I like DBA. I do. I don’t play in competitions and many games I’ve played lately have been solo. Most of what the author has done have been positive improvements in my opinion. Here are my thoughts:
- The move to contact rules have been clarified. Groups now simply conform to enemy groups. Unit generally conform to other units. There is a free move for sliding about to line up with the enemy. There are also rules to kick blocking units aside so that you can properly line up. Very nice.
- There have been some combat adjustments that are, for the most part, for the better. El have lost much of their Qk abilities but the factors have been reversed from old El. They now are +5 Foot +4 mounted. Some are complaining about this but to my mind, this is fine.
- Others want more parity with Wb and Sp. All Wb armies can wipe the floor with all Sp armies. This much is true. How they are going about balancing this is by introducing side support. The idea is that if you are in full side contact and facing the same direction as another Sp or Bd, then you get a +1Cf. Its a way to get support without reducing your frontage. This is fine except now Sp seem to be extra tough against Wb with a near guaranteed +2 over the Wb. I am not fond of this. I think it is because extra factors are making Sp exceedingly tough against other units.
- Speaking of rear support, most has been removed. That is fair except Pk now get +3 vs most infantry and +1 vs mounted. The Wb rear support has also been re-introduced. I’ve always found rear support to be a sucker bet in DBA. Pike formations were usually only as deep and as wide as Roman formations. Probably just like other formations if they deployed in two or more lines. No general would ever shrink his line length without good reason.
Some time at the beginning of the summer, I did some test games with single stand Pk and giving them +5 +5 for Cf. The games worked out reasonably well against their Roman opponents. “yesthatphil” on the miniatures page has taken this idea a step further and made double based pike (spear really) for his armies and played out some Medieval battles with good results. I think that this is a good change.
Another problem is the spear vs Wb matchup. An idea I was kicking around was to do a sort of a side support but without adding +1. Instead, when Sp or Pk are in side support with another Sp or Pk and are being attacked by Kn or Wb, they can negate the Qk and only have to recoil. If the unit is isolated (that is, are not in full side contact and facing the same direction as a Sp or Pk) they are Qk. Bd can get the same effect against Kn only.
Finally, to balance the Sp vs Bd interaction, Bd lose ties and must recoil against any Sp. These essentially brings the chance of victory for the Sp up from 28% to 42% with no chance of doubling. If the Bd gets overlapped, the Sp would get a 58% chance of victory and a small chance of doubling.
None of my ideas have been tested yet. I have such little time to paint, play and design so there it is. I might be able to get a game in tonight.
I think the book will be well worth just for the army lists alone. I like most of how the game plays and hope to find a better solution (to my mind!) to my points above for solo and friendly face to face games.