Limited Visibility
Deployment Techniques

By Chris Milne

> Rules Variants > Resources >  Fanaticus

In DBA, the players know exactly what type of troops they are facing from the moment of deployment, despite the fact that the armies begin 1200 paces (or nearly 1000 yards apart).  At that distance, it is difficult to discern any real details about a formed body of men, their numbers, or how they are armed and equipped. 

This variant rule simulates the uncertainty characteristic of historical deployment at such distances from the enemy.  Players deploy as normal, but use blank bases or markers of the appropriate size, with the actual troop-type written on the underside.  After all deployment is completed and you're ready to play, turn all the bases over and replace them with an appropriate element of the type indicated.  This system allows players to distinguish the larger mounted from smaller foot units, but makes it difficult to distinguish between different types of mounted or foot. 

Alternatively, you could maneuver the blank bases until they reach a specified distance from the enemy (e.g. 600 paces) at which accurate spotting occurs and the actual elements are placed..  The range of visibility could even be adjusted according to the time of day, with very limited visibility during twilight, dusk and evening hours. (e.g. as the sun sets, a body of horse are maneuvering on your flank in the dusky shadows...are they Knights preparing to crash into and roll-up your flank, or just a few mounted Scouts).

As a third alternative, only the closest elements to the opposing army need to be revealed, allowing you to screen hidden troops movements, like Alexander the Great screening his light troops behind his Knights against the Persians.

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Last Updated: 15 August 2005

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