DBA Houserules

I am FanaticusDBA was the game that brought me back into Ancients gaming, after WRG 7th Edition drove me out.  I'm not going to discuss the system here; it's popular and common enough that most players should be able to find a gamer with the rules and a few armies.  But I would like to say that DBA, although simple, is NOT a "child's" version of DBM.  It is a different game, with its own subtle nuances.



Sometimes the legendary "Barkerese" is a trifle difficult to translate into colloquial English.  Actually, I don't find it too bad to understand - just take it slow...and watch those bloody commas!  The punctuation is usually the cause of comprehension problems.  Anyway, our houserules are mostly clarifications and not additions.

Turning to Face
If contacted in the rear or side by an enemy unit, elements are turned to face AFTER all movement and only if they are not in frontal contact.  Note that frontal contact is determined after movement as well; not before.  This seems pretty clear in DBA 1.1, but we've encountered players who disagreed.

Distance Shooting
This is a debatable houserule, but we use it (after much argument) because it seems more "realistic" to us.  Units firing on other units must fire at the closest target.  This prevents a line of bowmen from concentrating all their fire on the central enemy unit.  We feel that Ancient fire control wasn't rigid enough to have troops ignore enemy directly to their front merely to fire upon their neighbours' frontal threats.

War Wagons
Although some of us agree with the other DBA 1.1 rules and list changes (especially the Elephant modifications) the war wagon changes are (in some of our humble opinions) ridiculous.  The 1.1 rules work well if the war wagons in question are Hussite.  War wagons are now these horrendously powerful King Tigers rumbling around the battlefield destroying all opposition.  For example, the Petcheneg army (with three Mark V Ogres war wagons) use them as an unstoppable striking force.  But that is not how they were employed historically.  War wagons for these steppe nomad armies were used as rally points to fall back on and regroup in most cases.  They were not offensive weapons.

So, we merely ignore the distance fire that war wagons are allowed.  Since a player cannot contact enemy units with war wagons, it is therefore only possible to employ them defensively (and hence historically).  Also, some players feel that a particular army's contingent of "war wagons" were never used on the battle's frontline, such as the Khazars or Early Hebrews.  Then we simply ignore the distance firing and refuse to ever move the element from its initial placing.

The final word is that we feel that the War Wagon rule seems apply only to Hussites (possibly Cyropaedic - but who the heck fields that gimmick?) and therefore we feel justified in not allowing ourselves to either move it and/or fire with it if our historical research seems to support our views.   Of course, some of our players in the group disagree.  They feel that if it is in the rules, it is legal - which I can't really argue with.  A matter of opinion of historicity vs playability.

Stan Olsen had some intriguing thoughts on this warwagon houserule -

I like this, but I would allow Warwagons to fire once only at elements that recoil from their fronts, or Back at any ranged Bowfire.

Opponents that try to rally or reform too close get shot. Bows draw return fire.

Rear Support
We've seen some players argue that a second rank of (allowable) troops does not neccesarily support the first.  At the moment of combat they will decide if the second rank will support.  This is just "rules lawyering".  It is usually done to avoid the second rank from being killed in a hopeless situation, and pushing that army to its breakpoint.  We disagree - if a second rank unit is in rear corner to corner contact, it will always provide second rank support.  Like it or not.

Moving Across an Element's Front
DBA does not seem to allow an element to cross another element's front, even to contact another, closer element.  Sadly, this can lead to rather cheesy invulnerable defensive lines.  So it has evolved among us (especially after playing DBR) that we allow one element to cross another element's frontage if it contacts a closer element.  Basically we use the DBM or DBR rule instead of the DBA 1.1 rule.

General's Element
DBA says that a general's element "...should be of a type appropriate to that army."  Since the army lists do not specify that a specific element must be the general's stand, some players have decided that "a type appropriate" can therefore be any of an army's elements.  I remember watching one particular game where the 100 Years War French general was with the artillery(!).

However, we do not play that way.  Our general's element is always limited to the one(s) allowed by the DBM lists.  The stand is also a dedicated command element.  If the army has the option of one or two different types of general elements we usually tend to paint up all the options needed.  This method seems more historically accurate to us.

Line of Sight New!
DBA is completely silent on the topic of Line of Sight.  So apparently it is legal to have artillery fire over hills and forest to hit elements out of sight.  That just doesn't sit right with us.  Therefore we've created a houserule to fix this perceived rule omission.  Any feature that blocks command radius, also blocks all distant fire.  So any element completely beyond a hill ridge, or entirely within a forest or BUA cannot be fired upon by bow or artillery.

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