2.2+ Design Notes: Terrain

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Terrain Placement

Terrain placement rules have been changed to prevent the defender from always having 'perfect' terrain and to reduce the likelihood of unrealistic symmetrical terrain placement.

There was some concern with preventing "pool table" terrain deployment (no bad going that had any effect on the battle), but this was not the primary concern of the terrain adjustment rules. When one side wants terrain and the other does not, there always needs to be a decision made regarding who gets their way. In DBA 2.2, this was purely the aggression roll. In 2.2+, it is a combination of the aggression roll and the terrain modification rolls, but it is still random.

In 2.2+, the defender also has a more interesting decision to make if they want no terrain on the board: should they put a known piece of bad going near the center, to prevent the attacker from being allowed to add an unknown piece of bad going; or should they keep the center open and risk the chance of bad going being placed there? Or, should they place the maximum number of terrain pieces on the board, but out of the center of the battlefield, preventing anything from being in the center but cluttering the edges?

Topography and Legal Terrain Placement

The topography and legal terrain placement requirements were changed to address a few complaints and questions with DBA 2.2: "Why does Arable get to place more hills than Hilly?" "How many roads can an Arable player place?"

In 2.2+, no topography has the same terrain type as both Compulsory and Optional. No optional pieces are required, making them truly optional. Requiring 3-5 terrain pieces with a total of 1-3 compulsory and 0-3 optional means that Forest can now place 3 woods instead of 2, and doesn't need to place anything other than woods. On the other hand, Arable can place only 3 roads, while they used to be allowed to place 4 in DBA 2.2.

Changes to Terrain Types

Built Up Areas

The original BUA rules were deeply flawed in regards to the timeframe of a DBA field battle, and the size of the models themselves overly retricted the size of the playing area around them. For both historical reality and to simplify the mechanics of the game, they were removed. Any large fortifications near the battlefield are considered to be just beyond one of the board edges, they may be represented by a small portion of the fortification being modelled as the army's regular camp.

Other solutions to allow in game use of Walled Towns of Fortifications were assessed, but none of the alternative suggestions proved to be satisfactorily realistic or beneficial to the play of the game.


Changes to to the rules regarding rivers are made with the foremost concern of how they affect play in timed events at gaming conventions.

Rough Going in Arable

Rough terrain in arable topographical areas represents both natural terrain features and agricultural features. Agricultural features in arable topography is not restricted to the usual roughly oval shape of natural features. They may be rectangular in shape to represent plowed fields, or more abstractly, wet farmed areas like Aztec chinampas or Asian rice paddies.


In DBA 2.2, Waterways were used to constrict the board and make it easier for an army to protect both of its flanks with a board edge. The maximum size of Waterways has been decreased to limit how much of the available playing area is reduced, to prevent the "edge of the world" effect from affecting games too often

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