Thursday, 23 August 2012

Quick Review: Dux Bellorum

I've just got my copy of the Dux Bellorum: Arthurian Warfare (DB) rules which were released on Monday so I've decided to give them a quick review. I haven't played a full game yet but I've had a good look through the rules and they look interesting. (Update: my first AAR's can be found here) The Dark Ages seem to be a popular period at the moment what with Saga, Dux Britannium and now these rules. 


The DB rules are for smaller sized armies than FoG, roughly equivalent in size to Basic Impetus or DBA. The recommended army size is 32pts. Unit types range in cost between 5pts and 1pt for each base of figures. But you can also spend pts on buying special abilities like 'Mead' which gets your troops boozed up, increasing their Aggression (how hard they hit) but reduces their Cohesion (meaning they will break quicker). Of course there's nothing to stop you playing with larger armies.

The rules are well laid out and interspersed with the typical Osprey illustrations. There's the usual background followed by basing information before you get to the actual rules which cover 25 pages. You also get army lists and scenarios making up the book's 64 pages. You can use any scale figures you want with the rules and you don't have to rebase figures as long as you and you opponent use the same basing system. All measuring is done in base widths (BW) so the game will easily scale to match whatever figures you plan on using.

Combat is pretty straightforward. You get one D6 for each point of Aggression your troop type has (adjusted by a few modifiers like charging) and you have to equal or beat the opponents Protection rating to inflict a casualty. Each casualty you take reduces your Cohesion by 1. When a units Cohesion rating reaches 0 it routs. What makes the rules interesting for me though is the use of Leadership Points (LP). Each army starts the game with 6 LP although you can spend army points on buying more. These LP are allocated to units each turn and can be used for things like increasing the number dice rolled in a combat, negating a hit, to stop an impetuous unit charging out of control, and even to interrupt your opponents turn to allow one of your units to move etc. You can allocate up to 3 LP to a unit each turn but you don't have to specify how they are going to be used. With armies having on average about 9-10 units you have to think hard about where and how you are going to use your 6 LP. Also every time you lose a unit you also lose an LP.

The LP concept is what sold me on the rules. I like the extra level of tactical thought it adds to the game. You can see the system in action in this playthrough of the first turn of a game by the author of the rules.

As a bonus I'm hoping that I can get the Saga players at the club to buy a few more figures and move them into DB so I have plenty of opponents. The only slight disappointment I had with the rules was that I got them confused with Dux Britannium and expected them to have a built in easy run campaign, not the rule's fault of course.

I like what I've seen so far and this should get me finishing off painting the 28mm Saxons & Vikings I've had waiting on my table the last six months. But the best thing about the rules though is the price. You can buy them from Amazon for only £8.99. When you consider their production values and compare them to other rulesets which come in at about £25 they're a bargain.

10 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. You're welcome, thanks for writing the rules :-)

      Delete
  2. Hi Ferb, I found this review following a link from Ray Rousells "Don't throw a one" blog. Informative review of a set of rules I have only glanced at. Very tempted to part with the £9 now. Thank you. Clint.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you found it useful. I'll have a batrep of my first game up in the next couple of days.

      Delete
  3. Ive played them twice, a good fun set of rules that give the right "feel". I think our group prefers them to Saga.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tried Saga but I found it boring. DB is good fun although a different type of skirmish game to Saga

      Delete
  4. Got to be honest and say the rules sound kind of like Saga but without the fun of the battleboards (use 'LP' instead). I guess you shouldn't expect a lot for 8.99.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've played Saga and Dux is much more fun with a lot more tactical options. You have to play it to get the full flavour.

      Delete

You may also like:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...