Sunday, 2 April 2017

One Hour Wargames Ancients Final Review

     So, would I recommend playing these rules with a child? Are they child friendly? Easy to learn? Will they hold both adult and child's attention? Ok, to go back to my original criteria that I said I was going to judge these rules by. What were the criteria again?

1. Does the boy enjoy playing?
2.  Is enough thought required to make the game worth playing on a (semi) regular basis?
3.Does the game give an impression of being a representation of a battle of the period it is claiming to represent rather than just a generic game (however interesting that game might be)?
4.  Does the game meet my arbitrary, whimsical, undefined and changing ideas of what I want from a game at this moment if time?

     Well, the first question is easy to answer - as outlined in the boys review, he loved it. The second question is a longer answer. As previously discussed in my comments in the boys review, it seems that only after a few games he was picking up the tactics and how to play so I am not sure how long they would retain his attention. This may be that I need to try some more of the 'interesting' scenarios, as these may present ongoing challenges. When he was the attacker in the unbalanced defender scenario however he seemed to crack that one pretty quick.

     The question about does it gave an impression of a representation of a battle, I would still give this largely a thumbs up. OK, all wargames take alot of willing suspension of disbelief, as does this one. But it does deliver sweeping flanking attacks, grinding melees between heavy infantry, nip and tuck between lighter forces. The narrative in every game I played seemed to fit more or less into an idea of a battle. This started to break down when it was 'take a turn for a charge to sweep away an enemy unit' but overall it all seemed to hang together remarkably well for such a simple to learn game. 

     As for the final question about does it meet my demands from a game - which is about teaching a child to play and spending time with my children. The answer would be yes it has but would probably run into diminishing returns. 

    Which leads us into (after many posts and a surprising large amount of months) the big question

   Would I recommend this set of rules for playing with children?

     Yes, absolutely I would, with a few caveats.

     It is an excellent set of rules to start off playing with a child - as I say my boy is seven and he had no dificulties picking up the rules and they gave fun games. So, if you are looking for a first game to play with a child, I would recommend One Hour Wargames - Ancient Rules. Simple rules concepts and does not require much kit so easy to set up. The set up I used took almost no effort and the boy loved it. I could have played with 15mm figures on a one base equals one unit on a table less than half the size and he would have also enjoyed it. Me and the boy had alot of fun playing  the games - what more do you want?

     The caveat is this - you will probably want to look to move on fairly quickly to maintain interest. This could be in a few ways. One way to develop the game with your kid would be to start discussing adding additions rules to make the basic set your own. This has the advantage of requiring critical thought from your child - which if you are a concerned parent looking to develop your child's mental faculties would be great. You could also push this into developing  a campaign as well. As a set of rules they would work well for developing an imagination campaign - requiring imagination and reasoning from your child. This could form the basis of years of toy soldier playing with your child, an idea that I have considered. However, that would be a quite different blog - as this blog is about reviewing different rules for playing with children I will instead look to move on in a different manner. Namely, trying different rules and different periods. Will be posting soon what rules I will be looking at next. 

      Final recommendation - perfect first set of 'big battle' rules for children that have never played any wargames before. Can be used to introduce the hobby in general before moving onto other rulesets or as a basis to develop your own ideas or a campaign.  


  1. From the perspective of some family friendly gaming, there are two great strengths. Firstly they are both easy to learn and to remember and secondly they do give a short game of around 40 minutes. The two things combine to make it more likely that even midweek, the figures can come out on the table and a parent can spend some quality gaming time with a youngster without the common hurdles of wargaming (time and complexity) that typically get in the way.

    The rules almost invite the creation of house rules and so a child can take ownership of these rules by adding their own stuff in, a good stimulus to creativity.

  2. I concur.

    My daughter was 8 when we played the game of OHW medieval (it had lots of horses!) late 2014. She loved it, but alas the forces have not aligned to play another game. We do talk about it, but never seem to get the interest at the same time!

  3. Yes, time is a funny old thing. Finding time to play games in family time is difficult. Evenings before bedtime seem to slip away very quickly: weekends are so often full of things it is hard to carve out time here as well. It is particularly difficult finding time to do things with one child that the other can not take part in.

    1. Yep - with two children it is playing a game with only one that is the difficulty. I play lots of family games with the two of them (8 and 10) but very rarely just with one.

  4. Which I think is the problem that I have at the moment. Mine are 5 and 7. 5 is just to young to play more 'grown up' games and 7 is old enough to not want to play games 5 year olds play. By the time they are 7 and 9 am confident that I will be able to play games like Wings of War with them together.

    Have recently started playing Junior Catan with them - which fits the bill. Complex enough for the 7 year old but the 5 year old can understand it as well. (The game claims 6 as a minimum age but 5 seems fine). The main problem I have with that is the 5 year old learning to lose without getting to upset - but this would be a problem with any game and is something that all young children have to go through.

    My wife and I do make 'special time' where we each have a child one to one - but the boy wants to play football and cricket in the park if at all possible (he is developing into a decent bowler) rather than games and the girl has just learnt to ride a bike so she wants to take her bike to the park with daddy. Boardgames / toy soldiers are more of a wet day / filler activity, which is as it should be really.