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View Full Version : Terrain clarity


GMWestermeyer
12-19-2011, 10:59 PM
So... I've been told on the the Yahoogroups that now there must be a bw between terrain and board edge. So you can't have hills, for example, that about the edge of the board. ANyone know why this choice was made? It seems designed to create specifically ahistorical battlefields...

larryessick
12-20-2011, 12:32 AM
The present terrain rules give much less control over how the battlefield looks. I have elsewhere observed that most of our DBA battles are on pretty ahistorical terrain to start with. It is my contention, not yet really disputed by others, that the vast majority of ancient and medieval battles took place on rather boring terrain that shared common characteristics:

a) One or both flanks were protected by impassable or difficult terrain.
b) The center was generally open, good going and uphill if possible.

Some people feel this is unfair to mounted armies who made great use of wide sweeps and strategic outflanks. My response is that when those armies actually joined battle the battlefields mostly look plain and boring as I've described them.

I believe, however, that the purpose is to allow mobile armies more opportunity to use those wide outflanks in DBA. There seems to be some sense that they have been disadvantaged.

My personal observation is that the BW lane on the edges is not that much of a game changer. It requires detailing off elements to prevent the outflank but that is often going to happen in a game in any case.

I'd recommend you play a few games and see if it is really altering the course of your games.

GMWestermeyer
12-21-2011, 01:57 AM
the vast majority of ancient and medieval battles took place on rather boring terrain that shared common characteristics:



We know nothing, or next to nothing, about the vast majority of ancient and medieval battles. We may not even now they took place. I don't think your supposition is out of hand, but I'm cautious about it.

Choosing the battlefield was a large part of ancient generalship, so removing control of that from the hands of the players makes the game less historical.

I can live with it, it is just annoying. And, it prevents me from making some interesting terrain pieces.

larryessick
12-21-2011, 11:22 AM
We know nothing, or next to nothing, about the vast majority of ancient and medieval battles.

This is undoubtedly true. I should have included the caveat "that we know about" in my statement. I simply presumed that it would be understood.

broadsword
12-21-2011, 03:32 PM
I think we sometimes assume ancient generalship was about carefully choosing the land they fought over. In my opinion (and it is just that) prime consideration was given to route of escape if things went bad, to availability of food and water for bivouac, and to ease of march in approach. I suspect more often that not, preliminary scouting of the battlefield was insufficient, and that generals were constantly surprised that the hills, woods, etc they relied on weren't quite as dense, or were more difficult, than anticipated. I sense that is being represented in the new terrain rules.

larryessick
12-21-2011, 04:10 PM
One theory about Alexander's success is that he routinely scouted whereas his opponents did not.

Dangun
12-22-2011, 08:59 AM
I have elsewhere observed that most of our DBA battles are on pretty ahistorical terrain to start with.

Terrain rules have always been incredible 'gamey'.

* In the historical sources, terrain is very rarely decisive, and very often doesn't feature at all;
* To have half a dozen features on a 2km x 2km battlefield is very ahistorical;
* compulsory steep hills or BUA are silly, almost absent from the sources.

DBA tries to model combat factors 'historically'. But DBA forces a game with an 'ahistoric' equivalent number of pieces on both sides. Terrain must almost necessarily be ahistoric as a way of balancing otherwise unbalanced opponents.

Historical terrain with the ahistoric equivalent number of pieces on each side would suck as a game.

Cheers
Nick