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Rules Questions / Expanding an impetuous group
« Last post by Neil Williamson on Today at 01:48:21 AM »
Say I have some impetuous LH(S) in a group and I wish to expand the frontage.
Do I have to hold the rest of the group when the column expands?
So if I'm the group below, is it just 1 pip as a whole group move, or is it regarded as 2 groups (GNOP being separate sub group, see below) and therefore 2 pips. 1 to hold and one to expand the GNOP column?

Original formation

New formation

Ref. pages 28 and 29 in the rule book (32 to 33 in later reprints)
Book 2 / Re: Late Romans and African Vandals
« Last post by Barritus on February 09, 2021, 10:14:57 AM »
At Ad Decimum, the Vandal cavalry performs well, but are let down by their commander.

Fair point.

But my concern is that the combination of rules and troop classifications as they exist at the moment don't re-create those Byzantine-Vandal battles as we understand them.

In particular, with an Inert general leading Irr Kn (F) if the generals get few or no PIPs then the Irr Kn (F) simply go charging towards the enemy.

What I'm reading of the battles against Belisarius is that when the generals (in particular Gelimer) failed to actively lead their cavalry, what the cavalry did was to stand around scratching their backsides, rather than charging wildly at the enemy.

In other words, if we want to re-create the behaviour of the African Vandal army when led by Gelimer, then either the rules for the behaviour of impetuous troops led by inert generals need to change, or the classification of those troops needs to change.

I'm open to either change - as I've pointed out in another thread the inert classification might be usefully replaced by two classifications: one for generals who make normally non-impetuous troops impetuous, and one for generals who make normally impetuous troops non-impetuous. And Gelimer could easily be placed in that second category while still leaving the Vandal cavalry as Irr Kn (F). Alternatively, it might be argued that massed Irr Kn (I) led by an inert general is still a scary fight for an Early Byzantine army as the Kn have a quick kill against all the Cv and Bd in the army.
Rules Questions / Re: The DBMM Commentary
« Last post by Fon Tok Nak on January 16, 2021, 05:02:32 PM »

The most recent version (v7) is dated 8 January 2018.
Rules Questions / Re: The DBMM Commentary
« Last post by grandad on January 16, 2021, 11:37:01 AM »
Can anyone tell me where the Commentary has migrated to since closure of the DBMM yahoo list.
Book 2 / Re: Ancient Spanish- rubbish or simply misunderstood?
« Last post by Barritus on January 13, 2021, 06:20:00 AM »
Let us know how the games go, in case we can offer you some more tips.
Book 2 / Re: Ancient Spanish- rubbish or simply misunderstood?
« Last post by Toady on January 12, 2021, 06:50:12 AM »
Thanks so much to you both for the very helpful replies!

You have convinced me to give them another run out :)

For the Glory of Spain!
Rules Questions / Re: Ally General Sub-List
« Last post by Fon Tok Nak on January 10, 2021, 12:24:12 PM »
You are correct.

Essentially, a main list ally is of the same nation as the C-in-C and draws troops from the main list, while a sub-list ally is of a different nation and draws troops from the sub-list.

A main list ally must have at least 1/4 the minimum of all compulsory troops in his command, so the Gallic ally must have at least 1x Cv, 10x Wb and 1x PsI. He can also have more than the 1/3 limit of maximums that applies to foreign allies, and non-compulsory troops not available to foreign allies.   

A sub-list ally usually has different minimums and (generally) cannot have main list troops. Thus, the Paphlagonian ally only has to take 4x AxO (which is less than 1/4 of the 30 minimum in the main list), and the Paphlagonian AxO do not count towards that 30 (they are not Bithynians). The Paphlagonian also cannot have Kn, Ps or AxS otherwise available to main-list Bithynian generals.

Rules Questions / Ally General Sub-List
« Last post by andrew on January 10, 2021, 06:27:56 AM »
This is a question about the reliability of ally generals that are sub-lists within a main list.

Page 1 of the lists under the heading "Allies", first paragraph states:
"In most cases foreign allied contingents are specified by reference to their own list."  The words "own list" is referring to the other army list, being that of the potential ally.  For example, list 2.7 Later Achaemenid Persian last row has "only if the C-In-C is Bessos in 329BC" - Saka allies Book 1.43.  1.43 is "their own list" and it is different to list 2.7.  This is the norm and common practice for the majority of allies.  However, the words "in most cases" imply there are other types of allies, which is what I want to explore.

The remainder of the first paragraph and the 2nd paragraph under "Allies" on page 2 of the lists relate to the usual allies mentioned above.  These other sorts of allies are in paragraph 3.

Para 3, sentence 1 "Where foreign allies do not have a suitable list of their own, their contingent is specified as a sub-list within a nation’s main list."  The first such sub-list in Book 2 appears in 2.6 Bithynian after 179BC (last rows).  "Paphlagonian ally-general commanding all and only Paphalgonians" and it goes on to list the ally-general, 2 different troops and baggage.

Does this sub-list in 2.6 meet the criteria for para 3, sentence 1 above?

Para 3, sentence 2 "Where ally-generals are specified in a nation’s main list, such generals are of the same or a closely related nationality."

What does "main list" mean in this context?  Take for instance, list 2.11 Gallic.  The 3rd line refers to ally generals.  Is that part of the main list?  I would think so.

Looking further down list 2.11 we have a date constrained ally being the Ligurians before 174BC.  This is a sub-list per para 3, sentence 1.  But does it meet the criteria for para 3, sentence 2 in that the ally-general has been specified in the main list?

The distinction is crucial given the 3rd sentence which states such generals will not change sides if unreliable, unless in a civil war.

I think the 2.6 and 2.11 Paphlagonian and Ligurian sub-lists meet the criteria for sub-lists per sentence 1, but these sub-lists are not part of the main list.  Accordingly I think the ally-generals in these 2 sub-lists do not meet the criteria for having been specified in the main list per sentence 2.  Therefore they could change sides if unreliable.

Is my interpretation correct?
Book 2 / Re: Ancient Spanish- rubbish or simply misunderstood?
« Last post by Barritus on January 09, 2021, 12:55:16 PM »
Happy New Year to everyone. Let’s hope that 2021 can’t be any worse.....

I haven’t been having much luck with my Ancient Spanish army, ever.... and wondered people’s opinions on them as an army. We only ever play historical matchups, so they namely form up against Carthaginian and Roman opponents.

My experience of playing against them (in open competitions) is that they're nearly impossible to beat and that they can easily overwhelm a range of armies.

I’ve tried Ax S as the main troop type, which seem unable to pack a punch against historical opponents (Romans and Carthaginians) and when I tried a switch to BdF they got murdered by Carthaginian Ax S... :(

I know the lack of sub generals stops people using them in competitions as too much chance of an unreliable ally but how do people find them in non-competition?

See above. Even in open comps they can threaten a range of opponents. Having three allies is less of an issue than you might expect.

The key strengths of the army I've faced are (a) its main troop types are cheap, meaning you can have large commands, (b) aggression 0 means you should be defender most of the time, meaning you should be able to clog up the table with terrain you can dominate with Ps (S), and (c) the (S) advantage for the Ax is really useful against foot.

Can an Iberian commander have Celtiberian Allies? Can Sertorius have Iberian or Celtiberian allies? It’s not stated in the lists that I can see....

No to the options above. You have to take one of the three ethnic groupings.

Any tips on how to play them much appreciated. I love them dearly having spent so many weeks painting them but the relationship is sadly souring....


The guy who used Spanish (Ax (S) version - is that Iberian?) successfully was a master of exploiting the advantages of the army. He took four commands, all around the same size, with Ax (S) dominating the three allied commands, and the C-in-C managing the Bd (F). Each command had a few Cv, LH and Ps, with one command having a fairly decent number of Ps (S). His army size was close to 100 ME.

He always placed a lot of terrain, including the largest 1 FE BUA */** he could field. By placing a road he had a lot of flexibility about where to place the BUA to clog up the table as needed. He also tried to place terrain in such a way that something difficult landed somewhere in the middle of the table, so his opponent didn't have a large amount of open space to deploy a large block of heavy infantry or Kn. Instead, opponents would usually have to break up their heavy infantry/Kn forces and deploy them either side of the difficult terrain. He would then place his commands such that he could control that large piece of terrain with his largest group of Ps (S), or perhaps Ps (S) from two commands. That way, if his opponent tried to advance past that difficult terrain to attack his Ax or Bd, he could be threatening their flanks with the Ps.

He wasn't afraid to advance against his opponents, even when they had Kn. He had a number of ways of neutralising Kn, such as the Ps flank threat mentioned above, relying on numerical superiority to overwhelm opponents with overlaps and occasional lucky dice rolls, and sometimes by using the expendable flaming ox carts.

The only time I came close to beating his army was when I tried a Papal Italian army against him at the club. I managed to get the match-ups of Sp (S) and (O) (supported by Bge (S)) against his Ax (S), and Kn (F) against his Bd (F).

Against Polybians and Carthaginians, I'd recommend the tactics summarised below:

- all the terrain you can field, including taking a road and BUA and trying to break the battlefield up into narrow channels separated by difficult terrain you can control with Ps (S);

- take plenty of Ax (S) and possibly a group of Bd (F) in the C-in-C's command, give one command around 10-15 Ps while the others get around half a dozen each, and spread the Cv and LH around;

- deploy the Ax/Bd in the channels between the terrain pieces in 2 or even 3 ranks, and the Ps ready to dive into the terrain;

- consider using the Ambush stratagem to place some Ax right out on a flank where they can block an enemy mounted advance from marching, or develop a threat of their own on the enemy's flank;

- get the Ps into the terrain first, remembering Irr Ps are clumsy in difficult terrain, so you'll need quite a few PIPs to move them into flank-ready positions;

- if you have an unreliable ally, use the C-in-C's PIPs for what you need him to do each bound, and only save 3 PIPs for an activation attempt if it won't stop you from doing things you need to do (there are a number of ways to activate an unreliable ally, there are some things an unreliable ally can still do even while unreliable, and most times your opponent won't be able to do much to exploit the unreliability anyway); and

- advance the Ax/Bd into the channels and prepare to receive the enemy's attack, keeping in mind very few troops in either Roman or Carthaginian armies have a quick kill on either the Ax or Bd, and use your PIPs to send Ps into the flanks of the enemy infantry blocks.

Given the historical opponents, you may wish to consider using the flaming ox carts to lead an advance (don't just throw them out ahead of a stationary army). Because they can be deadly against massed heavy infantry, your opponents may be tempted to spend a lot of PIPs moving Ps and Ax into their path - PIPs (and Ps) that can't be used to contest your control of the difficult terrain. And if your Ax/Bd are right behind the ox carts they can take on those enemy Ps and Ax for some easy first-up casualties.

Against Romans you don't need to fear his Bd, remembering in your bound even a single overlap on the Bd is 3(S) v 3(O), so you should be able to attrition his Bd away.

Against Carthaginians any Sp he takes are vulnerable to Bd, so try to anticipate where he might place his Sp and deploy the Bd to face them.

Good luck!

* Actually it might have been the largest 0.5 FE BUA he could field. I'd have to check the rules.

** Remember that the perimeter of a BUA is good terrain, up to 20mm in from the edge (which just happens to be the depth of Ax and Bd (F) bases). Ps can hold a BUA pretty much all of a battle unless your opponent is willing to spend a lot of resources on taking it, but otherwise its straight sides make it a useful piece of difficult terrain to place a three-rank group of Ax/Bd in that can advance straight out as a group.
Book 2 / Re: Ancient Spanish- rubbish or simply misunderstood?
« Last post by Fon Tok Nak on January 03, 2021, 06:28:50 AM »
No sub-list has another sub-list as a possible ally, so Iberians cannot have Celtibarian allies, etc.

Follow Sertorius' example.

Comparing the Ancient Spanish aggression against that of historical opponents means they will usually be defending. Then the list has lots of terrain to hide in and lots of terrain troops, so I would try and get terrain across the table and sit in or behind it and wait for the enemy to come to me, aiming to attack them when they are in the terrain or coming through gaps.

Consequently, I'd also have Ambush and/or Concealed Command. I might even sit right back and have a Delayed Command if the table is quite open. (Mixing these tactics will also keep a regular opponent guessing.)

Also, if the plan is to sit back and wait for the enemy, an unreliable ally becomes less of an issue.

As to which sub-list to take, my personal preference would be AxS with all the BdF mercenaries, but PsS two deep also has advantages. The Ps can advance in line through terrain (and the BdF can also go impetuously through terrain).

Finally, I would use Cv in packets of two as march blockers rather than as offensive troops.


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