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"Anyone still playing Armati 1 or 2?" Topic


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Desert Fox22 Aug 2011 12:43 p.m. PST

Was cleaning out the storage room in the basement and ran across these two rulesets. I only played in a few games but I thought they had some interesting ideas. I remember them being less "cluttered" (played smoother and faster) then some of today's ancient rules.

Anyone still playing Armati 1 or 2?

Why or why not? What do you think of them?

John Leahy22 Aug 2011 12:45 p.m. PST

I believe that Armati 2nd has a solid following. I'm curious to see what Arty has done with Tactica II. He is taking some Armati concepts and placing them in Tactica.



quidveritas22 Aug 2011 12:48 p.m. PST

I bought Armati 2 but have yet to play it.

I did play in a game at Enfilade that used a modified version of these rules. It appears the White Rock Gamers up in British Columbia have a fondness for this rules set.


Mooseheadd22 Aug 2011 1:11 p.m. PST

And when is Tactica II being released?

kyoteblue22 Aug 2011 1:12 p.m. PST


sausagescan22 Aug 2011 1:29 p.m. PST

We play huge games usually completed within 2 hours using Armati 2. The rules are clean and very exciting. There are lots of good ancients rules about, but we have settled on Armati. We did help in playtesting the original game so our commitment is not that surprising.

White Rock Gamers

Personal logo D6 Junkie Supporting Member of TMP22 Aug 2011 2:16 p.m. PST

Played three Armati I games this year.
Still one of my favorite games.
Smooth system.
And I've pretty much given up waiting for Tactica II.

Yesthatphil22 Aug 2011 3:26 p.m. PST

There is a healthy group of clubs that support modest tournaments in the UK (10 played at Britcon, 20 or more is normal for the popular 'scenario' events)… say …
There is Doubles event in Stoke and there are at least 2 events in Paris. There are UK groups who don't play in Tournaments, and I know of groups in Italy and Germany.
Most play in 15, some play in 25/28 (and I saw some great smaller scale demos a while back) …
There is a list of events on Warfloot's sidebar
Plus Steve Phenow runs an Armati Yahoo group which sees some action from time to time. It has hundreds of members, though I have no idea how many are current 'active' players.
I currently use a home variant of Armati for ECW, and you can find out more (and get the explanations) on my ECW Battles blog
I have used this method to run games at UK Shows, at The Conference of Wargamers and for the Battlefields Trust.

Armati is still my favourite 'ancients' game, really.

I like the clever combination of 'units' with a divisional structure which makes the standard manoeuvre block something a lot bigger than the idividual unit. Usually.

It has progressive outcomes and attrition (not 'scissors/paper/stone'!) …

The problem is the game was never perfect and continued play has revealed significant holes in the system. Unfortunately the 'owners' have abandonned it, don't issue guidance or support and despite many promises have never published the Renaissance volume that was meant to partner Armati 2. This has done immense damage to the reputation of the game.

Nevertheless, as an approach to the ancient wargame, Armati is great and distinctive. Play it as you find it, fix it if there are things you don't like, and I'm sure you will get a great game out of it.

Like Chris said, it can usually be played in a few hours (I'm more of a 2.5 to 3 man myself) even with quite big armies. Like for like, it is quicker than DBMM or FoG, that's for sure.

If you want to find contacts, join the Yahoo group or Warfloot, I'd suggest …

Phil Steele
(The Society of Ancients)

David Smith Supporting Member of TMP22 Aug 2011 3:51 p.m. PST

It was my favorite set of ancients rules and we had a nice 'national' presence at Historicon a few years ago. I believe the tournament had 24-30 participants at its zenith. However, like Phil accurately points out, the rules authors have abandoned the game [for various reasons, that kept shifting over time]. I think if the rights could be acquired, some tweaking done which incorporates a lot of 'provisional' rules, then it might have a life again. But, again as Phil points out, the 'brand' has taken a significant hit, and Arty is not doing himself any favors by delaying Tactica 2 ad infinitum.


Midpoint22 Aug 2011 3:59 p.m. PST

Given the time lag it seems unlikely that Tactica 2 will ever be released commercially. There may be a release of documents into the public domain. The same for any further Armati/Ren game. We're 5-10 years past the point that was likely to happen.

Armati is a game I have played more of than almost all other ancients rulesets, but it is well down my list of preferences now. A game like Impetus is a lot further down the evolutionary path for me and what I want in a game. Others will no doubt disagree – but the efforts of the Impetus team in developing and supporting their community compare favourably with almost all other sets – and that is important – see WAB.

That being said, if A Conliffe released a set of rules tomorrow, I'd almost certainly buy it.

Personal logo Condottiere Supporting Member of TMP22 Aug 2011 6:25 p.m. PST

Given the time lag it seems unlikely that Tactica 2 will ever be released commercially.

The promised release has been pushed for years. It appears that there may be some progress as reported on the Yahoo group:


Keraunos22 Aug 2011 10:04 p.m. PST


and still working on new armies for it.

many excellent tournaments in the UK still too – we have our tenth anniversary tournament in November this year, you are welcome to come – we play fixed scenarios on pre set tables, so you don't even need to bring figures, just a ticket to Glasgow for a wet weekend.

Experience not necessary, as the rules are quick enough to pick up and you can expect a good chance of a win by the fifth game on Sunday.

Let me know if your interested and I'll pop the details up here

HarryHotspurEsq23 Aug 2011 1:26 a.m. PST

I used to love that game! Haven't played it in almost 10 years, but would jump at the chance to pay again if there were opponents.

Tarty2Ts23 Aug 2011 2:07 a.m. PST

Played Armati 2 for years and years until Impetus came along. Armati are a great set of rules, Impetus is just a natural progression from where they left off I think. Warflute site being shut down, didn't help things either.

Personal logo Shaun Travers Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2011 3:55 a.m. PST

Armati 2 is my favourite ancient ruleset. Started with Advanced Armati. I haven't played many ancient games over the last 10 years, but almost all face to face games have been Armati, mostly Intro scale. While I am also keen on other rules, Armati is still top of the list.

Personal logo Shaun Travers Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2011 3:58 a.m. PST

Oh, and the "why" – I just love the integration of the the mechanisms and how they really reward tactics, more so I have found than other rules. I have found them produce a fluid game, never the "line them up and move at each other" that seems to be a common description. The games makes you think all the times. Why do I not pay more – both lack of opponents and lack of time.

Tarty2Ts23 Aug 2011 5:52 a.m. PST

I found the game a grind and a little predictable in the end. You know once in combat your inf would last 4 turns at least, or your cav 3 turns-thus adjusting the tactics to suit.
You knew exactly how much time you had – pinning the front while taking them in the flank in "x" number of turns.
Some games were won or lost on combat direction eg initiative roll.
Only being able to do damage on one unit made it impossible to break through a battle line…ever ever ever eg impetuous troops would just stop? after maybe breaking one…..staying in contact with the undamaged unit till next turn? So warbands or cavalry could never take advantage of their momentum, their only real advantage.

Yesthatphil23 Aug 2011 9:06 a.m. PST

Not sure I agree with Tartyy on the predictability … yes, it might encourage you to think that way, but the game is far from predictable and plans based on it being so usually fail.

What games would you contrast it with that are less predictable (and by being so, actually better?)?

Yes, games can be won (if the melee dice go with you) by initiative on the critical turn – but see my ECW Variants if you want a less certain game end link …)

I also agree with the Warband comment (it applies less to cavalry, of course, as they more often fight on the flank, and have lots of other advantages) … its effect in the game is something most players are comfortable with (but if I wrote version 3 it is something that would be dealt with) …

So, yes, some flaws that could be fixed (but which probably won't be) which people live with for the joy of a game where units don't whizz around like Napoleonic battalions (or contrastingly do nothing because the commander didn't roll enough Pips!) …

For size of armies involved, I'd rate Armati about the quickest to play so couldn't agree that the game is a grind.

But I guess it depends who you play against :)



Tarty2Ts23 Aug 2011 3:19 p.m. PST

Don't get me wrong Phil, I have been a big fan of Armati from the first day it came out. We have been playing it in our group -exclusively- for must be 14yrs easy. By predictable I mean once the deployment screen came off, you new straight away where the threat was going to come from, where you were going to be on the back foot and how long you had. ( eg those guys will hang around till turn 6 at least… so that will give me time to smack him in that weak spot right….there! ) You could bank on it.
Your right, a good game does depend on who you play ( people who take only armies that have units that wheel and move or high initiative like 7 are very ordinary indeed )
Still playing Armati with my friends occasionally, but moving over too Impetus. I don't want to go into all the reasons why I like Impetus, it should be for another thread……but….the number one difference between the two. In Impetus as units weaken so does their ability to inflict damage. …or pass a cohesion test when damage is inflicted on them….this I like very much.

Keraunos24 Aug 2011 1:05 a.m. PST

the comparison with Impetus is a very interesting one for exactly that reason.

one of the attractions in Armati is that you can base a plan on an expected performance of your troops – the dice may not always guarantee the outcome, but the fixed hits and casualties ratio allows you to plan on a reasonable basis of how long a decision at that part of the field is likely to take.

vis impetus, where it really all comes down to those dice rolls, and anything could happen once the fighting starts.

both clear design philosophy from the authors, so you can't criticse them for it in either case, its just a preference in the end – should you be able to plan based on knowledge of your troops abilities, or should you have to react to the unforseable for most of the game…

Tarty2Ts24 Aug 2011 3:18 p.m. PST

It does come down to design philosphy, your right, and what you want from a game. For years we have all read battle accounts, how many times have you read how parts of a battle line just collapsed……or broke after some minor skirmishing, seeing the enemys cavalry bearing down on them ? Sometimes a whole flank crumbles….at the commanders total dismay…this happend often in antiquity, time and time again. There one minute… and gone the next.Nothing was set in stone.
In Armati there is no morale element in the game……every thing is rationalized down to a single factor. That unit takes 4 hits, that unit takes 3 hits etc etc……no matter what!
I just don't think ancient warfare was so "plannable" ( if there is such a word )
not to that extent anyway.
Please take this as constructive criticism only, I hold Armati in the highest regard. It needs some work here and there, to bring it up too speed, I think. It has some serious competitors these days.

Keraunos25 Aug 2011 1:45 a.m. PST

well, if you fight front to front, then yes, thats true.

but armati games are designed to be resolved by one flank collapsing and the centre of the line then being rolled up – you are positively encouraged to get onto the flank of an enemy unit in orde to beat it.

Flank attacks are utterly devastating – immediate kills if outscored.
and, units in the rout path have a 1 in 3 chance of running too, which triggers a line collapse, so the event itself happens quite often in an Armati game – provided one side makes a break through at a point and can turn in on the main battle line.

where I disagree, is about a line collapsing after minor skirmishing – i've never encountered a descrition of that in any ancient battle, but it happens in my impetus games quite often when the skirmisher gets its lucky 6 on one die, and the defender gets the unlucky 1 on his casualty die. if you then shoot at him with a second unit, thats also automatic hits even if he saved the first one – because he has already got a sucessful saved marker on him.

it comes down to how you play it – if you games are lined up and frontal, then armati will give a very predictable and dull game as you describe because all you are really doing is rolling dice for a few turns to see who got the higher score that turn – the same criticism can be made of pretty much every ancient game because what you are describing is a wargame with no manoever – but I have never seen such a game of Armati.

conversly, if you are both trying to break one flank while delaying events on the other, you get a very good game which reports well when you describe it back.

Tarty2Ts25 Aug 2011 2:53 a.m. PST

@ "where I disagree, is about a line collapsing after minor skirmishing i've never encountered a descrition of that in any ancient battle"

Yes this happend often, formations shot up by light infantry or bow fire, to then turn and run at the first sign of real pressure. Most of the time it was a failure in morale, maybe seeing another part of their army riden down. Whole armies would collapse in fact, seeing their commander lost ( eg Achaemenid Persians ). Uncertainty played a major role in battles, this should be an important element in antiquity.

@ " it comes down to how you play it if you games are lined up and frontal, then armati will give a very predictable and dull game"

This was how ancient battles were fought…..two lines facing one another. They didn't have complex command stuctures, the only "real" control generals had was the timing. Once committed it was left up to the gods.

"The best military plans rarely survive contact with the enemy" – Carl von Clausewitz

Marcus Brutus25 Aug 2011 4:10 a.m. PST

Tartyy, which battle are you thinking about where skirmishing determined the outcome because I can't think of one. You say it happened often but I'd beg to disagree.

On the plus side of Armati is that it is a superbly written set of rules. There is almost nothing that happens in the game that is not taken into account in the rules.

On the minus side is the predictability in the deployment and movement. The games do become quite tedious and not particularily interesting. We tweaked it for a while and then moved on to Impetus which embraces many of the same approaches but offers a much greater degree of flexibility and sophistication.

Midpoint25 Aug 2011 8:26 a.m. PST

Impetus makes having a second line worthwhile. Very few ancients rulesets manage that.

I don't like how solo unit divisions seem to be the game-winners in Armati. The more someone plays it, the more their deployments seem to differ from those used by historical generals.

Wrt dice results maxium high Vs minimum on opposed D6s is a 1:36 chance hardly a common result [indeed, as far from one as it is possible to be] and the implications of an extreme result should be significant, shouldn't they? That result would be significant for almost all opposed D6 rolls/tests in almost all games Armati included.

Also, in Impy if disrupted you only will take ONE hit if you 'save' second or subsequent hits. The disruption counts as 'half a hit'.

Armati has no attenuation of offensive capability or movement until the threshold of fatigue is reached Impetus allows you to estimate but not know what the rate of attenuation is going to be.

Always like the 'scaling' ideas of the Armati armies wish more sets did that better. It is a simple game to learn/comprehend.

Tarty2Ts25 Aug 2011 3:22 p.m. PST

The Athenian campaigns in Thrace early Peloponnesian war 420"ish" BC, are a good example of how the use of light troops can effect morale in an army. An Chalcidian force ( which was just light troops and cavalry ) defeated an army of Athenian hoplites just with the harassing fire of their light troops, finished off with a final charge from their cavalry. The Athenians didn't know how to deal with it. Lots of Athenian hoplite sorties out couldn't do the business. The Athenians wavered and broke. The Spartan general Cnemus also had trouble dealing with slingers around the same time.
We're talking about hoplites here not some rat bags, skirmishers definitely had effect on the " well being " of an army. If you don't screen your troops with lights of your own ( another reason why I like Impetus so much, it makes people use lights …..properly )… will pay the price.
Lot's of Armati games I've played have had light divisions off doing their own thing, mobile missile batteries. I've seen them comletely annihilate enemy divisions… very long range as well. I'm surprised people think their too powerful in Impetus ?

PanMark25 Aug 2011 5:40 p.m. PST

Still playin' – at least 4 times a year! We used to have a strong Armati following. We are now down to 3 die hards and a handful of occasional players. Too bad. It's a great game.

Some of my best experiences came with Aramati Ancients and Renaissance. I remember a great Italian Wars campaign and a really fun tourney held once a year ( about 8-10 guys would play in it). Thanks, Arty!

Tarty2Ts25 Aug 2011 8:25 p.m. PST

@ "Impetus makes having a second line worthwhile. Very few ancients rulesets manage that.

@ "I don't like how solo unit divisions seem to be the game-winners in Armati. The more someone plays it, the more their deployments seem to differ from those used by historical generals."

+1 to all of that Midpoint.

Another example of the effectiveness of light troops.
Demosthenes "attempted" invasion of Aetolia in 426BC, again an Athenian campaign. Harassed by javelin skirmishers the whole time, only managed to hold their ground when needed, because of a small number of archers they had taken along. Although out numbered they managed to keep the enemy at bay, until they ran out of ammunition and their commander was killed. The Athenian's were scattered and defeated. Demosthenes managed to escape. Lights played an important part in his battles after that, including ambushes.

Keraunos26 Aug 2011 12:50 a.m. PST

i would argue that those examples are not skimishing as part of a battle, they describe infantry forced to remain under fire (from skirmishers) all day, without any opportunity to respond – quite a different thing from units running/ dying from a skirmish screen before the main battle line is engaged, which is my perception of what happens far too often in Impetus.

you may as well quote the use of skirmishers at Ilippa while you are there – I certainly will use it to support the argument about the effectiveness of massed skirmish fire into the flank of a fixed target (an Armati tactic).

But since we are disagreeing over the same historical points, there is not much point in debating the meaning of the events further since all we are doing is defining the same thing differently.

and we both agree, its just a question of which game produces the better style of battle which you prefer.

And I agree about the single unit being too powerful in Armati

as for the lack of reserves, that betrays a misunderstanding of both the game and the period.
most ancent battles were founght by main battle lines, reserves tended to be few and far between, and were usually only the commanders bodyguard.
Additionally, Armati models the entire battle and seeks to resolve it within 2.5 hours.
- a unit of pikemen is not a single syntagma of 256 men, its a full taxeis of 3-4 times that.
Your roman maniple is in fact the hastatii and the principes (and would the the triarii too if they hadn't wanted to keep them separate so that players could 'do a cynocephalae') – a full legion is 4 units, and you play with 2-3 of them in a standard game

so once you get that sort of scale in your head, there isn't much wrong with not having a reserve in the an Ancient wargame.

Tarty2Ts26 Aug 2011 4:05 p.m. PST

@ "quite a different thing from units running/ dying from a skirmish screen before the main battle line is engaged, which is my perception of what happens far too often in Impetus."

It's a different approach as has been pointed out earlier and hard to compare. Impetus has put more "importance" ( if thats the right word ) on skirmishes, or rather the consequences of not having them.
eg the "average" skirmish unit in Impetus costs 12pts, compare this to say the "average" cavalry unit in Impetus at 19pts….. skirmishers are not cheap. But you would be mad not to take any.
In Armati the "average" skirmisher is 2pts and the "average" cavalry 10pts…..they're cheap as chips, and not key.
So you would be right in assuming skirmishers don't play a huge role, under Armati anyway.

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