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"Ancients Rules" Topic

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Areas of Interest


1,173 hits since 13 Mar 2019
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Sundance13 Mar 2019 11:10 a.m. PST

Looking for a good set of rules that's not as simplistic as DBA, but not as detailed as WRG. I also can't hack painting hundreds of figures for a game anymore. I haven't kept up on recent titles, so give a little info on the rules, or at least what you like about them.


JimDuncanUK13 Mar 2019 12:01 p.m. PST
Personal logo Dervel Supporting Member of TMP Fezian13 Mar 2019 12:46 p.m. PST

You may want to try Triumph!

Simple, clearly written and easy to play a small game in about an hour, larger games in 2-3 hours.

Over 650 historical armies listed online for the game with a simple point system for building your armies.

sillypoint13 Mar 2019 2:09 p.m. PST

It's long in the tooth,

Might of Arms – free PDF. Elegant. More a toolbox for my group. However, we always use it as a foundation for our ancients games.

cj177613 Mar 2019 2:16 p.m. PST

I'm a big fan of Simon Miller's To The Strongest.

Tony S13 Mar 2019 2:44 p.m. PST

It was my impression that Triumph is simply an old version of DBA, with more added to it by committee. Has it changed somewhat?

But to the OP's question, perhaps Impetus? Their recommended basing is quite large, but you can certainly use smaller WRG elements for a more reasonably smaller amount of painting time. It's a bit more fiddly than I like, but lots of players have enjoyed it.

lkmjbc313 Mar 2019 2:56 p.m. PST


Have you tried Historical Battle DBA?


Here is a book outlining 12 historical battles using DBA.
The battles range from 20-40 elements per side.

They certainly aren't simplistic as the battle narratives in the book will bear out.

Joe Collins

Maxshadow13 Mar 2019 4:43 p.m. PST

Sundance I'm looking at using Lion Rampant for my next project for those exact same reasons. Using small units, scenarios and old style figure removal. Its medieval but I'm finding it easy to shoe horn ancient types not quite covered by the Rules but others have already done the heavy lifting creating "Eagle Rampant" and "Biblical Rampant" versions.

madaxeman13 Mar 2019 4:46 p.m. PST

Here's a summary of the popularities of the popular choices


If you like the DBx mechanics, find DBA too small but old school WRG too many figures you're probably looking at Big Battle DBA (a Doube-size DBA variant) or L'Art de la Guerre (which is a smidge bigger again, and has some unit-based-game-type characteristics grafted onto a DBx engine)

goragrad13 Mar 2019 7:19 p.m. PST

Actually madaxeman, BBDBA is triple armies.

But there is no reason you can't do doubles.

Winston Smith13 Mar 2019 9:29 p.m. PST

I would stay far away from Newbury "Fast Play" (sic) Ancients. grin

parrskool14 Mar 2019 4:01 a.m. PST

neil Thomas's book ?

Personal logo Dervel Supporting Member of TMP Fezian14 Mar 2019 4:24 a.m. PST

It was my impression that Triumph is simply an old version of DBA, with more added to it by committee. Has it changed somewhat?

Tony, my impression would be you have not played both games then. They may look similar from a distance, but have significant differences.

It's like saying ADLG is the same as DBMM.

coopman14 Mar 2019 5:07 a.m. PST

Triumph is basically an expanded, finer tuned version of DBA. The armies are based on points spent on each element from the army list. You will likely end up with more than 12 elements in your army. There are more types of troops than in DBA. The playing area is much larger too.
I own and have played "To the Strongest" and it gives a good game that doesn't get bogged down in lots of nit-picky special rules/details.

Marcus Brutus14 Mar 2019 5:43 a.m. PST

With all respect to madaxeman, he stats refer only to competition gaming, primarily in Great Britain. A group of us (7 active players) play Impetus here in Canada so I think there are local pockets for different rules systems. Haven't seen ADLG at all here in my experience and DBMM seems dead. Basic Impetus would be another candidate for your rules set.

arsbelli14 Mar 2019 5:56 a.m. PST

Age of Hannibal is a relatively new rule set, focusing on warfare in the Classical Mediterranean world from the Peloponnesian War to the Fall of Rome. The rules are clear, simple and straightforward. You can use just about any size army you wish, from 10 100+ bases strong.

More information here: link

Personal logo aegiscg47 Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2019 7:16 a.m. PST

As with WW2 and Napoleonics, there are hundreds of rules for all tastes, play styles, game length, and scale. Trying to determine which one is most popular in what could kindly be called a fractured hobby is nearly impossible. In regards to the post above, using competition games as a methodology is fraught with problems. One set or the other might be popular in a certain area due to the players in that area agreeing to play a certain set of rules for their clubs or tournaments.

I was surprised that no one mentioned Hail Caesar or Warmaster Ancients which seem to have large followings. You may not like the rules for various reasons, but quite a few battle reports I see online, especially in 28mm are with Hail Caesar, although there are more and more with To The Strongest as well.

Marcus Brutus14 Mar 2019 11:54 a.m. PST

Hail Caesar is a good set but requires a lot of figures. The poster mentioned not wanting to paint a lot of figures.

Personal logo aegiscg47 Supporting Member of TMP14 Mar 2019 1:48 p.m. PST

"The poster mentioned not wanting to paint a lot of figures."

Yes and I've seen a lot of gamers who only paint up a few units and do sort of a large scale skirmish with the Hail Caesar rules. I've also seen several who use fewer figures on large bases to represent the units.

Maxshadow14 Mar 2019 10:05 p.m. PST

Yes I've seen at least one lovely looking Hail Caesar Batrep on TMP using 8 x 28mm figures on a unit base like impetus does. Also Neil Thomas rules are a lot of run too.

DukeWacoan Supporting Member of TMP Fezian15 Mar 2019 10:25 a.m. PST

I would highly recommend looking at using GMT's Simple GBoH boardgame rules. You can convert very simply to miniatures. Just use inches instead of hexes. Tons of scenarios already done. The boardgames are tried and tested and overall outstanding. Again, conversion to table-top was a snap.

I am currently working up an OOB to do Boudicca's defeat by the Romans. The rules work very well from Kadesh thru at least Justinian.

We used them for a large Raphia game with 10 players and completed in 2 hours. Lots of fun. People picked it up very quickly.


madaxeman15 Mar 2019 12:11 p.m. PST

Absolutely – there are lots of rules out there, and any methodology is fraught with problems – as my site says!

"this is based on actual, observable factual numbers of players taking part in events in the UK – well, those events that have a web footprint of some sort anyway.

That means if your local meta, your friendship circle, your local game store or even your Wiccan coven plays something different that's fine – this is just a count of those weird people who enter competitions."

wmyers15 Mar 2019 6:35 p.m. PST

For simple GBoH, how many figures per chit do you use? (I am not familiar with the rules but they do sound interesting!)

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP16 Mar 2019 1:57 a.m. PST

Madaxemmas's stats (as he notes) are for competitive gaming and don't tend to reflect rules that are most often played on a casual basis, such as To the Strongest!

That said, we are playing TtS! more competitively, recently. At the TtS! Worlds in Chalgrove, in February, we ran a 40 player 28mm tournament. This is, I believe, currently the largest 28mm big-battle tournament in the world by some margin.


In respect to the original poster's point about the number of miniatures required, it depends very much on the army you choose and the representative scale you favour. There were 84 miniatures in the army I took to the Worlds.


Some armies there must have had as many as 120 minis, others as few as 60.

One could play a game with around half these numbers, so 30-60 or so minis. Moreover the minis can be in any scale so 15mm is fine; one could use a 15mm DBA army, for example.

DukeWacoan Supporting Member of TMP Fezian18 Mar 2019 7:10 a.m. PST

I use one stand 60mm wide (depth depending on type). Number of figures is anything you want, so I try and base compatible with other sets.

Generally -
4 files for CO, HI or PH
3 files for MI, LI, BI and HC
2 files for SK and LC

For MI, LI and SK, I will vary the look.

Sundance22 Mar 2019 11:57 a.m. PST

Thanks for your input, everyone. I have a few things to look into! I appreciate it!

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