What Dark Ages sets would you like to see next?

  • @Brian Van De Walker 

    The last time Chariots are mentioned in chinese history is c. 119 BCE/BC, when a Han expeditionary force was ambushed by the Xiongnu people at Mo Bei. They were used to shield the infantry from horse archers. When they could win the momentum, chinese cavalry was hunting the Xiongnu.

    At this time the tactics in Han armies changed and they switch to recuit more allied tribes to replace chariots with more mobile light cavalry. After the Battle of Mo Bei, Chariots were no longer mentioned.

    It is debated if the chariot in China survided as "command posts" for Generals some time longer. This would be ironical because this is how chinese armies used chariots first when they were introduced c. 2000 years earlier.

    In India, Chariots disappeared mostly in the 1st Century BCE/BC from sources. It's said that the Kanva Dynasty of Magadha disbanded the chariots of the Magadhian armies when they had risen to power c. 75 BCE/BC. Sources from southern India are unknown on that topic.

  • As mentioned before I think that going in on the Sassanian empire would be a great option. As WGA focuses on cavalry sets, it would be really cool to see some light horse archers or even cataphracts off the press. If we are being fully honest, the lightly armored nature of the persian box would make the bodies good enough for most sassanid infantry, WGA could possibly make an upgrade sprue with more period appropriate heads, shields, and weapons. 

  • @Ethan Gilbert Yeah they would be pretty fun, and they fullfill the bare minum of having a Saga board.

    They should probably start with the armored cataphracts. Particularly if they add this crossbow.


    @Steffen Seitter I am sure you did research, but apparently China still used them in warfare at least up till 613 CE, probably a bit beyond that given 800 where sent out, though they were clearly not as effective as they used to be, its was still there and post Decline and Fall too. You are right about India though, the war elephant replaced them.

  • @Brian Van De Walker Actually yeah, most cataphracts that are out are too blatantly roman or byzantine to be used as a Sassanid army. as far as just horse archers go I feel like this box would be acceptable In general iran/persia is kind of underrepresented with the exception of Achemenids and while I know this would be for product lines other than this blood oaths, it would be cool to see a safavid set 

  • @Brian Van De Walker 

    The article sometimes confuses BCE with CE. The article refers to the year of 613 BCE not CE.

    As said the last mentioned use of chariots in chinese warfare was 119 BCE by the Han.

  • @Steffen Seitter

    If I am not mistaken the Tsu (or Sui) state rebellion they are referring to was either the Wagang rebellion or one of the others which happened around 611-613 CE/AD in China. The short lived Sui state ended China's Three Kingdoms period, built a great canal, is well remembered for its tryanny and is itself also a fixture of 6th-7th century CE/AD and had actively been fighting the kingdom of Goguryeo which was one of the big nations of what is known as the three kingdoms period of Korea's history (all started well into the CE/AD period). 

    Unless you can give me a hard example of a another "Tsu state" that was existing in earler 613 BCE China that also suffered from internal revolts, I will have to argue that the article writer DID NOT make a mistake with his CE label in this case since he would also be mixing up whole dynasties.

    In that example he was clearly referring to the early 7th century CE/AD China 35 year Sui Dynasty, though he made a big point that chariots had lost there prominence by then and had indeed been in decline for several centuries. Keyword being "decline", which means they were still used but not  effectively, but I can think of a reason for them to be still in use or even temporarly be reintroduced by the Sui empire at least.

    Diffrent topic but I get the feeling that after the  Sassanian empire and maybe the Franks, there really isn't much to the dark ages that isn't validly covered with Vikings and whats out there already (at least in Saga Board land🤣).



  • From "Ancient China simplified": by Edward Harper Parker:

    "In the year of 632 BC, when Tsin inflicted a great defeat uopn it's chief rival Ts'u, the former power had 700 chariots in the field. Again in 632 Tsin offered to the Emperor 100 chariots just captured from Ts'u, and in 613 sent 800 chariots to the assistance of a dethroned Emperor."

    The Articles autor seems to read that book and mixed something up because Parker forgot the "BC" after those dates.

    It's consense that chariots disappeared from chinese warfare latest in 100 BCE and that the Han were the last Dynasty for using them on combat.

  • @Steffen Seitter  I will give you that is the consesense because of Wikipedia agreeing on that and it not being worth fighting over.

    However your personal argument is not convincing for the following reasons:

    1. You used a snippet from general historic overview written in the 19th century by a British historian whose main focus was also the 19th century. Access and research on the topic of Ancient Chinese warfare has advanced quite a bit since then and there is no guarantee he is right about anything from before British contact (western history of China is not always the same or as accurate as Chinese and Taiwanese history of China).
    2. For battles numbered dates and head counts (in this case the number of chariots) are things historians would normally get wrong and in the case of Asian history place names (all the things that match),  not which side of Christ's birth the conflict  happened on or details of who was fighting who.
    3. I asked for a peasant revolt (as mentioned in the first article), you gave me what is very clearly a barbarian invasion (the events don't match).
    4. Given that the Han essentially revived Chariot use for their war against the Xiongnu (which lasted 133 BC/BCE to 89 AD/CE)one could easily argue that chariot use in Chinese warfare might be one of those things that the Chinese redid every once and while, most likely to give them additional mobile range options to help supplement horse archers or for infantry support.


  • @Brian Van De Walker honestly, it pretty much has to if you want to avoid doing retreads of largely the same units. the differences between Romano-british, Saxon, Franks, etc is pretty small, due to them all deriving from the late Roman stuff.

    while China might be a stretch since the "dark ages" period is generally a geographically european focus (as the same period of 6th to 10th century in asian history tends to be defined by different reference points ,and the two halves of the continent had very little direct interaction), the time period does include the Byzantines, which while also deriving from thae late roman stuff, took their styles in their own directions. but my suggestion would be to look at some of the regions that aren't often covered and especially not done in plastic.

    like the Umayyad Caliphate and the Iberian Christian kingdoms, since the Umayyads invade and conquer much of the iberian penninsula early in the period, and the start of the Reconquista begins near the end fo the period. which is a period with a lot of dramatic battles and has a number of rulesets allowing play during it, but which has little plastic figure support.

    i'd also love to see the early Norse from the 8th and early 9th century. most of the figures out there are from the later 9th and 10th-11th centuries when they were more well equipped and more organized as armies. it would be nice to see a kit with mostly unarmored warriors and fewer swords and more axes, spears, and a few bows. maybe also do some Slavs and the Slav-influenced Norse Rus, which would combine elements of both. (bonus points if you could use the latter to do Jomsvikings. :) )

  • @Grumpy Gnome what range is the chariot from?

  • @Dark Don 

    I haven't seen Grump Gnome around in a while .....

    If you mean this chariot?:

    It looks like the Victrix plastic kit:

  • @JTam Thats cause it is Victrix plastic, you can tell by the Boudica model.


  • @JTam  

    Indeed it is one model from the Victrix plastic Celtic Chariot kit.

  • For me Franks (which look like they are coming soon) then Carolingians (although early medieval) 

  • @Matthew Williamson I'm certainly interested to see the Merovingian Franks as well, though with the advent of Vox Populi they'll likely be pushed down the queue as more nurks keep voting for Halflings and Death Fields stuff. 

    Carolingian Franks would be interesting as well, though I wonder what the differences are, if any?

  • @Caratacus I think the diffrence is the Carolingian Franks had more heavy cavalry and a wider array of exotic house guards, they are essentially early knight armies with lots of mercs could be wrong though.

  • I've noticed WA have trialled some Welsh sculpts on WA Digital:

    Clearly they didn't read my post in this thread expressing my wish for an alternative approach to Dark Age Welsh (but then it was largely drowned out by various bleatings about campy Shieldmaidens), so I will relay it for the benefit of those who missed it the first time:

    "I also want to see an alternative set of Welsh, I really can't get on board with the primitive barefoot look that many manufacturers have given theirs. Because there is relatively little that has been written down regarding the nature of Welsh troops prior to the Middle Ages the subject is up for different interpretations, and personally I would have thought they would have been more advanced than the backwater Gaels and Picts (the Celtic Britons certainly were, and given that they had also been Romanised by this time, I would have thought they would have been closer to their Saxon rivals in terms of their equipment, just with their army structure revolving more around archers and heavy cavalry than heavy infantry).

    As mentioned in another thread I'm a big fan of Mierce's Darklands models, and their Welsh models look really good:

    Teulu (literally 'family' or household troops - would more often have been mounted in reality but some may well have fought on foot):

    Rhyfelwyr (Warriors - standard Welsh infantry, I know these wouldn't all be wearing chainmail - that honour would have been reserved mainly for the Teulu - which is why I'm advocating for a set with unarmoured bodies, and the Shields would be round, but otherwise you get the picture):

    Helwyr (Hunters - these would most likely have been the stereotypical Welsh border raiders, skilled with both a bow and a sword and with a cloak and hood that, while maybe wouldn't have had leaves affixed to it, would still have been dark green to better camouflage the wearer from pursuing enemies)

    Saethwyr (Archers - ranged troops superior to those of other factions, but vulnerable in melee of course):

    While they possess a bit of a fantastical edge, I would certainly like to see Wargames Atlantic make a version of these closer to historically-accurate Dark Ages costume, in particular if their parts are compatible with the Late Roman Lorica Hamata troops to allow a kitbasher to turn them into unarmoured Romano-British infantry or the Late Romans into Welsh Teulu on foot, and if WA release a Late Roman Heavy Cavalry set as well, the same method could be applied to make mounted Teulu.

    Something like this:

    • 5 unarmoured bodies on the sprue, similar to those of the Goths - armoured bodies can be obtained elsewhere
    • Heads mainly with moustaches rather than beards, some helmeted and some unhelmeted (both of which are compatible with the Lorica Hamata Late Romans to make foot Teulu), plus some hooded heads for Helwyr
    • Enough bows to equip every model in the kit with one if desired
    • Plenty of sword and spear arms for melee troops and enough shields to equip every model in the kit with one if desired
    • At least two or three cloaks per sprue for Helwyr
    • Javelins for skirmishers, and for melee infantry to throw at a charging foe, perhaps?

    WA have already made the especially characterful set of Irish for Blood Oaths, so I certainly hope that they'll see that a set of Welsh in the style I've mentioned would be an equally-characterful set to follow it up."


    If my suggestions are taken into account when these are developed to become a plastic set, you'll have got at least one sale from me, I'm still biding my time when it comes to looking for archers for my own British/Welsh army.

  • Not sure I'd want the fantasy element but I do agree that WA Welsh sculpts have more in common with the old Gripping Beast Welsh or even the newer Footsore Early Welsh. I must admit I see this as a trope used by wargamers simply to differentiate the Welsh from the Saxons on the table. The evidence for this is so flimsy, often from biased Norman sources, and from the high medieval period.

    I do note the the recent Osprey book on Post-Roman Kingdoms 450-800AD only has single example of a warrior from the period with no trousers or shoes. So perhaps we are seeing some revision of this trope. I find it hard to justify that say Cadwallon's warband in 630AD would look much different from the "Romano-British" or "early Saxon" in visual appearance. Perhaps different brooches, hair cut or colours. Running around with no shoe (or in some cases) one shoe (!) seems rather a stretch. 

    Not that it makes much difference since WA seems unwiling to actually sell any of these scuplts to us in anything other than digital format. Back to Victrix then ...

  • @graham I agree that the fantastical elements of the Mierce Welsh shouldn't be included (though the hoods and cloaks on the Helwyr look cool and wouldn't have been unheard of, especially on scouts as they are), but you get the message I was intending to preach - that the simple, barefoot primitive design of many Dark Age Welsh models just doesn't feel right for the successors of the Romano-British, and that it's time to refresh the perspective.

    I thoroughly agree that the most likely aesthetic of Welsh troops would probably be very similar to the Anglo-Saxons, especially if, concerning the Anglo-Saxons, you look past the traditional 'ethnic cleansing' theories propagated by bitter anti-English 'Celtic' scholars and arrogant pro-German 'Saxon' scholars alike to explain how the Angles, Saxons and Jutes settled in Britain. In reality the  would have been much more a process of immigration, integration and an overall merging of cultures, with most Britons in these areas just adopting a Germanic veneer (and some taking Germanic spouses) for ease of getting on in society, but still otherwise remaining British genetically and in some aspects culturally and linguistically.

    The people in Wales, Cornwall and Yr Hen Ogledd (the Old North, in the areas now known as Cumbria and Strathclyde), meanwhile, preserved more of the Brythonic language principally because they lived furthest west from the areas where the migrants landed (most of the new arrivals weren't going to walk or ride all that way), and because the areas they lived in were the most geographically isolated and inaccessible, and so their culture still remained largely the same as it had been before the Germanic migrants' arrival. This thus makes it all the more unlikely that they would have degenerated into barefooted primitives in the league of the genuinely comparatively backward Picts, Irish and Scots, who never benefitted from the advancements of the Romans or even the pre-Roman Brythonic Celts.

    Thus the English and Welsh 'races' could thus easily be seen as cousins, both being the results of Romano-British communities diverging onto different paths due to differing circumstances, and thus there is no reason why a Welsh army would be drastically different from a Saxon one.

    However, a few small touches in which such an army could be distinguished from a Saxon force would be mixing some Late Roman weapons, armour and headgear amongst the models (as it was so much cheaper to just wear an old helmet inherited from your Romano-British ancestors than have a brand-new one made, for example), shield designs with more a combination of stereotypically Roman and Celtic designs than Germanic ones, and, I personally like to think, a greater prevalence of moustaches over full beards, a nod back to Ancient Celtic vs Germanic hairstyle preferences. All of these feature in my own Dark Age Welsh army that I've started, through combining the Wargames Atlantic Late Roman Infantry and Gripping Beast Dark Age Welsh (luckily three bodies per sprue in that set are decent with shoes and trousers, and I plan to greenstuff shoes and trousers on the other two) kits, plus adding a good few weapons and heads from Warlord's Celtic Warriors. I also plan to grab the Victrix Late Roman Unarmoured Infantry set as there are some cracking Celtic and Romano-British heads in there that will be put to good use.

    Yeah it is a pain that WA focus more on other eras and settings for their plastic kits (particularly Death Fields, Campy Fantasy and World Ablaze) right now, but as you've said, luckily Victrix have come to the rescue with their great Late Roman kits.

  • 1
  • 2 / 2
Please login to reply this topic!