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How to Play

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

Beginners Guide to DBMM v2

DBMM can seem overwhelming for starting players: the amount of history and global extent of the armies covered is intimidating, the rulesbook is written in dense prose that assumes a lot of wargaming knowledge, there is a huge array miniatures manufacturers

Choosing a Competition Army (Graham Briggs)

> My prediction, as ever, is that competitions will be won by the best
> players, rather than specific armies.
> Is any one who has won a competition modest enough to disagree?
> Phil

Usually true. But part of that is working out which troop combinations to avoid
in an army list.

The problem with picking an army based around what is perceived as the "killer
troop type" is that opponents will not come out and fight. Or perhaps they have
chosen the same and it becomes a lottery.

I found in DBM that my most successful armies tended to be the ones that looked
weak enough to encourage my opponents but were tougher than they looked.

The old adage of "think about which is the army type most likely to do well in
this competition, then take the army that beats it" was always handy.


Army Design (Dragonfan79, Doug Melville, Tim Child, Rob Brennan)


Optimum number of commands?


three good.. four better.


The answer, for me, is that it all depends. :o)

With a "controlled" army (i.e. one with mainly non-impetuous troops), my
preference is always to maximise PIPs, because that gives me the most
opportunities to do something in the game - therefore personally I always go for
4 generals if possible. Usually, one of these will be an ally. Sometimes
(especially with top-end regular armies where every element is very expensive in
AP) 4 commands would end up with them all being so small as to be useless, so in
those cases 3 commands is all that is viable.

4 commands has a knock-on in terms of reduced break-points for each of these
commands, but hopefully you can make up for that by fighting with all 4
commands, so the same number of elements are at risk anyway.

With regular commands, I would usually look to have 2 decent-sized commands and
a PIP-dump, and to structure those commands with their PIP-role in mind
(highest, middle, lowest). So I might put Irr Kn in a command with the CinC and
the highest dice, Reg Cv and Bw in with a Sub and the middle dice, and a
PIP-dump skirmish command with the low dice. Balance for the army's overall
size can come from the Bge and/or an allied command.

With impetuous armies, three big even-sized commands would be the norm (probably
best for durability), but I have had a lot of fun with having one huge command
(75%+ of the army) and two micro-commands.

Regular vs irregular generals or mix?


regular or irregular generals (IMO Irreg), though there is a school of thought
that irreg generals and reg troops is a good combo.
- with 4 commands, especially with reg generals a micro comand is de rigeur,
less so with three


Inert/Brilliant or neither?


generally speaking I have found (under 1.0) that both Inert & Brilliant
Generals are workable, but there are tricks such as the baggage dump for Inert
that compensated. Not sure they will be quite so usable under 2.0


Ooh, there's a choice... Horses for courses. If you're taking a brilliant general, think through carefully what you intend to do with him and how the army will work with his brilliant extras. The ability to PIP-swap at a moment's notice or to double-PIPs is probably the most crucial, but Flank Attack or Exchange Commands are also neat tricks if you pull them off.

Reg Inert generals were a gimme where the army had a PIP-dump to compensate. It's a trick that will probably still work with a 4-command regular army like
the NKE, but not to the same extent as it did with 5 dice! I'm very tempted by the Inert African Vandal option now that impetuous troops remain impetuous
despite being led by an inert CinC - that's an army where you're probably best charging in anyway, so 75AP gets you an extra 8 Kn(F) to do some damage with...


Commands; even ME or one or more small commands?


Baggage or no baggage?


> - army or command baggage?


To my mind it's a no-brainer in 2.0. It costs little, adds to the army's overall ME and even if you lose it only the army suffers, not the fighting-command. Max it out. If you can take Reg Bge or Bge(S), grab it. Always take army Bge if you can, as that adds to the command and also to the army ME (i.e. it counts double) with no real risk to the contributing command.


Army Command Baggage (ACB)
For Irr Bge, since losing the baggage has no effect on the fighting commands,
merely contributing (say) 6ME to the army's overall break point, there will be
situations in which it is almost not much more than a tie-breaker (i.e. the
fighting commands need to be broken anyway to break the army).

With Reg Bge, 12ME is a big hit toward breaking the army.

Don't forget, however, that Army baggage is still a command, so when it is
broken it does inflict a temporary ME penalty on other commands within 800p.
For 12ME or less camps, that's only a +1, but if the Reg army Baggage command
also has some other troops to take it over 12ME (or is a 16ME 4-reg-command
camp) the +2ME temporary penalty might well tip others over the edge.

Tim Child

--- In DBMMlist@yahoogroups.com, "richa_eire" <richard.aynsley@...> wrote:
> Yep - once you get there its simple and Regular Baggage the one of choice. But
it really needs protecting !



- Value for money

Scouting - don't leave home without it. For the others, Ambush is handy for getting troops out wide who can't normally deploy there, but 10pts is quite a lot of troops. For all the others, you have to have a good plan in mind, and if you do they can all be good value. The hardest one to get to work, personally, is Guides, but even that I've seen used well (threading LH through a Wd on my rear edge that I thought was protecting the flank of my camp...)


scouting is almost mandatory, feigned flight is very useful, but
will be less so under 2.0, ambush has merits etc.. really it is a combo of the
army and general type that adds value to the stratagems. For example a mono-type
army gets little benefit from the changed deployment etc.

The Bruce's Advice

I agree that most Regular armies with Regular generals are generally too
expensive to make 4 commands practical. It can be done, but my experience has
been that the commands are all too small. While getting them all into combat so
that the same amount elements is at risk anyway is certainly advisable, it's not
always practical or even possible, for a variety of reasons. For one, you simply
might not have enough PIPs to get them all into battle.

I always take Army baggage; it's cheap & nutritious!

Strategems: Scouting is invaluable for the AP investment. The only issue I have
with it is that the scouts come from the CinC's command, so you need to design
your army with that in mind. I've never used FF yet, but I have it purchased for
various "project" armies; I think it would be very useful, if timed properly.
I've used Ambush to very nice effect, & I like it a lot; besides, an
undiscovered Ambush is quite entertaining!

In one game, my opponent used Guides to a minorly nifty effect, getting his
troops over a nasty bit of rough terrain that I'd placed in his deployment area;
that's the only time I've seen it used. Unusual Troops, I think, is almost a
necessity if you're going to use Exp -- especially as an attacker -- to ensure
placement for maximum impact. I've seen no use at all for things like Disguised
Troops or Exaggerated Army size, & would never spend APs on either one. I don't
see a lot of point to regularly purchasing Delayed Battle. Changing Deployment
could potentially be very useful, but I've never seen it used & can't comment
further. I don't really have much of an opinion of other strategems.

I don't personally like masses of impetuous troops, but that's only because I'm
an unskilled numpty with no head for figuring out how to use them. I like my
troops controlled & disciplined, so they do what I want, when I want. As a
result, I tend to stick with more Regular armies, or at least those with Regular
generals. Despite the cost, I find the extra movement a Regular Subbie confers
to regular troops quite helpful. Still, having said that, 90 points for 3
elements of Reg Cv (S) is ouch-inducing. My Ottomans, at 300 points, see 20% of
their APs tied up in just 2 elements, & the thought of running Reg Kn (S)
generals makes me cry myself to sleep. Of course, I could go with the Irr Kn (S)
Serbian subbie, but I don't have Serbians yet, & considering the 48 points
required for 4 elements of Serbian vlastela, I'm not sure the difference would
be worth the partially guided missile. Beyond that, including the Serbians means
an Ottoman army commanded by the
Sultan or Grand Vizier, & that also means Jannissaries & Qapu Kulu, which
further add to the expense. At 400 points, all of that can be carefully fit in,
but at 300, it's somewhat more difficult.

As an example of how I think, here's my current 300-point Hellenistic Achaians:

CinC: 1 element Reg Kn (F) -- 31 points
Achaian cavalry: 4 elements Reg Kn (F) -- 44 points
Thracian cavalry: 4 elements Irr LH (O) -- 16 points
Thracian mercenaries: 4 elements Irr Ax (S) -- 16 points
20 MEs
Subgeneral: 1 element Reg Kn (F) -- 31 points
Phalangites: 20 elements Reg Pk (O) -- 80 points
Mercenary theurophorii: 12 elements Reg Ax (S) -- 60 points
Skirmishing archers & slingers: 8 elements Reg Ps (O) -- 16 points
Incendiary Pigs: 1 element Reg Art (X) -- 4 points
40 MEs
Army baggage: 2 elements Irr Bge (I) -- 2 points
This army doesn't have strategems, because my regular opponent & I are still
"learning" the game & are holding off on adding strategms for later. Also, the
Thracian mercenaries are, in the list, supposed to be Illyrians, but since the
list allows for Thracian light horse, I see no reason not to replace Illyrian Ax
(S) with Thracian Ax (S).
My regular opponent is running Polybian Romans, with the standard 16/8/4 mix of
hastati/principii, velites, & triarii, a small cavalry reserve led by his CinC,
& a scattering of Macedonian Ax (I) levies. While he's a fairly good player &
generally better than I am, I've won the last two games since I switched from
Later Macedonian to Hellenistic Greek. IMO, the primary difference lies in the
Hellenistic list having large amounts of theurophorii. I deploy the pike in one
big block, flanked to either side by 6 elements of theurophorii & 4 elements of
Ps (O) skirmishers; the Romans have significant trouble matching up to that
frontage, & the theurophorii definitely hold their own in open combat. I then
use that large foot mass as an "anvil" against which I pound the Roman cavalry
with my lancers, while using the Thracians to support the flanks of the lancers
& search for overlaps & hard-flanks.
I've no idea how this army would hold up against other historical enemies, much
less an open competition.

Extended Examples of Army Design/Evolution

Constructing Ottomans for an Open Comp - D. Mather


Terrain Selection


The most basic question when selecting terrain is "Does my army want a dense or an open board?". The second question is "Does my opponent's army want a dense or an open board?". Your decision to aim for an open or closed board should be based on the answers to both of these questions, with your own army's preference dominating in most games. I have a general rule that if both players opt for the same density of terrain then one of them is making a mistake. Similarly I would view picking moderate amounts of terrain as a mistake - some terrain will be discarded by the terrain placement system and once you have a piece being positioned on the board you can moderate its influence via precise positioning or orientation. Hence the only way to maximise the chances of a battlefield you are happy with is to maximise the number of choices you have during the terrain placement proceedure. DBMM reinforces this decision for attackers as if they do not use all their 0-2 FE (Feature Equivilents, the relative size or cost of the terrain feature in DBMM terrain placement) worth of terrain then the defender can use them as additional picks. This is obviously a disaster for an attacker that wants open terrain so use your picks (on open terrain types).


In general, especially when a low aggression army that often defends, you can have a predetermined selection of terrain picks. The reason a high aggression army has less ability to pre-plan terrain selections is that the defender may have an unusual terrain list that limits or forces you to change your optimal choices.


The most crucial terrain selection choice, in terms of its ability to influence the outcome of a game, is when you have to adapt your standard preference for open or dense terrain based on your opponent's army e.g. when an infantry army meets a mounted army it is obvious that the infantry army will go for dense terrain and the mounted army open terrain. However when a regular terrain-based infantry army (normally favours dense terrain) meets an irregular, impetuous infantry army (normally favours dense terrain) the both sides have some interesting choices - I'd suggest that the more maneuverable army wants open terrain in this case.


Sometimes your army has very specific terrain selection requirements, e.g. a large naval force that needs somewhere to deploy or a camel-based army that longs for dunes to glide through, and this will dominate over the basic open or dense terrain choice outlined above.


One final influencing factor on terrain selection in competition play, although I am almost loath to mention it, is that complex, cluttered battlefields are easier than open ones to defend within competition time-frames. Hence, when faced with an army mis-match or a far stronger player then some people will opt for dense terrain, regardless of army characteristics. In this case it would be my preference to come up with a strategy that somehow mitigates the opponent's advantages but I accept that this does not always maximise likely victory points per game (although I would argue that it maximises the likelyhood of an interesting game). Nonetheless the fact that some opponents might adopt this strategy could influence your own terrain choices when you are on the better end of such a army or player match-up.


By the end of this section you should know if you want open or dense terrain for your army. The next sections give guidance on how to achieve it.

Allocating a Number to a Board Edge

This is a "new" part of DBMM terrain selection compared to DBM where the board edges are numbered 1-4 and the defender first allocates 5 to another edge and then the invader does likewise. The default choice I have observed is to pick your own base edge for your allocated number. There are good reasons for this:

  • A player's base edge is one of the long edges of the board and you have more control of terrain placed on a long edge since the restrictions in terms of area feature distances from previously placed area features are less onerous.
  • You are likely to want to control the terrain in and around your deployment area and this is more likely if more individual features are placed on your own board edge.
  • Pieces are less likely to be discarded if the allocated numbers are on long board edges and usually a player wants to get to place his pieces in order to influence the final terrain.

However there are also good reasons for other, less typical, board edge picks:

  • If your opponent has a Rd or Rv and you are the attacker then you can maximise the chances of it being discarded by picking the same board edge as your opponent. The opposite also holds, if you are an attacker placing a Rv then you will not want tp pick the same edge as your opponent.
  • If you genuinely want no terrain or want an open flank and a closed flank (eg if you have a narrow frontage of fighting troops) then it may pay-off to pick one of the flank edges as your allocated number.
  • If you want to saturate your opponent's side of the board with terrain, e.g. because you think they will find this hard to deal with or if you want to place "blocking terrain" there to prevent them placing their desired terrain e.g. to prevent likely corner-sitting.
  • If you want to maximise the chance of terrain being discarded then pick the same edge as your opponent.
  • If you wish to place a lake then you "must" take a  side edge to maximise its chance of being placed.


As can be seen from this list of circumstances the invader has a significant advantage by being second to allocate a number to a side edge becase he can react to the defenders choice. Note that both players make this choice after all terrain has been piacked so this can influence your choice - particularily for Rv.


Invaders Who Want Open Terrain

1. It is vital to use your 2FE of terrain picks since otherwise the defender will get to use them (against you).



Invaders Who Want Closed Terrain

Defenders Who Want Open Terrain

Defenders Who Want Closed Terrain

Tactical Advice

Avoiding Night Attacks

Pick an army that has cold or cool climate, high aggression, is all-mounted and use the scout stratagem.

Always invade in Winter since night attacks are not allowed then.


The type of army most vulnerable to night attacks is a low aggression army with a Tropical climate who is attacked in summer - this has approximately a 25% chance of being attacked at night.


Types of Armies/Troops Most Affected by the Weather/Time of Day Rules

The main troop types effected are: naval, Irr LH and shooters.

Mud can have quite an effect on chariots/knights although it is pretty rare.

Any reduced visibility weather (fog, mist, snow, duststorm, night, etc) is worse for mounted than for foot since it reduces move rates to a parity. Also

regular armies turning to irregulars (as there is no PIP allocation) and attackers always moving first due low visibility.


Playing a Successor/Pike Army by Peter Barrett

Re: Phalanx armies in v2?

Adrian asked: "I have a real hankering to collect those Xyston figures..."

Lovely figures!

"...and have looked at Antigonos' army (Asiatic Successor) repeatedly - but how
do you play pike armies in v2?"


Seriously, I've used a couple of Pk armies over the years, and I find that
simple historical tactics are a great place to start. I'd also suggest having
your first couple of practice games against historical opponents of various
Hellenistic armies. Once you've got that worked out, you can start to come up
with tactics for dealing with the weird stuff you'll run into in open

"Never played pikes in any DB iteration so at a complete loss!"

In DBMM, I'd always recommend four ranks, in the centre of the army, and advance
straight towards the enemy. The great strength of the phalanx is its massive
combat factor, which means you should have the confidence to face anything, even
Wb (S). You can take advantage of the free PIP for marching Pk to give that
command the lowest PIP dice, meaning your flanks have plenty of PIPs to play

With Antigonos's army, I don't think I'd be willing to risk the Pk (I) - too
vulnerable to archery and to combat opponents who need to double you.

"The "classic" set-up looks right with centre of phalanx, wings of mounted and
terrain troops - but what about nellies and those strange Kn(F)."

If I have Ele in a Hellenistic army, I generally place them on the opposite
flank to the Kn (F). Ele are desperately vulnerable to enemy Ps, so you might
like to give the Ele command some Ax (O) as anti-Ps protection. Ps on the
opposite wing provide protection against enemy Ele. So the two flank commands
will both have potentially decisive troops, but they also both need plenty of
cheap support troops.

The Kn (F) in single-based wedge have two disadvantages, one minor and one not
so minor. The minor disadvantage is that they're impetuous, but as they're
regular it's trivial to keep them under control. And the bound you want them to
charge in you can let them go and save yourself a PIP for use elsewhere. The
other disadvantage is the loss of the quick kill against Cv. This is annoying
but not a showstopper. Some have suggested that this means these sorts of Kn
should be deployed against enemy infantry, and certainly they're good at that
job. But the wedges' advantages provide good reasons to deploy them against
enemy mounted too.

Firstly, they can't be overlapped, except by LH (F). Therefore, once the lines
of combat get all messed up, you'll have overlaps all over the place, but your
opponent won't have any against you. As a result, you can confidently send the
Kn (F) in against any Kn opponent, even Kn (S). The second advantage is that
because your bases are deeper, you retain overlaps against opponents which other
Kn would lose.

Other things to consider:

1. Ax (O) are very useful. They count only 0.5 ME, which means that each loss
counts less towards reaching breakpoints. In other words, don't be afraid to
throw them in.

2. Bolt shooters may be useful - perhaps one at each end of the phalanx to help
break up enemy formations. The downside is that they slow you down.

3. Given Antigonos has an Agression of 3, you're slightly favoured to be the
invader. On that basis you might like to consider a couple of naval elements,
perhaps Gal (F) that can deploy on Sea or Waterway.

Good luck.


Peter B

Deployment Advice for New Players by A. Bennetts (+ others)

> I have been a member of this group for a short period, and this

> is my first post.


[AB] Welcome to the mad house!


> I am about to play my first game of DBMM, after spending some

> time reading the rules. I have played a reasonable amount of DBM and

> DBR, and feel reasonably comfortable that I understand how the game

> works.


> However, I am in conversation with a friend, who has recently

> played his first and only game of DBMM, and did not enjoy it at

> all. He felt that the Initial Deployment set the tone for the whole

> game and meant he had very little chance of getting a victory out

> of it.

PeterBarrett (PB)>** With a little experience it shouldn't have too much influence. Remember, whoever deploys first usually moves first.


> He was invader and deployed first in his game (Pyrrhic). His

> opponent was then able to deploy the elements in each of his

> commands as he wished and ensure he had the best match ups to suit

> his army (Later Crusader). My friend felt that this aspect of the

> deployment phase prevented him having any chance in the game that

> ensued.


[AB] This is a common complaint of many people starting in DBMM, particularly with a background with other rules. However, if you and your friend persevere, you will find the situation not quite as unbalanced as it seems at first. The key is to be aware of the possibilities and plan accordingly.



PB** One thing I'd suggest here is that DBMM is a bit sensitive to out-of-period match-ups. May I recommend that your first game involve historical enemies.


> I have a couple of questions as a result of this (apologies for

> any repeats as I am sure they have been asked before) -


PB** Don't worry about that. But perhaps you might like to visit the DBMM forum and have a look there. That's a much better place for finding old pieces of advice.


> 1. Is it correct that any general deploying second, can deploy

> the elements of each command as and where it suits him (given the

> flank deployment restrictions)? I can understand this for

> Alexander, Hannibal or Scipio and the like, but it seems remarkably

> flexible for your common or garden ancient/medieval general.


[AB] The relative positions of the commands of the player deploying second must still comply with the deployment plan they would have written down at Stage 1 of deployment (p22), before they have seen the enemy deployment. The elements of each command must also deploy inside a rectangle that does not intersect that of another command (top of p22) so elements from different commands cannot intermingle. However, within these restrictions, elements can be placed as desired having seen the enemies deployment.


PB** As Andrew pointed out, you have to specify rectangles that don't overlap for each command, and all troops of that command must deploy inside that command's rectangle. So you'll have to have your commands organised as left, centre, right or front, centre, back. However, within the rectangle, you can deploy that command's troops as you like.


> 2. What options does a non-brilliant general deploying first

> have in this situation?


[AB] Quite a number really. Odds are that the Defender will be the one deploying first and this means that they will have had greater control of the terrain. As the player deploying first will normally get the first move and is able to deploy further forward, this gives great opportunity to seize important terrain and to pin the enemy to the other side of the table, giving you more room to manouver.

The greater depth of deployment also allows you to have many of your troops in column, ready to march off as required once YOU have seen your opponents deployment.

You can also use a Delayed Command or one or more Flank Marches to keep troops hidden off the table or you can conceal them on table using the 'Ambush' or 'Concealed Command' stratagems. While they are somewhat harder to use (and sometimes limited by army), the 'Exaggerating Army Size', 'False Reinforcements' and 'Disguised Troops' stratagems can be useful to confuse the enemy about your deployment while the 'Unusual Troops' stratagem can be very effective in the right circumstances, as can 'Changing Deployment' (although this does require a Brilliant General).

The key is to have a plan about how your army will handle deploying first and you need to start formulating this plan even as you design your army in advance of the battle, be it a one off game or part of a tournament.

What troops do I have that are particularly sensitive to poor matchups? If I have to deploy first, how will I screen these? Are the troops necessary to screen them in the right commands?

What terrain do I need and how can I improve my chances of getting in the right place?

What stratagems can I afford and how do I design the army to get the most from them?

These are the sorts of questions you need to have answered before you even see the battlefield and, having done so, you'll find deploying first less of a problem. Indeed some players (including myself although I make no great claims as a competitive player) actually find they prefer to deploy first - exploiting that opportunity to move first can give you a game winning advantage!


Lawrence Greaves adds:

Another option you should consider is deploying a few delaying elements forward

and the rest of the army well back to give it time to react to the opponent's



And From Peter Barrett:


** The first thing that comes to mind is your terrain selections. A year or so ago, a poster described his experience of running a (Marian?) Roman army against an Early German army. As the invader, he got to deploy second, and could easily tell there was a missing German command. But where was it? Flank marching left? Flank marching right? Delayed? In ambush? But which wood? It was enough to drive him to distraction. Try to encourage this paranoia in your opponent...

** Second, you don't have to deploy at the front of your deployment zone. If you need to (though with Andrew's advice, you shouldn't have to), trade some space for time. If you're really concerned, and have the army that can do it, deploy your army in columns well back, and deploy as necessary.

** Third, have a screen of expendable troops - psiloi is perfect for this, if your army has them. The rest of the army can deploy behind them.


** Fourth, take advantage of the fact that you move first. Just because your opponent deployed his elephants in front of your knights doesn't mean you have to send your knights straight forward. See what match-ups you can make. March aggressively to make him dance to your tune; a column of LH led by a Cv general scooting down one flank can be a wonderful distraction.

** Fifth, again, as Andrew points out, use stratagems. For me, stratagems are the one of the best things about DBMM, and a wonderful way to bolster an otherwise bland army. Your opponent should think himself very lucky if what he sees of your army is what he actually gets to face. Are you defending? Have a couple of ambushes. Use the Exaggerate Numbers stratagem to convince him that your main effort will be on the other flank. If your army can have scythed chariots, attach them to a large command which deploys as wide as the table, then use the Unusual Weapons stratagem to deploy the chariots after he deploys his army, anywhere along the front of your army. Fortify your baggage and use the Delay Battle stratagem to increase the chance of your flank marches arriving. Send out a few Ps (I) with the Scouts stratagem. Even if you don't find anything, you increase the chance of destroying the elements he sends out as scouts.


> 3. Has any consideration been given to making this part of the

> game less black and white? There have always been plenty of examples in the DBx family of rules of quite complex solutions to some problems, but it seems the Initial Deployment phase has not had a lot of attention.

** It's probably not necessary. For example, in my game tonight, I deployed first, yet I won 23-2 (my Hellenistic Greek Achaians v Attalid Pergamene). Part of it was a result of the troops my opponent decided to take, and part of it was good luck on my part (but that was only in combat...you should have seen my PIPs!). But a lot of it was a combination of stratagems (in this case Ambush and Exaggerated Numbers) and movement to generate good match-ups.

** At Cancon last year I took a Nikephorian Byzantine army which included only 4 Psiloi elements, and in one of my games I ran into Medieval Vietnamese, with heaps of Auxilia and Psiloi among other troops. I was the invader, and between us, Nick and I placed about seven pieces of terrain, including a large wood in roughly the middle of the table. As a result of the deployment dice I had to deploy first, but I was convinced Nick would have a lot of stuff in ambush. So I used the Scouts stratagem, assigning 2 Cv (S) in addition to 2 LH to do the scouting. My rolls succeeded and I lost no troops in finding out that Nick had hidden an entire command, including 2 elephants, in the large wood. But now that I'd found it he had to deploy it (and the hidden obstacle he'd deployed somewhere else) before my army. I was then able to deploy in such a way as to take advantage of this, even though I didn't get to see how the rest of his army deployed. As a result, I was able to break this command and seize the initiative. I didn't win the game, but the score at the end was 15-10 in my favour.

Playing Wb Armies by Lawrence Greaves

My limited experiences with warband are all with (F) which are a different animal from (S). However, I have used Irr Sp(O) a lot and I think these are more like Wb(S) in that they are 1 ME, slow moving, impetuous and quite hard to kill from the front, and Wb(S) are probably ony marginally worse than Sp(O) against mounted, once you account for the grading factor.

I came to the conclusion that the way to go is to have two large commands (36ME or more) which deploy up front (left and right) and one command with the CinC that deploys back behind the other two.

The front commands need enough support troops to cover their own flanks and also to take advantage when columns push past each other in a big melee. You might also find a block of Wb able to advance forward with little opposition (as the enemy gets out of the way) which opens up an enemy flank so you need some follow-on troops to exploit this.

The main infantry blocks in these commands need to be 7 or 8 wide, no more, and deployed with a bit of a gap between them so you can wheel them to aim at their target ASAP without the rear ranks kicking out and interfering with the ajacent block. This means you are attacking on a 16 element frontage. This should be enough to break half the enemy army - you can afford to ignore the rest and must ruthlessly avoid the temptation to spend PIPs to get easy kills on them. Once the blocks are aiming at the enemy, you can consider letting them go to get the extra 80p move.

THese two commands may take a lot of casualties as they are likely to be outflanked. You just need sufficient sacrificial flank/rear guards to stop the enemy getting behind the warband en-masse. At 36 ME+ these commands can soak up a lot of losses on the way to frontal victory.

That leaves the reserve command probably around the 21 ME mark. I include 8 mounted spear as they are fairly fast moving. You could try a column of 8 warband. Point it where you want it to go and then let it go sponno at 240p per bound, then join the CinC onto it just before you want to deploy into line. This command also should have a line of Ps (or other cheap troops) that moves up behind the rest of the army to interfere with anything that gets behind the two front commands. I also put a few cavalry in this command (there is more cavalry in the front commands). This command ends up interfering with enemy outflanking moves as much as it does supporting the main attack and often does not do much fighting.

I've not looked at your army list to see what support troops are available, but I suggest you try something like this, or two commands with the ally behind instead of the CinC, or maybe  2 commands up, ally behind, CinC with tiny reserve behind that.

You also want fairly open terrain as ideally the enemy will fritter away his best troops going round your flank instead of ploughing through the warbands from the front, or (if he does choose a frontal attack) will have to sacrifice depth or use weaker troops to cover all your frontage. However, one 2FE difficult is handy to constrain a flank (either on your side of the table or, better, on his).

The key to success is sending the reserves early enough to the right place(s) to follow up anticipated success and/or mitigate failure, of which the first is probably most important. The decision needs an element of "fingerspitzengefuhl" and I still don't get it right all the time, but I think it would be worth persisting to see if you can develop it.

Playing Mongols/Maneuver Armies by Pete Haines

Basically, when you have set up the terrain you roll off to see whether the
defender still deploys first or not. Its this dice roll that determines weather
as well. If the invader scores double then they set up first and move first
instead of the defender.

An all mounted force (includes Ps, Bge(F), naval) can adjust the dice score by
+3 or -1. So - you get more say on whether you are deploying.noving first or

Deploying second lets you optimise the initial matchups but deploying first
means you move first so you can set the agenda by taking key terrain etc.
Difficult to advise which is best because it all depends on other variables. You
can however make a virtue of either based on your plan.

To take Ag4 Mongol Conquest as an example - chances are you will be invading and
will therefore be deploying/moving second. This means you will be able to
optimise your matchups but the enemy will get a chance to close you down before
you move.

Being all mounted gives you a better chance (but nothing is certain with d6's
remember) to flip this about. As your army is essentially Cv(S) and Lh(S)
matchups could be argued to be less important - its not like you have Bd(X) or
El you want to line up against Kn for example - so deploying first isn't such a
worry. It does mean that the opponent will get a chance to line up on you though
so your deployment HAS to be a con trick - smoke and mirrors to get them to
deploy where you want before you jiggle everything around. If you have a Genghiz
or Subodei and a change deployment stratagem then this doesn't even require
pips. If not then work out where you really want to be and then deploy somewhere
misleading but from where you can get to your real position on turn 1.

There's loads more to it of course but I hope this helps to get you thinking
through the options. Trouble is that the Mongol is a tool for outwitting
opponents. A good game for the Mongols can often be a dull exercise in grasping
at shadows for the opponent, its a bit unfortunate in that regard as you won't
enjoy many nice simple frontal bashes.

Incidentally I have a slightly different perspective on the Hd(I) than the other
folks who responded. For 4 AP for 8 of them then I see the Hd(I) as a
potentially very useful stratagem - don't think of them as troops as there is
nothing they can even mildly inconvenience. The trick with them is to use them
to get within 400p of the enemy to curtail their marching leaving all your
proper troops to migrate to the bit of the battlefield where the real
possibilities exist. Just slap some on a table, go round to the other side and
work out how many turns it takes to get past them - most often an enemy will
have 2-3 turns of tactical moves rather than marches, even assuming they kill
all of them at first time of asking. If there was a 5ap stratagem that stopped a
command using march moves for 3 turns then it would get used a lot.

If you do end up deploying second, remember you don't have to set up right at
the front of your deployment zone. This just makes it easier for an enemy moving
first to set the agenda. Use the depth of the table to your advantage - it helps
to think where your opponent might be after a turn of marches and deploy
somewhere that those moves won't compromise.

Playing CvS under DBMMv2 by Rob Brennan, Pete Haines and Tim Child

IMO with CvS under v2 it is essential that you strike first with them as they
have no defensive bonus in the enemy bound. This means that you generally need
to pin the enemy frontally with something else and then use the CvS to either
reinforce the melee, interpenetrate through a screen of your LH/foot or move
round and attack the enemy flank/rear.

These are all doubly-encouraged since CvS are 2ME and help keep the other
(0.5/1ME) troops fighting for longer and if the command becomes disheartened are
the best troops to keep on fighting/finish off the enemy (since the above approaches ensure they are committed second).


I agree with Rob's comments when facing mounted.

Against foot (not Bw obviously) you can TZ them and wait. If they move in to you
they won't get any Ps aupport and will be at best a 4-4 so they shouldn't do too
much. Also you will +1 if you win with (S) v foot in their bound. This might
create the odd gap but in any event you can then exploit any recoils for
overlaps in your bound secure in the knowledge you get +1 if losing and don't
count overlapped yourself. This allows you to perhaps do some 50-50's first on
the dice rollers chance of setting up some double overlaps - effectively probing
for weaknesses. Of course while these enemy are pinned and being (hopefully)
slowly worn down you need to find a proper hole somewhere else. You also need
enough reserves to fill in for the occasional 6-1 abomination - at least
casulaties are more likely in the enemy bound so you will get a chance to
replace them before any hard flanking happens.

Circumstances differ obviously but I think there will be times when this
approach is sensible


"Once hit by an enemy, Irr Cv(S) are useless.. anything that recoils cannot
respond due to pip stress. flanking is extremely difficult.. etc etc..." - Doug M


Surely the answer, then is to stop trying to use them as, effectively, a
monotype? For armies that have to have lots, concentrate them is one block,
under the CinC. For armies with a few, use them as above.


A DBMM (v2) Glossary


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