Sunday, December 31, 2017

Interactive map of the Antonine Wall

The Antonine Wall was, from AD154 to AD 162 and a few years after AD208, the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire in Britain. Built of turf on a stone foundation, it was about 10 ft high and 16 ft wide, punctuated by string of 16 forts with small fortlets between them.

The interactive map on the Heritage Daily site gives detailed information about each fort besides pinpointing its location in the wall. More here.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Triumph! ruleset - refining DBA

Triumph! is an Ancients ruleset based on DBA and partly on DBM but with many refinements of its own. Produced by the Washington Grand Company in the US, it incorporates the largest set of army lists of any pre-gunpowder gaming system - 648 armies and growing, freely available online.

Triumph has a far more diverse set of troop types than DBA/M - 26 in all, each of which has a points value from 2 to 4. An army is chosen from a list and totals 48 points or less. 

Destroy 16 points of your enemy's army and you win the game. Movement is by group or individual stand but with nuances setting it apart from DBA. Terrain placement and deployment also have new and interesting ideas.

More on the Washington Grand Company website.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Sllingshot 315 with the printers

Slingshot 315 is with the printers and should appear shortly. The magazine has undergone a facelift whilst preserving its original style. We hope readers enjoy the (somewhat) new format.

Contents include:
  • Is Goliath a Distraction? - by Alastair McBeat
  • A Bit of Fun with Phalanxes - by Chris Hahn 
  • The Battle of Heraclea (280BC) - by Periklis Deligiannis
  • Battle Day - Arsuf with DBA and HotT - by Martin Smith
  • Battle Day - Arsuf with Sword and Spear - by David Reynolds
...and plenty of reviews, including an overview of the boardgame Northampton 1460 by Richard Lockwood.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Incredibly detailed 3500 year old Minoan relief

An intricately carved gem, or 'sealstone', only 1,4 inches wide, has been discovered in a 3500-year-old Minoan tomb of a Bronze Age warrior in south-western Greece. The detail and realism of the carving - a battle scene in which one warrior kills another whilst a third lies dead at their feet - overturns all previous notions about Greek art in this period.

 The sealstone along with other artifacts was discovered by an archaeological team from the University of Cincinatti two years ago, though the sealstone itself was only fully revealed a year later after it had been properly cleaned.

"What is fascinating is that the representation of the human body is at a level of detail and musculature that one doesn't find again until the classical period of Greek art 1,000 years later," explained Jack Davis, the university's Carl W. Blegen professor of Greek archaeology and department head. "It's a spectacular find."

More here.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Society Conference October 2017

Here is an account of the Society of Ancients Conference held in Kenilworth, Warwickshire on the 14-15 October, by Roy Boss, Society President.

The second 21st century SoA conference was an excellent event which combined scholarship and learning and some good gaming!

Matt Bennett took us through the development of the mediaeval cog...a round tub of a ship used in the Baltic and demonstrated some Russian card models (actually its a sort of foam board sandwich which has the ship sections printed on it). He then ran a game in which four cogs bristling with attackers assaulted the sea wall of a castle with a race to get over the walls and into to the interior of the fortification first. 

The defenders cleared the wall walk with missiles and placed ladders from the ships, meanwhile under fire from the crossbows, catapaults and boiling oil throwers. Eventually they all got onto the parapet and fought their way inside. What it showed was that the defenders have a tough time once one attacker gets onto the walk on even terms as they then cannot concentrate against the next ladders going up.

 Mark Fry gave an extensively illustrated presentation on Khmer armies from temples that he had visited and photographed in SE Asia. He went into great detail on the various weapons, costumes of different nationalities and elephant gear, also why it is likely that there are few cavalry and less chariots. It would appear that a major part of the armies was individual elephants, crewed by the nobility with supporting teams of infantry, that sought out opposing nobles on elephants for single combat. Very impressive with stacks of pictures. Hopefully to appear in a future Slingshot.

I gave a lecture on Procopian Warfare which covered the Romans and their main enemies and dealt with such questions as why the Vandals chose to fight with swords only at Tricameron, why the Goths run away and come back so many times, how the Franks used the combination of angon and axe to effect, How the Moors aimed to overwhelm with masses of javelins and had some 'heavy' infantry too and how the Roman horse archers actually operated...oh and how Sassanian tactics worked and their basic similarities to Goth and Roman tactics. Lastly, how far can one really project the tactics of the Strategikon back to the earlier Procopian period. 
After the talk there were three Procopian games, based upon the battle of Dara against the Persians, Rome against the Goths and the Fields of Cato with the Romans under John Troglita against the Moors.
Mark Fry umpires the Battle of Dara game

Sam Marks opened with an illuminating talk on Polybius' view of Mercenaries and how his own background as a Greek and believer in the virtue of a city defended by its citizens and desire to accommodate Rome to that model may well have biased his account of Hannibal's army.

Phil Steele ran an involving game using the Tony Bath collection of flats and very retro it looked too.

Richard Lockwood, heroic organiser of the event , put on several games of Dux Bellorum one of which I had the pleasure to watch, where it seemed very necessary to kill off your opponent's skirmishers in order to restrict their ability to support their units and once done it was a one way street. Richard had modified the Dux Bellorum rules to better reflect the need to fight in line so it looked more like a battle between armies rather than just retinues. 

Richard Lockwood explains the basic mechanisms of Dux Bellorum to the players.

Simon MacDowall set up what appeared to be a huge table with a substantial chunk of Tunisia represented and using 6mm figures refought Ad Decimum with Vandals against Belisarius, which I understand the Vandals won. Simon had gone to considerable lengths to bring in the inability of the combatants to see each other and their own troops. The Vandals won, I understand, possibly because we underestimate their cowardliness!

Lastly Will Whyler used large scale DBA to recreate Kadesh, both the camp and the city being on the table, with the Hittites having the advantage in surprise and numbers, but being constantly thwarted when Will, as umpire would dictate that this or that group must now loot the baggage before it could be redeployed after some tactical victory. We were joined by Phil and Sue Barker and enjoyed some expert help from Sue with the nuances of DBA in the Kadesh game.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Search for ancient troy closing in

Rüstem Aslan, Troy’s chief archaeologist, is putting together evidence for the exact location of Homer's Troy. He has little doubt that the multi-layered city at Hisarlık is Homer’s Troy – based on the evidence of destruction, the Hittite agreement that references King Alaksandu (who is believed to be Paris, the Trojan whose elopement with Helen, queen of Sparta, supposedly sparked the war of Greek myth) and the natural scenery that corresponds to descriptions in the legend.

More here

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Burning Rome, new Punic Wars card game, now available

A new 2-player tactical card game recreating battles from the Punic wars that play in 15-30 minutes. Successfully funded on Kickstarter, the game has 4 factions: Rome, Carthage, Spain and Gaul, and offers historical battles as well as player-created custom scenarios. More here:

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Marvellous find at Hadrian's Wall

A Roman cavalry barracks with pristine artefacts has been unearthed at Vindolanda, the fort at Hadrian's wall that was subsequently built over it. The finds include Roman cavalry swords (one complete with wooden scabbard, hilt and pommel), cavalry lances, arrowheads and ballista bolts - and non-military objects like combs, bath clogs, shoes, stylus pens, hairpins and brooches. More here:…/hadrians-wall-lost-secrets-ro…

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Gladiolus now available.

This game of classical single combat is for two players who each have either a gladiator or a wild animal.  Play is challenging and entirely without dice, relying upon a player’s ability to outmanoeuvre and bluff his opponent.  Games are fast, with a typical combat taking 10-15 minutes and an entire multi-combat tournament can be conducted in an evening.
This luxury remake of the Society’s most successful board game includes sturdy, pre-cut counters and no fewer than 140 ready-to-go cards – no cutting and pasting required. 

Suitable for ages 12 upwards.

More information here

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Dux Britanniarum ruleset review

A recent review by Skirmish Wargaming of the popular skirmish ruleset released by Too Fat Lardies in 2013:

'At this point Dux Britanniarum is my favourite Dark Age rules set. I like the fact that it is incredibly strongly interwoven with the campaign system and how the campaign rules are very quick and easy to pull off while having all this amazing period flavour built in. It starts pretty low-key with these single raids, but later on the game introduces sieges, as players climb the ladder they have to take care of their land, build great halls and secure the borders, there are spies, speeches, clergy, regicide, cavalry and so on.' Read on.

And a YouTube intro video by Too Fat Lardies here:

Monday, June 12, 2017

Slingshot 312 out shortly

..with the following offerings:
· The Second Sui Invasion of Koguryo, by Nicholas Spratt
· Guardroom, by John Hastings
· The Battle of Amnias 89 BC, by Richard Andrews
· Reconstructing Hadrian’s Wall, by John Hastings
· Belosphendone, by Richard Tylor
· Philippi at the Society Conference, by Paul Innes et al
· Age of the Wolf, by Gordon Lawrence
..and more besides. Stay tuned.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Viking Warrior vs Anglo-Saxon Warrior by Osprey

An interesting upcoming book (due in August) by Gareth Williams, curator at the British Museum since 1996, examining the the weaponry, tactics, strategies and underlying military organization of the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings, especially as revealed in three crucial battles: Ashdown in 871, Maldon in 991, and Stamford Bridge in 1066. Well worth a look. More info here.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Two UK wargaming conventions in June

The first is Phalanx, run by the St Helens Wargaming Society, which takes place on June 17th in Merseyside. It offers a huge range of products and demo games covering all miniatures genres from Ancients to Sci-Fi. More details here.

 The second is Phoenix, put on by the West Coast Gamers group, which kicks off on June 24th at the Rheged Centre, Penrith, Cumbria. It combines a cross-section of boardgaming and miniatures, including a demo game of the Battle of Dyrrhachium 1081 in 28mm. More information here.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Society's reprint of Gladiolus soon available

The reprint of the Society game Gladiolus will be out in June.

Gladiolus was originally designed by the late Andy Gittins as a rapid and simple game of individual gladiatorial combat.

This new edition retains all the features of the original game, but Nick Harbud has completely overhauled its rules, components and artwork. The new edition also incorporates the big cat amendments devised by Colin Stutt and originally printed in Slingshot.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Society of Ancients at 2017 Salute on 22nd April

The Society showed up at the April 22nd Salute convention in the person of Richard Jeffrey-Cook and Dave Edwards. Salute is the largest one-day wargaming event in the UK, run by the South London Warlords.

The Ancients period was well represented with Simon Miller's refight of Raphia and Hornchurch Wargames' War of the Roses (see below), besides a Lost Battles refight of Kadesh put on by Eric Cruttenden and others.

More pics of Salute games on Biglees Miniatures Adventures blog:…/salute-2017-photo-review.html

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Some Scenes from Soa Battle Day 2017

The Battle of Arsuf made for some interesting battles and scenery at the SoA Battle Day at Bletchley.

Check out Trebian's blog for a few pics and a battle report using his own specially adapted rules.

A few pics here:

Contestants getting ready for the punch-ups
Richard's army encircled by the Moslems


Saturday, March 18, 2017

To the Strongest! Ancients ruleset YouTube overview

 Simon Miller's To the Strongest Ancients ruleset is easy to master and quick to play, but takes experience to master. Here are some YouTube video tutorials that give an idea of the system:

Overview here:

Commands and activations here:
Movement here:
Combat here:
A battle report here:

The ruleset is available here:

Monday, March 13, 2017

SoA annual Battle Day at Sycamore, Bletchley, on April 1

Just a reminder that the Society of Ancients Battle Day will take place on Saturday 1 April at the Sycamore Hall, Drayton Road, Bletchley, near Milton Keynes, MK2 3RR.

As usual, we will have many groups present re-fighting the same battle but using their favoured set of rules and their interpretation.

This year the battle is Arsuf, where Richard the Lionheart takes on Saladin. You would be very welcome to come along and join one of the games - the organisers of the games are always dependent on players turning up on the day and joining their games, so please do come along and make a day of it.

The action starts around 9am, and we start with a presentation on the battle and the controversial aspects of it. Then we go to play the games. The day finishes around 4:30pm though some games play on longer to a finish.

The cost of the day, contributing to hall and tables hire, is £10. Juniors and students are free.

Note there is no food available on site, though there are a couple of corner shops selling sandwiches just around the corner! We do, however, supply unlimited tea, coffee and biscuits.

It would be good to see you there - please come and support the Society. It's a great day out.

For more information email to:

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Results of Society of Ancients 2016 Championship.

Out of 65 games involving 39 participants the winners are:

1st Place: Martin Myers

2nd Place: Steve Metheringham

3rd Place: Roy Boss

More details here.

And here is a breakdown of the rulesets used:

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Slingshot 310 with the printers

Slingshot 310 is with the printers and will appear in early March.


  • Arsuf Battle Pack, by Matt Bennett
  • Cataphracts and Concubines by Peter Andrews
  • The Second (Plastic) Punic War By Tim Thompson
  • Glasgow Armati, by Peter Barham
  • Pondering the Portrayal of Pachyderms, by Chris Hahn