Letter from the Editor
(may, 1998)

Not much new to report, I'm afraid. It just hasn't been that long since I talked to you last. The most interesting thing to happen gaming-wise was my introduction to the world of De Bellis Antiquitatis, or DBA, as the afficianados know it. DBA is a miniatures wargame of a very abstract sort. Essentially, each player controls 12 pieces which represent knights, footsoldiers, bowmen, cavalry, etc. Each type of piece has certain strengths and weaknesses. Knights have trouble with rough ground. Some footsoldiers move very slowly. And certain types of pieces do better and worse against other types. Knights hate bowmen but love to try to run them down (at least ours did!). Bowmen do very well against folks on horseback but less well against other folks on foot, and so on. Each playing piece is made up of a rectangular base with a number of figures afixed atop it. Typically, the game is played using 15mm figures on a two foot by two foot board (yes, only the English would be mad enough to mix metric and empirial measures in the same game!).

Now, as it turns out, my buddy Ron and I never seemed to get around to painting those damned 15mm miniatures that we bought. So we kept putting off playing and putting it off some more. Until the day that I cut to the chase and bought a pile (and I mean a PILE) of Playmobil figures and we went ahead and played. Now, Playmobil are more like 150mm figures, so we decided we needed a slightly larger playing surface. The width/height ratio on Playmobil is a bit better than on your average lead figure so we decided that we could get by with multiplying all the playing dimensions by five. That gave us a ten by ten board and bases that were easy to handle. This worked out just fine. We based the figures using poster putty and clear acrylic bases. The armies looked mighty fine and the game was a hoot.

At first blush, DBA seems to be more than a bit luck based. This may have been influenced by our choice of armies - the Feudal French vs the Feudal English. Both armies are heavily knight based and the English army is loaded with archers. This makes for a sudden death situation. In both of our games, the French won, however, once with Ron at their helm and once for me, and largely on the strength of their two elements of crossbows. In my case, it all came down to a lucky shot that took out the English general. In Ron's case it all came down to good gameplay!

Here is the photographic evidence of our madness!

take care,

The Game Cabinet - editor@gamecabinet.com - Ken Tidwell