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Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear fellow wargamers.

This is my review of Basic Impetus, which hopewfully helps you finding out whether this game is for you or not.

PLAYTIME: about 1 hour. possibly 1 1/2 hour for beginners.
PREPARATION WORK: not terribly much. terrain placement and army deployment is simple and effective. should take about 5 minutes.
RULEBOOK: about 8 pages of rules (written in more or less plain and clear english, not in some kind of code)and a few example diagrams. there is an extensive selection of army lists, which covers most armies from the bronze age to about 1600.

1) What it is
Basic Impetus is a miniature tabletop wargame. So you use miniatures, mounted on bases and terrain as seen in railroad modelling to represent troops and the battlefield.
Basic Impetus needs about 7 to 12 units per player. that is about 25 - 50 figures per army if based economically. if you want eye candy you can base as many figures as you want to a base. bases are supposed to be 80mm frontage, but 40mm (which is what most players base their figures to) works great too. any other basing will work too, as long as both armies use the same system. armies based for DBA/DBM style games and for Warhammer Ancients will work witzout problems.
the battlefield should be 120cm x 60cm. but for 40mm frontage based figures 60cm x 60cm will also work.
Basic Impetus also is the free (rules and army lists download is free!) and light version of the Impetus rules, which are slightly more complex.


2) How it Plays
a) Stats and Basics
core of the game are two stats. one is the VBU of a unit, which describes how tough the unit is in general. it decides how well the unit fights and how well it sustains losses. the other important stat is the "Impetus" value of the unit, which is a bonus the unit gets when charging into melee, but only if the unit is still fresh (has taken no losses so far). other stats are Movement (how far a unit can move, from 5 for heavy infantry to 12 for light horse) and the Value of the unit, whichj describes how bad its loss is for the armies morale.
most critical is the class of a unit. units are classed as heavy infantry, light infantry, skirmishers, medium horse, heavy horsem light horse, light chariots, heavy chariots, scythed chariots and elephants. the class of a unit is most important for how the unit moves.
a unit can take permanent losses, which permanently damage its fighting ability. they can also be disordered, which mostly happens through losing a rather unbloody melee or moving obliquely. disorder can be removed by rallying.

b) movement
units move either individually or in groups. the later gives the advantage of charging as a group and thereby geting a numerical advantage over the enemy.
movement rules are rather restrictive. you can either move straight forward or wheel. you can also do both but that disorders the unit.
once you enter another units Zone of Control (ZOC, the area the unit threatens) you can only move straight forwards or retire. it is thereby not possible to just maneuver nearby an enemy unit. here also a rules on certain trop types that can move through own troops and vice versa. terrain also influences movement and you also get disadvantaged if trying to fight light troops with heavy troops in bad terrain. (but terrain is less restrictive than in DBA for example.)
light horse and skirmishers are an exception to most of the above and move around rather freely. they are also hard to hit by ranged fire and therefore really useful for scrrening your army

c)Combat
there are two types of combat, being melee and ranged combat. procedures for both are similiar. you roll a number of dice equal to your VBU and modificated by modifiers. those modifiers are quite heavy for shooting and less so for melee. chaging and getting the impetus bonus is a huge advantage, so aggressive style of play is rewarded. just sitting at the tableedge waiting to be attacked is not a good idea for the same reason and also because the distances you have to flee when loosingf a melee will then quickly push you off the table and thereby eliminate you. so, in combat you roll a number of dice and every "6" or double "5" is a hit. the enemy must then make a cohesion test (and you too, if you took damage). this test basically is a test against the VBU of the unit minus any losses it suffered so far and minus the hits just inflicted. you then take a number of losses according to the outcome of the test. this can get very deadly quite quickly.
the looser must retreat after a lost melee and the attacker has the option to follow up. retreat and pursuit is diced for and should new contact occur the new melee is foughht immediately. this leads to rapid assaults that may really cut gaps into enemy lines in one turn only.
units never retreat from shooting.

d) Other Gameplay
each bound the beginning player is diced for. if an army has lost its general it is likely to have to go second, which is a huge disadvatage. the fact that this allows for the possibility of a player taking two turns in a row (as the 2nd player in the first bound and as the 1st player in the second bound) adds a nice element of surprise and chaos.
the game overall is fast paced and action-packed.


3) The Chrome
this is were this game shines. it is a fast-play game but has a lot of chrome to make armies reallly different and to make armies come to life. there are rules for the pilum throwing of legionaries and for vikings and saxons forming shield walls, making them immune to cavalry charges. also long spears and pikes give advantages against cavalry attacks. the different types of distance weapons are all modelled and it makes a difference whether you shoot a shortbow or a crossbow. some units can shoot indirectly (that is, from second rank).
There are curently army list for all the major periods and also for many obscure ones. it has not yet the breadth of DBA/DBM, but new army lists are published nearly every month on the publishers site - for free download!

4) Overall
i think Impetus is a colorful, fast-paced tabletop wargame, that should appeal especially to people who like to throw lots of dices and who like lots of action in their games. the game ranks in between DBA/DBM style games and Warhammer Ancient style games. while certainly less sterile than the former it is much more tactically deep than the later and much less clumsy than both.
highly recommended as an introduction to wargaming and to convert Warhammer Fantasy players.

Basic Impetus and Impetus are my favourite wargames at since 5 months ago. i believe they will stay my favourite rules for some time.

give it a try. please.


link to the download page:
http://www.dadiepiombo.com/basic2.html
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f s
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i probably also should note, that Basic Impetus is very easy playable with cardboard pieces too. that would make it a boardgame i guess.
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Kent Reuber
United States
San Mateo
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Thanks for the review. I've become rather disenchanted with DBA (and have never liked DBM). Impetus and Basic Impetus are the leading contender for a replacement for DBA.

hwarang wrote:
bases are supposed to be 80mm frontage, but 40mm (which is what most players base their figures to) works great too.


When you play with units with 40mm frontage, are you halving all the movement and firing distances? If so, do you find the movement distance to be too fiddley? Units move between 5U (heavy infantry) and 12U (light cavalry), which is normally 5-12cm (15mm scale, 1U=1cm, 25mm scale 1U=2cm or 1 inch). If you halve movement and firing, they only move 25mm-60mm per turn which seems like it would be hard to adjudicate differences in movement rates.

hwarang wrote:
units move either individually or in groups. the later gives the advantage of charging as a group and thereby geting a numerical advantage over the enemy.


One note to add here is that a group moves, then fights, then you proceed to the next group, rather than moving all units then fighting. A disordered unit can never be a member of a group, so this breaks up your line during a charge.
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Andrew Gross
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kentreuber wrote:

When you play with units with 40mm frontage, are you halving all the movement and firing distances?


With so few elements per army, I would think many people would be able to just put two 40mm elements side by side to make a single 80mm element. I guess if all you had were DBA armies, this wouldnt' be possible, though.
 
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there is no need to halve distances. earlier drafts of Basic Impetus even had chariots and artillery on 40mm front.

i would just try halved and full distances and then use what you like better.
 
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Right yesterday I attended an Impetus (500 pt.) tournament here in Milan.
I've to say that the beauty (apart rules, of course) depends on the army list you can choose. Personally, I opted for Spartacus rebels and now I gotta paint more than 100 minis. Lorenzo Sartori, the designer, is so kind that told me he'll prepare a detailed list for my Spartacus army and gave me advices on how to prepare the units... Hope I can finish the work by 10th May for my first tournament (300pt.).

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ahem. this review ios for Basic Impetus, while you are talking abou "full" Impetus. you need much more figures for full Impetus than for Basic Impetus (even though full Impetus is still pretty light on figures required).
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hwarang wrote:
ahem. this review ios for Basic Impetus, while you are talking abou "full" Impetus. you need much more figures for full Impetus than for Basic Impetus (even though full Impetus is still pretty light on figures required).


Yep right... Basic Impetus is around 200/250 pt. Then Impetus is 300 pt. (with variants for 400pt. and 500pt.).
 
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Mr J G Taylor
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I have only played the full Impetus but from the above the mechanisms seem the same.

I was not a fan due the 'luck' factor. I can live with hitting on 6's or pairs of 5's, so hits are infrequent. But the cohesion test afterwards is too luck dependant. Take 1 hit but roll high (6) and you take wounds, perhaps quite a few. Take a lot of hits and roll low (1) and might not take any damage. Given the low amount of hits and a difference of up to 5 in the die roll, luck is just too important. Perhaps would work if an average die (2,3,3,4,4,5) were used instead?

I play quite a lot of ancient games and this one does not appeal. Mechanisms quite similar to other games currently on the market. Well written however.
 
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i like the confusion that can be created by such results. one of the things i likje about Impetus is that it is NOT chess-like. you cannot know he results of a combat. everything can kill or at least severely damage everything. but chances that eg. a skirmisher unit can stand a charging unit of knights are low, as they should be.

in "full" Impetus you can actually buy re-rolls. they cost 5 army points and allow you to re-roll one test a piece (typically a cohesion test, for the very reasons you stated). this makes quite a difference, as the odds for losing a crack unit or any unit thatids otherwise especially important due to one bad roll.

for Basic Impetus you could just give each side one such roll.
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Francesco Franchini
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Card board Impetus
Wow ! I have had the same idea and I would be curious to develope this "flat card boarded" option of Basic Impetus !
Pls let me know ! Any guy gave it a try ???
cheers,
Francesco
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Francesco Franchini
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Hi All ! Any idea to play basic impetus with the top down card board counters printed from juniorgeneral ????
 
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Chema
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francxyz wrote:
Hi All ! Any idea to play basic impetus with the top down card board counters printed from juniorgeneral ????

It plays exactly the same, of course.

For example, I've played DBA and Impetus with cardboard counters, and here I am! laugh
There are lots of people that forget that the main reason of using miniatures in wargames is just because of tradition. But a stand with miniatures is like a cardboard tile, so don't worry.
 
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Juha Helin
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Basic Impetus (current version, will see what revised on will bring) does have a few defects.

- cavalry - especially good cavalry can be at times too slow to perform how they should. For armies that have strong cavalry contingents, and where heavy infantry acts as anvil, cavalry does not always make it far enough.

- Lack of avoidance is biggest issue. Light units, such as CL (light cavalry) are not able to avoid, which makes use of hit and run very complicated.

Hopefully these are resolved in next version.
 
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