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"DBA 2.2 errata?" Topic


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497 hits since 13 Nov 2022
©1994-2023 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

von Schwartz ver 213 Nov 2022 6:48 a.m. PST

At the top of page 26 under "Rear support factors" the first paragraph says,
"Pikes add +3 and Warband +1 when in frontal close combat against any enemy except Cavalry, Light Horse, Scythed Chariots, Bows or Psiloi,"
This seems contrary to the norm where additional ranks of ordered pikes would be effective against all mounted. Am I reading that correctly or am I merely missing the point (pun intended)?

RittervonBek13 Nov 2022 8:13 a.m. PST

I think the qualifying clause relates entirely to warband. In other words, pikes add +3 with no further comment.

Tony S13 Nov 2022 1:28 p.m. PST

Nope. It's correct as written, and applies to pikes.

Pike are not effective against units that don't come into close combat. Light horse and cavalry, bows and psiloi would simply shoot and retire when the phalanx got too close. You'll also note that cavalry, light horse and psiloi cannot be destroyed by Pikes in frontal combat. Bows can, but even then, pikes don't get the rear support as it assumed the phalanx is being shot at, and disordered as it comes forward.

von Schwartz ver 213 Nov 2022 5:39 p.m. PST

Tony S, I understand, but the rule, as written, specifically states "when in frontal close combat against any enemy", also, what about scythed chariots, wouldn't a deep formation be more effective than a shallow one?

Tony S13 Nov 2022 6:58 p.m. PST

The rule specifically states "when in frontal close combat against any enemy except Cavalry, Light Horse, Scythed Chariots, Bows or Psiloi". (My italics).

So, pikes when having a second stand of pikes supporting them are in frontal close combat they add +3, but not if that opponent is cavalry, light horse, psiloi, bow and the oddball scythed chariot. So, bow, war wagons or artillery are shooting at them and therefore they are not in close combat, they do not get that +3. Another way of describing it is that if the pikes are in close combat, as long as the enemy is not Cv, LH, Ps, Bw or Wwg, then they get the +3 bonus.

I suspect (or rationalize!) that Scythed Chariots are also in that list, despite the fact that they have no ranged weapons, and absolutely no desire to give ground in the face of a phalanx (like the other troop types grouped with it) because it is presumed that it is the deep formation that enabled phalanxes to eventually grind over their opponents. Emphasis on the "eventually"; push of pike in ancient battles took time. Scythed Chariots either worked immediately, or didn't. So I would think the deep formation would therefore not influence that fast combat.

As well, it's hard to imagine a less nimble formation than a pike phalanx. Dodging scythed chariots would be difficult at best. But as those weapons weren't too effective, I'll hypothesize that it was the horses either shying away from the hedges of pike, or impaled on them rather than men dodging out of the way.

Does that make more sense?

Don't forget that "close combat" in DBA is not necessarily melee. It can be either melee, or just very close range shooting. In the case of cavalry, psiloi, light horse or bow, it would be the latter, but DBA simply calls it close combat. The cavalry, for example, are not fighting the pikemen, but rather staying a few yards away, shooting arrows, or javelins at the phalanx.

von Schwartz ver 214 Nov 2022 5:09 p.m. PST

Tony, I appreciate your diligence and accuracy in researching this, and your reasoning is fair, however, I have a set of DBR, and one of my other associate's has both DBA and DBM, which he graciously allowed me to review. All three sets give multiple ranks of pikes either a +1, for each supporting ranks up to 3 (DBM), a +1 for a 1st supporting element (DBR), or a +3 if supported by another such element which is contiguous behind and facing the same direction (DBA). With these in mind I think it is probably safe to assume that the qualifying clause at issue (DBA 2.2) does indeed only apply to Warbands and not Pikes and is probably missing a comma as well (smile).

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Nov 2022 3:37 a.m. PST

I'm afraid you are wrong VonS. It is not an error, Phil Barker is a stickler for correct English and doesn't make such errors.

DBR & DBM are rules that work at a different scale to DBA and the differentiation between formations is thus more grainy than in DBA where such distinctions are more abstract.

Also DBA has suffered far more from the 'assistance' of punters wanting to push the rules in various directions and not all of those results have been reflected in DBR or DBM.

lkmjbc315 Nov 2022 7:01 a.m. PST

GildasFacit is correct.

No reasoning here… just years of playing in major competitions, working with the Barkers on development, and actually playing against them.

Joe Collins

Tony S15 Nov 2022 7:21 a.m. PST

No worries von Schwartz.

That said, I would agree with Gildas Facit and emphasis his pointthat DBM and normal scale DBR (because condensed DBR does not have those factors you mention) are a different scale than DBA.

You may wish to have a look at the latest version of DBA. You'll see that pikes behave as I've outlined – ie, having a deeper formation doesn't aid them when mobile troops equipped with ranged weapons are engaging them closely. (Although admittedly he dropped Bow, presumably because he felt massed bow formations wouldn't be give ground as effectively as psiloi. But he did add a bonus against scythed chariots.

As well, Barker revised his wording to be a bit clearer in DBA 3.

"Pikes add +3 and Warband add +1 when in frontal close combat against enemy foot other than Psiloi.
Pikes add +1 when in frontal close combat against Knights, Elephants or Scythed Chariots."

Anyway, I've played literally hundreds of DBA games ever since the first edition, and currently I'm looking at another DBA army on my painting table for an upcoming DBA campaign, so obviously I've enjoyed Barker's rules immensely for many decades now. So I'm always glad to hear of someone else trying them! Hope you roll lots of sixes!

von Schwartz ver 215 Nov 2022 6:00 p.m. PST

Tony, now THAT makes more sense. Maybe Phil is a stickler for correct English, but that doesn't mean the typesetters and/or proofreaders can't make a mistake, that's why it is called "errata".
Every set of rules, DBA versions 1-7, DBM, and DBR provided a modifier for pikes, suddenly DBA 2.2 comes out and that modifier is missing. Didn't seem right, the revised wording makes more sense.

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