Sunday, 20 October 2019

Eagerly Awaiting A Clash of Spears.

Roman officer from Victrix Miniatures - Based and ready for Clash of Spears.
If you are a fan of ancient period skirmish rules, then the last ten years has been like waiting for the proverbial bus... absolutely nothing happens for ages and then three come all at once!
Couple of Victrix Roman Velites.
I bought a copy of Warlord's S.P.Q.R. back in the Summer and, although there was a lot about it that I wasn't keen on, it was a case of making the best of a bad lot and loading up the painting bench with a load of Victrix's delicious Celts and starting to create a warband to use with the rule set. However, the more I read and re-read the rules and the more videos of games I saw, the more I struggled with the concepts underpinning the game. There seemed to be too much of that same thing that has put me off playing Bolt Action, which has grown into an arms race of 'my tank is bigger than your tank'. S.P.Q.R. appears to be about giving your warriors as many advantages as possible, only to have them cancelled out by your opponent doing the same thing based on their army list! You end up rolling loads of dice, which is great for you, but then your opponent has some clever trick up his sleeve which means you just have to re-roll them all over again. Although I was loving painting my Victrix Celts, I wasn't really looking forward to putting them onto an S.P.Q.R. battlefield.
Victrix Iberian Scutarii. 
But then, like a bolt out of the blue, while I was watching one of those S.P.Q.R. play test videos, one of the players quite incidentally mentioned that he had heard about an alternative set of rules that were somewhere in some pipeline or other, called Clash of Spears.
Celtic Warriors. These can be used as elements of a Carthaginian army or as warriors in one of two Celtic lists.
A hurried search on Google turned up some interesting results, one of which was a video of a game of Clash of Spears being played by the two authors themselves. I'm going to be honest here and say that it was literally love at first sight! (with the game, not the authors!) At the start of the game, there were no units on the table, just markers to indicate that there were units of some kind heading menacingly towards you. This initial phase developed with the markers moving around the battlefield and measuring checks being made to see if a unit had been identified... when they were, the marker was replaced by the unit itself. Right from the start, I loved this idea and the shock or delight that might arise from suddenly discovering just exactly what that unit of figures is! How do you react when that unidentified unit turns out to be a mob of archers about to unleash hell upon your painstakingly painted Roman Hastati!
I'm going to paint lots of Celts!
Clash of Spears has loads of clever features, designed to enhance game play, enjoyability and challenge. Rather than attempt to describe something that I haven't actually seen and is still a couple of months away from being released, have a look at the game played by Alvaro and Francisco and see what you think of the way the game plays.
The icing on the cake for me is that the producers of Clash of Spears have gone into partnership with Victrix and the intention is to produce boxed sets which include the rules and the figures you need to play the game.
Only one horseman painted so far!
These armoured Celts will, I think, be classed as Soldurii in Clash of Spears.


  1. Lovely looking selection of ancients! Really nice painting!
    Best Iain

  2. Cheers. Are you going to be giving Clash of Spears a go?

  3. I had my first game of Clash today and enjoyed it very much. Lots of tactical options to explore, and the reaction mechanic means there is not sitting around waiting for your opponent to finish moving all his units. Kickstarter has four days left to run:

  4. Hi Henry... I can't ever remember looking forward so much to the release of a set of new wargame rules! Ever since I watched the video of Alvaro and Frencesco playing a game, my whole painting regime has been geared towards having as many figures ready to play as possible. Just wondering how you managed to get a game ahead of the release?