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"Clash of Empires - first impression?" Topic

Clash of Empires

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Lord Raglan26 Apr 2011 10:13 a.m. PST

I was wondering what people's first impressions are of the new ruleset Clash of Empires?

I thought it was nicely presented with lots of rule descriptions and diagrams to aid the learning process. Although I was really surprised with the similarities it had with Warhammer Ancient Battles. WAB had clearly influenced the author and it was even written in a similiar style. I don't know if this was a conscious decision to write it like this, however it did make me feel that I was not reading something completely new and therefore I took comfort in the sameness. As yet, I am undecided if that was a good thing or not. Certainly for those who are familiar with WAB, the transition will be very easy.

As to the game play, only time will tell but I don't envisage any major issues.

UK John26 Apr 2011 10:23 a.m. PST

probably a trifle influenced by WAB. But the issue is if it is so similar to WAB where is the buzz of something fresh?

Pijlie26 Apr 2011 10:54 a.m. PST

Check out here


aecurtis Fezian26 Apr 2011 10:55 a.m. PST

Buzzzzzz… hmmm. Some have opined, here and elsewhere, that "Clash of Empires" is what "WAB 2.0" could have been, or should have been. We shall see, as more people actually play it.

I would suggest that one factor contributing to the buzz is the level of support. WAB was publiched in 1998; a year later, we had "Armies of Antiquity", with 22 "interim" army lists. "Clash of Empires" was released this month, and already has 20 interim lists provided online. Stuart promises that by this time next year, between three printed volumes of lists and online "specials" for those that don't make it into the books, there will be about 120 lists available.

Some of the online CoE lists have already been updated based on comments from various WAB list writers and others. I suspect there will be a significant contribution to the forthcoming CoE lists from WABbites who have been frustrated by the lack of support for WAB. Again the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so we shall see.


Lord Raglan26 Apr 2011 11:36 a.m. PST

Having read several of the posts leading up to the release of CoE, it would suggest that gamers were basically happy with WAB but just wanted some improvements to the game play and then better support from the game's production team.

If CoE delivers on these two points, would that satisfy WAB players and would we see a movement to CoE on mass?

6sided26 Apr 2011 12:15 p.m. PST

Having now read both CoE and Hail Caesar, I have had a little chuckle about the "hype".

We basically have a simplified version of Warmaster with a few bits of WAB thrown in by Mr Priestley, while the boys at GEG seem to have created WAB 3.0.

So the number of sets of new ancients rules just launched…maybe actually its none.


ancientsgamer26 Apr 2011 12:44 p.m. PST

You may chuckle but Warmaster combined with WAB may not be such a bad thing….

Almost every rules set out there is derivative of something.
While CoE may be more blatantly so, I don't see it as a problem if support does not exist for WAB.

As to Hail Caesar, Priestly works for Games Workshop and he has the right to combine the games if he wants. Warmaster was his after all.

Anyway, won't effect me much as I have been playing 15s and FoG. I liked most of the parts of Warmaster with the exception of shooting (too little impact IMO). Never cared for WAB as I don't care for individual basing and everyone wanted to play 28mm (which I have an army for but I have six in 15s)

Princeps26 Apr 2011 12:49 p.m. PST

Rick Priestley no longer works for GW and he does not own the rights to either Warmaster Fantasy or Warmaster Ancients/Medieval, that remains with GW.

Lord Raglan26 Apr 2011 1:00 p.m. PST

Maybe the days are gone when one ruleset will dominate the ancient wargaming scene and be seen as the gold standard.

WAB certainly held that crown for many years.

However lets say that WAB was only released this week, how would it fair against CoE, HC and WaC?

lugal hdan26 Apr 2011 1:03 p.m. PST

From my partial read-through (still working my way through), CoE is definitely a "re-imagined" WAB. It adds a variation on FoG's simple/complex maneuver system and changes up the basic figure stat line and points costs a lot, and adds some new ways to get to the same basic results. (The "to hit" computation is a good example – instead of a table, you get +1 for having a higher WS, and -1 for having your WS 'doubled'. Which is pretty much what the WAB table says. In both games, there can be other modifiers, so I think the CoE way is more elegant, but to each his own.)

CoE will seem very familiar to WAB players, even if they have to re-learn a lot of the rules and details, pick up some new concepts and give up some others.

6sided26 Apr 2011 1:58 p.m. PST

Let's hope CoE doesn't feel too familiar for GW!


ancientsgamer26 Apr 2011 2:17 p.m. PST

Okay, Rick no longer works for GW… explain this website:

Rick was also involved with the development of 40K:


You can't take away the author from the rules. Obviously GW doesn't have a problem with Rick… Or at least they don't have a problem with his website yet….

meledward2326 Apr 2011 2:42 p.m. PST

"Rick Priestley left Games Workshop in November 2010"

2nd paragraph of your 2nd link.

What else on the websites needs to be explained?

Caesar26 Apr 2011 4:23 p.m. PST

Rick wrote: "The actual website was on my computer at GW – and although I've taken a copy it
won't run on my version of the software – so I can't update it."

Shootmenow30 Apr 2011 1:41 p.m. PST

I've played CoE about 8 or 9 times to date and would say that although mechanisms can be quite different, if you are familiar with WAB then you'll quickly grasp CoE. I think this is intentional as there appears to be quite a few disgruntled WAB players out there who will be attracted to CoE. Seems like sound marketing to me.

One of the things missing from CoE is the Ubergeneral and this is certainly intentional. Those who want to play clashes between heroically led Dark Age warbands may prefer to stick to WAB or check out Saga from Gripping Beast.

As to WAB ever dominating the world of Ancient wargaming, I surely must have blinked and missed it! :)

Personal logo oldbob Supporting Member of TMP30 Apr 2011 4:01 p.m. PST

My copy just came through the mail today, some very nice mini's came with it. It definitely looks great, hope the rules are as good as all the pretty pictures.

1815Guy30 Apr 2011 5:32 p.m. PST

Interest thread gents.

Does CofE still have the rather weird rules for musicians and flag bearers adding to hand to hand combat and swinging the balance of victory if present? Never could rationalise that one in my own mind…..

WAB also seemed to feature huge swathes of death by bowfire only for the target unit to shrug off the 45% casualties and continue moving forward!!

Hopefully these two idiosyncrasies have been sorted in CofE? Perhaps someone could let me know please?

The Hound30 Apr 2011 9:06 p.m. PST

if COE is like WAB that is good news so I can use most of the wab army books

JJartist30 Apr 2011 11:24 p.m. PST

Does CoE still have the rather weird rules for musicians and flag bearers adding to hand to hand combat and swinging the balance of victory if present? Never could rationalise that one in my own mind…..

-----> CoE does not use musician and standard models as game influencers.

WAB also seemed to feature huge swathes of death by bowfire only for the target unit to shrug off the 45% casualties and continue moving forward!!

------> This can still can happen but unit size is much more important in that suffering critical losses reduces unit morale.

Somebody even modestly attuned to WAB could easily convert the WAB, and for that matter, FoG, lists to CoE. The toughest call is what to do with those (very rare) T4 types (Which possibly should never have been T4 in the first place).

Personal logo oldbob Supporting Member of TMP03 May 2011 3:53 p.m. PST

I've been reading the rules, I now have a very strong urge to field an Imperial Roman army.

Duke of Plaza Toro03 May 2011 10:26 p.m. PST

Can someone please tell me how rigid the basing system is in Clash of Empires?

I read somewhere that the standard close order infantry basing for 28mm figures is 20mm / figure frontage. Is that correct? Most of my old ancients 'heavy' infantry are mounted on 15mm frontage bases. Does this rule me out?

John Chadderton
Eureka Miniatures

Stuart at Great Escape Games04 May 2011 3:27 a.m. PST

John, my hoplites are all based differently to the CoE recommendations. They are just guidelines and your 15mm frontage will be fine.

JJartist04 May 2011 1:06 p.m. PST

My first impression:

This is a WAB variant. Streamlined functions. Some new wrinkles. Similar to WAB 2, nothing here could not have been added to/subtracted from WAB 1.5.

That being said… we all know why WAB is stressful to chat about… so the issue is WAB2 vs. CoE- or the other contenders, Hail Caesar, and War and Conquest. Those latter ones are off my radar, for now.

CoE is interesting since it fills a strange void-- the void between WAB2 (reformed WAB), and players who want support from the developer of WAB. Since support is not foreseen it seems that some (many) are now willing to dump their hefty and expensive WAB volumes for whatever New and Shiny grabs the interest of their local crowd. In my case, the local crowd is interested for one major reason- that being the game can be bought at local stores-- thus accessibility here in the States is a factor in the decision-- a factor that trumps the issue which rule set is more fun.

It's tough to approach CoE, without the WAB heritage, so I'm not going to bother to try not to. It's not a new system, it's an old system retooled and given new focus. As I said, the key factor for players is going to be- do they like WAB2's variant of WAB, or CoE's variant? (Of course if they are new, then it won't matter much as they are the lucky ones who get to approach things with a fresh outlook).

In my first go through. my impression is physical materials are a notch below the high standards of the WAB2 book- despite that book's poor binding-- both seem to be books that are destined to fall apart- if used regularly. But these new hardcover rulebooks are my bane anyway--- I like the full color, I like good paper.. I like good layout.. but I hate hard bound rulebooks…. still CoE gets points for being lighter than WAB2 to carry… it is less heavy because for the thinner paper, and less egregious fluff…. so I say it is a push-- CoE gets even by being more functional.

For example CoE uses the color edging on it's flip animation Roman soldiers to denote sections.. at least that is a good use of color in a rulebook. CoE has an index of sorts… so far it has been useful 1/3rd of the time I looked things up. For example I wanted to find heavy throwing spears… or missile weapons. pilum, neither of those were on the index, and were the subject of my researching, so I will need to tag those pages…. But Sarmatian allies is there… which I guess I will need someday. Still at least there is an attempt to be more organized and use page space for something more than picture filler.

The photos….well there are plenty of nice photos… some are not quite in focus… digital cameras are not always the best for big spread photos (such as page 79), but many of the shots are very crisp and nice. Again this is just fluff…

Back to the impressions… the first overall impression is easy… WAB was always a ruleset that was biased a bit against Romans of any era… so this set goes a long way to rectify this… one would expect this since Adrian Goldswothy is credited, and his many articles in Slingshot over the years have denounced WAB because of it's lackluster treatment of Romans. Not so CoE… it changes heavy throwing spears to use the shooting method- rather than the two rank S4 abstraction of WAB. Time will tell how much effect this has, especially since the pila toss is wedded with the Disruption effect which is a key new rule of CoE. Other rules are piled on top of Romans—they are not only difficult to break (as in WAB), but now they get better in round two (which is certainly an improvement that I have favored and implemented in my WAB lists for Caesar's era).

Roman swordsmen get half their back rank in round two and get to go even with phalanxes, and plus against everybody else… in WAB they have to run to their supports or they get hammered. In CoE all Roman legions get the support rules similar to the ones development by Allen Curtiis for the WAB Hannibal and the Punic Wars supplement. I mean all of them--- including the auxilia of the EIR. I have no major beef with this… however it is a powerful rule addition. Games will tell if these changes will impact how players select their armies, so far Romans look good because the rules changes from WAB favor them as a group more than any others I cna readily see on the web or the book.

Other minor things are pluses and minuses to me. Elephants work mostly the same as in WAB.. they won't want to approach Romans now- since those pila get to shoot- and can do damage better than everybody else. Scythed chariots are much reformed from all WAB variants… they will act more like they should in games. They still cause mechanical problems, but seem like they will be more effective in some ways an less effective in others…. The game admits one of the biggest issues in WAB's system concerning multiple unit combats, at least CoE attempts to come up with a formula to solve the worst case situations (where less units on one side cause multiple enemy units to break). I prefer immediately CoE's cavalry countercharge rules to WAB 2's clunky ideas. I'm rather lukewarm to the cavalry wedge as nine model formations in 3 by 3's. I'd rather just lose the wedge altogether, since scale is set so that a wedge of 50- 60 cavalrymen would be less than the standard size unit, might as well have just made them extra maneuverable cavalry with a first round punch like lances and warhorses get.
I'm also in the meh category on the characters issues. WAB has more dynamic character interactions, CoE they are just markers… like I said meh, either way is ok… I just need to remember which rule set I am playing.

So my first impression is set. A nice new version of an old favorite, slightly altered to keep it fresh. A set that favors Romans, and has few text errors and nicely rounded out army lists (but Caledonians seem like they will stil fair no better at Watling Street in CoE than they do in WAB2-- of course why should they!). Will players want to switch to it over from the heavy WAB2 upgrade they shelled 50 smackers for to be shipped from England? We will see. I bought mine from Brookhurst hobbies.

Personal logo oldbob Supporting Member of TMP04 May 2011 1:44 p.m. PST

JJ; thank you, that was a great review.

JJartist04 May 2011 2:12 p.m. PST

Allen Curtis.. not Curtiis… or cuties

malekithau05 May 2011 2:02 a.m. PST

Pretty much my impression as well JJ. I played WAB for a while but gave it up. I prefer what I've seen with COE. I couldn't stand the characters in WAB and that was one of the reasons I gave it up.

I bought the book (prob because I love reading wargames rules)but am on fence on whether I'll play them.

cat herder05 May 2011 6:18 a.m. PST

A couple of important (to me anyway ) questions if you will be so kind gentlemen. Is there an orders system in CoE, this to me was one of the down sides of WAB. And secondly, what sort of rank structure do units fight in, is it similar to WAB'S four ranks for close order foot, three for loose order foot etc,etc or is there a different approach. Thanks for any info…CH.

cat herder05 May 2011 8:15 a.m. PST

I've just thought of another question, how is casualtly removal done. cheers..CH.

Personal logo oldbob Supporting Member of TMP05 May 2011 9:36 a.m. PST

Let me see so far, I think you get the maximum rank bonus in 3 ranks that's a plus 2 I believe for morale, it takes 6 mini's to make a complete rank. Casualty removal very similar to WAB I think, but double check me, yesterday I had an urge to field Imperial Roman army, today I want go picnicking in the the Forrest with it!

JJartist05 May 2011 10:31 a.m. PST

Is there an orders system in CoE, this to me was one of the down sides of WAB.

-----> Not much different, so same downside for you.

And secondly, what sort of rank structure do units fight in, is it similar to WAB'S four ranks for close order foot, three for loose order foot etc,etc or is there a different approach. Thanks for any info…CH.

------> It's is the same as WAB2, which means it is different from WAB 1.5

cat herder 05 May 2011 8:15 a.m. PST
I've just thought of another question, how is casualtly removal done

------> Model by model.

cat herder05 May 2011 10:42 a.m. PST

Thanks a lot chaps…CH.

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