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Campaign Scenarios

Justinian's Revival (533 AD)

By J. D. Ehlers
(a.k.a J. D. Yahoo)

The Gothic King, Theodahad, has had his Aunt and former regent Amalasuntha imprisoned, and now she has been strangled! This is all the pretense the Byzantine Emperor Justinian needs to "reconquer" the Western Empire.


Byzantine (#86) Emperor Justianian
Vandali (#84) King Gelimer
Ostrogoth (#88) King Theodahad
Franks and Burgundians (#74)
Avar (#90)
Sassanid Persian (#73b)


See DBA rule book for standard 6 player campaign map.

                    Byzantines               Vandali
                        A1                     B1
                       /  \                   /  \
                      /    \                 /    \
                     /      \               /      \
                    |\         \         /         / |
                    | \----\    \       /    /----/  |
                    |       \    \     /    /        |
               /---F3--\     \---\\   //---/     /--C2---\ 
   Sassanid   /     |   \---------#####---------/    |    \
   Persians F1      |             #[Z]#              |     C1 Ostrogoths
              \     |   /---------#####---------\    |    /  
               \---F2--/     /---//   \\---\     \--C3---/ 
                    |       /    /     \    \        |
                    | /----/    /       \    \----\  |
                    |/         /         \         \ |
                     \      /               \      /
                      \    /                 \    /
                       \  /                   \  / 
                        E1                     D1   

                       Avars                Franks &

Map Key Name Controlled By
Z Illyria Byzantine
A1 Constantinople (Capital) Byzantine
A2 Asia Minor Byzantine
A3 Sicily and Campania Byzantine
B1 Numidia (capital) Vandali
B2 Carthage Vandali
B3 Sardinia and Corsica Vandali
C1 Rome (capital) Ostrogoth
C2 Naples Ostrogoth
C3 Ravenna Ostrogoth
D1 Paris (capital) Frank and Burgundian
D2 Northern Gaul Frank and Burgundian
D3 Southern Gaul Frank and Burgundian
E1 Dnieper River Valley (capital) Avar
E2 Carpathian Mountain Valleys Avar
E3 Caucasus Mountain Valleys Avar
F1 Persia (capital) Sassanid
F2 Azerbaijan Sassanid
F3 Mesopotamia Sassanid

Victory Conditions

Players can make their own victory conditions depending on time available, but it is suggested that the campaign scenario ends when the Byzantines are utterly defeated or else completely defeat two foreign powers themselves or with the help of allies.

A five year limit, or similar sane restraint determined by the players, is recommended! Historically, Justinian died in 565 AD.

Special Rules (Optional)

The unique situation of the Byzantine Empire at this time lends itself to a few "special rules" that reflect the outstanding leadership ability of Belisarius, the diplomatic ability of Narses, the crushing taxes on the Empire's subjects, the danger of the Nika Revolt, and the placid splendor of the Cathedral Hagia Sophia.

It is recommended that all of the Special Rules be used, or none at all; if you "pick and choose" the play will be greatly unbalanced.


The Byzantines can afford to have two field armies. These two field armies cannot ever end movement or fight a battle simultaneously in the same area; if they do, one starves to death and is permanently removed from the game. Keep them far apart!

Belisarius was by far the greatest military leader of the day. Designate one of the Byzantine armies to be permanently under the generalship of Belisarius. During battle, this army adds "plus one" to their tactical movement dice. If Belisarius is killed in battle, this "plus one" ends immediately.


The other Byzantine field army is under command of the Chamberlain Narses. At the beginning of each year, in the spring, the Byzantine player decides if he wants to activate Narses' army or if he will instead disband Narses army and send Narses to negotiate with foreigners. If Narses' army is activated, the army operates normally but cannot enter the same area as Belisarius' army (see above). If Narses is sent to negotiate, he can automatically force ONE foreign army to become allied (strategic movement, but not tactical movement then controlled by the Byzantines for the remainder of that year) and of course the Byzantines are bound by the treaty from not attacking their allies; or Narses can force TWO foreign powers to sign a non-agression pact for the remainder of the year. These two powers then cannot move their armies into Byzantine controlled areas, and the Byzantines are bound to abide by the same treaty.


Byzantine subjects under the rule of Justinian were burdened with crushing taxes, and this contributed to the Nika ("Victory") Revolt in 532. In this DBA scenario, a similar revolt can occur in any areas controlled by the Byzantines, but the chance of revolt is reduced once the great cathedral of Hagia Sophia is built and properly maintained. The Byzantine player will need to keep track of his or her "treasury", taxes and expenditures for the Hagia Sophia are in 100 pounds of gold increments.

Taxes: At the beginning of each seasonal turn, before any strategic movement, the Byzantine player collects 100 gold in taxes from all areas under Byzantine control which are not besieged by hostile enemy forces. Note this tax collection on your treasury sheet, you can accumulate gold for later expenses.

Revolts: Immediately after "collecting taxes", the Byzantine player rolls a six sided die for all areas that paid taxes and are not presently occupied by a Byzantine field army. If a "one" is rolled for that area, this area has a local revolt. If an area has a local revolt, it no longer is considered controlled by any power for purposes of reinforcements, and the Byzantine player cannot collect taxes from an area under revolt. More than one area could be in revolt simultaneously!

To stop the revolt, the Byzantine player must move a field army (Belisarius' or Narses' ) into or through the area during their strategic movement phase. The local revolt is put down by the movement into or through the area by a Byzantine army. Once a revolt is put down, the situation returns to "normal" the following seasonal turn, so taxes can be collected, and the roll for revolt continues. Rolls for revolt are modified if the Byzantine player builds the Hagia Sophia. If built, maintained, non-revolting and Byzantine controlled, rolls for revolt in all Byzantine-controlled areas is changed to: rolling two six sided dice, with a revolt only on a roll of "2".

Hagia Sophia: Justinian, sick of revolts, needs a way to placate his taxpayers. For the cost of 1,000 pounds of gold (collected taxes) the Byzantine player can build the Hagia Sophia, a great cathedral. This will placate his subjects, and after it is built, "roll for revolts" is modified to make revolt less likely. The Hagia Sophia is built in any area controlled by the Byzantines. It costs 200 pounds of gold to maintain the Hagia Sophia, paid immediately after collecting taxes each seasonal turn. If the Hagia Sophia's area is captured by foreigners, revolts, or the maintenance costs are not paid, it has no effect that seaonal turn, and revolt rolls are back to normal. If foreigners capture the Hagia Sophia area, they can destroy it after successfully besieging the city where it is built!


Good luck with this DBA campaign scenario. I did some better research on this one, but there are likely to be mistakes for which I bear full responsibility. I hope any "snafus" can be resolved quickly by a reasonable judement of the spirit of the rules or a friendly die roll.

I considered adding an element of "destruction" to this scenario, since Italy was turned to desert wasteland by this terrible war. At one time Rome was reduced from its original 1.5 million inhabitants to a mere 500 males. After Justinian's reign (to 565 AD), many of these conquered lands were quickly lost to the "Crusading" Arabs. Many historians believe Justinian traded the wealth of the Byzantines for temporary territorial gain. Certainly, the tragedy of this war was the destruction of the Gothic virility that would have added considerably to later Western power and altered Europe's history.

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Last Updated: July 1, 1998

Questions, comments, and feedback are welcome. Sent them to my attention at IamFanaticus@gmail.com.