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TITLE: Impetus: Rules For Miniature Battles (2008)Impetus02

AUTHOR: Lorenzo Sartori

PUBLISHER: Dadi & Piombo



  • Home Page: www.Dadiepiombo.com offers free downloads of new scenarios, unit stats etc. You can also download a “lite” version of the rules for free.
  • A Support Forum can be found here.

PRICE (with date): 32 Euros (roughly $50) postage included.

REVIEWED BY: Mark “Extra Crispy” Severin

PERIOD COVERED: Impetus are suitable for Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance battles.

THE BOOK: Impetus is a coil bound book running 56 pages. Of those, the rules account for 44 pages and army lists the rest. The book features color illustrations and charts throughout.

SCOPE: Impetus is designed to recreate large battles for the ancients period through the renaissance.


Impetus requires relatively small armies. In 15mm a 500 point army will only require 150-200 figures.

BASE UNIT: None stated, however, each unit is usually comprised of a single base.


  • Ground scale 1 U = 6 to 7 meters.  A “U” is 1 cm when using 15 mm basing, 2 cm when using 25 mm basing.
  • Time scale 1 turn = 15 to 20 minutes
  • Figure/Base Ratio: None given. Each unit represents 600-1200 heavy infantry, 400-800 light infantry or medium/heavy cavalry and 200-300 skirmishers or light cavalry.
  • Recommended Figure size: Any. Basing and other adjustments are provided for all sizes between 6 mm and 28 mm.
  • Table Size: Recommended table size for larger (500 points) games is 240 x 180 cm for 25 mm and 180 x 120 cm for 15 mm.
  • Game Length: Large battles should be playable in an evening. Smaller battles in an hour or two.


In Impetus all bases have the same frontage. If using figures smaller than 20 mm bases should be 80 mm wide. If using 20 mm or larger figures bases should be 120 mm wide. Stand depths vary by troop type and are generally compatible with the DBx rules sets.

The number of figures on a base is irrelevant as combat is by unit. There is no figure removal. Once units rout (are reduced to a strength of 0) the entire unit is removed from play.


Impetus uses an unusual turn sequence. Each player nominates a command to activate. Each player rolls 2D6 for initiative modified by the quality of the army commander. The winner may activate their nominated command (which may be a single unit or group of units). He then picks one unit, performs all the actions with that unit he wishes (movement, ranged combat, rally, etc.). He then moves on to the next unit. Once all units in the activated command have taken their actions, players roll for initiative again. A command may only be activated once per turn. An active player may be interrupted by his opponent if the opponent has units on “Opportunity” (see below).


Army Structure/Command and Control:

Army Structure is an important aspect of each player’s forces. Armies are made up of between 1 and 4 Commands. Each command may be made up of multiple units. Commands are determined prior to play and may not be changed later. Units may also be put into temporary groups. These are multi-unit groups that move and act as a single unit. They may be created and disbanded throughout the game.

The army has a Command Structure rating. This determines the range at which units may be rallied by commanders and is a tie-breaker when determining initiative. This is also the range over which a commander may use his leadership bonus. It is possible for a general’s quality to change once during the game - if you roll double 6 for initiative your general increases one level in quality. If you roll snake eyes, he drops a level!


Movement is by unit or group. A movement action allows a unit to move straight ahead. In some cases a unit may move sideways or obliquely. Otherwise, the unit must use an action to wheel to change direction.


Players may put units on Opportunity status. Units on Opportunity may react to enemy activity within their zone of control, which is the width of the unit and extends forward 5U. Units rated “Impetuous” must be on Opportunity or else they automatically charge enemy units within 30U.

Ranged Combat:

To conduct ranged combat, the firer consults the Firing Table. Cross referencing weapon type and range, a number of D6 (positive or negative) is given. This is added to the units strength (called VBU) and that number of D6 are rolled. For every pair of 5’s or individual 6 rolled, one hit is inflicted. If at least one hit is inflicted on the target, it is disrupted. The target then takes a Cohesion test by rolling a D6. If the number rolled is equal to or less than the unit’s strength (VBU) minus the number of hits inflicted, no permanent losses are taken. If not, the target takes losses equal to the difference. For example, a target has a strength of 5 and takes two hits. It rolls a D6 - on a three or less it takes no damage. On a 4 it would take one point of damage on a 5 or 6, two points. Units reduced to 0 strength are routed and removed from play.

The ranged combat also include rules for target priority, firing arcs, indirect fire and opportunity fire.


Melee is very similar to ranged combat. Units roll a D6 for every strength point. In addition, it receives additional dice for charging, unit depth and terrain. Units receiving hits must take a cohesion test (as for ranged combat). The unit taking the most permanent damage has lost the melee and must retreat. Units remain in contact in cases of a draw. In some cases a retreat will not break contact in which case another round of melee is fought immediately.

The rules also over dispersing skirmishers, melee between multiple units, pursuit, and sacking your enemy’s baggage camp.


The rule book includes a number of army lists:

  • Philip II and Alexander’s Macedonians
  • Later Achemenid Persians
  • 2nd Punic War Romans
  • Hannibal’s Carthaginians
  • Gauls
  • Caesar’s Romans
  • Parthians
  • Crusaders (2nd & 3rd Crusades)
  • Saladin’s Ayyubid Egyptians
  • Teutonic Orders (13th-14th Centuries)
  • Mongols (13th Century)
  • 100 Years War French (1330-1444)
  • 100 Years War English
  • Francois I French (1515-1525)
  • Charles V Imperials (1519-1527)


Impetus looks like a nice game system for those who like DBx style games but are looking for bigger and slightly more complex battles. In general, the rules are well written (making a few small allowances for the translation from Italian to English), well illustrated and have good examples. Online support is likewise god with errata and a support forum available on line.


Not played.

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