Another Diversion: DBA

I’ve been patiently churning out ACW figures for some time now and while I will continue with them, I feel like painting something different for a change. I do own more than blue and grey paints, you know!

I’ve been pondering an ancients project for a long time. The Punic Wars have caught my fascination ever since I learned about Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps at school, and the thought of having little elephants on my gaming table fills me with glee. On the other hand, my foray into mass battle gaming has not been very successful and I have the suspicion that proper mass battles bore me beyond belief. I have toyed with the idea of a small skirmish project, such as the palmary Dagger & Brush is doing, but I realised I’ve already got all the skirmish projects I want.


Back when I lived in Switzerland, a fellow gamer kindly introduced me to DBA. I enjoyed our games and always thought about painting up an army, but never got around to doing it. However, I slowly came to realised that this might be exactly what I’m looking for.

Why DBA?

First of all, it gives a quick game. It’s easy to find gaming partners (my chums Sigur and Virago play occasionally) and it’s also is easy to teach to newcomers (at least one of my non-wargaming gaming pals has shown an interest in ancients gaming). Another big argument is that it doesn’t need many figures. Now I enjoy the look of massed ranks, but for someone like me who only has a passing interest in mass battles, painting 200 figures for 8 months before having a first game is not going to work (been there, done that – not really my thing…). With DBA, I can paint up a couple of figures, have some games, and, if I like it, get some more armies for the period. This makes for more diversity in painting and researching, which is something I enjoy.


And the scale?

In the end, I went down the traditional road and decided upon 15mm. I’ve pondered about using 6mm (or even 3mm), but while there are very good arguments for that, I just like the look of 15mm figures and I enjoy painting them. Also, it keeps the figure count low, which is paramount.

For a starter, I placed an order for a small Roman army with Black Hat Miniatures. Their figures look nice and the price is very good. I also ordered the latest version of DBA, as I’ve read that it gives a more historical outcome especially concerning the Punic Wars.

I’ll take it slowly and see where this going to lead to. After all, if I get bored of DBA or decide that I need more figures, I can always use one of the other excellent ancients rulesets out there and paint up more of the little guys.


6 thoughts on “Another Diversion: DBA

  1. TWR August 27, 2016 / 12:42 am

    Good luck with your DBA project.

  2. Tony S August 27, 2016 / 1:05 am

    Good for you! My group started with DBA 1.0, lo these many years ago, and are still playing DBA 3. We used to only play DBA – and DBA only – every single weekend for about a half a decade. We don’t play it so exclusively any more, but usually there is at least one DBA game going on pretty much every session, especially since 3.0 appeared. The general consensus is that among us, 3.0 is the best version of them all.

    After a few hundred battles, and over a hundred armies painted up between us all, things did start to pall somewhat. So we began playing campaigns, which revitalized things immensely! Lately we’ve been playing larger size games, double or triple size. They play a much different – and in my opinion better – game.

    Best of luck!

  3. itineranthobbyist August 16, 2017 / 10:42 pm

    I know I’m commenting a lot on your page, you have so many cool things.

    So DBA in 15mm this may be a way to get into some ancients with a low mode count.

    One thing I don’t understand – the appeal of lining ‘me up, moving forward, and then simply rolling to see who wins.

    What is the strategy and decision making in games like DBA (and any ancients game)?

    I’m a WWII gamer looking to understand, ’cause I’m ancients curious.

    • cptshandy August 17, 2017 / 8:42 am

      Well, I’m the last one to defend the ‘line up, move & roll’ approach, but with DBA, it seems to me that there is enough manoeuvring involved to make the game interesting, esp. if you consider that a game takes only about 45 minutes.

    • cptshandy August 17, 2017 / 8:43 am

      And thanks for all your friendly comments, btw! 🙂

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