DBA Resource Page

Rules Variants

Timing Bounds

DBA is intended to give a quick game and for that reason is especially well suited for tournament play where multiple rounds can be played within a 4-8 gaming window. Although most tournaments are timed in one hour rounds, there is no mechanism to force players to speed up their individual bounds. A player who perceives an advantage can deliberately stall and delay to thwart an opponent. Also, strict time keeping can be critical in large "Swiss-type" tournaments, where you need all the results from a round before proceeding to the next set of pairings. And in a friendly game, it is not uncommon for a game to stretch out to last 90 minutes or more.

One solution to set a time limit on each bound (e.g. 1-2 minutes) in which all movement must be completed. A simple timer (egg timer, stopwatch or other device) could be used to monitor time. Another method of speeding play is for each player to have a time limit within which to conduct all move and combat in a game and use a chess clock to keep track of time expended. If a player exhausts his time limit, that player either forfeits the game and/or loses the ability to initiate a bound.

Chess Clock Method: As suggested by Jerboa: "DBA each player has 30-40 minutes to move and fight, starting with deployment. I start the clock, you deploy, you press the clock, I deploy, I press the button, you change pairs, you press, I make first move and select fights, both roll, I press clock, your move, etc." 95% of the time, the normal victory conditions are met. If time expires, the player out of time loses; simple, effective, no ties, no extra rules. You just keep moving on so as to not lose time. Or treat as a draw, where each player will roll one die and add the number of enemy elements destroyed (with lost generals as a tiebreaker)."

Fisher Chess Clock: Tim Spanton: "To avoid sudden-death losses on time you could use a modern digital chess clock, sometimes called a Fischer clock, that adds on extra seconds/minutes whenever the button is pressed. That way you don't completely run out of time if a game lasts for an unexpectedly large number of moves. For example, the clocks might be set to 15 minutes plus two minutes a move. In other words, each player starts off with 15 minutes and receives an extra two minutes after each move, deployment, change of pairs, etc. A drawback is that these Fischer time-control clocks are expensive.


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Last Updated: Jan. 28, 2002

Comments and suggestions welcome. Send them to Chris Brantley, c.brantley@ieee.org.