View Full Version : Is there a Historical Reason for the Pike/Blade pursuit rule

michael guth
12-17-2011, 11:38 PM
I think that Trebia and Cannae could be cited as examples where the blades pursued automatically. Cynosephale might do for an example of pikes following up until the were in all kinds of trouble. The pike follow up may be a way of forcing 'gaps' to appear in the pike phalanx to be exploited by blades.

Everyone has noticed that under this new system the retreating troops may gain an advantage over the pursuing troops if the retreating elements flank support now 'overlaps' the impetuous blade/pike. Again, this fits Cannae.

The theory that the retreating troops gain an advantage can be ascribed to Keegan of 'face of battle', who theorizes that the advancing troops would have to clamber over the dead bodies piled up in front of them hence disordering the ranks of the troops following up a retreating enemy. (Why this would be different than spear phalanx combat, where the cry was 'one more foot', I don't know, but spears don't pursue in DBA 3.0.)

I don't find evidence in Caesar's Commentaries of blades breaking formation to pursue warbands. But, in the Teutoberger Wald did Roman swordsmen break ranks to pursue the Germans deeper into the woods? No survivors to tell us. Its possible.

So, maybe there is some history behind this Kool-Aid. But, what is lacking is any way for a general to keep his blades or pike under control. 'A player may retain Pips to prevent mandatory follow-up by pike and blade after combat in his bound.' Might be a good game mechanic because it forces commanders to make a pip management decision. Varro and Paulus were notorious for having poor pip management.


12-17-2011, 11:46 PM
Have you played a single game yet to test the rules? Or, are you just asking questions and seeking reasons to oppose the mechanism?

It seems that regardless of our rationale that Phil Barker thinks there's enough reason to give blades pursuit.

The challenge is to play test the mechanism and see how it affects the game. Are you doing this? If so, where are your battle reports being posted so that we can look at the results?

12-18-2011, 12:47 AM
It would be nice if Mr. Barker would sometimes write up his designer notes. I think the rationale for Pikes and Blades following up is pressure from rear ranks for Pikes, and the active fighting style for Blades, but this is an area that can only be assessed through playtesting, the changes for Elephants being another. My impression from using other impetuous troop types is that pursuit tends to redress itself, but I forsee more EIR vs. Germans and Britons in my gaming future.

12-25-2011, 06:28 PM
The answers you seek are in the DBMM yahoo group archives.

Note that in DBMM, Regular blades can choose not to pursue foot and any foot can choose not to pursue mounted.

Plenty of finer distinctions are lost in DBA... you might find DBMM to be more conceptually accurate.

EDIT: which is to say that DBA must be mostly a GAME whereas DBMM attempts to be historically accurate (whose success you can legitimately debate)