Troop Quality

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Troop quality is a common feature of many wargames, including DBA's larger cousin De Bellis Multitudinus. One of the chief complaints leveled at DBA is its failure to explicitly distinguish troop quality, so that, for example, a Sassanid levy spearman is every bit as formidable on the tabletop as a Saxon spearman, etc. This of course can be argued...you'll note for example that Alexander's Companions are classified as Knights rather than cavalry and/or that Vikings are classified as Blades rather than Warband or Spear. Thus, there are qualitative considerations built into the DBA troop classifications.

This variant rule does not seek to remedy the complaint or provide a system for national characteristics, training, etc. Instead, it introduces a basic troop quality mechanism that can be used to add a greater degree of uncertainty and complexity to your table-top tactics, with the expectation that the resulting deployment challenges and increased unpredictability of close combat will lead to greater enjoyment of the game.

This variant recognizes three basic troop types or quality level. Elite (or Superior) troops are highly motivated and/or high trained troops of high morale. Ordinary troops represent the great bulk of any army. Inferior troops are those who are poorly armed and trained and/or poorly motivated.

Determining Troop Quality

Normally, troop quality is determined by the historical scenario, by reference to the corresponding DBM army list, or by mutual agreement of the players.  Troop quality of each element is determined prior to deployment and is known only to the commanding general.  Players should agree to use one of the following ways to assign quality :

  1. Each commander may designate one element as Elite, but must also designate one element as Inferior.
  2. Both commanders must agree in advance how many elements in each army can be designated as Elite (with a maximum of 6), with an equal number of element designated as Inferior.
  3. Each commander rolls 1D6. The result is the maximum number of elements that may be designated Elite in that army. An equal number of elements must be classified as Inferior.
  4. Each commander rolls 1D6 for each element in his army. On a 1, the element is considered to be Elite. On a 2-5, the element is classified as Ordinary. On a 6, the element is considered to be Inferior.

If you can't agree on a method, each player can simply roll 1D6 with the player rolling high picking the preferred method.

Troop quality is secretly recorded for quick reference in case a question is raised. Troop quality must be revealed to the opposing commander when the element applies its quality modifier for the first time.

Troop Quality Effects

Option 1:  An Elite element engages in close combat with a +1 modifier to its die roll. An Inferior element engages in close combat with a -1 modifier to its die roll. An Ordinary element fights with its basic combat factor without modification. Note that modifiers are added to elements die roll, not subtracted from the opponent's die roll.

Option 2:  An Elite element is allowed to reroll any 2 result on a close combat result roll.  An Inferior element has to reroll any 5 result on the close combat roll.  The second roll result is final.  Ordinary troops do not reroll.


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Last Updated: 18 August 2015

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