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"Rethinking DBR" Topic

De Bellis Renationis

15 Posts

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YogiBearMinis31 Mar 2009 4:07 a.m. PST

I have been searching for a good renaissance ruleset, have bought most, and have come back to DBR. One of the problems I see with DBR is in its attempt to cover 1500-1700 in one set of rules that doesn't allow for drastic changes in tactics over the period.

Has anyone experimented with DBR as a 1600-1650 only, or 1500-1550 only, set, with mods to the rules and troop types to tweak? The more I read of non-wargamer historical analyses of the period, the more I think that DBR's one stand system may work.

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP31 Mar 2009 5:45 a.m. PST

Try Maximillian – it needs some work to understand the rules but it has the DBX basic mechanics and is nearer to DBA than DBR.

It covers 1400-1550 but will stretch a bit later.

YogiBearMinis31 Mar 2009 4:19 p.m. PST

Actually, Maximillian made me think of doing something similar with DBR for the TYW. I haven't played it but have read good reviews.

skipper John31 Mar 2009 4:30 p.m. PST

I really like and enjoy playing DBR but, have trouble finding others in my area that play. And getting to play only twice a year at "Cold Wars" and "Historicon" leaves much to be desired.

I like that the rules don't force you to adopt the typical period formations but instead, make period formations the most sensible ones to use.

skipper John31 Mar 2009 4:31 p.m. PST

What about Imputus? I hear it is making a come back. Ever tried it?

Whatisitgood4atwork31 Mar 2009 7:44 p.m. PST

I like DBR and only fight 'in period'. That is Italian Wars armies v Italian Wars armies or ECW armies v ECW etc. I find they give a good and fast game and credible results.

The DBR yahoo groups has had a fair amount of discussion on minor tweaks to suit specific periods, so I'd try there.

The Wargames Room31 Mar 2009 9:59 p.m. PST

I use DBR and prefer in period games the most.

While I accept the mechanics are not to everyones liking I generally find the produce very reasonable results for the English Civil War and TYW. I believe they do the same for the earlier period.

Some of the mechanics are far more subtle than some would have you believe.

Wombling Free01 Apr 2009 1:24 a.m. PST

I have played DBR and found that it encouraged unhistorical deployment and troop usage. I was totally unimpressed with the rules. There seemed to be no reason to deploy your troops historically under these rules and I think that they would require a significant rethink to make them give the right feel. Of course, others seem to think differently, witness the earlier comments.

Jeremy Sutcliffe01 Apr 2009 3:10 a.m. PST

With any of the DBx series I was never comfortable about the way individual stands could suddenly flip out of the line.

Although I made the error of basing too rigidly to it and losing my flexibility, I was intrigued by the POW approach to Renaissance Pike Pike/Shot Units.

Tercios are mounted on a single 90mm square base with a central body of pike and four "turrets" of shot. A Pike and Shot Unit is on a 90mm by 30mm base with central pike and two wings of shot. Both have to operate as complete units. Swiss and Landsknecht pike are based on 30mm by 90mm bases which means if you can get three of them in against a normal POW 90mm unit frontage they are the proverbial knife through butter.

Oh Bugger01 Apr 2009 3:12 a.m. PST

I too like DBR and have so far found them to give a good game and reward historical deployment and tactics. Worked just right for Flodden. Maximillian sounds interesting but I'm not sure if I want an elaboration of DBA. Can anyone say a little more about what makes these good?

YogiBearMinis01 Apr 2009 3:53 a.m. PST

Part of the differing opinions is because historians differ on what tactics really were. What started me on this was dragging out some old materials from grad school and I found a couple of "Military Revolution" articles poo-pooing conventional wisdom on deployment of pike and shot on the battlefield. The way these authors described it, the flexibility of DBR's single-stand arrangement might be the most appropriate.

However, I will second the earlier comment that DBx allows far too much fiddly one element geometric nonsense. That is the one weakness in the system, IMHO (as a DBM player most of the time). I believe the PIP costs need to be adjusted to discourage this.

Wombling Free01 Apr 2009 5:07 a.m. PST

To further clarify my earlier comments, my experience of DBR showed that one of the most effective ways of deploying your troops is in a column four wide. The front rank would contain the shot, with the pike behind them and then cavalry behind the shot. These mixed brigades are very powerful and yet bear no resemblance to how an ECW army would have been deployed, based on what I have read. There is no advantage to deploying the cavalry on the wings and the infantry in the centre, and in fact it seems to be a positive disadvantage to do so.

While I recognise that historians differ on the tactics used, I do not believe that mixed brigades of foot and horse were common in the ECW, yet the rules seem to encourage it.

YogiBearMinis01 Apr 2009 10:34 a.m. PST

One of the articles I read (I wish I had reference here with me) stressed the ACTUAL flexibility of behavior on the battlefield of pike and shot, that units of shot would often be diverted on their own or in support of horse, that pike were used not as shock foot (mainly) but as supposrt for shot beside or behind the shot--the latter of which substantiating DBR's tactical modifiers for shot being adjacent to pike (though not substantiating the 3rd and 4th rank pike stand modifiers of -1 and -2 that would work with 16th century pike tactics).

The Wargames Room01 Apr 2009 10:56 a.m. PST

DBR 2.0 has rule mechanics the prevent single element moves in many situations. As a result formations tend to stay in brigades or units more than they do in DBM or DBA. The rules are different as a result.

Whatisitgood4atwork01 Apr 2009 8:13 p.m. PST

[However, I will second the earlier comment that DBx allows far too much fiddly one element geometric nonsense. That is the one weakness in the system, IMHO (as a DBM player most of the time).]

Again just personally, i find that DBR is less prone to this weakness than DBM for two reasons.

First, movement distances are longer, giving less time to react with finicky geometry, and – more importantly – distant shooting is far more important in DBR than DBM, meaning formations tend to get shot up more and exact geometric match-ups for coming into hand to hand combat are less important.

Just my experience mind.

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