Monday, March 25, 2019

Men of Bronze- All of Your Bases....

One of the core design goals of Men of Bronze was to be model and base agnostic.  That means, I wanted the system to work with any existing Greek Hoplite armies that players may have.  I personally hate all the base/re-basing in historical games to match “game scale” or “time scales”.  I spend way too much time painting, not enough time gaming, and do not want to redo basing all the time to play different games. 

The game mechanics themselves were put together to help facilitate this base agnosticism.  The most obvious way was to make the game a Unit-vs-Unit game.  Actions are resolved by a unit instead of by an individual model.  For example, in Warhammer Ancient Battles, you count up how many models are in base to base, calculate their attacks, and roll dice.  As casualties are calculated, models make saves and are removed when failed.  I.E, your models are the ones pooling their abilities to determine the success of their actions and attrition.  In Men of Bronze the actions are determined by the fixed abilities of the unit and fixed benefits for the supporting units.  There is no individual casualty removal. 

In addition, various key measurements are done by using the leader (center of the unit) as the focal point.  This simplifies and standardizes measuring, ranges, etc.  Therefore, no matter the basing you can easily mark or find the center of the front of the unit.  Basing does not matter.

As a last feature to make the game base and scale agnostic all measurements are in Base Widths.  Technically, a base width can be any unit of measure that the players are comfortable with.  I use 28mm models from Victrix and an Imperial Inch as a Base Width.  Alternatively, you could measure the actual length of the base size you use or the frontage and make those the same as the base widths.  Of course, players could also just decide what they want to use saying it is 10 cm, 150 mm, or whatever they wish.  The key thing is that everyone knows the size of a base width and it looks good to you on the table top. 

With that being said, there have been a few questions about how to do this base agnostic thing with the various armies and basing for armies that exist.  I want to look at some popular basing methods and talk about how to use them in Men of Bronze.           

Single Based Models
As I have mentioned, I tend to use single based 28mm models for my own games and armies.  28mm is what I cut my teeth on as a young wargamer, and despite playing games at different scales this one just appeals to me. 
Phalanx Formation for 28mm, single-based models
To create a unit in Men of Bronze, the easiest way and the method I use is to simply get 10 single based models together.  I put the leader model in the front rank, put two mooks on each side of the leader.  I then fill in a second line of 5 models.  Ta-da!  A unit in Phalanx formation.  I use Victrix 25mm round plastic bases and all the models are based individually.  However, you can use any size base you want, and it can be round or square with no game impact.  If I want a unit in loose formation, I just place the leader model, and make sure all the individual models are within 1 base width, which I have decided is 1 Imperial Inch.   

Open formation for 28mm, single-based models
This means models from Warhammer Ancient Battles and similar casualty removal systems easy to use in Men of Bronze

Multi-Models with Multiple Base Units
A popular style of basing is 28mm or 15 mm models in groups of 4-6 on square or rectangular bases.  The easiest way would be to use 10 bases and split them out like the single based unit, but that is a lot of figures and very few people will probably want to do that!  Keep in mind, a Unit can be any number of bases as it is a Unit-vs-Unit system.  Therefore, you can have a Unit be 1 base or more.  I tend to think 3 bases (so about 12 to 16 figures) make a good unit. 

For a Phalanx formation they can simply be lined up in a straight line, with the middle of the center Unit as the “Leader” or a model in the center base acting as the leader.  If the unit is supposed to be in loose formation a player could simply stagger the frontage of the unit, or separate the bases by up to a base width.  

Many games use 60mm x 60mm, 40 x 40mm or 40mm x 15mm bases.  The easiest base width measurement is 30mm, 20mm or 15mm respectively.  However, you can use whatever looks best to you! 

This makes armies designed for Hail Caesar, Warmaster Ancients, or Impetus rather easy to convert to Men of Bronze.  

From Irregular Wars- Multi-model, multi-based, 10mm
Multiple Models on a Single base
Players who have long been using WRG, DBA/M, or L’Arte de Guerre systems will frequently have a single unit of 4 to 6 models on a single base.  These are easy to convert to Men of Bronze too.    

Typically, 15mm models for DBA use 40mm frontage with a width/depth of 15mm.  That means an entire unit for Men of Bronze could be on a single base 40mm x 15mm. A base width for measuring distance could be 15mm, but if you do not like the look you could go for something else.  The “leader” would just be the center of the unit’s frontage.  A unit would be assumed to be in Open Order, unless a counter was placed nearby indicating they were in a Phalanx formation.

If you have smaller scale models such as 6mm or 10mm you could stick with the 15mm base width, or adjust it as you so desire.

From Irregular Wars- Multi-model, single-based, 10mm
Final Thoughts
As you can see, Menof Bronze was built to be scale and base agnostic.  If you have Ancient Greek figures, you can probably play a game.  However, it is recommended that each player use the same basing method and scale to reduce confusion, but it is not required with a suitably good-natured opponent and clear communication.  Each army is about 5-10 units per side, so you can easily stretch your existing Ancient Greek collections for a game of Men of Bronze.         


  1. Excellent summary and very helpful.

    I received my rules on Sunday, and after a quick skim on Monday I;'m very impressed.

    Osprey did an excellent job with the typesetting.
    Plenty of space around the paragraphs, not too crowded with tiny photographs.
    Where tables are used they are easy to read and not crowded.
    A pleasure to read.

    As for your rules, I've not fully digested them, but I like what I see.
    Simple consistent mechanisms, and special rules appropriate to each troop types strengths.
    Support, an area where many miniature rules struggle, is solved in a simple and clever manner.

    Best of all, every paragraph was clearly written, I didnt finish a single one feeling confused, or needing to refer back to a glossary.

    Congratulations on a very nice publication.
    I'll venture into the loft and dust off my old WRG Syracusan force.
    There should be enough Hoplites and auxiliary troops to get me going.
    (Even if Campanians and Spaniards have to stand in as Persians).

    1. Thank you for the kind words. Let me know how your battles go!

    2. I have eagerly awaited "Men of Bronze" rule set since I saw the project announced on the Lead Adventures Forum last year. While I enjoyed the 'Eagle Rampant' ancient variants for "Lion Rampant," I wanted something with a little more granularity to game the Greco-Persian Wars through Alexander's Conquests into the Punic Wars. I also hoped to have a rules system that would also encompass the Greeks fighting the Carthaginians in Sicily and Africa and, last but not least, Pyrrhus of Epirus. I think with "Men of Bronze" and "Conquest! Rome in Italy," I have the beginnings of some intriguing skirmish level wargaming for the aforementioned historical periods.

      I have purchased a hard copy of "Men of Bronze," obtained a Google Play copy of those rules and downloaded "Conquest! Rome in Italy," and read each several times. I have some questions, and I hope this forum is an appropriate place to ask them:

      I assume since a charge can fail, players are not allowed to pre-measure distances before taking an activation or using a special rule or arete point?

      Can a hoplite activate in open order formation, use an arete point to charge, move a number of base widths in a manner allowed by open order, employ another arete point to form phalanx and complete the charge in a single activation?

      If a unit enters contact with an enemy formation without employing a charge, then this activation was only movement, and melee does not commence at this time? Supporting units would not be determined at this time? If the enemy formation had not yet activated for the turn, the only activation allowed would be to resolve a melee?

      Does a wavering unit need to take a Discipline Check other than to move? If so, what would be the penalty to an already wavering unit for failing a Discipline Check?

      Am I correct that in "Men of Bronze," unlike "Conquest! Rome in Italy," a wavering unit automatically 'rallies' after activating, and expending an arete point? Contact by an enemy unit, or being the target of a shooting attack in the same turn would not prevent the unit from 'rallying"?

      Once enemy units come into contact, whether by normal movement or charging, they may not engage in any other activation other than fighting until the conclusion of melee? If not, then could either unit rally from wavering, change formation to phalanx and/or shoot at the enemy unit before completing the melee?

      I appreciate your efforts in writing streamlined miniatures rules for ancient skirmishes while retaining some crunchiness appropriate for the period. If this forum is not appropriate for these questions, I would appreciate your pointing me in the right direction. Thanks again for your efforts in this regard.

    3. Excellent questions!

      I will post a new blog post that will answer your questions and act as a living FAQ as the game progresses.

      More to come soon.

  2. Thank you for your quick reply. Also, really looking forward to the publishing of your Hellenistic Rules which I assume will thoroughly cover Alexander's Army, the Archamaenid Persians and Porus' Indians?