INTRODUCTION AND DESIGN PHILOSOPHY
This variant is not authorized or endorsed by the WRG, although it has been inspired by DBA 1.1 and is intended to be a list of additions to that version. A lot of these changes to the original were brought about by rules queries on Chris Brantley's terrific DBA Resource Page at http://www.erols.com/brant/DBA. Most of these changes and additions can be found on that page and have just been telescoped in the interest of a more complete ruleset; others - such as the firing and the adjustment template - were thought up by the author. To use this variant, which is almost as simple as the original and a bit more historically accurate, you need the DBA published by the WRG.
ADDITIONS TO DEPLOYMENT
Sides of the board are assigned numbers as in DBA 1.1, then players take turns placing terrain. Finally the defender rolls for his board edge and the attacker's is that opposite. The attacker deploys first and goes first. In Big Battle DBA, all players on the attacking side have 45 seconds to confer before they set up; so do the defenders.
ADDITIONS TO TACTICAL MOVES
First of all, a player rolls two dice instead of one and divides the total by two. This total may be rounded up or down to represent excellent or poor generalship in the historical battle or to give the weaker army an advantage.
Psiloi and auxilia groups in bad going, or groups where only the aforesaid troops are in bad going, need not form a column.
Groups never move sideways or rearwards or make oblique forward moves with one exception : armies with list numbers of over 73 - in other words, medieval armies - may make these movements if they did historically, but moving forward obliquely is restricted to an angle of 45 degrees or less. The problem is that some ancient armies (such as the Hellenistic armies) did do these types of moves routinely, and some medieval armies (such as most pike-based armies) prohibited them. You can make adjustments as you feel necessary.
Shallow rivers are crossed at half the bad going rate (Knights cross rivers at 100p per turn) and treacherous rivers are crossed as normal.
No element can move into the recoil space of an enemy element except to move into contact - if it must do this, it backs up to just outside the recoil space. Likewise, no element may move into an enemy elements's forward recoil space, except to move into contact - if it is forced to do so it moves to just outside this space.
The recoil and interpenetrating rules apply, as long as there is room beyond the first element met. Also, when an element is contacted to flank or rear it turns immediately - not at the end of all movement.
ADDITIONS TO DISTANCE SHOOTING
Longbows are marked Lb in the army list and have a range of 400p.
A firing template is used - see the end of the additions - and this eliminates the need for measuring, since all points within the firing template are considered within range.
Elements cannot fire when either element is in close combat, overlapping, supporting, or flank/rear attacking.
An element may not shoot when a BUA, woods, or a hill intervene in the line of sight. An element completely in woods or a BUA cannot shoot or be shot at, unless the elements are 100p or less apart, in which case shooting is unaffected. If the element is partly in woods or a BUA, it may shoot unaffected and be shot at with a -1 modifier to the shooter.
The effects of shooting are just as in close combat except that no bonuses are added for being uphill, across a riverbank, or being in double ranks.
NEW - ADJUSTMENTS
The focus of much controversy is this situation:
/ s -> / /-------- <- Y
Can S initiate combat? The answer is simply called the Adjustment Zone Template - you can use a piece of paper or any other 90 degree angle. Place the corner of the template (in bold) on the corner of the Y touched:
''''''''''' | < template ''''''''''''| ---------- [---------------] <-Y
If more of S is below the backward L, wheel S over to touch its bottom corner to Y's bottom left corner:
|------- <- Y | | <- S
But if more of S is to the right of the L, wheel it to frontal corner-to-corner contact with Y. In this case, S turns to attack Y's front. However, these cases only apply if S only touches front-to-corner or corner-to-corner (adjustments from overlaps are optional and wheel to the flank).
In a front-to-front attack where the corners do not touch another rule applies: if there is 1 centimeter or less between corners, the attacker is moved over to be in corner-to-corner contact, otherwise recoils. Also, if an element ends its movement within 5mm or less of an enemy element to its front, it moves straight ahead to contact with the opponent and then (and only then) it follows the other adjustment rules (obviously, this could only occur if the attackers were not in the recoil or frontal recoil spaces).
All combats occur with flankers and rear-attackers' front at any point along the enemy flank or rear and with frontal attackers in frontal, corner-to-corner contact. At the end of a turn elements which are in contact with enemies but not in such a position recoil.
ADDITIONS TO CLOSE COMBAT
Psiloi may only back up one rank of spears - you can't use both the spear and psiloi modifiers.
In a combat where the attackers are attacking both front and flank/rear, if the attackers lose the flankers are recoiled and the frontal attackers follow the normal outcome rules.
Knights quick-kill Blades.
A recoiling element that recoils from shooting turns toward the threat and then recoils - if there are friendly elements in the way, then these are just pushed out of the way; if there are enemy elements or impassable terrain the turning unit is destroyed. Again, there could only be enemy elements in the way if they were in contact or outside the recoil and frontal recoil spaces. It is okay if an enemy element's recoil space is violated while the recoiling unit is turning since the unit won't stay there.
ADDITIONS TO WINNING AND LOSING
At the end of a bound, if a player has lost an element, he rolls 2 dice and divides by two. If the sum is less than the amount of casualties (general elements count as two elements lost and camps count as two) then the player's army routs.
When an army routs, all elements in that army flee and fight with a -1 modifier in close combat. They must round down when determining movement PIPs and if they already did so they suffer -1 modifier for their PIP score. When an army is routed for the second time it is destroyed. Camp followers never rout. This rule is not absolutely necessary and the original winning and losing rules may be more desirable for shorter and less complicated games.
NEW - BIG BATTLE DBA
Each army consists of three or more commanders; one of them is CinC, or Commander-in-Chief. At the beginning of the bound for that army, the CinC speaks with each subordinate for ten seconds each; then the subordinates have the following amount of seconds to converse among themselves: the number of subordinates times ten seconds. Orders may be passed along - a player should try and obey as many orders from the CinC as possible. Each wing of the army will strive to achieve their part of the battle plan set down in the scenario.
The CinC rolls as many dice as there are players in the army; he then assigns dice scores to the players as he sees fit. The CinC also decides in what order the players will move; however, all the players will move before shooting and combat are resolved.
The generals in Big Battle DBA are mobile; at the cost of one PIP they may move to any other element under their command, as long as it is a trip of 1200 paces or less. The CinC general may move from element to element only if the trip is 800 paces or less. Two generals can never be in the same element at once, but a general must be always be occupying an element at the end of a bound, or else he is destroyed. Also, all generals have a bodyguard of elite troops, either mounted or foot. The historical bodyguard is used if there is one. The general cannot move to a troop type of a different generic (foot or mounted) type than his own bodyguard; also, a bodyguard of elephants is not compatible with horsemen not historically adjusted to the elephants - other common sense incompatible troop rules can also be used. If a general is with a troop type that is the same as his bodyguard the general adds +1, otherwise only +.5. The CinC general adds twice these scores. Note that a general can never affect troops not under his command.
Mercenary soldiers receive no modifiers from generals. At the end of every bound in which the mercenaries have been in combat, they roll 2 dice, dividing by two rounding down. If the dice number is two or less the mercenaries desert and are removed from the board (they only count .5 element lost to army routing, though). If the mercenaries fled from combat they automatically desert. If the mercenaries have their general with them they add +1 to their deserting roll; if the mercenaries have the CinC with them they add +2 to their roll. If the mercenaries recoil in bad going they must roll twice.
NEW - THE FIRING AND ADJUSTMENT TEMPLATES
The adjustment template is just a 90 degree angle. You can use a piece of paper, the corner of a ruler, or whatever else is handy. I'm sorry, but a printable picture is not available of the firing template, so you will have to make your own. Here are the instructions. You will need a protractor, a compass, and a ruler.
Whatever is in the template is an eligible target, with the normal restrictions. You will need templates with ranges of 2, 4, and 5 inches for bows & warwagons, longbows, and artillery respectively.
Here is an example of a template:
/````````\____/````````\____/````````\ \------------------------------------/ '\--------------------------------/' '\----------------------------/' '\------------------------/' '\____________________/'
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Updated: Dec. 29, 1998
My thanks to Noam Levy for working up this proposal. Questions, comments and suggestions are welcome and can be sent to Chris Brantley at IamFanaticus@gmail.com.