Italian Wars – the Rules

Every war gamer faces the same dilemma – what rules to use? I have never been a fan of the “one set to rule them all” approach. DBR is a very good example of how a good idea just should never have been allowed to go so far.

I have a few sets of rules that will probably do the job, such as Crusader and War & Conquest. I thought about Impetus – but as I am using this for War of the Roses and Punic Wars armies I felt it would be tedious to use them again for this project. I ordered a copy of Frank Chadwick’s Condottiere rules and have been looking at these.

Condottiere cover

So far after one reading they have not ripped of my socks. There are some nice ideas in there but I am not convinced.

I will try them though. I will give them a few games to see how they pan out. I am not expecting much, so have little to lose. I do like the random army generation and a few of the random event ideas though, so who knows.

Firstly I have to get the armies together.

One of the greatest inspirations has been the release of the Perry plastic sets – particularly the European Mercenaries and Men at Arms sets. When the Light Cavalry box is released soon most of the troops I will need to buy will be available in plastic. Pro-Gloria have their plastic Landsknechts under way also – so an even bigger saving!

One thing I do know about the game is how the figures will be based. 40mm squares for foot (with 4, 3 or 2 figures depending upon type) and 50mm squares for cavalry (2 figures). This makes the bases sturdy enough to pick up and move around without damaging figures and also small enough to make storage and transportation easier.

This basing also fits nicely with all of the rulesets I am considering.


Italian Wars – the Inspiration

Every project needs a spark. For me it was the wonderful blog of James Roach. The Olicanalad postings are full of beautiful figures, fantastic games and lovely terrain. Nothing here is too difficult to reproduce – James is a normal bloke who just seems to be able to paint really fast! Here are a few examples.


Olicana2 Olicana3 Olicana4

Like I said – inspirational!

What caught my eye the most were the buildings. As I looked through James’ blog I discovered he had used the building blanks from Warbases. I promptly ordered two of each and a few extra doors and windows. Assembling these has occupied a little time today – I am almost finished the eight modules.

I will play around with these until I find the combinations I like and order more buildings! It is nice to get the last part of the project under way first – the scenery!

Italian Wars – a Beginning.

I have been fascinated with this period for as long as I can remember. George Gush’s articles in Airfix magazine in the early 70s were my earliest memories followed by hundreds of games at the Invercargill Military Modeller’s Club using 15mm Minifigs strip figures and George’s Renaissance rules published initially in 1976.

Gush 1st

Since then I have owned many armies and played many games in many scales – but the fascination has always remained. Recently when surfing the interweb I found new inspiration to begin a new Italian Wars project.



I have been playing Impetus on an off since 2006 when a friend introduced me to this wonderful game. In 2009 I returned to New Zealand – and hit a brick wall as noone here wanted to know. Gamers here were still in the Barker loop – if it ain’t Phil’s it ain’t good. Mostly I feel exactly the opposite.

So when I recently purchased a large 28mm War of the Roses army I made the decision to base it to Impetus. At the same time two of my long suffering opponents had already made the switch! So far I have rebased over 600 points with another 200 or so to go.

Why so many then the usual army sizes are 300-500 points? I have two armies….. There is no rush for anyone else to buy and assemble an army. Most importantly I can field pretty much every option on the army lists. All I need to put together to complete the army is a unit of pike, a unit of crossbow and two units of currours.

Grant and I had a great game at the Drury club on Saturday. Grant had been unsure about the system, but after two games he is convinced that this system is a winner. Old news for me of course! We also managed to score another player who just happened to pop in! Brilliant.

Ronin Has Landed

I have been a great fan of Osprey since the 70s when they first started publishing their Men at Arms series of books. Now almost 40 years later they have released a fantastic set of skirmish rules called Ronin.


These are available from their website direct or from Nick over at Northstar.

Like many skirmish games coming out at the moment Ronin is designed to be played on a 3′ square table – or 900mmx900mm. A “Buntai” contains from 6-12 figures depending upon quality.

Figures are available from Nick (who has four amazing Buntai available), the ever industrious Perry’s or many other manufacturers.

I have just received my first Buntai from Dixon this week. I chose Dixon simply because I love their Samurai range. It is well over 30 years old now but still beautiful.

I have also purchased some Ninja and civilians from Perry for play in some of the scenarios included in the book.

Another one bites the dust….

This time it was Fred Funcken. As for so many wargamers, Fred was a major influence on the way I researched and assembled my Napoleonic armies. His two volume set on the Napoleonic Wars and of course the amazing Lace Wars set are simply “must haves” for any gamer looking to either Tricornia or Napoleonics.

Thank you Fred for all of the amazing friends I have made, people I have met, shows I have attended and thousands of hours of fun I have had. Without Fred I may well have not remained in wargaming when I lost my WW2 buzz in the mid-70s. Thanks to his Napoleonic set I was able to rekindle my love of the hobby – and am still hanging in there 40 years late.

Fred Funcken(Photo courtesy of Le Soir)

Fred passed away on 16th May 2013, aged 91. Bon chance mon ami!

Back to Basics….. Impetus Basic

In 2006 a friend introduced me to this great game. When full-fat Impetus was released I was one of the first to get a copy. I love the game.

Then I moved back to New Zealand in 2009. People here were still locked in the DBMM v FoG debate and ancients was really on the wane. I tried to get people to look at this for some time – even putting on a demonstration game with the assistance of an old friend. The usual grunts ensued from spectators, but of course bows and arrows against the wind really.

I put the idea on hold for some years whilst pottering with other thing and trying hard to fit back into 1986 (which is roughly where mindsets were when I arrived in 2009).

With the release of Dux Bellorum and a few demo games of that people have come to see the benefits of the big Impetus bases. They simply look better!

I was working on finishing a 2000 point WAB2 Saxon army with Vikings waiting in the wings when Warhammer Historical went arse up. I decided to pop these onto bases for Dux Bellorum and use them as Late Saxons for a while whilst I was putting together proper armies.

Then I realised that I only had to finish four or five more elements and I would have completed both a Saxon and Viking BI army. Game on.

So now things are spread from one end of the table to the other whilst I trim and assemble loads of Wargames Factory figures. Around 50 in fact. It will be worth the effort.

Here is a taster: