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Rebooting my ancient wargaming

I do my level best to stay true to the course when it comes to my miniature wargaming. You know, limit the number of projects, not give in to every whim and new range that comes by. Obvious things... That said, despite starting out with ancients wargaming, that era for me has sort of fallen by the wayside. Since I've taken up the editorial mantle of Ancient Warfare again, so to speak, the old flame has been rekindled.

Fortunately - or should that be 'unsurprisingly'? - I've got plenty of minis in stock to get started, but they are mostly Greek hoplites and Hellenistic phalangite minis. Over time, I'd like to go more in the direction of the Successor Wars or the campaigns of Pyrrhus. Ancient Warfare XI.2 really got me interested again in the early 3rd century BC. I've got a unit of Thureophoroi, phalangites and some Tarentine cavalry ready for the brush as well, but I do feel the need for Galatians, maybe some barded heavy cavalry... Admittedly, I'm as yet a little unfocused.

More importantly, I used to play WAB 1.5/2, and yes, I know our dear editor of Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy would happily still declare his love for that system, it might be time to look for something newer. Any tips? What do you consider the pros and cons of the likes of Swordpoint, Hail Caesar or To the Strongest, to name but a few?

7 thoughts on “Rebooting my ancient wargaming”

  • Mark

    Lost Battles by Phil Sabin. Best (classical-era) ancients rules by a mile IMO. Not everyone's cup of tea, but if you're at all into ancient warfare, you should at least try and play it once.

  • Ian Beal

    To the strongest are an excellent set I like them a lot

  • Guy Bowers

    That's a good question, Jasper. You know my suggestions - Swordpoint is the latest successor to WAB. That said, I ran an enjoyable game of Hail Caesar last Wednesday and there are others certainly worth trying, such as To The Strongest.

    As wargamers, we are truly spoilt for rules. Hell, you might even try some DBA! :-)

    I think the best bet is to play a few games and see which one floats your boat. Best buy yourself four sets of playing cards!

  • Tom

    If you're returning to gaming I would suggest Hail Ceasar, simply down to its friendly approach to wargaming. Yes you have to think about command, yes you have to think about appropriate application of force, but at no point do you really have to scratch your head about either of these, which I feel are key to great games. But more importantly than that, just play what makes you happy, and if that means you try out a few other systems and something else clicks then all the better for it, because then you'll be able to tool your games to the right ruleset for that moment.

    Anyway, enjoy your return to pushing painted men around a table, and I hope your experience is better than you ever remembered!

    • Jasper Oorthuys
      Jasper Oorthuys October 18, 2017 at 8:54 pm

      Hi Tom,
      Very much appreciate your thoughts, but it's just the era I'm returning to. I've definitely gamed aplenty (well, painted lots, not gamed as much as I'd like, but hey...).

  • Jon-Paul

    I have to agree with those who have called out support for Hail Ceaser, it’s a great sandbox set of rules for the ancients period that allows you to go deep or keep cheap and cheerful depending on what style of game you are looking for. It’s scales well in my opinion for the small through the giant battles.

  • Rob Broom

    Whilst I am clearly biased I would say the War & Conquest ruleset ? army lists free online
    I have large Greek and spartan armies as well but of course they need expanding!!
    The period is terrific and alongside gaming it I enjoy reading and writing about it.
    As you mention I would like to venture into the Macedonian period as well at some point.
    Enjoy your return to ancients!!

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