Sunday, 13 August 2017

Augustus to Aurelian - Devon Wargames Group

I had a very fun day yesterday at the monthly meeting of the Devon Wargames Group playing the role of General Publius Decimus Mus leading my Roman/Italian army to defeat against King Pyrrhus ably commanded by Mr Stephen H in a refight of Asculum 279 BC.

The game featured the very nice collection of 15mm figures owned by our game organiser Nick who had decided to use my favourite set of rules when playing ancients, 'Augustus to Aurelian' (AtoA).

The choice of rules was particularly interesting in that given they are designed for the warfare of the Principate era (27 BC - 275 AD), Nick needed to tailor them to handle pike phalanxes, elephants, war wagons and other period specific options.

I was fortunate to meet with the author, Phil Hendry, of AtoA this May at Partizan and during our chat Phil explained the difficulties he had found adapting the set to the earlier periods. I passed on Phils comments in discussion with Nick and nothing daunted, he pressed on with some home-brew adaptations that as far as possible kept to the core of the rules.

The changes made still left AtoA feeling very much like the original set and I have definitely put these in my own plans to create a 28mm collection for the Punic/Pyrrhic period and will form the basis for my own play testing at a later date.

Messing about with rules is just another facet of our hobby that I really love and coming from a generation of players that were encouraged to come up with home brewed rules or adaptations in an era when rules were thin on the ground, this aspect is second nature to me and the guys I play with.

The Dacian Wars collection amassed now sorted and ready to be worked through over the coming months

That said with the change in emphasis planned for JJ's Wargames in coming months I am on to the new projects.

The first Dacian figures are on the painting desk to start to add to my own Augustus to Aurelian collections and they are waiting for me to finish off the rest of my Saxon and Viking collection of 28mm Gripping Beast plastics that will form the core of a collection to do future Dux Britanniarum and Dux Bellorum games.

The latter set of rules were first drawn to my attention by Steve M and I have to admit I wasn't drawn to them immediately, thinking them to be too much like DBA in look and style. That said I later read more about them and liking aspects that I hadn't appreciated at first have now got a copy and intend to base my Dark Age collection to enable both set of rules to be played using the same collection - watch this space.

With changes comes planning and with my summer holiday to Belgium, Holland and Germany starting at the end of next week I will have plenty of time to add a few tweaks to painting schedules and future projects whilst reporting on a few interesting places planned to be visited during our break, so lots of stuff to come over the next few weeks.


  1. Looks fascinating JJ and always great to read about the older style rules and the variations which exist today to make them more adaptable to particular periods. I've been enjoying Ancients myself a fair bit lately.

    1. Thanks Carlo, I think it was Richard Clark at the Lardies who commented that rules are like shoes in that if you take a size 7 a pair of size 10's just won't do. It doesn't mean size 10's are a poor pair of shoes it's just thatt they're not for you.

      I think that really explains my approach to rule sets and what makes me an inveterate adapter in that I like to find a set that works for me and then tweak them a little.

      All adds to the fun