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DBSA Fast Play Rules

Written by Phil Barker for the Society of Ancients' 1989 convention, the rules have since been expanded for the inclusion into a commercial set known as DBM. These are available from WRG (The Keep, La Marchant Barracks, London Rd, Devizes, Wiltshire SN10 2ER, United Kingdom - Telephone 0994-380-4558).


To produce the simplest set of wargames rules that retain the feel and generalship requirements of ancient battle in a game lasting 15 to 30 minutes.


These rules distinguish only those arms/troop types that need different tactical handling.

Mounted troops can be: Foot can be:


An element is in bad going if in a wood, on rough or boggy ground or on a steep slope, but not if in as river or a gentle slope.



Each army has 12 15mm elements, 1 of which0. includes its general, and a camp. Players dice for ends of a 24x24" playing board of ground scale 1"=50p, then to deploy 1st within 300p of base edge and move 1st. All dicing involves a singles D6, but with 1 counting as 0.


The two sides take alternative bounds. During each sides bound: It dices, and makes tactical moves with up to that number of elements or groups.
Any elements of both sides in contact with the enemy fight and make outcome moves, in an order decided by the player whose bound it is.


A tactical move can be by single element or by a group of elements. All elements moving as a group must be touching another of its elements at the start of the move. Each must first move parallel to, or follow the first of them those moves, and move the same distance or wheel the same angle. Groups cannot retire. Single elements can. No element can move further than: A group's move can include reducing but not increasing its frontage. The first element of each group to try and cross a river must halt and dice next bound. A score of 4 or more is needed to cross that bound. The others follow it across. Psiloi can pass through any friends, or mounted through friendly psiloi not in contact.


This happens when an element has moved into contact with an enemy element, or when one is still touching an enemy next bound. Missile combat is not distinguished from hand-to-hand combat. An element not already in combat must turn to face without this counting as a move.

Each player dices for his element, and adds its combat factor as follows: Elements, which overlap or contact a flank, count only as a tactical factor.

Pikemen add +3 or spearmen +1, if an identical element is contiguous behind.

Swordsmen or spearmen add +1 if fighting mounted troops and psiloi are contiguous behind.

Add to or subtract from scores for each of the following tactical factors that applies:


An element with less than half or half the total of any opponent must make an immediate outcome move, which depends on its own type and that of the most dangerous opponent in contact.

If its total is less than that of the enemy but more than half: If its total is half that of the enemy:


The first side to lose its general or at the end of a bound has lost 4 elements and more than the enemy, loses the game. A camp still occupied by enemy counts as 2 lost elements. 1