Like many wargamers I have a burning passion for the ancient and medieval world. In my case this has been taken to an extreme, as I am now a professional historian, archaeologist, author and broadcaster!
I first started wargaming in the early 1980s and have grown up with the hobby. In this time new generations of rules have emerged on a regular basis to cater for changing. Finally one has come along that truly captures the flavour of those wanting to fight battles in this era.
Mortem et Gloriam, created by veteran rule writer and gamer Simon Hall, is a game I have thoroughly enjoyed playing for the past three years.
The rules have a number of features which make them such a joy to play, and allow them to recreate faithfully the conflicts over this vast period of time and width of geography.
- First up, the rules are scalable through Maximus, Magna and Pacto.
- Next the excellent army lists are all available for free online.
- Then the innovative use of differentially coloured cards/discs and dice to represent differing degrees of capability add a fantastic degree of jeopardy on the table that never fail to illicit an emotional reaction from the gamer – positive and negative!
- Next, the fantastic Pre-Battle System which recreates, in a short space of gaming time, the often overlooked much longer period before a battle takes place as armies manoeuver for best advantage in terms of terrain and scouting.
- Then one can add the exceptionally flexible system of characteristics to give each troop a distinct, historically accurate flavor.
As a classicist, I can no better illustrate this than describe some of the various Roman troop types in the lists. For example, the rules recreate the early Roman 1st class phalanx by giving them long spear and the shield cover characteristic; the Principate legionary by giving them impact weapon for their pila, melee expert for their skill with gladius, and shield cover for their large scutum shields; and the Dominate legionary by giving them short spear, and darts. Indeed all 7 different Roman lists capture the unique feel of that period of development.
It is this simple, but unbelievably flexible, combination of weapon type and characteristics, together with order, quality and armour, that allows Mortem et Gloriam to recreate historically accurate armies. Add that to the immense fun from playing the game and I highly recommended you give it a try!
Dr Simon Elliott is an historian, archaeologist and broadcaster.
His published books include:
- Sea Eagles of Empire: The Classis Britannica and the Battles for Britain
- Empire State: How the Roman Military Built an Empire
- Septimius Severus in Scotland
- Ragstone to Riches
- Roman Legionaries
- Julius Caesar: Rome’s Greatest Warlord
- Old Testament Warriors