By David Lawrence
The Quick Play Ancient Wargame - De Bellis Antiquitatis (DBA) by Wargames Research Group (WRG) departs from most sets of wargames rules in one important facet. There is no points cost system associated with the Element bases that are used to represent troops. All armies are set at a 12 element size based on the historical proportions of specific troops available to that army.
Whilst different elements have different capabilities in movement, combat, missile fire and bad going ability, it is not the same as saying that all elements are equal. There are certain types of element that are perceived to be better than others and armies where these elements predominate tend to be chosen.
I have developed a suggested rating system for armies, where elements are assigned a points value and then some simple further adjustments are applied to the overall total for the army. After commencing work on this system I discovered that Chris Brantley's 'Fanaticus website held several versions of a points system which used a similar methodology. However having come this far I persevered with my own version.
Each of the 16 different types of element was given points according to the following formula:
Base Value = 3 X (Foot Combat Modifier + Mounted Combat Modifier)
+2 for each type of element Quick Killed (ie destroyed if beaten) by the element being rated, where this element has a higher combat value.
+1 for each type of element Quick Killed by the element being rated, where this element has a combat value equal to or lower than the element it destroys.
-1 for each type of element that Quick Kills the element being rated, where this element has a combat value equal to or higher than the element that destroys it.
-2 for each type of element that Quick Kills the element being rated, where this element has a combat value lower than the element that destroys it.
-1 if the element being rated is destroyed in a tied combat (SCh).
+1 if the element being rated is not universally destroyed when doubled in combat (Cv, LH, Ps).
+1 per 100 paces that the element being rated shoots (Art +5, WWg, Bw +2).
+1 if the element being rated gets additional off road moves (SCh, Wb, Ps, LH).
+1 if the element being rated gets a significant rear support bonus (Pk, Wb).
+1 if the element being rated does not recoil when beaten in combat (WWg, Hd).
+1 if the destruction of the element being rated is not counted towards the losses of the army (SCh).
-1 if the element being rated requires more than one PIP to move (Art, Hd, WWg).
The rating score for all DBA elements is now:
|War Wagons (WWg)||22|
|Light Horse (LH)||21|
|Scythed Chariots (SCh)||21|
Troops that dismount are rated as the sum of their mounted and foot elements, thus making the classic Knights to Blades (3Kn//4Bd) a very expensive option at 54 points.
Once the 12 elements are rated and the army total is calculated then the following adjustments are made to the army score:
+4 to the army total, If the General's Element is in Group 1.
+2 to the army total, If the General's Element is in Group 2.
- (2 x Agression Rating) from the army total.For example, the Camillan Roman army: 1 x 3Cv(General), 1 x 3Cv, 3 x 4Bd, 5 x 4Sp, 2 x 2Ps would have a rating score of 25 (Cv General) + 25 (Cv) + 69 (Bd) + 110 (Sp) + 26 (Ps) + 4 (Group 1 General) - 2 (Agression of 1) for a total of 257
This is an overall effectiveness rating rather than looking at each individual case. For example a Bow army would easily defeat a knight army but would have trouble against blades.
The twelve element army size is a fundamental tenet of the DBA rules so it would be inadvisable to tinker with it and adjust the size of armies so that their "points" value is identical. It is for this reason that I have called the system developed above an "Effectiveness Rating." I would use this system to adjust the scoring of prestige points in campaigns according to the ratio of effectiveness scores.
The other application is for an interchange tournament, where the players bring an army, but are assigned a different army from the pot each round. This way the highest rated players could be handicapped with the lowest rated armies.