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Page history last edited by Rob Brennan 11 years, 8 months ago


For the the stuff that doesn't fit in elsewhere!



Weather/Time of Day in DBMMv2 by Bob Kendall

I had a rush of geekiness to the brain and decided to work out how frequent night attacks should be in theory (fully realising that dice on a wargames table pay little attention to mathematics) to try to get some perspective on the topic.

According to my calculations, the probabilities of each of the possible starting hours (rounded) arising is as follows:

Hour Probability
0300 0.0556
0400 0.0563
0500 0.1127
0600 0.1142
0700 0.1713
0800 0.1181
0900 0.1204
1000 0.0664
1100 0.0679
1200 0.0131
1300 0.0139
1400 0.0139
1500 0.0139
1600 0.0131
1700 0.0123
1800 0.0108
1900 0.0093
2000 0.0069
2100 0.0046
2200 0.0031
2300 0.0015
2400 0.0008

The night hours for combinations of climate and season (excluding winter) are (from page 23):

Cold Cool Warm Dry Tropical
Summer 2300-0100 2130-0230 1930-0430 1850-0510 1810-0550
Spring/Autumn 1900-0500 1900-0500 1830-0530 1820-0540 1810-0550

and the resultant probabilities of potentially starting at a night hour are:

Cold Cool Warm Dry Tropical
Summer 0.002 0.005 0.129 0.251 0.251
Spring/Autumn 0.251 0.251 0.251 0.251 0.251

A night attack in spring or autumn will have three moves before dawn breaks and visibility goes up to 400p. Prior to that, it has a 50% chance that visibility will be only 80p (lack of moon) limiting each move to 120p at maximum and restricting a general's command radius. The non-moving army will have known prior to deploying that a night attack was to be played and thus has the chance to place pickets as suggested by earlier comments on this thread.

There is potentially longer available for night attacks in summer, and this could lead to some drawn-out games should the player with the decision decide to play it that way. My competition experience is comparatively limited but I haven't encountered anybody who wanted to play that way where it mattered and would be very surprised if it came up when podium positions were at stake.

Phil Barker on Campaigns

My first campaign was as Conan in Tony Bath's "Hyboria" campaign. The detail
was not excessive for the players. My most recent experience of campaigning
was several years in Bruce Douglas's "Known World Campaign" until Bruce had
to give it up for health reasons. This had a lot of economic factors, but I
convinced Bruce that a barbarian leader would not understand these and that
a civilised ruler would have people to do it for him. So Bruce did it all
himself unless you insisted, and you just got informed of the consequences
like famines and revolts over taxation. In industry, we used to call this
"Management By Exception". You did have to do your own politics and public
relations, which I found provided the best part of the fun.

I also ran my own "Oecumene" campaign for several years. Like all campaigns,
this started as a way of generating battles for our local group, but quickly
got beyond that. Economics were fairly simple, based on possession of cities
of differing values. All the table players were local, but some of the
campaign postal players were pretty far flung. My experience with Tony's and
Bruce's campaigns had convinced me that the players should not have a full
set of the campaign rules, which existed only to help the umpire (who could
in extremis partly disregard them without any come back).

I had also been very impressed by the role of sometimes slightly yellow
press campaign journals - the "Shadizar Herald" and the "News of the Known
World" as a supplement to umprire reports to each player. I had two such,
one a reliable but slightly stuffy journal published with some delay, and
the more immediate "Grapevine" (all the news from the wine shops). The
latter was a combination of easily established fact, embroidery,
misinterpretation of true facts, rumour, conspiracy theory, party politicals
from the players and (very rarely) complete invention designed to stir
things up. Rarely, because players were very good at picking up what they
thought were hints and galloping conclusions off in unrelated directions!
The most canny were Ken Bulmer (a fantasy author) and Euan Smith (a teenage
freelance comic book illustrator who did the cover for HOTT). The campaign
died with our local group as those who were at university here finished
their courses, and the locals went off to university. One became a lecturer
at Sandhurst, and another, Chris Peers, has written books on Chinese armies
and his latest (highly recommended) "The African Wars" on native African

What is the Optimum Size Game for the Rules? by Rob Brennan

The rulebook (p12) says that armies are "normally 240 to 500 AP".

Historically most competitions have been 400AP for individuals and 500AP for
doubles @ 15mm on 6x4 table. 25mm has been 350AP on a 6x4 in the UK. DBMM200 is
a new official variant for small armies/tables (there has long been an
unofficial 200AP game). Some countries tend to vary the points slightly eg
between 350-425AP for individual games to prevent people always playing with the
same list and to allow some variation in favoured army styles.

The rules are very flexible and can be used in a wide variety of formats eg
1000AP a side monster refights on a 12x4. To a certain extent the answer to your
question depends on what you want, eg
* Most classical armies work well with a high troop density such as 25mm @
315-350AP on a 6x4 or 15mm on a 120x80cm board
* 400AP on a 6x4 in 15mm tends to give a very open game that suits a wide
variety of armies...but can feel like fencing rather than a battle

In terms of the lists
* 400AP gives the greatest flexibility as list min/maxima cut least and hence
min-maxers and cunning plans abound
* 500AP or 300AP tend to force armies towards their historical prototypes as
either mins or maxs mean that your choice of troops becomes more limited
* 200AP gives foot an edge compared to full sized games and tends to favour more
homogeneous armies compared to 300-500AP
* 100AP is super-flexible in terms of lists as the "army" may be a detachment
rather than a full field army

So, the questions are - what type of game do you want to play?what sub-period(s)
are you interested in? Are you going to play in competitions? What are others
near you playing?

David Brown on How Tournament Games Pan Out (wrt Draw %ages)

> The bottom quartile of players, newbies, tyros or bunnies tend to draw with each other as they have no idea how to inflict critical damage on each other.
> The next quartile have learned a trick or two and inflict big defeats on each other as they will not have seen the trick inflicted on them.
> The next quartile can tend to draw with each other as they run out of tricks to inflict and know how to defend against the other guy's actions.
> The top quartile are a bit like the last one except that they often know that they need to something special to beat other good players and thus take more risks or improvise something creative on the run.

Duncan Head on Ancient Maps of Sassanid Border

> Or there's this one:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Roman-Persian_Frontier,_5th_century.png
> Or http://www.ecai.org/sasanianweb/maps/map_of_sasanian.htm

High level summary of changes from DBMM v1 to v2

* More flexible basing rules, especially for 28mm to allow modern figures to fit
* Play balance modifications based on 3 years of play and 9 months of playtesting of the changes
* Numerous clarifications and small fixes included throughout the rules
* Scoring system revised to give a wider distribution of scores for draws and to make Pyrrhic victories less frequent

* New deployment restrictions that make troops deploy in groups and closer to their general
* New limitations on flank marches and delayed commands
* Most Cavalry can now deploy on the flanks like skirmishers
* Night attacks can now occur for both defender and invader
* Chance of LH from Cold climates suffering combat disadvantages in Spring has been reduced

* Some general streamlining/clarifications of effects
* Feigned Flight made more difficult to perform
* Archers' stakes (portable obstacles) no longer require you to use one of your stratagem picks

* Baggage rules re-written and simplified
* Regular baggage no longer grants a PIP-swapping die, just increased morale benefits.

March Rules:
* Single element skirmishers eliminated (including Double-based elements), only groups stop marches now
* Skirmishers are now less vulnerable to being marched into as now opponents must move only straight ahead for the full bound and take a combat disadvantage.

* Spontaneous advance rules clarified and simplified
* Expendables made more difficult to maneuver
* Elephants no longer penalised for moving with foot
* New distance restriction for contracting from line into column
* Revised moving into contact/threat zone rules based on play experience
* Expendables can no longer interpenetrate foot
* New rule for free lining up with friends to speed play and reduce geometric concerns
* Regular generals command as irregulars at night or in poor visibility

Troop Gradings:
* Grading factors simplified
* Superior gradings modified to make Superior mounted less good and Superior foot better than in v1.0
* Inferior troops now better in combat than in v1

Combat System:
* Rear support factors simplified and streamlined
* Artillery ranges increased
* Repulse combat result modified to make it more attractive for players, so that it is used more often when voluntary
* Light horse combat interactions modified to make them weaker vs foot and stronger against higher grades of Light Horse
* New combat bonus for elements in contact with a general's element who has destroyed their enemy in close combat this bound to encourage generals to lead from the front
* Only specially designated Auxillia quick-kill Elephants, better reflecting SE Asian warfare
* Cavalry combat interactions modified to make them weaker vs foot
* Spear troop type strengthened in combat
* Superior auxillia no longer quick-kill Spear or Pike, but are now better defensively
* Warband strengthened versus Knights, (defensive rear rank support)
* Light horse now have an optional pursuit move.
* Mounted troops have more mandatory combat outcome moves, making such combats more dynamic
* Revised morale equivalent values for some troop types to better reflect their AP/historical role

Worked Through Baggage Example for V2.0

Here is an example:

Command A has 18ME of troops, plus it contributes 2 Reg Bge to army Bge.

Command B has 9ME of troops, plus it contributes 1 Reg Bge to army Bge.


Command A's total ME is 18+4 = 22ME

Command B's total ME is 9+2 = 11ME

the army baggage commands total ME is 6ME

The total army ME is 22+11+6= 39ME


If command A breaks, the army loses 22ME

If command B breaks, the army loses 11 ME

If the army baggage command breaks the army loses 6ME



Probability of Battle Start Times in DBMM v1.0 by L Greaves

time,   probability %

1,      0

2,      0

3,      5.71

4,      5.79

5,      11.57

6,      11.73

7,      17.59

8,      12.11

9,      12.35

10,     6.79

11,     6.94

12,     1.31

13,     1.39

14,     1.39

15,     1.39

16,     1.31

17,     1.23

18,     1.08

19,     0.93

20,     0.69

21,     0.46

22,     0.31

23,     0.15

24,     0.08

Phil Barker on How Many Guns in Art Elements

> And we might need some more definite decision on how many pieces are

> represented by different grades of Art element.

The larger number should apply, unless there was a significant effect by a

smaller total . For example, at Bedriacum 2 big stone throwers had a

dominating effect.

Similarly, the elephant scale is 16, but a single element can represent only


Jim W's Painting 15mm for crappy painters.

Stick figures to base

White undercoat

block in tunic colours

block in flesh colours

paint shield, spears, weapons etc

wash over with ink (windsor and newton 'peat' is my choice)

Paint base with mixture of pva glue and green colouring, add flock


Tom A's Recomends a Discussion on Chinese History/Sources



This both gives some background info on Chinese generals and, far more

interestingly, brings out the difficulties of using ancient sources.

Even in a well known ancient text there are enormous problems in

understanding the meaning.



AP per ME for DBMM Troop Types by Toby Partridge

I am sure other people have worked this out, but I haven't seen a table of AP per ME,

which is important IMHO in determining how effective a troop could be as a filler...


0.5 - I Bge(I)

1.0 - I Bge(O),I Bge(F), R Bge(I)

1.5 - I Bge(S), R Bge(O), R Bge(F)

2.0 - Ps(I), Hd(O), Hd(F)

2.5 -

3.0 - R Bge(S), R Pk(I), LH(I)

3.5 - R Sp(S), I Bd(S)

4.0 - R Bw(I), I Ax(S), I Ax(I), R Pk(O), R Pk(X), I Sp(O), R Sp(I), I LH(F), I LH(O), Ps(O), I Kn(I), I

Bd(I), I Bw(O)

4.5 - R Bd(S), I Cv(S), I Kn(F)

5.0 - R Ax(S), R Pk(S), R Sp(O), R Cv(S), R LH(O), R LH(F), I Cv(I), I Kn(O), R Kn(I), I Bd(F), I

Bd(O), R Bd(I), Wb(S), R Bw(O), I Bw(S), I Bw(X)

5.5 - I Kn(X), R Kn(F)

6.0 - I Sp(I), I Ax(O), I LH(S), R Cv(I), R Bd(F), Ps(S), I Kn(S), R Kn(O), I Bd(X), Wb(O), Wb(F), R

Bw(S), I Bw(I)

6.5 - R Kn(X)

7.0 - I Cv(O), R Bd(O), R Bw(X)

7.5 - R Kn(S)

8.0 - R Cv(O), R Ax(O), R Bd(X), I Bw(X/O) DBE

8.5 -

9.0 - R Kn(I) DBE

9.5 -

10.0 - R Bw(X/O) DBE

10.5 -

11.0 -

11.5 - R Kn(X/I) DBE


So far the DBE Kn(X/I) is the worst value element I have found AP for ME.


The interesting thing is how bad Reg Ax(O) are for generating ME for your army - 8 AP for

every ME.

DBMM Regular Generals PIP Allocations by Lawrence Greaves

> More importantly though, the "Low PIP liability" is a myth in another

> way; the "low PIP" command doesn't actually have low PIPs! One of our

> resident statisticians provided this, which I've retained.


>> 2 dice 4.47, 2.53

>> 3 dice 4.96, 3.5, 2.04

>> 4 dice 5.24, 4.10, 2.90, 1.76


> To this can usually be added a regular sub general's bonus PIP, so the

> low PIP command in a 3 command army gets an average of 3.04 PIPs,

> compared to 3.5 for an irregular command. Even a 4th command will end up

> with 2.76 PIPs, still a difference of less than one PIP - for the worst

> command in the army.


> Add in magic tents and it looks even better!


> Extra PIPs for magic tents hand over the following extra PIPs.


>> 0.28 to the highest

>> 0.6 to the middle

>> 0.86 to the lowest.


> So now, the low PIP "fighting" command averages *more* than an irregular

> command, 3.9 for a third command or 3.62 for a fourth.


Phil Barker's Potted History of DBx


The first DB rules were DBC, written at Sue's instance for a nephew she had

given Romans and Brits. His response was to take up Warhammer. DBC was

demonstrated once at COW with 2mm figures in a 4 player game. No vast swell

of enthusiasm.


DBSA was produced as a 10 minute game for an SOA conference, with Sue and I

providing 8 3-dimensional 24" square terrain boards and 8 pair of armies. It

was a huge success with everyone but the then SOA committee, who did not

think it worth supporting or publishing.


The reason for its success was that with a 10 minute game being aimed at,

only absolute essentials could be included and I had to boil things down as

much as possible, telescoping what had been several stages of play into

action and result. Real competition wargamers were hostile to this, but got

shouted down by the intelligent mob.


Public pressure meant that WRG had to publish a revised version as DBA.

Because Paul Bailey was reluctant to sell something that small and cheap, it

was bundled with a campaign system by Richard and army lists mostly by Sue.


More public pressure  led to DBM, so you could have big games with a full

army on a normal table. I invented the mechanisms, Richard did most of the

testing, and we both did the wording. I was the one who argued for





My idea of a good set of wargames rules is that:


1) The player should have the information available to and the restrictions

imposed on a historical general, and should gain the same advantages from

making a plan as a historical general. As far as humanly possible, he should

be that general.


2) The game should be set in something closely resembling the real world,

with all the inconveniences a general had to cope with, including local

geography, the sun rising and setting, occasional bad weather, terrain being

of an inconvenient type or in an inconvenient place (not manipulated by the

player), the possibility of movement by water, treachery, incompetence,

unusual cunning or initiatives by opponents, bad luck and what Clausewitz

calls "friction". A good general (and by extension a good player) is one

that can rise above or even exploit these things.


3) The player should as far as possible only have to do those things a real

general had to do - basically move troops with the ultimate intention of

contacting enemy and observe and exploit the result. A real general did not

have to make calculations, follow testing procedures, place markers or

cross-reference tables, so neither should a player. Mechanisms should be

minimised. Rules should exist to fight a battle with the minimum of fuss,

not to show-off how clever and subtle the rule-writer can be.


4) A real battle had to have a result, or else a lot of people had died for

nothing. A wargame should accordingly favour results. Rules must not

mitigate a local result, but instead try to provide ways to exploit a local

result. Mitigation rules favour the unenterprizing, incompetent or unlucky.

The real world has no favourites.


5) The game should look like a real battle and be seen by participants and

onlookers to progress like a real battle. It should be interesting and



6) The best test of historical accuracy lies in numerous historical

refights, the results of which should fall within the bounds of historical

possibility. This enables you to confidently extrapolate to games between

unhistorical opponents.


7) The game should be played between wargames armies with a close

resemblance to their historical prototypes. This requires the production of

unambiguous and as far as possible historically accurate army lists for the

great majority of the armies of the period and area.


A set of rules that does not conform to these is in my considered opinion

not a set of wargames rules, but just a game played with toy soldiers.



DBMM can be played with miniatures in several sizes on appropriately sized bases. Using 6mm figures gives a much better sense of troop mass on the table than larger figures. While numbers are given for 6mm figures on 15mm bases, I chose to go further by using 6mm figures on the same 60mm frontage used for 25mm figures. After some some mildly complicated math to determine 6mm figure density on 40mm frontage bases, I found that  doubling the numbers used at 40mm frontage was about right.


6mm Figures per 60mm frontage base
Art(O) 4
Ax 22-24
Bd(X) 22-24
Bd Other 32
Bw 22-24
Chariot 4
Cm(X) 4
Cm Other 22-24
Cv 22-24
El 4
Kn(X) 30-32
Kn Other 22-24
LH 8
Pk(X), Pk(F) 22-24
Pk Other 32
Ps 8
Shot(I) 22-24
Sp 32
Wb(F) 22-24
Wb Other 32





Archive of Topics Only Relevant to DBMM Version 1

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