Sunday 3 December 2023

Introduction to 30 games in 30 days 2023 (fast play historical ancient games)


I have tried to do something special for Solo Wargaming in November every year for the last 10 years or so.  Haven’t managed it for the last few years but my motivation is back and I am testing out some new(-ish) rules I have written.  I have also a long list of user written scenarios for Bill Banks Ancients that I have had for a while that I would like to play.  So why not playtest my rules via some of the battles I have not played before?  I have done 30 games in 30 days before and should be achievable.  Games with my new rules are on a 40cmx40cm table with 5-10 units a side and take about 15-20 minutes to play.  All I had to do in October was convert 30 of the scenarios to my rules.  Luckily the troop types match nearly 1:1 between Bill Bank’s Ancients and mine.  I still had to reduce the number of units and ensure the battlefield terrain was correct.  And read up on the battles, interesting in their own right.   It should only take about 15-20 minutes extra to write up the battle and take a few pictures of the action.

Work and family life got in the way and I still had 5 scenarios to write on 1 November.  It was only on 3 Nov I managed to finish the scenarios.  I did not start to play until 4 November and finished 29 games by the 30 November and the last one on the 1 December.  Still managed it in under 30 days even if I did go over November by one day.

I took 3-5 pictures per battle.  I will not post the battles individually but will group them into about 4-6 posts.  It may take awhile to tidy up the notes and include the photos.


I am also playing through Peter Sides’ scenarios chronologically and was not certain I wanted to play out battles beyond the date I was up to there.  The last battle I played from that sequence was Mons Graupius in 84AD so all but the last scenario is before that date.  I selected ones that seemed interesting.  All I have not played before, except Marathon, Sentinium and Heraclea that I enjoy playing so included them.

The original 200 or so scenarios for Bill Bank’s Ancients is here:

The 30 I selected:

  1. NIHRIYA, 1230 BC, Assyrians vs Hittites
  2. Great BITTER LAKE, 925 BC, Egyptians vs Bedouins
  3. LACHISH, 701 BC, Assyrians vs Citizens of Lachish
  4. ULAI River, 652 BC, Assyrians vs Elamites
  5. Second MEGIDDO, 609 BC, Egyptians vs Judean
  6. CARCHEMISH, 605 BC, Babylonians under Nebuchadrezzar II vs Egyptians under Necho
  7. PASARGADAE, 550 BC, Persia Cyrus and Harpagus vs Medes Astyages
  8. PELUSIUM, 525 BC, Persians (Cambyses II) vs Egyptians (Psamtik III)
  9. Lake REGILLUS, 496 BC, Romans vs Etruscans
  10. MARATHON, 490 BC, Callimachus, war Archon of Athens vs Datis, general of Persia
  11. ALLIA River, 390 BC, Gauls vs Romans
  12. CRANNON, 322 BC, Antipater and Craterus (Macedonia) vs Antiphilus, (Greeks)
  13. THATES, 310 BC, Satyros (Scythia) vs Eumelos (Scythia)
  14. SENTINIUM, 295 BC, Samnites/Gauls vs Romans
  15. HERACLEA, 280 BC, Pyrrhus, King of Epirus vs L. Laevinius, Consul of Rome
  16. GALATHIA, 273 BC, Antiochus I (Seleucids) vs Galatians (Gauls)
  17. ADYS, 256 BC, Romans (Regulus) vs Carthaginians (Hamilcar)
  18. PANION, 200 BC, Ptolemaics vs Seleucids
  19. TRIBOLA, 147 BC, Lusitani/Viriathus vs Romans/Vetilius
  20. MUTHUL River, 108 BC, Jugurtha (Numidians) vs Metellus (Romans)
  21. VERCELLAE, 101 BC, Roman (Catalus) vs Cimbri
  22. SILARUS River, 71 BC, Spartacists (Spartacus) vs Romans (Crassus)
  23. PISTORIA, 61 BC, Catilines (Rebels) vs Senatorial Army of Gaius Antonius
  24. ADMAGETOBRIGA, 61 BC, Gauls vs Germans
  25. MUHLHAUSEN, 58 BC, Julius Caesar (Rome) vs Ariovistus, Chief of Sequani (Germans)
  26. ZELA, 47 BC, Pontines vs Romans
  27. MEDWAY, 43 AD, Britons vs Romans
  28. BRENTWOOD, 44 AD, Roman (Claudius) vs Britons (Caractacus)
  29. SAUMIZEGETUSA, 105 AD , Dacians vs Romans (Trajan)
  30. ARMENIA, 114 AD , Armenians vs Romans (Trajan)

Scenario Notes

·        The scenarios are all modified for 40cmx40cm board.

·        Deployment is normally in a line 16cm (4 heavy infantry moves) apart.  Deployment is normally in 3 groups.  If this is not the case then that is noted in the scenario deployment notes.


Here is a link to the final version of the rules, When Warriors Collide V3.0e, used for the games.  I did not change them much during the month except a rule change for melee in difficult applies to both sides rather than one, some reformatting and some minor rewording for clarity.

Troop types are equivalent to Bill Banks Ancients and the rules are similar although movement distances are roughly half that in Bill Banks Ancients.

Links to battle reports

Games 01 to 05

Games 06 to 10

Games 11 to 15

Games 16 to 20

Games 21 to 25

Games 26 to 30

Final Verdict after the 30 games

I was surprised how little I needed to change the rules.  I guess they are an evolution of existing rules I have used for hundreds of games, and also I had played 10-15 games with these rules prior, ironing out the weird bits. 

Did I enjoy it though?  Absolutely.  I got into a bit of a rhythm with reading a scenario or two ahead, deploying and thinking of tactics and then played later than day or the next.  It was interesting to reread about battles I did not know much about.  I did think I might flake halfway through but while they took up a bit of time, it was not really too much – maybe 30-60 minutes per game to deploy, play and write up some notes.    Occasionally I managed two games a game which was handy for the days I did not find time to play at all.  The rules are well suited to 6-9 units a side on the 40cmx40cm table.  They would scale easily to 60cmx60 and 8-12 units (what I used to play) and possible larger.  I think I will be using these rules for a while. This is great for me as I have been struggling for the last 3-4 years to find rules that suit what I am looking for in solo ancients wargaming.


  1. Great stuff Shaun. I look forward to reading your battle reports - I’m always on the lookout for good ideas to “borrow” 😉

    1. Hello Geoff,
      I think most of us "borrow" ideas from others :-)

  2. There will be a lot of interest for both, a 40x40 board and 6-9 units per side and they can be mutually exclusive, it is the 6-9 units per side that is of particular interest to me at the moment.

    1. Hello Norm,

      I found on the 60cmx60cm boar dI was playing with only 5-10 units. i went to an 8x8 grid but too small and scaled up to 10x10 then decided to go without grids and the 40cmx40cm seems to have hit the sweet spot. But it is really as you point out the 6-9 units a side that is driving the board size and the sweet spot.

  3. Great stuff Shaun. I enjoyed trying out Phalanx, and at some point I'll get back to Ancients (I'm on Napoleonics by way of WW2 Western Desert atm!) and have a go at some of the Peter Sides scenarios as they cover some battles I'm not familiar with.

    1. Hello Martin,

      I am going in the opposite direction. Dabbling very little in WW2 while on an Ancients gaming binge but I am sure I will get back more seriously into WW2 sometime.

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks Aaron. The effort will also be in writing up the subsequent blog posts :-)

  5. That is a phenomenal thing to do Shaun. Planning and execution would have taken heaps of effort and stamina, but I note you saying that you got into a 'swing' and imagine that it would have been really interesting, edifying and engrossing to have taken yourself back a few thousand years and to have 'lived' there for a month!
    That's a big sweep of time with a range of armies so it would have been especially pleasing that your rules stood the test.
    I look forward to seeing and reading your reports of the games. That will be another effort in dedication and stamina for you.
    Regards, James

    1. Hello James,

      Planning did take a lot of time, likely more than the actual time gaming the battles. I do enjoy that side just as much as the games. I also did really like getting out the armies. I tried to choose figure bases I had not used much before in the past. The rhythm of each battle - getting the figures out, deploying, playing, putting them back - really did help keep me going. Most battles were played in 2-3 short sessions spread out and so I found I had time to think about what moves to to next. Writing up the posts is not as much fun though!

  6. Incredible effort Shaun! Looking forward to reading the battle reports.

    I also need to try out your rules but, of course, I've buried myself under other projects so ancients have regrettably taken a backseat. One day!

    1. lol. I am stuggling to get out more of the battle reports as I am distracted myself by some SF stuff :-)

  7. Back into Ancients it is - outstanding endeavour I recon. Is the rules version V3.0e final one? The second page looks differently, very condensed. No wonder if compared to the more than a dozend pages of Version 1.

    1. V3.0e is the final one after the 30 games. I think there was only one rule change and a little rewording during the 30 games. It is very dense at 2 pages. I am hoping to expand it, probably to 6-8 pages as a lot of it is implied rules and needs expanding with actual explanations.

    2. That would be awsome.