It is probably safe to say that our gaming circle has been somewhat … underwhelmed, by the off the shelf options available for wargaming hoplite battles at the moment.
Although the likes of L’Art de La Guerre and distantly related DBX games can be fantastic (and we are big fans of ADG here), its scope is – I feel – a little too broad to capture a sense of hoplite battle. Seeing two long lines of evenly matched, slow moving, robust infantry units plod towards each other is not exactly thrilling.
Other rule systems we have played (such as Men of Bronze) are, conversely, too dynamic. They allow extraordinarily swift movements – hoplite charges outdistance missile range and leave re-deployment so easy as to make the mini-game that is the initial of tactical deployment all but obsolete.
Hail Caesar, Sword and Spear and Impetus are not every body’s cup of tea and many unit types just end up a bit vanilla after a round of combat. On the flip slide, more bespoke solutions – like the Perfect General’s Hoplomachia, can feel a bit heavy going for a casual evening’s gaming.
As they say, there is just no pleasing some people.
However, what we didn’t realise until recently, was that we could be well pleased with a gaming solution that was right under our noses the whole time. All we needed to do was the re-frame the way we were looking at the problem. There will be much more to say on the matter in the near future, but for now I just want to tip my proverbial hat to Mr Dan Mersey, and thank him once again for Dux Bellorum…