DBA Tips and Guides

Elephants in DBA - A Grey Area?

By Craig Love

> Tips & Guides > DBA Resources > Fanaticus

Elephants are potentially very powerful, but sometimes very frustrating beasts in DBA.

They are extremely powerful against all mounted (+5), and death to Knights, which they Quick Kill.

At +4 they can at least hold their own against most foot in the open. With a QK, they can usually take on Bw in the open and win. As an added bonus they get a QK against those troublesome War Wagons as well.

They are at their best in close combat against mounted on open ground and with their flanks secure. As they do not follow-up beaten enemy, they are hard to get overlaps against.

Sound too good to be true? There's always a down side.

Elephants are very vulnerable to artillery (factor 4 with a QK), and somewhat vulnerable to LH, Aux and Ps; which all get a QK against them.

But the biggest disadvantage of elephants in DBA is that it costs two PIPs to move them. That means you will sometimes not be able to move them at all. And if they are in a group with other element types, rolling 1 PIP will mean you either have to break up the group or not move it. This will slow down any attack, so have a plan that can cope with the odd bound where your Nellies do not move.

You have to watch frontal combat against Aux, Ps and LH as well, as these each get a quick kill. The lower combat factor of each of these troops versus mounted makes them less of a threat though, unless you are overlapped or disadvantaged by ground.

Some do's and don'ts.


  • Deploy your elephants together in a group if you have more than one, otherwise the 2 points for movement will cut into your mobility horribly.

  • Deploy in a group with other troops anyway. Although Els move the same distance as Kn, Ps, or Aux, due to their large base depth and the 2 PIPs it costs to move them, they are nowhere near as manoeuvrable. You won't be able to 'dance' your way out of trouble. So deploy carefully and keep the beast's flanks secure.

  • Deploy to seek match ups against mounted troops. Fighting mounted is what Elephants do best.

  • Avoid artillery fire at all costs. It gets a QK against elephants, and at factor +4, you will die quickly.

  • You can screen your El from Artillery with Ps (don't try screening with any other troops (see the first Donot below), but at factor 2 vs 4 for the Artillery, the Ps may give you only one bound of protection.

Do Nots (Or 'Not on your Nelly')

  • Deploy or put other troops except Ps in front of your Elephants. Elephants do not recoil if recoiled into and the recoiling element in front will be destroyed.

  • Do not take them too close to BGo if any foot - especially Ps or Aux - are in a position to pop out and attack you from it. This applies to any mounted, but especially to Elephants which can be stuck in place for a bound by a roll of 1 PIP as, say, a Ps unit closes in on you.

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Last Updated: June 8, 2004

Tamil Indian Elephants (above) are Vendel Miniatures
from the collection of Simon Bargery.

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