My blog about my wargaming activities. I collect a lot of 15mm miniatures for the American War of Independence and so collect a lot of rules for this period. I started miniatures with Napoleonics, so I have a number of armies in 6mm and 15mm figures for skirmishing. I have15mm WW II figures that I use for Flames of War, Memoir '44, and someday, Poor Bloody Infantry. Finally there is my on-again, off-again relationship with paper soldiers that I sometimes write about.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

New Draft of DBMM Version 2.0

Lately I have been considering using rules other than DBA for ancients gaming. It is not that I dislike DBA - quite the opposite - it is just that I think it works better for a-historical games than historical ones. For example, when we did a tournament recently and the match-up was New Kingdom Egyptians versus Later (Medieval) Polish. Basically all of the troop types were homogenized into common definitions so an "equivalence" could be created.

Ironically, this is where many people say DBA fails. That a chariot-era "knight" is not the equivalent of a classical period "knight" or a high medieval Knight. These are just ratings that work within their own period. But I sometimes feel that DBA fails in this regard because the homogeneity loses the "flavor" of some periods and I think this is where my dissatisfaction arises. For example, where are the Hammipoi during the Classical Greek period? I have these great figures and yet when I asked on the Fanaticus forum how to rate them in DBA the best answer was "as a cosmetic addition to a Cavalry element".

So, across my desk come a few articles about DBMM. I read a review or two and it sounds pretty good, so I explore more. I join the Yahoo group DBMMlist and within a few days Phil Barker publishes another draft of (what will one day be) DBMM version 2.0. So, I can actually read the rules and get a sense of it before actually committing to buy a copy. I download them, print them (44 pages withOUT any army lists) and my jaw drops.

Combat Factors: 1/3 of a page
Close Combat Rear Support Factors: 2/3 of a page
Tactical Factors: 2/3 of a page
Grading Factors: 1/3 of a page

That is two full pages just to calculate the number added to a D6 roll! The my jaw hits the floor again: two full pages for the Combat Outcomes "table". 2 1/3 pages to describe recoiling, fleeing, pursuing, etc.

Man, do I feel old. My mind just kept saying over and over "you'll never wrap your head around all of this".

There are some good ideas in there though. I like the idea of Psiloi (Hammipoi) providing rear support to Cavalry against enemy Cavalry and Knights. Maybe just taking that one rule and applying it as a period-specific, scenario special rule is all I need to do. Either that, or I need to try and wrap my head around Hoplomachia again. :)


  1. I sympathise

    I am in DBx hell, I have been for the past ten years

    I like DBA and part of me thinks its purpose is to give an idea of historical feel to a period and leave it at that

    The six player mini-campaign format is a classic and great fun

    Plus there is a realistic chance to paint a pair of antagonist armies, it is "wargaming essence"

    However the rules are written in such cryptic fashion that breeds confusion in all but saints

    This is amplified in DBM and still present in DBMM. DBA preceded DBM and people tend to forget that

    I believe as many others, that DBM extrapolated too far the pure and simple ideas of DBA

    That's why I am turning to Fields of Glory to avoid the better part of the base quibbling that goes on with DBM/DBMM

    I'll get off my soapbox (sorry)

  2. I'm fairly recently back into ancients having played a little 5th or 6th years ago and even less DBM. I agree the DBx writing style can be a problem to get around. However, I have somewhere around a dozen DBMM games under my belt - most with draft rules, and it's actually pretty straight forward when you are playing. The pages of multipliers condense down pretty rapidly into just those for the troops on table and the combat results also become second nature. I wouldn't call them intro rules, but 1.0 is a good solid set.

    The draft rules are just that and are perhaps best left alone by all but madmen and crazed colonials. It is intriguing to see the development process but much like sausage making, best not watched by the squeemish.

    And I resent GW style marketing ploys to increase revenue every time a new army comes out - no matter how pretty the product.


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Huachuca City, Arizona, United States
I am 50 yrs old now. I bought a house in Huachuca City, AZ (although I have a townhouse in Houston, TX and a small home in Tucson, AZ) working on a contract for "the next two years" that is going on five years now. To while away the hours I like to wargame -- with wooden, lead, and sometimes paper miniatures -- usually solo. Although I am a 'rules junkie', I almost always use rules of my own (I like to build upon others' ideas, but it seems like there is always something "missing" or "wrong").