Reviews of Sword & Spear

"After two games I am definitely hooked. This is definitely the set of ancients rules that I have been looking for and have reignited my passion for this period."

"The command system which is reminiscent of Chain of Command or Saga is we think the strongest point of the whole game. The combat mechanism is good, but the command mechanism is brilliant, I love it. Every player I have introduced it to in the club so far (six) has found it to be good or very good"

"We have not found a single issue with S&S yet, and are not using any house rules which is unusual for us."

"every single decision on using the activation dice is important. You can't just go through the motions knowing all your units will move x distance every turn. The mechanisms in the rules are so intuitive that the basics can be picked up in no time so you can have a good game almost straight away with first-timers....with lots of little subtleties to be picked up as you progress."

"Very interesting mechanics for initiative and combat, and movement is elegantly handled. The rules are well laid out and explained clearly, and we found that all the questions we were asking initially were addressed in them..... first impressions were very good indeed."

"You really need to think about what you're going to do with the dice and what you're opponent is doing with his and plan for the unexpected too."

From Yass Tabletop Gamers:

"Sword and Spear employs a command and control system, and a combat system, that are like nothing I've previously seen in a table-top wargame. It is these mechanics that make the game unique and so much fun.....With only one game under our belts it's too early to make definitive statements, but this is the first set of rules I have ever played where after just one game I have been unable to find something that annoys me. By keeping touch with the solid and well-tried bones of the ancients tradition, this game firmly grounds itself in a familiar context. This means you don't have to re-learn everything about the game, which allows you to focus your mind on the nuances of the command and combat mechanics. It's only after experiencing the command system in play that you begin to realise just how sophisticated it is. While you can play it straight away, I am sure it will take many games to master it. Almost every command decision was difficult, and I found myself trying to second-guess (my opponent) at every turn….All in all, a very enjoyable set of rules."

Read the full review here.


Neil Shuck (Meeples and Miniatures) writes:

"…a new set of rules have come along which, even after a single play, have immediately become the favourite to be my Ancients wargaming rules of choice for the future: Sword & Spear….We played a simple meeting engagement on an open plain between Early Imperial Rome and Ancient Britons, just to try out the rules mechanics….It really helps that the rules made sense, so when we hit a situation, we discussed what we would expect to happen, and 99% of the time, the rules did what we expected…..Whilst movement and combat works well the crowning glory of this game is the Command and Control system, which takes ideas from games such as Saga and Bolt Action, adds its own twists and produces a result which gives each player plenty to think about during the course of each turn…..I think we've just found our Holy Grail, Ancients rules that are fast, fun, intuitive and interactive to play (definitely not I-go-U-go), whilst offering a number of challenges and decisions in every phase of play. I think we will be playing these rules an awful lot in the future. In short – these are a great little set of rules!"

Read the full review here.


Nick at Glory Eagles D L'Empereur writes:

"The author’s intent was to create a set of quite large scale wargaming rules that play quickly and focus on the outcome rather than get bogged down in detail.... Having read through the rules and having now played a short test game, I can attest that it is pretty quick to play, and easy to pick up too. We had a couple of questions on rules, but the author is very quick to respond to questions on the forum he’s set up for the game, and most of what we weren’t sure on were easy to rectify using common sense.....The rulebook itself is set out well enough, with the usual assortment of photos of wargaming figures and quite a few helpful diagrams. The text is nice and legible too......The rules end with several scenarios that can be used in place of the usual pitched battles (which you can still do if you prefer that), and a rudimentary index that covers most of the things you need to know.

All in all, I enjoyed our game, and will be doing a demo at the club soon (several others have already bought copies too). I like the combat mechanic immensely (it’s really quick in practice too), and we got a game in within 2 hours including explanations and set up ….. Sword and Spear gets (my) recommendation. Try them for yourself and see what you think. "

Read the full review here, and a follow up AAR here.


From Woodrows Escape:

"From where I sit, it is a great set of rules....The command mechanic is quite interesting.......Combat is simple...... The movement rules are clear and quibbling over distances is virtually non-existent.....There is much more packed into this 40 page rulebook, which is very easy to read.......Once learned, I think one could play a game of 12 elements in 1-2 hours. The game is constantly interactive with no dead time, so a couple of hours is fine....Sword & Spear has struck my fancy and provides another viable option to DBA for ancient and medieval gaming."

Read the full review here.


From Adventures in Painting Miniatures:

"Overall, I have to say I’m impressed with the rules. They seem to generate a fun gaming evening as there seems to be a lot of tactical choices and decision points in the game.... the rules are written in English and not a bad version of that, and have some interesting tactical aspects which make the game flow very quickly, yet keep both players engaged in the action..... I have to say the terrain placement, scouting and deployment are much better than say Impetus but not as complex as FOG – so a great compromise to me of effect vs. complexity...... As another comment on the rules I have to say I like that skirmishers can evade in these rules, but it’s not a guarantee, unlike many ancient rules. The fact that they can fail to evade is more realistic than the nearly invulnerable skirmishers in many games. Again this makes the medium and heavy troops the kings of the battle which they were. …...overall it was a fun game ….and the game even with us learning the rules took less than 2.5 hours to complete. This set still does not replace DBA as my favorite game for ancients at present but I am impressed so far."

Read the full review here.


Andy writes:

"Decided to try out the new Sword and Spear rules and am really very impressed......these may be the Ancient rules we have been looking for.......I would describe them as having some aspects of Saga, Bolt Action and Impetus all melded into a unique and refreshing new set of rules.......deciding who to allocate your dice to and which dice to give them is absolutely key, and is an excellent way of simulating the friction of combat without getting complicated. You will never be able to do everything you want to do and you have to watch out for what your opponent is doing......What are you waiting for, get out there and give them a try, they really are that good."

Read the full review here.

Other comments players have made about Sword & Spear

"I like the activation system - because it fosters historical tactics better than other systems, but doesn't do it with multiple charts or other contrivances."

"What I particularly liked was that it used a deceptively simple mechanic for both of breaking from the tyranny of IGOUGO and giving the feel that one was dealing with the real problem of pre-radio battle"

"having now played them, I can honestly say that I enjoyed the experience"..."much more than I normally do when faced with a new ruleset"

"very uncluttered"..." nice, simple mechanics and play mechanisms. I think they're well worth a try."

"What I've found most interesting is that the right decision and the interactions are not obvious.""For me, the game gave what I thought was a very realistic feel for a Dark Age (or probably an Ancients) battle.  It made more sense of things like battle duration and move distances than any other set that I’ve played with. It seemed to focus on transmission of the Players’ wishes to their troops, their receipt and how promptly and enthusiastically they were acted upon. "

"Certainly the dice gods play their part"..."but ultimately the player's decision is, nine times out of ten, the critical factor. That I like."

"I particularly liked that movement measurement has been made so very simple"