Saturday, 30 October 2010

Callinicum refight with DBA slight mod

As mentioned in my refight with DBA, I am not keen on DBA due to the lack of differentiation of troop type as in many other rules.  Rather than go all the way to DBM, E-BBDBA (see files section of the DBA yahoo group) offers an alternative (and I quote the relevant paragraph):

Inferior (I) troops must re-roll a combat score of ‘5’ but don’t re-roll again if they score a second ‘5’.
Superior (S) troops can choose to re-roll a combat score of ‘2’; they can so choose after an (I) opponent re-rolls.  Where (S) troops oppose, the player whose turn it is can choose before the other side or after inviting him to re-roll first.  A second score of ‘2’ is not re-rolled.

I will use this to see if I think it improves what I am looking for.

For for information of the Battle of Callinicum see my previous post.




I deployed the same as in most refights, and the same as the DBA refight.

The Persians are in two groups, from their right to left: 6xCv, 3 Cv(S) and 3xLH.
The Byzantines are in three groups, from their left to right: 3xSp, 2 Cv, 2 Cv(S), 2 Cv, 1 Ax and 3xLH(I).

I have placed a general figure behind the general stand as a reminder.

Persian moves first.

Turn 1
Different tactics, slightly, to my previous DBA game, as the Persians will be attempting to overwhelm the Byzantine LH(I).  In the previous game I was aiming for their neighbours, the Ax.  So the Inferior/Superior has already modified the tactical options.
Low PIPs for both sides which gave a general advance to both battlelines.

Turn 2
Persians get low pips and advance their two groups.
Byzantines get worse (a 1) and move the Auxilia up to help protect the LH(I) slightly.  It will be a clash of almost the complete battleline.

The battlelines face off

Turn 3
High PIPs for the Persians.  Move the battle line up, flank a Cv on one edge and move the LH to the other flank for an overlap and out of the way of the LH for possible retaliation.  Two Byzantine Cavalry destroyed.  There was an option for a reroll when the Byzantine general rolled a 2.  The reroll was a 1!  Ah well.  Fortunes of war.
Byzantine roll high for PIPs, moves back into battle and brings up the LH.  A reroll by the Persian Cv(S) changed a destroyed to a 'remain in combat' on the reroll.  But the Persians lose another Cavalry and a LH.

View from the Persian side of the LHs on the left, and the heavy cavalry zig-zag in the centre.

Turn 4
Persian has 1 PIP and attacks a Cavalry on their right flank for no effect.  Byzantines also roll low for PIPS and attack on the other flank, bringing up the Ax and LH.  But they lost a LH (to a 1-5 roll).
Byzantines have lost 3, Persians 2.

Turn 5
Persians get a 6 for PIPs! and reform the battleline.  The dangerous combat for the Byzantines was going to the the one where a recoil for a cavalry would take it straight back into the generals element.

The centre front show the Byzantine cavalry in contact with the Persian cavalry.  If the former recoils, the General unit behind it will be destroyed.  It was.

It got a recoiled.  One cavalry and one general gone.  The other combat left was a draw.
Byzantines have lost 5 elements, including the general, Persians 2.  Persian victory.

I thought having the Inferior and Superior helped differentiate the troops and give it a slightly better feeling for me of ancient combat.  It did help in a few instances and did change the tactics of the game.There are other things (the swing of the die for PIPs) I wouldn't mind changing.  But to me, vanilla DBA is king - it really works well as is.  By changing some of the rules around to get more of my historical feel, I think I am better off with other rules.  If I was to play DBA, I would still likely play as-is, the modifications only increased the historical feel slightly.


  1. Yes, that is only a slight benefit for Superior status, and a slight penalty for Inferior status. Another to consider is:

    * If (S) loses to (O) or (I), add one to its final score.

    * If (I) loses to (O) or (S), subtract one from its final score.

    Some will complain that it throws off the odds of a 6-1 kill in some cases, but so what? So will adding +1 to the combat factor or to use the method you describe.

    I thought you were going to try Giant DBA when I read the blog title, and try it with a different number of elements per side.

    I agree that vanilla DBA is king. I like the battles and only in some instances does it not "feel" right.

  2. Dale,

    Apologise if the blog title was misleading.

    I have also done a battle with DBM that I will post in the next few days. My opinion is if you want to differentiate the troops further than what is found in DBA, then DBM is the way to go, rather than change DBA.


  3. Another good Superior vs Inferior....
    Superior troops may chose to reroll a 2
    Inferior troops must reroll a 6....
    Just a thought

    Joe Collins