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"Review of L'Art De La Guerre" Topic

l'Art de la Guerre

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Longtooth18 Oct 2014 10:49 a.m. PST

L'Art De La Guerre (ADG) is a set of wargaming rules for ancient and medieval periods. This rule set has been around for a number of years, but has only just been translated into English. I understand that the English edition is presently available at North Start Military Figures and retails for £27.00 GBP.

ADG will take between 2.0 and 2.5 hours to complete and will require between 20 and 30 elements. Elements are based in accordance with DBX/FOG format, except that medium and heavy foot units will need to be double-based.

The game is similar to DBX in that each army is split into three commands, with each command being led by a general. Generals must make a dice roll at the start of their turn to determine the number of ‘command points' which are available for moving and/or rallying friendly troops. There are various grades of general, with ‘ordinary' commanders generating between 1 and 3 command points per turn and ‘strategist' commanders generating between 2 and 5 command points per turn.

Movement is measured in terms of base widths (BWs), with heavy foot moving 2BW, light foot, medium foot, and knights moving 3BW, cavalry moving 4BW, and light cavalry moving 5BW. Provided that enough command points are available and that a minimum clearance of 4BW is provided to enemy units, each element / group can move up to three times in a single turn.

Combat is relatively straight forward, with each opposing pair of elements rolling a single die and applying various modifiers for unit type, terrain, and situation. The high-rolling element is deemed to be the victor and the lowest-rolling element is deemed to be the loser. Depending upon the difference between the two dice rolls, the loser will lose 1, 2, or 3 ‘cohesion points' or be killed outright. For sake of comparison, heavy foot units will start with 4 cohesion points, medium foot, knight, and cavalry units will start with 3 cohesion points, and light foot and horse units will start with 2 cohesion points. Combat between heavy foot units tends to grind on for three to five rounds, with light units being dispatched with relative ease. Generals may also attempt to restore lost cohesion points by means of the rally action, although this is by no means guaranteed (especially whilst the unit is still in combat and not in base contact with the general).

Shooting is similar to combat, although the losing element may only lose 1 cohesion point. Shooting range is also limited, with javelins shooting only 1BW, skirmisher with bows shooting only 2BW, and bows / crossbows shooting only 4BW.

Further to the basic mechanics described above, ADG also contains a wide variety of specialist rules covering ambushes, flank marches, armour, troop quality, two-handed weapons, elephants, camels, impetuous troops, allied contingents, etc. Although the rulebook contains 79 pages of rules, most games can be played out using only the quick reference sheet provided.

Victory conditions are straight forward and based entirely on unit losses. An army's ‘demoralisation value' is equal to the number of units in the army, with two demoralisation points being lost for each element destroyed, one demoralisation point lost for each element wounded in combat, and four demoralisation points lost in the event that the army camp is sacked.

Things I really like about this game:
• 15mm games require very little space and can be played on most kitchen tables.
• The rulebook is supplemented by 283 army lists. This means that you will never have to purchase any supplements to play the game.
• Between 20 and 30 elements are required for most 200 point armies. This means that you can probably assemble an army from scratch for less than £50.00 GBP
• Games do not take very long to play and are well-suited for tournament play.
• Once the opposing armies make contact, there will never be enough command points to move reinforcements, envelope a flank, and rally wounded troops. This adds a bit of excitement / desperation to the game which I find to be very enjoyable.
• The terrain generation system is first rate and almost always results in terrain being placed in some inconvenient location. This means that the game is not dominated by heavy foot or cavalry.
• Rules are very fun to play. I have played around 10 games thus far and have always had a good time (even when losing badly).

I struggle to find an element of the rules which I dislike. If I was being picky, I suppose that I could comment on the flimsiness of the rule book. I've been carrying my copy in a knapsack for a couple of days (so as to read on the tube) and the book is already looking a bit shabby.

In summary, I really like this set of rules and would encourage anyone disinterested in FOG or new to the genre to give ADG a go. I have yet to hear of someone trying this game and not liking it.

vtsaogames19 Oct 2014 9:53 a.m. PST

Are you reading the English translation? I am interested in these rules and have been waiting to hear if the English translation is a good one.

Longtooth19 Oct 2014 11:57 a.m. PST

I've got the English edition. The rules are well-translated, although the army lists do contain a few mistakes / typos. Important rules are also provided with graphical examples, so there should be no room for confusion.

Personal logo Shaun Travers Supporting Member of TMP20 Oct 2014 3:25 a.m. PST

The rules arrived on Friday. I have had such a bust time with family since then, I have but flicked through it. I have no idea when I will get around to playing a game. Soon i hope. I have waited 5 years, I am sure I can wait a bit longer!

Thanks for the review. It confirmed a lot more me. Even if I have already acquired the rules, it makes me feel justified on doing so.

Mrbootsthecat20 Oct 2014 3:25 a.m. PST

I've got the English translation and played one game so far. First impressions are very good. Playing at the recommended 200 point level, the game plays quickly and doesn't need as many figures as FOG/DBM.the command system works well, getting troops into combat and then not giving enough to do everything you want.
I have a couple of minor issues. Firstly, units can have a collection of effects, such as impetuous, impact and furious charge, and with my limited experience, it can be difficult to find out how all of these interact. Secondly, units can turn and charge, albeit with a move reduction. In my case, this meant troops that evaded could turn and hit the units that had just chased them off. I don't think its a problem, it's just a matter of getting used to a different threat zone.
On the other hand, and bearing in mind it's a translation, there's an index at the front for the rules, and an index at the back for the lists, which makes it easier. And it comes with a laminated quick reference sheet.
The lists that are included are extensive. If you can get some friends so you can get North Stars club discount, it's even cheaper than DBM and its four list books, let alone FOG and its fourteen.
I would not be surprised if these rules provide a significant boost to ancient wargaming in the next few years.

Madan Mitra20 Oct 2014 2:05 p.m. PST

I've recently bought this set and will play my first game this Wednesday night.

They read well and clear, the diagrams are also simple and effective.

There's a lot written in them that agrees with me and the odd thing here and there (prob just me mind you) I am told plays out fine.

I'll let you know how it goes…

Madan Mitra24 Oct 2014 2:53 a.m. PST

Okay, we played it, did lots of things wrong but liked it enough to continue with it…

If I gave you details of what we did wrong I'd embarass myself…again.

Liked what we played, however I will increase to 300pts and a bigger table when I get more serioulsy into it as I like my games bigger than 20 to 30 elements, space and time are no problem (I'm part TimeLord).

Good Bye From Next Week

madaxeman24 Oct 2014 12:41 p.m. PST

I've added a game report and a review on

I;d second pretty much all of the stuff above – basically it's close enough to DBM to be very easy enough to pick up, but different enough to be a different game, and at £27.00 GBP for all of the rules and lists what's not to like?

(Mrboots – charges are straight forwards only, that's on the top of page 40)


(caveat – I did help translate the rules as a favour to a friend at our club, but I'd never played them before I played the game in this review).

Personal logo Shaun Travers Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2014 7:39 p.m. PST

Thank you all for the information. These rules became available and the wrong time for me. I really want to play them, but really want to finish off a few projects too! But December is looking great for playing. I am very jealous you are all playing these rules. I am tempted to start now, but know I will just start playing them to the detriment of just doing the last little bit in those other activities i have going on!

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