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Variant Rules

Master Stroke

In making and executing their battle plans, many generals anticipate delivering a master stroke designed to secure victory, and which might include such typical strategems as probling to disguise the main point of attack, launching an ambush, or committing the reserves. In DBA terms, this requires PIPs, but the absence of PIPS may delay or defeat the general's attempt to execute his planned strategem. This can be fully justified as the "friction" which hampers all military operations. Alternatively, here is a variant rule you can use to enable this master stroke, where the "friction" is represented by the variable number of additional PIPs available to execute it.

Both players place 1D4 in a paper cup and roll their die by turning the cup open end down on the table top over the die to conceal the result. At any point in the game, the player may declare that he is executing his master stroke. Once declared, the cup is lifted revealing the die, whose total is the number of extra PIPs available to the player in that bound only. Excess PIPs don't have to be used, but can't be saved for subsequent bounds (i.e. you only get to execute one "master stroke").

This variant was inspired by a suggestion by David Carruthers on representing general's abilities in DBM, which appears in SOA Slingshot (#221, March 2002).

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Last Updated: Dec. 13, 2000

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