At the basic level, DBA is a two player game like chess. The game is played on a board with pieces called elements. Players take turns moving the elements and attempt to engage the opponent's elements in combat. In chess, the winner of a combat between pieces is the the piece that moves to contact an enemy piece. In DBA, like most historical miniatures wargames, the elements have a value which is modified by certain circumstances and by a die roll.

Before getting into how the game is played, I want to describe the pieces needed and how they are set up for a game. The game is played with 12 pieces on a side. These pieces are called elements and consist of a rectangle of wood, cardboard, or other substance on which some number of toy soldiers (usually called figures) are affixed. It is possible to play with just the rectangles of wood or cardboard which would have symbols drawn on them. While this is a quick way to try out the game and is cheaper than using figures, it does lose the astetics of a 3-dimesnional look. This is especially true if one thinks of the game being played with figures painted to represent the historical soldiers of each army.

Besides the playing pieces, one needs a board, terrain, a die, and a ruler to play DBA. The size of the board depends on the scale of figure being used. Gaming figures are produced in a variety of sizes ranging from 2mm high to 54mm. Any figures larger than what is called 25mm (which may be up to 28mm) are too large for the game. A game with figures 15mm high or smaller is played on a board that is 2 feet square (600mm square), larger figures need a board twice as big. Please note that through out the game there are references to measurements in both English and metric. The playing piece and figure sizes are in metric but the move distances are in inches.

All examples shown on this site use 15mm figures unless otherwise noted.

The playing surface is called a board but could be made of any number of materials. Below are three examples of boards. The first example is made of thin plywood, painted brown and covered with various types of flocking. Flocking is fine foam or dust-like material originally developed for covering model railroad layouts. It is available at most hobby stores which carry railroad materials.

A simplier playing board can be made of green felt as in 1 below, or the felt can be painted as in 2.

 1  2

Below is foam core board, painted and flocked. I have cut it so it will fold into a portable DBA board

 Full size borad

 Bottom left folded at center, top left being folded over

 All quarters folded togheter

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