Tally Ho!

Saturday 13 April 2024

Three Ages of Rome review

This week we have been learning a new set of rules slated for our next campaign - the Three Ages of Rome. As the name suggests the focus is on Republican, Imperial and Late Romans plus their enemies. The book runs to 160 pages - the rules are about a third of the book with the rest giving some historical intros, some basic wargames concepts and finally some lists and scenarios. Its basing agnostic but recommends 120mm frontage for 20/25mm and 80mm frontage for 6/10/15mm. 

The rules are very simplistic with relatively few troop types and simple mechanics needing no casualty removal or recording, unit morale instead moving up and down between 4 states depending on hits that turn. Units are organised into commands under a leader, usually 3 commands per army with 4-6 units in each.  Commands are issued orders (hold, attack, withdraw) with initiate done on a card system - one card per command with each drawn out in turn until all commands have activated in a random order.

Imperial Romans - Warlord games plastics

Melee and shooting work on the same system - roll for hits and then saves. Hits alter your morale status with units moving from good - disordered - disrupted - routed. There are rules for rallying which enable you to improve morale. Games end when sufficient units or commands are routed for the commanders will to break e.g. you fail an army moral test. 

For our games we did Imperial vs Dacian in modern 28mm and Imperial vs Gallic in "classic" 25mm.

Gallic hordes - classic minifigs and plastics

Dacians - warlord games plastics

Sarmatians vs Romans - more warlord games, metal this time

Ancient British panzer division rides again 

So how does the game play?

The simple mechanics and long moves (Cav = 30-40cm) means things progress quickly and its easy to get the concepts. Orders work well and movement is unfussy.  Shooting ranges are short (15cm for bows) but units can both shoot and possibly fight in a charge turn so that is less of an issue.

There are quite a few charts used for the different phases so the homemade QRS is 2 pages if you do these in readable font - the intent clearly being you play from the book. The biggest challenge is things are hard to kill - hits are hard to score and you can recover wounds on units in combat almost as easily as you inflict them. So we had lots of pushing back and not much routing.

Next week we are going to remove in-combat recovery and restrict it to units outside 20cm of the enemy. So hits should be more sticky and routs more common. We will also reduce the size of the Roman army a bit - their troops are superior to the barbarians but mostly at no additional cost.       


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