DBA, De Bellis Antiquitatis (concerning the wars of antiquity), has been my favorite game of ancient and medieval warfare since the 1st edition was published in 1990. It was the first truly fast play ancients game published, and prior to that I avoided the genre for miniatures games because the commercially available rules were so complex and torturous for my tastes. (For basic medieval games — I did, and still do, enjoy the free rulesheet The Rules According to Ral, published by Ral Partha back in the 80’s.)
One of the delights of DBA is the small size of each army. Only 12 stands of figures are used for each army, although some armies have a number of optional stands to choose from. Each stand has 2-7 figures, depending on the troop type. A typical army with options only requires about 50-60 figures. Consequently, the armies are inexpensive to purchase and relatiely quick to paint up. And with army lists spanning from 3,000 BCE up to 1,500 CE, there is a great variety to choose from.
For Big Battle DBA — 3 regular sized armies, 36 stands, are used for each side.
The amount of time and detail I put into painting each army varies. I very much enjoy painting some armies, especially heraldic ones, to a very high level of detail. But I also enjoy having a large number of painted armies to play with, including a number of the triple-sized BIg Battle armies; and so some armies get a quicker treatment to bring them up to a decent wargames level of painting so they can get out on the tabletop.
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