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"DBA events at conventions" Topic

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Drusilla1998 Inactive Member27 Nov 2017 10:26 a.m. PST

I understand that many former DBA players are now playing Triumph, but where are all the other former players, as I don't see them at any of the major conventions in the USA, aside from a handful. Were so many put off by the arrival of DBA 3.0?

A few of us still play in New Jersey, but the appeal seems to have virtually disappeared.


79thPA Supporting Member of TMP27 Nov 2017 11:57 a.m. PST

I still see the DBA con following as pretty strong in my region.

Hobhood427 Nov 2017 12:10 p.m. PST

Triumph is new to me. Does it contain similar fiddly'conforming' rules as DBA? Does it require all the micro measuring stuff? Or does plain English make such rules easier to grasp and more importantly remember?

MajorB27 Nov 2017 12:23 p.m. PST

Never heard of Triumph

TodCreasey Supporting Member of TMP27 Nov 2017 1:05 p.m. PST

We have an annual DBA tournament here at Cangames that gets out about 14 people each year although we may go for Saga this year.

Played Triumph at Fall In and really enjoyed it -I would happily play in either.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP27 Nov 2017 1:22 p.m. PST

Historicon is too far south, and the Host is too much of an environmental hazard for me, so I haven't done DBA at HMGS-E in a long time.

We do play 2.2+ at least once a month at the club, and I run games at Huzzah and Havoc when I go to those cons.

We tried 3.0 and didn't like it much. Re-basing for Triumph was a no-go here.

HANS GRUBER27 Nov 2017 1:55 p.m. PST

There were many ancient games at Fall-In. I didn't see any DBA.

I saw quite a few games of Triumph. Has the official version of the rules been published? As I recall, the only rules I ever saw was a play test version.

TodCreasey Supporting Member of TMP27 Nov 2017 2:47 p.m. PST

mimiMo what rebasing for Triumph? – they all seemed like standard DB(X) bases to me

Tony S27 Nov 2017 3:30 p.m. PST

DBA 3.0 was – and is – hugely successful around here. We're actually in the middle of a Crusader campaign. 2.2+ and its offspring Triumph, were tried by the club, but it seemed (to us) like a committee tried to simply add rules dirt to DBA 2.2.

In our opinion, DBA 2.2+ & Triumph seemed like a camel compared to the DBA 2.2 horse, whereas DBA 3.0 seemed like a thoroughbred racehorse. Fast and innovative and, having hundreds of DBA games of every version since it came out, 3.0 is simply the finest iteration.

Again, just our opinion. No offense meant.

lkmjbc327 Nov 2017 3:49 p.m. PST

DBA presence at the big East conventions is small primarily because the folks that hosted/organized and promoted the tournaments stopped hosting and promoting it. They had the advantages of a large group and proximity to the major big East Conventions. No one can conveniently fill their shoes.

They are now promoting their own game which is a modified version of DBA and a direct competitor. I will leave your question as to "why they were put off" unanswered… Suffice to say that the split in the DBA community was deep and unpleasant at best.

DBA is quite strong in the South… on the West Coast, in Colorado, in England, Australia, Holland, and New Zealand.

DBA is the best set of ancients rules that I have played… and I have played many.

We will have a DBA tournament at Fall-In in January and again at Nashcon in early June.

Joe Collins

Jeigheff Inactive Member27 Nov 2017 5:26 p.m. PST

A couple weeks ago, at Millennium Con in Round Rock, a gentleman presented an event of training sessions for DBA 3.0/DBR games using 25mm Thirty Years War armies. I got to play in one game and had a really good time.

I enjoyed myself so much that I am considering getting two DBA ECW armies.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP27 Nov 2017 8:34 p.m. PST

@TodCreasey, there were a few basing changes in Triumph: Rabble, Bow Levy, Horde, and Cataphracts. A number of us at the club have extensive army collections and didn't want to deal with that.

Personal logo Battle Cry Bill Supporting Member of TMP27 Nov 2017 11:46 p.m. PST

Having helped out with the Triumph! demos over the last couple of years at conventions, some of the non active DBA players are giving it a try and liking it. I am an old gamer but new to ancients gaming and have been happy and had fun playing DBA 2.2, 3.0 or Triumph!. I also ran a DBA tournaments with 16 players earlier this year as well as in prior years.

While I continue to appreciate DBA and will play it with those who prefer it, the majority of our group has settled on Trumph!. They are mostly new to ancient and medieval gaming and prefer Triumph! for a number of reasons, including having units with more than 12 stands (some variation) and a larger game surface.

The Triumph! rules are currently in version .7 on the way to being finalized and published. Links are at their website for the rules.


El Jocko28 Nov 2017 10:54 a.m. PST

For those who aren't familiar with Triumph, here's a brief introduction:

Triumph is a quick-play ancients game. Armies typically have around 14 to 16 stands and a game usually takes about an hour to play. Basing generally follows DBx conventions, modified in a few cases as noted by @miniMo.

Triumph uses a lightweight point system for building armies: each stand costs 2, 3 or 4 points. This point system allows the rules to capture the variation in quality of historical troops without getting bogged down in overly fine gradations. For example, the differences between quality massed bowmen, skirmishers, and poor quality massed bowmen can be represented without sacrificing play balance.

The set-up process is designed to move quickly and result in a game board where the terrain and troop deployment are both historically representative and good for playability.

Game play shares the core rules mechanisms of the DBx games: command points (PIPs) for moving troops and opposed die roles for combat. But surrounding those rules mechanisms, everything is designed to work smoothly, consistently, and intuitively. The goal has been to make Triumph easy-to-learn, easy-to-play, and fun.

Triumph is currently in the final stages of development. For those who are interested, an Early Access Edition of the rules is available as a PDF from WargameVault. Anyone who buys the Early Access Edition will get the Final version PDF for free when that's ready.

Triumph at WargameVault

Triumph includes 648 army lists, available for free on our Meshwesh website.

Triumph is a product of the Washington Grand Company. Our website has links to all of the above, plus the Triumph forum.

- Jack

Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP28 Nov 2017 8:48 p.m. PST

Many of the people who have played DBA are still playing it. Our local group continues to do so. There are dozens of tournaments in the US and many more in UK and other parts of the world.

There will be two DBA tournaments at Adepticon, in the Chicago Area.

March 22nd-25th at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel in Schaumburg, IL.

Both events are 15mm
Third annual DBA 3.0 Tournament. Theme: The Crusades in the Holy Land.
Day: Saturday | Start Time: 2:00 PM
Historical Pairs Tournament
Saturday | Start Time: 7:00 PM


I will be running a DBA tournament at Historicon, like the old days:)

In the heyday of DBA in the mid 2000's there were not many ancients games, now there are quite a few so the population of gamers is being spread around. Not so many for one system. One Historicon there were 75 people who played in one DBA event or another. Among 14 events. Now more tournaments of all eras to take the interest of competitive gamers.

The Last Conformist29 Nov 2017 6:44 a.m. PST

there were a few basing changes in Triumph: Rabble, Bow Levy, Horde, and Cataphracts.

Also, because of the different way troop types are divided, probably most DBA Cavalry (3 to a base) become things that should be 2 to a base, while some DBA Light Horse (2 to a base) become Bad Horse that should be 3 to a base in Triumph. Obviously, it doesn't technically change anything gameplaywise if you have them wrongly based, but it gets confusing.

Personal logo Battle Cry Bill Supporting Member of TMP30 Nov 2017 10:04 a.m. PST

As Bob says, we had no problem recruiting about 5 new players into ancient gaming with DBA at Adepticon over the last couple of years.

With Triumph! there have been 70+ players at each of the three major east coast conventions in the last year taking into account demos and tournaments and multiplayer historical games (there is a list.)

At Thistle & Rose we will be working on info presented on line on how to have armies that are properly based that can play in multiple rules systems, including playing DBA and Triumph! In many cases, you don't need to rebase any figures or even add more than 1 or 2 stands. If you already have options for armies beyond a basic 12 elements it is not much work.

As Bob says there are a lot more ancient battle games and gamers out there. I have found that the popularity of Commands & Colors Ancients (+5 print runs) has created a good number of gamers who come to the conventions and are happy to move from blocks to miniature figures.


Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP30 Nov 2017 10:14 a.m. PST

If you already have options for armies beyond a basic 12 elements it is not much work.

'Not much work' x 44 [current tally, and always growing] finished and based armies = 'A lot of work'!

Personal logo Dervel Supporting Member of TMP Fezian30 Nov 2017 10:53 a.m. PST

Hmmm, let's try again with out the bug

Personal logo Dervel Supporting Member of TMP Fezian30 Nov 2017 10:55 a.m. PST

I wrote most of this before seeing Bob's post and probably could have summed it up as this way, if people want to grow DBA, they should follow Bob's example and run events instead of complaining about what games people choose to play if they don't want to play DBA.

I don't actively participate in DBA threads or forums anymore since I am mostly playing other games now and for Ancients I play Triumph, but I still peruse them. I can answer the Triumph questions regarding basing and can comment on my personal transition from DBA to Triumph and how many of us started playing it at East Coast cons because I am one of players who used to play DBA.

@ Drusilla, DBA participation had been falling off for years at the East coast cons and others from what I could see, since you are from NJ you probably know this already. I was a late comer to the DBA scene and the heyday was already over out East. From what I could see it was only kept alive locally in my area and at the East cons on life support form a few hardcore fans that ran events. Much like many games by the way. I think 3.0 as I will mention below definitely drove some people away or maybe was a final straw for some of us and it also brought some people back, but overall I do not think the impact was that significant one way or another. The original hardcover sold out, but that was only about 800 copies (worldwide) and some of those went to people that do not play it any longer (like me). So I have not seen any evidence that indicates DBA has hugely expanded or contracted in popularity. It is certainly not dead and has pockets of supporters around the world. As it has for many years. DBA events were run at Cold Wars and Historicon in 2017. I know Historicon had at least 6 or so people playing and about that many playing the DBA Game of Thrones spinoff that was being run.

Regarding Triumph's arrival on the scene. A few years back and shortly after DBA 3.0 came out I had a chance to play the draft version of Triumph. Does it have some similarities with DBA, yes in that it uses WRG basing (mostly) and you role a six and add or subtract from the die role depending on the tactical situation for combat. It uses command PIPs. It uses smaller armies than games like DBM or ADLG, like DBA. After that I would say a lot of things change, the point system changes the nature of the battles significantly, the rectangular battlefield and terrain deployment are completely different. Enemy threats and how your troops can react to them is greatly modified, shooting, flank combat, the troop types, movement rates, the army lists are all different from DBA. Also, even in the current draft form the rules are easy to read, clearly presented and indexed for quick reference with integrated diagrams and designer notes. Oh, and the Army lists are online in a searchable data base.

How did Triumph first get introduced? Unlike the implications by Joe, it is not that mysterious. The discussion went something like this, a bunch of us guys who had just finished playing Triumph (in draft form) looked around the table and said why would we not just switch to this rule set? We all liked it better than DBA (any version). The DBA scene had already dwindled down to the point that everyone we already played DBA with were basically sitting around the table and agreeing we would all rather play Triumph. So we started playing Triumph. There were no black helicopters involved.
The group also made a conscious decision to get out of the tournament room and try to expose more people to Ancients gaming because our target audience for growth was not the existing ancients tournament players. They already are up to speed with most available rules and will choose to play or not whatever they like. So we left the tournament room to run events in the non-tournament areas of the convention. Our goal was to reach people that would not normally walk into the tournament area. This approach has been very successful and we have had a lot of people come and try Triumph that had never played ancients before, also people that use to play Ancients (had WRG based stuff for example) are now coming back and trying Triumph. So from that stand point this has been successful.

@ Minimo and TodCreasey I would say 80% compatible with WRG standards also rebasing is optional and is more of a game play aid than a necessity (to avoid confusion as Andreas points out). The base width is basically WRG convention and move distance is based on BW. So it does not matter what base width you use, just that they are consistent. I have a vast collection of WRG based 15mm armies, some (Classical Indians for example) I have rebased, some I have simply added a few additional new troops because there are some in Triumph.

@ Hodhood4 it's much easier to understand and play in my opinion. Rules are clear, measurement is still important because it is an open movement miniatures game and you might not like that part, in that case a game like To The Strongest or Command and Colors might be a better choice.

@ Joe Collins, I keep running across post where you bemoan the fact that DBA is dead at the East Coast US cons and somehow it's death is the specific fault of people that stopped playing it and running events because they are playing something else. Essentially, what you are saying is that a game system is no longer popular because people who used to play it stopped playing it (kind of the definition of not popular) and now play something else. More interesting is that it is specifically only people that stopped playing it to play Triumph that are to blame. Why is that exactly, what about any players that switched from DBA to other systems? You seem to be implying that the heresy of leaving DBA has different degrees of magnitude while rational people might point out the concept of blaming consumers for rejecting a product they don't like is already ridiculous enough without blaming a specific group for the product they choose in favor of the previous one.

At Historicon 2017, the gentlemen in charge of DBA events seemed to be more interested in promoting and running his own set of commercially available rules instead of DBA 3.0. In fact he sells them and actively promotes them on all the DBA related forums and Facebook pages from what I can see as an improved version of the game that fixes many of its problems. Don't these also directly compete (like every other set of ancients rules)? I never see you upset about these rules?

It is not the fault of the people that stopped playing it. That is really backwards logic. The story is really not so mysterious or complicated, DBA came out with an updated version 3.0, about 3 years ago. Some people loved it and play it. Some people did not and they kept playing previous versions or even house rules, some people moved on to other systems, some people could care less and always hated DBA and come on any thread about it just to reaffirm that fact (why I don't know).

A games popularity is based on the product, it starts there. Then it is built by people that like it, promoting it. People like a system and get excited about it or they don't. When people get excited they support it and run events. If DBA 3.0 is a good system, then it should have no problem finding enthusiastic supporters at what are arguably some of the largest miniatures conventions in the US. Nobody is stopping anyone from doing that. I ran DBA events in the past at Cold Wars, Fall In, and Historicon. I was free to run any version of the rules I wanted. I choose not to now because I have found a system I enjoy more. By the way there are other games besides DBA that I used to play and no longer play. I think many gamers do this, it is normal.

DBA is not the only game to go through this version issue (and not the first time it has gone through it even) many rulesets experience this same effect when they update their rules, GW and Warlord are two big company examples I can think of that recently went through major product updates. I would think it a challenge to name a ruleset that has been around as long as DBA that has not experienced this issue. The WRG/DBx history is filled with such examples (DBM-DBMM for example which I believe led to FOG). Often these updates will delight some people while upsetting others. They will gain some and loose some fans, almost inevitable, especially if the changes are significant.
Even though DBA seems to be very active in some regions it has always struggled to compete with newer rule sets. It is presented in an archaic fashion (1980s typewriter style) with little to no illustrations and difficult language which leaves it prone to long rules debates. It is poorly marketed and abandoned by its creator left to be discussed between his followers on forums where they try to dissect what it is he meant when he wrote this or that rule. Even you and I have debated rules that were included, not because anybody thought they were a good idea, but because the author was just too stubborn to admit that maybe he made a mistake with this or that rule (Road torpedoes are a good example, terrain setups that don't allow deployment.. etc…).

Much of the DBA related forum talk I have seen lately, has been about how to fix the problems with 3.0 and how it is time to migrate towards 3.1. After all it has been out almost 3 years???? So what does that tell you about the state of the existing game?

Just a few examples:

Even the FAQ effort is purely fan based from what I can see since the author is not interested in answering any questions about his own product and specifically has forbidden FAQs in the past. Which is fine, but other companies actively support their rules with official FAQ's. If you recall, I was one of the first people to ask about an FAQ for DBA 3.0 on the old Fanaticus and the idea was soundly ridiculed because it was completely unnecessary, the new rules were so clear there was no need for any explanation or FAQ.

So yes I used to play DBA, but frankly lost interest with 3.0, I simply did not like the changes in the game. I probably would still be playing 2.2 or even 2.2+ if something I liked better had not come along. What you see with the growth in ADLG for example is similar, people have tried it and like it better so they migrated from other games like DBA, DBM, or FOG to ADLG. Add to that people willing to support it and run events and you have a winning combination.

If the East coast cons do not have anyone willing to run and promote DBA events that is the fault of the product, not people that do want to spend time playing or promoting it because they like something else better.

maverick290930 Nov 2017 11:03 a.m. PST

Yes, sad story about DBX. Our group used to play a lot of DBM. Never liked DBA as it was too small, then when DBMM came along we found it too clunky. Fast forward to now, we've all migrated to ADLG and love it. Don't really see us picking up DBA. If they released a new DBM streamlined and translated rules set (translated into English that is) we might consider getting back into it. I guess our clubs biggest hurdle into DBA and Triumph! Is the stand count. We just don't see the appeal in playing with 13-14 stands a side.

Personal logo Dervel Supporting Member of TMP Fezian30 Nov 2017 11:11 a.m. PST

Well I prefer the larger games myself :)

The Point system makes it very scalable… Here you see 144 point armies.

lkmjbc330 Nov 2017 5:06 p.m. PST

Wow… what a wall of text.
Since you have addressed me directly, let me answer simply and correct your misconceptions concerning my part in this. I will try to keep the responses in order.

Yes, I bemoan the fact that the folks that backed DBA at the east coast cons for years left the game.

I was angry with their actions and attitudes during the whole debacle.

I don't blame the consumers… I blame them.

I do not complain about Tom's game because I have nothing to complain about.

My logic is not backwards… you have constructed a weak argument, attributed it to me, and then attacked it.

DBA 3.1 discussion concerns long term thinking and play testing that probably will not see fruition for another few years. The WRG folks are happy with the current sales and not interested as yet in investing energy in the project.

That folks are interested in dissecting and examining game mechanics tells me that the game is healthy and the players are interested, engaged, and creative.

The DBA FAQ is produced with the full backing and support of Phil and Sue Barker. They have in fact contributed to it.

If this screed was meant as an advertisement for your game system, I don't think you did very well.

Joe Collins

maverick290901 Dec 2017 6:32 a.m. PST

I guess I should have assumed it could go larger Dervel! I just read 14 stands and was turned off. In all fairness I haven't tried the rules but I'm sure when a print copy comes out I'll give it a go. I usually buy one of most every rules set to get a basic understanding. Thanks for the pictures!

Personal logo Dervel Supporting Member of TMP Fezian01 Dec 2017 6:52 a.m. PST

The idea is to start from the smaller one hour game that has a low barrier to entry for new gamers. That is the standard game. At Historicon we had a young man come and play demos then go to the flea market and buy a small painted Roman army to play in the open tournament the next evening.

However like many systems it is easily scalable up to larger battles. We already have a draft version of the Grand Triumph Rules for tournament purpose, and of course you can do anything you want for scenarios or historical battles.

At Fall In we ran multiple large battles to demonstrate this with 4-6 people per side and 144 points.

At Cold Wars I plan to run a 144 point per side Crusader battle in 28mm which I ran previously at Historicon.

Personal logo Battle Cry Bill Supporting Member of TMP01 Dec 2017 7:51 a.m. PST

MiniMo, how many armies is that for? And are you doing it for all options?

I'm taking a practical approach and do it army by army, so it is 12-15 figures at a time or sometimes rebasing extra figures.

Agreed 44 stands is a lot of work. If you have hundreds of armies that need expanding and you do it all at once, that would be a lot of work.


Personal logo Dervel Supporting Member of TMP Fezian01 Dec 2017 8:15 a.m. PST

If you find it tedious you do not have to respond. The part addressed to you was not meant as an advertisement of anything. To be clear Triumph it is not "my game." I am not one of the authors any more than you are an author of DBA. Just a fan and consumer like you.

The post was to shine some light on what was part of the OP's original question. Written by somebody that actually attends the East coast conventions and was actually present and involved in the DBA community within the East Coast conventions from the time of last years of the 2.2 events to the introduction of 3.0. I am simply explaining that it is not as mysterious as you may have implied in your post and other posts I have seen. I was there. There was nothing that mysterious or even anything new under the sun regarding how it went down. It was pretty typical of game system rules sets that loose fans over a rule revision or update. Some people did not like it and they left to do other things.

The people you are complaining about are consumers when it comes to DBA. They bought it, played it, organized and ran events and kept it alive at East Coast conventions for many years. So you are complaining about consumers and as you state in your own recent post, you are complaining because you are angry. Seems like their particular departure from the DBA scene was more upsetting to you than others who left due to 3.0. When you continue to point out that some of the biggest super fans of DBA left the community because they did not like the 3.0 revision it is not good advertising for the game you are trying to support. It has nothing to do with positive or negative advertising for any other system it is simply maintain and enforcing the point that people walked when the new edition came out. Maybe you should stop pointing this out and be more like Bob who is actively promotes DBA 3.0 by running events at conventions when nobody else does instead of complaining about a lack of events at conventions you do not even attend.

In the past I was pretty sure I had also seen you complain about house rules and anything that might be perceived by you as direct competition to DBA. So your comments regarding Tom's Knights and Knaves or Game of Fire and Ice I simply find puzzling.

Regarding the FAQ, when trying to get information on an official FAQ and answers to rules questions for 3.0 when it came out. The response was pretty direct and clear. No FAQ is necessary, Mr. Barker does not feel it necessary and therefore there will be no official FAQ. In the past he has attacked any attempt to put out FAQ's or QRS sheets for previous versions of DBA because they are filled with mistakes. So this was not a new position. Even on the Fanaticus discussion threads your comments were pretty clear that Phil is not interested in explaining his rules and he wants the players to figure it out for themselves. I have read multiple posts from you that Mr. Barker is not likely to respond to any questions on DBA partially due to his advanced age and partially due to the fact that he simply does not want too. So your comment that the current FAQ is fully backed by them and that the Barkers have contributed to it seems to be incongruent with past and even recent discussions on this topic.

I went and looked for an FAQ link on the WRG sites but could not find it. Even a link to a fan sites where you can find DBA FAQs. You would think that if they fully backed the production they would link it on their site. I think my comment that the FAQ is purely a fan based project is accurate as stated. It is no different than previously produced FAQs for DBA none of these were official, they were all fan based and would not exist without dedicated fans of the game like yourself.

Regarding 3.1, I was not aware it was even being considered as a WRG project. I was pretty sure that it is was also fan based initiative to patch up the perceived holes in 3.0. If I understand you correctly, I was mistaken and it was a WRG based initiative however it is tabled for now because they are happy with the current sales of 3.0. Ok, that is new information to me. I was pretty sure 3.0 was supposed to be the last official release of DBA.

By the way, I saw several threads on the FB site recently asking how many people play DBA, since you are in the know, maybe you can jump in an let them know the latest sales data. It would certainly help put a range on that number for the people asking, 800 hardcopies is pretty old data.

Personal logo Battle Cry Bill Supporting Member of TMP01 Dec 2017 9:06 a.m. PST


A screed sounds bad, but it just means tedious. Dervel's response is long but I would call it is balanced and comprehensive. (This is all probably tedious in terms of the original question, with there being a TMP tradition for DBA threads to get long.)

I was angry with their actions and attitudes during the whole debacle.
I don't blame the consumers… I blame them.
I do not complain about Tom's game because I have nothing to complain about.
My logic is not backwards… you have constructed a weak argument, attributed it to me, and then attacked it.

Joe, I don't like to play games with people who stay angry about their games or who blame others. (And Joe if you would have grown up playing games with my family you would have experienced plenty of anger and flying game pieces. ☺) I think Dervel was just trying to give the other side of the argument. He only identified you individually due to your previous posts and your current role with DBA and the FAQ.

He's really arguing that consumers in the end make the decisions about sales and number of games played. That's what I learned in business school. You can't blame consumers and in the end we are all consumers, including the people you blame.

As Bob notes, DBA and all ancients rules sets have entered the realm of most rules sets in that it has an increasing amount of competition. You end up playing the rules sets that those you game with are interested in. I'm a rules junky and enjoy the wonky discussions of modeling combat in game rules, but I try not to talk about that with people who aren't. You do have to admit that the WWPBS (what would Phil Barker say) part of this is tiresome and is not attractive to a large set of gamers.

Board gamers have gotten used to living rules sets that are available on line for free and video explanations game rules. Kudo's to Tony and his group for doing DBA play-through videos. This is the best new technology for promoting games.

Back to playing games and let the competition determine which games are most popular!

(Playing C&CA, Triumph!, DBA, Hail Caesar, Lion Rampant, and hoping to try TTS and others soon

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