Ancient Empires

Description A simulation of the war in antiquity.
Period the supplements cover 1300 B.C. - 44 B.C., though the rules themselves cover as late as 600 AD or maybe the dawn of gunpowder
Basing 1:60 Infantry and cavalry
1:4 Elephants
1:10 Engines
1:40 Chariots
In 15mm scale, 1" equals 33 yards
Designers Scott Bowden, Greg Pitts
Publisher Published by The Emperor's Headquarters

Supplements Available

2nd Punic War. Included with the basic rules.
Campaigns of Julius Caesar.
Campaigns of Alexander.
Not just the direct successors of Alexander, but with battles up until just before the 1st Punic War.
Trojan Wars
Warfare in the age of the chariot.

All of the modules contain descriptions, history, organisation, orders of battle (OOBs), basing details, and scenarios for the involved combatants.

What You Think

Peter Lageri (
I have just finish reading the rules for AE and have not played them yet. (In fact, the only miniature rules I have ever used were Napoleon's Battles, and I have never played an Ancients battle.)

The rulesbinder makes the amount of reading look intimidating, but I play a lot of Advanced Squad Leader (a World War II boardgame), so large amounts of rules do not scare me. The rules include such things as:

  • Order Counters
  • Major Units operating under placed Order Counters
  • Tactical Units within the Major Unit do the actual work
  • Orders are activated under certain percentage dice rolls
  • Grand Tactical movement until engagement range is reached
  • tactical initiative
  • activity levels 1-3, number of stages in which a unit can perform actions
  • weapon classes
  • defence classes
  • morale tests and rallying
  • fortification building
  • combat attrition points (wear and tear on a unit before casualties really start to mount)

AE has some of the same traits as Empire for Napoleonic miniature gaming has, although AE and Empire can't be compared directly.

The only problem I see is with the base sizes. For close order infantry, the base depth is set to 3/8". The smallest bases are 1/3" x 3/8". The size 3/8" is in my opinion too slim for 15 mm miniatures, unless they stand straight to attention with one foot next to the other. Unfortunately, this is not the case with most 15mm miniatures. Most have a sort of advancing or moving pose, and most so-called 15mm miniatures are slightly larger, typically 16-18mm. I think the base depth should be a least 5/8". (This is not a major problem, since the length of frontage a unit presents is more important than the depth.)

The rules say that a base 1" x 3/8" contains 120 men, placed as 30 men in 4 ranks. However, this places the men with 3 yards spacing between ranks. That's hardly Close Order Infantry. I suggest players enlarge the base depths per infantry miniature to 5/8". Besides that, page 57 of the module Successors shows a phalanx with a base depth that is far deeper than prescribed by the rules.

Larry Dunn (
We took a look at Ancient Empires a few years back and found it wanting. They have odd troop classifications (Carthaginian Liby-Phoenician spearmen are equivalent to Macedonian phalangites, if you can believe that), and the combat sequence leads to odd circumstances.

We saw a few Roman maniples utterly destroy a warband of Kelts without the Kelts being able to reply. You may think that this is a good result and an example of the superiority of the manipular system, but keep in mind that no casualties were taken at all by the Romans - surely if the legionaries were fighting under the manipular system, at least one maniple would have been swept away by the assault of this fresh warband. As you know, warband onrushes were one of the real achille's heels of the manipular system.

There are other problems as well.

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Online Resources

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Last Updates
7 June 1999correction from Peter Lageri
21 May 1999comments by Peter Lageri
16 April 1999comments by Larry Dunn
16 April 1999page first published
Comments or corrections?
Thanks to Peter Lageri for assisting with this page.