Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Clash of Empires

Just got my copy yesterday. It arrived damaged which didn't please me, but I tried to set that aside in my observation.
Clash of Empires is a rule set designed for playing the Ancient Period right on up to late Medieval and is a successor game to Warhammer Ancient Battles. This has largely came about due to the poor support from FW/GW in handling WAB and the pages of Errata.
The book is a nice hardback with lots of useful diagrams and pictures. Easy to read and understand with a very nice summery at the back. Worth buying for sure.
However, to be fair when comparing the look and layout of this book to WAB2 here is my opinion:

Cover of the book- WAB2 looks better.
Pages-Grainy feel and somewhat cheap. WAB2 superior quality in this.
Art work- Again, vastly prefer the WAB artists and artwork
Photo's- Yet once again, WAB2 has superior photographs without any blurred images and dark pictures found in some picks in COE. Generally, the armies shown in WAB2 are better painted then in COE as well. Not to say there are not some really nicely painted mini's in COE which there are!
WAB2 is more expensive then COE, but this is justified by the higher quality.

As we know, looks are only a part of the package with the rules themselves the other.

Here is a quick observation of the rules themselves:

I Like:
-Basing similar to WAB2 makes easy transitions between the two games, however I wish they would have followed WAB2 exactly even if they say it's not important to avoid any confusion.
- minimum unit size
-Abundance of helpful diagrams
-Oblique manoeuvre
-Interpenetration of units allows for ease of movement
-Impetuous/Reckless troops(an extra rule that makes controlling some troops more difficult and adds flavour)
-Massed fire not allowed vs chargers or units with rear rank in woods
-Disruption(extra element not found in WAB that adds an extra level to the state of troops)
-Bonus to combat for closest unit to General( nice that the general can effect combat in units he is not personally in)
-Limited amount of skirmish units(very nice, as I hate clouds of skirmishers)
-Easily understood and mechanics similar to WAB
-Nice summery

I Don't like:
-Centimetres instead on inches!!
-Maximums on unit sizes.(I personally like to decide that)
-No BSB(I like a BSB to steady the line)
-Rolling to kill/Wound after armour saves(Prefer the WAB2 order)
-Only one character per unit
-Unit standards and musicians having no effect in

-Prefer percentage to slots when choosing my

Undecided(must play test):
-Discipline tests(Tests you have to make before making certain manoeuvres)
-Forming square as that's really not a typical ancient
manoeuvre, but could be good for play.
-Intercept(Allows cavalry and chariots to intercept flank and rear charges)
- Concerned it may be to easy to kill characters in close combat(2 wounds on a unit and roll a d6 and character is killed on a 1)
-Much, much more that will come to light after playing

Overall, on the basis of rules I don't think I will change from WAB2 to COE as my primary Ancients game even with FW/GW mistakes as I still think WAB2 is a great game. But, for sure I will add COE to games that I play and why not I say as basing similarities makes hopping between the two pretty painless!


  1. Glad you said "Generally" mate :O)


  2. No question I wasn't referring to your miniatures Darrell which are top class!(Even edited some more) Rather, some models in the book where truly sub-standard, but mostly I think blurred and dark pictures didn't do any favours and probably really let down quite few nice looking units.
    I don't want people to have the impression the models overall were sub standard which wouldn't be true, but rather WAB2 where in general better.


  3. Just a bit of a joke Christopher on my part.

    I think that your review quite well balanced.

    Now, how to find someone to give me a game of CoE to see how it plays!?


  4. Good to know Darrell and happy no mix ups.:-)
    I know exactly how you feel about getting a game!


  5. Thanks for the summary. Let us all know how it plays!


  6. Thanks for your comments folks!:-)


    Soon as I can I will, but that could be awhile!:-(


  7. Glad you mentioned the design issues. Usually one risks disapproving glances from 'serious wargamers' if talking about awkward layout or the like - cause that's not important. However, for folks like me who gain a lot of joy from simply leafing through a shiny book - maybe also due to not being able to fully dedicate themselves to gaming - such things are essential. Simply I'm not feeling engaged to spend the rare gaming events with a certain ruleset, if it's not adequately presented.

    Perhaps I'm just a snob. But I'm really not aiming at just pretty pictures (I heavily dislike messy "Black Powder" for example). It's all down to the effort game designers are willing to put into presenting their probably excellent rules to get me, the player and their customer, interested. In CoE's case, fonts that cause me a headache are not helpful there...

    So thanks for your honest feedback, Christopher. From what I've seen and heard so far, CoE could provide real playability. But on the other hand, I'm still reluctant.

    SG (who feels sorry for the rant in advance)

  8. Great post, with the abundance of rule sets available its good to get the wargamers honest review. I've kind of given up on WAB myself and am looking for a set of rules for my Rep Romans and Carthaginian's, I may give these a go, there seems to be a few interesting ideas in the rules.
    thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  9. @ SG,

    I've always been quite vocal about fluff and pictures being equally important to me as well as the rules themselves. I do play some rules without fluff and pics, but I always wish they would have had them. Layouts are important as they help inspire the gamer and so your not alone SG.

    I don't think it's snobbish to ask for as much effort be put into presentation as the rules themselves.

    Many supplements from WAB are quite old, but they are so well done I continue looking at them as well as playing them and the rulebook I often flick through again and again just for inspiration.

    Don't get me wrong, COE is a nice looking book and is well worth buying and I recommend you doing so, but I just thought WAB2 was better is all.
    I wouldn't call your reply a rant either.;-)


    I wouldn't give up on WAB as it's still the best Ancients game in town IMHO, but you should give COE a go as well as it's easy to try out with your existing WAB armies and the book is worth owning as well. Could be the ticket for you.


  10. Centimeters ftw! but I understand...



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