Sunday, March 20, 2011

Let The Games Begin!

It's a very exciting time for Ancient War gaming at the moment, with the arrival of three new rule books, all destined to be released at this years Salute in London. For my money, Warhammer II has been a bit of a flop, with years of waiting and no supporting material, the final rulebook was a bit of a let down. A year has gone by now almost since its release and still no supplements to support it, Forge World may be excellent at making models but seem to be terrible at living up to promises. I think that the black cloud that has engulfed WAB II has opened up a gap in the market. For many years WAB has been second to none In my opinion, but now with the game on its knees I think other companies have seen their chance and moved in for the kill.
The new contenders in the arena are 'Clash of Empires' by Great Escape Games (C.O.E), 'Hail Caesar' by Warlord Games and 'War And Conquest' by Scarab Games. Poor old Rob Broom after being shat on by WAB and Forge World rises like a Scarab beetle from the dung and launches his own company and rule set. Good for him I say, you show 'em Rob. For me getting rid of Rob after years of hard work on WAB was the death of the game. I haven't heard much about his new rules but I wish him luck with them, he's going to need it with such fierce competition looming out of nowhere.
'Hail Caesar' from Warlord seems to be based on their successful Black Powder rules which have proved very popular. Like many War gamers I tend to collect rule sets even If I have no intention of playing them, combing them for ideas and tips. However, I found Black Powder's lack of army lists a real drag and a lot of extra research and working out that I didn't have time for. As hobby time gets even more precious I can't even find time to paint let alone research army much as I enjoy it. This lack of lists has tainted the water for me as I like to know what I'm collecting and have lots of pointers and tips.
As It stands at the minute my Denarii is on 'Clash of Empires' by Great Escape Games. It seems to be very similar to WAB in many respects in game play but with lots of new lovely extras thrown in. Armies have their own character and traits which for me is great and just the sort of thing I look for. Also Great Escape Games have promised to release loads of supporting army lists and supplements within the first year, another tick in my book.
Well lets just see what happens, the War games world is full of surprises; why I remember getting excited about Field Of Glory (FOG)...yes quite. I think the real key to success is making a good set, then supporting it and being there for the players. 'Napoleon' from Foundry was another set I got very excited about and even rebased my French army for. To my knowledge Foundry have dropped It like a lead balloon, with no supporting material. I'm still waiting for the Waterloo Army lists for the game...very poor. Anyway that's enough from me, Let the games begin!

May the best Game win!


Scutatus said...

Hear here! I couldn't have said it better myself.

Bloody apalling show from FW, disgraceful attitude. If they'd had the decency to just be honest and say "we aren't supporting WAB anymore - there will be no WAB2 after all" instead of all the WAB2 farce we did get, they would have got a lot more respect and understanding. WAB itself might well have continued, as it always has, with the rules and supplements already in being.

Ironically though, the dragged out, deceitful, atrociously underhanded and incompetent treatment FW HAVE given WAB (and its valiant contributors) has only served to alienate the community. Even the players who have played quite happily for a decade - long before WAB2 arrived - are now leaving in droves. Few people now want to continue with a WAB still under FW/GW control - the mistreatment has been that abominable.

I said it before when FW first took over, and I say it again: FW was the worst thing that could happen to WAB. It's tragic that I was proved so apallingly correct. It's been far worse than even I feared. :(

WAB will not quite die completely. I am sure that WAB will continue to be played by a small hardcore of gamers, many of whom will likely revert to WAB 1 or 1.5 and the decade's worth of Supplements already in being. But as so many WABites abandon the sinking ship to play the new, properly supported alternatives, WAB will no longer be the major game that it was. In many ways it is the end of an era.

It is a fate that was utterly unecessary, totally avoidable and need never have happened. And yet it has. It's been terribly sad to witness.

My favourite Successor to WAB is most certainly COE. I'm looking forward to having my hands on the rules this time next month.

The King is dead. Long live the King.

DeanM said...

Excellent graphics to accompany the article ;)!

What very little I know of CoE sounds promising. I recall reading something along the lines that generals/characters aren't just "super killing machines" aka "SKM." That is great. I always have trouble IDing my opponents "SKM's" - to my army's chagrin.

I'm still using WAB 1-1.5, although I did "acquire" the ethereal Successors supplement. I do not plan buying WAB 2.0.

Regards, Dean

BigRedBat said...

Will have a look at "Hail Caesar". Read today that Phil Hendry is working on a set of ancients rules, might look out for those too.

Furt said...

The new rulebooks mean little to me personally but what a piece of art work! Great as usual.


Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

Yes, GW/FW treatment has been horrible in regards to supporting WAB2(my all time favourite for ancients) and as has been noted could easily have been avoided. Real shame that.
Regardless, I enjoy WAB and will continue to play it as there is quite enough material already in circulation to keep me busy.
Since COE and WAC are similar to WAB in playing style and importantly no re-basing required will for sure see these rules added to my collection and tried out. I'm hopeful they will cover the gap in periods WAB didn't get too.
If your looking for a good set of Nap rules I'd recommend General de Brigade and I've heard good things about Lasalle as well.


Dwarfy Mcgee said...

Brilliant work! Competition is good for business. It's interesting to see how the scene sorts itself out.

ZeroTwentythree said...

In addition to taking a look at the three new systems, I'm taking a second look at Crusader (from Crusader Miniatures) as well. I may look into Impetus as well, as a lot of people seem to like it. (Then again, a lot of people seem to like FoG but I don't care for it, so who knows...)

I think it's going to be an exciting year for ancients gaming.

The Colour Kiwi said...

It seams to be a good year for war-gaming in general lots of new material for lots of different periods. with regards to ancient wargaming i myself like FOG but only at 600 points on a 5' x 3' table. makes for a faster game and the rules just seam to work better than they do at the standard 800 point level. WAB was good back in the day but i hated the fact that armies like the saxons and vikings were tougher than a human from any other period of time.

Sidney Roundwood said...

Great illustration, Secundus, and a fine post. The demise of WAB has been one of the saddest things in wargaming for years. The journey from the fine supplements of "Shieldwall", "Age of Arthur" and "El Cid" (all of which I have enjoyed reading over the years)to where the system lies now is deeply depressing. As you mention, there is definately a space in the market for at least another couple of systems, and I wish all the new arrivals very well indeed. The next few months will be very interesting.

Long Island Wargammer said...

Honestly, I couldn't have said it better. Very well written post!

Steve said...

It is a shame what has happened and i agree with everything you have said. Once rob was off we all knew the WAB was finished.
But since all my friends play WAB and it is a good fun game, especially for the dark ages, large style skirmish battles. Then i will continue to play it.
I have also been impressed by the Impetus ancint rules, well worth checking out if you havnt already. basic impetus a simplified version is also available as a free download.

fantastic art work as usual!

Doc said...

Haha - bloody brilliant cartoon! FOG demised and WAB getting its throat cut by COE - luv it! Having had my fingers burnt once with rules (the Napoleonic set 'Elan') I understand completely that somebody always seems to get the rough end of the pineapple. I think you've got the right attitude - look forward to the next lot. The demise of WAB in particular is disgraceful but will not doubt result in some other clever bugger coming up with something even better.

I saw 'Napoleon' too and like you was mightily tempted to splash out and get it. It looked so good with lovely graphics and plenty of eye-candy/wargamer porn. But I went with BP as it had the same visual appeal BUT it was such a simple and straight-forward system. Glad I did as it has given my mates and I many hours of great gaming. Take your point about army lists but honestly, you don't need 'em. The rules give you the basics for building your army of choice (just remember to make your units BIG!)and there are a plethora of lists around for other systems readily adapted to BP.

As always, luv yer work baby!


Scott said...

According to Rick Priestley, the very first supplements for Hail Caesar will comprise some 100 army lists. Apparently there will also be some "teaser" lists posted on the Warlord Games web site in the relatively near future.

So if army lists are your thing, rest assured that Hail Caesar will have plenty of them!

Guy said...

Hey Secundus! We are doing a comparison of the new games systems for the next issue of Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy. We'd love to use that cartoon. Drop me a line at and have a chat.