Friday 27 April 2012

Old School Ancient Wargame

My wargame chums got together to play an Old School Ancient wargame using a set of rules written in 1972 by a veteran wargamer called Slim Mumford. These rules were widely used in several Scottish clubs in the 70's and 80's alongside whatever flavour of WRG Ancients that was current at the time.

The game pitched a Greek Confederation force against a formidable Spartan army.

In the foreground are a unit of Italian mercenaries, heavy infantry armed with pila and sword. They are preceded by a couple of units of skirmishers, slingers to the fore backed up with some peltasts.

In the midground beyond the mounted general are a unit of Theban hoplites who are screened by a unit of archers.

In the far distance the right wing of the Confederation are a hazy bunch.

Meanwhile on the other side of the featureless plain lies the Spartan army. Wall to wall hoplites in an impressive bronze tipped line plus a few menial peasants with pointy sticks and a heroic band of horsemen from Macedonia, a Greek province far to the north.

A close up of the Spartan line.

The hazy bunch on the Greek Confederation far right come into view. Light horse skirmish to the front followed by a unit of Federation Greek hoplites, some mercenary hoplites and a unit of Spartan renegades.

The first attack of the game was an apparantly rash assault by the Macedonian cavalry on the skirmish bowmen in the centre of the Confederation line. Rash it was indeed as the archers caused sufficient casualties on the charging horsemen to test their moral and promptly saw them flee in panic to the rear and probably back to the mountains in the north.

Meanwhile the two battle lines continued to close covered by their skirmishers. The Thebans and the Italian mercenaries shortened their lines which I thought was a bit strange but as I was umpire I could not comment. In general the Confederation skirmishers got the better of the Spartan light troops.

Funnily enough the Spartans shortened their line too. Maybe I was missing something!

A birdseye view of the whole affair.

Up to this point there had been a few morale tests for casualties caused by missiles the most extreme of which had taken the Macedonian cavalry out of the fight. The two main melees saw both sides closing to white of the eyes distance. In the foreground the Spartans took heavy casualties from the Italian pila but their good morale kept them in the fight. In the other scrum both sides fought to a standstill with one Greek unit halted in confusion but otherwise continuing to fight.

The second phases of both of these mass melees gradually saw the Spartans ground down and ready to give way to superior numbers. Additionally the Greek light cavalry were about to take some of the Spartans from behind.

The general flow of the game was fine although we had to debate a number of issues which we hope to resolve with a few houserules. These rules require you to roll lots of dice which is fine by us and both the firing chart and morale chart are easy to commit to memory. All in all we had a great game and will no doubt play it again soon.


  1. Are the rules copyright Jim? If not any chance you would be able to provide a link to them?

    1. That's a good question Kingsley. I'm not sure of the correct answer.

      The version we used was dated 1972 and was a more recent retype of a club copy also dated 1972 which I had typed for club use in that era. I also have an original copy typed by the authour himself dated 1972.

      The rules were revised in 1976 and I have a dated copy from then too. None of these copies have copyright statements on them to my knowledge. I would have to double check.

      Slim also produced more professionally finished copies of his rules and they would have been sold around hobbyists. I also have a copy of them somewhere.

      I have a further copy sent to me by the author just a few years ago which would be the same version as the copy above as a gesture towards my old school revision project.

      I expect that I will see Slim himself, in the flesh, at Carronade in Falkirk next weekend. I could ask his opinion as to producing further copies for distribution.


  2. Jim

    Those are completely and utterly fantastic. Thanks for posting!