I love the Dark Ages.
There’s something about the crumbling ruins of once-glorious empires fighting desperately to fend off the Barbarian horde and the nostalgia of the survivors who have to fight for themselves in this new world that appeals to me.
There are three main conflicts I like to game- the fall of Rome and the barbarian incursions, the Romano-British and the Viking invasions, although I’m also a keen fan of the Byzantines as well. Heck, I’ll play anything Dark Age!
Actually, come to think of it, the Romano-British appeal to me for the same reasons the Romans do- a desperate defence against overwhelming odds by a people desperately trying to hold on to the old world they used to know against the barbarians at the gate.
Too Fat Lardies have produced a magnificent game for the fall of post-Roman Britain, Dux Britanniarum. Using their signature card-based turn sequence allows the army leaders to take their proper place at the fore-front of Dark Age warfare. It also comes with a very easy campaign system to give your battles even more significance.
As for the Vikings, it’s more a ruleset that I found that I like- it’s more Viking saga than Viking history, and I think it needs a bit of an overhaul for larger games (it’s a detailed skirmish game, and there are too many details for this size game to run smoothly and painlessly). These skirmish rules though, being quite hero-centric, are also excellent for say refighting the Illiad or Lord of the Rings: very versatile.