4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 10 June 2014
This is evidently very widely used and popular at conventions and clubs throughout the world. It certainly is a very simple set and no doubt fulfils the brief of producing a quick game - or series of competition games. I enjoyed reading some of Phil Barker's comments on the history of the rules and about war gaming in general - lots of wisdom there and he comes across very impressively. The discussion in which he generalises about the broad types of medieval and ancient period troops, is interesting and stimulating, as are the short notes on tactics.
A set of rules that produces an enjoyable wargame that satisfies both the quest for a recognisably 'realistic' battle and at the same time does it quickly without the tedium of table-consulting, modifier- application etc etc is the holy grail of the hobby. Clearly lots of enthusiasts have adopted the concept eagerly - to the apparent surprise of it's author Phil Barker. It's all a matter of balance and compromise of course - personally, it's not quite for me - much too simplistic and too great an emphasis on dice throws.
For nearly £15 there's really not very much here - two versions of the rules - and lots of '12 element ' army' lists - by far the biggest chunk of the pamphlet.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 19 June 2013
I've been waiting to get my hands on DBA for a while and this book was perfect (DBA 3.0 is on the horizon but I doubt it'll be releasing any time soon) It includes the full DBA 2.2 and the original 1.0 rules, as well as DBSA, which were written by Phil Barker to be used at wargames conferences to provide quick tournaments for lots of players.
It also has a few extra bits and pieces including an article explaining how the battle of Zama was re-created using these simple but elegant rules.
The rules themselves are very good at simulating command decisions in the ancient and medieval world, you will feel like a real general commanding his forces on the battlefield, not worrying about whether unit x's armour is strong enough to deflect an arrow! No, in DBA what your interested in is the battle as a whole. Is the left flank holding out? Will the enemy army be able to send flanking units around the pass to the right flank? Will I be able to push back the advancing elephants?
It is a highly abstract game, and uses very simple mechanics. And yet it is one of the best games out there that re-creates the feel of an ancient/medieval battle, you are free to command your forces and use strategy rather than getting bogged down in stats charts and combat modifier tables.
The only reason I gave it a 4 instead of a 5 was because an oppourtunity has been missed, the original rules are not written very clearly and a few extra lines here and there in this re-print would have been a big plus. However I understand that reprinting someones work with their permission is one thing, changing it is something else entirely!