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"New to Medieval/Ancients - Need help deciding on a ruleset." Topic

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BritTorrent08 Apr 2022 2:27 a.m. PST

Hi all,

I'm looking to get into Medieval/Ancient wargaming and I'm after a bit of advice. A bit of background first, I'm a long time 40k player and have also played a lot of modern historicals such as 'Seven Days to the Rhine', 'Team Yankee' and 'Fistful of TOWs'.

I'm really interested in Medieval and Ancient warfare so I'm looking to try something in these eras. I'm wanting to start with a couple of third crusade forces initially. And then in the future maybe look at some late Roman Empire armies as well.

There's so many rulesets and It's a bit daunting. After some extensive research I've narrowed it down to ADLG and MeG. Both of these games seem to offer interesting tactical choices (playing the period not the rules etc), whilst also having fairly large playerbases in the UK. MeG in particular seems to be really well supported.

Unfortunately I haven't actually played either of them yet as I can't really afford to be buying the books purely to read them. So if I list a set of things I'm specifically looking for in a Medieval game, would you guys be able to recommend which ruleset works best? Or even recommend a different set altogether if it fits better?

- A relatively simple and elegant ruleset. I've played complex games before, and I'm no stranger to them. But these days I'm after something we can quickly pick up and play without spending half the game consulting pages of special rules and tables.

- Supports 15mm or maybe 6mm at a push. I'd like to stick to 15mm as that seems to be the 'go-to' scale for these games and I'd like to play a game I can actually get games of. Also the figures look nicer painted up. I am going to be buying two armies though and slowly trying to introduce this to my group, so I could do a different scale at a push. But I'd prefer 15mm.

- Visual appeal. This is a big one for me. I've seen some video's and pictures of medieval/ancient games and sometimes what is supposed to be a full army ends up looking like a small skirmish. I'm aware that compromises need to be made here but I'd like a game that makes it look like I'm commanding an army, with some depth and 'fullness' to the units. I suppose a decent set of terrain rules plays into this too, as it makes the board look more complete.

- 6'x4' table maximum. Unfortunately I just can't go bigger than this. Not in my current house. I'd like a game that plays well and gives me plenty to do on a table this size.

- Space for maneuver. I'd like a game that allows us to play a decent sized game but also has space for flanking and maneuverers rather than every game being a line up slugging match. I'm aware that this one sort of contradicts with the points above, so what I'm really looking for is a game that strikes a good balance between army size, visual appeal, table size and maneuver room. A tall order I'm aware!

As I mentioned. Based on my research both ADLG and MeG seem to satisfy the above conditions. I'm leaning more towards MeG than ADLG as the visual appeal is better (the units look 'fuller'). But I've played neither of them so I'd like to get some first hand accounts from grognards who have!

Any help would be much appreciated. Cheers!

parrskool08 Apr 2022 4:27 a.m. PST

As a starter for different Ancient/medieval eras rules you can't do better than Neil Thomas "Ancient & Medieval" rules. Allows you to sample several periods.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP08 Apr 2022 5:12 a.m. PST

Have not used either – we used to do Warhammer Ancients (which we loved) and now we use Hail Caesar (also like)

lionheartrjc08 Apr 2022 5:30 a.m. PST

Brittorrent – If you post on the Morten et Gloriam forum I am sure that you will find someone happy to give you an introductory game. Worth trying!


lionheartrjc08 Apr 2022 5:33 a.m. PST

You may also learn more about MeG at this podcast Gamer at the End of Time


Deucey Supporting Member of TMP08 Apr 2022 5:45 a.m. PST


shadoe0108 Apr 2022 6:09 a.m. PST

Something to consider is Clash of Spears. It's currently for the Roman era but they are bringing out Clash of Katanas for the Japanese Sengoku period via a kickstarter. There are some youtube play throughs:

YouTube link

Personal logo DColtman Supporting Member of TMP08 Apr 2022 8:19 a.m. PST

I would second the advice to get an introductory game in, and you might also consider what others are playing locally already. I have no experience with ADLG but MeG is a good choice for many reasons, provided you have opponents to play with!

mad monkey 108 Apr 2022 9:30 a.m. PST


JAFD2608 Apr 2022 10:32 a.m. PST

What do the other gamers in your neighborhood play ? ('Tis more fun to play mediocre rules with good people than vice versa.)

martin goddard Sponsoring Member of TMP08 Apr 2022 10:45 a.m. PST

If it helps, send me your e mail address and I will send you a copy of the forthcoming Conquerors and Kings set. Should meet all of your wishes (I hope).


peterpig at(use symbol)

jefritrout08 Apr 2022 4:24 p.m. PST

I'm in the US and around here it's mostly ADLG. I think that MEG has fuller units, but only remember playing once many moons ago, whereas ADLG is quite common in my area.

I would say that ADLG is a mixture of Armati, DBx, and FOG taking parts from each of those rules, modifying them and mashing them together.

Dervel Fezian08 Apr 2022 7:55 p.m. PST

ADLG and MeG are both good, you might also check out Triumph!

Some videos on Triumph!

YouTube link
YouTube link

YouTube link

Puster Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Apr 2022 1:54 a.m. PST

Going to play a DBMM tournament in around two weeks, so I am biased. Personally I also play Impetus for fun.

Both rulesets go back to the old DBA/DBM community (that also spawned DBMM and FOG years ago) and are pretty and similar good, as far as I have heard from people who know. Just hearsay.

I would look what is played in your region or community, and go there. No use learning fancy rules if you cannot play them.

That said, MeG is newer and probably better supported right now for that reason. Whatever support you find for ADLG is around for quite some time, and will likely stay. On the same note MeG might have taken up aspects of the other wargames, and if they look better to you, that IS an important aspect when you have to paint some 200 minis for an army :-/

Korvessa09 Apr 2022 2:57 p.m. PST

Solo voice from the Wilderness

I play War & Conquest.
Basically Warhammer Ancient Battles 3.0 as they are written by Rob Broom who was a big part of WAB back in the day.

madaxeman24 Apr 2022 4:27 p.m. PST

The key thing is finding out what players at your local clubs play, so you can find opponents

If you come from 40k, that may mean you are considering competitions at some point. If so it's worth bearing in mind that there are currently around three times as many people in the UK regularly playing ADLG in competitions compared to the number of active players on the UK MeG circuit.

Internationally across Europe and the US the difference in numbers appears to be even greater.

Empgamer29 Jul 2022 7:25 p.m. PST

The other thing that might be worth bearing in mind is 'barriers to entry' if such issues bother you. By that I mean the things about a rule set that make it harder or easier than others to get into, the amount of work needed to get armies to the table and to play / get games.

As has been pointed out, ADLG has a far higher player base than any of the other commonly played rules sets at the moment, at least on the events scene. MeG has had a fairly static player base since it came out and DBMM has a similar sized, locally focussed player base. Thus some rules will be easier to find games / opponents for.

MeG at the normal points level it is played at (10,000) is a VERY figure intensive game using anything from / up to 20-25% more figures than DBM/DBMM and 40-50% more than ADLG. That adds up to a lot these days with the cost of figures (even the supposedly much cheaper plastics, at least in 15mm, are now almost the same price as metal!) and of course will affect the time to get armies painted, along with storage and carrying them around. The figure requirements for MeG in particular would probably suit someone coming to the rule set from having existing armies for DBM/DBMM/FOG otherwise it's a LOT of figures to paint (3-400+).

Another consideration is table size. Most games use a 6x4 table. ADLG is played on a 4x3 table making it easier to set up and play even on a kitchen / dining room table.

Final thing is game type. This isn't a barrier as such, but you need to be aware of it. In games like DBMM/ADLG the armies are element based, they are not forcibly grouped into units (albeit ADLG uses a pair of infantry bases, 3 if pike, to represent the medium and heavy infantry). FOG and MeG are unit based and, in the case of MeG, these units are quite large (6-9 DBx elements each); rarely will there be more than 12-14 units on the table, at times even just 10. The footprint of these units leads to such games having little room for manoeuvre and, for me, makes the games less tactically interesting than the element based games. If I was going to play a game with only 12 units on the table I'd rather play DBA with a figure count of around 50 or so per army. IMO it was the novelty of the unit thing wearing off, and combats being a bit of a grind, that contributed to FoGs decline in popularity since its peak.

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