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Subject: SPQR Deluxe vs Ancient Battles Deluxe rss

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Eric Lai
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Ignoring the differences in price and production quality... how do Ancient Battles Deluxe compare with the grand-daddy SPQR Deluxe from GMT in terms of game play, rules, rule book, simulation of ancient warfare, fun factor, scenarios, size of games, other differences?

I don't have a preference for either games, I am sitting on the fence about this one at moment... (but rather not buy both at this moment!)

Finally & separately, what about the differences in what you get in the box/ziplock bag?
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Playwise, the GMT title is considerably more detailed, more complex, will take longer to learn, and longer to play. Whether that's a plus or a minus is a matter of preference. Both are good game systems.

I have an older version of Ancient Battles, not the one from Victory Point, but I do own another Victory Point title (Nemo's War), and generalizing from that conclude that the VP game can't match the GMT one in physical quality. GMT games have higher quality die cut counters, a sturdy box, full sized dice, etc. The VP games are quite functional, but don't have the same production standards.
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Lucius Cornelius
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I only have SPQR Ordinary, so I can't compare, but once you have SPQR Deluxe, you don't need anything else as far as Ancient tactical level game goes in terms of quality in components, simulation, and research.
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Steven Mitchell
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Another great aspect of SPQR Deluxe is that it covers a long era of military history, especially when combined with the Barbarian expansion. You get from 315 BC Battle of Lautulae in the Second Samnite War through the 109 BC Jugurthine Battle of the Muthul. So it's basically complete coverage of the era of the pre-Marian manipular legion. And with so many battles (19 between SPQR and Barbarian), you get a real taste of all the strengths and weaknesses of those tactics against a variety of enemies and in a variety of terrain.
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Mike Windsor
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I'll defend Ancient Battles Deluxe. First, exerything said about SPQR (Deluxe Edition) is correct: better quality, more learning curve, more complex, more new rules for each module, and more detail. On the other hand, SPQR is going to have a bigger footprint on your table, and is also going to cost more money per battle.

For me, the more generic rules of AB are a plus, as is the shorter playing time. You can be into AB after about 20 - 30 minutes with the rules, and there are not a lot of exceptions to look up. In the time it takes to play though one SPQR battle, in AB I can try different strategies in the same battle, or compare armies in different battles. I don't feel like the quality of the Victory Point AB games is poor, its just that GMT has some of the best quality of any hex and counter company. The AB rules place a premium on keeping leaders alive and keeping units in good lines -- as the battle progresses and lines fall apart, command gets tougher. A good reserve or well-ordered wing can often save the day in AB. The AB games are fun, and they certainly give you a feel for how the armies fought.

edit: typos and added links
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Kev.
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Having completed nearly a 20 battles over the last few months and documenting many of them in the SPQR forum and the Alex forum I'd say that the game has immense replay value, it has rules that are complex in teh full version, even the SGBoH.

BUT once mastered you can focus on tactics. And its all about tactics in this game. How you attack, what each unit type is good for, how to maximize the impact of combined arms.

Even unbalanced battles can be fun if you use a rout point bid or some optional rules.

Plus there are literally a 100...ok maybe 60 extra scenarios in C3i mag, many of which are free on the C3i web site for the out of print mags. Be nice to me I have all the c3i's 1-24
I'd encourage you to look at SGBoH as it gives a common play experience across multi periods but still allows for the color and feel of the wars to in a given setting or period to shine thru.

You can go from 350 B.C. all the way to early 1200's in one system.
FYI if your focus is just Roman, I think you are missing a lot. The Legions are nice to play with but seeing the Greeks and Persians fight, the Gauls fight, the Saracens and Indians etc is pretty awesome.

There are vassal modules for GBOH check them out, you can d.load the rules and take a swing at it b4 you buy.
Finally the SGBoH team are revising the rules and are going to do some form of reprint or revision next yr, according to consimworld.
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Adam Siler
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SPQR deluxe is the one game I'd keep if I could only keep one.
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I've looked at SPQR/GBoH on the 'geek many times but am intimidated by the complexity. Is there any sort of tutorial online that gives an example of a small (and I mean, like, seriously tiny) battle, as an introduction to the system?
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Steve Carey
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Good posts by others, and I'd like to make a strong recommendation for Simple GBoH.

Though I respect the system, I won't play regular GBoH as it's too complex, too fiddly, and too time-consuming for my taste nowadays.

With SGBoH, you can learn one system and pretty much jump into any of the other GBoH titles with relative ease. I played many of the GBoH games (and some of their modules) over a 5-year period utilizing SGBoH, and had a blast.

ABD is a solid system (combat was a bit quirky to learn at first), and like just about every other VPG release it is very well-executed, good fun, and quick playing.
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peterb12 wrote:
I've looked at SPQR/GBoH on the 'geek many times but am intimidated by the complexity. Is there any sort of tutorial online that gives an example of a small (and I mean, like, seriously tiny) battle, as an introduction to the system?


I learnt SPQR Deluxe thanks to the help of this site: http://patriot.net/~townsend/GBoH/gboh.html

In particular, there are a few sample games. This basic one should get you started: http://patriot.net/~townsend/GBoH/Replays/Sample/spqr-samp.h...
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Sounds like it's all been said. I'll just add my personal experience, in case you want to compare your taste to mine.

I bought ABD and all its expansions, and I'm confident that it's just the thing for me. I had my eye on GBoH (including SPQR) for a long time, and what I saw was very impressive and tempting. But I've never been that into ancient warfare; it's more a side interest of mine. Also, I just don't have time anymore for big, long, detailed wargames. So, I bought what I thought I might play--and it has worked out very well for me.

Actually, I think ABD compares better to C&C:A than SPQR. The main reason I didn't buy into C&C:A is that it was more limited in scope (just ancient Rome, whereas ABD covers everything from about 3000 BC to 1600 AD) and didn't seem as well suited to solo play (due to the cards, not the blocks, in this case).

Speaking of solo play, there is a small downside to playing ABD solo: at the beginning of each turn, you bid command points for initiative--and it's pretty awkward bidding against yourself. A minor point that you can easily work around, but it makes ABD a little less than ideal for solitaire play. I haven't seen SPQR, but from what I've read it sounds pretty good as a solo game.

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Adam Siler
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peterb12 wrote:
I've looked at SPQR/GBoH on the 'geek many times but am intimidated by the complexity. Is there any sort of tutorial online that gives an example of a small (and I mean, like, seriously tiny) battle, as an introduction to the system?


The game comes with a very small starter scenario and Caesar: The Civil Wars comes with a battle with only eight units total.

A playthru of SPQR starter: http://patriot.net/~townsend/GBoH/Replays/Sample/spqr-samp.h...

I also would advocate learning the regular system. It goes fast once you have the process down and the simple rules apparently affect play balance. Opinions are divided.
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Mike Windsor
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C&C:A wins out over ABD on the "cool" factor (I like and own both games). The plus to ABD over C&C:A (and its a bigger plus for some people than others) is that ABD lets you try what you want when you want, you are not limited by the cards in your hand the way you can be in C&C:A.
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p55carroll
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mwindsor wrote:
C&C:A wins out over ABD on the "cool" factor (I like and own both games). The plus to ABD over C&C:A (and its a bigger plus for some people than others) is that ABD lets you try what you want when you want, you are not limited by the cards in your hand the way you can be in C&C:A.

True, there are no cards in ABD. But still, you can't just do everything you want. Each turn, your actions are limited by available command points. Often there are several things you'd like to do, but you have to prioritize and do what you can with your few command points. It gets even trickier than that, because you may want to save a couple command points for the melee combat phase and go for an advantage there.
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Patrick Carroll wrote:
The main reason I didn't buy into C&C:A is that it was more limited in scope (just ancient Rome, whereas ABD covers everything from about 3000 BC to 1600 AD)

ABD certainly covers a longer period with more diverse antagonists, but "just ancient Rome" isn't a fair characterization of C&C:A. Its first expansion is titled "Greeks vs. Eastern Kingdoms", and has scenarios ranging from Marathon to the Diadochi. Even the base game had a couple of Carthaginian vs. Syracusan battles.
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Peter B
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Amnese wrote:
peterb12 wrote:
I've looked at SPQR/GBoH on the 'geek many times but am intimidated by the complexity. Is there any sort of tutorial online that gives an example of a small (and I mean, like, seriously tiny) battle, as an introduction to the system?


I learnt SPQR Deluxe thanks to the help of this site: http://patriot.net/~townsend/GBoH/gboh.html

In particular, there are a few sample games. This basic one should get you started: http://patriot.net/~townsend/GBoH/Replays/Sample/spqr-samp.h...


This is awesome, and is exactly what I'm looking for!

It's striking how much like this, and yet unlike this also, is the computer version of Field of Glory. I found a 'card-based' version of SPQR called "Hoplites", but I found it too abstract to actually understand or enjoy.
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Steven Mitchell
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Yeah, the GBoH Home Page is really a fantastic resource. It's a bit outdated, since it doesn't account for some of the more recent modules, but is otherwise a really nice site for the series.
 
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Dan Conley
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I need to quit reading these posts. NOW I think I need a copy of ABD!!!!!!!!!!! (I'm a big fan of C&C:A and HAVE a copy of SPQR Deluxe, though it's unplayed so far...) shake
 
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I haven't played ABD, but it's hard to top SPQR Deluxe for sheer gaming quality and value. Components are first rate and support through C3i magazine is excellent--lots of additional scenarios (e.g., 5 in issue 20), player aids, and game counters that extend the scope of the game.

While there is a learning curve, the game greatly rewards your effort. And using the Simple GBoH rules simplifies things a bit and can make the battles go faster. As mentioned by another poster, the system is used in many other GMT titles, so you can start with SPQR and strike out in other directions.

If you like the ancients and like a game with some complexity, you can't go wrong with SPQR. It's also worth noting that SPQR is GMT's no. 1 rated title.
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dking232 wrote:
It's also worth noting that SPQR is GMT's no. 1 rated title.

If you don't mind me asking, what do you mean by this? I'm pretty certain it's not a BGG rating.

Edit: Hang on, is this reflected in the GMT product rating?
 
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peterb12 wrote:
Amnese wrote:
peterb12 wrote:
I've looked at SPQR/GBoH on the 'geek many times but am intimidated by the complexity. Is there any sort of tutorial online that gives an example of a small (and I mean, like, seriously tiny) battle, as an introduction to the system?


I learnt SPQR Deluxe thanks to the help of this site: http://patriot.net/~townsend/GBoH/gboh.html

In particular, there are a few sample games. This basic one should get you started: http://patriot.net/~townsend/GBoH/Replays/Sample/spqr-samp.h...


This is awesome, and is exactly what I'm looking for!

It's striking how much like this, and yet unlike this also, is the computer version of Field of Glory. I found a 'card-based' version of SPQR called "Hoplites", but I found it too abstract to actually understand or enjoy.


The FOG system looks cool too. Expensive but cool. Townsend site is well written. and his re creations are just that hand made recreations of the battles. The VASSAL mods obviously look nothing like that.
there is also a 'how to play SPQR' combined VASSAL and MP3 on the GMT site. so you can see the game in action.

I'd be happy to walk you thru spqr or alexander on vassal for SGBoH to get you going if you ever wanted to.
I have a friend who helped me, and he did all the heavy lifting, even modified one of the vassal mods so we could get a richer SGBoH experience out of it!!
 
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Eric Lai
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Once again the community has come to my rescue! Thanks for all those informative remarks! I have decided to go with SPQR Deluxe!

(The initial question was brought up because I just put down an order for We Must Tell the Emperor and had to opportunity to add Ancient Battles Deluxe into my cart. Instead I got their Fleets 2025: East China Sea instead, which was on sale together with We must tell the Emperor. I live in Hong Kong and there isn't many war games geographically near where I live, so Fleet 2025 maybe right up my alley.)
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Kev.
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Garfink wrote:
Once again the community has come to my rescue! Thanks for all those informative remarks! I have decided to go with SPQR Deluxe!

(The initial question was brought up because I just put down an order for We Must Tell the Emperor and had to opportunity to add Ancient Battles Deluxe into my cart. Instead I got their Fleets 2025: East China Sea instead, which was on sale together with We must tell the Emperor. I live in Hong Kong and there isn't many war games geographically near where I live, so Fleet 2025 maybe right up my alley.)


You wont regret it. Let me know if you want any additional scenarios out of the c3i mags (assuming you dont already own them) once you get going.
 
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Just a note for anyone reading this thread and thinking about buying Ancient Battles Deluxe: the "Deluxe" in the title could be misleading.

The word can mean lots of things, and it's often just advertising hype. In the case of ABD, it basically means designer Mike Nagel has revised, updated, and expanded the successful but OOP Ancients games by Bill Banks. I'm guessing ABD is also a clever reversal of DBA, which might be called the miniatures version of ABD.

As to the "Deluxe" in SPQR (Deluxe Edition), someone else will have to explain that.
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Patrick Carroll wrote:
As to the "Deluxe" in SPQR (Deluxe Edition), someone else will have to explain that.


The 'Deluxe' in SPQR Deluxe means more scenarios. Lots more. The original version had 5 battles, all from the Second Punic War. The Deluxe version has 14 battles total, from a variety of conflicts (e.g., Pyrrhic War, Macedonian Wars, &c.). The additional 9 battles are culled from the old expansions which went OOP long ago.
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