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Deon Beswick
Australia
Canberra
Australian Capital Territory
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Well, I was keen for this one, being a fan of skirmish gaming - these days, it's Osprey for a wide variety of genre-specific skirmish games - they seem good value for the money, as it gives me a chance to deploy much of the great unpainted pile of miniatures! (and actually paint some)

Overview

Ok, Broken Legions - this name invokes the theme - Roman Empire vs the classical world! 64 pages of rules, faction lists and scenarios to play out not-quite-historical battles in the era of Imperial Rome (although arguably you could play historical if you left the slight fantasy elements out, but I digress).

In character, these rules are pretty similar to Mark Latham's Legends of the Old West (for obvious reasons). The biggest differences are using d10s rather than d6s and using alternate movement per figure, rather than per faction.

Apart from that, the structure is pleasantly familiar to players of other skirmish rule sets - decide initiative, take actions per model starting with the player with the initiative and alternating, melee (resolution of all models in close combat after all those actions) and recovery (the usual rally and make break tests if 25% of the faction has been lost).

There's a nice enough mix of ranged weapons, melee weapons, skills and special abilities, along with "miracles" or spell-type powers for the handful of fantastic faction members or allies. Armour is the usual three types for ancients (none, light, heavy) and of course shields. Factions are split into heroes and henchmen (with strict minimums and maximums for each type). They are built to a point limit set for a game or campaign.

Faction-wise, there are the "Soldiers of the Eagle" - classic Imperial Roman types, including artillery and cavalry. Some appropriate skills like shield wall give them the soldierly character.

Next is "The Order of Mithras" - Roman Legionaries from a warrior cult. A bit more limited in the mix of troops, but include the odd gladiator.

Speaking of gladiators, they have their own faction "The Sons of Spartacus". With a few freed slaves and arena beasts.

Outside these more Roman types, you have "The Barbarians". These guys come across as the Germanic or Celtic type, but can have a druid/witch, bersekers or some wulfen/werewolves/beastmen.

A specific group of barbarians is next with the Dacians, who are barbarians with cavalry, war machines and vampires.

The Greeks show up to rival the Romans with "The Argonauts" and might be found with Herculean or Orphean champions. And a Pegasus.

The Egyptians get represented by "The Cult of Set". Priests, temple guard cultists, mummies/undead. And some military options like chariots.

Finally, there is "The Parthians". These Persians have cataphracts to boost their soldiers, and maybe a magus or Lamasu.

There are also "Auxilia" or hirelings. These one-offs cover a far bit of mythological ground from Centuars to Demigods, with a sprinkling of mortals.

There are 5 basic scenarios in the manual, some with the possibility of wandering neutral monsters, which is quite a nice touch on the mythology side ("haha, we have the sacred relic! Oh, a hydra...").

Wrapping up is some simple campaign rules for leveling up characters and improving your faction (or replacing dead members...).

My thoughts

This is a ruleset that does exactly what it says on the back. Allows you to fight quick skirmish battles of 7-12 models with a distinctly Roman Empire feel. If like me you've got some ancients lying around this a fine opportunity to get some nights in taking them through a fun little campaign. And if not there are plenty of great mini ranges to use with generic rules like these. Everything is pretty straightforward and comfortable to the veteran gamer, but isn't that complex for someone trying this sort of miniature gaming for the first time. And for $19US (or possibly cheaper in this world of online bookstores) I don't think you can go wrong if you have an interest in this period or just want to try something a bit different from the stock Tolkien-esque fantasy gaming.

Let's go seek the Eagle of the Ninth!







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Chris Bogert
Japan
Amagasaki
Hyogo
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Nice review. I've been eyeing this book. Not sure I can find a hardcopy over here though...don't really like to read on the computer.
 
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John Middleton
United States
Laramie
Wyoming
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Thanks for the quick overview.


Mark Latham also wrote a few Osprey titles in their Dark series like The Cthulhu Wars - Ancient Rome, that could help provide some more material for this game.

Lead Adventure forums has some conversion details.
 
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