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a critique of the version 3.0 rules

by Jeff Herbert


I started wargaming with Napoleonics and moved on to ancients with WRG 6th edition, which I enjoyed.  I didn’t like the 7th edition rules and just couldn’t get into them but have greatly enjoyed DBM.  No set of rules, are perfect but DBM give a very good feel of large battles.  There are one or two things I would like to see different and these are my views of these.




I do not think that Fast need be a distinct troop classification but merely the ability to move faster.  Troops with a ‘F’ classification adding 50 paces to their move and nothing else.  This would then allow for a full range of class type, Superior, Ordinary and Inferior.  For instance Norman knights were universally accepted as the best of their day and whereas many Western countries adopted their style few could show their élan.  Playing within period would not be affected. 


Mounted and Psiloi Shooting


Skirmishers should be allowed to shoot, I accept that at extreme range they would be unlikely to do so, but at closer range this would be their preferred means of combat.  I would suggest that skirmishers fire at their present factors if within 100 paces with PS (o) armed with bow capable of firing in two ranks, i.e. rear rank support.  No Psiloi should be allowed to voluntarily frontally contact un-demoralized mounted and movement into combat against spears, pikes, blades and warband in good going should cost one extra pip.  Note that this would allow light horse to shoot.


Skirmishers need pips to move in all circumstances, this in my opinion does not reflect the cautious nature of such troops to maintain their distance.  In large skirmisher based armies such as Scythians it becomes difficult to use the army to its historic effect.  I suggest that skirmishers should always be able to move straight back, if there is an enemy element within base reach of the enemy elements movement, without expending pips.  It would also make a nice difference between regulars and irregulars and therefore points cost if irregulars had to do so if pips were not paid to hold or move them in that bound.


A new troop type of Warband X should be created for warbands that fired missiles before charging, such as American Indians etc.  Again they would fire at warband factors counting rear rank support.  Taking in the change of FAST (see above), this would make Warbands S, O, I or X. with some moving at F speed.  Note I have added I for warbands, which provides continuity between DBM and DBR and allows for a greater range of types.


Knight v Light Horse


Under the recent rule changes knights fare badly against light horse.  In a recent battle my light horse Mongols charged boldly into the Teutonic Order with the knowledge that they would probably only be recoiled but stood a good chance of destroying the knights.  Which they did.  Is it right that knights are destroyed in all circumstances where they score less than light horse ?.  I believe that this should only be the case where they have been surrounded , this being simulated by being overlapped on a flank which the light horse could turn on.  For example 3 light horse charge 3 knights, matching up each element.  In the first round the light horse go first with the player choosing the centre element.  The light Horse score more forcing the knights to recoil.  The other two elements of knights are overlapped but cannot be attacked on the flank as the knight that recoiled is within a base depth of the light horse to its front.  The two knights would count overlap but would only suffer recoil if scoring less.  A second example is where 5 light horse charge 4 knights.  On one flank the light horse would overlap and if there were no enemy within base depth ahead could move onto that flank, in that circumstance the knight would be destroyed instead of recoiling.  I think this more accurately reflects the slow wearing down of knights and their gradual isolation and destruction.


War Wagons


When I based my Pechenegs I did so on two single elements of 40mm depth, placing the team on one and the wagon on the other.  I did so in order to use either option, i.e. as war wagon or temporary fortification.  At the time Wwg were very strong although they have been toned down since to combat their use as panzers.  Reflecting on it I believe that all Wwg should be on two single elements, one comprising the team the other the Wagon.  If the team is destroyed the Wwg would remain in situation until also destroyed.  Horse teams with greater protection could be graded O those without as I.  This would prevent them being used as tanks but would reflect their defensive/rallying capabilities better particularly if the Wagon element was given its previous rating.   


Regular Generals/Irregular Elephants


When a Regular General clambers onto an elephant command and control go out of the window, despite him being in an elevated position surrounded by retainers and couriers.  I believe that whilst the elephant element should be Irregular the Regular status of the General should not be affected.


Regular General Cost


Where a side has only one regular general the extra point cost is unfair and he performs no differently than an irregular general.  I believe the first Regular General should cost the same points.  The additional cost of Regular Generals is fine due to the advantage of moving dice around the table.


Well that’s about it, nothing earth shaking.


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