Tuesday, 1 June 2021

“Unreliable Allies”

 Allied contingents, where these are permitted in the DBA3 lists, can provide specialist troops otherwise not available to an army. Having a different command structure, these may not be moved as a group with elements of the main army and will likely create a pip drain. Historically, the employment of allies could become a double-edged sword; their assistance could gain victory in battle or hastened your defeat when they joined the enemy.

A recent historical scenario for the Battle of Montlhéry presented such a sword depriving King Louis XI of a decisive victory. The scenario did handle the comte du Maine’s defection, but the rule option still had room for improvement. Searching further brought me to an article in Slingshot written by Phil Barker titled – DBM4.0, Proposals “Unreliable Allies”, Slingshot 227, p. 24.

Phil outlined a number of factors that would force an ally to become unreliable, for example, participating in battle would encounter too high a risk and an avoidance to be on the losing side, were the most important. Equally, turning an unreliable ally to a reliable one required greater inducement which outweighed the risk or the enemy was losing, time to join in. And noteworthy, an unreliable ally would not move about the field.

The proposals were intended for DBM4.0, but priorities changed then as DBMM became Phil’s primary focus. The proposals are useful and will be used for future historical scenarios, these are:

 Unreliable allies

An allied contingent becomes “unreliable” if a player scores a 1 on his first PIP dice. They remain stationary for the battle unless “activated”.

 Activation occurs;

when enemy are 3BW from any element within the contingent or a player may elect to spend 5 pips as an inducement or enemy are the first to have a demoralised command.

 A demoralised command, normally associated with the big battle option, can easily be used with the 24-element option. See Montlhéry.

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