What Wargaming Rules to use for the Macedonian and Punic Wars?

The Carthaginians were my first wargames army as an adult – I inherited and expanded my father’s 1/72 scale converted Airfix army. They are long gone but now I have a beautiful set of Carthaginian, Roman and Spanish armies in 15 mm for the Punic Wars. As it happens, I also have some their Macedonian contemporaries … Seleucid.

The question is, what wargaming rules to use them with.

Tactical Rules

I’m still looking for a rule set that simulates the Punic Wars well. In particular how to simulate the most the Roman and Carthaginian deployment in in multiple lines with the best troops at the back.

DBA Cover

DBM

I was using DBM for all my big ancients games but as DBM can’t represent the standard Punic War deployment I began searching for better alternatives. In DBM this deployment would mean that when the levies in the first line broke they would take the veterans in the back lines with them. Hardly historical.

DBA and HOTT

Like DBM, neither DBA and HOTT can simulate the standard multi-line deployment of the main protagonists. DBA is particularly bad for this period as Warbands cut through Blades rather quickly, so the much vaunted Legionnaires shy away from hairy barbarians.

At least DBA and HOTT have the advantage of being quick to play.

Field of Glory Cover

Field of Glory (FOG)

More recently I’ve tried Field of Glory in a few Punic Wars games. Unfortunately I found them very one sided. Stereotypically so. The games featured some dancing on flanks but when the Roman infantry hits the Carthaginian infantry it is game over as the Legionnaires slice their way through the enemy line. There are hints of history in there – legionaries were better than the lighter equipped opponents – but in a FOG game this is instantaneous whereas history tells of a bitterly fought contest which, all things being even, the legionnaires will eventually win.

I also find it odd that Field of Glory lacks a push back or retreat combat outcome. Hannibal’s deployment of his Spanish infantry at Cannae meant he expected them to be pushed back without breaking, and he was right. Similarly an open battle of pikes versus legionnaires had the legionnaires being pushed back, often for a considerable distance. None of that is possible in FOG.

Warmaster Historical

John Mclennon recommended I try Warmaster Historical. Unfortunately after only one game John left the country and I’ve not tried again. I will do some more experimenting when my attention returns to this period.

Simon McDowell’s Legio VI

To quote Simon:

Based on a simplified version of Comitatus mechanisms, Legio VI is designed for fast playing big battle using 6mm figures.

Legio appears in two variants:

  • LEGIO VI MACEDONICA for Roman Republican and Hellenistic wars 400-100BC
  • LEGIO VI JULIA AUGUSTA for the wars of the late Roman Republic and Early Empire 100BC-250AD

So the first of these looks the one for us.

See Legio Wargames

Campaigns

I’ve a couple of Punic War era campaigns in the DBx section:

4 comments to What Wargaming Rules to use for the Macedonian and Punic Wars?

  • Bernhard Rauch

    We use Warhammer Historicals and are quite happy with it.

  • We have been using Impetus from Dadi & Piombo in 6mm and it works wonders. Of course, Basic Impetus, being free is a good way to look at the core rules with minimum investment and I think you can even arrange DBx bases for it with relative ease without rebasing. Games tend to be quite short and packed with action.

    By the way, I really like your painting guide about Iberians and Celtiberians since I am just starting to paint my 6mm Hispanian armies.

    • Steven Thomas

      I had a bad experience with Basic Impetus – admittedly for the Italian Wars rather than Macedonian Wars.

      Glad you found the painting guide useful.

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