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"Strengths and weakness of the rule set?" Topic

l'Art de la Guerre

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Zookie05 Mar 2017 6:06 p.m. PST

Sorry if this is a double post I don't think my first one went through

I want to start playing an ancients game in 6mm. I am curious about ADLG. I was wondering what the strengths and weakness of the rule set are. Also I wanted to know how well it plays at 6mm.

Snowcat08 Mar 2017 2:12 a.m. PST

You may wish to try your question on the AdG Forum:


Lorenzo09 Mar 2017 4:59 a.m. PST

ADLG can be played at any scale. The base sizes and the table size changes according to the scale played, so it all scales accordingly and plays the exact same way at all scales.

As far as weakness and strengths it all depends on what you are looking for but as far as I am concerned it is realistic enough without becoming tedious, slow or unnecessarily complicated.

RobSmith09 Mar 2017 7:53 a.m. PST

Well, these are strengths or weaknesses, depending on your point of view, but the main features are:

1. Each unit is a single base of figures. They can be grouped together temporarily for movement, but they all fight and move as individual units in the end.

2. You roll dice each turn to see how many actions you can take. Bad rolls mean few actions, which can be a game changer on critical turns.

3. Army lists are all contained in the one rule book (so no additional costs), but are outdated (compared to recent research) and simplified.

4. Very good for pick-up or tournament style play based on equal point armies. Not sure how well they will represent historical battles.

Those are a mixed bag of observations.

mikeguth17 Mar 2017 7:41 a.m. PST

My review is biased because I really don't like the game. Strength: 1. Lots of people play this, it is now the number one rules set at HMGS east competitions, is played heavily in Europe, and is becoming THE rule set in the UK. Although I see that they did get 20 players for a Too the Strongest UK event. Not bad.
2. Somewhat familiar mechanisms: A stand is a unit. Units form commands. Units in a command can move as group. Roll dice, move groups. Combat is stand versus stand. IGOUGO.
3. Units last awhile: Frustrated in DBA when 6-1 result leads to a cascade of defeat? In ADLG heavy foot take 4 hits, medium foot take 3 hits, cavalry takes 3 hits. So, you can hold the line in one area even at a disadvantage while turning a flank or winning someplace else.
5. You don't need too many stands; except that infantry is on double width stands compared to most rules. Its like a BBDBA or 36 element army each side.So, not too expensvie or heavy.Should play well with 6mm figures mounted on 15mm size bases; 40mm base width.

Disadvantages of ADLG:
1. To play the game really takes almost 3 hours. Tournaments often give 2 to 2.5 hours. So, you see a lot of 'nul' results on the French ADLG site; and lots of angry opponents at conventions because of your 'slow play.;
2. Commands don't have break points, they fight to the last man. This lengthens the game compared to DBA, where 1/3 of a command dieing triggers a failed command.
3.There are gimmicks. The game allows groups to move and 'slide' over a base width. Surprise! My elements on either end of your line have moved up and slid behind you, YOU LOSE. And no, it never happened to me.
4. There are players at conventions who won't warn you about this type of gimmick because they are prks, who are desperate to get tournament points on the ADLG website and be world champions or whatever. Contrast to the rules Triumph where the authors still are holding 16 hour teaching marathons to try to really teach the game to players before 'tournaments.'
5. A 6-1 will still often kill a unit, just like in DBA.
6. There are way more pages of rules than in DBA or Triumph. Many derive from the old DBM issue of having impetuous, a sort of irregular troop.
7. Example of slow play mechanics: No command break point, already mentioned. Shooting: In DBX rules you shoot simultaneously. In ADLG I shoot, you roll defense dice. THEN you shoot, and I roll defense dice. twice as long. Nul result.
8. Table size versus game size seems off. Most tournament games are 200 points. The board is HUGE and the games don't look like Ancient Battles with flanks secured on terrain. Favors mobile armies against foot armies.
9. Point system: DBA; no point system, here are your troops, loose order belong in bad going, close formation the open. Figure out how best to use these troops on this particular battlefield. Commands and Colors Ancients: Scenario based. Play, switch sides, play again. ADLG: figure out how to game the point system. True to all point system games.A Roman infantry unit gets costed out the same as a stand of heavy cavalry with bow. Guess what, the Roman infantry will never catch the cavalry and eventually gets shot up. Two cavalry versus two Roman infantry; ditto, or worse since the cavalry gets in the first flank attack. Oh, since a flank attack is a killer in ADLG, find a way to shave a point or two off your infantry compared to opponent, and then get 3 infantry versus 2 for the win.

FINALLY: This set of rules still requires you to actually measure, which is corrupting. Will I be precise, extra honest and move short, or a bit dishonest and wheel a bit extra because its not a 'big deal'. So retro.
Contrast with 'To the Strongest' or Commands and Colors Ancients. Wish DBX had gone this route, ditto for Triumph. What is it, afraid of being accused of being a boardgamer because you don't haul out a wheel stick and a ruler? Son, you became a boardgamer the minute you mounted 3 figures on a stand.

madaxeman17 Mar 2017 2:31 p.m. PST

From a post on my website :

The rules book itself is a handsome beast, with 240 pages including all of the lists for the ancient and medieval era. The lists appear to have been painstakingly researched, erm, I suspect, probably by reading 4 key "historical texts", but rather than organising them by "books 1-4" there are separate sections for different geographies and eras to allow more easy themed competitions.

The rules play like a combination of an updated, cleaned up DBM with an infusion of some of the elements of FoG. Each army is – in the standard game size – about 20-25 manoeuvre elements,. This means you only need maybe close on 40 bases of standard DBx-based troops, as Heavy and Medium Infantry types are represented by 2 standard bases locked together as a (15mm) 40x40 "DBE" base leaving LI and mounted troops as single bases. This is for the 200 point version of the game with 3 commands, which plays out in under 2 hours for most people – you can also play a slightly larger 300 point version which will see you going to 4 commands and maybe 30-40 manoeuvre elements. Either way the shift to this many separate units is very DBx, and playing with this many units, where each DBE is a separate unit gives much more of a "big battle" feel than the 10-14 muli-base units in FoG.

In 25/28mm most infantry units are based on 60mm x 60mm, and the 200 point game plays extremely well with 20 or so moving units on a near standard sized table. the table is a scaled up version of the 15mm table, so the mechanics are the same. You could use 6mm figures with either basing system perfectly well

The core mechanics are also DBx-based, with opposed dice rolls between elements forming the core combat mechanic and pips for command and movement. Where it differs from DBx rules is that each "unit" has a number of cohesion points or hits. Heavy infantry can take 3 hits before a 4th hit removes them from play, Medium Infantry and Cavalry have 3 hit points in total, and light troops 2. Each time you lose a combat or shooting duel you suffer one or more hits – but a general can also rally units to remove hits.

This sounds like a subtle difference, but it introduces a whole new dimension to troop types and how they are used comared to both DBx and FoG rules – "resilience". Heavy Infantry have greater ability to take punishment than Mediums, and so you can be confident that a line of Heavy Foot will take longer to grind down than a line of Medium Foot – irrespective of Armour or Troop Quality.

Troop Quality works to mitigate poor dice rolls by Superior troops, and reduce the possibility of extremely good dice rolls by poor troops – which feels logical. Armour also works in an old-school logical way, making troops with better armour harder to beat. There are a number of other common-sense post-combat effects to add flavour and variety, such as "barbarian" troops inflicting extra hits on the enemy if they win in the first round of combat, or mounted troops doing likewise when beating Medium Foot in the open.

Unlike DBx games, Light troops do also shoot – which is an irritant with potential to become significant if left unopposed, rather than a game winning tactic and mechanic as it sort of became in FoG.

I did say earlier that it is a cleaned-up DBM, and that means that even though its translated from French, there is no 'Barkerese' – plenty of diagrams, and the rules, which are already V3.0, really show that they have been playtested extensively on the French competition circuit so that pretty much every niggle you can imagine has been ironed out before this edition. The author is active on the forum, and any queries usually get a direct response and a quick turnaround – anything even slightly vague is included in the latest FAG, which is also updated regularly

Internationally the rules are now well embedded in the competition community across France, Belgium, Spain The USA and with a growing following in the UK, Italy, and dabbling elsewhere such as Australia and Greece. As of today it's therefore entirely possible that ADLG is the most widely played Ancients competition ruleset in the world right now.

Original article here: link

madaxeman17 Mar 2017 2:43 p.m. PST

Looking at those disadvantages of ADLG (compared to DBx games):
1. Not in the games I play!
2. When I played DBM games they generally took longer than ADLG games, even with the command mechanic.
3. DBx games have single element moves, where you can pick and place elements wherever you want. ADLG movement is more restrictive than DBx games.
4. All tournament games attract some pr-ck, sadly.
5. Not sure thats a disadvantage, thats just the same?.
6. DBA and Triumph involve 12 bases on a 2x2 board. In ADLG there are less rules than DBM, which is the more comparable big-battle ruleset. Ive not met anyone who says ADLG is less clearly written than DBM.
7. The extra couple of dice rolled in opposed shooting hasn't materially delayed my games. It also allows the armour and resilience of the target to be a separate factor to their shooting capability.
8. The board is 30 bases wide and 20 deep. You use around 20-25 bases. DBA is around 15 bases wide and you use 12 bases. Thats pretty similar I think? Most players in our meta think using mounted armies is much harder than using foot.
9. DBA has no points as all armies are 12 units irrespective of quality, but DBM and DBMM (he more comparable rulesets) did have points systems as do most other games. Overwhelming your opponents and getting round their flanks generally works pretty well in most rulesets….

Snowcat18 Mar 2017 4:44 a.m. PST

Re Triumph – it uses a points system that produces armies usually ranging from 12-24 bases. And the board is 48x32MU (96cm x 64cm in 15mm).


madaxeman18 Mar 2017 1:59 p.m. PST

aaah – you learn something every day!

Reverse engineering it from the angst it has caused on this and other boards I had somehow assumed it was a Phil-syntax-free DBA with some bells and whistles (and a tiny burn-able effigy of Mr Barker in every box)!

Snowcat18 Mar 2017 3:48 p.m. PST

Indeed. :)

Triumph actually offers some major departures from DBA, and take some getting used to if you come from that background (I'm still coming to terms with a couple of differences). For now, however, AdG has more of what I'm looking for.


Mithridates19 Mar 2017 4:53 p.m. PST

I like the idea of a 2.4m wide table Madaxeman, we usually compromise on 6'x 4' for 28mm and I find this too narrow.

The extra width would make Roman flanks more insecure and explains why Sulla deployed fortification against the Pontics!

Was wondering if you have ever tried any of the optional Rules, especially reducing the value of 'lost' light troops?

madaxeman20 Mar 2017 3:00 a.m. PST

30 bases of 60mm wide (which is how my 25mm stuff is based) is 1.8m (6x4) – this is the UK standard for 25mm games.

If you are using 80mm wide bases and 80mm movement though, your table will certainly be too small at 6x4.

We dabbled with the optional rules initially but found they added very little and generally made the game slower and less decisive. I've not heard any discussion of using them in quite a while now…

Mithridates20 Mar 2017 3:27 a.m. PST

Thanks for confirming my view about the need for a wider table – I now need to convince my fellow wargamers.

Empgamer13 Mar 2019 7:41 a.m. PST

Biggest problem I see with most of these rules claimed by some to be the 'next big thing' is availability. ADLG is no different in that regard. Unless the rules are available in hard copy or via e-publishing the player base can never expand beyond the first few hundred or so copies sold. It can't be big unless folks can buy it.

madaxeman07 Apr 2019 11:52 a.m. PST

ADLG is on it's 4th reprint in English, with French and Spanish versions also doing the rounds.

My understanding is that each print run was somewhere between 1500-2500. So that's a fairly decent number of copies out in the wild…

Empgamer02 May 2019 3:07 a.m. PST

Maybe it will surface again then once the 4th edition comes out. Pity it does seem to suffer from a starved / sporadic supply line.

I'd be keen to try it, providing getting hold of it doesn't become a major exercise in itself. After numerous sets of rules I jumped onto FoG, that became a grind fest though with a sense of dread every time the combat started. Liked the idea of battle groups with FoG (more realistic IMO than being able to split off elements at will in DBx), liked rather less that those groups could go anywhere any time, regardless of any command and control (what little there was of it). Generals also didn't seem to do much in terms of representing the command of different wings either, just seemed to zip about like fire-fighters boosting the odd BG. Hmmmm, nah.

Tried DBMM too, given that is what is getting played in these parts. Welcomed the return of actual commands with generals in charge of them, less so the zipping around of elements at will, starburst style. Just found it hard to get excited about playing it though. Tired of Ancients again.

Maybe ADLG will be better; if and when I can get it I'll see, provided I remember to keep checking whether it's even available. Looking at the Northstar site now the rules aren't even listed, let alone any news about a reprint either there or on the ADLG site.

As to asking questions about ADLG on the (supposedly) very active ADLG forums, well the question of an English reprint was last asked in 2017, watches as tumbleweed blows across the street. OK, maybe asking there isn't such a good idea after all. Hardly a torch under the rules here either, two threads in 2018 and two in 2019? If the rules are indeed that good fair enough, maybe they will become the dominant rule set, just doesn't seem to be the case from what a look around shows. Indeed, at the moment, just looks like another also ran contender with supply problems.

Mr Jones08 May 2019 8:42 a.m. PST

Caliver Books state it's currently out-of-print, so good luck finding a copy!

Empgamer16 May 2019 3:40 a.m. PST

Indeed. Regardless of how great rules are I'm simply not interested if you're scratching around trying to find them from day one, as will anyone else be that you introduce the game too.

kodiakblair02 Apr 2020 3:07 p.m. PST


Strange that while you were " simply not interested if you're scratching around trying to find them from day one", V3 had been released as a PDF for 5.

That was on May 15th 2019.

Archon6430 Dec 2021 5:00 p.m. PST

I can't wait for V4 to be available as a PDF. Although I bought a hard copy, I'd love to be able to have separate folders for the rules and the arm lists. You really don't need to carry around 300 army lists to every game.

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