Thoughts on Impetus

French Crusaders face off against the Aragonesse
I had the chance to drive up to Spokane last month to have another go at the Impetus rules with Jon (Go there for Jon's battle report).  Having played some solo games (pictured here) along the Reconquista and Punic battles, I think I can safely declare I like the rule set.  I suck at game reviews, so I will just list what I like/dislike

What I like

Simplicity  - These rank as more beer and pretzel style rules for me, on par with Command and Colors: Ancients without the hex grid. The movement rules are very restrictive which requires you to think several moves ahead.  It is a bucket of dice game, but that simply makes the modifiers easier to apply.

Single Unit Basing - I have mentioned this numerous times, but it really is the direction I have been moving over the last several years.   I dislike fiddling with movement trays, and the more handling the figures get the more apt they are to be damaged.

Combat Resolution Roles - It is kind of a saving throw, but not quite as bad.  In the "I go, You go" systems I always appreciate a mechanic that keeps both sides engaged in the game.  The alternative is often one person going on break while waiting for his opponent to finish decimating his force.
The French left advances

What I am less fond of
Spanish Knights ride down the French Crossbows.

Treatment of Skirmishers - We have tried adding the evade rule to Basic Impetus as well as playing regular Impetus.  I still don't think they adequately capture the historical capabilities of Light Cavalry Missile troops.  Honestly, I think Skirmishers are the hardest thing to get right in war games (Maybe a close second to reconnaissance).  They tend to be overpowered or simply speed bumps.  They seem best suited for conducting screens in Impetus.

Missile Weapon Granularity - The missile weapons chart still does not sit well with me.  This is a game system that boils down Armor, weapons, etc into a single VBU score for close combat, and then breaks down multiple tiers and sub-types for the missile weapons.  It honestly seems like an artifact from a much more detailed game.

Integrated Leaders - I guess I am old fashioned, but I still like the ability to deploy my commanders as separate models on the battlefield.  Whether this is for his heroic combat abilities (Skirmish level) or Command Influence (Larger), I prefer to be able to move him to the schwerpunkt.

So overall, I like the game system and intend on trying it out with a few more eras.  


  1. Lovely tabletop and good review! Even though I don't get to play, I'm a fan. One of my favorite things is the ability to make multiple moves but at the risk of going disrupted and losing Impetus dice. When I used to play, double and triple moves were high risk, and sometimes, high payoff! I also like that impetuous troops launch themselves at the nearest unit. Lastly and most importantly, I do think the single base is brilliant.


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