Review -Basic Impetus 2.0

basic-impetus-2-0I have to admit that I did expect Basic Impetus 2.0 (Hardcopy from Dadi&Piombo, digital copy available in Wargame Vault) to be released a few months ago, but better late than never. First Basic Impetus has been admittedly my favorite and most played system for a long time. It has not lost it’s entertainment value over the years and it still surprises at times.

Basic Impetus is a miniature wargaming ruleset to be used from Ancient to Renaissance. Unlike in more rigid system, Impetus basing system is quite flexible, and allows little dioramas to be represent armies. My chosen base size is 60mm x 30mm for every unit (except deep formations, which are two bases deep) and have find out that as long as both sides use the same base size it can be virtually any that pleases the eye. Competitive play have different regulations but that is another story.

Of course having miniatures to try out the system is wholly unnecessary because parer armies can be used as well without much investment. Of course that is true for any other rule systems as well.


Rulebook is available in hard copy and digital version. Full color, including 340 army lists, covering vast period of time. Tables should definitely be condensed and printed out as reference cards because of some mechanics have changed from pure DR to table to be referred. That does mean reference to the tables until one remembers them by heart.

Army lists have seen a major overhaul, and one can easily expect some additional painting to be done. Fine tuning of the unit statistics has taken them closer, if not identical to Impetus, which is not a bad thing at all.

Game flows quite well but it is slower than earlier version. I am, however expecting there to be a speedup once I am familiarity with the rules and units.

Differences, old vs. new?

So, what are differences between old and new Basic Impetus then? Old basic impetus rulebook was ascetic to start with. Only few pages long, condensed to the very essentials, it was sufficient but nothing fancy. Several things were not represented, and reasoning for it was perfectly understandable given the nature of the ruleset. However, Basic Impetus grew out of it’s position of mere introduction to Impetus and started to live it’s own life. Because I have always liked the way BI handled things, I do not wonder at all why that happened. It is very hard to find game that play so fluently, so quickly and give proper thrill. Against that background it is easy to see that Basic Impetus 2 is not as much of update to the old, as it is a more mature, and quite independent game system that will stand alone, perhaps even somewhat apart from Impetus.

Many little changes mean that the gameplay, while familiar, is also much different. For example Roman pilum, earlier a multi-use weapon is now available only once – but it is much stronger. It means a different tactic to be employed. Previously, low impetus and high pilum DR on defense meant that Legions would have no strong incentive to attack, while now with impetus of 2, and 2 DR for pilum in attack, there is greater incentive to do so. 4DR on defense also means that opposition thinks twice the direct contact.


It was easy to argue that old Basic Impetus had excellent value for the money, being free it was of course hard to beat. BI2 is very, very good and enjoyable game with low complexity.

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