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"DBA for historical refights." Topic

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923 hits since 1 Nov 2012
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Louie N02 Nov 2012 6:20 p.m. PST

How does DBA work for historical refights?

Can the game be played with one side outnumbering the other?

How can moral, or leadership, differences be accounted for in the game?

I am just lookig for some home brewed ideas or previous experience from the DBA community.


Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP02 Nov 2012 6:47 p.m. PST

I have done many historical refights with DBA Giant Games. For these we match the army lists with historical rosters. Much more fun than trying to do just 12 v 12. Raphia was my biggest with 8 players on a side, and 75-85 elements on a side.


These were all done prior to DBA 3 but I really like the new version of Giant Games. I did a Giant Spartacus game, based on Kirk Douglas movie, with rolling fire logs, counting as Scythed Chariots. Most games have some special aspect to give a historical flavor.

I have also done many convention tournaments with Duplicate games. Standard armies with historical terrain where each player takes both sides of two different historical battles. Troops are pre-set, and some times special rules. One game between Romans and Germans, had a chance for a couple of German Ax on roman side to switch sides. In a War of the Roses game, players bid PIPs for which optional figure they got. Bow, Blade or Artillery. Secret bid of Pips and high one got choice. Other took remainder he wanted. Players rolled for PIPs and the auction winner had to roll what he had bid before he could use any. Bid 6 for example, then he had to roll a total of 6 before moving any. Roll a 1 for 6 bounds and not too well off :)

Personal logo Dervel Supporting Member of TMP Fezian02 Nov 2012 6:59 p.m. PST

I think it really works for the larger battles…

Adjusting forces and setups to match historical battles should provide interesting and fun results..

Louie N02 Nov 2012 7:22 p.m. PST

Thank you for the replies so far.

How does one represent better leaderhip, or moral?

Perhaps a simple bonuses on the combat rolls, +1/-1

ancientsgamer Inactive Member02 Nov 2012 8:48 p.m. PST

Leadership would be extra base pips on your command rolls.
Morale, I would probably allow a saving throw on quick kill results possibly?

Personal logo timurilank Supporting Member of TMP02 Nov 2012 10:46 p.m. PST

We treat the command capability factor by adjusting the number to be reached for demoralisation.

The command, under an able (bold) leader would become demoralised when it reaches it's total plus one element.

The cautious commander might pack it in earlier when the score reached is one less than required.

The rash or impetuous commander may have the same charisma as the bold commander, but after reaching demoralisation will have a harder time holding his troops in place. Deducting one from the next die roll could reflect that.


Yesthatphil Supporting Member of TMP03 Nov 2012 2:56 a.m. PST

I find DBA can be very good for quickish reconstructions.

I have used it quite regularly for presentations and at shows where, in both cases, people have not got a lot of time but appreciate something that can communicate the essentials.

On numbers, you can use uneven forces provided you are careful how they are disposed (the Pip mechanism means you can't always bring everything under your command to bear – especially if it is broken up) … however there is also some merit in breaking each army up into 12ths (or 24ths/36ths), and you can always increase the depth and add more figures to make a numerically bigger army within the basic game's structures.

You might find my Zama scenario from a while back interesting. A 10mm adaptation.

Re command, as an example, I am developing a Bosworth game at the moment. Historically, Richard was not able to get Northumberland's battle into the fight. So, I have underrepresented them and Northumberland's element may only be moved on 5s and 6s (there is a compensating 'Stanley' effect hampering Henry to keep the game balanced). This has helped create a very plausible and balanced game (I will publish the complete scenario in due course).

When looking to reconstruct historical battles, DBA is always worth a look.


Bob in Edmonton03 Nov 2012 6:53 a.m. PST

I've used the Humberside extension to do a fair bit of AWI and War of 1812 gaming and a buddy has done lots of Naps and ACW.

Multiple commanders per side (with 8-14 elements) and variable break rules (including allowing commands to break individually and rolling on a morale chart each time a unit is lost after the break point to see how badly the command is effected) is interesting.

You can also change the size of the die (1d4 for bad commanders, 1d6+1 or 1d8 for good), use casualty caps to count drive backs and allowed a limited number of recoils (based on elan of the unit), and mobile generals (general can relocate to another unit for a pip) can all be used to simulate historical events.

Politicking around who is in charge of a side can be mimicked by having any two players on the same side switch commands whenever they both roll a 1.

Lots here to fiddle with.


Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP03 Nov 2012 3:19 p.m. PST

I will make variations in the dice for PIP rolls. For example a good experienced general can roll 2 dice and use which he wants. Or trade one with a subordinate commander. In our early days of giant battles, before DBM, each command got its own die, and we would use different sides as Bob above notes. The Commander gets d10, senior commanders d6, and lower commanders only d4.

Next time I do a Roman Republican game, I will use the dual commander switch noted above.

Dexter Ward07 Nov 2012 3:49 a.m. PST

Yes, it works fine for historical refights – Peter Sides published several scenario books for ancient historical battles using DBA.

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