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Variant Rules

Variant Campaign Rules

By David Lawrence (aka MacBeth)

Almost all of my DBA is played as part of long running campaigns. I have made some minor tweaks to the rules based mostly on personal preference, gut feeling and so forth:

  1. The loss of a General, Camp or BUA does not cause the loss of two more elements after the battle. For every battle lost because the general was the first to die, there are two or three where the general was the fourth element to be killed. The loser is then down 6 elements and if the intention is to generate battles then they will not be encouraged at this point.

  2. The loss of a camp does not impact on the battle at all, taking the camp gives 2 prestige to the commander that captures it, but does not affect the battle. It costs 1 more PIP to move the element that captured the camp out again (looting!). This is because I have strong feelings about the effect of camps in wargames. I recently wrote an article on this for publication in 'Broadsword' - an Australian wargames magazine.

  3. At the end of each year there is prestige awarded for each recruitment point not used ie Player A has 5 cities, allowing for a maximum of 6 elements to be recruited. If they only have 4 losses then they are awarded 2 prestige. There is also an award of 1 prestige for each vassal a player controls.

  4. If a player elects to stand seige with their army inside the city then the besieger is also at risk, if they roll a 1 then they lose 1 dice worth of elements up to a maximum of the size of the besieged force + 1.

  5. A BUA on the battlefield does not represent the city. This stops the need to explain the facts that a) the BUA will only allow 1 element inside, but the city can take any number of armies, and b) where the invader loses the battle but captures the BUA and so the city. (It has happened).

  6. When a city is already under seige and a relief force is sent, either by an ally of the besieged, or by the besieged themselves, (as opposed to the initial attack where the defender moves up to give battle, the besieger counts as the defender for the purposes of tactical deployement, but counts as the attacker for the strategic purposes of who can send an allied contingent to the battle.

  7. Goodie Cards - originally designed for a v1.0 Asian campaign where the generic 'Chinese Border Nomad' were very lightweight. The CBN recieved one card each year, and the most disadvantaged player after the first year also recieved 1 (so if the CBN were also the most disadvantaged they recieved 2). I redesigned my Asian campaign several times, first when the WRG 7th Yellow book Lists came out, then again with DBA2.0. With the 2.0 version I picked out one central army (Sung 990AD) - and listed all the opponents and then the opponents opponents, setting limits on distance west. I eliminated from the list any armies that were more than 50% LH or Ps (too light) and those with more than 2 El (too heavy). Eventually settling on 9 armies. Because this was a relatively balanced campaign, when we ran it the first time every player was issued with a goodie card and after year 1 the most disadvantaged player received a second card. Players liked this, it allows for a degree of uncertainty so this is now a standard for my campaign games. The hierarchy for most disadvantaged player is - Least Number of Elements, Least Number of Cities, Lowest Current Prestige.

    The cards we issue are:

    • Superior Generals - +1 PIP in Battle - can be used through the whole year.
    • Faithful Allies - +1 to roll for arrival of allied contingents - used throughout the whole year.
    • Recruitment - +1 Element recuiting - one use at the end of the year.
    • Staunch Defense - Opponent takes -1 when besieging. The city is sill taken on a 6 unless the besieged are outnumbered by more than 2:1. - used throughout the year. The caveat is designed to ensure survival of an army that is being hammered on many fronts and is down a substantial number of elements, and also to stop gratuitous use of the card when the defending army is relatively strong. This card means that if the besieger rolls a 2 it counts as a 1 (the above risk to the besieged).
    • Safe Passage - May cross ocean routes with no penalty. Thus there is no risk of shipwreck in Spring and Autumn - used throughout the year, there is also a card for desert routes (Safe in Spring) and for swamp routes (Safe in Winter) for the appropriate campaigns.
    • Revolt - holder may foment revolt once in a year; one off use, breaks the vassal/overlord relationship between two players. When it is played, the overlord may choose to be at war with the former vassal.
    • Diplomacy -- May cancel one war declaration. One off Use at the start of a season. This can stop a planned offensive in its tracks.
    • Seige Craft -- May take over a BUA in One Battle Garrison Recoils. - One off use in a year. Allows the capture of a BUA, but the garrison simply recoils outside. This can be a powerful game winning card. Until it surfaces, putting a BUA on the field if you don't have to is dangerous.
    • Ambush - for 1 PIP may deploy one group of up to 4 elements with at least 2 touching either woods, marsh, oasis or a freindly BUA. - used throughout the year. Basically the simplest way to do an ambush without requiring hidden movment or maps. It works the same way as the Littoral Landing Party.
    • Unseasonal Weather - Usable throughout the year on one leg of one army or contingent's journey for one given action (battle/seige). It can negate the safe journey cards, subtract or add 1 to the sea/desert/swamp crossing roll or make a standard journey subject to a similar crossing roll. The only limitation is that the holder of the card must be involved in the action somehow (ie attacking, defending, sending a contingent).

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Last Updated: April 26, 2004

Comments and suggestions welcome. Send them to Chris Brantley, IamFanaticus@gmail.com.