2.2+ Design Notes: Revised Element Types

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The 2.2+ rules modify several existing DBA 2.2 element types to make them work differently. Although this section concentrates on rule changes made specifically to individual troop types, the balance between all troop types has changed through other rule changes as well. For example, the rear support rules greatly change the behavior of Spears and Pike, and the disengagement rules affect all troop types' ability to extract themselves from combat. Those rule changes are not discussed in this section.

Scythed Chariots

Scythed Chariots are very fun in DBA 2.2, but the rules supporting them make them most useful when used in historically inaccurate ways. The 2.2+ modifications are intended to encourage historical use of Scythed Chariots.

In DBA 2.2, the Scythed Chariot double move of 4" made the chariots most useful for surprise flanking maneuvers. Their impetuosity and base depth meant that after attacking on a flank, they automatically pursued to flank the next element in line.

Removing the second move makes these chariots less useful for flanking maneuvers, but they are still very vulnerable in a head-on fight. To compensate for this, the chariots are now not susceptible to corner-to-corner overlaps. This means that they can be used effectively by sending them headlong into a line of troops without any support; but if they succeed, they'll probably be destroyed by overlaps in future turns. They are strong but brittle, and work better in an unsupported frontal attack role than in a sweeping flank maneuver; just as Scythed Chariots should be.

War Wagons

In DBA 2.2, War Wagons were extra deep elements, that had several odd rules in place to make them behave in a reasonable manner. The simple change of reducing their base size to 1BW square removes almost all of these special exceptions. There no longer needs to be any special rule for multiple contacts on the same side, since no side is large enough to be in combat contact with more than one element.

The Zone of Control rules were modified for War Wagons to address a few odd situations that could be abused in DBA 2.2. The new rule has War Wagons exerting a ZoC from all sides, since it can shoot from all sides; but it loses that ZoC as soon as it loses the ability to shoot (if it's contacted on any side). From an intuitive standpoint, this change reflects the fact that although War Wagons can't contact the enemy, they still pose a danger from shooting.

In practice, the old Zone of Control rules had some problems. If you placed your War Wagons backwards, they could shoot towards the enemy but not project a ZoC toward the enemy. This made it possible to shoot the enemy while making it impossible for the enemy to contact the War Wagon without entering another element's ZoC first. Since the War Wagon did not project a ZoC, the enemy was required to face a different element instead of the War Wagon.

One alternate proposed change to War Wagon ZoC was: "If they can't contact an enemy, they should not project a ZoC." It didn't take long for the designers to realize that this made the situation even worse: it was trivial to protect all sides of a War Wagon and prevent it from being contacted while still being able to shoot in every direction. The decision was made that shooting was enough to present a threat to the enemy, and therefore ZoC should project from all sides.

Elephants

In DBA 2.2, Elephants were too powerful in several ways.

The 2.2+ revision downgrades their combat factors against mounted (to +4), which still leaves them the most powerful mounted element against mounted, and revises their combat factors against foot (upgrading them to +5 but removing the QK vs. Spear/Pike) which upgrades Spear/Pike slightly and downgrades Bd slightly. Making them follow up on a win means they are less of a static control troop and reflects their difficulty to control.

Now Sp/Pk are better at fighting El than Blade are (increasing the utility of Spear, and decreasing that of Blade slightly). These changes also correct some disconnects in the Southeast Asia armies where the choice of Aux or Wb is made based upon factors that have nothing to do with Elephants, and troops that should be nearly identical in fighting Elephants fight very differently against them in v2.2. Elephants remain the most powerful mounted troop type for fighting other mounted, but are more difficult to control due to their reduced ability to disengage and their impetuousity, and are easier to beat with mounted ranged archery (Cav or LH).

The Elephant's high combat factor versus foot makes them fight as well as any foot in bad going, which more accurately reflects their use in Asian armies.

These revisions made bows a lot less effective against Elephants. To counteract this somewhat, Elephants are more susceptible to bow fire, with a -1 when being shot. Bows are still a much less useful troop to use against elephants than they used to be, but other troop types such as Spear and Pike are a lot more useful.

Horde

Nobody likes Hordes, because they suck. However, they're supposed to suck. So many people wanted to see Hordes change to make them better without breaking their essential Horde nature. Many proposals were made, but most were struck down because "Horde are supposed to suck."

The only changes Horde had were:

  • they recoil rather than being destroyed when beaten
  • they do not pursue

This makes them much more survivable than they were previously. They are not as bad against other foot elements, since they don't recoil when beaten and now don't pursue into double overlap when they win, either.

Overall the changes are not major, but they may be enough to consider taking an optional element of horde once in a while.

Camels

Camels in DBA 2.2 were some of the most effective anti-mounted elements in the game. Historical evidence does not bear this out.

They got a complete facelift in the 2.2+ modifications. They have lower combat factors against mounted, but don't recoil versus light horse or cavalry. This represents their fighting style of dismounting and using the camels as a shield while shooting from a distance. Their increased combat factor vs. foot makes them more resilient to foot, where they historically behaved much like ordinary horse-based Cavalry.

Overall, these changes give Camelry a unique feel in the game, while more accurately representing the historical use and behavior of the troops.

Litters

In DBA 2.2, Litters were non-shooting War Wagons. This was not an accurate representation of the historical way Litters were used. All historical Litters were non-fighting vehicles with a protective bodyguard. The fact that Litters were War Wagons also had odd effects on BBDBA: if you had a Litter in a single army, you could take three in a BBDBA army, and it would allow you to go without a camp.

2.2+ addresses these issues by making Litters into an alternate element type, depending on the army which they're fighting in. They fight as that element type for all purposes, which represents the Litter's bodyguard. This makes them fit the army a bit better. The BBDBA camp issues are solved because the Litters are not War Wagons, and you can only take one Litter; the other two are replaced by another element of the bodyguard's element type.

These changes allow players to field their beautifully modelled Litter elements effectively, while still allowing the elements to contact the enemy.

Artillery

Artillery does not recoil from shooting in 2.2+. This just makes sense: what were they going to do, pick up the Trebuchet and run away? No: the crew would run, and the Artillery would stay put. Artillery is easy to destroy in close combat, and still costs 2 PIPs to move.

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