Friday, 20 February 2015

The purple primer rides again

I'm rather excited, I must say. On Wednesday DBA 3.0 appeared in my letterbox. I've been a bit slow getting around to buying this ruleset. I have to admit to not being sure whether I'd bother, after all, I have DBA 2.2 and I've played a lot of games with that. Then I decided to buy it and it wasn't there. Sold out in fact. Now it is back and I have snapped it up. And it is kid in a candy shop time.
How much better than DBA 2.2 can it be?
A few years back, before he migrated to the West Island of NZ, Dan and I were playing a lot of DBA. Biblical, Punic Wars, Wars of the Roses were the main eras, but at different times I had also purchased Russians and Teutonic Knights, Alexander the Great, 100 Year War etc armies. When Dan left I ended up playing mostly Flames of War with hardly any ancients gaming at all. I sold my painted armies in order to fund new projects.

As I've found myself drifting into playing more solo games in the periods of history that intrigue me (as opposed to simply playing what everyone else is), I've been looking at DBA a bit more. I figured the rules would make a good base for small Samurai and Conquistador campaigns, not that either list was properly covered in DBA 2.2. The Samurai list (IV/59b) included 5 blade and no bow which just didn't seem right to me. Aztecs and their Tlaxcallan adversaries were covered, but what about the Spanish component? So I planned to write my own lists and sacrifice any chance of playing in tournaments with them. I'd also try something a little different and have my camp element being my seated Samurai generals, which would give even more credence to the effect of capturing a camp.

Then I read the new DBA. The Samurai list has reduced blade elements from 5 down to 3 . Archers are included. Ashigaru are represented as fast pike. Best of all there is a new element type - the CP which is a general who functions a bit like blades. The list and the new rules have pretty much done everything that I wanted to do AND I can play the army in a tournament. The only thing I would have liked included was that the blade could be mounted Samurai with the option to dismount.

I had to rebase my commanders from my 5cm x 8cm camp to a 4 x 4cm CP.
'Keep it down back there - who do you think you are? Keith Moon?'
But wait, there's more! List IV/19c is Spanish and Tlaxcallans - there is now an official list for the Conquest of Mexico.

The rules changes are fantastic. No more 'buttocks of death' unless you are in a very tight position. Some element types are divided into 'solid' and 'fast' which can affect combat outcomes and changes movement rates. A whole pile of diagrams runs through situations that may be encountered and make the game feel less geometric. Double based elements now get a combat advantage. Spear support each other to the flank, not the rear and Psiloi support is gone. All in all, positive changes. Then there are the army lists. Needless to say I've been sitting down with these working out how much it would cost to buy armies for a whole variety of periods from various manufacturers. At the moment my lists include Conquest of Mexico IV/19c and IV/63 (who would have guessed?); Egyptians I/22b and Hittites I/24b; Chinese warring states II/4a and II/4e and; the Ghaznavids III/64b and Rajputs III/10b. This is, of course, on top of my 2 Samurai armies IV/59b and Punic Wars armies II/32a (Carthaginians) and II/33 (Romans). Not worked out yet, but the 100 Years War might be calling to me as well.
Here's those popular hastati again, from yet another angle.
Am I mad? Well, yes, but also very, very enthusiastic for the latest iteration of a set of rules that had been old favourites. The first DBA armies will be the Samurai for which I now need to buy a few more figures to match the lists in the book. I now have a bit of a project log-jam, mostly because I'm unsure what I want to do first. The good thing about DBA is that armies don't take that long to paint, so I'll probably sneak them in during other large scale projects like the Great Northern War or WWI just for a change of pace.

If you are considering DBA 3.0 but unsure whether to take the plunge, just do it. It has made me one happy little gamer.



  1. Thank you for that note about IV/19c - I was wondering that myself!

    1. It's like Phil Barker read my mind! I'm looking forward to putting that one together.

  2. I have begun some years ago (...well, 25 may be!) playing miniatures wargames with DBA, and it's always nice to hear about these rules! Splendid samurai stands!

    1. Thank you Phil. It is hard to believe that DBA has been around that long!