Home Forums Ancients (DBMM) rules interpretation: moving obstructing elements BEFORE contact?

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    Gentlemen, how would you evaluate the following situation in DBMM? I couldn’t find an answer online, although I guess this is not a novel situation to experienced players.


    Let’s consider the Auxilia at the bottom of the picture to be within the Threat Zone of the Cavalry, but neither in the TZs of the Psiloi nor the Spear. Can the Auxilia (in its bound) attack any element? I’d say on first glance it cannot. It cannot move sideways in any way because of the Cavalry’s Threat Zone, but cannot contact the Cavalry because of obstructing elements.

    Yet on page 33 (Version 2.1) it says “troops that would move into close combat in real life must do so in the game”. Wouldn’t in real life the Auxilia at least be able to move into close combat (with which enemy element is another matter)?

    But yet again the diagrams on page 57 only deal with moving obstructing elements AFTER contact, not moving aside to make contact possible in the first place. So what do you say?

    If any Non-DBMM players took to the time to read this far, maybe you want to share your knowledge on how other rule systems deal with those situations. Your insights are appreciated!

    Truscott Trotter

    As an ex – DBM player (not played DBMM) I would say the Cavs threat zone is negated as the other 2 elements physically interrupt the zone.

    Tony S

    In DBMM 2.1, threat zones are no longer negated by any intervening elements.   In your diagram (nicely laid out by the way) the Auxilia is therefore in the Cav’s threat zone, so it cannot attack either of the other elements.

    Actually, at the top of page 33 (first paragraph, final sentence), I think is your answer.  As neither the Psiloi nor the Spear are in close combat or providing a supporting rank, therefore they are moved the minimum necessary to allow the Auxilia to contact the Cavalry, as per your quote also from page 33.  A brave, if somewhat foolhardy move on the Auxilia’s part!  It could also either stay where it is, or move directly to its own rear.

    I say this with the caveat that although I play a lot of of DBA3, my DBMM2.1 experience is somewhat limited, and I will bow to those wiser and better informed.



    Hi Tony, thank’s a lot. Let’s say there are different opinions on that, your’s is appreciated I posted the question elsewhere, if some of the wiser and better informed share their wisdom there or there I will present it here

    By the way, Tony, how do you handle that situation in DBA 3?

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by Olivero.
    Tony S

    Yes, please post what you think is the definitive answer. I’m curious.

    As to what we would do in DBA3, those rules don’t allow elements to push stands out of the way to contact an element who’s threat zone you are in. If you manage to get some sort of front edge to edge contact in, then you can move elements to conform, but otherwise the move is cancelled.

    So, as in this situation you cannot contact the cavalry’s front edge because there is no physical way to do so, and since you are in the cavalry’s TZ and therefore cannot contact either of the elements to the flanks, the only options would be to stand, or retire.

    In reality, I think the auxilia player would try and pull it out of a sticky situation and move it directly to its own rear.


    In reality, I think the auxilia player would try and pull it out of a sticky situation and move it directly to its own rear.

    Seems logical to me. In real life, real people and units are able to move simultaneously so the Cavalry would have no much problem to pass between its friends and that would be an immediate threat to the Auxilia. It may not appear so on the gaming table because of IGOUGO or whatever but that’s the most realistic understanding of the situation for both commanders…

    (I don’t know what the rules say. I played DBA a very long time ago but I don’t remember exactly all details).



    Hi Tony, as I still await permission to join the DBMM forum (and others have waited far longer, I have been informed) I posted the question on the Yahoo group. There a midsized discussion came to a more or less mutual conclusion that the Ax can attack none of the enemy’s elements. I tried to read the rules more carefully but whenever I found a faint hint suggesting some other possibility for the Ax (to attack anyone) some other rule or diagramm ruled out that idea.

    Regarding DBA 3: On page 23 figure 13d. shows a situation (if I interpret correctly) of close combat without conforming in any way. The attacker moves a 3-element group into front edge to front corner contact with 2 2-element groups (simultaniously) and cannot conform to either of them. The text says: The defending groups must conform to the attacker, or fight as if each is overlapped on one flank.  In my example above the Ax could move into front corner to flank edge contact with the defending element, something that in real life would be even more desirable to an attacker than the example of figure 13d in DBA 3 (at least I guess so). So why doesn’t the Sp have to conform to the Ax hitting them in the flank? I mean, in principle?

    And to make the situation a little more historic, if looking at the situation above, would the rules lead to a different outcome if we swap the Ax for an element of Kn (that we might call Alexander the Great) and give a name to the Cv as well, maybe Darius. And we exchange the group of two spears to an element of Hd. I guess Alexander has no choice but to retreat…..

    For me a more plausible option would be the Kn moving directly (because of a Threat from the Cv) forward contacting the Hd in the flank and  moving/conforming into front edge to side edge contact with the Hd element, and the Hd sliding into front corner to front corner contact or fighting as if overlapped (or something like that). This will of course open up the flank of the Kn to attack from the enemy Cv and its rear to attack from the Ps, but only next bound.

    I know this will not happen 😉

    Best regards to everyone reading this far!

    P.S.: DBMM has a rule to move obstructing elements aside, IF legal edge to edge contact with any element has been made in the first place and only to make room for conforming. I can understand that restriction as otherwise any attacking element could simply move aside / break through any line of elements to attack those wating in reserve.




    In a real world situation the attackers would pass between the other units if in a formation that had enough fluidity (e.g. cavalry).  If in a rigid formation they wouldn’t attack unless happy to hit the spears/horde as they’d lose their order doing so.  The others would be brushed aside as they passed if they had sufficient flexibility or even turn to face with part of their formation.

    Real world and fixed frontage wargame elements have little in common sometimes.

    As an aside in Impetus the chargers would hit the spear, fighting them as if frontally although only in nominal contact and if forcing them to recoil would continue into the cavalry if they chose as the recoiling spear/horde would disorder the cavalry.  Worth noting that Impetus does not allow units in contact to be aligned ever…you are obliged to leave a little bit projecting on one flank instead of DBx style overlaps.

    There's 10 types of people in the world. Those who understand binary and those who don't.....

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