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Fun, Fast and Furious!
This ruleset simulates battles in the period of 2000 BCE to roughly 1500 CE, the age which includes Empires as Alexander the Great’s Macedonians, Rome, Carthage, Genghis Khan and Charlemagne.
The game is designed as a multiplayer game but will work just as fine with only two players or even solo. It is written for people with no prior wargame experience, but has enough depth to entertain the experienced wargamers as well. The army structure that is presented, can be easily adapted to the number of miniatures that you have available. Albeit that a large army look suitably impressive. Hopefully, playing the game will encourage you to create your own armies. Similarly, the distances are given in inches for use with 28mm scale soldiers. Feel free to adapt to centimeters should you do not have the space or use a smaller scale of miniatures.
In an ideal battlefield situation the enemy was pinned in place by the threat of cavalry or disorganised by the missiles of infantry. Once this was accomplished, other units could deliver the coup de grace. Tactics were therefore based on teamwork between units, or even armies. Every unit would have its own specific task and if they executed their tasks in unison, success was often achieved. The aim in this game, is not to annihilate the enemy’s units to the last man, but to inflict enough damage, indicated by chips, that morale is reduced and the unit will become shaken or will run away in panic and removed from the tabletop. By a clever combination of movement, shooting and dashing cavalry charges, this can be achieved. The tactics are based on teamwork. Not only within a group, but also between groups and as such, the whole army.
Your role will be that of a commander in an ancient or medieval army. Should more than two players per side be available, one of you will play the part of Commander-in Chief or general. Should any disagreement arise concerning the rules, we suggest you roll a dice. The one who rolls the highest number has it right, for now.
Bundle includes: rules set, Two commander dice and the De Re BelloLudi card deck
Markers and chips can be downloaded in the download section Review of De Re Belloludi INTRO Having already bought the Bello Ludi Napoleonic/Black Powder rules, read them and enjoyed them, I was most interested to learn that they had brought out an Ancient set of rules. Having received my copy, the format, layout, use of cards and dice are the same as the above mentioned set, so I was looking forward to reading them. Before starting my review of the rules, I have to say that, as I'm getting older, I'm looking for rules that are simple, straightforward, easy to use and give an enjoyable game. I've never been very good at learning/understanding/working out new rules, especially as some are many pages long. I've always given them to my wargaming friend to read and sort out so that I can learn them "second hand" from him!!!! Finally, I think I've learned from the other Bello Ludi rules that their "philosophy" is to produce simple, easy to understand and straightforward to play rules, so this has had an impact on the structure and content of their rules. Remember that they were aimed at the first time/beginner wargamers and were originally designed for corporate team building events. However, I'm also interested in seeing if they also contained ideas/materials that would attract the more experienced wargamers. As both sets of rules say, if there is a disagreement over a problem, roll a dice to sort it out, and I think this approach is what most experienced wargamers do, and it allows you to introduce "house rules" building on the basics of the rules. So, with all this in mind, I turned to the rules and started reading. REVIEW The rules are in the same A5 format as their first set and are just 21 pages long. They contain 3 pages of introduction, 4 pages of background to the rules (types of units and weapons, movement distances, number of dice for hand-to-hand combat and shooting, and a morale value) - all easy to follow. We then come to the main body of the rules - 6 pages (how nice after the dozens of pages in some rules). These are arranged as a Sequence of Play, and then each action is carefully explained, using 3 photographs and a diagram to expand on various parts of the rules. Sequence of Play is as follows:
- making a plan
- roll for initiative
- Command (movement, including initiative moves)
An IGo UGo system, already familiar to experienced players. The Command Phase is when the specially produced dice come into action. The dice have 0, 1, 2, 3 and B on them 0-3 dictates how many moves can be made by units in a Command. Any unit within 12" of an enemy unit have an automatic movement. B is the BLUNDER (familiar with users of other rules) and a D6 is rolled to find the result of the BLUNDER. This table is given on the Quick Reference Sheet (QRS) at the back of the rule book. (also downloadable at www.belloludi.nl/downloads) Then comes the rules for SHOOTING, using a D6. This needs a 5 or 6 to hit (with only 4+ modifiers - not the long A4 list some rules have). HAND-TO-HAND is similar, with a 5-6 to hit, a few modifiers and the test the loser has to take given in a box. There then follows instructions for SUPPORT and PURSUIT and the DISORDER/SHAKEN nature of a unit. MORALE "points" are given in the opening pages of the rules when describing the types of units. All units are given a morale rating of 4/7 All units are "safe" if they have 0-3 hits. When they reach 4-6 they become shaken (receiving a -1 for shooting/hand-to-hand). Once 7+ is reached, the unit is removed from play. Players can keep track of hits in many ways - using chips, markers or a note for each unit. Experienced players will already have their own method for doing this.
- Just a note here for experienced players.
All units are given the same Morale rating - 4/7. Experienced Ancient players may find this unusual, given the different roles, armour and size of units. So here is a chance for you to use the rules, but adapt these figures to suit your own understanding of the period. For the beginner, it is useful to have a standard set of numbers to make the game easier to learn. This then leads to a discussion about brokengrouos/commands and victory conditions. This is the end of the basic rules. They are straightforward, easy to implement and understand. Do I think they will produce a good game? Yes, I do and will certainly use them as a reasonably experienced Ancient war gamer of 20+ years. You DON'T have to rebase figures you already have. Although suggestions are given at the beginning regarding sizes. You can play these rules with figures that are based in different ways We now come to 6 pages of what are called ADVANCED RULES. Any first time/beginner war gamer will need to play the basic game a few times before launching into these. These are the pages that the more experienced wargamer will be interested in. These pages discuss Terrain and obstacles, different troop types and weapons (including pikes, pilums and longbows). It is this section that shows there are is a greater variety of troop types in the Ancient period than in the Black Powder era. Different types of fighting units ranging from Heavy/light cavalry, camels, cavalry using kontos and lance, elephants and chariots. New charts for movement, hand-to-hand, shooting and morale are included here along with a section on unit size and relevant charts for small units and large units. For those who like a points system to help build armies, there is a page devoted to this, indicating the points values for all types of units mentioned in the ADVANCED rules. ** Just be careful here. The heading for the Points System is at the top of the page, but is actually over the large units box. The points system box is actually half way down that page!!! Bello Ludi uses cards to give more interaction in the game and produce a set to go with these rules. What I like about this Ancient set is that this is outlined fully on the final pages of the rules (in the Black Powder/Napoleonic set, they are just mentioned in a short paragraph and one has to look at the card deck and instructions that come with them in order to find out how to use them). They give a nice flavour to the rules for those who choose to use them (they are optional) There are 21 positive cards, 21 negative cards and 12 command cards (which can be positive or negative). The final page of the booklet is the all important QRS SUMMARY So there we are. An overview of the Bello Ludi Ancient rules. They are good value too. For around £30 (including postage) you get a rules booklet, deck of cards (in a plastic container) and 2 special BelloLudi dice. In this age of very expensive rules, I think that is very good value for money. Although aimed at first time players, the ADVANCED rules give something for the more experienced player. They offer a good rules base from which experienced players can develop their own tastes, but retain a good rules mechanism. I've sure that many of my fellow 54/60mm gamers will find these rules fast and easy to play and ideal for this size of figure. With the Covid pandemic, I haven't had chance to play through the rules yet - that will have to wait til the New Year- but having read them through I'm convinced that they are going to give me a good game." Dave, UK
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