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"Total Beginner - Recommend a pair of DBA v3 armies" Topic

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11 Feb 2017 8:20 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "Total Beginner - Recommend a pair if DBA v3 armies" to "Total Beginner - Recommend a pair of DBA v3 armies"

846 hits since 11 Feb 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

donkey1 Inactive Member11 Feb 2017 3:40 a.m. PST


I have the DBA v3 rules but am totally bewildered when it comes to choosing a pair of armies.

I see DBA as a bit of fun, it's not really where I want to end up and I appreciate that it is sometimes described as 'chess' in that one blade unit behaves the same as every other blade unit.

So what am I after

ERA – don't really care, I have wide tastes and open to suggestions, probably not biblical though

TYPE – variety in the army and different options so that I can try different things out. So not an army that is pretty much all one type. The two armies should be well matched.

PRICE – as this is a bit of fun I don't want to end up spending £50.00 GBP-60 per army. £20.00 GBP-40 would be good but full option.

SCALE – 15mm metal

So would appreciate any ideas and suggestions.



dayglowill11 Feb 2017 4:02 a.m. PST

I'd be very tempted to go with two Marian Roman Armies for the Civil Wars, which combined gives you a larger army for when you move on to other things. Of course there are plenty of other armies that you could apply the same principle to. English Medieval or Samurai, to name just two.

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Feb 2017 4:29 a.m. PST

Romans v Carthaginians gives you lots of troop types for the Carthos but not much variety for the Romans.

Crusades era has some varied armies but cavalry tends to be expensive. DBA3 deals with Medieval armies better than earlier versions.

Maybe some from SE Asia – exotic and varied and who doesn't love elephants.

timurilank11 Feb 2017 4:43 a.m. PST

A number of manufacturers are offering v3 ready made armies in the price range you are budgeting.

Baueda have a list of Dark Age armies and Roman – Barbarian types.


There are others and no doubt you will have a host of recommendations shortly.

Photos of the ancient collection can be viewed at the blog:


donkey1 Inactive Member11 Feb 2017 5:00 a.m. PST

100 Years War sounds quite appealling but looking at pre-made armies they are quite pricey, presumably because of all the knights.



Attalus I11 Feb 2017 5:40 a.m. PST

Marian Romans vs Gauls is a good match.

Timotheous11 Feb 2017 5:56 a.m. PST

Camilla Roman vs. Pyrric would give you blades vs pikes, plus an elephant.

IGWARG1 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian11 Feb 2017 7:01 a.m. PST

May I suggest something more unusual Dark Age/Early Middle Age Welsh. There are 3 distinctly different armies in there fast warbands, fast bowmen and fast pikemen. They are easy to paint and fast armies means less figures. They constantly fought each other and raided England.

Anglo-Danish (Saxon) armies that fought Welsh are 1/4 solid blades and the rest are solid spears/hordes. Saxon figures can double as Vikings with an addition of some unique troops.

Both of them fought Normans lots of cavalry that look as many other continental and early Crusades armies with addition of this or that troop type.

All are very different armies in their DBA troop types. Saxon and especially Norman armies can be the core for other DBA armies.


vtsaogames11 Feb 2017 8:24 a.m. PST

The first version of the rules was a Roman vs. Gaul game. The match up is like a knife fight in a phone booth.

Although painting the Gallic checks and such…

Lurkio sells Early Byzantines and Sassanids for a little over 40 pounds each link

Magister Miltum has an extensive list of DBA armies, you should ask them if these are good for DBA 3 link

maverick290911 Feb 2017 8:34 a.m. PST

Wars of the Roses is always good. You can make the commanders Edward IV and Warwick, that way you would be able to historically fight them on the same side or against each other. Plenty of battles to re-create and a lot of good history there.

donkey1 Inactive Member11 Feb 2017 9:51 a.m. PST

The Lurkio figures look nice but their choice of packs is a little odd because there are very few that would be opponents of each other.



Consul Paulus11 Feb 2017 11:20 a.m. PST

Marian (II/49) or Early Imperial Roman (II/56) for one army. Neither list needs more than 5 elements of Blades, and so fulfils your wish for variety. Both armies had plenty of historical enemies.

Choose one enemy from the following lists – they are common to both armies:

Ancient British (II/53)
Parthian (II/37)
Early Armenian & Gordyene (II/28)
Early German (II/47)
Numidian & Early Moorish (II/14)

If I may suggest two personal favourites, although they are only historical enemies of Marian Roman – Bosporan (II/25) and Galatian (II/30)

There are several manufacturers of the figures in these armies in 15mm metal, so you are not limited to buying complete armies from a few manufacturers. If you find your budget stretched, feel free to mix and match.

I am not sure how to meet your requirement that the armies be "well-matched". As suggested above, you could get 2 Marian Roman or Early Imperial Roman armies and engage in Civil Wars. Both lists have enough options that you can distinguish them. For example:

Marian Roman army 1 (Caesar) –
1 General (Cv)
1 Gallic or Spanish auxiliary cavalry (Cv)
5 Legionaries (4Bd)
2 Spanish auxiliary foot (4Ax)
1 Spanish javelinmen (3Ax)
1 slingers (Ps)
1 cavalry (Cv)

Marian Roman army 2 (Pompey) –
1 General (Cv)
1 Greek auxiliary cavalry (Cv)
5 Legionaries (4Bd)
2 Syrian horse archers (LH)
1 Greek javelinmen (Ps)
1 slingers (Ps)
1 requisitioned bolt shooter (Art)

Both match in having the legionaries and at least two elements of cavalry, but vary in the other components.

donkey1 Inactive Member11 Feb 2017 12:59 p.m. PST

Thanks for all the great advice.

A clarification – when I say 'well matched', I'm not saying that they need to be identical, just that either side has a roughly equal chance of winning.

I just dont want two sides A and B where A is always going to win unless B gets really lucky.



repaint11 Feb 2017 2:50 p.m. PST

I'd go Romans vs Carthaginians.

Mostly because it will be easier to paint. Romans are rather uniform (legionaries, auxiliaries, archers, some cavalry and maybe some allies).

Carthaginians also have a bit of uniformity, maybe less than the Romans.

Both armies could do equally well, plenty of battles to fight, and painting will not be as much hard labor as painting gauls, germans, 100 year wars knights, etc.

It can give you a few good games to start with.

Buckeye AKA Darryl11 Feb 2017 6:27 p.m. PST

I like the idea of the Baueda Dark Ages pairings. Effective pricing, extra elements, great looking figs…and who doesn't want a Norse Irish army to pair off against Norse Leidang or Norse Viking!

Tarantella Inactive Member12 Feb 2017 3:20 a.m. PST

Further to Igwarg1's fine suggestion I would suggest 12th century North Welsh and South Welsh as a good pair. If buying from Essex 4 packs of bowmen, 5 packs of spearmen (check out the feudal range for some variety) and two packs of Saxon mounted command will give you all options for both armies.

Of course with the money saved you could invest in Anglo-Normans/Feudal English as a third army and also add an option of allies to the Welsh. These three armies together could also give a chance to try a out a campaign or play a big battle DBA game at your local club.

If your local club look at you po faced and say they now play ADLG then you would be good to go with just a few careful additions to your original purchases giving you options on Welsh or AngloNorman or Feudal English. The first has Feudal English allies as an option, the latter two have Welsh allies as an option.

Nick Bowler12 Feb 2017 3:30 a.m. PST

A totally different suggestion -- Late Roman and Goths. Because the two DBA armies can be opponent, but also can be combined to fight the huns if you want to expand to bigger games.

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