This file describes the basic principles of Big Battle DBA strategy. We assume herein that players of Big Battle DBA are already competent players of DBA version 2.0.
With a single army or an ally, you have no choice -- each army is 12 elements. With a double army the commands should be split 13/11, 14/10, 16/8, or 17/7. That way you need to take 9 elements casualties to break both your commands, not 8. With a triple army the best split is either 13/13/10 or 16/13/7 or 16/10/10.
What size to allocate to each command depends upon the command's mission and pip resources. Missions are discussed in more detail later. Larger commands require more pips than smaller ones. Commands with simple, static missions require fewer pips than commands with active, mobile missions. Larger commands are harder to break; smaller commands are easier to move, especially through bad going.
This topic deserves a large article just by itself. To keep the topic simple, as befits an overview, here are some of the uses for terrain. Note: in the discussion below, "vertical" terrain is oriented from one backfield to the other, parallel to the side edges. "Horizontal" terrain is that which is parallel to the long back edges.
If your C-in-C is killed, you lose. Do not put your C-in-C in the line of battle unless things are desperate. Things are never desperate at the start of the game.
Your C-in-C can add +1 to his combat roll, once only per game. Do not put yourself in a position so that you need to use this modifier. If you end up in such a position, only use it if you must. Most of the time, this means only to use it to save the life of your C-in-C.
The principle here is very simple. You cannot win the battle everywhere. So when you look over the battlefield, you should not be trying to win the battle everwhere -- you should identify one part of the battlefield where you will win it. The rest of the battlefield your objective is much simpler -- you want to "not lose" there. DBA is a game of pip management. Spend your pips where you are trying to win; only spend pips where your objective is to "not lose" if you must. Make your opponent spend pips elsewhere, so he has fewer pips where you are trying to win the battle.
Give each command a mission; something simply described. Keep to that mission and don't get distracted for temporary gain. Make sure that your commands are structured so as to be able to fulfill their mission. For example, it is impossible to get enough pips for one command to simultaneously advance in bad going against enemy troops, and also to move forward beside them with pip-hog troops like elephants. It is also foolish to give your lowpip command the mission of advancing through bad going.
Give each command a mission. Make sure the command has the right resources (troop types, number of elements, and appropriately-sized pip dice) to fulfill that mission. And then keep your plan on target.
You must place your C-in-C command and one other down before the enemy deploys. Keep as much of your plan hidden as you may until after he deploys. This will give him the chance to make mistakes. For example, if you have only one important group of bad going terrain on the map, putting your bad-going command behind it will be obvious, and so reveal nothing to the enemy. But if you have two such groups of bad going, one on each flank, and only one bad-going command to exploit it, you best wait to deploy the bad-going command after the enemy has set up his troops. Similarly, if you have a large wall of psiloi-supported spear as your main good-going battle line, it will not surprise anyone for you to put it on the map in the center. But if you have a last-placement mobile reserve that can flank to one side or the other, wait to place that last, after the enemy has deployed.
Note that it is often possible to get good matchups, even if you deploy first. For example, if you set up with corridors of good going running from one side to the other, you can rely on the fact that an enemy with large pike units would send them marching down these corridors. Thus you may position your forces knowing how the enemy will deploy. This principle of forecasting is especially important with artillery.
Setting up second, as the attacker, you get more information than the guy setting up first, but less control over terrain. You don't get "no" control over terrain -- sure, you can't move or eliminate any pieces, but you aren't required to fight in them either. By placing your commands well you can choose which terrain pieces become important in the upcoming battle, and which ones become irrelevant.
Further, you get information about the enemy. You can usually figure out what his plans are for the two commands that are already deployed. You may even be able to figure out which one will get the high pip dice, which the low pip, and which the mid pip. You can easily figure out what the composition of the third not-placed-yet command is, and from that information often figure out what plans the enemy has for that command.
From all this information you can place your commands to maximize your advantage and get the best matchups possible. Don't restrict yourself to thinking about element matchups -- it is often more important to get mission matchups between commands than it is to get element matchups. If you can arrange to attack one of the enemy commands with two of yours, while making it difficult for the enemy to get a similar concentration of force, that can win you the game. If you can figure out enough information about the enemy plans and intentions from his deployment, you can usually gain a large advantage.
The last-placed defensive command can be a game-breaking advantage if you use it well. Examine the attacker's deployment as described above in setting up second. Figure out what he is going to do, and how he intends to do it. Once you have that information, place your third command so as to frustrate his intentions defensively, or (even better) to attack aggressively where he is weak, so as to throw his plans totally out of whack.
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