Help support TMP

"A Newbie Confused!" Topic

De Bellis Magistrorum Militum

14 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 remember that some of our members are children, and act appropriately.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the De Bellis Magistrorum Militum Rules Board

Back to the De Bellis Multitudinis Rules Board

Back to the De Bellis Renationis Rules Board

Back to the De Bellis Antiquitatis (DBA) Rules Board

Action Log

02 Jan 2017 1:58 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Crossposted to De Bellis Renationis board
  • Crossposted to De Bellis Multitudinis board
  • Crossposted to De Bellis Magistrorum Militum board

Areas of Interest

18th Century

Featured Hobby News Article

Featured Link

Top-Rated Ruleset


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

Featured Profile Article

First Look: Minairons' 1:600 Xebec

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian looks at a fast-assembly naval kit for the Age of Sail.

776 hits since 3 Jan 2017
©1994-2022 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

TMP logo


Please sign in to your membership account, or, if you are not yet a member, please sign up for your free membership account.
ghost0224 Nov 2011 8:41 a.m. PST


What do these all mean? I bought two small 12 stand armies for DBA, which I assume is the smallest game.

What is the difference between DBA, DBM, and DBMM? Is it historical accuracy? Playability? Ease of Use? What if I want to do medieval as well as ancients?

I am drowning in a sea of DB's…. I need a life preserver.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Dances with Clydesdales24 Nov 2011 8:48 a.m. PST

DBA is your basic version. Debelus Antiquiquitus (sp)12 stand armies. This is the one to get for your 12 stand armies. Covers ancient through medieval.

DBM is Debellus Multitudness ie.. DBA with larger than 12 stand armies.

DBMM not 100% sure but I think DBM on steriods.

DBN is Napoleonic version of DBA.

DBR is DBA for renaisance.

Sane Max24 Nov 2011 8:50 a.m. PST

DBA is the original 12 element game.

DBM is a much larger version of the same, played with pointed army lists. It used the same basic mechanism but with modifiers to troop types for quality and speciality.

DBMM is the gritty reboot of DBMM.


Dervel Fezian24 Nov 2011 8:58 a.m. PST

Start with DBA… Fast, fun, small armies, and lot's of people playing it…

great site for more DBA info:

paulkit24 Nov 2011 9:11 a.m. PST

DBR is DBM for renaissance (not DBA).

Your average DBM / DBR army is in the order of 60 to 70 elements so you are talking about an army 5 to 6 times the size of your DBA army. Playing area usually 6 x 4 compared to 2 x 2.

altfritz24 Nov 2011 9:50 a.m. PST

There is also "Big Battle" DBA, which IIRC uses 24 elements. And Hordes of the Things (HoTT) – the fantasy version of the rules.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian24 Nov 2011 10:22 a.m. PST

DBMM is the gritty reboot of DBMM.

Isn't that self-referential? evil grin

John the OFM24 Nov 2011 10:22 a.m. PST

DBA was originally a reaction against the WRG orthodoxy of comparing weapon factors versus armor factors, subtly modified with rank and formation factors.
It was a great simplification into function, rather than endless charts.

Then, gamers thought it was TOO simple, and thus DBM was born. It inevitably oozed into the very complexity that DBA was suposed to be a counter to.
DBA has stayed simple.

I never played DBMM, but I feel qualified to stand to the side and snicker at it, because it shows all the signs of WRG and DBM evolution.
There are rabid fanboys who think that only those who have played it at least 50 times, in all its editions/upgrades/reboots, and I annoy the heck out of them by flipping it off so easy.

Maddaz11124 Nov 2011 10:31 a.m. PST

DBM gamers oozed it into a complicated mess by trying to break the rules (bending them out of shape)!

DBMM is much fairer, and a real fun game, but some gamers are still trying to break it. I think we should encourage gamers to play the game with a spirit of fairness.

DBA is De Bellis Antiquitatis, and probaly the best fun wargames system for ancients ever! you can fit multiple games in a day, and still have time to drink and chat.

MajorB24 Nov 2011 11:52 a.m. PST

The names are Latin:

DBA De Bellis Antiquitatis
DBM De Bellis Multitudinis
DBMM De Bellis Magistrorum Militum
DBN De Bellis Napoleonica
DBR De Bellis Renationis

DBN is the odd one out not written by the Barker.

platypus01au24 Nov 2011 1:17 p.m. PST

Hi Micheal,

Lots of good responses. See Margard above for the names.

DBA 12 stand game written by Phil Barker, his wife Sue and Richard Bodley Scott, and released in 1990. It has had a number of iterations and the current (OOP, but downloadable) version is 2.2. Phil and Sue are working on v3, which should be released next year. DBA has a very strong player base.

DBM A more complicated wargame written by Phil and Richard and released a few years after DBA. It uses the same basic mechanisms of DBA, but has many additional mechanisms. Armies usually range from about 50 to 100 stands. The last published version was v3 (OOP), but fans have continued development with Richard and there is a v3.2 (downloadable). Note that Phil does not support DBM anymore and distances himself from it.

DBR Renaissance version of DBM written by Phil and Richard. Released in the mid 1990's it shares many of the mechanisms used by DBM. It was not as popular as DBM (Renaissance games are usually not as popular as ancients anyway), but many DBM players disliked some of the DBR mechanisms, in particular the "My-bound/Your-bound" (MBYM) mechanisms where combat outcomes changed depending whose side's bound it was. I believe it is up to v2.

DBMM Phil's replacement for DBM. Released in the mid- 2000's it has not been as popular as DBM. Many DBM players disliked the mechanisms (ie: MBYB) and continued to play DBM (see above), and many have moved on to other games. It is as complicated, if not more complicated than DBM (this is all relative mind you, I don't find it particularly complicated at all). The latest version is v2, and player numbers are slowly increasing (mainly in the UK). DBMM is practically non-existant in the USA. I will admit that this is my favourite game.

HOTT Hordes of the Things Fantasy game written by Phil, Sue and Richard, released in the 1990s and based on DBA. Latest version is v2. Very nice game.

DBN not a Barker game, as mentioned above

There is a great many DBA extensions around to allow people to play DBA in later periods (eg: DB-RRR) that you can download. None of these are "official", but many are quite good.

There are also;

HFG Horse, Foot and Guns Phil's draft DBA version for the Horse and Musket era (downloadable). Many of the mechanisms in this game made it to DBMM first. It actually looks nothing like the DBA versions that the fan's wrote.

DBSA Damn Battleships Again Phil's play-set for pre-Dreadnaught naval (downloadable). A fun game, not finished and I doubt it will ever be published.

Subs and Sams, Sharp End, DBV, all half-finished games littering Phil's WRG website;

Hope this helps, happy to discuss anything. Oh, and John, here is your bird back;


Khusrau25 Nov 2011 2:58 a.m. PST

And if you ever need to upset John the OFM, just remind him that FoW follows the GW model in trying to extract as much money as possible from gamers pockets. Whereas, DBx is designed to make Phil feel he is giving the best historical set of rules possible.

streetline25 Nov 2011 3:55 a.m. PST

The names are Latin:
DBN De Bellis Napoleonica

Some are more Latin than others :-)

With most DBx games, the ammount of fun playing is inversely proportional to the number of figures on the table.

MajorB25 Nov 2011 4:08 a.m. PST

The names are Latin:
DBN De Bellis Napoleonica

Some are more Latin than others :-)

As I said, DBN is the odd one out, not written by PB.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.