East Street games offers Valhalla, a set of free wargames rules for Dark Age skirmishes. The rules are free for the downloading, or for purchase in print. The website has an online system for generating warbands. Interesting stuff.
Sagas in Miniature blog offers three free download-and-print Dark Ages Scot banners.
Dark Age is an rpg set in 6th century Britain. Not entirely historical, it provides a nice infusion of myth. The author, Jon, writes that
The Dark Ages world is a distorted version of our own historical dark age Britain and Europe. The game is set in 610AD but things are not quite as they were in the real historical world. Major differences include:
More towns & cities survived the departure of Rome, so there are many urban areas. Magic is much closer to the surface. The power balance between celts, picts & Saxons is much more balanced, no single power has a significant ascendancy. There is growing pressure from the continent, the Byzantine empire is not content to maintain itself but is beginning to develop an expansionist bent. The Romano-British do not rule, but their great houses occupy positions of influence within British society. Atlantis & Lemuria/Mu were real places. Atlantis and Mu were both magically powerful cultures who fought a great war. The magical remnants of this clash, tens of thousands of years ago, still reverberate through the known world. Mechanisms are far more advanced than the real-world of 610AD, much roman and greek technology has been maintained and developed, partly with the assistance of lemurian and atlantean lore.
I personally really like games set in a mythic historical time. And I actually think that sometimes, mythic elements actually make a game MORE historical. After all, the people of ancient times believed in magic — and behaved as though it had an influence on their lives. If an army believed that toting out the relic of an ancestor made them more powerful, why not include that in the game?
Into the Dark is a set of free wargames rules by Dan Abbott for mass combat in the Medieval period. Designed for 25mm to 30mm figures, the rules seem designed to allow players to easily manage large numbers of figures. In combat, 1d6 is thrown for every four figures in combat. Modifiers are kept to a minimum.
More from Dan:
I’m aware that there are many rule sets on the market designed to deal with medieval armies. However most of these sets are meant to deal with skirmish fighting. Even some of the better known rules for armies are really just skirmish rules done on a giant scale. The rules you see before you are designed for battles between armies, similar to those found in history or heroic literature. Large scale battles can be fought to a conclusion in a reasonable amount of time.
These rules were originally designed for 25mm/30mm figures, although they can easily be used for 15mm by dividing all ranges in half, or by using centimetres instead of inches. Don’t be put off by the size of the rules, use only the basic rules until you are comfortable with play, then add whatever optional rules you like. The section on game preparation takes up a lot of room, but is only needed when first creating your army.