Monday, March 20, 2017

Rule Sets Game Scales

There ae literally hundreds of rule sets for ancients and these are only a few of them.   They cover those rules that have been used for tournament play and some of the others that have been popular.  There are others that have been popular, but are no longer available.   while I have quite a  few others in my library, many of those are out of print and almost impossible to find.   The following is only intended as a rough guide to what is available or might be found.

The following table is for a comparison of unit sizes in various rule sets only.   Many of the rules have been reviewed on other sites and those reviews should be read for details on game play.  Bow range is in millimeters except for "Command and Colors' and "To the Strongest".  In some cases this has been adjusted for 40mm wide bases.  The numbers under single base and unit are the number of infantry men in close order for a single 40mm wide base and for a unit 8 ranks deep.   For “Hail Caesar”,  Tactica, and Wargames Research Group the single base number is actually for a single figure.  A “V” indicates that units can vary in size.  Bow range has been used to try and determine what a unit would represent.   As can be seen bow range varies from set to set, with the longer ranges usually being used for earlier rule sets.  For those who want to fight larger battles the rules with bow ranges of 120mm to 180mm allow for larger armies to be fielded on an average table.   Raphia which is one of the larger recorded battles would fit on a playing area about 4.5m (15 feet) with those ranges.   Wider areas would be needed for the rules with longer ranges unless the battle was scaled down.

Rule Set
Bow Range
Single Base
Unit
Notes
Ancient and Medieval Warfare
240
250
1000
1
Armati
400
250
1000
2
Broadsword Ancients Scutarii
150
500 or 250
500
3
Command and Colors Ancients
2 hexes
?
?
4
DBA
120
500
500
5
De  Bellis Multitudinis (DBM)
100
250
500
6
De Belis Magistorum Militum
120
250
500
6
Field of Glory
150
250
V
7
Hail Caesar
180
50
1000
8
Impetus
300
500
500
9
L'ART DE La Guerre
160
500
500
10
Legio
200
300-500
V
11
Might of Arms
200
200
V
12
Mortem Et Glorium
160
250
V
13
Sword and Spear
160
500
1000
14
Swordpoint
600
80
V
15
Tactica
250
20
V
16
To The Strongest
2 zones
?
?
17
Wargames Research Group IV edition
400
20
V
18
Warmaster Ancients
300
250
750
19

 Notes:
      1.        Except for Elephants, Artillery, and Chariots all units are four bases

2.       The unit strength is for the recommended size.  There are two other unit sizes in the rules.  one with fewer bases and the other with more.

3.       A unit may have one or two bases depending on the number of figures available.  Figures may also be mounted on larger bases for formations like phalangites and warbands.

4.       This is actually a board game that can be played with miniatures.   Bows have a range of two hexes and the point that firing is measured from has a bearing on unit sizes.   If the range is measured from the center of one hex to the center of the one two hexes away then a single base (block) could be 250 men and an infantry unit would be about 1000 men.  If measured from the front edge of the hex to the front edge of the target hex then the number of men would double to 2000.

5.       This is for the third edition.   The earlier edition had a greater ground scale and a greater number of men per unit.  While the basic rules only allow 12 units per army there are variations that allow 24, 36 or more per army.

6.       DBM and its successor DBMM.   These are the big battle versions of DBA, allowing many more units per army and using a point system to determine the composition.   Units are actually single bases representing troops four ranks deep, but can be placed one behind the other for combat.

7.       FOG.  At one point this was a point this was a popular rule set for tournament play.   Units can vary in size from 2 to 12 bases and must be in even multiples except for some of the formations in the Later Imperial Roman lists.

8.       Hail Caesar is intended for 28mm figures, but can be played with smaller figures by replacing the inches in the rules with centimeters.   I have seen some 6mm armies with 80mm wide units compared to the 200mm wide standard units of the rules for 25/28mm figures.   The rules actually have four unit sizes with standard units being about 200mm wide (though this can be less), large units, small units, and tiny units.  The figure ratio of 1:50 is based on 20 figures for a standard sized unit.  For this table the standard unit width is 80mm.

9.       Impetus uses larger bases than most of the other rules.   120mm is the recommended base size in the rules.   The rules also recommend doubling the distances for 28mm figures.

10.   Also known as ADLG or LADLG this rule set has become what may be the most popular tournament set.

11.   Legio.  This is actually three different sets of rules.   The bow ranges were taken from Legio Macedonia and doubled for figures on 40mm bases   The rules are designed specifically for 6mm figures on 20mm wide bases.   The bow range is only about half that of other rule sets at 100 paces.  Others range from 240 paces to 300 paces.  Units can be up to 12 bases.

12.   These use a figure ratio of 1:50.   Unit sizes can vary.

13.   Another rule set with varying numbers of bases per unit.

14.   Units are two bases wide.  The rules are intended for armies of about 15 units, but also include rules for larger armies. 

15.  Rules as written are for 28m figures on 40mm square bases with up to 12 bases per unit.  6 to 10 units per 1000 point game.  Another option for 15/18mm might be to halve the ranges and number of bases per unit.

16.   First edition of the rules.   There is a second edition in the works.   Units of varying numbers of figures.   Similar in scale to the earlier Wargames Research Group rules.

17.   Uses square zones for movement.   Rules recommend 150mm wide zones.   Again there is the question of where missile fire is actually measured from.   This is further complicated by 45 degree firing arcs which increase the firing range by up to 40% in actual distance measured, though not in the number of zones.  The rules also allow for different zone sizes depending on the players preference.  The author also uses large bases similar to those used for Impetus.  See note 4 above for the effect on unit sizes which would probably be the same as those listed there.

18.   WRG.  At one time WRG rules were almost the only rules used for tournament play.   Their base sizes were adopted by almost all other rule sets.   The rules went through seven different editions before Phil Barker went to the DBX series of rules (see notes 5 and 6 above).  The rules were originally intended for 25mm figures on 60mm bases and the range above is for the 40mm base for 15mm and smaller figures.  Units could have up to 50 figures.

19.   Adapted from the fantasy rules.   Units are three bases wide.  Certain troop types are mounted on 20mm wide by 40mm deep instead of the 40mm wide by 20mm deep of most.  Out of print, but still used. 

There are a number of historical battles on this blog including Pharsalus, Hydaspes, Raphia, Asculum and Bibracte.   Clicking on the Scutarii label will include them amongst all the blog posts for that label.

8 comments:

Sun of York said...

Fascinating bit of analysis. I played WRG 6th and 7th, then DBA and then FoG. I always felt FoG was what "WRG 8th Edition" should have been like. Now I'm using Impetus and very happy with them.

A Lot of Gaul said...

Very interesting chart, Bill. Swordpoint is my favorite Ancients ruleset, so I have included below a few comments that you may find helpful for your Swordpoint entry:

In Swordpoint, basing for formed infantry is listed as 4 figures per 40mm square base. So the "number of infantry men in close order for a single 40mm wide base" would be: 20 men per figure x 4 figures = 80 men. Formed units can be 3-12 bases strong, so the possible range "for a unit eight ranks deep" would be 240-960 men, which appears to fall within the same general range as many of the other rule sets on your list. There is no single-figure basing in Swordpoint, so the current entry could be a little misleading. Also, a typical 1000 point army is usually going to consist of approximately 6-10 units.

Cheers,
Scott

William Butler said...

Scott, thanks for providing the information about Swordpoint. I will revise the information above.

A Lot of Gaul said...

Looks good, Bill. Many thanks. I am not sure where some of your other maximum bow ranges came from, though. It looks as if you used the bow ranges given for 15mm figures for some rule sets, and 25/28mm figures for others. In order to compare apples with apples, here are the maximum missile ranges that I know for certain, all given for 25/28mm figures:

Armati = 24" = roughly 600mm
Civitates Bellantes = 5 JT = 300mm (1 JT = 60mm) - these are Simon MacDowall's rules for 15mm - 25mm Ancients
De Bellis Antiquitatis 3.0 = 3 BW = 180mm (3 x 60mm bases)
De Bellis Multitudinis 3.2 = 200 paces = 160mm (50 paces = 40mm)
Field of Glory 2.0 = 6 MU = 150mm (1 MU = 25mm, the same as for 15mm figures. However, many 25/28mm players use a 40mm MU, which would give a bow range of 240mm)
Hail Caesar = 18" = roughly 450mm (recommends halving distances for 15mm figures, or using cm instead of inches)
Impetus = 30 U = 600mm (1 U = 2cm)
l'Art de la Guerre = 4 UD = 240mm (4 x 60mm bases)
Legio = 300mm (3 x 6mm range for 25/28mm) - see Civitates Bellantes above
Might of Arms = 12" = roughly 300mm
Mortem et Gloriam = 4 BW = 240mm (1 Base Width = 60mm)
Sword & Spear = 4 DU = 160mm if using 80mm bases, 240mm if using 120mm bases (1 DU = 1/2 base width)
Swordpoint = 24" = roughly 600mm (author recommends halving distances for 15mm figures, or using cm instead of inches)
Tactica = 15" = roughly 380mm
Warmaster Ancients = 300mm for 10mm figures (25/28mm players have used various width bases, including 60mm, 80mm and 120mm - missile ranges would be increased proportionately)

A Lot of Gaul said...

P.S. For Swordpoint, the number of bases in a unit is an important measure of its strength. So when playing with 15/18mm figures, it is important to keep the same number of bases per unit as given in the rulebook.

William Butler said...

Bow ranges were taken from the rules or quick reference sheets using 15mm figure ranges were given or reduced to match a 15mm base width of 40mm as used by most of the rules. The older rule sets such as Tactica and WRG used 60mm for 25mm or 15mm per figure while the newer sets such as Hail Caesar and Swordpoint are using 20mm per figure. All (with the exception of the original listing for Swordpoint) are for 40mm wide bases. "Legio" was a recommendation for large battle rules for 15mm figures in response to a question that had been asked about rule sets for 15mm figures and large battles. The above table was done to provide a comparison of the rule sets that were recommended and/or have been used in tournament play. "Civitates" is one set that had not been mentioned.

Swordpoint is the one set that I have not purchased a copy of at this point. Since keeping the same number of bases per unit is important the range and number of bases cannot be halved unless each 40mm wide base for 15mm figures is counted as 2 bases. Their site has the QR sheet along with a lot of other useful downloads.

While Warmaster was intended for 10mm figures those who had 14mm or 6mm used the same base size. Armati includes reduced scale rulers in the back of the book that can be photo copied, while I believe it was Tactica that recommended making a reduced scale copy of a ruler for smaller scale figures.

I originally started with 20/25mm figures and WRG Ancients, then went to 15mm, and finally 6mm, trading my 15mm figures with another club member for his huge collection of 30YW, Napoleonic, ACW and ancients. I di this to reduce the amount of scenery I would have needed for multiple figure scales. Though I do still have 28mm fantasy.

William Butler said...

Thanks for posting the information for 25/28mm figures.

A Lot of Gaul said...

You are very welcome, and thanks for your patience, Bill!

"Since keeping the same number of bases per unit is important the range and number of bases cannot be halved unless each 40mm wide base for 15mm figures is counted as 2 bases."

Agreed 100%. But there is nothing wrong with halving the distances for movement and shooting, or substituting cm for inches, while keeping the number of bases the same - is what the author of Swordpoint has suggested. In fact, substituting cm for inches would allow one to field a single 12-base, 240mm-wide unit (or two 6-base, 120mm-wide units deployed side-by-side) as representing a full Roman legion.