It occurred to me that Ancient and Medieval Warfare by Neil Thomas could be played as an element based game not unlike DBA.  In order to do this, some adjustments need to be made.

  1. All units are represented with 1 stand.
  2. All movement rates and ranges are halved.
  3. The number of dice rolled is based on the chart in the book.  Several exceptions need to be made.  Scythed chariots and Elephants roll 1/4 the listed number of dice.  For Artillery, roll a die as normal. On a 1-3, roll to hit with 1 die.  On a 4-6, roll to hit with 2 dice.
  4. Each unit can take 4 casualties.  Elephants and Scythed Chariots take 1 hit.  Artillery is overrun if it comes into contact with an enemy unit.
  5. Each hit causes 1 casualty.  Melee casualties cause a morale roll, with 1 check per casualty.
  6. A unit takes a morale check if it takes a casualty.  A failed morale check causes another casualty.
  7. Battles are played on a 2’X2′ board in 15mm.  Adjust accordingly for 28mm.
  8. Armies start 15cm apart.

You can use the army lists as per the book.  You can track casualties in the usual manner.  I use colored casualty caps with white equalling 1 hit, blue equalling 2 hits and red equalling 3 hits.  You don’t need to represent 4 hits since that will remove the unit.

Dale Hurtt, from the AMW Group, suggested using DBA army lists instead of the AMW lists.  You simply choose the army and optional units you want and equate them to the stats for the same army in the AMW rules.  I tried this suggestion with the Pyrrhic army vs the Polybian Roman army.  I will post a battle report soon.

5 Responses to Mini-AMW

  1. Dale Hurtt says:

    The only thing I balk at is halving the distances. I understand the rationale, but that turns AMW into a micro-move game like DBA, which is something I was trying to get away from.

  2. Tony says:

    I’ve at a few trial games of mini-AMW now following your rule changes and they have worked well.

    I do have one observation regarding the rule –

    5. Each hit causes 1 casualty. Melee casualties cause a morale roll, with 1 check per casualty.

    If you follow the standard rules then a morale failure results in loss of a base. As there is only one base in a unit in mini-AMW this means a morale failure means loss of a unit. This seemed rather drastic to me.

    (And where both sides picked up melee casualties I found I also had a bit of “mutual assured destruction” where both sides in the melee failed morale and were removed.)

    Is this how you play it?

  3. acarhj says:


    Each time a unit is hit in melee, it causes a morale check. A failed morale check causes an extra hit, not stand loss. Since there are not multiple stands, it makes no sense to remove stands for a failed morale check. So there should be few times where both sides are eliminated but lots of times where one side gets wrecked while the other side is eliminated.

    I am toying with the idea that a failed morale check causes the unit to flee one move facing away from the enemy. Sort of a route.

    Hope that helps,


  4. Tony says:

    That clarifies it. Thanks.

    Actually that is how I played my last trial of mini-AMW: with morale failure causing an extra casualty, and that worked much better than the wrong way I had been doing it.

    I have a number of DBA armies so mini-AMW is perfect for using those. So far it is giving the sort of game I enjoy within a reasonable timeframe. I’ve been playing solo. My bases are 6cm wide (20mm figures) but I have used the suggested half movement rates and 2’x2′ with no problems.

  5. cuttingrunner says:

    One question: in your proposed approach, how do you account for special abilities like, say, the Spartans?

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