Broken Legions

Broken Legions is the latest set of rules in the Osprey Games series. It envisages a fantasy Roman Empire where the gods and creatures of myth are quite real. In the game, players build warbands to fight each other, enlisting allies (called Auxilia) or calling upon miracles (magic). This is a skirmish level game, requiring typically between seven and twelve models a side.

Broken Legions front cover.

There are seven factions to choose from: representing the Roman empire, there are the Soldiers of the Eagle. Representing Religion, there’s the Order of Mithras and the Cult of Set. Rebels against the empire include the Sons of Spartacus and the Argonauts (rebellious Greeks) From the fringes of empire come the Barbarians and Dacians, and finally there’s the rival empire in the form of the Parthians. Each faction has a very good choice of heroes & henchmen, and can hire Auxilia (mercenaries) which range from deadly assassins to demigods, with some legendary creatures (like the centaur or cyclops) in between. 

Soldiers of the Eagle break the barbarians.

The dice use are ten sided throughout (D10s). Each turn players dice for initiative, after which each side activates one model at a time. The leader model is always the first model activated each turn. When activated, each model may make a move or charge action followed by a second action (run, shoot, hide, perform miracle or heroic action). Movement distance is 6” (a D5 + Agility for charges) for infantry and 10” (a D10 + Agility) for Cavalry. With an average agility score of 3, this means charges can be shorter than the standard move, particularly for cavalry. 

Caractacus lives!

Shooting is resolved at the time a model is activated, while melee is resolved after all the models have been activated. Combat resolution comes in two steps - missile attacks roll against the difficulty to hit the target while melee attacks are opposed - each side rolls a D10 and adds its melee value. If the attacker beats the defender, a hit is scored. On a successful hit, the weapon’s strength is rolled against the defender’s armour - a successful hit does one damage (a typical human has one hit while heroes can have two or three hits). There is a 1 in 10 chance of a critical hit, which does one damage regardless of armour.

Release the war dogs!

There are 20 powerful miracles (spells). These are cast by rolling Presence (typically 4 to 5) + a D10, beating a score of 10, with a small chance of ‘wrath of the gods’, causing one point of damage. The miracles are, obviously, themed to the ancient era. Most are ‘boosts’ for allies, but there are a few summoning and offensive miracles, such as ‘Raise the Bones’ which calls forth skeletons from the ground. Heroes can also use fate points to call upon the gods for favors and grant them boons in battle. Most of the time their calls will be answered.

Auxilia desperately fight their way out of a trap.

There are also over two score of special rules for skills, abilities and weapons. Finally, there are five scenarios and five pages dedicated to running campaigns, which includes experience and character development. 

Broken Legions has a strong Roman flavour all the way through. It certainly brings to life a very alternative fantasy setting - not quite Jason and the Argonauts nor standard medieval fantasy. Given the low price of the rules (£11.99) and ease of entry (only needing a handful of miniatures which most of us ancients players will have already), these are definitely worth trying.

  • Author: Mark Latham
  • Publisher: Osprey Games
  • Price: £11.99
  • Pages: 64-page full colour softback
  • System: Dice-based Initiative
  • Dice: D10

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