DBA Resource Page

Rules Variants


The following variants provide alternatives to the DBA deployment rule:

Bob Beattie's Deployment Proposals

Bob Beattie developed the following alternative deployment methods in anticipation of the National DBA Open Tournament at Historicon 1998. The following is excerpted from his posting to the rec.games.miniatures.historical newsgroup on May 28, 1998:

[In the current DBA deployment rules] the "high scorer" gets two chances to get one of two sides he prefers and one chance for each of the other two. In exchange, the "low scorer" gets to see all of the high scorer's troops and make good combat matches. This has always seemed to me to be a weakness in the tournament version of DBA; especially so at most US events where the terrain boards are already set out and no placement choice is given.

I propose two methods to make the set-up better. In both cases, one player will pick terrain from a standard selection of pieces. Each board will have two sizes of bad goings, two sizes of hills and 2 feet of road and the players must choose from this selection.

Method 1:

One player places the terrain on the board, meeting the game requirements of:

  • At least three of the battlefield's quarters must contain at least one terrain feature.
  • At least two of the battlefield's quarters must contain a river or bad going or impassable terrain.
  • The majority of the playing surface must be flat good going.

That SAME player then selects which side he wants for deployment and deploys. The other player deploys second and moves. Thus in exchange for seeing the opponent's army, the second player must take the opponent's terrain. The terrain is limited to that provided for each game as mentioned above.

Method 2a:

One player places terrain to make a legal battlefield; the other player picks the side he wants. The first player deploys, then the second player deploys and moves first.

Method 2b:

Same as 2a above but the player who picked the side must deploy first. The player who set the terrain deploys second.

Method 2c

Same as above but a screen is set across the table after the second player chooses a side. Both players deploy behind the screen and dice for first move, high dice chooses to go first or second.

Nunadwading Wargames Association's Tournament Rule

Both sides roll 1D6, the lower scorer is the defender, the higher the attacker.

Choose sides as per DBA.

  1. Defender places camp
  2. Attacker places camp and deploys 6 elements (which must include the general).
  3. Defender deploys entire army.
  4. Attacker deploys the remaining 6 elements and takes the first move.

John Garvey's System

I play a variation of the current system. Both roll dice, highest is Invader. Defender then places terrain. Invader then chooses:

  1. The side he/she wants to set up on, OR

  2. To deploy last.

If (1) then defender deploys last. If (2), defender chooses which side to set up on.

The beauty of this system is that if the defender places terrain that is too one-sided, then the Invader gets the benefit.

Paul Owen and Paul Rice's System

Although this may become OBE in the light of DBA 1.2, we feel that as written (in DBA 1.1), the initial set-up rules strongly favor whoever rolls the low die (the defender). He gets the advantage of placing types of terrain to favor his forces and disfavor his opponent's. He gets the advantage of deploying last, after seeing his opponent's deployment. He gets the advantage of moving first, after he has just deployed last, in terrain of his selection. In short, he gets all the advantages other than choice of side, which since it is weighted-random, he might still get.

With that in mind, we tried a few variations. Here is the variant on initial set-up which we find offers best play balance:

  1. After players mutually determine which armies will be in the battle (e.g. Illyrians and Later Hoplites), each player secretly chooses the twelve elements (plus camp followers if applicable) that will make up his army (e.g. Sp instead of Psi), picks his general, and they reveal together. Selection of the command element should be historical, upon mutual agreement of the players, and before seeing any terrain or enemy forces.
  2. Players dice, or mutually determine who is defender.
  3. Defender sets up terrain using the usual rules, reflecting that the battle will occur in his home territory, with his type of terrain.
  4. Attacker dices for side using the rules, reflecting he has some but not total choice over his avenue of approach.
  5. Attacker places his camp. This is mostly to assist in play balance.
  6. Defender places his camp.
  7. Defender deploys his army. He offers battle to stop the invader.
  8. Attacker deploys his army.
  9. Attacker moves first. The onus of battle is on the attacker. To enforce this, if there is no combat in the first 12 turns, or if there is no combat after that for any consecutive 6 turns, the defender wins by default. A spare 1d6 may be used as a counting device.

| Top of Page | Rules Variants | Home |

Last Updated: Sept. 15, 1999

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