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De Bellis Antiquitatis (DBA)

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29 Dec 2016 6:43 p.m. PST
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vexillia05 Mar 2013 8:50 a.m. PST

New blog article:

It's been over two years since I last commented on the state of play [sic] in the Northern League. This series of posts started in 2008 when DBM was in decline and Field of Glory was well ahead of DBMM in the "race" for DBM's crown as the most popular set of rules for the Ancient & Medieval periods. By the end of 2010 FOG was clearly the most popular rule set in the Northern League with an average share of 79% of the registered players.

So what's happened since? Well, 2012 saw the first ever FOG Renaissance (FOG R) competition and it was the last full year where the original version of FOG Ancient & Medieval (FOG) was used. I wondered whether the former had affected overall attendance and player choice. So I "crunched" the numbers and the results are in the table below:

more …

Martin Stephenson

Keraunos06 Mar 2013 12:13 a.m. PST

I have not spotted your thoughts on FogRen itself yet, Martin.

Are you enjoying it, how does it compare in your befuddled rankings, and does it give you a feel for the period?

vexillia06 Mar 2013 2:37 a.m. PST

I have not spotted your thoughts on FogRen itself yet, Martin.

Well spotted. I'm going to give it a few more games and then I'll post my thoughts. At present it's "so far, so good".

Martin Stephenson

ancientsgamer06 Mar 2013 2:56 p.m. PST

I think the whole problem with the Digital version took the wind out of the sails for FoG for a while. Now that it is in normal print, we shall see. Many improvements that came about because of FoG: R are in FoG now.

Jumping eras is a bit different than jumping rules sets. Many of us on this side of the big pond don't have Renaissance armies and certainly not as many as Ancient/Medieval ones. It will be interesting to take another look at things 1 or 2 years from now.

I will say that some of the burnish has come off of FoG for many of us. It is enjoyable but still hasn't hit the sweet spot on balancing play-ability and complexity. With a few changes, Might of Arms is probably my favorite set of rules for the era. The issue is that not enough play the rules set anymore in our area. Having a ready playing pool is the main attraction to FoG for me, as well as the mostly well researched lists (I still have some quibbles about Italian Condotta and wish that Knights of St. John was in regular FoG as well)

We will probably still play FoG unless something comes down to disrupt this. I have Impetus but haven't decided if it is better IMO yet.

Mechanical08 Mar 2013 4:01 a.m. PST

Interesting. DBMM has seen a resurgence at the club.

Sgt Steiner08 Mar 2013 4:13 a.m. PST

I have found version 2 of FOG to be more desirable than original now wether this is down to the twaeks to rules (which are a plus IMHO) or the fact that I play and enjoy FOGR and FOGN is debatable. I still think DBMM has more variety to its play due to varying weather, strategms etc but would happily play either now.

Might Of Arms is a great set of rules 'let down' to a degree by lack lusture Army Lists at least when compared to its contemporary WRG rivals.

Like DBx system I liked its use of the primacy of a Units function over its weapons/armour as basis for combat etc

TwinCities Gamer08 Mar 2013 2:12 p.m. PST

Our remaining FoG players have all made the switch to FoG 2 as it's quite an improvement over FoG. We're already splintered on scales, rules, eras and armies so I don't think we'll be FoG R a go despite the good reviews.

Our post-v2 challenge is growing our group. One segment of hobbyists won't touch FoG because they hate "tournament" rules and the point system. Another sees the rules as too hard and/or boring. We're now such a small group that in our next local Con, we'll be doing Saga instead of FoG.

Thomas Thomas11 Mar 2013 10:43 a.m. PST


Try DBA 3.0 (copies are floating around on the list group).

Its faster than DBA2.2, doesn't use points and is a much improved mechanism for historical scenerios.

Its quite easy to teach and is neither "hard" or "boring" (I've taught it to all my son's video warrior friends and they have quickly converted).

Locally Ancients/Medievals had faded away due to FOG but now lots of figures are coming back off the shelf (and new figures being painted esp the new lines of historical plastics in 28mm).


Vincent Solfronk12 Mar 2013 12:57 p.m. PST

I like the FoGR (Field of Gloey Renaissance) set of rules as well. It gives a really good feel for being an army commander, although I havent seen where the ECW armies hold out very well vs Continental european armies.

aynsley68313 Mar 2013 6:02 a.m. PST

I am not sure about numbers else where but at the last two 'con's FOG seems to of callopsed or splintered would be a better word, the FOG players all want to do one of the three, FOG-A-R or N with not enough to do all three.
So the first morning at Cold Wars in Lancaster Pa. they (FOG) are all crowed playing Ancients and Ren. I think then it all fizzles out by lunch time to the odd game here or there. As I play DBM still we have small numbers but steady, we had 17 on the second day playing with one side game with 3 playing outside of the doubles going on.
Their was even some small MM game's going on with two games in the morning then just one in the afternoon, so that dosen't have the numbers around here either.
Two of the FOG players mentioned coming back to DBM as it seemed more fun and they could get more games in.

Mechanical18 Mar 2013 3:49 a.m. PST

The local club is in the planning stages for a ~8 player DBMM tourney on the Fall. Interest is certainly rising. I haven't seen FoG played in quite a while.

Timotheous20 Mar 2013 5:31 p.m. PST

Our group is quite insular (don't go to too many shows, competitions, or mix with other game groups, but we still like FoG (v.1). Never tried DBMM, but had played lots of DBM (1.1, 2.0, 2.2, 3.0, etc). There was a brief flirtation with WMA, but when FoG came out, we went over to that and find it just the ticket for us!

chriscoz Supporting Member of TMP22 Mar 2013 7:04 p.m. PST

Our group is insular as well. Armati still rules the roost, but guys do play some DBA. We're playing 2.2 and the DBA players (I like both sets, but Armati better) are considering 2.2+, because if we ever do make it do Cold Wars or Historicon, that seems to be the prevailing rules--plus its the same lists.

comte de malartic25 Mar 2013 4:18 a.m. PST

I have tried and tried at FOG (Ancients, Ren., and Nap). The rules just don't work for me. I plan on concentrating on DBM where I win about 40-50% of my games. I just get slaughtered playing FOG in game after game. I don't mind losing but my games aren't even close.



1ngram28 Mar 2013 1:32 a.m. PST

Try Basic Impetus. They're free on the Net, there is a comprehensive Army list for ancient and medieval periods and they are a great set of rules.

Alasdair220429 May 2013 5:43 a.m. PST

Fog R

is going well as far as I can see, I already have 27 players for a one day competition in Southampton in September, for what is one of the smaller historical periods that is excellent, and the rules continue to be enjoyed and play well, not many people who have played seem to dislike

just my thoughts



Grandviewroad01 Jun 2013 5:12 p.m. PST

Bought and was very keen to try FoG after reading reviews and such. Never liked DBM particularly, altho I enjoy DBA. Long story short, I couldn't even read the rules. It was like studying grammar or philosophy. I sold them and the period books on Ebay.

Then I didn't do anything 15mm ancients for a while. Or 25mm medieval, either. Years, actually.

Now I'm thinking about getting my 15mm Testudo Romans and Gauls finished up, and it's DBA 3.0, or some version of DBA at the least.

Probably Big Battle DBA, when I've enough stands done.

I guess my overall opinion is that if I'm going to play a set of "gamey" competitive rules, DBA is about as much complexity as I can put up with, and about the most time and energy I'm willing to put into learning rules.

Still, I am very interested in the game meta of ancient rules, and altho my personal path lies elsewhere, I'm keen to see where the hobby goes.

My latest set of ancient rules that I'm very keen to play is Dux Britaniarum, which are from the other side of the spectrum, and look great. Preparing for first game…

Larkman07 Jun 2013 5:25 a.m. PST

I played DBM from its launch but never liked DBMM v1. Four or five years ago I switched to playing FoG. I've played both DBM and FoG extensively in both club and tournament games.

Recently I bought a copy of DBMM v2 thinking I'd give the ruleset another try.

About the same time a family member expressed a desire to learn 'wargaming' (having no previous experience of any rules).

We played through a few simple games of FoG and they started to get the hang of basics but still very hazy and couldn't understand the written rules.

DBMM arrived, they glanced through it and pretty much straight away understood the mechanisms and could see what they were supposed to do.

Lesson learned based on sample population of one:
It doesn't matter which set of rules is more historically accurate. The rules need to be easy to understand and laid out in a logical manner otherwise new blood will not enter the hobby. Many rules sets will achieve this (DBMM is just one, not necessarily best, example). Others don't, and I'm afraid the FoG series, despite the fact I play them, is particularly poor.

Keraunos07 Jun 2013 6:01 a.m. PST

interesting that you experience of DBMM vs FoG is the exact mirror of Vexillia's.

Larkman07 Jun 2013 12:51 p.m. PST

My comment relates to rules more likely to attract people to the hobby for the first time. But I'd be interested to know other peoples experiences when explaining rules to complete novices.

Gwydion07 Jun 2013 4:55 p.m. PST

The problem is – not everyone gets the same thing out of a set of rules.

We all have our own preferred learning style whether we realise it or not and what works for one set of the wargaming population (putative or otherwise) will be anathema to another.

So Vexillia and Larkman are both 'right'.

We have to accept that there is no exclusively 'correct' set of rules – just the best for us and those who think/read/learn/play like us, and we need to find the others who agree!

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