I pre-ordered Dux Bellorum from Amazon.com a few weeks ago. I have been reading the author Daniel Mersey’s blog over recent weeks and frankly, with all the hoo-haa over DBA version 3.0 and Phil Barker’s intractable desire not to move with the times with regards to writing style (1920) and format (1815) I was looking for something new and simple and that would not require a major investment in time or figures. Lest I be unfair, I was also dismayed with the hoo-haa that came along with the DBA 2.2+ extension as well. Good bye DBA, hello something new.
The rules cover the period 367-793 CE, Britain’s Dark Ages and even provide for the legendary Arthur. The armies specifically mentioned in the rules include Romano-British, Picts, Saxons and Irish. There is no preferred figure scale for these rules either, or base scale for that matter as they use the concept of Base Widths for movement – so each side should be based on the same frontage bases but that is about the only requirement.
The book itself is in typical Osprey 64-page format printed on nice shiny paper (yes, I know that I have become a eBook/PDF magazine tragic lately but sometimes a little paper is nice). OK, enough of the technical stuff, down to the details and content.
Like most Ospreys, the book contains illustrations from previously published Osprey works that are relevant to the period the rules cover. Also included are photographs of various Dark Age warriors in differing wargames’ scale – the eye candy. It’s obvious that the eye candy is there to pad out the book to take it to 64-pages but hey, I ain’t complaining, especially as the price was excellent at Amazon.
The rules themself are well laid out. The first chapter deals with the background and I guess design philosophy of the rules. This is followed by a chapter explaining the basics of the rules, the unit types and statistics, basing, measurement and best of all, a couple of sample army lists to get the newbie started.
The crux of the rules are covered in the next chapter, “Playing the Game”, which covers setup, deployment, moving, missile fire, brawling and such. There are the joy of all wargamers, army lists, in this chapter along with ending the game, and strategies and tactics.
The next chapter of the rules covers some pre-set Scenarios as well as providing some ideas for further scenarios. The rules are rounded off with some quick reference sheets and army roster.
The rules throughout have diagrams next to the rules explaining points of movement and combat. They are also liberally laced with tables making the information clear and easy to understand. Overall, it looks like learning the rules without an experienced player around will not be an onerous task. I for one am really looking forward to getting into the meat of these rules over the coming days.
As for Prices, the rules are available at:
- Osprey for £11.99 ((Osprey also offer an ePub or PDF version for £9.98)) plus postage
- Amazon.com for US $12.21 plus postage
- Book Depository for £11.96 postage included
I’m sure there are other Wargames stores offering this for sale as well. I purchased my from Amazon along with a copy of Paul Eaglestone’s A World Aflame which I will look at tomorrow or Saturday.
From what I have seen and read so far, I think I am going to like these rules.