The DBA rules provide a +1 modifier to close combat for any element "defending a [defensible] riverbank except at a road ford or bridge." What the rules leave unstated, however, is where an element must be positioned in order to constitute "defending a riverbank." Questions arise about the applicability of the bonus in a number of situations, including cases where the defending element has begun to emerge from the water and is at least partially on dry land and especially cases where the river is curved or angled in such a way that the front edge of the defending element is not able to align its front edge with the edge of the water (i.e. the problem of the wavy river).
To help clarify these situation, here is a proposed variant rule:
An element is defending a river bank if it is adjacent to but not touching the river at any point and is engaged in close combat with an opponent that is at least partly within it.
This rule is based on a suggestion by Mike Campbell in a posting to the DBM Mail List. He goes on to note:
"This makes it quite clear whether or not an element is defending a river bank. It also means that it is easier to defend river banks against elements with greater base depth (mainly mounted types) on the basis that they would require more open ground. Lastly it allows groups to defend slightly wavy rivers without having to split up."
"However the definition alone is not perfect. In some circumstances an element could be recoiled while defending the river bank, but still count as defending the river bank in the following combat (i.e., if the attacking element has a greater depth than the defender)."
Campbell suggests two possible alternatives to deal with this situation. If the attacker with greater element depth wins, the defender will recoil either the depth of the attacker's base or alternatively, just enough to let the attacker emerge from the water.
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Last Updated: Sept. 28, 1998Comments and suggestions welcome. Send them to Chris Brantley, firstname.lastname@example.org.