that is period specific. Shattered lances was written for the crusades, A Coat of Steel was written for Wars of the Roses, and I imagine there are others.

princeman Supporting Member of TMP19 Mar 2017 11:28 a.m. PST

I second To The Strongest.

arsbelli19 Mar 2017 11:37 a.m. PST

Hi Buster,

My favorite rule set for 'big battle' Ancients is Swordpoint, by Gripping Beast: link
However, it may or may not be "best" for you, as that would depend on how well the rules match up with your own personal gaming preferences.

There are a great many different Ancients rules currently available, catering to wide variety of wargaming styles, tastes and preferences. One way to approach this would be to ask yourself some basic questions to help narrow down the field.

Are you expecting to play the rules with one or more other players locally? If so, finding out what rules they already like and play could possibly save you a great deal of time and trouble.

If you are going to be the one choosing the rule set to play for your group, or if you are choosing them for yourself alone, then there are some additional questions about gaming mechanics that you can ask yourself to help cull through the large field of potential candidates:

How many figures do you plan to field for your "large battles?" Different Ancients rule sets for mass battles can call for armies as small as 24-48 figures on the low end, to as many as 200-450 figures or more on the high end.

You mentioned that the rules should be "historic 'accurate.'" With your own definition for that phrase in mind, do you enjoy rules in which combat and other tactical processes are dealt with in precise detail (process oriented), or ones in which many of those details are abstracted into a few factors and/or die rolls (result oriented), or something in between?

Do you want your tabletop troops to follow your orders automatically at all times, or do you like to have somewhat less control through the use of limited command points, throwing dice to see if your orders are followed, or some other form of battlefield 'friction?'

Are there other rules mechanics that are definite 'must haves' or 'no goes' for you and/or your fellow players?

Hopefully you will find these questions to be of some help as you mull over the many available options. Best of luck in your search!

redmist112219 Mar 2017 12:31 p.m. PST

Might of Arms! The developer just released these as a free download a few weeks ago. They cater to DBA basing. The rules also have a wide range of army listings as well as force strengths.

Hope this helps.


evilgong19 Mar 2017 3:01 p.m. PST

If you don't like your ancients rules, just wait a week there will be a new set published.


David Brown

mghFond19 Mar 2017 3:22 p.m. PST

Our group tried a lot of rules, we've settled on To the Strongest and aren't looking for any new rules.

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP19 Mar 2017 3:23 p.m. PST

:-) Yes a new set every week, sometimes two! ;-) Lots of different sets, all with their pros and cons and degrees of accuracy.

The set wot I wrote (To the Strongest!) were originally designed to play very big battles in a couple of hours.


Later I re-engineered them so that they can also be used to play medium-sized games (and competitive games) on a 6x4 (or 3x4) in 60-90 minutes, which is what they are mostly used for these days (although I still use them to run ever-larger games, myself).


Bit more about them here:-


Although I personally usually use a heck of a lot of minis, they can be played with DBA-sized armies.

Best, Simon

YogiBearMinis Supporting Member of TMP19 Mar 2017 3:25 p.m. PST

DBA does not use a points system, DBM and DBMM (as well as DBR) have point systems.

Paul72 Inactive Member19 Mar 2017 5:52 p.m. PST

I recommend Might of Arms too. The mechanics are a bit old school but always a great game. After trying the new games coming out, I always go back to MoA. You can't beat the price too since it's free on Yahoo group.

TKindred Supporting Member of TMP19 Mar 2017 9:22 p.m. PST


Martin Rapier20 Mar 2017 12:00 a.m. PST

For big, historical, battles we play either Lost Battles for more serious stuff, or Command and Colours Ancients for something lighter (using figures and Hexon terrain).

Neither cares what scale figures you use.

If you want something quick and simple DBA is hard to beat.

womble67 Supporting Member of TMP20 Mar 2017 2:07 a.m. PST

I would recommend Hail Caesar Rules. Hope it helps.

Take care


Dexter Ward20 Mar 2017 3:36 a.m. PST

It might help if the original poster clarified what he means by a 'large battle' (10,000 men a side, 50,000)?
Also, what period(s) is he interested in. Some rules work well for some ancient periods and not so well for others.
Some rules (such as WRG 6th and WAB) are clearly no good for large classical battles as they are at 1:20 scale (I know WAB doesn't give a scale, but the missile ranges are identical to WRG 6th, so it's the same scale).
On the other hand, a 'large battle' in the Dark Ages would only have a few thousand men a side, and then these rules would be ideal.

mollinary20 Mar 2017 6:27 a.m. PST

To tne Strongest handle big battles very well. I use them for 6mm and 10mm, but have participated in games of 15mm and 28mm. All of them were great fun!


Who asked this joker20 Mar 2017 7:38 a.m. PST

To the Strongest…specifically designed to push a ton of lead over a flat table space. grin

Mister Tibbles20 Mar 2017 10:57 a.m. PST

I keep going back to Warmaster Ancients, but I'm in the minority. I've used them in multiple scales over the years, and mostly solo over the past decade. They work very well solo.

Where are the MoA download rules available to download? I have the hardcopy rules, but having a pdf would be nice.

Personal logo Swampster Supporting Member of TMP20 Mar 2017 12:22 p.m. PST

"DBx fails miserably in some areas though Rome vs Carthage…"

We used DBMM for the Society of Ancients Zama game – it worked very well. Ended in a Roman victory but a close run thing.
I think the rules work even better for battles with very large numbers – larger than the 400 to 500 point battles typical of competition games.

williamb20 Mar 2017 8:18 p.m. PST

A chart of rule system scales can be found on my blog at
link This will give some idea of the ground scale of the rules mentioned in this thread and several others. Any corrections are welcome. What is historical is somewhat open to interpretation. Command and control rules are designed to limit the players actions as we can see a lot more of the battle field and know what is happening than our real life counterparts would. There are a lot of things that go into making or not making a rule set historical. Movement, missile and combat casualties and effects, morale, etc. Can historical battles or events in them be duplicated such as the Gallic charges in Julius Caesar's battles. Does the victor suffer only minor losses compared to the loser or do the results imitate those of Pyrrhus. What a person enjoys playing in a rule set and what is historical ma or may not be the same.

Personal logo sillypoint Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2017 1:17 a.m. PST

Might of Arms: move forward with a 45 degree turn, within. 45 degree arc of starting position.
One in all my in- once you have contact.
When routed remove unit, no rallying- off they go and don't be a sook.
Good clear illustrations, army lists included, and the original edition is free.
Our club tinker with QR sheets to suit periods we fight.

DukeWacoan Supporting Member of TMP Fezian23 Mar 2017 6:53 p.m. PST

I've used Might of Arms for WoTRoses many times at Cons. 8 players. Big armies. Always worked well.

Bustermadison Inactive Member26 Mar 2017 1:29 a.m. PST

Wow! Thank you very much for this great support!

I decided to try To the Strongest! but may also try Hail Caesar, as I want to play Rome vs. Carthage or Germans.

With "large battles" I mean that I want to have a lot of figures on the table. I not so interested in the actual soldiers involved. For me it is Important, that it looks like a "real big Battle" :-)

So now I'll search for a good historic battle to focus on and to select the best 15mm miniatures, which may be even harder than selecting the rules.

Thanks again for all the help. This Message Board but also the whole website is fantastic!

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