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"TRIUMPH! Fast Play rules?" Topic

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Action Log

08 Aug 2019 9:33 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "TRIUMPH! Fast Play rules" to "TRIUMPH! Fast Play rules?"Removed from Getting Started with ACW Gaming board
  • Changed starttime from
    08 Aug 2019 8:47 a.m. PST
    08 Aug 2019 8:46 a.m. PSTRemoved from Getting Started with ACW Gaming boardRemoved from Ancients Discussion board

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Comments or corrections?

Ferreo Cuore08 Aug 2019 8:45 a.m. PST

I am interested in these rules, have had no luck w search engine.

Anyone have reviews, compare contrast w DBA, etc?

Much thx!

Dervel Fezian08 Aug 2019 11:30 a.m. PST

While at first glance they will see similar, there are some pretty significant differences between the two.

Are you familiar with DBA and just need explanation of Triumph or looking for a direct comparison?

I saw one partial comparison done in Slingshot, but the guy doesn't play Triumph from what I read and he missed a lot of critical aspects of the game in my opinion.

Deucey Supporting Member of TMP08 Aug 2019 3:30 p.m. PST

I played at Cold Wars in 2017 and had a great time. Then I kind of forgot about them.

I played again at Historicon last month and again had a great time! I have since bought the rules and will be playing them very soon with viking on viking. They have a website with a forum that is very informative.

Here's my take Vs DBA: they add more troop types and not all are the same value (a la HOTT). Furthermore chariots now work historically. I played chariot era battles at Historicon and they felt right.

Also they are working on what they call Battle Cards, which allow variations of the rules to create unique flavors for different periods and armies.

I'm sold, and I'm a hard sell!

Dervel Fezian09 Aug 2019 4:25 a.m. PST

Ok, will take a crack at contrasting my experiences with the two different games.

I will start off by stating I have played and presented DBA 2.2 and HOTT for years and have played and am familiar with DBA 3.0. But I am a part of the team that has been promoting Triumph and I have switched to this game exclusively for all my Ancient, Medieval and Fantasy mass combat gaming. So I will highlight differences, but my opinions will often show why I switched to Triumph! in the nature of the writing.

Some of the similarities, figures are still mounted on small bases that represent a specific type of troop. You use a die for command points or PIPs to determine the number of stands or groups you can move. Combat and shooting are determined by contest rolls and adding factors to a 6 sided dice. Turn sequence is move, shoot, combat. Troops use standard base widths and recommended depths. Armies are theoretically similar in size (i.e. number of figures/stands required), but Triumph uses points to build your army so can very potentially ranging in size from 8-24 stands depending on quality of the troops selected and points spent on battle cards to buff the army. The big thing is that with small modifications you can adapt WRG based or DBA based armies to play Triumph. That is what I have done.

After those basic things, there are many more changes than similarities.

For the standard one on one Triumph! game (48 point armies), the setup and playing area/board are completely different from DBA. Triumph uses a rectangular board and innovative terrain card system for randomizing and placing terrain. Invasion and maneuver factors for each Triumph! army are used to determine things like the type of terrain and who gets some influence over the amount of terrain on the battlefield. So in Triumph! just because you are playing as an historically aggressive army like the Teutonic Order and are invading it does not mean you outmaneuvered a more agile opponent. The army maneuver rating has a large impact on maneuver advantage. Generally speaking, the terrain rules for fighting moving and dealing with terrain in general are very straight forward in Triumph! There are flank marches available if you roll below your maneuver rating. There are no Littoral landings as in DBA (or history).

In Triumph! armies deploy roughly facing each other with at least half their point value in the central zone of the map. DBA 3.0 does make you deploy more or less in the center now, but the edge of the battlefield is a lot closer because of the square board size and smaller boards in general.

In actual Triumph! game play, the first thing people typically will notice is the point system, the standard game ends when you kill 16 out of 48 points. This really changes the way the game feels and was one of the biggest differences I noticed immediately. The main battle lines have to do some damage to each other especially when fighting an army with a lot of low quality troops, and you have to destroy a lot more stands. Alexanders elite Pike vs Indian Hordes is represented very well in Triumph! as are many of the biblical period armies. DBA can not compare to this treatment of troops like Horde, Bow Levy and Rabble.

Many troop types and troop capabilities are innovative and different in Triumph! While there is a little overlap, a great example of significant difference is the Chariot troop type. Chariots in DBA are an afterthought. In Triumph! they are carefully designed to have a realistic impact on the battlefield unique to them and their historical period. Another example, in Triumph! light javelin armed cavalry are designed to function significantly different from light Horse Archers and even more so from Vikings on stolen ponies. In DBA these would all be lumped under Light Horse. Having a few more troop designations allows Triumph! to better represent these troops on the battlefield. Plus Triumph's point system allows you to balance these differences in way that keeps armies competitive with historical enemies and outside of their period as well.
As far as innovative game mechanics go, Triumph! is a huge step forward in its treatment of Zone of Contol. Both games have a zone of control, but the mechanic is completely different. In DBA 2.2 you could align, or engage for example, or moonwalk backwards in front of the unit that had you in zone of control. In Triumph you can engage, align to engage, turn and run away, align and back up, or move any direction but you are limited in movement to just 2 MU (movement units which equals one base width) as long as you do not use that movement to engage another unit in combat. This has been really significant in playing Triumph! for example where the obvious choice for a unit in ZOC is to form up with a larger group which is close to it, it can in Triumph and it could not in DBA. Another key issue in DBA 3.0 is that nothing blocks ZOC and therefore is creates some unusual battlefield situations (which I think various FAQs have tried to address). In Triumph! combat breaks ZOC and ZOC does not pass through friendly stands. Triumph! ZOC results in a very clean mechanic that plays easily, efficiently and makes sense.

In Triumph individual units have flanks, i.e. if you hit a stand in the flank it fights at a reduced value. In DBA individual stands have no flanks, they turn to face their attacker for free and there is not a penalty for getting hit in a flank unless you get hit by two units.

Movement in Triumph is ½ base width increments. DBA 3.0 has gone to full base widths. The range of movement speeds in DBA is narrower with everything going generally faster now in 3.0 relative to the size of the playing area.

Triumph has March movement when troops are significantly outside of enemy range. No stand or unit can move more than once and no stand can double move into combat or within a certain distance of an enemy. In DBA units can make multiple march moves and in 3.0 they can use roads to make multiple moves into enemy contact.

Nothing can withdraw from combat in DBA. In Triumph units that are faster can withdraw from a combat against a slower enemy.

DBA distance shooting is simply the close combat system at range including overlap shooting which are used to reduce the opponent's combat factor. In Triumph shooting is a completely different mechanism by design, base to base, each stand has a fire capability and each stand has a target factor. So shooting at a heavily armored foot unit is less effective than shooting at unarmored horde or rabble for example. This system does not use overlaps so you will not necessarily want to group your bow units together, but will consider deploying them more evenly across the battle line. Shooting is not simultaneous, the non-moving player shoots first, and the effect of each shot is taken before rolling the next shot.

All of these differences will add up to a distinctly different flow and feel on the table top. Especially noteworthy is the difference between the length of a DBA 3.0 game and Triumph. Expect a DBA 3.0 game to be much shorter than a Triumph game. Triumph I would rate on average 45-60 minutes. Including terrain setup and deployment. DBA 3.0 typically less than 45 minutes. I find more options for maneuver when playing Triumph. DBA 3.0 tends to have the front lines engaged much sooner. This is not a plus or minus, but a personal style choice, I like the maneuver in Triumph better.

Triumph has over 600 historical army lists living online in a searchable data base (free for anyone to look at) and it is a live database that is updated and improved and added to as new information becomes available and when credible sources are referenced. DBA has the official lists in the printed book.

Rules presentation, Triumph is written clearly, with integrated illustrations and diagrams. It is indexed and has a table of contents. And the hardcopy rulebook for Triumph! will be available soon and will be presented beautifully. DBA 2.2 and 3.0 is written in a significantly different style to be polite, but is significantly shorter in page content.

The authors of Triumph actively play, present, and respond to questions about the game on the Washington Grand Company forum and the Facebook Page for the game.
DBA 2.2 had an unofficial guide out there if you can find it which was a very useful tool in understanding the generally agreed upon practices for playing that version collected over many years. DBA 3.0 has a fan based site where people try to come to some sort of agreement on the rules interpretations and regularly publish various FAQs. It also it has a FB page and a Yahoo site. Once again these are primarily fan driven.

Now as I stated above, I am biased. I play and promote Triumph! and I feel it is the superior system. Despite this, I have played both games and I did love and play DBA for many years. When Triumph came along, even in the early play test version, it was in my opinion a significant step forward and fit the fast style of ancients game I wanted to play.

aynsley68309 Aug 2019 4:27 a.m. PST

Haven't played DBA since 2.2+, which I liked enough to dapple with once in a while. And I've only played in a few demo Triumph! big games.

So can't help on many differences. The only one difference I see is Triumph! is point based, so you can have 2 armies of slightly different size, rather than 12v12, So you'll get a smaller roman v a bigger Gallic armies across from each other.

As to other differences I can't really help, both are smaller/quicker games I suppose compared to ADLG and other ancients games. I think the cards are for terrain, you'd have to check on that.

Oops I see the differences have been posted above as I was writing this.

Dervel Fezian09 Aug 2019 4:51 a.m. PST

No problem Aynsley, you confirmed one of the main and immediately noticeable differences. Point based armies which not only impact the building of the army, but the impact play as well.

The key reason people think they are similar is the size of the games, i.e. they walk by and see an ancients game which is similar in size and played sitting across a 30" wide table in 15mm. Plus since you can use a WRG based army the armies look similar from a glance.

That is a very high level perspective. Like walking past Chain of Command and Bolt Action and saying they are the same game because the minis are based the similar and both use dice.

batesmotel3409 Aug 2019 7:17 a.m. PST

Might be worth a comparison to ADLG if someone is familiar with both. It sounds like Triumph is more complex than DBA to some degree and possibly less so than ADLG although someone familiar with both hopefully will make a comparison.

At the moment I'm on the fence for whether an intermediate complexity rule set between ADLG and DBA is worth learning given the prior two already have large bases of players in US and Triumph doesn't at this point.


Dervel Fezian09 Aug 2019 7:51 a.m. PST

Chris, I have ADLG and have played some demos. ADLG has a lot of similar mechanics but adds some complexity like cohesion and significant amount of buffs to troops like differences in armor type. I think it's a good game, but not one I can teach people to play in 15 minutes for my convention games. If you like FOG or DBMM, ADLG is in a similar category.

On a complexity level ADLG is a step up from Triumph and DBA both of which can pretty much be played by experience players without ever referencing a chart or taught to new players at a convention game to play out a larger battle. All the while having enough tactical challenge to keep experienced players happy.

Regarding the player base for Triumph, I expect it to keep growing. considering the hard copy of the rules will not be available until this Fall it is doing pretty good so far.

In addition to that there are a lot of follow up products being prepared for Triumph like the fantasy rules, campaign system, scenario books….

lkmjbc309 Aug 2019 8:24 a.m. PST

Some corrections concerning DBA 3.

There is only 1 FAQ, not various. It is officially supported by Phil and Sue Barker… the writers of the rules… and updated now on a yearly schedule. I am the head of the FAQ team.

Only one issue has been addressed concerning Threat Zones.
Several years ago folks asked if you could slide elements within a threat zone to avoid the front of an enemy element. You can't in most instances.

We have seen no other issues with threat zones that require addressing.

DBA is supported by a lively group of fans that produce a large number of interesting variants…
Find it here…
and some great websites…
as well as on Facebook…
and YouTube…
YouTube link
and of course the Society of Ancients

Whose last Slingshot Magazine featured DBA 3.

Joe Collins

Dervel Fezian09 Aug 2019 10:02 a.m. PST

Sorry Joe, when I signed off the fanaticus site and last I knew Phil was no longer answering questions about DBA 3.0.

My understanding was that the FAQ efforts were all worked out amongst the players of DBA with no input from the author. Therefore they might be widely accepted, but nobody has the last word on a rules interpretation (i.e. I understood it was a committee, not sure who is on the committee, I know you are in charge of it, but it was usually a general discussion on fanaticus or yahoo that then siphoned down to the FAQ committee and then a release about once a quarter). Thus there are various FAQs even if it is just the different versions of the one that you are presenting as new issues or discussions rise to your attention.

If Mr. Barker is still answering questions about the rules and supporting the game, I inadvertently misrepresented that, I stand corrected.

I did read your article in slingshot about tweaking DBA 3.0. You presented some interesting ideas for fixing some of the problems with DBA 3.0 especially, with Pike and Bow fire.

aynsley68309 Aug 2019 12:15 p.m. PST

Triumph! isn't anymore complex than DBA, I played a few demo games at various ‘cons and picked up the basics very quickly.

It's easier to read but that's just me, and I've played DBM for over 12 years, so am used to DBx writing.

Decebalus12 Aug 2019 7:51 a.m. PST

Isnt one of the big differences, that Triumph has (like DBA 2.2) shorter move distances, where as DBA 3.0 has largely increased movement ranges?

Dervel Fezian12 Aug 2019 8:48 a.m. PST

That is sort of true. The total movement distance for the fastest moving unit in DBA 3.0 and Triumph are similar because both use the base width as a proportion of movement. Which is a nice feature in either game because it allows scaling up or down in figure scale and base size.

The difference is that Triumph uses 1/2 BW increments = one MU (movement unit). This allows for smaller differences in unit movement capability of different troops. The slowest unit traveling 2 MU = 1 base width. So for example Hordes, Artillery, Bow Levy are slightly slower than drilled heavy infantry. Light foot is slightly faster than heavy foot. The fastest units Horse bow and Javelin Armed Cavalry traveling at 8 MU = 4 BW. This is still faster than the elite cavalry which is still faster than a knight or cataphract.

DBA 3.0 uses full BW as the smallest increment. So the normal speed ranges are 2BW, 3BW and 4BW. With 1BW only used for formed troops in specific terrain situations.

So in general everything tends to travel faster in DBA 3.0 and you have fewer speed bands. So for example fast moving foot is just as fast as many of the mounted units except light horse, Cavalry, and Scythed Chariots. This is one of the key factors that leads to the shorter game in my opinion. It also could be argued it makes the game easier in some regards because there are fewer speeds to worry about. However, if you were used to previous versions of DBA, the movement speeds will be noticeably faster in 3.0.

Personally, I like the speed ranges in Triumph better because it adds more flavor to the different troop types.

coopman13 Aug 2019 1:30 p.m. PST

If you're interested in a quick-play system, you might also consider "Knights & Knaves" by Thomas Thomas, available from wargamevault.

Dervel Fezian15 Aug 2019 6:34 a.m. PST

Off track a little from the original posters question, but since you bring it up. I thought Knights and Knaves was simply DBA 3.0 with some special rules added specific to medieval or 100 years war period. Plus a re-writing of the DBA rules to try to explain them better. I did not think it was a different rule system or had significantly different mechanics from DBA 3.0.

Can you explain what is different between the two games?

Ferreo Cuore20 Aug 2019 3:35 p.m. PST

Thank you Derval, you are always a helpful poster! i am not knowing if I will be able to gravitate to triumph but it has been helpful to read your posts.

Dervel Fezian21 Aug 2019 5:56 a.m. PST

Ferreo, your welcome and thank you for the nice comment. I hope you give it a try.

After years of playing and enjoying DBA I have found Triumph to be even more enjoyable since it has resolved a lot of gamey oddities that used to occur in DBA.

Plus the new troop types and interactions have greatly impacted the chariot era and bronze age battles.

I use it for tournaments, but I really like presenting historical battles with these rules.

Here is a sneak peak at Hattin 1187:

Asteroid X25 Aug 2019 4:34 p.m. PST

While not familiar with these rules at all, they do intrigue me.

There are reviews on the Wargames Vault:

There is also, apparently, a forum for the game:

Dervel Fezian25 Aug 2019 8:12 p.m. PST

And a FB Page:

Jefthro304 Oct 2023 4:21 p.m. PST

I'm jumping in late to this and have really enjoyed the thread, l enjoy playing triumph and have a lot of respect for DBA, having played it from the beginning ,personally I regarded DBA as an introduction to DBM / DBMM but in a reverse engineering sort of way since it was written first.
So Triumph has DBA in all its manifestations, and the whole of DBX to draw on, in its development where as DBA maintains it s independence from its successors , but doesn't really explain why, arguing that a more detailed game can be had by advancing to DBM etc it under sell's itself, for instance the 12 elements in an army represents the relative effective ness of the troop types involved not their actually numbers the sort of approach Armati rules had but doesn't say so. In essence DBA despite being the beginning of DBX is in a way is self limiting in deference to DBM and DBMM , and Triumph perhaps in its big battle form is perhaps what DBM and DBMM could have been. Therefore is a comparison with DBA and Triumph fair , or should Triumph be compared to DBM etc, reminds me of Draughts v Chess , any how it's a game after all .

Jefthro304 Oct 2023 4:30 p.m. PST

Aynsleys break down of triumph is spot on, the only issue l have the rules is The greater base depth allotted to Cataphracts so that if that are recoiled knights etc can't contact them on follow up, how do these super heavy Cav manage to move so fast ?
I posed this question on the relevant face book page and received no explanation , but this is my only concern.

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