Start Ancient Wargaming – A Short Review

The other week my copy of Sue Laflin-Barker’s “Start Ancient Wargaming” arrived. Readers of this blog will of course recall that I announced its release a few weeks back. However, now I have a copy I can expand a little on the its content.

The books dimensions are 23.5cm x15.5cm and comprises 196 pages, in a perfect bound paperback. Black and white illustrations are used throughout the book, excluding the covers. 

The first fifty pages provide an introduction, sections on choosing, building and painting armies as well as how to model terrain. The techniques used for painting are reasonably basic and are clearly aimed at the new gamer, which is as it should be. The section on terrain is well illustrated and should be very useful for the player starting out. A good number of black and white illustrations are provided especially in the terrain section. Chapter 4 focuses on playing a sample game where Sue walks through a game between two players. Each move in this section is explained and illustrated. 

Chapter 5 provides the full DBA 3.0 rules, though without diagrams. Being used to the DBA 3.0 format the changed page layout, each page being physically smaller, I found the rule layout a little difficult. However, all the rules are here. It is a shame that the diagrams could not be included, however this does not detract from the aim of the book.
Chapter 6 comprises around 80 pages and provides a selection of army lists for 38 conflicts. The conflicts start with Sargon the Great and ends with the Samurai in Japan. Each conflict has two or more army list. For example Conflict 12 covers the campaigns of Prrhos of Epiros and includes lists for Pyrrhus, Demettrios, Camillian Roman and Early Carthaginian. This section combines the descriptions of the army lists, as the appear in the DBA lists which are sometimes expanded or edited by Sue.

As I mentioned in a previous post this book is aimed squarely at the new ancients wargamer. While it lacks the colour and professional look of many glossy publications it is packed with information for its target audience. I can only imagine how useful it would have been to me over 40 years ago.

I purchased my copy via Lulu. I understand that Start Ancient Wargaming can also be purchased through a number of outlets now including Amazon. It is also available in a Kindle format. I encourage you to purchase a copy for a budding wargamer you may know. I’m sure they will find it extremely useful.

2 thoughts on “Start Ancient Wargaming – A Short Review

  1. I was given a copy of Sue’s book last month. I found the old school, 1/72nd scale toy soldiers and terrain built from bits or cardboard, pieces of carpet tile and other household impedimenta a delightful reminder of how I started wargaming. That, and the suggested combinations of armies at the back have given me enthusiasm to reorganise my 15mm armies and terrain. Success!


    1. We had a few people interested in the DBA games being played at Natcon here in Auckland this weekend. A few had plans to bring old armies out of storage. It would seem you are not alone Vince.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s