War of the Roses Mini-Campaign

By Paul Potter

> Campaigns > DBA Resources > Fanaticus

The following is a variation on the DBA campaign rules streamlined to function as a convention game. It is set in the War of the Roses period, where one player assumes the role of King, another the role of Pretender to the Throne, and the balance of players take on the role of the various Lords of repute. I hope to try this in the future with a Dark Age Irish or Scottish setting. It would also work well with Samurai or Roman civil war.

Before play, each player creates an army as follows. First, each player receives a "core" command comprised of 1x 3Kn//4Bd (Gen), 1x4Bd (Billmen) and 1x 4Lb. After rolling for order, each player then selects one element at a time from a common pool that consists primarily of 4Bd (Billmen) and 4Lb/CB (Bowmen), plus a few Ax, Art, Ps, Pk, and Kn//Bd. This selection continues until each player has a total of six elements (three "core" plus the three additional elements selected).

Once the armies are selected, one player is designated as King and another as the Pretender. This can be done through various methods, including die roll or umpire assignment.

The campaign is fought as a series of battles without a campaign map.

The Battles

The King and Pretender take turns selecting their "allies" from among the remaining players. Once all players have been selected to a side, then a battle is fought using the DBA Big Battle rules modified as follows:

  • Each battle is fought on a 2x4 board (size can be adjusted according to the number of players).
  • Terrain can be preset or the King and Pretender can roll off for invader/defender, with defender setting terrain and invader choosing base edge.
  • No camps or logistical elements are used.
  • The King and the Pretender serve as the CnCs for their respective armies and can assign deployment areas to their subordinate commands.
  • Sides alternate deploying 6 element commands, starting with the defender.
  • Each 6 element command gets 1D6 for pips.
  • You can not attack another player on your side during the battle, but how diligently you support the cause is up to you.
  • Non-core elements lost during the battle are returned to the common pool.

The battle is over when one side loses one third of its total elements or its CnC. Individual commands are not demoralized unless they lose their general. Use DBA Big Battle rules for demoralized commands.

Battle Outcome

After the battle, each player on the winning side earns one prestige point. Each player also earns one point for each enemy General, Knight and/or Artillery element destroyed by his army.

The winning CnC is allowed to execute one player (on either the winning or losing side). The executed player loses two points. Each player represents a noble family, so having your general killed or being executed does not put you out of the game, but represents a transition in command to the deceased Lord's heir-apparent. The interesting thing about the execution rule is that it generally involves a lot of conversation concerning just who is the most deserving of this.

The winning CnC is also allowed to award an extra point to any one player to reward someone who fought extra hard or perhaps some one on the other side who did not fight to hard.

The only way you could lose points is if the winning CnC selects you for execution.

The King retains his throne unless/until he is on the losing side of a battle.

If the Pretender wins, this player becomes King in the next battle and the player with the next highest point total (other than the just deposed King) becomes the new Pretender.

If the Pretender loses, the player with the most points (on either the winning or losing side) becomes the new Pretender. If the ex-king still has the most points he becomes the new pretender. This is where execution comes in, as it will knock the ex-king down 2 points which will usually allow someone else to take that position. If there is a tie among contenders for Pretender status, then arm wrestle, have a push-up contest, see who can spit the farthest or roll a dice or some such thing.

At the beginning of each subsequent battle, each player gets his original three core elements back. Lost elements are then replaced out of the pool until each player is back to a total of six, with the king choosing 1st, Pretender next and then highest player to lowest player.

Having replenished their armies, the King and Pretender choose up sides again and fight the next battle.

At the end of the designated time limit, the player with the most points wins.

In a convention format, this campaign normally results in 3 or 4 battles in a 3 hour period. Everyone plays in each battle. There was enough whinning, insults and macho boasting to make any wargammer happy. This basic system would also work using 12 element commands on a larger Big Battle board.


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Last Updated:  5 Jan. 2006

Questions, comments, suggestions welcome.
Send them to Chris Brantley, IamFanaticus@gmail.com.