Sunday 10 September 2017

DBA Terrain By Type

Since the publication of DBA 3.0, I have devoted much time and attention to the construction of new terrain pieces. During the early stages of 3.0 testing, the terrain we used came from the gunpowder collection which was, on the whole, quite large in quantity and size. Through our game experience we quickly saw a need to create new items and preferably these should be of medium or small size. Further, we swapped the standard board for one of a larger format, 80cm x 80cm. This seemed paradoxical, but enlarging the game board did diminish the chance of discarding terrain pieces resulting in some quadrants containing three pieces. This generate some interesting battles and certainly changed our perspective with regard to certain terrain features, such as BUA and rivers.  

As the collecting of ancient and medieval armies proceeded this was done on a project basis focusing on a central theme army and a host of enemies. The first of these, the Severan Dynasty (3rd century AD), focused on Rome and the enemies it faced across its frontiers. Hilly terrain was quickly needed to engage the Picts,  forest regions were needed to fight most of the barbarians, the nomadic horsemen had steppe as home terrain, and the Parthians needed dry landscape to call home. 

Generally, the construction of terrain features began after the completion of a new army. As time progressed and the number of armies grew, the terrain pieces varied in quality and colour. This was due to either new materials used or new ideas were implemented for their construction.

The Historical Match Ups series posted here gave me an opportunity to use the armies, experiment with terrain placement, the deployment of the armies, and simulate their tactics, but a closer inspection of the photos did reveal much that needed to be done with the terrain. It was then I decided to take a rigorous step and standardise the terrain pieces for all seven DBA categories. 

The project took a few months to complete, but I am satisfied with the end result. The templates used for the majority of bad and rough going were produced in standard size and shape which greatly reduced the storage space by 60%. Bad and rough going terrain pieces now consisted of one large feature (6BW x 3BW), three mid-size (4BW x 3BW) and one or two small pieces (3BW x 2BW); the latter are useful as terrain can be intersected by a road or river.

Duplicate templates were made so they could be used in European landscape or dry arid regions; an arable region located in Mesopotamia should look somewhat different than one located in France. Templates could also serve multiple functions depending on the scatter material placed on top; this could represent rocky, scrub, marsh, enclosures or even BUA (hamlet) and all this is covered on the final page.

Where applicable, I have noted the dimensions and quantity of certain pieces under the photos.

Below is an overview of the armies having a particular terrain by type listed in each book. Do not overlook the fact that the first book blankets a longer period of time with each successive book a five century period. Some sub-lists may have two terrain types as this reflects a period of migration or conquest.

Book I  (64 lists, 137 sub-lists)
Arable                  64                        
Forest                  0
Hilly                     28                        
Steppe                  7                          
Dry                       7                          
Tropical                2
Littoral                29                        

Book II  (84 lists, 291 sub-lists)
Arable                  89         
Forest                  14          
Hilly                     33         
Steppe                 16          
Dry                      14          
Tropical               10          
Littoral                25         

Book III  (80 lists, 127 sub-lists)
Arable                  39         
Forest                   8            
Hilly                      21          
Steppe                  17          
Dry                       18          
Tropical                12          
Littoral                 12          

Book IV  (85 lists, 149 sub-lists)
Arable                  63         
Forest                  10          
Hilly                     26         
Steppe                 10          
Dry                       6            
Tropical                4            
Littoral                 21          

313 lists, 794 sub-lists

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