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Tips From DBA Masters

Lars Boye on Blades Tactics vs. Warbands

One way of using Blades against Warbands is to combine them with units that can break up a line of Warbands. So you get to use the overlap effect to your advantage, instead of the Warbands ripping up your line, with a single good result, followed by a cascade of overlaps.

When I first used my Early Imperial Romans (64) vs. Early Germans (57), I put my Blades in a nice line in front with the Auxilia guarding the flanks and the rear. Would you believe it? AD 9 all over again (i.e., in AD 9, a Roman army of three legions under Varus was destroyed by the Cherusci under Arminius in Teutoburg Forest).

Then I put the Auxilia in front of the Blades and used them to scramble the Warband lines. Now my solid line of Blades could move forward to crush whatever Warband that made it through, with nice overlaps. A repeat of AD16.

I know this is a simple game/description from my early DBA days, but it showed me two things. One was that I had to combine the different troop types. The other was why they always had those lines of auxiliary and psiloi in front of the legionaires in the sketches of Roman battles.

At this point, the Editor asked whether Psiloi work better than Auxilia for this purpose. If forced to recoil by the Warband, Psiloi can interpenetrate the Blade line, while Auxilia will push it back, thus disrupting the Blade line.

Yes, using Psiloi is even better. When using Auxilia I keep two or more bases depth between them and the Blade. After they have fought the first round or two with the Warband, the Warband normally have broken up their line. Some of the Auxilia is getting close to my Blade line and some have been killed. I can then move up my Blade to make a line with any remaining Auxilia and start beating the scattered Warband. Bad dicing here is like bad commanders.

If the barbarian player has an army with Cavalry or Chariots, he can partly compensate by using them in the same way. But they can end up beaten pretty fast. Which is a bit historical too. (I like to find historical parallels to DBx battle results. It is not too difficult, when you look for it).

Last Updated: March 24, 1998

Thanks to Lars Boye for sharing these tips.

Comments, suggested additions, and/or critiques welcome. Direct them to Chris Brantley at