One of the complaints about DBA is that of balance. It is true that some armies are weaker than others. A way to figure on how strong an army might be is by a points system.
The first thing to do is to determine how valuable a unit is based on combat factor. At first, one might think that assigning a linear progression to the combat factors would be fair. However, higher combat factors are harder to double than lower ones in a non-linear fashion. So, I examined the natural break points. Combat factors of 1 or 2 behaved similarly where stronger units could double them. Combat factors 3 and 4 were also similar. A 2 could double a 3 but a 4 could only be doubled by another 4 or more. Finally, the 5 is very tough. It takes a combat factor of 6 or more to double it. In looking at percentage chances to double, the combat factors were in three groups. Summing the numbers up, the low group costs +1 to go up by 1 number starting at 0. Group 2 costs 2 points to go up one number starting at 3 and group 3 costs 3 points to go up to 5. The actual costs are 1 costs 1, 2 costs 2, 3 costs 4, 4 costs 6 and 5 costs 9. Simply figure out the costs vs infantry and cavalry and average the two if different. Othersie, just use the value for infantry.
Next was movement. I simply averaged movement for good going and bad going and then took the cost at 1 point per 100p. Range was done in a similar fashion.
Next, I looked at support factors. This was somewhat subjective but I generally added 1 per +1 factor. So pikes would add, for instance +3 to the total cost for instance. There was also a deduction -2 for rough going where it applied.
Finally, I had to determine the amount of bonuses or penalties for quick kills and either for or against. The number of quick kills divided by 3 a unit could inflict was the number for an addition to the point total. The number of quick kills divided by 3 a unit was vulnerable to was the number for a deduction from the point total.
The final results were as follows:
- Elephants 9 (Originally 10 I reduced it to 9 because of the extra pip to control it. Might even be worth only 8!)
- Blades 8
- Knights 8 (Heavy Chariots)
- Cavalry 6 (Light Chariots)
- Light Horse 6
- Pike 6 (Originally 7 but I felt after a few plays that it loses some value because you are almost compelled to put them in support.)
- Spear 6
- Auxilia 6
- Warband 6
- Bow 6
- Scythed Chariots 5 (This might be worth only 4)
- Psiloi 4
- Hordes 3
So how does one use a points system in a game where armies are a static 12 elements? Tally up the total army points based on the schedule above. Compare the two. If one side is 3 or more points better, then they must try to eliminate one of their elements to bring the totals to parity or near parity. For instance, A Pyrrhic army totals 75 points. A Polybian army totals 80 points. To bring everything down to parity, the Roman player should remove at least 3 points of units. The lowest cost unit in the Roman army is a Psiloi at 4 points. So, removing 1 would bring the total down to 76 points. He could also opt to remove a spear instead bringing the total down to 74 points.
Like all points systems, this one is subject to debate. However, I do feel it is a good gauging tool to determine how good/bad a given army is. The system does not take into account good generalship. But what points system does?