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"Ancient Rules: WAB,COE,HC and BI, Who uses what and why?" Topic

Hail Caesar

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31 Dec 2016 8:44 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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Personal logo oldbob Supporting Member of TMP18 Aug 2011 8:16 a.m. PST

I have 3 of these 4 rule sets and I'm buying the fourth.

anleiher18 Aug 2011 8:26 a.m. PST

Well, how about a fifth? I use FOG and do so primarily because it is the most popular in my gaming group.

You might want to consider what your gaming buddies play before making a decision.

My .02

DeanMoto18 Aug 2011 8:37 a.m. PST

What is BI?

Edit: Oh, I'm guessing Basic Impetus?

Anyway, WAB 2.0 is what I'm fine with using for now. Mainly 'cuz I'm familiar with the rules and all of my armies are based for it. Oh, and enough of my gaming buddies also like/use it too. Best, Dean

P.S. I heard some of the local crew around here espousing the virtues of Crusader. I played it once – several years ago.

TMPWargamerabbit18 Aug 2011 8:51 a.m. PST

25/28mm WAB and COE from this quarter of the globe (1/4 acre in Southern California that is).

#1 reason for WAB and COE…The miniature basing basically the same.
#2 reason… my armies and gaming pals have their miniatures based for WAB/COE. With 10K+ painted ancient 25/28mm miniatures in group….changing basing is a non-starter.
#3 WAB/COE rule systems, with some minor differences….are nearly interchangeable.
#4 Play what is popular in your gaming circles. They are your opposite player on the tabletop. Go with the flow so to speak.

FOG ok….for 15mm scale gaming. Haven't seen or played HC or BI yet so no option.


Personal logo oldbob Supporting Member of TMP18 Aug 2011 8:51 a.m. PST

Yes it's Basic Impetus, which leads to Impetus. I've haven't played them yet. We do have a few "B.I." Players here in 10mm, which I'm building a Goth army for. I forgot that I do have "FOG" also, plus supplements. WAB,HC and COE are all rule books in the 200 page range with extra goodies to catch the eye!

Personal logo oldbob Supporting Member of TMP18 Aug 2011 8:58 a.m. PST

As TMPPzDuke had said WAB and COE are basically the same basing systems. For a while I actually thought COE was going to replace WAB, don't think so now!

Temporary like Achilles18 Aug 2011 9:00 a.m. PST

I'm always interested in looking at new rules, and have played many different sets, all of which (bar one or two) were enjoyable. That said, since by far the greater portion of my gaming is solo the sets I constantly turn to are Lost Battles and (to a lesser extent these days) Commands & Colors: Ancients. The reason is simple: both play well as solo games without needing significant modification or manufactured artificial intelligence, but as Lost Battles produces (to my mind) the more historically plausible battle I find myself playing that more and C&C less.

Of the latest batches, I'm very keen to try out Hail Caesar – mainly because people whose opinion I respect have said some positive things about it – but with the cost of importing rules here quite high I probably won't sign up for any of the others just at this time.

Looking forward to reading the responses to this thread though. Nice idea, Oldbob!


Thomas Whitten18 Aug 2011 9:25 a.m. PST


The games are fun and the results are as historically satisfying as any game out there. The figures are individually based which is always a plus. And, for whatever reason – nothing to do with the rules, it seems WAB battles at cons are always stunning looking affairs.

mex10mm18 Aug 2011 9:33 a.m. PST

I now play "Hail Caesar". The rules are simple and I have always been a fan of the "warmaster style" command mechanics.
I used to played "Warhammer Ancient Battles" but I fund it to be a bit slow for my taste.

elsyrsyn18 Aug 2011 9:39 a.m. PST

I like Might of Arms quite a lot. I've been tempted by Warmaster Ancients, but have recently settled down (for the most part) with DBA, as it seems to fit my needs (e.g. minimal time available to build armies or play).


Valator18 Aug 2011 10:05 a.m. PST

I'm playing a bit of Basic Impetus at the moment. I'd try something else, but the local wargamers leap out of windows when they see rulebooks containing more than 20 pages.

Personal logo Stosstruppen Supporting Member of TMP18 Aug 2011 10:05 a.m. PST

I like the way full Impetus plays and the basing scheme is great.

RockyRusso18 Aug 2011 10:11 a.m. PST


None of the above?


Admiral Yi Sun Sin is my Homie18 Aug 2011 10:41 a.m. PST

Around here we play HC, BI or FOG depending on the gamers taste and desires that day. It appears HC and BI are preferred for 28mm and FOG is for 15mm. I want to try HC in 10mm sometime. I think it's great there are so many choices for ancients gaming.

religon18 Aug 2011 10:45 a.m. PST

I use Commands & Colors Ancients. I find the rules more elegant than other such games like BI, DBA, FoG, WAB Impetus, and the Hack series. Play is quick, decisive and tactical.

Dave Knight18 Aug 2011 10:47 a.m. PST

I have started to play Impetus because it is fun and gives a good result in an evening. It also lets me field lots of differtent armies with no additional cost once I have bought the sabot bases I use for them.

FOG is a good system but it has not taken off locally in 25mm. It also tends to neeed a lot of figures.

I quite like Crusader – it once again tends to give a quick fun game in an evening.

I've had a few games of WRG 6th this year. This is the system I have played the most over the years and gives a good game but good players have worked out all the wrinkles in the rules so you can end up playing the rules rather than the battle (if you know what I mean)

I have played one game of Hail Ceaser and enjoyed it – once again lots of figures are needed which is a downside

JJMicromegas18 Aug 2011 10:52 a.m. PST

It's been a while since there was a rules thread.

Right now it's Impetus for me with the occasional game of FoG. Impetus allows us to get a lot of troops on the table and finish a game in 2-3 hours. It is also fairly simple in terms of rules but also tactical and interesting.

I enjoy FoG as well, but FoG feels too much like math and I don't do math for fun.

brevior est vita18 Aug 2011 11:19 a.m. PST

Hail Caesar is my personal favorite. I enjoy the rules mechanics and writing style, along with the emphasis on playability and fun.

thumbs up



FoG A&R!

Pijlie18 Aug 2011 12:27 p.m. PST

I have played and enjoyed WAB a lot. It usually produces well-paced, enjoyable games, has some quirks that are depending on the version played (1.5 or 2.0) but when you use some house rules to fix these to your taste it is the best AFAIAC.

You can easily scale it up or down from a one-hour to a two-day game if you like. It also has about a dozen well-made supplements with dozens of army lists and lots of background.

On the downside WAB 2.0 costs a fortune and is riddled with mistakes which require an extensive errata list. But then you canjust plat 1.5 which costs next to nothing nowadays.

I never played COE (has it even been released yet?) but I understand it is virtually undistinguishable from WAB.

I bought and played HC. Loved the book and the writing but after a few times found it slow, labour-intensive when using a lot of figures (for which it states to have been written), luck has an enormous influence on the game (since you can´t even move when you roll bad), missile fire is insanely effective, people tend to cram the table with figures from left to right, so no flanks or maneuver (which is slow in any case) are possible which is boring and slows down the game even more.

It also invites the most horrendous munchkin armies to the table if you´re not careful due to the lack of a point system. I think this lack is actually a boon, but so far it hasn´t worked out very well.

Never played, read or saw BI played.

Leafed through and watched FOG but it appears too abstract and bland to me.

elsyrsyn18 Aug 2011 12:46 p.m. PST

I use Commands & Colors Ancients.

Not to threadjack too blatantly, but I cannot seem to get paste my inherent dislike of the card mechanisms in C&C. You don't find them to detract from the feel of the game?


Costanzo118 Aug 2011 1:31 p.m. PST

Impetus." Light" set of rules (like others) but with clear development of the actions, attrition effect. A Fire &Fury present: too luck (like others).

quidveritas18 Aug 2011 2:12 p.m. PST

I use WAB because that's what my kid likes

I have played a bit of HC -- the jury is still out. The biggest issue with HC is the variable unit size thing. Essentially a Roman using a bunch of small units gets pretty close to unbeatable.

FOG (in 28mm) takes way too long to setup and play for what you get out of it.

This from a guy that does not consider himself to be an ancient's gamer (never mind my 500 odd painted figures).

Mechanical18 Aug 2011 2:28 p.m. PST

None of the above (DBMM/DBA) but the best advice so far is see what is played in your area.

Personal logo oldbob Supporting Member of TMP18 Aug 2011 3:06 p.m. PST

I'm ancient player poor, east of Portland. I do understand that their is a very gentlemanly group of ancient player between Portland and Seattle, but alas they don't invite me to their games. Poor oldbob!

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP18 Aug 2011 4:00 p.m. PST

"I do understand that their is a very gentlemanly group of ancient player between Portland and Seattle, but alas they don't invite me to their games."

oldbob, contact DeanMoto above. He is one of the movers and shakers of this group. If he can't invite you, no one can! :)

Yesthatphil18 Aug 2011 4:16 p.m. PST

FoG, DBA, Armati, Lost Battles…

Probably in that order though I haven't played FoG in a while.

I joined in the HC game at this year's Kadesh BattleDay for a while and quite liked it – though I think it will better suit well-designed Historical Scenarios than pick-up games.

Nothing wrong with C&C and Impetus, but very few play them in my locality. What you like allowing for what others will enjoy is a good approach: like-minded good friends are worth a whole heap of rule books and borrowed game mechanics!

Armati is still my favourite, but is so in need of a new version I couldn't really recommend it these days.

Phil Steele

DeanMoto18 Aug 2011 4:42 p.m. PST

He is one of the movers and shakers of this group. If he can't invite you, no one can! :)
LOL! evil grin Heck, I already tried to convince OldBob to stick to WAB – but, noooo, he's still searching for that elusive "perfect" set grin Best, Dean

P.S. Bob – if all goes as planned – in a few (a month or so) I'll send you some info on a Sengoku-Samurai game.

Tarty2Ts18 Aug 2011 4:46 p.m. PST

Moving over to Impetus now………can see myself playing these rules permanently and for a long time to come. Soooooo… many aspects about them I like. Played a lot of rules system over the years, these are the most exciting that have come through for quite some time.

Personal logo oldbob Supporting Member of TMP18 Aug 2011 7:44 p.m. PST

Dean; I shall sleep with WAB2.0 under my pillow. Boy their are some really good answers here!

platypus01au18 Aug 2011 11:32 p.m. PST

DBMM, DBA and FoG mainly here in Canberra (at least at the Games Club).


yorkie o119 Aug 2011 2:49 a.m. PST

I have bought and played HC, and personally think its a great set of rules, but the lack of a points system or army lists could be a problem, if players are particularly gamey and field odd maxed out type armies. Great for historical scenarios but not too good for pick up games at the club.

Impetus is great, i love the basing, but maybe could do with a new edition, as all the army books have additional rules and clarifications etc in them.

DBA, im a big fan of, 3-4 games in a few hours, really simple, armies are small, and cheap to buy.


Steve W19 Aug 2011 4:30 a.m. PST

BI and Vis Bellica are still my favourites

Manflesh19 Aug 2011 5:50 a.m. PST

We've been playing Hail Caesar at our club- it's been doing really well. Everyone who's played it has picked up on it really quickly. The benefit of having a club is being able to take figures from the collections of several people to put the games on. We've found that different basing styles can be used in harmony, as long as the difference in size isn't too large.

I think a points system would not improve Hail Caesar. It's the kind of game that really benefits from an umpire.

I've owned WAB for ages, yet despite liking the fantasy game and loving the ECW variant, have never got around to playing.

I haven't tried the other two, but have no gripe against them. I like too many differnet periods to try all the ancients sets though. As stated above, it's great to have variety to pick from!


Tazman4968419 Aug 2011 6:50 a.m. PST


Who asked this joker19 Aug 2011 9:04 a.m. PST

HC is a gaming I am dieing to try. I'll inflict it on my friends when I get some time.

BI is good for soloing. Impetus is better as a multi-player game.

Own but have not tried WAB (v1.5) yet.

I probably won't be purchasing CoE. I listened to the Meeples POD cast and Neil found that the game was very detailed. Well explained but there is a lot there to get through. It does not sound like a game for me.

Bohemund19 Aug 2011 11:35 a.m. PST

My ranking of the rules I have played enough to have a real opinion of:

WAB -- for me, it is cold, do not wish to play it. Will provide excellent games for players who field armies of a few large units, with very limited character presence. Can be absolutely silly with the uber-skirmishers, mim-maxed army composition, and "stacked" characters (this experience is why I no longer play it).

FOG -- for me, luke-warm. Playable, but not particularily exciting. Nothing stands out, NOT elegant, takes a long time for the result I get playing it. However, complete and thorough rules, well represented in the gaming community.

Might of Arms -- Warm. Really good, playable game. Excellent "old-school" group game -- 50 somethings will all grasp it very quickly. Handles movement excellently, armies gradually reach the point where a few sub-par morale rolls decide the game. Often have big swings during a game, so games are exciting.

Impetus -- Just Right. Simple, fast, decisive, easy to learn. Good multi-player game. Systems are elegant, and many things are reflected in the core elements of the rules. A thinking game, yet luck affects most aspects of the game.

Personal logo oldbob Supporting Member of TMP19 Aug 2011 11:47 a.m. PST

Another very good response!

hwarang19 Aug 2011 1:14 p.m. PST

I like (Basic) Impetus best. Its fast and gives a very good game. WAB takes ages and has no graces whatsoever. HC and CoE I do not know.

AlanYork20 Aug 2011 10:39 a.m. PST

I'm playing BI shortly to introduce a fellow gamer to the Impetus system which I really enjoy. I echo Bohemond's comments on Impetus and FOG. WAB I tried years ago, it was OK but felt like a big skirmish and I didn't like the character rules at all.

For me there's also the time issue, sadly my lovely wife Amanda has leukemia, thankfully the Lord has seen fit to put it into remission at present but there's a long way to go in her treatment yet. It's tiring for us both in different ways but Impetus allows me to have a game that doesn't take too long so I can "recharge my batteries" with a break without leaving her alone for too long.

What Impetus needs now is to put all the amendments into a PDF, there aren't that many but they're spread over 3 supplements and the web and I find myself struggling to remember them all. The waiting time between supplements aka army lists seems to drag on a bit too. Impetus is still my first choice though.

Andrew Wellard20 Aug 2011 11:58 a.m. PST

WAB because it is very flexible, you can easily accomodate troop types which are not in any of the 'codices'. For example we are going to play a game of the Yellow Ford 1598 and making up stats and extra rules for this incursion into Renaissance colonial warfare has proved pretty simple. What is more I know that the basic system can easily cope with my changes.
Have CoE which is very close to WAB (cleaned up?) but have not played it yet.

TKindred Supporting Member of TMP20 Aug 2011 2:22 p.m. PST

I have all the WAB books and I enjoyed the game quite a bit.

However, as of last year, I've gone over to Impetus. I started with Basic Impetus, and I like it quite a bit. It's a GREAT way to introduce someone into both Ancients gaming as well as wargaming in general.

Now I have the Full Impetus rules and I am also sold. They are probably what I'll stay with for a long time too. the best set of rules for me, anyway, that I've read in a long long time.

JJMicromegas20 Aug 2011 3:42 p.m. PST

It seems like Impetus is gaining, well, impetus.

I am surprised that it has gained so much traction in the ancients community but it has that easy to play hard to master element.

Trajanus21 Aug 2011 7:51 a.m. PST

Hadn't played Ancients for decades until WAB came out then when it came to it I couldn't stand the whole roll to hit, roll to wound roll,roll to kill yada, yada, yada!

Move to Warmaster Ancients played those for a while but the combat was over complex and the Activation a game destroyer if one side had a run of luck (even more so if the opponents dice were cold).

Now into HC like a Crack addict. Fast to learn, easy to play, entertaining level of interplay in combat and Activation that messes with your head without turning the game in the first couple of moves.

Lord Raglan21 Aug 2011 9:54 a.m. PST

Checkout War and Conquest – I have played a demo game and loved every minute of it:


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