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Unofficial Rules Variants

Commander Quality Variant

by Bruce McFarlane

Many DBA variants and scenarios suggest that commanders be given a +1 or -1 to their command die roll to reflect the quality of the commander. In my experience with DBA no modifier is more frequently forgotten than the leadership-quality modifier. In addition this does not take into account the middle echelon commanders in big battle DBA games.

A simple, easy-to-use command structure for DBA armies can be created by using different denominations of dice. Here are two variants for applying commander quality to DBA. The "quality" of the commander can be pre-determined by player agreement or historical scenario.

Variant 1 - High Command Quality

The Commander-in-Chief (CinC) rolls as many dice as he has subordinate commanders. The type of dice rolled is dependant on his quality as a commander.

# of Subordinates
Quality of
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Genius d10 d10 d8 d8 d6 d6 d4
Active d10 d8 d6 d4 d4 d4 d4
Competent d8 d6 d4 d4 d4 d4 d4
Fool d6 d4 d4 d4 d4 d4 d4

The CinC rolls the die equal to the number of his subordinates plus all the dice listed in lesser numbers. That is to say an Competent leader with four subordinates rolls one d8, one d6 and two d4's. A Fool with seven subordinates would roll a d6 and six d4's. After rolling the player then assigns the command dice; one to each subordinate commander.

Variant 2 -- Individual Commander Ratings

All commanders in the game (both CinC's and Wing/Corps/ Battle commanders) are rated: Genius (d8), Competent (d6) or Fool (d4). The player starts his turn by rolling the appropriate die for the CinC. These PIPs can be used to:

"Enhanced" subordinate commanders roll a command die one level higher that is usually the case for that quality of leader (ie. an "enhanced" Fool rolls a d6; an enhanced Genius rolls a d10). NOTE: a commander is either enhanced or not enhanced. A commander cannot be double enhanced or triple enhanced.

After the CinC has assigned his PIPs the subordinate commanders roll their command dice. PIPs can be used to;

Note: when commanders move their Headquarters from one element to another the elements must be within 12" in Good Going or 6" in Bad Going. Also, the element the commander is joining may not be in contact with the enemy.

Conversion Notes

A command quality variant becomes particularly useful when adapting DBA to other game periods and when converting scenarios developed by other game systems that rely on commander quality to ensure game balance.

For converting Napoleon's Battles scenarios I like to use Excellent NB leaders as Genius; Good NB leaders as Average and Average and Poor NB leaders as Fools.

For converting Fire and Fury (F&F) scenarios I like to use Exceptional F&F leaders as Genius; and Average F&F leaders as Fools.

Bruce McFarlane
Canadian Wargamers Group

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Last Updated: April 12, 1998

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