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"De Bellis Velitum - Ancient Skirmish Rules" Topic

De Bellis Velitum

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Thorfin102 Dec 2009 4:33 a.m. PST

Found these rules recently and wondered if anyone out there ever played them? As the name suggests they are DBA based skirmish rules. They are a more complicated read than I would like but then so was DBA and it plays very simply.

advocate02 Dec 2009 5:28 a.m. PST

I looked at these a while ago and was not greatly impressed, though to be honest I can't remember why.

You might consider looking at 'Song of Blades and Heroes' and the related games, which use a DBA-type combat system though with different activation. Although designed for fantasy, they are easily adapted to historical gaming – and they have a fairly simple core set of rules to which chrome can easily be added.

Sundance02 Dec 2009 5:43 a.m. PST

I haven't played them, but do have a copy set aside. I thought they looked interesting also.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP02 Dec 2009 6:15 a.m. PST

I've also been meaning to try them for a while….maybe we should all promise to have a game with them and report back in a week or so !

Acharnement02 Dec 2009 7:13 a.m. PST

I played DBV a few times and found it pretty good though a bit fiddly. If memory serves there were 3 different kinds of pushbacks such as "shy" for mounted warriors, etc. I think the difference in dice totals needed for a kill was 4 or higher so combat was not as bloody as some people (means me) like. Still a fairly good system and worth trying out.
And free.
Here is the link to them from FreeWargamesRules:


Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP02 Dec 2009 3:43 p.m. PST

Our group is expert in DBX games but could not get these to work as written.
This is a killer

No figure may cross the front of any enemy figure within that enemy's move distance and not separated from it by an intervening figure, except to contact or line up opposite such an figure's front, to retire, or as an outcome move."

"within enemy's move distance!"
The ground scale is 1:75, so 1 centimetre measured on the table is equivalent to 1 pace in real life.

LH move 20 paces = 20 cm. Is that about 8 inches. So Lh have a "zone of contol" of 8 inches. A few of these stationed in tactical places on the battlefield, really cuts down movement.

There are some good concepts as we would expect from Phil, but there are problems. A few months work with playtesting might make them ok. But why not play some version of "Song of Blades and Heroes"

If someone finds DBV easy to play, or has fixed it please let me know.

skinkmasterreturns02 Dec 2009 4:14 p.m. PST

Ganesha Games is supposed to release,at some point, an ancients version of SoBH,and it has been playtesting for awhile.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP02 Dec 2009 4:28 p.m. PST

"Bob and his dog" but the same rule would apply to the light horse, so they'd have trouble getting into that position without crossing the enemy's frontage. Also, LH cost 3 Army Points, max size is 24AP, so you can only have 8 of them in any case. You'd also need to consistently roll good PIPs to get them to move so they can herd the enemy up. If you can do that, maybe it isn't unrealistic (assuming the enemy is foot, if they are also LH they'll just negate the moves your LH make)

I don't know, it might need tweaking say half the move distance or something, but I suppose in a way it forces the troops to actually face up to each other eventually, rather than play tag around the scenery. In that way, perhaps, simulating "platoon level" Command & Control.


I'm going to try these rules and report back.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP18 Nov 2018 1:21 p.m. PST

There have been some DBV articles in Lone Warrior -

DBV Adventures in Ancient Skirmishing (Issue 184)

and Wounds of Honour The Skirmish! a scenario for DBV (Issue 186)

Back Issue PDFs can be got from here


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