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So you (maybe) want to get into ancient gaming?

Ancient gaming is a great jumping off point for historical gaming. It is similar enough to modern miniature games to make it easy and approachable to someone who has never played historicals.

The first thing you will notice, is there is no “one stop shop” for it. You will usually purchase rules and figures from separate companies.

Not always, but usually.

Like most historical games, you can play ancients in multiple scales.

For the purpose of this article, I will be talking about 15mm scale. I believe its perfect for ancient gaming. Armies look good on the tabletop, the size makes painting forgivable and you will have a lot of different purchase options.

A rulebook is the first thing you need. There are a lot of choices out there, with more coming out every now and then. I believe the perfect introduction to 15mm ancient is De Bellis Antiquitatis.

DBA as it is more commonly known, has been around a long time and the current version is 3.0.

What makes it a great intro is, it only requires twelve bases and plays on a 2X2 playing area.

You can purchase a rulebook from the following places:

I just noticed this, I ordered it.

The actual “rules” in the book are only 30 pages long. The rest of the book is made up of army lists. In ancient gaming you have a ENORMOUS amount of army lists to choose from. In DBA the lists are divided up into four different periods:

  • Chariot 3000-500 BC
  • Classical 500-476 BC
  • Early Medieval 476-1071 AD
  • High Medieval 1071-1520 AD

Figure out what you want to play from a book, movie or just your favorite point in history. Now let’s see where we can order some figures from:

The easiest thing for me is to just link this page.

Your rulebook will tell you what you need and how to base them. The great thing is, DBx basing is the most common across rulesets so you don’t have to worry about re-basing for another system

Basing, oh yeah. Remember when I told you no one stop shopping? You will need to purchase your own bases. The rulebook will tell you the correct sizing. You can get them from a lot of different places, I like these guys.

You should be all set at this point. Read your rulebook, watch tutorials and if you run into questions, ask on the forum. Also, DBA lends itself well to tournament play.

Now if you have decided you like ancient gaming and/or you want to step up to larger size battles, I would recommend Art De La Guerre.

You can use you same figures and the same basing. It plays on roughly a 2X3 play area. (60X80cm)

It has a worldwide ranked tournament system and events play at all the southeast historical conventions in the US.

Here in Mississippi we have a dedicated group of gamers on the coast. They host or help with several tournaments in the southeast throughout the year. I would absolutely like to get a local tourney on the circuit.

The great thing about ancients, especially the DBx basing, is you can use your figures in whatever ruleset you find or even make one up on your own.

You can get an idea of ancient gaming and the Field of Glory rules, by playing the PC game. Also, I am fascinated by “To the Strongest!” because it uses a grid map system and uses playing cards instead of dice.


I hope you find this helpful, I am by no means an expert, I would just like to see some regularly ancients play locally. So I typed this out for my local groups benefit.

Published inAncientsDBAEditorialLADGSAGAWarlord

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