For the past few gaming evenings we have been trying out a new rules set. I picked up L’Art de la Guerre at Valhalla in June, on the recommendation of a friend, who described them as a thoughtful evolution from WRG’s DBA/DBM. After a brief fling with DBA some years ago, I had given them up as lacking in colour or character. I buy lots of rules that I don't get around to playing, but ADLG looked interesting enough to arrange a test game with Matt, who has recently invested in some Black Tree Romans, Gauls and Germans and is looking for a rules set.
The game was a 200 point battle between Republican Romans and Carthaginians in Italy. I took Carthage. For a first game, we got the hang of things quickly and didn't make too many mistakes, at least with the mechanics. From the beginning, there were aspects that I liked very much, such as the way Numidian light horse can tie down a heavier opponent, and the general rhythm of battle between heavy infantry in the centre. The command rules impose limits and choices without making the player feel helpless. The mechanics of shooting and melee are extremely simple but with subtle differentiations. The effects of troop quality, armour, doctrine and weapon choice are all there, without weighing the system down. My elephant (Carthaginians in Italy are only allowed one) scared off Matt’s Roman Heavy Cavalry but was then thumped in the flank by his extraordinarii, routed and stampeded to the rear. Most satisfying!
A particular thing I like about ADLG is army selection. Much as I love Sword and Spear, I am not quite convinced by the division of troops into units of all the same frontage. I like being able to decide how big a contingent will be without having to round off to the nearest 12cm frontage. ADLG also lets me field troops who I don't have in large enough numbers for a Sword and Spear unit. Since several of my figures are now out of production, I do have a lot of odds and sods waiting around for a lucky eBay find.
We enjoyed the game very much and agreed it deserves getting to know better. Inevitably, I have been inspired to paint up more Ancients, adding some Gauls and African spearmen to the Orbat.