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"Any advice for DBMM army building?" Topic

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TheMapleLeafForever25 Jan 2023 1:18 p.m. PST

I'm pretty new to ancients and I'm thinking about starting an early imperial Roman army for DBMM. Do you guys have advice on how to build armies?

I like to play lists that at least somewhat reflect historical reality, so here is what I got so far for a 400 AP list.

*Given the scale that DBMM is supposed to represent (IIRC 250ish soldiers per element?) each element is like half a cohort's worth of troops.

I have a Roman legion, which is reflected in:

1 Sub-general -Reg Cv (O)
22 Legionaries – Reg Bd (O)

Then I have 8 cohorts of auxiliaries, represented by:

1 C-in-C – Reg Ax (S)

1 Sub-general -Reg Cv (O)
4 Auxiliary archers – Reg Bw (O)
1 Equites sagittarii- Reg Cv (O)

2 Numidian cavalry – Irr LH (O)
4 Equites alares – Reg Cv (O)
12 Auxiliary infantry – Reg Ax (S)

That's about 360 points. What else do I need to spend on? I haven't divided them into 3 commands yet, but how should I go about doing that?


Swampster25 Jan 2023 1:38 p.m. PST

Another sub-general is needed for a third command. The sub-general will use up most of the difference.
Baggage helps to make the army easier to break – regular baggage as in the Roman list is very cost effective for this. A fortified camp with stationary baggage (O) looks good and has a nice Roman feel, but mobile baggage (F) is generally preferred.

What are you likely to play against? If it is warband armies, I would reduce the number of blade and have more Cv and Ax. The mobile artillery are also very good.
The Roman list seems to be written with a scale of about 500 per element in mind rather than the 250ish official scale.

Personal logo timurilank Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2023 3:03 p.m. PST

I have an Early Imperial Roman army on order, but Swampster does make a good point about the opposition, this will influence the composition of your force.

What you have listed is fine for the western campaigns. An army, destined to campaign in the east could make use of allies (Client Kingdoms).

Both "The Roman War Machine" by J. Peddie and "The Imperial Roman Army", Yann Le Bohec mention the presence of a full legion in the field would be rare, as a portion would remain in garrison with the convalescing legionnaires.

TheMapleLeafForever25 Jan 2023 3:14 p.m. PST

Thanks for the advice guys. @Swampster, if a cohort is about 480 men and the official scale is 250ish, I used 2 elements = 1 cohort. The first cohort is around double strength (800ish in real life I think) hence 4 elements.

@timurilank That's a good point you make. I could always pretend that I have a vexillation from another legion to bring it up to full strength though. In any case, I'm not looking to model any particular legion so I can always just say I have a full legion's worth of men.

Swampster26 Jan 2023 3:23 a.m. PST

The legions in this list and the periods before and after seem to be based on a legion being represented by about eight elements. This doesn't fit with the scale in the rules but does give more of a feel of a multi-legion battle.

The official ratio you are using would, though, suit a battle of the size in the Boudican revolt. The on-paper size of a legion would doubtless be reduced by campaigning, but the final battle had one full legion and parts of another, probably giving numbers fairly close to your total.

TheMapleLeafForever26 Jan 2023 6:47 p.m. PST

timurilank's point made me curious, come to think it, how often was it just ONE legion operating in the field?

I see more frequently that there is one legion or more or at least a detachment from a another. Arrian against the Alans, Beth Horon, Watling Street all come to mind.

Also, who makes good 15mm depicting Roman aux horse archers?

Personal logo timurilank Supporting Member of TMP27 Jan 2023 4:28 a.m. PST

The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire: From the First Century CE to the Third by Edward N. Luttwak
presents a number of examples calling for a unified force or the single legion.

Simply expressed, barbarians breaching the Roman Limes would eventually encounter substantial
resistance beyond the frontier; setup by a vexillation of legionnaires and auxiliary troops.

I am not aware of a 15mm manufacturer that produce a Roman equites sagittarii (helm, chainmail, bow case).
Looking at Cheeseman's The Auxilia of the Roman Imperial Army, you will find
alae in the east were also recruited from local units (Syria, Palestine, Judea).

These are listed as allies for the Early Imperial Roman for which Armenian or Parthian LH are useful.

TheMapleLeafForever27 Jan 2023 7:36 a.m. PST

Do you think these ones would work well for horse archers?


They are late Roman but to my untrained eye, they look like they could pass for early Imperial.

Another question: Why do people recommend bringing more generals? They are worth a crazy amount of points. I have the rulebook but admittedly my Barkerese isn't very good yet.

Personal logo timurilank Supporting Member of TMP27 Jan 2023 9:25 a.m. PST

They could work for the regular horse archers.

With experience, you will note the presence of a third general will expand tactical flexibility.

After the initial clash, lines will need tidying, reserves need deploying and a flanking manúuver will need a commander.

TheMapleLeafForever27 Jan 2023 9:48 a.m. PST

Swampster said another sub-general is needed for a 3rd command, so the C-in-C can't command a command?

Bit confused since the Roman list only allows for 2 sub generals and the lists I found like link

show 2 subs and 3+ commands.

Personal logo timurilank Supporting Member of TMP27 Jan 2023 11:09 a.m. PST

I believe there is a mis-understanding somewhere.
The CinC and two sub-generals, each have a separate command.

That is clearly seen in the first army list (400AP).

Swampster27 Jan 2023 3:16 p.m. PST

Simple – I misread the original list :) I didn't spot that there were already two sub generals in there.
Each general commands one command, whether CinC, sub or ally.
Having a fourth general in some armies is very worthwhile as the extra Pips can make a big difference. The Romans are expensive enough that it is less worthwhile and, as pointed out, the lists don't tend to allow it unless it is an ally of some sort.
At 500 AP, the fourth command is even more desirable and there are enough points to allow some kind of ally. Personally I prefer 500 AP games and they don't have to take much more time than a 400 AP game.

TheMapleLeafForever27 Jan 2023 4:50 p.m. PST

Ah thanks for explaining!

Also, does basing with DBMM also translate well to ADLG?

platypus01au27 Jan 2023 7:13 p.m. PST

"does basing with DBMM also translate well to ADLG?"

Yes it does. You will be fine for both rules as they use the same basing*


*I think technically there is a small but unimportant difference with base depths.

Erzherzog Johann27 Jan 2023 8:31 p.m. PST

DBMM is a much better game than ADLG though :-)


TheMapleLeafForever28 Jan 2023 7:18 a.m. PST

Thank you Aussie John and Kiwi John!

Well I can't argue with you there! But given the popularity of ADLG, it is sure convenient that you are able to quickly switch rules with the figures you have if your opponent wants to play the inferior game haha.

Erzherzog Johann30 Jan 2023 12:16 p.m. PST

Yes, that's my situation. Most people play ADLG where I am so I've had to be wiling to do that to play people I like and have known for years. There are a couple of people who play DBMM but it's not as easy to arrange. Plus my wife's recovering from an operation at the moment so I'm out of action . . .

TheMapleLeafForever30 Jan 2023 4:46 p.m. PST

In your area, how many points do people usually play for ADLG, John? 200 feels a bit small for me – I'd personally go 300.

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