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"Wargames rules for campaign battles" Topic

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Hamnottingham28 Feb 2021 2:46 p.m. PST

I am looking at finally painting my 6mm ancients and want to start a Hyboria type campaign to generate battles for myself and my son to play. I am struggling to identify which rulesets would allow me to fight unequal sided battles and sometimes reflect weakened units (from a previous battle perhaps.) and experience/quality gained/lost from winning/losing previous battles/wars.

Accuracy to real life results is not particularly important, fast play and fun relatively important.

I like the look of Impetus (maybe Basic Impetus)and Sword and Spear but would consider others that would take the weakened unit and unit experience into account.

Any advice gratefully received.

olicana28 Feb 2021 3:03 p.m. PST

If you are looking to count heads, you probably want to look at some of the old school rules. Perhaps something very simple like Featherstone's (in his book War Games), or something more complicated like Wargames Reasearch Group 6th edition Ancient / Medieval rules.

Most modern rules are 'stand based', where losing stands, or 'strength points', is more abstract than simple 'alive or dead'. In consequence, they don't lend themselves to tracking unit strength through a campaign.

Personally, I'd still go modern rules (because they tend to be better, faster, and more fun) and abstract your campaign system to 'army strength points', or something similar, and have them go up and down rather than following unit progression. This tends to be simpler and requires much less paperwork, which can be tiresome when you just want to play games and have fun.

Just an opinion.

advocate28 Feb 2021 3:26 p.m. PST

Whilst I like the Sword and Spear command mechanisms, I'm not sure how they will work with a significant difference in numbers.
I ran a chariot age three-sided campaign using DBA (first edition!) which allowed armies of between 15 and 24 bases, all using a single command die. It gave the outnumbering force a decent advantage, but the smaller force at least had the possibility of being relatively more manoeuvrable.

olicana01 Mar 2021 4:46 a.m. PST

The best wargame rules for disparate forces, either in numbers or quality, are Piquet (IMHO). There is no turn sequence, everything is governed by random initiative generation and cards, and the two armies can have different sequence decks – one might have more infantry reloads, or moves, or officer checks, than the other. Completely different to anything else you will ever play. We love 'em here.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP01 Mar 2021 9:06 a.m. PST

You could adapt Commands and Colors Ancients. Units usually have 4 "blocks" but you could start a unit with 3, or 2. The card system allows for lopsided army sizes. You can also modify a unit's stats to reflect veteran status. Give it an extra die for combat and saves, for example.

Not a realistic game, but fadt, fun, and easy to teach.

Hex based, so works well via Zoom.

blacksmith01 Mar 2021 11:04 a.m. PST

Rally Round the King from Two Hour Wargames has a solid generic campaign for solo and co op playing.

platypus01au01 Mar 2021 5:40 p.m. PST

Hordes of the Things by WRG.

Fast and fun, has a campaign system and army lists for Hyboria.

You can get help from the Facebook groups. I believe there are some IO groups as well.

You can buy it off Lulu.



Yesthatphil05 Mar 2021 4:33 a.m. PST

I don't do campaigns any more (as, these days, I think historical scenarios do a better job of connecting games and giving them context).

The last true campaign I ran was of the 1st Crusade and used armies based for WRG (7th and/or DBA/DBM) but used Slim Mumford's Medieval Warfare (the Society of Ancients version)with some simplifications to ease the use of element based figures. It worked very well and the players were fully drawn into the narrative.

Of course, these were a developed version of the Tony Bath rules used in the original Hyboria campaign (so 'on the money' in that respect).

It was quite a lot of work for me as the Umpire, however … so, if I were to do something similar, today, I would use DBA rules and 'armies', using the Big Battle and 'Giant DBA' rules, treating all detachments and smaller forces as 'commands'.

You would need (and doubtless already have) protocols for what happens when potential contacts occur but where battle does not proceed by mutual consent. Paddy Griffith had a nice mechanism for this in Aquitaine (in the Sandhurst Book).


Hamnottingham06 Mar 2021 10:45 a.m. PST

Cheers folks.

Think I'm going with DBA to start with.

Erzherzog Johann22 Dec 2021 2:27 p.m. PST

I just came upon this now so I'm interested to know how it went.

As far as reflecting the effect of previous battles on an army's morale, one idea I've toyed with is tweaking the command or army breakpoint in a DBx style game. So if an army has had a recent victory add one to the required breakpoint. Likewise deduct one if the army has suffered a loss. This is aside from the loss of elements. You could even do it by command if that was reasonably static from game to game. You couldn't go too far with this but it could be fun.


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