Help support TMP

"DBM vs DBMM" Topic

De Bellis Multitudinis

27 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

Please use the Complaint button (!) to report problems on the forums.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the De Bellis Multitudinis Rules Board

Back to the De Bellis Magistrorum Militum Rules Board

Action Log

02 Jan 2017 9:49 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Crossposted to De Bellis Multitudinis board

Areas of Interest


Featured Hobby News Article

Featured Recent Link

Top-Rated Ruleset

De Bellis Antiquitatis (DBA)

Rating: gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star 

Featured Profile Article

First Look: Barrage's 28mm Roads

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian takes a look at flexible roads made from long-lasting flexible resin.

Featured Movie Review

3,042 hits since 3 Jan 2017
©1994-2024 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

beausant02 Apr 2014 4:03 p.m. PST

What is the difference between DBM and DBMM? I am interested in playing (currently play FOG). Is one newer than the other? I do not see either rules set available. Should I wait for a new version?
Advice is much appreciated.

Yesthatphil02 Apr 2014 4:16 p.m. PST

DBMM is the newer rules system … a significantly revised version of DBM and now in it's 2nd edition (which I think may be going to a reprint so possibly hard to find but aficionados will doubtless confirm that) …

You may want to look out for the 2nd edition (there may be 'used' copies of the original edition available, but that might not be what you want)

Hope that helps


Who asked this joker02 Apr 2014 4:27 p.m. PST

DBM is a less complex version (relative term) of DBMM. I have not played either. Both require lots of stands to play. You play FoG so that should not be an issue.

DBM has the same sort of outcome table as DBA. When a unit wins, depending on the matchup and margin of victory, the unit may be pushed back or destroyed, DBMM takes this a step farther by adding outcomes based on whose turn it is.

Example: A unit attacking (fighting in the owning player's turn) might be able to destroy the defender on a simple victory, depending on the matchup, unit grade and other factors. The same unit that is defending (the other player's is move) might only be able to push back the attacking unit.

DBMM also intruduces strategems, tricks available to various armies and grades of generals.

I have a copy of DBMM version 1 and would be ahppy to send it to you for the cost of postage. It was not written very well but would convey the idea of the game to you, Of course, DBM is also available online for free. PDF link


Phillius Sponsoring Member of TMP02 Apr 2014 5:19 p.m. PST

I have played DBM and DBMM v2. John is being polite when he talks about DBMM v1 being "not written very well". It is poor. v2 is a significantly better production, and a better game all round. And a much better game than DBM.

It is not representative of precise historical outcomes, but generally reflects a more holistic approach to outcomes. This upsets many people.

Statistics appear to play a significant part in calculating how certain outcomes are achieved; although this is not obvious from the way the rules are written. So, if a Roman legionary can be expected to defeat the front rank of a Macedonian pike phalanx 70% of the time, then that is the result you generally get. This is achieved by a combinatin of the troop types, who's move it is, and, the dice. This again appears to upset people.

However, I have come to grips with these foibles and enjoy playing the game (that's all it is). It is hard to learn by yourself. Finding experienced players to help you learn would be of benefit.


hindsTMP Supporting Member of TMP02 Apr 2014 5:58 p.m. PST

DBMM Second Edition (latest) is available from "On Military Matters" in the USA, at this link:


If you want more opinions on DBMM, you might want to try a TMP search. For example:

TMP link


Garand02 Apr 2014 8:20 p.m. PST

Thanks for the link to the download version of DBM. Does anyone still play the game, or is it "obsolete?"


(Stolen Name)02 Apr 2014 8:50 p.m. PST

Aaaargh he said the 'O' word


LorenzoMele02 Apr 2014 10:59 p.m. PST

If you are interested in DBMM, you could find some information on my website:

platypus01au02 Apr 2014 11:39 p.m. PST


Obsolete may be the wrong word. Lets say DBM is "out of print". As other posters have already pointed out, you can download a copy of DBM (v3.something). You should be able to buy a printed copy of DBMM v2 from Amazon or On Military Matters, or Olympian Games in Australia.

I cannot say what the actual popularity of either game is. I believe that DBMM is more popular than DBM, but I have no proof other than numbers of people on the Yahoo lists and numbers playing comps. There is a group in the UK that have DBM comps. However there are groups of people who play older WRG games from 7th down to 5th!

However, it is much easier to learn either game if there is someone around who can help you. See if there are people near where you live. Post on the Yahoo Groups DBM and DBMM lists. People are very friendly on both lists(though understandably not if you start posting "this game sucks"…). I would do this first. And playing one game doesn't stop you from playing the other, because the bases are the same, and many DBM players use the DBMM army lists.

In my opinion DBMM is the better game. I love the way it plays and enjoy every game. Even the ones when I get crushed! Quite happy to help, but the Yahoo DBMM list or the forum on are very good places to ask questions.


(Another Loser)03 Apr 2014 2:35 a.m. PST



Dervel Fezian03 Apr 2014 6:33 a.m. PST

I cannot comment on DBMM…. Have not played it yet. Although I was not playing at the time, my impression is that when DBMM came out there was a schism of the DBM players between the new and the older version. It seems like many of the American players stuck with DBM. Probably the more important issue is what are people in your area playing?

I play DBA and DBM. There is a fairly active group of DBM players in the Midwest Area, and Michigan where I live. Typically, it is played at the major Eastern conventions like Cold Wars, Historicon, and Fall In. So is DBMM, but for example at Cold Wars there where 3 DBM events to one DBMM event if I remember correctly.

In addition I know the guys in my area usually go to Pittsburgh once a year for a DBM weekend.

One good thing is that since the troop types and the basing are the same you can use your armies for any of these games, DBA, DBM, DBMM (FOG as well).

As mentioned above, it is very hard to jump into these without some support (the rules are a tough read but worth learning IMHO)… find out what people in your area are playing and see if you can get into some games.

IUsedToBeSomeone03 Apr 2014 8:33 a.m. PST

We also have DBMM in stock


Garand03 Apr 2014 10:59 a.m. PST

Historicals are mostly dead in my area…the local historical gaming group's message traffic is mostly about Flames of War. There was some nibble of interest in FoG and WAB at one point, but that has completely died out. Mostly these days I am looking at solo play, unless I want to drive and possibly game with the OFM's group in NE PA.

As for obsolete rules, I put the word in quotes not because I think they are obsolete, but because of the impression that gamers would have moved on to DBMM instead.


aynsley68303 Apr 2014 11:50 a.m. PST

beausant yes DBM is out of print but you can get it for free rather than paying for an MM rule book. Also who plays what in your area is the main factor.
I never get into which game I think is better or say things like 'in my opinion' as you can never really tell from that kind if statement.
In my area we all played DBM then FOG came along and most went to that, some of us carried on with DBM as MM didn't seem worth it (and yes the first MM rule book was very badly written).
Nowadays FOG numbers have gone down a lot but DBM has stayed the same, DBMM has tried to do some events at the Pa. conventions but tends to be only one day or even half a day 'event' (2 games in the morning with only one in the afternoon).
Again I am not going to get into which I think is better, personally I play DBM and enjoy it and never liked MM, find out who plays what in your area (where are you actually, as you are more than welcome to come to any of our Pa conventions where we will be happy to help you?)

Garand03 Apr 2014 12:14 p.m. PST

Every time the PA conventions come up, I find myself broke like a joke so end up not going. Going to make a concerted effort to make NJCon this year at least, and maybe Fall In.


Thomas Thomas03 Apr 2014 12:30 p.m. PST

DBM was at one point the dominate game for ancients and medievals. Up until version 3.0 it was both a great tournament game and a wonderful simulation. When version 3.0 appeared it became a tournament game and eventually faded to a niche of hard core players.

DBMM was intended to replace aging DBM and attempt to restore simulation value of prior editions. Unfortunely the project got out of control and produced the almost unplayable DBMM 1.0. Some of us got involved in trying to salvage something and after months/years of playtesting DBMM 2.0 appear – a far better version though still much too complex.

My advice if starting is to get a copy of DBA3.0. This will introduce you to the DB methods (which are both from a simulation and pure fun aspect still the best going) without having to plunge into DBMM2.0. Once you get the big picture by all means get a copy of DBMM and plunge in. Most of the improved features of DBMM have been incorperted into DBA3.0 (and we also pruned many unnecessary parts).


beausant03 Apr 2014 1:38 p.m. PST

I would like to thank all the commenters. I appreciate all the feedback.


jameshammyhamilton03 Apr 2014 2:15 p.m. PST

I loved DBM, played many many many games of it and traveled the world to get to tournaments.

I was involved in the development of both FoG and DBMM.

I hate DBMM, for me it takes away all the good bits of DBM and adds in many new things that I detest.

FoG I play occasionally.

At the moment my huge stack of Ancients and Medieval figures is largely gathering dust while I play Flames of War.

There are people out there who play DBM, DBMM and FoG, it really depends on what you like and what the people you are likely to play like. At the BHGS Challenge this weekend there are something like 10 DBM players 20 DBMM and 30 FoG. Those numbers are probably not spot on but are roughly that way at most events.

Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP03 Apr 2014 8:13 p.m. PST

I second Tom's suggestion to a point. Get DBA III which will soon be printed, and play the Big Battle version. 36 elements per side. Or giant games with as many elements as you want. Simpler than either of the "M" games.

The funny thing is that Phil Barker and Richard Bodley Scott wrote DBM. Multiple editions. Then when Phil wanted to modify it, Richard broke away and developed FOG to be the better game. So a FOG player coming to DBMM is a strange happening. Maybe my short history is wrong. Can someone tell what happened?

Thomas Thomas04 Apr 2014 2:33 p.m. PST

For the record I don't hate DBMM and though I played DBM for years (and won a few national championships in 25mm), I much prefer DBMM to DBM 3.0 for both historical and plan fun reasons. (Prior versions of DBM though were much better than 3.0).

But if your just starting out DBA3.0 will give you the basic concepts (and has the good parts of DBMM 2.0 if you want to expand).

Tried FOG, pretty dull died our quickly in our area managed to kill off a thriving ancient/medieval gaming community. So like many I've had lots of figures gathering dust.

Thanks to Big Battle DBA3.0 they are back on the table!


aynsley68305 Apr 2014 12:04 p.m. PST

I much prefer DBM to MM for a lot of reasons mainly it is fun and straight forward and I am not keeping track of who's bound it is, also its free.

Depending on where you are located Beausant you will have a choice of DBA to try, here in the US I think they are sticking to something called 2.2 plus which seems very straight forward and easy also. Elsewhere they seem to be still waiting for what ever DBA version is next that some seem to dislike (not a DBA player myself), try the forums to see the differences.

Also tried FOG never really liked it as well or MM which seemed to have too much to track.


Dervel Fezian07 Apr 2014 7:16 a.m. PST

I like both DBM and DBA big battle / giant battle. Cannot comment on DBMM, but in general I suspect it is very similar to DBM, but it sounds like it has a little more complexity.

The basic rule mechanics between DBA and DBM are very similar (in fact it gets confusing switching between the systems because there are some differences).

Some differences that standout to me, which seem to have the biggest overall impact on how the game feels:

DBA no point system, straight forward troop categories.
DBM point system for building armies, many more grades of troop types (i.e. Inferior, Superior, Regular, Irregular….) adds flavor but also complexity.

DBA most troops can only move once (except skirmishers first turn, light horse, anyone on a road)
DBM you can use more PIPs to move almost anything more than once, some are harder to move multiple times.

DBA troop movement is really only impacted by an enemy if they are within 40mm (Zone of Control or ZOC)
DBM demoralized commands can cause your troops to go running after them if they are not held back (which costs command PIPs).

DBA impetuous movement is only based on combat results (i.e. you kill or recoil something, the impetuous unit charges forward one base depth)
DBM impetuous can effect irregular troops even out of combat range and as mentioned above chasing demoralized commands. This can create some somewhat arbitrary movement which is open to interpretation (have not found this to be a problem, but is a significant difference between DBA and DBM).

The minor differences are more related to the combat outcome tables which like does an elephant get a +4 or a +5 vs. mounted for example.. These can trip you up, because the two systems started out very similar, but have drifted apart a little…

In general I would say both of these systems give a very good game. So it really comes down to what system is being played locally and what do you like. Regarding DBA 2.2, 2.2+, or 3, once again, what are the guys playing near you? I have not tried the latest test drafts of DBA 3.0 because everyone I play with is still waiting for it to be published.

Thomas Thomas07 Apr 2014 1:53 p.m. PST

We are located in the US and we are not sticking to DBA 2.2. We have already converted over to DBA 3.0. We just ran a demo game of D3H2 (the Hordes of the Things variant for DBA 3.0) at a local game store this weekend.

You can get a copy of DBA 3.0 at the DBA yahoo group. Final version will be out soon but will nearly identical to the yahoo version. Good introduction of DB mechanics.


Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP07 Apr 2014 7:39 p.m. PST

Like Tom, I am in the US, midwest, and I only play DBA rules written by Phil Barker. I have been following DBA III development and not played 2.2 for a couple of years. DBM and DBMM were just to complicated for me, for reasons noted by Dervel. DBA does have a minimal grading system with Fast and Solid types of infantry. But no points, all elements are equal. Skirmishers -- Psiloi -- can take a second move if they end up in bad going -- running for cover.

John GrahamLeigh Supporting Member of TMP08 Apr 2014 6:53 a.m. PST

My friends and I played DBA incessantly from its first appearance until 1993. Then DBM appeared and we haven't played DBA since… DBM was (and is) much more satisfying for us. Tried DBMM and FoG but decided to stick with DBM – we've even developed it a bit. Here's a link to my web site – lots of DBM competition results, details of this year's UK competitions and the 3.3 house rules which we're currently play testing.

mikeygees13 Apr 2014 8:21 p.m. PST

I loved DBM. I would travel to tourneys all over to play. Our group never converted to 3.0. Then when DBMM came out, or group of nearly 20 players completely called it quits. This was almost 9 years ago. Now I just blow the dust of off the rules once a year and run a game at our local convention. I never lack players.

Thomas Thomas14 Apr 2014 1:58 p.m. PST


Wish our group had never converted to DBM 3.0, we might still be playing.


Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.