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Unofficial Rules Variants

DBA Break Point Handicaps

By Jason Ehlers (a.k.a. J. D. Yahoo)

Here's an optional rule for DBA . The purpose of this optional rule and point value system is:

  1. To make a battle between two armies of greatly different point values more even.
  2. To increase the use of "lesser" options...here's a perfectly good excuse for you to use Psiloi instead of Artillery!
  3. To provide incentive for aggressiveness on the part of players with "weaker" armies.

There are two parts to the rule, a point value system, and a army morale break point system.

Players should have no trouble tallying the value of their armies, and are already familiar with the "four strikes and you're out" break point morale.

This rule is for "friendly" or "exhibition" battles. Using it in battles which are part of campaigns where one army lost units previously is not recommended.

  1. Both players secretly write down the composition of their forces for that battle, including mounted / dismounted options and camp follower option.

  2. Players simultaneously reveal the composition of their forces.

  3. Total the Point Values of the two forces and compare them. If the totals are the same, ignore this optional rule.

  4. Suggested point values for individual elements:

    War Wagon 10.5
    Blade 8
    Spear 7
    Pike 6.5
    Bow 6.5
    Auxilia 6
    Psiloi 5
    Artillery 7.5
    Warband 6
    Camp Followers 2
    Knights
    or Heavy Chariots
    11
    Elephants 14
    Light Horse 7
    Cavalry or
    Light Chariot
    8.5
    Camelry 8.5
    Scythed Chariots 10.5

    Players may change the point values of individual elements by mutual agreement.

  5. Compare the point value total of both forces and obtain a point value ratio (easy! using a calculator, weaker divided by stronger point value totalŠ the result is a decimal or string of decimals between 0.01 and 0.99). The player with the higher point value is termed the "stronger army". The player with the lower point total is termed the "weaker army".

  6. Cross reference as in the examples below to get new Break Points for the two armies. The Break Points are usually "four" for both armies in DBA, that being the number of elements destroyed before an army loses the battle. A lost General element still counts as four lost units, and a camp occupied by the enemy still counts as two lost elements.

Ratio Range Stronger Army
Break Point
Weaker Army
Break Point
0.00 - 0.286 2 7
0.287 - 0.333 2 6
0.334 - 0.400 2 5
0.401 - 0.500 3 6
0.501 - 0.600 3 5
0.601 - 0.750 3 4
0.751 - 0.800 4 5
0.801 - 1.000 4 4

EXAMPLE: Early Libyan (#4a) versus Sea Peoples (#14a)

The Libyan player has few options. They have eleven Psiloi and one Warband, and decide to deploy Camp Follower. The point value for the Libyan player is (11x5)+(1x6)+(1x2)=63.

The Sea Peoples player has more options. He is required to have six Warbands, two Psiloi, and one Blade. He decides not to use Camp Followers. These required forces total (6x6)+(2x5)+(1x8)=54. If the Sea People's player uses his "heavy options" he will add one Heavy Chariot and two War Wagons (1x11)+(2x10.5)=32. These elements bring the point value for the Sea Peoples to 86.

The Point Value Ratio is "0.733" (63 divided by 86). All you have to do is divide the lower number by the higher number. The Point Value Ratio will always be from 0 to 1.

Looking at the chart above, "0.733" is Greater than 0.6, less than 0.75. This means that the Sea Peoples (Stronger Army) Break Point will be 3. The Break Point for the Early Libyans (Weaker Army) will be 4.

If the Sea Peoples player decided to use "light options" would there be a difference? A Light Chariot (1x8.5) plus a couple Warbands (2x6) totals 20.5 points plus the required forces (54) equals a Point Value of 74.5. This still means that the Sea Peoples' player is the advantaged (74.5 to only 63) but the Point Value Ratio (63 divided by 74.5 = "0.84") has changed. On the chart above, we see that this Point Value Ratio means there is no penalty for the Sea Peoples. Both armies will have the usual Break Point of "four".

The Sea Peoples player has to make a choice. He can go for overwhelming force (and a dangerous bit of overconfidence) and try to crush an elusive opponent. Or, he can fight fire with fire and try to surprise the Early Libyans with light infantry. The Sea Peoples player's choices are made easier in this instance because he is quite certain of what kind of force the Libyans will be using.

Note that the "stronger armies" still are going to have their due advantage in battle, but now there is a chance for the "weaker armies" to pull off an upset if they are particularly courageous.

Among the most lopsided contests I can find would be #4a Early Libyan with no camp follower element versus #55c Later Sarmatian or #84 African Vandal using all twelve Knight elements and a camp follower. The ratio in these potentially rediculous matchups would be (61/132)=0.462! Using the breakpoint handicap system, the Early Libyans would be allowed six lost elements, and the African Vandals or Sarmatians would be allowed three lost elements. Hopefully, this would even things out, but the Libyan player might need Moor.


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Last Updated: August 26, 1998