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Subject: DBA. Is it really like Chess? rss

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Kyle Grindling
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I have never played De Bellis Antiquitatis but I want too. I have been doing some research and people seem to like it, but a lot of reviews call it chess like, Why is that? Does it not matter which army you play? do they all have the same 12 element characteristics? If so, can anyone suggest a somewhat equally simple game from the ancients 15mm genre that has army lists that differentiate. Thanks
 
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Dean Hickman
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I never really thought DBA was like chess. Too much chess gives me a headache. I can play DBA all day without any problems.

Pick an army that you can really get into. An army with a lot of historical enemies is always nice to have.

There are articles written on what armies are the best to use at a tournament: fanaticus.org

Hope this helps
 
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Mick Mickelsen
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I have compared it to chess. I think the analogy is made because, given its simplicity and the fact that die rolls are of critical importance, the fact that it can be played with a great deal of strategy is often surprising. In any given game even the best player can lose a game to bad luck.
 
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Donald Acker
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Reasons it's like chess:
Square board, playable casually or seriously, and, I think most of all, several writers have made the comparison in an attempt to stress that it is meant to be a game before a simulation.

Reasons why it is nothing like chess:
Measured movement with ruler, fiddly rules (what can support what against what, and what does what to what in what terrain when it wins a fight), and most of all, the dice: good play involves managing your luck, but really bad luck can still overwhelm anything.

 
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Kyle Grindling
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does it matter what army you play? or do they all use the same 12 elements thing?
 
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Richard Panek
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All armies are 12 elements, but the type of those elements is different (i.e. some have more cav but less foot, etc.)

A good way to try a couple games and learn the rules is through DBA online:

http://www.dbaol.com/

Where you can play online, in addition to looking up the compositions of the various armies.

As simple as DBA is, it is easier to learn from someone else than from the rule book. DBA online offers 10 plays for $10, which should be more than enough to figure out if you'll like the game before buying miniatures et al.
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Ben Smith
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Panzagl wrote:


I've heard criticism from diehard DBA players that DBAOL uses an ancient ruleset, so it sucks. Is there any truth in that?
 
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Aron Clark
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DBAOL is pretty good, it's worth a look. I think the variations between the the DBAOL and DBA v2.x are obscure enough to not affect a new player's perspective. Heck, that "acient edition" was the defacto set for 10+ years.
 
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Robert Taylor-Smith
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The current ruleset for DBA (ver 2.2) is far better than the original set and makes for a far better game. IMHO there are substantial changes to way the game is played and army balance compared to the original rules (now 18 years old). DBA Ver2.2 seems to have helped the popularity of the game in recent years.

DBA online uses the rules from the original set. In it Warbands and Light Horse armies have a hard time. There is no marching or double moves, hordes, etc.. That being said the online game does give a basic feel for the DBA game (the hotseat game is free).

The best way to find out if DBA is for you is join a pick up game at virtually any gaming convention. It has a great appeal cost and time wise (ie. painting time to playing time). Plus it's loads of fun. Large fan community worldwide.
 
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Andreas Johansson
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I spent 200 GG and all I got was this lousy overtext!
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I spent 200 GG and all I got was this lousy overtext!
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Fixxxer76 wrote:
does it matter what army you play? or do they all use the same 12 elements thing?

As has already been said, different armies have different combinations of elements. I just want to stress that this means that the game can play very differently depending on the specific forces involved, as well as the terrain chosen. An army mostly made up of hoplites requires quite different tactics from one dominated by mounted archers, and so on.

Note also that armies are not necessarily balanced. There's a good deal of rock-paper-scissors to the element interactions, so an army made up of rocks will struggle mightily against one of papers.
 
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Bob Roberts

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It is like chess in that the best players win consistently.

As said above, each army only has 12 elements but each army has its own mix of element types. Mongols have something like 10 light horse and 2 cavalry, my vikings are 11 units of blade and one skirmisher (psiloi).
They behave very differently.

DBA for me really comes in to its own when playing double DBA or Big Battle DBA using 2 or 3 armies per side.

There is a DBA mod for VASSAL that is not rules specific, so you may play using the 2.2 rules. It's not perfect, but it is a good way to mess with the game before plunking down any cash on armies.

I cannot recommend highly enough the WADBAG Unofficial Guide to DBA,
available here: http://www.wadbag.com/DBAGuide/
This makes learning DBA on your own MUCH easier. Phil's writing style is a little hard for some to come to grips with, the Guide puts it in plain English.

In a nutshell, I have played more DBA than any other ancients rules because it is fun, and games take around 45 minutes to an hour, so we get more than one in an evening. I own around 12 DBA armies, which is a drop in the bucket compared to some. Check out www.fanaticus.org for more info and a great DBA forum.

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William Boykin
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No. Miniatures games are NOT like chess. If you are a Chess player, then you are going to have to realize that. "Capturing" (combat) is done totally differently- in Miniatures games its based upon dice with probablities. There are no 'gambits', or series of 'move/countermove' situations, like in other abstract games like Chess or Go.

Now, I'm a HUGE fan of Miniatures games. But I do think that the phrase "X game is like Chess" doesn't really explain the game 'x'- it says more about the person making the statement. What he's really saying is that his game is as SERIOUS a game as Chess.

Which it isn't. Its toy soldiers, man. Once you realize that you play miniatures games for the TOY SOLDIERS- that's when you are truly free. (or completely insane).

Darilian
Just remember- Skittles DO NOT count as troops for miniatures games. Though they do taste better.
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