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Newbies Guide to DBA

The Classic Matched Pairs

Because there are so many different armies available in DBA covering the ancient, Dark Ages, and medieval periods, it can be difficult to find a gamer with a historically appropriate opponent for your army. You can certainly fight ahistorical match-ups Another solution is to pick an army that has as many historical opponents as possible (e.g. Mongols with 19 listed historical opponents). Finally, you might consider buying two well-matched armies that are historical opponents (i.e., "matched pairs"). Picking armies that represent classical periods or famous historical conflicts ensures that there is plenty of literature available for inspiration and opportunities for a variety of scenarios.

With that third option in mind, here is a list of classic matched pair armies suitable for DBA:

Army #1 Army #2 Notes
Hittites New Kingdom Egyptians Battle of Qadesh
Early Hebrew (13) Philistines (15a) Battle of the Bible
Early Hoplite Greeks (24a) Early Achaemenid Persians (28a) Greco-Persian Wars
Later Hoplite Greeks (#32) Later Hoplite Greeks (#32) Peloponnesian War (Sparta versus Athens)
Alexandrian Macedonian (#36) Later Achaemenid Persian (#33) Alexander's Conquests
Camillan Roman (#46a) Pyrrhic (#43) (Greek colonies in Italy, Pyrrhic victories, and the Roman conquest of southern Italy)
Later Carthaginian (#31b) Polybian Roman (#46b) Hannibal/Punic Wars
Han Chinese (#54) Hsiung Nu (#62) Battle of the Sandstorm, 199 BC
Marian Romans (#59) Gallic (#35) Caesar's Conquest of Gaul
Marian Romans (#59) Marian Romans (#59) The Civil War--Caesar vs. Pompey (also gives you enough troops for Big Battle or Double DBA and a good start on a DBM army)
Early Imperial Romans (#64) Jewish Revolt (#66) The Fall of Jerusalem, Masada, and Josephus
Mid-Imperial Romans (#69) Caledonian/Pictish (#67) Imperial Conquest of Britain, including Agricola's campaigns and battle of Mons Graupius
Last Imperial Roman (East) (#77b) Early Goths (#70) Emperor Valens and Hadrianopolis
Middle Anglo-Saxons (#75b) Vikings (#106a) The Danelaw and Alfred the Great
Anglo-Danes (#113) Vikings (#106a) Harald Hardradi, Harold Godwinson and the Battle of Stamford Bridge
Norse Irish (#112) Vikings (#106a) Brian Boru, Sigurd and the Battle of Clontarf
Tang Chinese (#95) Tibetan (#97) (Battle of Yasin Valley, 747 AD)
Anglo-Danes (#113) Normans (#102c) Harold Godwinson, William the Conquerer and the Battle of Hastings
Feudal Spanish (#103) Andalusian (#104) El Cid and The Reconquista
Mongols (#154) Sung Chinese (#116) Ghengis and Khubilai Khan
Early Crusader (#138) Seljuk Turks (#124) First Crusade: Bohemond, Tancred, Raymond de Saint-Gilles, Robert of Normandy and others. For the latter stages of the Crusades, substitute Fatimid Egyptian (#118)
Later Crusaders (#141) Ayyubid Egyptians (#143) The Third Crusade: Richard the Lion-Hearted vs. Saladin. Seige of Acre and battles of Arsuf and Jaffa.
Later Crusaders (#141) Mamluk Egyptian (#158) The Seventh Crusade: King Louis IX of France invades Egypt and after a pyrrhic victory at El Mansurah is forced to surrender and ransom his army at Damietta.

Scots Common (#140) Feudal English (#145) "Braveheart", William Wallace, Edward the Bruce, and King Edward, Hammer of the Scots
Teutonic Knights (#151) Post-Mongol Russians (#157) Alexander Nevsky and the Battle of the Ice (Lake Peipus)
Late Byzantine (#153) Later Ottoman (#160b) Fall of the Byzantine Empire
HYW English (#168) Medieval French (#170) Hundred Years War
Low Countries (#163) Medieval French (#170) Battle of Roosbeke (1382 AD)
WotR English (#179) WotR English (#179) The War of the Roses (Lancaster vs. York)
Burgundian Ordonnance (#180) Later Swiss (#161b) Charles the Bold and the battles of Morat, Nancy and Grandson.

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Last Updated: March 1, 2000

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