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"DBA3: The Problem with Auxilia" Topic

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28 Oct 2019 8:19 p.m. PST
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian28 Oct 2019 8:18 p.m. PST

Writing in Slingshot issue 324, Joe Collins proposed a rules change to fix a perceived problem with auxilia no longer being as effective against foot:

Change the combat outcome from

If its total is less than that of its opponent but more than half


Auxilia: Destroyed by Knights if in good going. Recoil 1 BW from Pike or Blade, else recoil.

Would you support this change?

lkmjbc328 Oct 2019 9:09 p.m. PST

Do I get to vote?

Joe Collins

Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2019 9:11 p.m. PST

These two statements are not compatible. First is a category heading, second is an outcome. You need the original outcome prior to the proposed outcome.

I do not support the change.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2019 3:41 a.m. PST

Bobgnar is right, of course--and so's Joe. DBA is primarily a tournament system, and a "house rule" would only be an impediment to getting it right when it counts. (Unless there is now some sort of committee to make official DBA revisions, and I completely wasted the price of the last rule book.)

Durban Gamer29 Oct 2019 4:35 a.m. PST

DBA 3 in present form is excellent for social as well as tournament games. Joe's idea is interesting. Appears to add a little flavour, so hopefully Phil and committee will playtest and keep in mind when the next edition is formulated.

lkmjbc329 Oct 2019 7:27 a.m. PST

I suggest that everyone read my article published in Slingshot…The Society of Ancients' publication. In it I lay out my reasoning for the three proposed changes.

I will take some issue with the idea of DBA being primarily a tournament system. While it is an excellent set of rules for tournaments, I have found the majority of play is at the club/individual level.

I also have found along with many others the game to be excellent for recreating historical battles. So much so that I published a book of such battles.

The proposed changes are designed to improve the simulation… Which will enhance the latter two.

I do have concerns on the effect of the changes on tournament play. I am gathering information on this now.

As to wasting money on buying DBA 3, I can offer only the following. My ideas are for DBA 3.1, not for new version/rewrite/DBA 4. I have no idea on how WRG will proceed. In the past they have produced both publicly available line edits to existing publications as well as new publications.

The changes I have put forth are very terse and are designed for simple line edits.

I would appreciate feedback on the changes. For the changes to Auxilia I suggest both Punic War battles as well as Viking/Irish fights (Clontarf for example).

Joe Collins

Dexter Ward29 Oct 2019 9:18 a.m. PST

The change as written here makes no sense, I'm afraid. Something seems to be missing

lkmjbc329 Oct 2019 10:03 a.m. PST

The change is as follows…
In the Combat Outcome section…

This line:
Auxilia: Destroyed by Knights if in good going. If not, recoil.

Is changed to this:
Auxilia: Destroyed by Knights if in good going. Recoil 1 BW from Pike or Blade, else recoil.

The recoil of 1 base width rather than 1 base depth allows Auxilia to break contact when fighting against impetuous Pike and Blades.

Joe Collins

MichaelCollinsHimself30 Oct 2019 8:24 a.m. PST

This does seem to make sense.
It`s a while since i played a standard DBA game and now I`m often left wondering what the auxilia troop type represents it seems to cover so many weapons; spears, javelins, edged weapons and missiles too. But then I`m sure that players will have more of a specific idea of the type of infantry represented in their games and how they would react to either heavy horse or heavy infantry.
I`m not sure about having a need to include knights or pikemen as troop types in any of the Punic Wars, or the C11th
So it`s about Republican Roman Legionaries v. Iberian infantry or for Vikings against Irish kerns ?

Of the two match-ups, perhaps the Iberians were better disciplined and equipped against heavy infantry, but that is only judging by their ability to withstand the Roman advance at Cannae Hannibal did use them in a mixed formation with his celtic allies.

Actually thinking on it, there were two other examples of Iberians fighting Roman legionaries; at the battle of the Great Plains, which I suspect to be a fabrication, but it is interesting that either Polybius or some other Roman historian thought that force of only 4,000 celt-iberian mercenaries could hold up Scipio`s army!
The other example is Ilipa, where for a while at least the Iberians posted on Mago`s and Hasdrubal`s wings are said to have held their positions whilst being attacked in flank and rear.

Thomas Thomas30 Oct 2019 11:37 a.m. PST

The problem is the rigid troop classifications system – the only thing holding DBX back from conquering the world (and why the French game – based on DBX concepts – is so popular).

You need a "Medium Foot" general category with variations. Heavy Foot already has this for instance: the base Heavy Foot troop type is Spears +4. The variation is Blades: +1 v. Foot; -1 v. Mounted; Pikes -1 v. Foot but with rear support etc. You need the same concept for Medium +3 Foot. This fixes this problem and many many others. (You already have this with Bow +1 v. Mounted -1 v. Foot as an example).

That said Joe's idea is a good one just not broadly enough stated. It should become: Skirmish, an Element with the Skirmish ability may Recoil its base depth OR 1 base width. All Ps should get the ability and all Aux that could skirmish. (It makes no sense that skirmishing Aux could do this but not Ps – who are skirmishers – this is the kind of rule lawyery stuff that drives historical players crazy re DBX).

As to current DBA 3.0 – its a great 12 element chess game with strong historical flavor (much better than 2.2). Lets leave it at that BUT continue to advance DBX as an historical model especially in the Big Battle mode. We do it all the time and just had two weekends of doing just that even in 1-1 tournament style games. (See our post in the DBA/HOTT Facebook page.) A starting point is D3H2 (DBA 3.0 + HOTT 2.0) – free to anybody who has purchased DBA 3.0.

Thomas J. Thomas
Fame & Glory Games

Wealdmaster Sponsoring Member of TMP30 Oct 2019 12:58 p.m. PST

I read the article in Slingshot and thought it was well informed and clearly presented. That doesn't mean every situation will fit this rule. As stated, Auxilia seem to be a classification of troops that the community and it's leaders have tried to mold to many historical troop types and situations. I fear it will never be possible to get every situation covered. Having said this, I support the change, the withdrawal of 1 BW is critical as it allows them to escape certain situations due to follow ups by blade and others from my understanding.

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