Impetus, and the cut-down version Basic Impetus, are wargames rules covering ancient & medieval warfare produced by Italian company Dadi & Piombo. I'm going to focus this review on Basic Impetus (BI) as I've played that more than the full game.
BI is available as a free 9 page pdf download which allows you to play smaller games than Impetus using about 80% of the full rule set. The rules are simple & straightforward. Typically I can play at least 3 games in a night even against someone who hasn't played before. By the second game the new player is concentrating on tactics not on remembering the rules.
Base sizes are 80mm wide with the depth varying according to unit type. This width allows you to play with figures based for FoG (40mm) without having to rebase them. You just use 2 FoG bases instead of one. BI armies range between eight & fifteen bases per side, so it's easy & cheap to build up an army. The number of figures per base is left up to the player (base size determines unit type) so the system lends itself to players building small dioramas on the bases instead of just ranks of figures. Such as in this rather grisly Viking tableau from Mark Rowsell shown below.
Each unit has a simple stat line showing things such as move distance, weapon type & most important of all VBU. This stands for Basic Unit Value it's not BVU because the rules were initially written in Italian & they decided to leave the acronyms the same. VBU indicates the units relative strength and how many dice it will roll when it attacks. When a unit takes casualties figures arn't removed instead the VBU is reduced, when the VBU reaches zero the unit is removed. Certain units also have an Impetus stat which gives them extra dice to roll when they charge into contact. This is quite a nice mechanism forcing units with high Impetus values to attack to gain the benefit rather than being charged themselves when they don't get the extra dice. Combats are done one at a time and fought to a conclusion.
A melee consists of both players working out how many 6-sided dice they each have to roll (VBU), plus any modifiers (not a long list), hits being scored by 6's or if you roll a double 5. The loser of the melee, if there is one, then has to roll lower than their current VBU on a 6-sided dice or be eliminated. Quick, simple, clean but not as brutal as it seems. The system as a whole rewards good tactics and planning, plus it's so quick to play if you do lose you can always play again with different tactics.
This is just a very quick overview of the rules. If you are interested in finding out more there are lots of other reviews on the 'net. I'll just finish off with a few pictures of some of my figures based for Impetus.
My Samurai General
'Angry Peasants' from my Samurai force.
Some 28mm Saxons for my Hastings refight (if I ever get my Normans done)