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Fall of Rome maker and Undaunted studio set sights on accessible wargames with Battalion: War of the Ancients

Roman wars on a Gaul budget.

Cover art for Battalion: War of the Ancients board game
Image credit: Rowland MacDonald/Osprey Games

The studio behind the Undaunted series has teamed with Fall of Rome designer Paolo Mori and Pocket Battles co-designer Francesco Sirocchi to create a new board game aimed at coaxing new audiences into the historical gaming scene.

Battalion: War of the Ancients will be a single-box competitive board game where two to four players face off against one another as either the Roman legions, the Greco-Bactrian forces, soldiers of the Han dynasty or Hannibal’s motley crew of sellswords and mercenaries. Each of these factions have traits derived from their historical counterparts, including specific strengths and weaknesses on the field.

Once the players have selected their faction, they must choose which amongst a broad range of units they will add to their army, walking a tight line between strength and size. Rank tiles attached to units will bestow unique traits on them, but too many will make them slow, cumbersome and hard to manoeuvre in combat. Each player’s leader will have access to tactics cards specific to their chosen faction outlining movement, deployment and engaging with the enemy.

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While this might sound like a lot of information without much context, Osprey Games confidently calls Battalion: War of the Ancients an “accessible” historical wargame that only takes 45 minutes to play, at most. Given the success of the publisher’s last military title, General Orders, I’m inclined to extend the benefit of the doubt. The initial release skimped on finer details or any gameplay footage, so we’ll have to wait for the proof.

Mori’s other tabletop creations include Libertalia, the fantasy strategy title Ethnos and fellow historical shorty Blitzkrieg!: World War Two in 20 Minutes. The artwork and illustrations were provided by Roland MacDonald, who was previously featured in Undaunted, Final Girl and Shogun 2: Total War.

Battalion: War of the Ancients is aiming for a retail release in November of this year, after the upcoming narrative tactics title War Story: Occupied France, which the publisher described as a “choose-your-own-adventure” board game set in WWII Europe. Also arriving later this year is Undaunted 2200: Callisto, a sci-fi spin-off to one of the best entries in the genre.

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