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Best medieval wargames rules?


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Balesir

Adventurer
DBA (De Bellis Antiquitatis) - 3rd edition just out, available at Amazon. Covers 3000 BC to 1500 AD or so. Super simple but very subtle and amazingly "realistic" in terms of battle outcome.
 

Imperialus

Explorer
How far down the grog rabbit hole do you want to go? DBA is a good miniature ruleset but if you're more of a board wargame guy then personally I quite like GMT games "Men of Iron" series as a fairly good ruleset. Archers are too damn powerful, and cavalry doesn't have the punch that it really should in the age of impact warfare, but it plays well and to be perfectly honest I'm not sure there are many games out there that properly simulate just how devastating a charge of armoured horsemen was. I mean there was a reason they dominated the battlefield for 400+ years.

Oh, and if you are familiar with wargame rules in general then Chainmail holds up pretty darn well all things considered.
 

Balesir

Adventurer
Archers are too damn powerful, and cavalry doesn't have the punch that it really should in the age of impact warfare, but it plays well and to be perfectly honest I'm not sure there are many games out there that properly simulate just how devastating a charge of armoured horsemen was. I mean there was a reason they dominated the battlefield for 400+ years.
Horse 'dominated' the battlefield on and off - alternating with foot - from ancient antiquity (~3000 BCE) until WW1, so not really a persuasive argument, I'm afraid. The effect of a charge was always more morale than physical - unless morale was broken. From ~1080 to around 1380 mounted knights were considered the main arm of battle, but that was as much to do with aristocratic pride and poor quality solid infantry as anything - and that only applied in western europe in any case.

Against foot that either were disorganised or broke formation when charged knights coud wreak havoc; against disciplined, solid foot they seldom got anywhere alone (except by dismounting; the knights' ability to fight well on foot as well as mounted in the later medieval peiod really made them the "killer app" of several armies).

Archers are often overestimated in wargames rules. They really needed to be combined with other troops and well organised themselves to be as effective as they were in the early battles of the Hundred Years' War (which is the main "culprit" as to why wargamers sometimes overestimate them).

The recent Osprey books "European Medieval Tactics" by David Nicolle (as well as Phil Barker's notes in the DBA army lists) are some of the best reading to get a handle on this stuff.
 


Flexor the Mighty!

18/100 Strength!
Thanks for the replies gents. I'm leaning towards Hail Caesar by Warlord Games at the moment. I will check out DBA though. Thanks for the tip!

Of course its hard to find games of much other than Warhammer/40k or Warmahordes around here.
 

YourSwordIsMine

First Post
check out SAGA

base covers Vikings, Anglo-Dane, Norman, and Bretons.

They've also added a new era covering the Crusades.

The system is just amazing. It is more skirmish I guess, with 20-40 models a side as average. It is also 28mm by default.
 


Bluenose

Adventurer
Two Hour Wargames have several fairly closely related rules sets that both provide a fairly decent wargame and could handle anything from small skirmishes with a few dozen men up to full armies. You'd want the historical supplement for their Rally Round the King rules, or possibly their Captains and Kings set though that's intended more for a slightly earlier era than you indicate you want - 9th to 13th centuries according to the description. Saga, mentioned up-thread by [MENTION=19381]YourSwordIsMine[/MENTION] is one of the most popular (and perhaps best) rules sets for the late Dark Ages/early Medieval period, but again that's slightly earlier than your preference and it's also a set of skirmish rules rather than for battles.

Other rules I can recommend from recent play experience:

Lion Rampant from Osprey Publishing
Deus Vult by Fire Forge Games
Hail Caesar, though I'd caution that it's a set of rules for ancient warfare and imo does not do medieval as well
Days of Knights, which makes leadership and command a more key feature than most sets.

Also, Ganesha Games do a rather nice set of fantasy rules - Songs of Blades and Heroes - that would be eminently usable for medieval wargames with armies that aren't too large.
 

Flexor the Mighty!

18/100 Strength!
I know Hail Caesar is used for Wars of the Roses battles but it really lacks lists and stuff for 15th century warfare. Rick Priestly posted some army lists for that but they haven't put out any material officially.

Just got the Bolt Action Normandy set and digging into that right now.
 

pogre

Legend
Also, Ganesha Games do a rather nice set of fantasy rules - Songs of Blades and Heroes - that would be eminently usable for medieval wargames with armies that aren't too large.

I quite like those rules too. As you mention, there are some limits to the size forces you can use.
 


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