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"DBA3: The Problem with Bows" Topic

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02 Nov 2019 6:25 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian02 Nov 2019 6:24 p.m. PST

Writing in Slingshot issue 324, Joe Collins proposed a rules change to fix a perceived problem with bow armies not behaving historically on the tabletop:

Change the '(a)' section under 'Player Initiative Point Dicing' to b

Except in the side's first bound, a move that uses a PIP uses up an extra PIP for each of the following two cases that apply:

(a) If the moving element of group includes any Scythed Chariots not moving into contact with enemy, Elephants, Hordes, War Wagons, Artillery, denizens or camp followers, or if the element or group includes foot that moves into frontal contact with Bow, or is an element currently garrisoning a city, fort or camp.

Would you support this change?

YogiBearMinis02 Nov 2019 6:46 p.m. PST

We haven't noticed a problem with Bow in our games in 3.0. Our big beef is with how Pike compare to Spear, Blade, and Auxilia due to the changes. Pike has become practically the worst foot element now.

Giving 3Bw (Fast) a 3BW move solved the problem that 2.0 (?) created by making Bow always move slower than light troops or elephants.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian02 Nov 2019 7:11 p.m. PST

For pike, see TMP link

Durban Gamer03 Nov 2019 5:32 a.m. PST

At our club also we haven't noticed any problem with bows not being effective enough. Remember they shoot in both sides turns and chew mounted!

lkmjbc303 Nov 2019 7:07 a.m. PST

The problem presented is two-fold. The first issue is creating historical outcomes in such diverse periods as the Greek/Persian wars and the HYW. The second is in recreating a game that would follow any historical narrative. Dr Kelly DeVries' work strongly influenced my thinking on this. Again, you need to read the article in Slingshot. I go into great depth on the reasoning.

Joe Collins

Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP03 Nov 2019 4:34 p.m. PST

When I play Dba I want to play Phil Barker‘s rules not other people‘s interpretations.

YogiBearMinis03 Nov 2019 5:10 p.m. PST

Well, keep in mind Phil's rules are heavily influenced by what Sue thought and about what a few dozens diehards who playtested thought. There is no magic to Phil's view of anything—DBA already had 1.0, 1.1, 2.0, 2.1, 2.2, now 3.0, plus the relative changes in multiple editions of DBM and now DBMM. If he were Moses, he would broken more stone tablets than on an episode of the Flinstones.

Yesthatphil04 Nov 2019 4:52 a.m. PST

It is good to se the editor of TMP reading Slingshot thumbs up!


lkmjbc304 Nov 2019 6:45 a.m. PST

Shouldn't everyone?

Joe Collins

lkmjbc304 Nov 2019 6:47 a.m. PST

Just to be clear. These aren't interpretations of the current rules.

These are suggestions for the next version of DBA.

Joe Collins

Thomas Thomas08 Nov 2019 3:09 p.m. PST

We have found that just adding Shooters from HOTT (+3 v. Foot; +4 v. Mounted), completely solves the problems of representing the more powerful medieval missile weapons (and leaves in tact less effective standard +2/+4 Bow for ancients or lesser missile men).

This lets you use "pure" Phil Barker (et al) rules.

This concept is already incorporated into D3H2 which combines DBA 3.0 & HOTT 2.0 into one game. By allowing the extra troop types and expanding the use of Fast you get a much better historical game and a great fantistorical game too. Its available to anyone for free who has purchased DBA 3.0 (its useless without this version of DBA).

Thomas J. Thomas
Fame & Glory Games

Thomas Thomas08 Nov 2019 3:13 p.m. PST

Should also mention we are working on Pike solutions – D3H2 partially solves the problem by having a point system (inherited from HOTT so again its Barker based) so Pike cost a bit less.

I'm also working on more complete solutions but these require real rule changes – and that's the province of A Game of Knights & Knaves intended to modernize DBX mechanics from the ground up so is outside the scope of D3H2.

But in any case again D3H2 does a much better job of dealing with "historical" pike.

Thomas J. Thomas
Fame & Glory Games

Snowcat10 Nov 2019 12:35 a.m. PST

If you're going to increase the CF of Bw justified by more powerful foot bows and crossbows in the medieval period, why not a corresponding increase in the CF for LH equally justified by the increased power of the composite bow used by horse archers during the same period. Hello Mongols, etc.! (There are enough studies re the comparable power of Mongol bows vs longbows out there.)

How can you have one without the other?

From the relatively powerful Hunnic/Magyar composite bow of the Dark Ages that reached its pinnacle in the Mongol bow in Medieval times, you have a very nasty armour-piercing weapon that could be shot at a fairly alarming rate. This is a far cry from the much weaker bows used by ancient light horsemen. Are we to have some equity for these non-Western European troops as well?

Jefthro313 Nov 2019 5:11 p.m. PST

I really enjoy playing DBA , the first version came out in 1990 ,I bought it played it , and it changed my whole approach to Ancient wargamming, however there has been 19 years to sort out issues about troop interactions. DBA holds basic assumptions about how different troop types interact and it doesn't have the scope to include all the feasible theoretical differences. I prefer to play the rules as written and have played every version ,I have no problem with the current version other than a lack of a point system i.e. same size armies but it was always meant to be an introduction to Ancient Wargaming. I don't go to DBA to demonstrate the effect of one bow against another there are plently of other rules to do that. So no I don't support Joe Collins notions in the context of DBA, maybe in the context of Newbury rules, or Revenge , WRG or even SAGA, not DBA it's meant to be an escape from all of that and if that's too fantastical then there's always HOTT. t

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