By John McWalters
I have always been a little confused about some of the army list options that have an element with an option for 3/4 or 4/5 minis of one type when it does not affect movement or combat. Some examples are the Annamese(71) 3/4Aux, and Early Sassanid(73a) 3/4Kn. Aside from painting fewer minis, why would I opt for a 3Aux over a 4Aux, or a 3Kn over a 4Kn?
To make use of the varying numbers of minis per base, I am proposing the notion of an "overloaded unit." These are elements that have an extra mini in strength over other units of its kind. The units that may be considered as "overloaded" are 4Kn, 4Bd, 4Ax, 4Bw, and 4Wb.
The effect of "overloading" a unit would be to increase its combat modifier by +1 versus foot and versus mounted. But, its movement would be reduced by 100 paces to a minimum of 200 paces per turn. The movement change would not affect 4Bd or 4Wb unless they are trying to utilize road movement bonuses.
So, a 3Bw would have base combat modifiers of +2/+4 with movement of 300 paces, while an "overloaded" 4Bw would have combat modifiers of +3/+5 but a movement rate of 200 paces.
The early armies in the DBA1.2 list tend to have 3 minis per base where later armies tend to have 4 minis. This rule proposal reflects the differences in lethality of weapons and force of numbers, as well as differences in armour worn by the units over time. A Nubian(3) 3Bw with a short bow is probably not a match for a Burgundian Ordonnance(180) 4Lb with Longbow and armour, but they should be able to out run them.
This rule might please those people who do not approve of non-historical match-ups. Since earlier armies would not have as much punch against later armies, it would encourage historical battles.