Thursday, November 18, 2021

Play Testing Some New Ancients Rules

The Good Guys (Romans) on the right, and the Seriously Misinformed on the left.

Last weekend four of us (keeping proper social distance of course) convened at General Pettygree's estate to play test a version of his BAR rules, modified for Ancients battles. Rob and Bob played the Baddies, Germanics and Macedonians, respectively, while the good General fielded his Republican Roman and I pulled my Late Romans out of retirement to save civilization from the Barbarian threat.

Rob's Germanic hoard and my Late Romans faced off against each other and we basically did an excellent job of whittling each other's army down to nothing over the span of several hours. General Pettygree's Republican Romans stared down Bob's Successor Macedonians (these were gorgeous figures) on the other end of the table. Rob got the best of my Late Romans on the left side of the table, while Pettygree defeated the Macedonian porcupine better known as a phalanx.

The purpose of the day's match's was to give the rules a play test so the outcome of the two games did not really matter.

For what it's worth, I had two 60-figure Late Roman legions and 24 archers on foot (and another 12 on horseback) plus 12 Cataphracts and 24 heavy cavalry. By game's end, a few legio figures were wandering around the field and all of my cavalry had been turned into Alpo. Rob lost most of his German war bands, but he still had a strong cavalry contingent and a fair number of archers (also known as machine guns, I dare say). Match goes to the Germanic Barbarians.

Late Roman Equites (right) charge into a mess of Messersmitts (left).
I forgot that my lads were Guard class troops.
Might have helped, probably would not  have any impact on the result.

My Late Roman Cataphracts pile into a mob of Germans.

Some of My Guys ( on the left) pile into a bunch of Baddies (on the right).
I won't lie, numbers make all the difference. The Romans did not come out on top in this melee.

One of the few highlights of my day as a Late Roman legio nearly wipes out a German war band.

I don't know what happened on the other side the woods/table, but it appears that the Republican Romans got the better of the Successors' Macedonians. So it was a tied score: Bad Guys 1 and Good Guys 1.

The Batailles dans L'Ancien Regime ("BAR") rules mechanics seemed to work well with Ancients armies, but I imagine that there will be quite a bit of tweaking of the rules before our next table top clash between the Good Guys and The Bad Guys. My feeling was that the archery was way too powerful relative to their numbers in the game and I would imagine that most of the rules tweaks will come from that area of the rules. There was one instance where I had my last 8 archers fire off a hail of arrows at a Germanic war band, cutting down 6 of the Bad Guys. 

The melee and morale mechanics worked just fine so I don't imagine that there will be too much tinkering with those parts of the BAR rules.

We shall all reconvene at General Pettygree's country estate the first weekend of December and cross spears and swords once again with some revisions to the rules.

Oh, by the way, I found 20 unpainted Roman Cataphracts in my Pile O' Lead back at the home base in Hesse Seewald. What should I do with these figures? Hmmm.



  1. Now THIS is a cure for whatever might ail a wargamer! What a display.

    Kind Regards,


  2. Great looking game. I suspect we all buy rules and spend a lot of time tweaking them!

    1. I confess to buying lots of rules for the pretty color pictures.😎

  3. Good to see your Roman army even if it was to have a bad day


    1. I didn’t make it clear in my post that these are 28mm armies rather than my 54mm work in progress Republican Roman army.

      These guys haven’t seen the tabletop in over a decade, but I suspect that they will be seeing more action going forward.

  4. Wonderful display of excellent wargaming.


  5. Excellent stuff! It is surprising how well pretty much any pre-19th century battlefield rules can be adapted to battles from the Pharaohs onwards - so long as men march in ranks and manoeuvre as formed groups they are all subject to the same physics and physiology, and much of the same psychology I guess.

    1. Good observation. We’ve adopted General Pettygree’s rules to a number of different periods with success. Ancients, SYW, Napoleonic and 19th Century Colonials.

  6. The germans had twice as many archers as Jim's Romans. As Jim said, numbers are a big advantage.
    The rules will certainly be tweaked some more.
    If you paint up those Cataphracts and add them to your current unit, they will be monsters.

    1. Rob, you wily old rascal, I didn’t know about the disparity in the number of archers.😄

      I’d better break out the Vallejo Cataphract Paint pronto. 😀

    2. We had a very good time socially too; moving units, throwing dice, eating chow, talking, laughs, enjoying the spectacle and all the rest.
      Bill P.
      Chronicler for The Adventures of General Pettygree