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"Deciding on rules" Topic

De Bellis Antiquitatis (DBA)

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06 Jan 2017 8:18 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "Deciding on rules." to "Deciding on rules"
  • Crossposted to De Bellis Multitudinis board
  • Crossposted to l'Art de la Guerre board
  • Crossposted to Armati board
  • Crossposted to De Bellis Antiquitatis (DBA) board

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Comments or corrections?

alexjones12 Jan 2016 11:41 a.m. PST

Thinking about trying a new rules set, just to see if I am missing anything.

I have Crusades and HYW figures in 15mm and 28mm all based to DBx standard widths.

I really enjoy Armati and DBA 3.0, I have tried FOG and I am not a fan, a bit too fiddly. My first priority is enjoyment, I don't play tournaments.

My options are DBM, DBMM, Art de Guerre or DBA 3.0 Big Battles.

Any advice please?

Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP12 Jan 2016 12:38 p.m. PST

If you already "enjoy DBA 3" then why try something new. Stick with it in the Big Battle Format.

I have a weakness in picking rules, I always pick the ones I know best. People often tell me that this ancient game or that one is better than DBA 3, but I respond that even if the others are better (in some way) I already know DBA 3 and enjoy it. Why take the trouble to switch ":)

Dervel Fezian12 Jan 2016 1:12 p.m. PST

I also found FOG a little over fiddly / chart intensive for my tastes.

DBA 3.0 is the least fiddly of the ones you mentioned.

I do think ADLG has some interesting concepts, but those do make it slightly more complex than DBA.

My recommendation would be try a demo game or two at a convention, however, you may be hard pressed to find someone presenting DBM or DBMM (other than a tournament). ADLG you should be able to find as a demo because it is very "in" right now.

leidang12 Jan 2016 1:15 p.m. PST

I started out with DBA and DBM then migrated to FOG and Imetus and have finally settled on Hail Ceasar! as my go to Ancients rules.

To me they fall somewhere between DBA and FOG and I really like the activations system and the uncertainty it brings. Also really like the morale system with it's break checks.

The only consistent argument that players usually have with it is getting used to the abstraction of sometimes not getting to activate units on turns. I myself don't mind this since the turns flow quickly.

MajorB12 Jan 2016 2:25 p.m. PST

DBA 3.0 Big Battles without a doubt. Much easier than either DBM or DBMM.

coopman12 Jan 2016 3:26 p.m. PST

Most of the FOG crowd in my area has switched over to ADLG.

Who asked this joker12 Jan 2016 4:57 p.m. PST

ADLG seems to be the new shiny. Folks seem to like it. I feel like I said that before. FoG maybe? wink

DBA 3.0 and ADLG are probably your best bets.

platypus01au12 Jan 2016 6:24 p.m. PST

DBA 3 using the Big Battle Rules will certainly give you an ejoyable game and one that is not too fiddly.

I like DBMM, but I can't say it isn't "fiddly". But then I like that. Mind you I didn't like FOG.

Since you are in England, if you were interested in DBMM, you could join the DBMM Yahoo kist and you will beable to find some players close to you. You could also try here;


maverick290912 Jan 2016 6:29 p.m. PST

The biggest problem with DBMM is there isn't a place to get the rules, so I wouldn't suggest those rules. DBM is free though and it's pretty fun. I haven't played ADLG yet but it does seem to be pretty popular and I might pick it up soon. I didn't really like Big Battle DBA, not enough stands for my liking.

valerio12 Jan 2016 11:13 p.m. PST

If you liked Armati you could try Tactica, which is a kind of hard-core Armati. Or Civitates Bellantes which is easy to find in pdf and fun and realistic. All dbx based

advocate12 Jan 2016 11:23 p.m. PST

Consider Sword and Spear. Our group really has taken to it.

alexjones13 Jan 2016 4:38 a.m. PST

Brilliant feedback and ideas!

It has really helped me form a plan.

I will download DBM for a read, since its free.

Art de la Guerre looks interesting but it is quite expensive.

I have purchased Sword and Spear which looks like being a good game, well supported as well.

Future games will include DBA big battles, as well as armati but the big goal will be getting enough figures on the table for tactica.

I already own tactica and love the mechanisms, but the forces required were always out of reach. Time to order those mounted knights from front rank!

Thanks all

Pattus Magnus13 Jan 2016 7:20 a.m. PST

Another possibility that I didn't see mentioned above (my apologies if I missed it) is To the Strongest. It diverges a lot from other ancients rules by using a grid for movement and ranges and playing cards rather than dice for randomization, but it is designed for "battle" level games and is quite adaptable. The author also provides free army lists for the period the OP's colection covers. Having armies based to DBx standard isn't an issue, as you can just calibrate the grid to fit the basing you already have.

Tastes in game style vary of course, but I thoroughly enjoyed the games of TtS I've played.

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP13 Jan 2016 1:31 p.m. PST

Thanks Pattus, too kind. There is some info about the rules here:


I have recently published Crusades and HYW lists, that can be downloaded for free from here:


Best, Simon

John GrahamLeigh13 Jan 2016 3:53 p.m. PST

FirstBrigade: I see you're in my county, so can't be too far away. I'm a DBM man and always up for a game. Contact me via my DBM web site at

The site is mainly about competitions but I play lots of campaign and friendly games too, in 15mm and 25mm.


John Graham-Leigh

greenknight4 Sponsoring Member of TMP19 Jan 2016 8:23 p.m. PST

perhaps Day of Battle?

jwebster Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2016 10:08 a.m. PST

I enjoy Sword and Spear

You could also try out Basic Impetus for free (haven't tried it myself but others like it)

Just tweak the move distances in the rules to match DBA base sizes (Sword and Spear distances are set by base width, like DBA 3)

Part of the fun is to see the familiar in a different light

Let us know what you think of other rule sets


Great War Ace28 Jan 2016 9:12 a.m. PST

I don't know what you mean by "too fiddly", but if it centers on not wanting to touch your miniatures, i.e. play "hands on", as it were, then my game isn't for you. If "too fiddly" means too many charts or dice rolls or too many dice types, etc., then The Art of War dispenses with that sort of "fiddly". As much of the factors for modeling ancmed warfare are built into the systems as possible, reducing "plus this, minus that" to a bare bones minimum….

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