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Dale Hurtt
01-02-2010, 02:01 PM
Do you find that, in a campaign game, when the invaded party is at a disadvantage, they tend to turtle behind rivers? Does the campaign, in essence, degenerate into a series of river assaults until both sides are even again?

Given that the invaded party sets the terrain, it seems like when they are disadvantaged - say defending with 25% fewer elements - they are going to throw out rivers in hopes turtling behind them.

Is this what the rest of you find happens?

Dale

Kontos
01-02-2010, 02:34 PM
I will admit not to have played DBA campaigns and in tournaments rivers and BUAs are forbidden but, from a historical perspective, a disadvantaged army is foolish not to take advantage of terrain on the defensive. I need not cite examples due to the knowledgeable members of this forum who already know countless examples. I have played many Monday Night DBA Battles against my friend Jan (winterbadger here on the forum) who loves to tweak me with BUAs and rivers. I have probably been fortunate to have won more river crossing battles than I have lost and thoroughly enjoy these types of games differing from standard tourney play. Maybe river battle after river battle could get "old" after a time but if you're down 12-8 in elements, what do expect a defender to do other than "turtle" in his castle and accept a siege? Now that's boring at this level. Just another case of "it is what it is". If this is truly detracting from your campaign fun, an alternative might be to set limits on how many times any defender may choose certain terrain types during a campaign based on their historical topography?

Just my opinion.

Frank

Roland Fricke
01-02-2010, 02:46 PM
I don't like DBA campaigns where you lose elements from the next game. DBA has only 12 elements, flanks are huge so having a few element advantage at the start of a game can severely disadvantage the smaller side. DBM can do this as the numbericla differences are don't impact as amuch but in DBA I think it unbalances the game. The two Davids have you start with 12 elements in every game no matter how well r poor you do in the campaign level. Makes for a better game in my opinion.

Dale Hurtt
01-02-2010, 03:44 PM
The two Davids have you start with 12 elements in every game no matter how well r poor you do in the campaign level. Makes for a better game in my opinion.
Considering that the point of a campaign - at least why I play them - is to have consequences from one battle flow to the next, how would always starting with 12 elements be better? How does one battle impact another if there are no consequences to bad play?

Just wondering how they pull it off. Game play with continuity have always been a Wargaming Holy Grail for me. DBA campaigns seem about the best so far, other than maybe adding a buffer so one game doesn't knock you out.

Dale

Roland Fricke
01-02-2010, 06:05 PM
Considering that the point of a campaign - at least why I play them - is to have consequences from one battle flow to the next, how would always starting with 12 elements be better? How does one battle impact another if there are no consequences to bad play?


I guess one of the consequences will be that you have peope turtling behind rivers.

I prefer to leave it relatively even and the points system for winning the campaign is the natual consequence. One downside of the penanty for losing system is that if a player thinks the batlle is uneven they will do whatever is necessary to not lose (rather than tryign to win) including delaying the game and turtling.

By keeping each game even at 12 elements each player has a reasonable chance of winning and will try to make a better game of it.

David Kuijt
01-02-2010, 08:06 PM
Considering that the point of a campaign - at least why I play them - is to have consequences from one battle flow to the next, how would always starting with 12 elements be better? How does one battle impact another if there are no consequences to bad play?


The "campaign theme" events we run are not true campaigns -- they are a campaign-type event designed to run to completion within a convention timeslot, which is not quite the same thing. We have some constraints that a true campaign do not have. For example (off the top of my head):

Every player fights a battle every round
Battles are only 1-on-1 (because of the above)With that said, there are LOTS of consequences due to the results of battles. But loss of elements is not one of them, not in the way we have run them so far.

David Kuijt
01-02-2010, 08:12 PM
I will admit not to have played DBA campaigns and in tournaments rivers and BUAs are forbidden

Rivers aren't forbidden, in most tournaments. I think there are only one or two tournaments I remember hearing about where rivers are forbidden, and I don't think I have ever played in one.

BUAs aren't forbidden either, in more than half the tournaments out there. They are forbidden more often than rivers, but I would guess that less than 1/4 the tournaments out there specifically forbid BUAs.

With that said, you'll almost never see either BUAs or Rivers in HMGS-East tournaments. Because people want to do well, and so nobody puts out BUAs or Rivers because failing to finish a game almost always eliminates you from contention in any tournament using the NASAMW scoring system (which treats all unfinished games no better than losses).

So they aren't forbidden (most of the time), but very few people use them. And there is strong social pressure against using them as well -- because two-hour games may be enjoyable, but they will never fit into a network of fifty or sixty other one-hour games. Which is the only reason for having a time limit in the first place.

Dale Hurtt
01-02-2010, 08:21 PM
With that said, there are LOTS of consequences due to the results of battles. But loss of elements is not one of them, not in the way we have run them so far.
Could you describe what those consequences are? Better yet, do you have a URL that can point me to the rules of the types of campaigns you are referring to?

Thanks,

Dale

Kontos
01-03-2010, 12:45 AM
So they aren't forbidden (most of the time), but very few people use them. And there is strong social pressure against using them as well -- because two-hour games may be enjoyable, but they will never fit into a network of fifty or sixty other one-hour games. Which is the only reason for having a time limit in the first place.
I should have refrained from the word forbidden. It is highly frowned upon for the reasons you stated DK.

Frank

hammurabi70
01-14-2010, 02:20 PM
Considering that the point of a campaign - at least why I play them - is to have consequences from one battle flow to the next, how would always starting with 12 elements be better? How does one battle impact another if there are no consequences to bad play?

Just wondering how they pull it off. Game play with continuity have always been a Wargaming Holy Grail for me. DBA campaigns seem about the best so far, other than maybe adding a buffer so one game doesn't knock you out.

Dale

Because they might be other consequences arising from winning a campaign battle such as gaining prestige, political advantage, taking provinces and/or resources. It is true that the original DBA system has certain specific rules on this but I consider the whole system flawed. If someone besieges one of your positions the last thing you should do is go and fight him. You potentially lose much more than you gain; much better to go and besiege one of his positions. Perhaps it is realistic but it does not make good gaming. I prefer to adapt the basic system to my own purposes.

JamesLDIII
01-14-2010, 05:31 PM
However good or bad the written DBA campaign system is, I found it at least is resolvable in a half day's time. Too many non-tournament campaigns wither because they are too ambitious/extensive.

On the subject of turtling on rivers in campaigns:
the real question is what do you do if each side chooses to sit on it's own side of the river? The campaign rules as written don't account for this, probably assuming the attacker will actually try to attack. You could resolve this a number of ways:
if the attacker refuses to attack, then he must vacate the area as if he "lost" though without losing elements, etc.
if the defender hides behind the river, then it is virtually standing siege so it will be treated as if it is standing seige

your choice will obviously influence whether rivers are used

or, what I do is make each side role to see who is the "attacker/defender" independent of who is invading. Then the die roll is really assessing which general did a better job of picking the battlefield at the operational/strategic level. The invader might actually get to set the terrain as if they were "invaded," but this really means they maneuvered in a way to get the battlefield of choice. The type of terrain which may be placed is based on the original owner of the square, or in my case, I code each campaign area with a terrain type.

In all cases you ahve to consider the focus of the campaign. Some people just want it to be a venue for having lots of DBA battles. In this case, probably best to let everyone have a full army each round and impact play in other ways (terrain placement, prestige, allies, etc.) If you want strategic game play to be important, say like in diplomacy, then have armies with less elements, armies hiding behind rivers, recruit only certain types of elements in certain campaign areas, and so on.

JamesLDIII
01-14-2010, 05:34 PM
I forgot to mention I have heretical rules variants on the yahoo groups DBA page which has a different method of determining an attacker/defender for campaign games, allows for wider/narrower battlefields, uses scouting, etc.

http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/DBA/files/DBA%20Variant%20Rules%20and%20Lists/

skimming through them might give you other campaign ideas

Dale Hurtt
01-14-2010, 10:05 PM
Because they might be other consequences arising from winning a campaign battle such as gaining prestige, political advantage, taking provinces and/or resources.True, but none of that addresses the issue that I raised: that bad play in one battle has consequences in the next battle. I can think of a dozen reasons too on campaign objectives, but all that is abstract. Winning 10 points of prestige instead of 5 doesn't cause me to fight any differently in the next battle.

A previous poster hit the nail on the head; carrying element losses over from game to game can lead to the very thing this thread is about: turtling in order increase your chances of surviving while still accepting a battle. One seems to go with the other.

I prefer to adapt the basic system to my own purposes.Do you have a link to where it is written down? I would be interested in any and all ideas you have.

Dale

hammurabi70
01-15-2010, 10:05 AM
True, but none of that addresses the issue that I raised: that bad play in one battle has consequences in the next battle. I can think of a dozen reasons too on campaign objectives, but all that is abstract. Winning 10 points of prestige instead of 5 doesn't cause me to fight any differently in the next battle.

A previous poster hit the nail on the head; carrying element losses over from game to game can lead to the very thing this thread is about: turtling in order increase your chances of surviving while still accepting a battle. One seems to go with the other.

Do you have a link to where it is written down? I would be interested in any and all ideas you have.

Dale

Nothing on line.

In terms of the rule system sieges needs to be more drawn out. The type of system I prefer is attacker rolls a D10 in an attempt to reach 10; if he fails then the defender rolls a D6 and reduces the total that is carried forward to the next siege round. The defender then panics if the odds look as if the siege will succeed, which encourages him to fight a defensive battle at that location because he reckons it is a better chance of winning than standing the siege. At the moment, losing a defending action costs you the city so you should only fight IN EXTREMIS.

In terms of campaigns it all depends on how you structure your victory conditions. I am not convinced that manpower was a problem for most commanders although the loss of critical ‘guard’ units might be more embarrassing. I do think that it is a sound point that once there is a difference of one or two elements battles become lopsided. However, perhaps that should encourage alliances. Recent ideas I have used in a mediaeval DBA design:

* Most powerful [cities] ~ In sieges adds one to every die he rolls
* Most prestigious [titles, number and rank] ~ Troops under command add one to score in all draws in battle
* Most pious [ecclesiastical foundations] ~ May choose to re-roll any one die each bound in battle
* Most prowess [won battles] ~ Adds one element to the break point of an army in which he fights
* King [rather than noble] ~ In battle add one to the command die

Macbeth
01-17-2010, 08:27 PM
True, but none of that addresses the issue that I raised: that bad play in one battle has consequences in the next battle. I can think of a dozen reasons too on campaign objectives, but all that is abstract. Winning 10 points of prestige instead of 5 doesn't cause me to fight any differently in the next battle.

A previous poster hit the nail on the head; carrying element losses over from game to game can lead to the very thing this thread is about: turtling in order increase your chances of surviving while still accepting a battle. One seems to go with the other.


That is indeed the rub Dale - a bad loss carries consequences to the next campaign turn. It gets even more murky when you take human nature into account - once an army has been crippled by one loss, then the country is like to face several attacks as soon as the ink can be applied to war declarations - once down an army has trouble recovering.

In my campaigns I include the use of my element rating system (see the resources page) and adjust all of the prestige scores according to the relative ratings of each side in the battle. If a would be Ceasar insists on attacking a weakened opponent with overwhelming force and extra contingents to boot, they will get proportionately less prestige, and if the underdog somehow comes out in front they reap the benefits ;)

Secondly I have observed two interesting pieces of the campaign dynamic.
1) If there are 6 or less players in a campaign, you can pretty well be certain that once an army has been crippled, then that nation will never recover. Take the number up to 8 or more and there is more chance of a recovery as there are some players that might strike the top dog. Of course, 6 and below is a faster game, 7+ and the game takes longer :(
2) If there is an even number of players then the game usually polarises into two power blocs - less often with an odd number of players.

Finally - using that cyclic stylised map in the back of the book encourages the "jump on the weakest player" tactic since everyone can reach everyone with the blessing of whoever controls the middle city.

It is a fine balancing act - if you want continuity in the games with consequences for bad decisions, poor diplomacy or just plain bad luck then you need to be ready for those on the bottom of the heap to lose interest and all players to maximise their chance of not being in that position some time down the track.

On the other hand if you want a campaign that generates lots of fair open battles where no one does anything anti social, you have to mitigate the consequences of losing.

Cheers