By Tony Stapells
In DBA 1.1 recoiling elements can push back any friendly elements facing the same way...except war wagons and elephants. I can understand that war wagons are fairly immobile and would be unable to allow shaken troops to retreat too far. Yet elephants, although not too nimble, are still self propelled - unlike war wagons. I've often thought that elephants would be more dangerous when they are retreating rather than the other way around. Elephants were known to go berserk in combat; the elephant handlers often had a hammer and a spike to drive into the elephant's head in case of the elephant going amok into their own army.
So, as a variant, ignore the existing DBA rule that does not allow recoils to push back elephants. They will be pushed back as normal elements would usually be. However when the elephants are destroyed...then try this:
On a result that kills the elephant stand, immediately roll another D6. That roll is the number of base depths that the elephant stand will flee back. It does NOT move the minimum movement necessary to avoid other stands. It does move towards the base edge and will avoid impassable terrain as per the normal rules. If any element (probably friendly, but not necessarily) or part of an element is encountered by the elephant, roll immediately as per normal combat procedures. I'm sure your gracious opponent will be pleased to roll for the rogue elephant's pip score.
Apply the combat results instantly. If the elephant loses or ties the other's final pip result, remove the elephant. If the opposing element is destroyed, remove the element. This counts against the army breakpoint. If the opposing element recoils, continue to move the elephant until it has fled the correct number of base depths. Should this mean that the recoiled opposing element is contacted again, then fight another combat.
Once the elephant has fled the appropriate number of base depths, then remove the elephant. Opposing generals should attempt to refrain from making "squishing" noises during the elephant attacks.
For the more squeamish among you or those that feel that berserk elephants would actually be very unlikely to completely destroy a unit (which includes myself actually) there is a different option. When an elephant is destroyed, follow the same procedure above to determine the number of bases depths the elephant stand will flee. However when another element is encountered do not roll any combat. Simply move the element the shortest distance possible to remove it from the path of the rampaging pachyderm. Elements pushed into impassable terrain or into other elements that are not facing the same direction are destroyed. At the conclusion of the flee move, the elephant is removed from the game.
Last Updated: August 8, 1999My thanks to Tony Stapells for letting me reprint this proposed variant rule. Comments and suggestions welcome. Send them to Chris Brantley, email@example.com.