DBA's Player Initiative Points (PIP) die roll is a simple and elegant way of representing the "friction" that interferes with effective command and control over bodies of fighting men in ancient and medieval warfare. If it can be criticized, however, it is because a PIP die, once rolled, provides a certain result. If the die result is 3, for example, then a commander knows for certain that three elements or groups may be moved. This allows the commander to plan and execute a battle plan for each bound within the constraints of the die roll. With three pips, for example, you can decide to send your cavalry group on a flanking move, advance your center, and shift reserves to cover your camp, and know that all three actions will be successfully accomplished.
The following variant adds even more "friction" to command and control and ensures that a commander's best laid plans may not necessarily be realized:
As an option for gamers using the DBA 1.2 amendments, players may require an activation roll for each second or subsequent movement by a single element or group (e.g., an element of Psiloi moving in the first bound would have to roll 1D6 with a result of 5 or lower on its first movement and for each subsequent movement in that bound.)
As an option, you can apply modifiers to the activation roll (subject to the rule that a roll of 6 always ends the movement phase regardless of modifiers):
This DBA variant rule was inspired by Gerard Quinn's "The Wrath of the House of Barca: Simple Ancients Rules," which appears in MWAN (Sept-Oct 1998).
Last Updated: August 13, 1999Comments and suggestions welcome. Send them to Chris Brantley, firstname.lastname@example.org.