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Unofficial Rules Variants

Polybian Roman Blades

By Andy Finkel

Having Gallic and Polybian Roman DBA armies, I would say that DBA does not encourage historical deployments for the Romans. In this era, the Romans would have formed 3 lines of heavy infantry, Hastatii in front, Principes behind them and Triarii (Sp) in the rear. A key to Roman victories in the Republican era was the ability to rotate troops into and out of the battle line.

In DBA, there is no advantage to forming blades more than 1 deep, and an 8-element wide line is the most sensible way to deploy your heavy infantry, which I think is somewhat unhistorical.

A house rule which I have tried with some friends is to rate Blades as +4/+2 vs infantry/horse respectively. A second rank of Blades adds +1 to each of these factors. If the Blades are outscored by double or more in melee, only the front unit is destroyed.

This seems to work well, and gives a (historical) good reason to deploy the legions two deep. It also emphasises the Roman army's need to win in the centre with the infantry before your cavalry get crushed by weight of enemy numbers, which I understand was the historical reality.

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Last Updated: Jan. 21,1999

Comments and suggestions welcome. Send them to Chris Brantley, IamFanaticus@gmail.com.