WADBAG

Washington Area De Bellis Antiquitatis Gamers

Invasion, Maneuver
and Flank March
WADBAG Optional Rule

Download:  Invasion and Maneuver Rating List (Excel)

These optional rules for Invasion and Maneuver are used to determine battlefield topography and set-up, and replace the DBA Aggression rules.  They are best used in conjunction with an associated optional rule for Flank Marches.

How does Invasion and Maneuver work?

Invasion rating helps determine whose Topography is used. Both sides roll and add their army’s invasion rating and compare.  High result is the invader and will use the topography (e.g. arable, hilly, etc.) of the low result.

Maneuver rating helps determine who is more likely to get a choice between setting up terrain and choosing an angle of attack. Both sides roll and add their army’s maneuver rating and compare.  High result can elect to either place terrain, deploy first and move last OR to roll for base edge, set up last and move first.

When can I Flank March?

An army may choose to employ a Flank March if their initial dice roll for Maneuver is less than their army's Maneuver Rating, or if their initial dice roll is a '1' regardless of their Maneuver Rating.

Only the first roll -- if a tied modified maneuver rating roll requires two or more rolls to determine who sets out terrain, only the first roll matters for purposes of Flank Marching.

Both sides may be eligible for a Flank March.

How do I do a Flank March?

For standard DBA:

  • Flanking force may consist of 0-4 elements.

  • No pre-designating.

  • Flank march can arrive on either side edge or your base edge.

  • Flank march cannot arrive on a board edge with a Waterway or where an enemy flank march has already entered.

  • Flank March elements must be place within 4MU of the edge and placed as one group.

  • Flank March may include the General element.

  • Flank March arrives only on first bound for 1 PIP.

For BBDBA:

  • No pre-designating.

  • Flank march can arrive on either side edge or your base edge.

  • Flank march cannot arrive on a board edge with a Waterway or where an enemy flank march has already entered.

  • Flank March elements must be place within 4MU of the edge and placed as one group.

  • Flank March arrives only on first bound for 1 PIP.

  • A Flank March must be performed by a full command, that is, it must include all elements in the command. 

  • A Flank March cannot be performed by the C-in-C command.
    A defender performing a Flank March must first deploy two commands as usual, reserving the third command for the Flank March.

  • Ally commands cannot be part of a flank march unless the original maneuver roll was a 1.

Rationale

The DBA Aggression ratings conflate two separate historical issues -- a measure of how likely a given army was to be the invader against some enemy, and a measure of how likely a given army was to be able to dictate the choice of battlefield upon the enemy. In DBA2.2 the first decides whose home turf (topography) is used for the battle, and the second is who gets to set up terrain.

Sometimes this conflation works well. The Ancient Spanish rarely if ever invaded an enemy, and were well known for conducting wars of ambush and surprise where the invaders were forced to fight on battlefields chosen by the Spanish.

Other times this conflation works very poorly. The Mongol Conquest army invaded everyone -- aggression 4. But in history, they were rarely (if ever) forced to fight on a battlefield of the enemy's choosing. Virtually every battle they fought during their massive expansion period was on a field previously scouted and chosen by their army, and often they led the enemy to that battlefield with a series of strategems and feinted flights, sometimes over days, before turning and fighting on the ground they had chosen weeks or months earlier.

The English army during the Hundred Years War is another example. Most of their battles were fought in France -- they were invading. But at Crecy, Agincourt, Poitiers and a dozen less famous battles, the French ended up fighting on terrain that the English chose! Using the DBA 2.2 aggression ratings (M.French 1, HYW English 3) creates a completely unhistorical result.

Our Maneuver and Invasion ratings attempt to fix the problem by introducing a conceptual separation and an additional setup roll. The first roll uses Invasion ratings (similar to the Aggression ratings found in DBA 2.2) to determine who is invading. The second roll uses a new Maneuver rating which attempts to encapsulate how likely the given army was to be able to dictate the battlefield choice upon the enemy.

Higher numbers are better (which is the reverse of DBA Aggression ratings, where lower numbers give you the choice of terrain).

Absolute top values (4) represent armies like the Mongol Conquest that were systematic and effective at forcing the battle to a field of their choice -- "winning terrain" almost every time they fought. Absolute sucky values (0) represent armies who were atrocious at it, usually for a variety of reasons.

Factors considered when making up these stats included:

  • Cultures with a history of ambush, scouting, and surprise were given higher ratings. Surprise is nothing more than forcing the enemy to battle when (and where) he wasn't expecting it.
  • Armies who were consistently well-generaled usually (but not always) had better ratings than those who were consistently poorly-generaled. Hannibal obviously won terrain in most of his battles. So did Subotai, Chinggis, Tamerlane, etc. But Alexander the Great consistently fought (and won) on battlefields chosen by his enemies, and Darius (no great shakes as a general by any measure) chose the battlefield for every battle against Big Al.
  • Armies of maneuver, being hard to pin down, tended to get higher ratings.
  • Armies of terrain, and with a history of ambush, where enemies remarked upon how difficult it was to force them to battle in the open, would naturally get higher ratings.
  • Armies with well-trained and disciplined troops would get better ratings than armies with poorly trained or undisciplined troops.
  • Armies with a culture of blind frontal assault would get lower ratings (I'm talking to you, French Kniggits!)
  • Armies with divided command (being less capable of making and executing subtle pre-battle maneuvers) would tend to get lower ratings. Same for armies with no overall leader.

Evidence from actual battles (when present) is always more important than the general rules above. In most ways you would think that Big Al should be high maneuver rating -- brilliant commander, well-trained and disciplined troops. But in the majority of his battles he ended up fighting on terrain chosen by his enemies. Why? Because he didn't care, most likely. But regardless, his maneuver rating is much lower than it would otherwise be if we didn't have any evidence about his battles.
 

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