Big Battle Army Assessment

By David Kuijt and David Schlanger

Updated: February 14, 2005

Preamble

          While discussing Big Battle DBA strategy and tactics online we have had occasion to assess which Big Battle (BB) armies are more effective, and which are less so. The use of allies, and the different mechanics of Big Battle DBA, means that the effective armies can be quite different from those that are effective in regular DBA. There are a great variety of effective armies in Big Battle. The II/28 Bosporans combined 0 aggression, Knights, and Auxilia; II/15 Alexander Imperial with II/3 Classical Indian ally may be one of the premier combined-arms forces in Big Battle DBA; I/22(b) New Kingdom Egyptian has an excellent mix of Blade and Bow with a mobile chariot arm; II/42(b) Tamil Indian takes brute force to a new level with Elephants and Blades; and so on. This effectiveness assessment is based entirely upon our experience in open tournaments -- in theme tournaments or against historical enemies, most armies with low ratings will perform better. The larger army size in Big Battle makes it more difficult to support themed tournaments and restrict battles to historical matchups, such that all the Big Battle DBA tournaments we have participated in since the publication of DBA 2.0 have been open tournaments. This assessment also includes the tactical complexity of each army listed in the rulebook.

          The Big Battle DBA rules amplify the complexity of the game, as each army consists of three times as many elements. The ability to separate specific elements into commands, allows for more interesting troop interactions, as well as mission specific goals. We consider the tactical skill that each army requires in a variety of situations. Some armies are just plain more challenging to play well than others. We consider II/22(d) Characene with II/23(a) Arab Nomad and II/37 Parthian allies to be one of the best "trick" armies out there -- Aggression 0 Dry, with lots of Camels, and a great mix of troops. But it is also a very difficult army to play well, and will likely be very frustrating for less advanced players. On the other hand, triple II/33 Polybian Roman is a very good heavy-foot army that will be rewarding even for relatively new players if they understand a few basic principles about Big Battle DBA.

          In the discussion that follows we examine a broad spectrum of notable Big Battle armies, giving each an effectiveness rating of A-F, a complexity rating of 1-5, and a commentary regarding our reasoning behind the ratings. An effectiveness A army offers crushing potential in the hands of many players, while an effectiveness F one may be doomed from the start regardless of the level of player. A complexity 1 army offers little tactical complexity and challenge (it may not be easy to win, but is easy to play), while a complexity 5 army includes multiple troop types with complex troop interaction (difficult to play). An approximation of complexity levels is as follows:

1 - Very simple armies; monotype armies without complication

2 - Simple armies. More complicated monotype armies (LH monotype, bad-going monotype armies), or armies based around two troop types that work well together.

3 - Average complexity. Easy combined-arms armies; armies with two common troop types that don't work easily with each other.

4 - Complex. Combined-arms armies without very difficult element types

5 - Very complex.  Armies that combine lots of Pikes, Elephants, War-wagons, Artillery, and trapeze artists.

Note that some troop types have inherent complexity - they are difficult to get to do what you wish to do with them. Any troop type that takes an extra pip to move falls in that category, as do Pikes. LH are that way as a primary troop type, but are actually easier to use in small numbers. The same is true for auxilia and psiloi.

          A marker acknowledges that a particular army would be an extremely gutsy entry in any open BBDBA event because of glaring weakness in one or more areas. We do not assign these ratings lightly; just because an army has low effectiveness does not make it a wheelbarrow army - it must also have aspects of funkitude and glory.

          Note that this is of necessity a very brief assessment. If you are choosing a Big Battle army based upon this article you should consider other factors as well, as we ignore some very important issues. Some players will be better at gaining advantages through terrain-placement than others; they would do well to seek out lower aggression armies. Other players might be very adept at getting a deployment advantage, and very flexible -- they should seek out a high-aggression combined-arms army like Later Carthage or Alexander Imperial. Some element types, like Pike, Light Horse, Elephants, or Artillery, are difficult to master and may not be for all players. Similarly for massed Bow -- they can be competitive against almost anything but massed blade, but you can't just line them up and hope if you're facing enemy heavy spear. Some players will play better with a very mobile army; or with a stolid heavy foot army. And of course, there is no substitute for playing an army that you love!

          One more aside -- the Big Battle DBA board as listed is very cramped. This makes maneuver armies with lots of Cav and LH fight at a significant disadvantage compared to regular DBA (and they had a big disadvantage on a 24" square map too!). We recommend you try playing on a 5x2 board; We think it improves the game.

          Finally, with the release of DBA 2.2 we see changes to the deployment rules for Big Battle DBA that prove to be detrimental to the game's delicate balance. All of the ratings below are based on our special rules for BBDBA that can be found here - Official NASAMW Big Battle Rules. These special rules take the best of DBA 2.0 and 2.1, without the problems rampant in 2.2 - the changes are slight but quite significant in effect. If you wish to use the published DBA 2.2 deployment rules without modification, you should modify our ratings for effectiveness slightly. As a rule of thumb, combined-arms armies with high aggression will tend to do slightly better with the 2.2 deployment against non-monotype armies; and non-monotype armies with high aggression will tend to do slightly better against low-aggression combined-arms armies.

Book I Armies

I/1 Early Sumerian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 3000-2800BC

D

2

(b) 2799-2500BC

B

2

(c) 2500-2334BC

B

3

(d) 2250BC

C

4


Effectiveness: Each list can be improved one rating by adding an ally. The (a) list is a slow-as-dirt bow army, improved slightly with Zagros or Bedouin allies. The (b) list and (c) list have a fairly nice troop distribution -- a strong pike wall with supporting Kn and Bd is pretty good. They are helped significantly by adding an ally, and all their allies are all nice additions. The (d) list weakens somewhat but their ally, although also slow, is quite interesting.
Complexity: The (a) list bow wall is probably the easiest Early Sumerian list to use as a monotype army, however bow is not the most simple troop type to use effectively, and staying alive against heavy foot will require subtle play. Adding the Zagros or Bedouin ally provides some added mobility and terrain use. The (b) and (c) list both offer some challenge due to the high number of pike, although (c) offers more combined arms complexity. List (d) is the most difficult to use, as a plan is needed to fight with only 10 elements or else find something useful for the Horde despite their vulnerability and extra PIP needs.



I/2 Early Egyptian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 3000-1640BC

C

3

(b) 1639-1543BC

B

3


Effectiveness: The (b) list gets a higher rating because of its greater proportion of blade and the addition of a few chariots for mobility. Blade and bow is a nice combination, but these guys need some sort of mobility component.
Complexity: Both lists have some complexity, in that they require bow/blade interaction. Both lists have the benefit of psiloi supported blade, and suffer from the strain of three elements of Horde. The a list choice of a Lit general command stand presents even more complexity. This army should be played with a Lit C-in-C, just because.



I/3 Nubian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

3000BC-1480BC

C

2


Effectiveness: A bow army with a bit of Wb to threaten heavy foot. Not too bad, but you gotta like bow.
Complexity: A mostly-simple army with a little added complexity from the Warband double move and support options. Using more psiloi presents a more complex plan development with potential first bound ambush and more potential for terrain advantage.



I/4 Zagros and Anatolian Highlanders:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Any 3000-2251BC

D

2

(b) Guti 2250-2112BC

D

2

(c) Hurrians, Kassites, Nairi 1780-950BC

D

2

(d) Gasgans 1650-950BC

D

2


Effectiveness: Aggression 3 is very rough for Ax/Ps armies or Wb/Ps armies. The Guti have some nice allies, though, all of which are a big help. One ally would raise their grade to C, both allies B. If you take both the Elamites and Melukhans as allies, you have a nice combined arms force that is only slightly lacking in mobility.
Complexity: All four of these lists are fairly simple to play, although adequate use of terrain is needed to succeed in all cases. Adding the ally or allies to the Guti list bumps up their complexity to 3, as it becomes a combined arms effort.



I/5 Early Susiana and Elam:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 3000-2601BC

C

2

(b) 2600-2101BC

C

2

(c) 2100-1401BC

C

2

(d) 1400-800BC

C

2


Effectiveness: The (c) list with Melukhan allies get a rating increase to B. The (c) list has some nice allies, of which the best are the Melukhans who give them a bit of heavy-foot stiffening. Massed bow armies don't mind having high aggression.
Complexity: These are simple straight forward bow monotype armies. The (a) and (c) list ally possibilities add some complexity, but not much.



I/6 Early Bedouin:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Any 3000-1500BC

D

2

(b) 1499-1000BC

D

2

(c) 999-312BC

C

3


Effectiveness: High aggression and Ax/Ps again. The (c) list is interesting with some camels to provide mobility and stand off enemy Cavalry and Knights, and taking the Assyrian ally gives some more variety and a pinch of heavy foot.
Complexity: Lists (a) and (b) are simple except for the need to play in terrain. The (c) list is much more complex in its mix of the camel troop type with light infantry. All of the allies listed add some complexity to the (a) list. The (a) list should increase to a rating of 3 and the (c) list 4 with the use of their allies - the Assyrian ally being both the most challenging and exciting to play.



I/7 Early Libyan:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 3000-1251BC

D

2

(b) 1250-660BC

C

3

(c) 659-200BC

D

2

(d) 200BC-70AD

D

2


Effectiveness: The (b) list with Sea People ally gets bumped up to a C rating, perhaps a B rating for experienced players. Very high aggression for the first two lists, although the Wb/Bw mix give the (b) list something interesting and matches well with their Sea People ally, but it is still an awful lot of psiloi for a high aggression army. The second two lists are zero-aggression psiloi armies. Without zero aggression we would give them an F rating! Even with zero aggression they probably can't win.
Complexity: Lists (a), (c), and (d) all present similar complexity, and all rely on advantageous terrain despite a high aggression. Probably the only thing keeping lists (c) and (d) from earning a 1 complexity is the challenge of trying to find something useful for 33 elements of psiloi to do, besides die. List (b) is the only Early Libyan list to call for complex troop interaction, and multifaceted planning. Adding the Sea People ally to this list even goes a step further, notching a 4 rating.



I/8 Makkan, Dilmun, Saba, Etc.:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 2800-1301BC

C

2

(b) Makkan 1300-312BC

C

4

(c) Others 1300-312BC

C

3


Effectiveness: Nice little Ax army for (a), and Wb army for (b), but not a killer by any means. The (c) list is essentially a low-aggression Early Bedouin army with a few blade -- nice! With the Bedouin ally or the Kassite Ally this is a pretty nice little list. The Makkan might rate a C+ or even a B if you like Warband -- the Camels and Bow give the normal good-going enemies of Warband (Knights, Elephants) some pause, and the Warband give similar good support for the enemies of Camels and Bow (i.e., Heavy foot).
Complexity: The (b) list offers a fairly unusual mix of troop types.  The combination of Warband, Camelry, Bow and Psiloi presents an interesting interactive challenge.



I/9 Early Syrian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

2700-2200BC

D

2


Effectiveness: Aggression a little too high; too many Ax/Ps; not enough troops that fight in the open and too slow. The Sumerian ally is a nice addition, and raises their rating to C.
Complexity: Adding some pike here actually gives some stability and a good going center to a bad-going army; that doesn't really increase the complexity of the army much, and in some ways it simplifies things.



I/10 Melukhkhan and Pre-Vedic Indian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

2700-1500BC

B

2


Effectiveness: A very nice combination of psiloi-supported spear and bow. The only thing that stops this from being an A-quality army is its lack of mobility.
Complexity: An easy army to play. No significant speed differences; no bad-going issues.



I/11 Akkadian and 3rd Dynasty of Ur:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 2334-2193BC

B

3

(b) 2112-2004BC

B

3


Effectiveness: A nice heavy foot army. The (b) version is slightly better. The Elamite ally is a nice addition. A bit too many psiloi, and not enough mounted, but a nice mix of pike and bad-going flank support otherwise.
Complexity: Supporting pikes with bad-going troops isn't always easy, and that's what you need to do here, but there aren't a lot of different troop types to complicate the basic task.



I/12 Sumerian Successor States:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 2028-1460BC

C

3


Effectiveness: Another fair heavy foot army. The Elamite ally is nice, but the Later Amorite ally is probably more useful, and garners an improved B rating. Like all armies from this period, too slow.
Complexity: Drop this down to a 2 complexity rating if no pike are taken.



I/13 Hsia and Shang Chinese:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 2000-1300BC

B

3

(b) 1299-1017BC

B

3


Effectiveness: Blade and bow is a nice combination. Slow, of course. The Chinese Border Tribe ally is a fun addition. For the later list, the Chou ally is quite powerful. Whether or not you take allies, the auxilia are a good choice.
Complexity: Drop this down to a 2 complexity if you don't take any auxilia.



I/14 Early Northern Barbarian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Chinese border tribes 2000-401BC

F

3

(b) Chinese border tribes 400-315BC

D

4

(c) Europe 2000-1401BC

D

4

(d) Europe 1400-701BC

C

4

(e) Europe 700-315BC

D

4


Effectiveness: Aggression too high; slow monochrome armies. The (d) list has some nice foot and a blade-spear mix isn't bad. The (a) list should definitely go with the Chou ally, which brings it up to a C rating.
Complexity: As mostly-monochrome armies these are all fairly easy to run, with only a few mounted to integrate into the overall battle plan.



I/15 Later Amorite:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1894BC-1595BC

C

3


Effectiveness: Psiloi-supported blade is a nice basic troop type. Slow.
Complexity: With auxilia, blade, psiloi, and some mounted or bow, this is a fairly well-rounded (and therefore moderately complex) foot army.



I/16 Hittite Old/Middle Kingdom:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1680BC-1380BC

B

3


Effectiveness: Psiloi-supported spear with a bit of mobility. Not bad. It will have some trouble against armies with bad-going troops and low aggression, though.
Complexity: Nice and easy, by and large.



I/17 Hyksos:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1645-1591BC

C

3

(b) 1590-1537BC

B

4


Effectiveness: The (b) list with more mobility is better; the (a) list has too much Bgo troops for its aggression. With the addition of the Early Egyptian ally this is a nice little army, probably even deserving of an A rating.
Complexity: The (a) list needs to integrate auxilia with psiloi-supported blade; the (b) list needs to integrate light chariots with the same troops. Different problems, but about the same complexity.



I/18 Minoan and Early Mycenean:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1600BC-1250BC

A

3


Effectiveness: A good sized pike block and a bunch of mixed chariots with some Bgo troops. A nice army.
Complexity: Moderate. The list has the usual problem - supporting the flanks of the pike block, and integrating the strike of the mounted troops with the push of pikes.



I/19 Mitanni:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1595BC-1274BC

C

3


Effectiveness: Not much punch, but a good maneuver army. It won't do poorly in any situation, whether heavy terrain or light, but it hasn't got much kick. We may be a bit harsh; it might deserve a B rating. Certainly a very good army played against historical opponents.
Complexity: Moderate - how to give appropriate bad-going support to a mass of light chariots.



I/20 Syro-Canaanite or Ugaritic:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Ugarit 1274-1176BC

B

3

(b) Others

C

4


Effectiveness: A bit too high-aggression for the number of Bgo troops. The Ugarit list with HCh punch is better; with the addition of the Hittite ally (giving it a good line of psiloi-supported spear for the open) it should be quite effective and maybe a rating of A.
Complexity: The typical problem of Book I armies - a main battle line of fairly light troops, and integrating a bad-going attack with chariots.



I/21 Kassite and Later Babylonian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1595-890BC

B

3

(b) 889-747BC

B

4


Effectiveness: A fairly nice Bgo army. The allies don't really fix the only problem with this army, which is that it doesn't have any heavy foot. Aggression 0 would have been nice, too.
Complexity: More of the same - integrating bad-going troops with mounted or chariots.



I/22 New Kingdom Egyptian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1543-1200BC

A

3

(b) 1199-1069BC

A

4


Effectiveness: A nice blade/bow mix with a mobile chariot arm. We like the (b) list with the warband slightly better for surprise punch, but not much different. We used this list to win the BBDBA Doubles competition at Historicon 2003.
Complexity: Blade and bow and chariots in approximately equal proportions - a very effective form of combined arms, but not easy to run. Integrating the speed and maneuver of the chariots into an attack based upon a mixed blade/bow wall is not easy.



I/23 Vedic Indian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1500-900BC

B

3

(b) 899-512BC

B

4


Effectiveness: The (a) list with LCh and Bw is weak against any heavy foot army, but otherwise OK. The (b) list is better, with the addition of an Elephant and a HCh to provide some anti-foot punch. An interesting mix of troops.
Complexity: Bow and light chariots isn't all that complicated for the (a) list, but adding Elephants to the mix really complicates things - they don't move the same speed as the bow or the light chariots, and they cost more pips to move, and their destructive recoils cause restrictions on placement in the friendly backfield.



I/24 Hittite Empire:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1380-1275BC

A

3

(b) 1274-1180BC

A

4


Effectiveness: A very nice psiloi-supported spear army with mobile chariots. We like the (b) list with HCh best. The Mitanni ally is worthwhile, giving some bad-going troops.
Complexity: Good proportions of heavy-foot wall and mounted make for a fairly easy army to play.



I/25 Middle Assyrian and Early Neo-Assyrian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1365-883BC

B

3

(b) 882-745BC

B

4


Effectiveness: A nice army and a nice mix of troops. The only problem is that half the army are Ax/Ps and it is aggression 4, which means they will have to make part of the good going battle line out of them. The ally doesn't add anything new.
Complexity: The usual problem again - how to integrate light foot, heavy foot, and mounted into a single cohesive and effective whole.



I/26 Later Mycenean and Trojan War:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Achaian 1250BC-1190BC

A

3

(b) Trojan 1250BC-1190BC

A

4


Effectiveness: Dismounting chariots and psiloi-supported spear, very nice. We like the (a) list better, but they are both good.
Complexity: The major complication here is the dismounting troops; the base of a good psiloi-supported spear wall is simple enough. Downgrade the (a) list to complexity 3 if no pike or warband are taken.



I/27 Early Hebrew:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1250-1000BC

D

3


Effectiveness: Far too high an aggression and no foot capable of standing against cavalry or knights in the open.
Complexity: An army made of mostly bad-going troops isn't a simple tactical problem.



I/28 Sea Peoples:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1208BC-1176BC

B

3


Effectiveness: The only two knocks against this army are that psiloi-supported blade are a big risk against knights in open terrain resulting from their high aggression, and that the army is pretty darn slow. The Vikings of the Bronze Age are good other than that.
Complexity: The difficulty with Sea Peoples is having faith in your wall of psiloi-supported blade against mounted. Once you get past that anxiety, it is easy enough to run these guys.



I/29 Philistine:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1166-1100BC

B

3

(b) 1099-600BC

A

4


Effectiveness: The Early Philistines are nice, although a little slow and vulnerable to knights. The later version with psiloi-supported spear are a little better overall. The Canaanite ally is valuable for the early list; the allies are all interesting for the later list but have their advantages and disadvantages.
Complexity: The (a) list is very close to their Sea People origins; the (b) list converts to spear, but still is the same general concept of a strong good-going heavy-foot wall with mounted and bad-going support.



I/30 Dark Age and Geometric Greek:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1160-901BC

B

3

(b) 900-725BC

C

4

(c) 724-650BC

B

4


Effectiveness: The dismount-as-warband LCh general is cool for the earlier two lists, but the middle list has way too many auxilia and psiloi to be aggression 2, and the early list has a bit too many of both to be aggression 2. The late (c) list with psiloi-supported blade has better chances at that aggression.
Complexity: A complicated speed/power/bad-going integration in the (a) list becomes a relatively standard bad-going army in the (b) list, and finally a simple psiloi-supported spear army.



I/31 Neo-Hittite and Later Aramaean:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1100-901BC

D

3

(b) 900-710BC

D

4


Effectiveness: With aggression 2 and between 9 and 11 auxilia or psiloi, these guys don't have what it takes to win non-historical matchups.
Complexity: :A normal bad-going tactical problem for the (a) list becomes more complicated by adding a second chariot type and some desperately-needed heavy foot in the (b) list.



I/32 Western Chou and Spring & Autumn Chinese:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1100-701BC

A

3

(b) Wu or Yueh 584-480BC

A

4

(c) Others 700-480BC

A

4


Effectiveness: Nice mixes of psiloi-supported heavy foot and heavy chariots with some bow. The allies look like fun, too.
Complexity: Not too bad. Upgrade the (b) list to a 4 complexity if warband are taken.



I/33 Villanovan Italian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1000-800BC

F

3

(b) 799-650BC

C

4


Effectiveness: The early list is a monochrome 11 warband army. The later list is a nice mix of warband and auxilia, with some useful mounted troops. Either list will truly suffer if they don't win the terrain roll.
Complexity: Monochrome lists are pretty simple to run, although warband lists somewhat less so. The mix of warband and auxilia adds some complexity to the later list.



I/34 Later Hebrew:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1000-969BC

C

3

(b) 968-800BC

C

3

(c) 799-587BC

C

3


Effectiveness: These guys can be competitive if they defend, and at aggression 1 they'll do that fairly often, but they still are too short in good-going troops even for that task and they're doomed if they lose the terrain roll.
Complexity: The Later Hebrews offer the complexity of most bad going dependant armies. Nothing special here.



I/35 Cypriot and Phoenician:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1000-901BC

C

3

(b) 900-680BC

B

4

(c) 679-490BC

A

4

(d) 489-332BC

A

4


Effectiveness: The first two lists are more bad-going armies, although with aggression 0 they're good at that. Take the Geometric Greek ally for the (b) list. The (c) list is a very nice psiloi-supported spear force; none of its allies add anything new. The (d) list is similar, but significantly less mobile. On the other hand, some of the spear can now be taken as auxilia, which is quite nice.
Complexity: The spear-wall (c) list is the easiest; the complexity of the (d) list depends upon what mix of troops is taken. If all spear (no artillery or auxilia) the list is only complexity 2; if you take artillery and a mix of spear and auxilia, complexity 4 is a better measure of how difficult it is to coordinate the disparate troop types in this army.



I/36 Italian Hill Tribes:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1000BC-290BC

F

3


Effectiveness: Much too high an aggression for an all auxilia or all warband force -- either way you're likely to be screwed against any enemy.
Complexity: Monochrome is easy, although monochrome bad-going not quite as easy.



I/37 Mannaian and other Taurus/Zagros Highlanders:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 950-750BC

C

3

(b) 749-610BC

C

4


Effectiveness: The bow option makes these guys a little more competitive in the open, and they have some nice supporting mounted, but all-auxilia armies are still a one-trick pony.
Complexity: Not an easy mix of foot.



I/38 Libyan Egyptian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

946BC-712BC

C

3


Effectiveness: A strange mix.
Complexity: Oy. One of the most complicated armies you could have without pikes or "+1 pip to move" elements.



I/39 Urartian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 880-780BC

D

3

(b) 779-585BC

D

4


Effectiveness: Way too high an aggression for an auxilia army.
Complexity: As shown.



I/40 Medes, Zirkirtu, etc.:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 835-670BC

D

3

(b) 669-621BC

C

4

(c) 620-550BC

B

4


Effectiveness: The early version is an interesting Cav/Aux mix, but not enough punch. Take the Skythian ally, or better the Assyrians, and they deserve a slight upgrade. The middle version gets some good psiloi- supported spear, but still has little punch and maybe too many psiloi. The Taurus Highlander ally as Aux/Bw makes a good addition, as does the Skythians -- perhaps even enough to upgrade the estimate to a B rating. The later version is a nice mix of mounted troops around a psiloi-supported spear and bow core. The allies are interesting, but don't give an upgrade in the rating.
Complexity: This is a different take on an even mounted/foot split.



I/41 Phrygian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

800BC-676BC

D

3


Effectiveness: Aggression 1 with an all-auxilia army, even if a couple of cav and light chariots are in there. By all means take the Skythian ally for a C rating.
Complexity: Nothing complicated here.



I/42 Neo-Elamite:

Effectiveness

Complexity

800BC-639BC

C

3


Effectiveness: The cool dismounting option doesn't solve the primary problem -- no heavy foot, and nothing that can fight against heavy foot. Aggression 2 doesn't help, either. This is a good army against its historical enemies, but not in open tournaments. Slightly more effective with the Neo-Bab ally.
Complexity:The dismounting makes this army more interesting, and more complex, than it would otherwise be.



I/43 Skythian or Early Hu etc.:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 750-301BC

D

3

(b) 300BC-50AD

D

3


Effectiveness: Aggression 4 with 8 elements of light horse? Grim. Any of its allies is a big improvement and warrants a C effectiveness-- they are all auxilia-heavy except the spear-heavy Greeks. But this army still has the wrong aggression for a monotype army.
Complexity: LH armies ain't ever easy - adding the infantry doesn't alter the complexity of the basic problem.



I/44 Neo-Babylonian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 746-605BC

B

3

(b) 604-482BC

B

4


Effectiveness: A nice Biblical-era bow army with good supporting troops. Lacking in heavy foot, though. The Mede ally is a very nice addition, possibly deserving an upgrade to A effectiveness.
Complexity: The (b) list might even be worthy of a 5 complexity rating.



I/45 Neo-Assyrian Empire:

Effectiveness

Complexity

745BC-681BC

B

4


Effectiveness: Lots of mounted and lots of bad going troops make it hard for the enemy to take advantage of its aggression 4, and make it easy for these guys to avoid the worst matchups. With that said, however, the army needs some heavy foot -- psiloi supported spear would slaughter it. None of the allies solve that problem, with the possible exception of the funky Libyan Egyptians, but they are too odd to give it an A effectiveness rating with their assistance.
Complexity: Horde as a main-line troop type is nothing like easy.



I/46 Kushite Egyptian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 745-728BC

B

3

(b) 727-593BC

B

4


Effectiveness: These guys have a good mix of troops, but maybe a little too much variety. If you like combined arms they could do well, but they seem like a weaker mix than armies like Later Carthage, Alexander Macedonian, or the good Successor armies.
Complexity: Another army that might rate nearly a 5 complexity, just because of the wacky mix of foot.



I/47 Illyrian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

700BC-10AD

F

2


Effectiveness: Aggression 3, with 11 elements of bad-going troops.  Certain to bring you to glory.  Short-lived glory.
Complexity: The theory is easy enough; the fact that battles will often be on a pool table makes it even simpler for the prospective Illyrian general.



I/48 Thracian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

700BC-46AD

C

3


Effectiveness: With lots of mounted and lower aggression these guys are a pretty good bad-going army. Take lots of light horse, and by all means use the allies to get some good-going punch and an A effectiveness rating.
Complexity: Lots of LH makes the basic BGo mission a bit more complicated here.



I/49 Early Vietnamese:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 700-207BC

D

3

(b) 206-111BC

C

4

(c) 135-247AD

C

4

(c) 248-938AD

C

5


Effectiveness: Warband, some heavy foot (blade or spear), and some bow; a mix that might work in theory, but probably not so well in practice. Very slow. The latest list with the Khmer ally is the best of the bunch, perhaps deserving a B effectiveness rating.
Complexity: When virtually all the troops are foot you can't really call it "combined arms", but that is the level of complication that this army exhibits.



I/50 Lydian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

687-546BCBC

A

3


Effectiveness: A nice mix of troops, with some Kn, LH, Sp, and psiloi support. The Greek ally is probably worthwhile if you like more heavy foot, otherwise just use the triple Lydian army.
Complexity: A fairly simple mission, fairly easy to understand, but with some finesse needed.



I/51 Neo-Assyrian Later Sargonid:

Effectiveness

Complexity

680-609BC

B

3


Effectiveness: Aggression 4 isn't bad when you've got the tools to fight in bad or good going, and these guys do. They have a number of good allies, too. The Medes (b) and Saitic Egyptians with psiloi-supported spear are the best, filling in the major hole of the Later Sargs -- not enough heavy foot, and raising the Sargonid effectiveness to A. The Elamites are very interesting, as are the Skythians for a different reason. The auxilia-heavy allies aren't worth considering for an aggression 4 army that already has lots of bad-going troops.
Complexity: These guys aren't easy to run well.



I/52 Early Hoplite Greek:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Argive 680-450BC

C

1

(b) Spartan 668-450BC

C

1

(c) Thessalian 668-450BC

C

3

(d) Theban 668-450BC

C

1

(e) Athenian 668-541BC

C

1

(f) Athenian 540-450BC

C

2

(g) Asiatic Greek 668-450BC

C

1

(h) Phokian or Aitolian 668-450BC

C

2

(i) Italiot or Siciliot 668-450BC

C

1


Effectiveness: Spear walls are good as the basis for an army, but for effectiveness overall you need some punch, some maneuver elements, some bad-going elements, and some psiloi support to help fend off knights, elephants, and other nasties. These armies mostly have too much spear and not enough support elements.
Complexity: Spear monotype armies are easy; the variety of support troops for Athens give it a bit more depth, and the wad of LH or Ps complicate the mission for Thessaly and Phokia.



I/53 Saitic Egyptian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

664BC-335BC

A

2


Effectiveness: An excellent mix of support elements around a psiloi-supported spear core. The allies are worth investigating too.
Complexity: Solid and simple.



I/54 Early Macedonian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

650BC-355BCBC

A

3


Effectiveness: Take the maximum spear and this is an excellent bad-going army. The Argive ally is good to give more psiloi-supported spear for a main battle line in good going; the Thessalian ally gives a bit of additional spear and a number of useful maneuver elements; both are nice additions.
Complexity: Not so complicated if you can remember to use your Knights as a knockout punch, rather than leading with them.



I/55 Latin, Early Roman, Early Etruscan, etc.:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Etruscan 650-600BC

B

2

(b) Roman 650-578BC

C

1

(c) Latin 650-401BC

B

1

(b) Latin 400-338BC

B

2

(c) Umbrian 650-290BC

D

2


Effectiveness: A mix of spear and blade is good if supported by some psiloi and some maneuver elements. The early Romans suffer from the Early Hoplite problem -- not enough psiloi support and not enough cavalry. The Umbrians have too high an aggression for their eight bad-going elements.
Complexity: Easy heavy-foot armies overall.



I/56 Kyrenean Greek:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 630-314BC

A

3

(b) 313-74BC

A

2


Effectiveness: Dismounting chariots adds a nice touch to a psiloi-supported spear army. The later Carthage ally adds a number of useful element types.
Complexity: Relatively easy to use and forgiving.



I/57 Etruscan League:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 600-400BC

B

1

(b) 399-280BC

A

2


Effectiveness: The early list is fine, although not quite as good as I/55(a). The later list is even better as a basis. Taking the ally adds some variety and strength to either list (giving it increased bad-going ability with auxilia, or increased anti-heavy-foot punch with warband) but aggression 3 makes it possible for the enemy to tune the terrain against the ally.
Complexity: Heavy foot forms the troop-type basis for the easiest-to-use armies.



I/58 Meroitic Kushite:

Effectiveness

Complexity

592BC-350AD

A

3


Effectiveness: A nice mix of troops, although perhaps a little slow. Dry and Aggression 1 allows the Nobades ally a lot of chance to use its camels to good effect.
Complexity: Maybe not combined-arms, but having multiple infantry types introduces lots of complexity by itself.



I/59 Tullian Roman:

Effectiveness

Complexity

578BC-400BC

B

1


Effectiveness: A nice psiloi-supported spear army, but no anti-blade punch and aggression too high to be able to gain much advantage against mono-type armies.
Complexity: Easy.



I/60 Early Achaemenid Persian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 550-466BC

C

3

(b) 546BC

C

5

(c) 465-420BC

C

3


Effectiveness: Some nice troop types, but it is difficult to win with a bow army and no heavy foot to support it in case enemy heavy foot intervene. The Mede army helps a bit. With aggression 3 they won't be able to place terrain very often, so can't really take advantage of their good complement of bad-going troops.
Complexity: Ignoring Cyrus, these are bow-oriented complicated armies. Cyrus himself may set the mark for the most complicated army out there, fighting for the title with the Khazars perhaps.



I/61 Early Carthaginian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 550-410BC

A

3

(b) 409-275BC

A

4


Effectiveness: A nice psiloi-supported spear army for the (a) list; combined-arms built on a basis of psiloi- supported spear for the (b) list. The Siciliot ally is worth experimenting with if you want a bit more spear. The (b) list might be a bit better, as combined-arms armies tend to do better with high aggression.
Complexity: The (b) list is starting to get towards the Cartho Combined-arms complication - tools for everything, if only you can deliver the right tool to the right job.



I/62 Lykian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

546BC-300BC

D

2


Effectiveness: A fair bad-going army, but it needs more maneuver troops and more stand-in-the-open troops, and it is only aggression 1. Either of the hoplite allies help quite a bit with the stand-in-the-open troops and give a C rating.
Complexity: A bit of foot variety doesn't detract from the basic bad-going mission here.



I/63 Paionian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

512BC-284BC

F

2


Effectiveness:Aggression 3 doesn't work well for bad-going armies. The Successor ally (Kassandros) helps a lot warranting a C, but most of this army is still pretty weak in the open, which is where it will fight most of its battles.
Complexity: Complication is not why this army won't win - what to do is pretty clear, the problem is actually achieving it.

 


Book II Armies

II/1 Republican Indian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

500BC-321BC

B

3


Effectiveness: Lack of much heavy foot is the only real problem in this bow-heavy army.
Complexity: Enough troop-type variety to warrant a moderate complexity rating.



II/2 Mountain Indian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

500BC-170BC

B

4


Effectiveness: A very nice bad-going army. If it had been aggression 0 it might have deserved an A rating.
Complexity: Bad-going army with LH and Elephants - it isn't a standard form of combined-arms, but it sure isn't easy.



II/3 Classical Indian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

500BC-545AD

A

5


Effectiveness: A really nice troop mix -- one of the power armies of regular DBA, and a very fine Big Battle army too.
Complexity: Possibly the most complex example of "Indian Combined Arms" based upon Elephants and Bow.



II/4 Warring States and Ch'in Chinese:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Ch'in 350BC-221BC

B

3

(b) Yueh 480BC-333BC

B

3

(c) Chao 307BC-202BC

A

3

(d) Ch'u 480BC-202BC

A

3

(e) Others 480BC-202BC

A

3


Effectiveness: Some nice mixes of troops. The (a) list has too many warband and too high an aggression; the (b) list has too many heavy foot and not enough mobility (although it might deserve upgrading for a player who is good with warband as a support troop type). The other three lists are all very nice mixes.
Complexity: All of these are good examples of Chariot Chinese Combined-arms based upon Cb, melee foot, and Chariots. Armies that take large numbers of warband probably deserve an upgrade to difficulty 4.



II/5 Later Hoplite Greek:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Spartan 450BC-275BC

C

1

(b) Athenian 450BC-275BC

B

2

(c) Theban 450BC-275BC

A

2

(d) Thessalian 450BC-275BC

A

3

(e) Aitolian or Akarnanian 450BC-275BC

C

4

(f) Phokian 450BC-275BC

C

5

(g) Italiot 450BC-2235BC

A

2

(h) Siciliot 450BC-235BC

C

2

(i) Others 450BC-275BC

C

2


Effectiveness: Spartans are high aggression and too much spear without much mounted or psiloi support.
Athenians have medium aggression with some nice support troops, but still a bit too much spear. Same for Siciliots and Others.
Thebans, Thessalians, Italiot are more effective due to a few more elements of mounted or other support troops.
Phokians and Aitolian/Akarnanian do not have enough heavy foot.
Allies can help these a lot -- adding a Phokian ally to a Spartan army, for example, upgrades them to an A.
Complexity: The spear basis for most of these armies is pretty simple to run. Exceptions are the mounted of the Thessalians, the psiloi-heavy Aitolian army, and the artillery with bad-going troops of the Phokians.



II/6 Bithynian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

435BC-74BC

C

3


Effectiveness: Nice bad-going army, although they'd be better if they were aggression 0. Take the Galatian mercenaries.
Complexity: Same as most bad-going armies with a bit of mounted support.



II/7 Later Achaemenid Persian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

420BC-329BC

A

4


Effectiveness: A nice mix of troops.
Complexity: This is true combined arms. Probably should be rated a 5 complexity if you take more than one Scythed Chariot.



II/8 Campanian, Apulian, Lucanian or Bruttian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Bruttian or Lucanian 420BC-203BC

C

2

(b) Campanian 420BC-203BC

B

3

(c) Apulian 420BC-203BC

B

3


Effectiveness: The (a) list has too many auxilia; upgrade them to a B with the Camillan ally. The (b) list has a nice mix of troops, although a little lacking in spark. The (c) list has better mounted, but no heavy foot.
Complexity: Bad-going army complexity for (a) and (c); mixed foot complexity for (b).



II/9 Syracusan:

Effectiveness

Complexity

410BC-210BC

A

4


Effectiveness: A really nice spear army with lots of variety troops to support them. The Cartho ally is very nice, too.
Complexity: Just figuring out the army list deserves a 4 complexity.



II/10 Camillan Roman:

Effectiveness

Complexity

400BC-275BC

A

2


Effectiveness: Good psiloi-supported heavy-foot army. A little slow. The Samnite ally is worth considering if you want more speed in bad going.
Complexity: A benchmark for simplicity.



II/11 Gallic:

Effectiveness

Complexity

400BC-225BC

D

3

224BC-50BC

C

3


Effectiveness: Enough mounted to do quite well, but still weak against any army with bunches of knights or elephants. The Spanish ally is worth considering, and upgrades the high-aggression army to a C It's hard to say whether it better for this army to be high aggression or low aggression -- against monotype armies choosing terrain would be quite important, but against combined-arms armies they'd do better to place their commands (and their matchups) last.
Complexity: Not too complex overall, beyond the usual problems of integrating slow bad-going troops with Light Chariots.



II/12 Alexander Macedonian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

355BC-320BC

A

5


Effectiveness: Excellent. The Thessalian ally is worth taking, too.
Complexity: With Alex Impy, this army is one of the benchmarks for complexity.



II/13 Samnite:

Effectiveness

Complexity

355BC-272BC

F

2


Effectiveness: Way too monotype. I'm not sure these guys could even win the battles where they place terrain. With a good ally they could upgrade to a C.
Complexity: Bad going army without much else.



II/14 Ariarathid Kappadokian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

330BC-322BC, 300BC-17AD

B

3


Effectiveness: An excellent bad-going army. The Armenian ally with cataphracts is worth having. This might even be an A army.
Complexity: A nice mix of mounted and bad-going power gives additional punch without increasing difficulty too badly.



II/15 Alexandrian Imperial:

Effectiveness

Complexity

328BC-320BC

A

5


Effectiveness: This is an impressive array of power.  Good by itself, and one of the top ten armies in Big Battle DBA with the Classical Indian ally, although like all combined-arms armies you have to know how to use it well. This list with the Classical Indian ally won the Big Battle Doubles competition at Historicon 2002.
Complexity: Massed pike, massed bow (with Classical Indian ally), elephants, artillery, knights, light horse, bad-going troops - this army has everything, and that is why it is so powerful and so difficult.



II/16 Asiatic Early Successor:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Antigonus 320BC-301BC

A

5

(b) Demetrios 315BC-285BC

A

5

(c) Alketas 320BC

D

4

(d) Eumenes 320BC-316BC

A

5


Effectiveness: Good successor combined arms, except for Alketas who suffers badly from high aggression and too many bad-going troops. Alketas with an Antigonid ally is worth a C rating.
Complexity: It ain't easy to be a Successor.



II/17 Lysimachid:

Effectiveness

Complexity

320BC-281BC

C

4


Effectiveness: Successor combined arms, but with aggression 2 and 15 bad-going troops in the triple army, plus no elephants, it is vulnerable to many mounted armies or armies with good heavy foot lines and low aggression. Allies raise it to A status.
Complexity: No elephants, but not much easier than anyone else in the Successor pantheon.



II/18 Macedonian Early Successor:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Antipatros 320BC-319BC

A

5

(b) Polyperchon 319BC-310BC

A

5

(c) Kassandros 318BC-298BC

A

5

(d) Ptolemy Keraunos 280BC-279BC

A

5

(e) Antigonos Gonatas 277BC-260BC

A

5


Effectiveness: A bunch of nice Successor combined-arms armies. The Hellenistic Greek allies of army (e) are nice if you prefer some psiloi-supported spear to pike for your heavy foot.
Complexity: The usual Successor complexity.



II/19 Seleucid:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 320BC-280BC

A

5

(b) 279BC-205BC

A

5

(c) 204BC-167BC

A

5

(d) 166BC-83BC

A

5


Effectiveness: More nice Successor combined-arms armies.
Complexity: More complicated Successor combined-arms armies.



II/20 Ptolemaic:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 320BC-275BC

A

5

(b) 274BC-167BC

A

5

(c) 166BC-54BC

A

5

(d) 53BC-30BC

A

5


Effectiveness: Still more nice Successor combined-arms armies. The (c) and (d) lists are especially interesting with their mix of pike and blade. One note -- for strong combined-arms armies like this it is usually better to be high aggression, like the Asiatic Early Successors or Seleucid, rather than low aggression like the Ptolemaic.
Complexity: Still more of the complicated Successor combined-arms armies.



II/21 Ch'iang and Ti:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 315BC-302AD

D

2

(b) 301AD-417AD

D

3

(c) Former Ch'in 351BC-394AD

B

4


Effectiveness: Way too many auxilia for aggression 3. The Former Ch'in list does much better, with only slightly too many auxilia for their aggression.
Complexity: Relatively standard bad-going problems for the (a) and (b) lists, although with the knights complicating the issue for the (b) list. The Former Ch'in have a nice-looking combined-arms force that resembles a Medieval Mix; like most combined-arms, it won't be particularly simple to run.



II/22 Arabo-Aramean:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Nabataea 250BC-106AD

B

3

(b) Emesa 51BC-72AD

B

3

(c) Hatra 126BC-240AD

B

3

(d) Characene 126BC-222AD

B

3

(e) Edessa, Singara, or Adiabene 126BC on

B

3

(f) Any above if earlier:

B

3


Effectiveness: Strong bow-heavy armies all, with good supporting troops and excellent 0 aggression that allows them to maximize their use of the fact that bow are simultaneously excellent bad-going troops and good in the open against mounted. The three armies that have Parthian allies get some extra kick and maneuver thereby allowing an A rating. The Characene gain particular advantage with Parthan and Arab Nomad allies both -- the three- army combination is perhaps the most complicated mix available, and also one of the most powerful in the right hands. It ended up in a three-way tie for first place in Big Battle Doubles at Historicon 2001.
Complexity: Generally these are bow armies with significant and various supporting elements. Adding an ally brings the complexity up by one, and Charax with both Arab and Parthian allies is nearly a 6 in the complexity scale of 1-5.



II/23 Later Pre-Islamic Arab:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Nomad

B

4

(b) City

B

2

(c) Yemeni

B

3


Effectiveness: A very interesting mix of camels and blade for the Nomad army; a wall of blade for the City army and a good auxilia army for the Yemeni. The Nomads can combine with either Sassanid or Maurikian Byzantines as an ally; either one gives a good supporting cast. The City army does well with gaining a Nomad ally (take the Nomads with as many camels as possible). The Yemeni gain a very good ally for their auxilia mix in the Sassanids. All of these allies boost the LPIA to an A effectiveness rating.
Complexity: The nomad mix of camels and blade is powerful and effective in the right hands, but is also quite difficult - the best matchups for blade are often the worst for camels and vice versa; the huge difference in speed makes it hard to keep the disparate forces supporting each other. The City armies of psiloi-supported blade are much simpler to run well. The auxilia of the Yemeni are typical of all bad-going armies, taking some skill to use well.



II/24 Early Rhoxolani Sarmatian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

310BC-100AD

D

3


Effectiveness: Monotype mounted with aggression 3.
Complexity: Monotype armies aren't as difficult as combined-arms, but cavalry armies aren't as easy as most monotype armies - they have maneuver ability rather than power.



II/25 Bosporan:

Effectiveness

Complexity

310BC-107BC, 46BC-375AD

A

4


Effectiveness: This may be our favorite auxilia-army mixture, especially at aggression 0. The Alan ally is the best; you don't really need any ally, though.
Complexity: Even parts auxilia and knights? They can both support each other, but they are oil and water most of the time. Adding artillery to the mix is very nice for effectiveness, but makes the army even more complex for the general.



II/26 Siracae, Iazyges, Later Rhoxolani Sarmatian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

310BC-375AD

F

1


Effectiveness: Monotype knights with aggression 3. Glorious but doomed. Take the Early Ostrogothic ally, or even one of the monotype warband allies, for an upgrade to a powerful D rating.
Complexity: Running these guys isn't difficult; first roll low for aggression, then charge and pray for high rolls.



II/27 Pyrrhic:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 300BC-281BC

A

4

(b) 280BC-272BC

A

5


Effectiveness: The early list, with no light horse, no auxilia, and no elephant, is weaker. The later list in particular is a very good successor army, perhaps even as good as Alexander Imperial.
Complexity: The early list is "just" a difficult heavy-foot army; the later list is as complicated as any other Successor army.



II/28 Early Armenian and Gordyene:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Tigranes 83BC-69BC

C

5

(b) Other Armenian 300BC-244AD

B

4

(c) Armenian 245AD-627AD

B

4

(d) Gordyene 147BC-255AD

B

4


Effectiveness: These are nice mixed auxilia/maneuver armies with fairly low aggression (which is important). The (a) list of Tigranes is an even nicer troop mix, but suffers significantly from its higher aggression 3. If you don't like auxilia and light horse, though, these armies are not for you.
Complexity: Integrating the Kn/LH mix with the bad-going Auxilia and Psiloi is not easy; the mixed force of Tigranes is even harder. Taking more than a single Artillery probably upgrades the (d) list to complexity 5.



II/29 Tien and K'un-ming:

Effectiveness

Complexity

295BC-45AD

A

4


Effectiveness: Who would expect to see a Chinese pike army? Take LH and Wb and Cb to get some variety -- you've got enough heavy foot already. This army could really use a good Kn/LH ally, but even without it is an excellent army, especially at aggression 0 to use terrain to make good channels for its pike.
Complexity: Pike armies are complex.



II/30 Galatian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 280BC-273BC

D

2

(b) 272BC-48BC

D

2

(c) 47BC-25BC

D

2


Effectiveness: These guys do well against their historical opponents, but without any tools that can stop knights or elephants in the open, or can stop auxilia or bow or blade or even psiloi in bad going, and with aggression 4 so it always gets the terrain that it most hates, the Galatians aren't going to do well. Without their strong mounted arm they'd do even worse!
Complexity: Easy enough to run - use a Cav reserve and/or wing, everything else is psycho warband. The tactics involve using a lot of prayer, but they aren't complex.



II/31 Hellenistic Greek:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Boiotian 275BC-246BC

B

3

(b) Boiotian 245BC-146BC

A

3

(c) Spartan 275BC-225BC

A

2

(d) Spartan 224BC-223BC

A

3

(e) Spartan 222BC-149BC

A

3

(f) Achaian 275BC-208BC

B

3

(g) Achaian 207BC-146BC

A

3

(h) Athenian 275BC-146BC

A

3

(i) Eleian 275BC-146BC

B

3

(j) Aitolian 275BC-146BC

C

3


Effectiveness: At aggression 0, the peltast-heavy lists will still do well. The other lists are very nice with psiloi- supported spear or pike using a strong peltast support contingent. We especially like the g and h lists with knights to provide some punch.
Complexity: not so complicated overall; the spear-heavy early list is the simplest (although probably not the most effective).



II/32 Later Carthaginian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

275BC-146BC

A

5


Effectiveness: Combined-arms with high aggression is a good army. Difficult mix of troops to use, as with many combined-arms armies. The Siciliot ally is nice; the Syracusan ally is even better. The auxilia-strong allies aren't so good because of the high aggression of the Cartho army. The Carthos came second in Big Battle Doubles at Historicon 2002, and won in 2004.
Complexity: A difficult mix of troops to use, as with many combined-arms armies.



II/33 Polybian Roman:

Effectiveness

Complexity

275BC-105BC

A

1


Effectiveness: Perhaps the easiest general heavy-foot army to use. The Pergamene or Spanish allies are worthwhile if your army is low aggression; the Numidian ally is worthwhile all the time.
Complexity: Very simple.



II/34 Attalid Pergamene:

Effectiveness

Complexity

263BC-129BC

C

4


Effectiveness: A nice mix of mounted, but no heavy foot and aggression 1 is risky. The Achaian ally is very worthwhile, and pushes this list up to a B.
Complexity: Mixed mounted and bad-going troops. With the Achaian ally call it a 5 complexity.



II/35 Later Macedonian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

260BC-148BC

A

4


Effectiveness: A conservative, but nice, Successor mix. The army for the combined-arms Successor general who just can't get his elephants to integrate into his tactical plan.
Complexity: Lack of elephants makes this army simpler than many of its brethren, but it is still a mixture of Pike, Knights, and bad-going troops - a challenging mixture.



II/36 Graeco-Bactrian and Graeco-Indian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Graeco-Bactrian

A

5

(b) Graeco-Indian

A

5


Effectiveness: The (a) list is a good Successor mix with slightly stronger mounted than most Successor armies. The all-mounted version lowers to a D. The (b) list is really fun -- a Successor army with some bows! Quite a different flavour from most Successor armies. The Classical Indian or Kushan allies for the (b) list are nice ally options if you want more mounted punch.
Complexity: Having every tool in the toolbox means having to know how every tool works with every other tool.



II/37 Parthian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

250BC-225AD

D

3


Effectiveness: Nearly a monotype army with aggression 2 -- very awkward. The Arabo-aramaean and LPIA allies are quite nice, filling major holes in the army list. The Sarmatian ally isn't much help. The Armenian ally is a bit of help, but the best is the Commagene ally. Helpful allies can raise this list to a C or B.
Complexity: You know what you need to do, but how to achieve it? Large amounts of LH require a certain level of fluid movement tactics to support the punch of the Knights.



II/38 Hsiung-nu or Juan-juan:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Hsiung-nu 250BC-304AD

F

2

(b) Southern Hsiung-nu 304AD-439AD

C

3

(c) Juan-juan 308AD-555AD

F

2


Effectiveness: The (a) and (c) lists are nearly monotype light horse. The (b) list has some cataphract punch and some good auxilia, making it much more difficult to find an easy terrain answer for it, although it still lacks heavy foot. The (a) list has two good allies -- Ch'iang providing good auxilia and Han giving an excellent Chinese combined-arms mix. Adding one of the allies makes the Hsiun-Nu much better - C; adding them both makes it a very competitive army - A.
Complexity: The (a) list is complexity 3 with either ally; complexity 4 with both.



II/39 Ancient Spanish:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Iberian

B

3

(b) Celtiberian

B

3

(c) Lusitanian

C

3


Effectiveness: A bit of mounted to support a 0 aggression bad-going army. Not quite enough mounted, and the armies are too light to have any troops that can fight in the open.
Complexity: Normal bad-going army tactical complexity.



II/40 Numidian or Early Moorish:

Effectiveness

Complexity

215BC-25AD

B

4


Effectiveness: This army might have deserved an A rating if it had been aggression 0 instead of 1. A very nice supporting cast for what is basically a light-horse/auxilia mix. The Roman ally is very worthwhile.
Complexity: Light Horse and Auxilia aren't oil and water, but not far from that. With elephants this army might be nearer a 5 than a 4.



II/41 Han Chinese:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 202BC-9AD

A

4

(b) 10AD-189AD

A

4


Effectiveness: A nice Chinese combined-arms mix. The (a) version is a bit better with heavy chariot punch. The all-mounted version is a loss at aggression 3, and reduces the rating to D.
Complexity: Combined arms without pikes - effective, but not simple.



II/42 Tamil Indian and Sinhalese:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Tamil 175BC-300AD

B

4

(b) Tamil 301AD-1370AD

A

3

(c) Sinhalese 175BC-300AD

A

3

(d) Sinhalese 301AD-1515AD

A

3


Effectiveness: Tremendous elephant power. Blades and elephants can get it done. Elephants also provide excellent good-going support for the warbands of the earlier lists. The (b) list with the Hindu ally won the Big Battle Doubles competition at Cold Wars 2002.
Complexity: Elephants in large numbers aren't easy.



II/43 Maccabean Jewish:

Effectiveness

Complexity

168BC-104BC

B/D

3


Effectiveness: Good mix of bad-going support for the pikes. The B rating is for the pike option, D is for the Auxilia.
Complexity: Not as bad as you might expect.



II/44 Commagene:

Effectiveness

Complexity

163BC-17AD, 38AD-72AD

A

4


Effectiveness: One of the last remnants of the Successor armies, and an interesting mix of Successor pike/knight/light horse and local bows.
Complexity: Effective? Yes. Easy? No.



II/45 Sicilian and Italian Slave Revolts:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1st Servile War 135BC-132BC

C

2

(b) 2nd Servile War 103BC-99BC

B

3

(c) Spartacus 74BC-71BC

B

3


Effectiveness: You should definitely watch Spartacus if you want to do these armies justice. The changes to Warband in DBA 2.2 make these quality lists because of the Aggression 0. There is still a lack of mobility, but the warband double move charge helps make up for it. And there is a significant glory factor.
Complexity: Some good bad-going troops; the issue is integrating them with the open-field troops effectively.



II/46 Kushan:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 135BC-51BC

A

3

(b) 50BC-410AD

A

4

(c) 411AD-477AD

B

3?


Effectiveness: Three different flavours, but all fairly nice. The late list is a little too light-horse heavy.
Complexity: Moderate; more than one Elephant for the (a) or (c) list should probably upgrade their complexity to 4.



II/47 Early German:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Cimbri and Teutones 113BC-102BC

F

2

(b) Ariovistus's in 58BC

F

2

(c) Batavi in 69AD

D

2

(d) Other Batavi

F

2

(e) Cherusci

F

2

(f) Tencteri

F

2

(g) Others

F

2


Effectiveness: Giving the c-g lists a "D" rating might be too high - if they don't win terrain they are pretty-much sunk. The (c) list with supporting auxilia is probably the only one that really deserves a D rating overall. These armies just do not have enough supporting elements - they are warband monotype armies, and aggression 2 is too high.
Complexity: It's not hard to know what to do with these guys. Their effectiveness rating shows how difficult it is to achieve, but the task itself is not complex.



II/48 Mithridatic:

Effectiveness

Complexity

110BC-47BC

A

5/3


Effectiveness: Last of the Successor armies. Quite nice, either in the pike version or in the blade version.
Complexity: Complexity for the blade version is 3; for the pike and scythed chariot version 5.



II/49 Marian Roman:

Effectiveness

Complexity

105BC-25BC

A

1


Effectiveness: Psiloi-supported blade is good, although very risky against knights. Still, there is enough support to make a very good army overall. Most of their ally choices are very nice additions -- Arabs, Judaean, Moors, Armenians, Bithynians all deserve mention.
Complexity: Easy.



II/50 Hasmonean Jewish:

Effectiveness

Complexity

103BC-63BC

C

3


Effectiveness: Too many psiloi. Take the pike version and the ally to get up to a B rating; take the auxilia without the ally and the army deserves a D.
Complexity: Moderate.



II/51 Late Judaean:

Effectiveness

Complexity

63BC-6AD

D

2


Effectiveness: Too many psiloi still. Take as many blade as you can and one of the Parthian or Marian allies. The Parthian or Marian ally pushes it to B; the EIR ally a C.
Complexity: Easy to understand; less easy to complete.



II/52 Dacian and Carpi:

Effectiveness

Complexity

60BC-106AD, 106AD-380AD

C

3


Effectiveness: Nice support for an army built on a warband basis. Take the Sarmatian ally for some punch and a B rating.
Complexity: Warband problems aren't too bad, compared to more awkward things like pike and elephants and artillery.



II/53 Ancient British:

Effectiveness

Complexity

55BC-75AD

B

4


Effectiveness: Very nice combination of mobile elements and warband. The Roman ally helps a bit against some armies.
Complexity: This isn't an easy army to play - without any "killer" elements you need to show finesse, and putting out enough (but not too much) terrain takes some practice.



II/54 Scots-Irish:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 55BC-432AD

C

3

(b) 433AD-846AD

F

2


Effectiveness: Cruelly high aggression for an army based on Auxilia.
Complexity: Bad-going army complexity.



II/55 Nobades, Blemmye or Beja:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 30BC-200AD

A

3

(b) 201AD-831AD

A

3

(c) 832AD-1500AD

A

4


Effectiveness: Nice heavy foot/bow/mounted mix.
Complexity: We're not certain that the (a) and (b) lists don't also deserve a 4 complexity rating - the combination of troops is complicated even if the troops themselves may be relatively straightforward in isolation. But the (c) list certainly deserves a 4 rating - mixing camels and large amounts of LH into a blade/bow mixture is getting pretty complex.



II/56 Early Imperial Roman:

Effectiveness

Complexity

25BC-197AD

B

3


Effectiveness: Excellent against most armies, but vulnerable to knight armies in the open. Take the Commagene or Arabo-Aramaean allies, or both together, to get some anti-knight ability and possibly an A rating. EIR with Commagene ally ended up in a three-way tie for first in Big Battle Doubles at Historicon 2001.
Complexity: Bad-going complexity, or else trying to use auxilia effectively on a pool table if you lose terrain. Increase the complexity rating to 4 with the Commagene or Arabo-Aramaean allies.



II/57 Later Moorish:

Effectiveness

Complexity

25AD-696AD

F

4


Effectiveness: Too light. Maybe a D rating if you catch us in a better mood, not an F, we're not sure.
Complexity: LH and Psiloi? Oy! Getting this army to do what you want (and understanding what it is capable of doing) involves internalizing two totally different approaches that don't integrate with each other very well at all.



II/58 Alan:

Effectiveness

Complexity

50AD-1500AD

B

3


Effectiveness: Knights and blades and light horse is interesting, although there are too many light horse here for the standard-sized board.
Complexity: LH armies aren't easy, but the addition of knights and blades here give simpler tactical objectives for subunits, which counteracts the increased complexity of more unit types \ with different speeds.



II/59 Jewish Revolt:

Effectiveness

Complexity

66AD-70AD, 132AD-135AD

C

2


Effectiveness: Surprisingly effective; pity it has no mounted.
Complexity: Just a bad-going army - not complicated, as there is only one tactical problem to understand and only one real approach to take.



II/60 Caledonian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

75AD-211AD

C

3


Effectiveness: Not as nice as the Ancient British army, but still a fair mix of chariots and warband.
Complexity: These guys might even deserve a 2 complexity, it is hard to say.



II/61 Hsien-pi, Wu-huan, Pre-dynastic Khitan or Hsi:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Wu-huan or Hsien-pi 90AD-316AD

F

2

(b) Mu-jung Hsien-pi 300AD-431AD

A

3

(c) Other Hsien-pi 317AD-431AD

D

2

(d) Khitan or Hsi 350-1000AD

D

2


Effectiveness: The (b) list is a nice mix of troops; the others suffer from far too many light horse.
Complexity: Mostly simple LH or all-mounted tactical problems; the combined-arms (b) list is a little more complicated.



II/62 Abyssinian & Horn of Africa:

Effectiveness

Complexity

100AD-1529AD

C

3


Effectiveness: A nice supporting complement for a warband base; suffering a bit from its high aggression. The two Arab allies (Yemeni and Nomad) are both very nice, as are the Kushites and Nobades. Might even deserve an A if taken as the center of either two-ally version.
Complexity: Increase the complexity to 4 if more than a single Elephant is taken, or if you take any ally.



II/63 Three Kingdoms & Western Ts'in Chinese:

Effectiveness

Complexity

189AD-316AD

A

4


Effectiveness: Nice Chinese combined-arms mix.
Complexity: Decrease the complexity to 3 if no artillery are taken.



II/64 Middle Imperial Roman:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) West 193AD-324AD

B

3

(b) East 193AD-324AD

B

3


Effectiveness: As with the Early Imperial Roman army, this is a good list that is a little weak against knights. The Arab Nomad ally is worthwhile.
Complexity: Nearly identical to the EIR.



II/65 Early Visigothic:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 378AD only

C

2

(b) Other times 200AD-419AD

C

2


Effectiveness: Stronger than it looks with knights and warband, but pretty crippled against some opponents. The Dacian ally is good; the Early Ostrogothic ally likewise; the Late Imperial Roman ally is probably the best bet. The allies push the Visigoths to a B rating.
Complexity: Impetuous followup troops all over! Increase the complexity to 3 with any ally.



II/66 Early Vandal:

Effectiveness

Complexity

200AD-442AD

D

2


Effectiveness: Too many warband at aggression 3. Alan ally pushes the rating to C.
Complexity: Same as the Early Visi - psycho attack isn't too complicated, although adding the Alan ally with a slew of LH increases the complexity to 3.



II/67 Early Ostrogothic, Herul, Sciri or Taifali:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Radagaesus 401-406AD

D

3

(b) Others 200AD-493AD

D

2


Effectiveness: Great fun, however brief. The allies are nice, though and bump the rating to B.
Complexity: What a strange mix! This takes a significant mental shift; knights and psiloi actually integrate quite well with each other, although some of the maneuvers take some practice (psiloi and knights can pass through each other in the movement phase, and recoil through each other in combat). It might be more fair to give these guys a 4 rating the first time you try them, and only downgrade to a 2 after some practice.



II/68 Pictish:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 211-499AD

B

2

(b) 500-846AD

B

2


Effectiveness: Good psiloi-supported spear. The Scots-Irish are a good ally for these guys.
Complexity: A fairly simple army to run.



II/69 Sassanid Persian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

220AD-651AD

C

3


Effectiveness: A great army, with some nice troops, but aggression too high for a mostly-mounted army. Arab ally is an excellent addition, as are the Armenians, Kushan, or Alan which increase the Sassanids to a B. Don't bother with the Hun or Turkish allies, though.
Complexity: increase the complexity to 4 if you take any significant number of knights, auxilia, or elephants, and especially if you take several of each.



II/70 Burgundi or Limigantes:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Burgundi 250-534AD

F

2

(b) Limigantes 250-359AD

F

2


Effectiveness: Warband monotype armies are not competitive in open tournaments, especially at high aggression.
Complexity: This army would even be a 1 complexity rating if it was not for the bad-going ability of Warband and their double-move capability.



II/71 Gepid:

Effectiveness

Complexity

250AD-566AD

C

3


Effectiveness: A fun mix of knights, warband, and psiloi. Perhaps not very competitive, but fun! If these guys were a little lower aggression, they'd be pretty cool.
Complexity: See earlier comments about the Early Ostrogoths.



II/72 Early Frankish, Alamannic, Quadi, Suevi, Rugian or Turcilingi:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Quadi 250AD-406AD

D

2

(b) Alamanni 250AD-506AD

C

2

(c) Suevi 250AD-584AD

C

2

(d) Others

F

2


Effectiveness: Generallly speaking, allies upgrade these lists one level. The Quadi need their Sarmatian ally desperately. The Alamanni have some bow to protect their warband from mounted; an Alan or Ostrogothic ally makes them quite interesting -- perhaps even a B rating for a player that likes warband. The Suevi are also nice with an Ostrogoth or Late Roman ally. The "others" list is a warband monotype list with high aggression -- not much chance.
Complexity: As with the Burgundi/Limigantes, these monotype armies would be given complexity 1 except for some of the innate complexities of the warband troop type.



II/73 Old Saxon, Frisian, Bavarian, Thuringian or Early Anglo-Saxon:

Effectiveness

Complexity

250AD-804AD

F

2


Effectiveness: Warband monotype list. Doomed unless their opponent is Sparta.
Complexity: As above for Franks etcetera.



II/74 Palmyran:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 60AD-271AD

A

4

(b) 271AD-273AD

B

3


Effectiveness: A keen combination of bow and knights with some light horse and other support. The Nomad ally is very worthwhile, upgrading the (b) list to an A rating and improving the (a) list as well.
Complexity: Combined arms based upon a Knight/Bow core. The (b) list should be upgraded to a 4 complexity if you take the Nomad ally.



II/75 Paekche and Kaya Korean:

Effectiveness

Complexity

300AD-660AD

A

3


Effectiveness: A nice mix of troops.
Complexity: Relatively simple combined-arms.



II/76 Koguryo Korean:

Effectiveness

Complexity

300AD-668AD

A

3


Effectiveness: Slightly different, but also a nice mix of spear, bow, and mounted.
Complexity: Relatively simple combined-arms.



II/77 Silla Korean:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 300AD-520AD

A

3

(b) 521AD-935AD

A

3


Effectiveness: Still another variation on the same theme as the previous two.
Complexity: Relatively simple combined-arms, like the previous two Korean lists.



II/78 Late Imperial Roman:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) West 307AD-425AD

B

3

(b) East 307AD-425AD

B

4


Effectiveness: Slightly too high aggression and slightly too many bad-going troops to deserve an A rating, but with Alan allies (West) or Arab Nomads (East) they get some more mounted strength and more blades and truly warrant the A. The East list with Arab Nomad allies won the Big Battle tournament in Columbus in October 2002. The West list with Alan allies came in second in the Big Battle Doubles tournament at Cold Wars 2002.
Complexity: Mounted, heavy foot, and auxilia in approximately equal proportions. Upgrade the (a) list to complexity 4 with an Alan ally, or if you take more than one Artillery.



II/79 Chinese Northern & Southern Dynasties:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) North 317AD-589AD

A

3

(b) South 317AD-589AD

A

4


Effectiveness: A nice mix of troops. Avoid the all-mounted version of the Northern Dynasty -- that gets a D rating.
Complexity: Nice balanced Chinese combined-arms. Upgrade the complexity of the (b) list to 5 if you take a significant number of Elephants.



II/80 Hunnic:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Attila's army 433-453AD

B

3

(b) Sabir 463-558AD

F

3

(c) Hephthalites in India 470AD-570AD

C

4

(d) Others 356AD-553AD

F

2


Effectiveness: Atilla's army with its mix of subject forces is quite nice, although still a bit LH heavy. The Sabir huns are wacked. The White Huns in India gain some nice Indian subject elephant and bow, but still have nothing to stand up to heavy foot in the open very well. Regular old huns have the problem of all high- aggression monotype armies.
Complexity: LH maneuvering involves significant complexity in pip management, and forms the basis for the complexity of all these armies. The (a) and (b) lists add warband or warband/knight complications; the (c) list has the greater complications of triple elephants with bow support - three different troop speeds, three different attack philosophies, and three different troop management requirements.



II/81 Sub-Roman British:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 407AD-428AD

D

2

(b) 429AD-441AD

B

3

(c) 442AD-539AD

A

2

(d) 540AD-945AD

B

2


Effectiveness: The (a) list is a bad-going army with aggression 1; upgrade it to a C with Late Roman allies. The (b) list has a proper spear-wall; upgrade it to an A rating with Patrician Roman allies. The (c) list (Arthur!) has some punch in addition to the spear wall. The (d) list is the same without the punch, but might deserve an upgrade with a Viking ally. Still pretty slow, though. Take at least a couple of LH no matter which list you have.
Complexity: Reduce the complexity of the (b) list to 2 if few warband or spear are taken. The first two lists are bad-going armies; the later pair of lists are psiloi-supported spear with mounted support; almost opposite in focus, but approximately the same overall difficulty.



II/82 Later Visigothic:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 419AD-621AD

C

3

(b) 622AD-720AD

A

3


Effectiveness: Warband don't really complement a cav/knight army, which is why the early list is only a C rating. Upgrade it to a B with either Lombard or Byzantine ally. The later list is a nice mix of troops.
Complexity: These two armies show the glimmerings of combined-arms, but aren't quite there yet.



II/83 Patrician Roman:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) West 425AD-493AD

A

4

(b) East 425AD-493AD

A

4


Effectiveness: This is a combined-arms army that will take some practice, but it can really perform if you know how to use it. Lots of good allies, too -- Alans, Arabs, SRB, and Early Ostrogoths are all neato.
Complexity: Roman combined arms, evenly split between mounted and foot with significant bad-going efforts. The DBA Roman army evolution from little complexity to high complexity is complete.



II/84 African Vandal:

Effectiveness

Complexity

442AD-535AD

F

1


Effectiveness: Glorious, but at aggression 3, they'll die. Take the Moorish ally and maybe get a C!
Complexity: What could be simpler? Roll high and pray!

 


Book III Armies

III/1 Early Slav:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Wends 580AD-1218AD

B

3

(b) Bohemians 830AD-1003AD

B

2

(c) Others 476AD-985AD

C

2


Effectiveness: The (a) and (c) lists are auxilia armies; the Wends in particular have some nice supporting troops and reward aggressive play. The Bohemian (b) list is psiloi-supported spear with some bite to it, and their allies are a nice complement.
Complexity: Monotype Auxilia army complexity for the (c) list; the additional complexity of more mounted and some interesting supporting troops for the (a) list; and a fairly easy psiloi-supported spear type army complexity for the (b) list. The Saxon ally doesn't change the complexity much for the (a) and (c) lists, but both LH-heavy allies of the (b) list raise the complexity to a 3.



III/2 Early Lombard:

Effectiveness

Complexity

489AD-584AD

C

2


Effectiveness: This is nearly a monotype army -- looks strong, but if something goes wrong and your knights have nothing to do, you are toast. The Avar ally helps quite a bit by providing some variety and maneuver and bad-going troops all in one. Definitely take at least some warband as bad-going troops, and in case you face a psiloi-supported spear wall that can eat everything else in your army. Pray you only face historical enemies, too -- against a bow army or elephants you can kiss your army goodbye.
Complexity: Sufficient non-knight troops to bring this up to a complexity 2. With any of the allies this becomes a complexity 3 army; maybe even complexity 4 with both the Avar and Middle Frankish allies at the same time.



III/3 Italian Ostrogothic:

Effectiveness

Complexity

493AD-561AD

A

2


Effectiveness: This is a better mix than the Lombards, and a better aggression for a knight-heavy army. Take all the spear you can, and the Middle Frankish ally with warband is worth considering.
Complexity: Similar to the Early Lombards above; complexity 2 with no ally and complexity 3 with the Middle Frankish ally.



III/4 Early Byzantine:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 493AD-549AD

B

3

(b) 550AD-578AD

B

3


Effectiveness: This is a strong B; the only reason we don't give them an A is the cramped nature of the standard big-battle board. The early list with Nomad ally is quite effective; the later list with Lombard knights for punch likewise gains something new and keen. In both cases the ally warrants an A rating.
Complexity: A nice mounted army with a bit of strong foot as an anchor; good integration of the abilities of these disparate troop types warrants a 3 complexity rating.



III/5 Middle Frankish:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Austrasian or Burgundian 496AD-639AD

C

3

(b) Neustrian, Aquitanian or Provencal 496-639AD

C

2


Effectiveness: These lists are poor Medievals -- spear and knights, but not enough psiloi support, no bad-going troops, and high aggression. Take the spear option with the early list; take the warband option with the later list.
Complexity: The (b) list might warrant a 3 complexity if you take many warband and/or the Visigoth ally.



III/6 Emishi:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 500AD-699AD

C

3

(b) 700AD-1100AD

C

3


Effectiveness: Monotype armies, but with aggression 0 they could be interesting.
Complexity: If these weren't monotype we might recommend as high as a 4 complexity.



III/7 Pre-Samurai Japanese:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 500AD-644AD

D

3

(b) 645AD-900AD

D

3


Effectiveness: High-aggression bow armies without an answer for enemy blade or spear lines.
Complexity: Middling difficult.



III/8 Central-Asian City States:

Effectiveness

Complexity

500AD-1000AD

B

3


Effectiveness: Zero aggression helps these guys deal with heavy foot. The Umayyad ally is worth taking.
Complexity: The Knight version of this list with no Umayyad ally is more like complexity 2.



III/9 Burmese:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 500AD-1043AD

C

3

(b) 1044AD-1526AD

A

4


Effectiveness: The early list has too few elephants; the later list can use its many elephants to protect its crossbow/auxilia mix from enemy mounted. The Yuan ally for the later list is an excellent addition.
Complexity: These troop types don't mix easily…



III/10 Hindu Indian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Harsha 606AD-647AD

A

4

(b) Rajputs 747AD-1300AD

A

3

(c) Others 545AD-1510AD

A

4


Effectiveness: All of these lists are good; the first and last elephant-emphized combined-arms; the Rajputs a nice knight-strikeforce army with good heavy foot component and elephants for spice. The allies of the (c) list are also interesting.
Complexity: Combined arms with only one weirdness (the elephants); not as complicated as they might have been, but certainly not simple.



III/11 Central Asian Turkish:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Uighurs 860AD-1330AD

B

3

(b) Others 550AD-1330AD

F

2


Effectiveness: The Uighur army has a nice mix of troops; a Tibetan ally strike force might even upgrade it to an A rating. The "others" CAT army is high aggression monotype LH -- basically doomed. Most of its allies give it additional options and a D; taking both Tibetan and Umayyad Arab allies makes a good combined-arms force and a C.
Complexity: The (a) list gains complexity because of troop mix; the (b) list more because of the inherent difficulty of the LH troop type. Upgrade the complexity of the (b) list to 3 with the Umayyad or Tibetan allies.



III/12 Christian Nubian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

550AD-1500AD

B

4


Effectiveness: Aggression 1 dry army with camels -- keen. The Blemmye/Nobades ally is definitely worthwhile. The warband and bow and camels mix is a little too light to deserve an A rating.
Complexity: Warband, bow, camels - We're not sure it is possible to get much more complex without any "extra-pip" type elements.



III/13 Avar:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 553AD-558AD, 631AD-826AD

D

2

(b) 558AD-631AD

C

3


Effectiveness: High aggression monotype cavalry army cripples the (a) list, although the Bulgar ally is a bit helpful in giving some bad-going ability and a C. The (b) list is much better, although still a little light -- the additional punch provided by the Sassanid ally (especially with an elephant and cataphracts) is very welcome and warrants a B.
Complexity: Moderate complexity for the (b) list, especially with the Sassanid ally. The cavalry/LH mix is simpler to run (although not more effective).



III/14 Early Bulgar:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 559AD-674AD

D

2

(b) 675AD-812AD

D

3

(c) 813AD-1018AD

C

2


Effectiveness: The early list is a typical monotype LH army. The middle list gets more bad-going troops to match with its cavalry/light horse mix, but still has no punch and no main battle line. The later list with a good spear line that can stand in the open has some chances, but still no punch.
Complexity: The mix of LH and bad going troops is a bit of oil and water, complexity-wise, which is why the (b) list is rated as higher complexity than the other two.



III/15 Tibetan:

Effectiveness

Complexity

560AD-1065AD

D

1


Effectiveness: Monotype high-aggression cataphracts. The Nan-chao or CACS ally upgrades them to a C.
Complexity: Easy. Upgrade them to complexity 2 with either ally above.



III/16 Khazar:

Effectiveness

Complexity

568AD-1083AD

D

5


Effectiveness: We love this army in regular DBA, but it is among the most complicated mixes of troops available, with three different troop types that require +1 pip to move, and none of them work well with each other.
Complexity: We love this army in regular DBA, but it might be the most complicated army out there, with three different troop types that require +1 pip to move, and none of them work well with each other.



III/17 Maurikian Byzantine:

Effectiveness

Complexity

575AD-650AD

A

3


Effectiveness: A nice heavy-foot battle line supporting a good mix of cavalry and light horse with a few knights for punch. Most of their allies are worth investigating, too.
Complexity: This is a low 3 - almost a 2, in spite of the speed differential between the small foot battle line and the main cavalry/LH mass of the army. Most of the allies bring it up to a solid 3 complexity rating (maybe even a 4 with the Khazar ally).



III/18 Breton:

Effectiveness

Complexity

580AD-1072AD

D

2


Effectiveness: No foot and no punch. Upgrade to at least a C, maybe even a B, with the Carolingian ally; upgrade to a C with a Viking ally.
Complexity: Maybe complexity 3 if you take any Horde; certainly complexity 3 with the Carolingian ally. The Viking ally still leaves the army pretty simple at complexity 2 even with the introduction of the extra mass of blade types.



III/19 Welsh:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 580AD-1099AD

D

3

(b) South 1100AD-1294AD

C

3

(c) North 1100AD-1420AD

C

1


Effectiveness: Three very different armies -- warband alone for the (a) list, warband-supported bow for the (b) list, and psiloi-supported spear for the (c) list. Very useful allies, by and large which upgrade each list to a C, B, and B respectively.
Complexity: Upgrade the (c) list to complexity 2 with any of its allies.



III/20 Sui and T'ang:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Sui 581AD-623AD

F

5

(b) T'ang 618AD-755AD

B

2 or 3


Effectiveness: Horde! Love 'em or hate 'em, this is way too much of 'em. The (b) list has the kernel of some good foot.
Complexity: The early list is a basic Chinese combined-arms troop mix, except for the huge batch of Horde. The later list is complexity 2 if you go all-mounted; 3 otherwise.



III/21 Italian Lombard:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 584AD-774AD

C

2

(b) 775AD-1076AD

B

3


Effectiveness: The early list is more than a bit monotype knights, but taking the Early Slav or Avar ally fixes the bad-going problem and warrants a B. The later list is on the way to being a good Medieval mix; the Early Muslim North Africa ally adds some nice variety and reaches A territory.
Complexity: Upgrade the (a) list to complexity 3 with the Slav or Avar allies.



III/22 Maya:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 600AD-987AD

C

2

(b) 988AD-1282AD

B

2

(c) 1283AD-1461AD

B

2

(d) 1462AD-1546AD

C

2


Effectiveness: Zero aggression is good for a monotype auxilia army like the (a) and (d) lists, but it is still hard to actually win any battles. The (b) and especially (c) list has a little bit of something else to add to the mix.
Complexity: The (b) and (c) lists with a few extra troops might be a smidgen more difficult than the others, but the difference isn't significant enough to rate upgrading their difficulty to 3.



III/23 Khmer and Cham:

Effectiveness

Complexity

605AD-1400AD

A

4


Effectiveness: This will be a hard combination of elephant, bow, and auxilia to play well, but it has the tools to succeed.
Complexity: This might merit a 5 complexity; certainly if you take two or three artillery.



III/24 Middle Anglo-Saxon:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 617AD-700AD

D

2

(b) 701AD-1014AD

D

1


Effectiveness: The shield wall does not win many fights on its own. The Welsh ally is interesting, but doesn't help this army escape from being slow and monotype.
Complexity: Wall of spear is easy to use. Criticisms of this army are focused on its ability, not its complexity.



III/25 Arab Conquest:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 622AD-638AD

D

3

(b) 639AD-660AD

B

3


Effectiveness: This army can succeed and even do well, but you better know how to fight with warband. The (a) list has waaaaay too few mounted.
Complexity: Warband and cavalry is a bit of a difficult mix; as a two-type army you would normally expect this to be complexity 2.



III/26 Early Serbian or Croatian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Serbian 627AD-1089AD

C

3

(b) Croatian 627AD-1180AD

C

2


Effectiveness: Nice mounted support for a bad-going army. This might even deserve the B rating, but aggression 1 is a bit higher than you'd like for an army with 24 or 27 bad-going troops.
Complexity: Knights are more difficult to integrate into a bad-going army than Cav are, which is why the (a) list gets complexity 3.



III/27 Rshtuni Armenian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

639AD-717AD

B

3


Effectiveness: A very nice bad-going army, with some nice allies, all of which add something useful and an A. My favorite is the Arab Conquest, although the Maurikian ally is nice too.
Complexity: It takes a bit of care to integrate cavalry speed and bad-going troops effectively, but isn't desperately difficult, ergo the moderate rating in complexity.



III/28 Carolingian Frankish:

Effectiveness

Complexity

639AD-888AD

B

2


Effectiveness: A nice knight/spear army, although a little high-aggression; taking the Slavs as an ally will give you some important bad-going strength and an A. They'll also give you some troops capable of doing something more useful than weeping if you come up against an Elephant opponent!
Complexity: Upgrade to complexity 3 with the Slav ally.



III/29 Thematic Byzantine:

Effectiveness

Complexity

650AD-963AD

B

3


Effectiveness: This is a very nice cavalry army. Take all the foot you can, and take the Moorish or Slav ally for an A.
Complexity: If Maurikian Byzantine are a low 3, these guys are a high 3, maybe even a low 4 for complexity mainly due to the pike. Downgrade them to a 2 if they have no pike and no allies; probably a 4 if they take pike and a bad-going ally.



III/30 Magyar:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 650AD-895AD

F

2

(b) 896AD-997AD

C

3


Effectiveness: Too many light horse and too high an aggression. The later list has some very useful foot, and a useful ally in the Early Slavs.
Complexity: Not bad - the only significant difficulty is the inherent complexity of bulk light horse.



III/31 Umayyad Arab:

Effectiveness

Complexity

661AD-750AD

B

3


Effectiveness: A nice cavalry/bow/spear combined arms force; the Tibetan ally gives some real punch and maybe an A.
Complexity: The moderate complexity of an Arab-style combined-arms force without any particularly difficult-to-handle troop types.



III/32 Volga Bulgar:

Effectiveness

Complexity

675AD-1237AD

D

3


Effectiveness: Not enough foot worth having.
Complexity: If it wasn't for the horde these guys wouldn't be difficult at all.



III/33 Early Muslim North Africa:

Effectiveness

Complexity

696AD-1160AD

C

3


Effectiveness: A little too light, but a fair mix of troops. The Byzantine ally adds some much-needed punch and a B rating.
Complexity: A reasonable mix of troop types with the simple complexity of Arab combined-arms.



III/34 Andalusian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 711AD-765AD

F

2

(b) 766AD-1172AD

D

2


Effectiveness: 24 psiloi and aggression 3 is a catastrophe, not an army! The (b) list, especially with one of the two fairly-decent allies, is barely acceptable.
Complexity: It isn't the complexity of this army that makes it hard to win with. Upgrade the (b) list to complexity 3 with either ally.



III/35 Feudal Spanish:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 718AD-950AD

C

3

(b) 951AD-1200AD

B

3

(c) 1201AD-1340AD

A

3


Effectiveness: Evolving from too-many-psiloi to a nice mix of Feudal troops with a bit of light horse.
Complexity: Medieval combined arms complexity in the (c) list; Knight/Bad-Going complexity in the (a) list, and half of each in the (b) list. Not brain surgery, but not simple addition either.



III/36 Nan-Chao:

Effectiveness

Complexity

728AD-1253AD

A

4


Effectiveness: A very interesting troop mix! The Vietnamese or Burmese allies bring something nice to the table too, as does the Tibetan cataphract horde, but the tools the Nan-Chao have are good by themselves.
Complexity: Isn't this a Successor army? It sure looks like one. Upgrade to complexity 5 with the Burmese ally.



III/37 Abbasid Arab:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 747AD-835AD

A

3

(b) 836AD-945AD

B

3


Effectiveness: The early list with spear is stronger than the later one without. Take the warband either way to deal with enemy heavy foot.
Complexity: Hey, it could be worse. This is a relatively normal version of the Arab combined-arms army.



III/38 Arab Indian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

751AD-1206AD

B

3


Effectiveness: Good foot, but uninspired mounted troops. Not bad, though.
Complexity: Arab combined arms is one of the least difficult combined-arms types available.



III/39 Late T'ang and Five Dynasties Chinese:

Effectiveness

Complexity

755AD-979AD

A

3


Effectiveness: Nice heavy-foot army. The Tibetan ally adds some nice punch if you want knights.
Complexity: Chinese combined-arms with a lot of foot - on the simpler end of the difficulty spectrum for combined arms armies, but certainly not easy.



III/40 Norse Viking:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Viking 790AD-849AD

C

1

(b) Viking 850AD-1280AD

C

1

(c) Leidang 790AD-1070AD

B

2

(d) Leidang 1070AD-1280AD

B

2


Effectiveness: Blades out the wazoo! Without enough psiloi support, and with no mounted and high aggression, the (a) and (b) lists are pretty weak. The Leidang lists are stronger, especially the (d) list with Medieval German ally.
Complexity: Wall O' Blade - what could be simpler? The (c) and (d) lists should be downgraded to complexity 1 if you take fairly few auxilia; the (d) list might be as high as complexity 3 if you take as mixed a force as possible and throw in the Medieval German ally.



III/41 Dog Peoples and Pueblo Cultures:

Effectiveness

Complexity

800AD-1500AD

F

2


Effectiveness: Doomed.
Complexity: Doom isn't very complicated, as such things go…



III/42 Sha-t'o Turkish:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 808AD-883AD

D

2

(b) 884AD-951AD

C

3


Effectiveness: The (a) list is in the high-aggression mounted monotype army hole and a few bow or psiloi don't save it. The (b) list has some nice foot, and with a Khitan-Liao ally to provide some more (and some knights) they might actually win some battles with a B rating.
Complexity: The (a) list mix of Ps/Bw and Cav/LH might be nearly a 3 complexity rating - a difficult 2, perhaps. With more foot variety, and especially with the Khitan-Liao ally, the (b) list is a solid 3 complexity rating.



III/43 Khurasanian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Tahirids 821AD-873AD

B

3

(b) Saffarids 861AD-1003AD

B

4

(c) Samanids 900AD-999AD

A

4


Effectiveness: Nice mixes of cavalry, spear, bow, and bad going troops. We like the small amounts of light horse and warband in the mix. The Samanids, with an elephant for punch, are probably the best. The Samanids also have the best ally in the Ghaznavids.
Complexity: The (a) list is fairly standard Arab combined-arms difficulty. The (b) list starts to get a bit bizarre with their troop mix; the (c) list is a bit more controllable with a solid spear wall but the addition of the elephants keeps it in the awkward complexity stage.



III/44 Tribal Mongolian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

840AD-1218AD

F

2


Effectiveness: Monotype light horse army with aggression 2. The Qara-Khitan ally offers a bump up to D.
Complexity: Appropriate difficulty for a monotype LH army. Probably still a 2 even with the Q-K ally, because you still have to work the LH magic to make the army go.



III/45 Pre-Feudal Scots:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 846AD-1051AD

B

2

(b) 1052AD-1124AD

B

2


Effectiveness: Nice psiloi-supported spear army. Take as many mounted as possible -- the SRB ally is worthwhile, too. Take a bunch of warband for bad-going troops. With the SRB ally this army might be nearly an A rating, although still suffers from being dead slow.
Complexity: These armies are nice! We'd recommend them to anyone making the transition from solid (and stolid) spearwall to something with a taste of combined-arms support for a spearwall base.



III/46 Norse Irish:

Effectiveness

Complexity

846AD-1300AD

D

2


Effectiveness: Auxilia army with no mounted and aggression 1. The Anglo-Norman ally is formidable and provides an upgrade to B.
Complexity: Bad-going complexity here; upgrade to a 3 with the Anglo-Norman ally.



III/47 Pecheneg:

Effectiveness

Complexity

850AD-1122AD

D

2


Effectiveness: Aggression 2 light horse army. The warwagons and bow are good, though.
Complexity: Upgrade to complexity 3 if you take more than a few war wagons. On the other hand, taking a wad of war wagons brings the army up to Effectiveness of C.



III/48 Rus:

Effectiveness

Complexity

860AD-1054AD

B

1


Effectiveness: A nice psiloi-supported spear army. All of its allies are very different from it, and so can provide a very nice addition to this army and an A rating.
Complexity: Upgrade to 2 with any of its allies.



III/49 Tulunid or Iqshidid Egyptian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

868AD-905AD, 935AD-969AD

D

2


Effectiveness: Cavalry and bow together leaves a lot of gaps -- a spear or blade army could basically eat these guys.
Complexity: These guys are hard to assess - they might be as high as complexity 3. But probably not.



III/50 Bagratid Armenian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

885AD-1045AD

A

3


Effectiveness: A slightly disorganized mix of troops, but with the germ of a good army. The allies are useful, too.
Complexity: An interesting variation on combined arms - in some ways this army is more similar to Patsy Roman than its contemporaries. The mix of the three major mounted types, plus a spear wall with psiloi support and warband, is probably like a high 3 in complexity.



III/51 West Frankish or Norman:

Effectiveness

Complexity

888AD-1072AD

B

2


Effectiveness: All three allies are worthwhile additions, giving some variety and infantry to this knight-heavy early medieval mix and an upgrade to A.
Complexity: Knights with some support troops - not difficult to run; just pray you don't meet lots of Bows.



III/52 East Frankish:

Effectiveness

Complexity

888AD-1106AD

A

2


Effectiveness: A strong early medieval army with a bit of Swabian dismounting. The allies are definitely worthwhile. Taking the all mounted version leads to an F rating.
Complexity: Downgrade the all-mounted version to complexity 1; upgrade the others to 3 if you take an ally.



III/53 Dynastic Bedouin:

Effectiveness

Complexity

890AD-1150AD

D

3


Effectiveness: Too light, but does warrant a C with an ally.
Complexity: LH with support - not super-complex, but way worse than easy.



III/54 Early Samurai:

Effectiveness

Complexity

900AD-1300AD

C

3


Effectiveness: Nice looking troops, but not a lot of punch, and weak in heavy foot, and too many auxilia.
Complexity: A combination of troops that are simple to use individually, but awkward in combination.

III/55 Khitan-Liao:

Effectiveness

Complexity

907AD-1125AD

D

3


Effectiveness: Strong mounted, but very poor foot. And worse still if all-mounted.
Complexity: This is a very awkward 3 rating, but since most players will leave their horde in the backfield it is probably justifiable as no higher. The all-mounted version of the army should be downgraded to complexity 2.



III/56 Koryo Dynasty Korean:

Effectiveness

Complexity

918AD-1392AD

B

2


Effectiveness: A nice army based on a good heavy foot core. This might even be worth an A rating; I'm not sure. Adding either of the allies gives a mobile strikeforce to this otherwise mostly-foot army, upgrading them from a high B to a solid A.
Complexity: Upgrade to complexity 3 if the army has more than one artillery.



III/57 Buyid or other Dailami Dynasties:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Baghdad 946AD-975AD

C

3

(b) Dailami tribal rebels

F

2

(c) All others 927AD-1090AD

D

2


Effectiveness: The (a) list is reasonable, but has a lot of light foot for an aggression 3 army. The (b) list is a total loss. The (c) list has some stiffener in its elephant, but nine elements of auxilia or psiloi is still tremendously rough. Both allies give some reasonable good-going troops to make it more competitive and a C rating.
Complexity: Upgrade the (c) list to complexity 3 if you take elephants and/or an ally.



III/58 Toltec:

Effectiveness

Complexity

930AD-1168AD

D

1


Effectiveness: Immobile and fragile against opponents with knights; no maneuver and poor aggression...
Complexity: ...but easy to run!



III/59 Medieval Vietnamese:

Effectiveness

Complexity

939AD-1527AD

B

4


Effectiveness: A difficult combined-arms mix in elephants and auxilia and psiloi, but fairly effective if you learn how to use them together, and some bow and blade to give some more stiffening good-going strength. The artillery might be worthwhile for a refused wing or static command.
Complexity: Elephants are complicated; elephants and artillery even more so. This might rate a 5 complexity if the army has two or three artillery.



III/60 Dynastic Kurdish:

Effectiveness

Complexity

950AD-1085AD

D

2


Effectiveness: Cavalry monotype army. Take the 5Wb and the Buyid ally for a B upgrade, and this should be a fun mix.
Complexity: Upgrade the difficulty to 3 with the Buyid ally; downgrade to a 1 for the army with few or no infantry.



III/61 Sung Chinese:

Effectiveness

Complexity

960AD-1279AD

A

4


Effectiveness: A very nice heavy-foot mixed army with enough mounted for a useful reserve or small striking command. The Khitan or Hsi ally is a thought if you want more maneuvering, but a tradeoff for an army whose strength is really in the blade/bow combination.
Complexity: Mandatory Artillery adds difficulty to what would otherwise be a relatively normal Chinese combined-arms mixture.



III/62 Early Polish:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 960AD-1200AD

A

2

(b) 1201AD-1335AD

A

3


Effectiveness: Both lists have a nice combination of psiloi-supported spear and bow with a good mounted strikeforce. The (b) list has more punch and might be a little better overall; both lists have some nice allies in the Early Hungarians and Medieval Germans or Teutonic Order, among others.
Complexity: Simple enough to run the (a) list; the (b) list is a good Medieval combined-arms force with the appropriate complexity.



III/63 Ghaznavid:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 962AD-1001AD

A

3

(b) 1002AD-1186AD

A

4


Effectiveness: Very nice combined-arms lists. The Rajput ally is very interesting for the later list, too.
Complexity: Upgrade the complexity of the (b) list to 5 with the Rajput ally; downgrade the (a) list to 2 if few or no elephants are in the army.



III/64 Nikephorian Byzantine:

Effectiveness

Complexity

963AD-1042AD

D

3


Effectiveness: Cavalry and bow is a tough combination with high aggression. The two best allies (Armenian or Georgian) reduce the damage somewhat by providing some heavy foot that can fight it out in the open against other heavy foot as well as an upgrade to B.
Complexity: It is interesting how closely this resembles an Arab combined-arms army.



III/65 Fatamid Egyptian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

969AD-1171AD

C

3


Effectiveness: Cavalry and bow again, although with lower aggression. The Crusaders provide some heavy foot punch and some knight punch, both useful against enemy heavy foot and bumping it up to B.
Complexity: See the comment above for the similarity to their historical enemy, III/64 Nikkie Byz.



III/66 Hsi-Hsia:

Effectiveness

Complexity

982AD-1227AD

A

3


Effectiveness: I'm surprised to find such a good mix of troops and mounted variety wandering around the steppe in book III.
Complexity: A really nice combined-arms force with power and punch; no complicated elements and not too many element types. Highly recommended for those who want to make the transition from simple armies to combined-arms.



III/67 Early Hungarian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 997AD-1102AD

B

3

(b) 1103AD-1245AD

A

3


Effectiveness: The early list has too many light horse; the later list adds some more punch and some more heavy foot. The Early Polish ally is worthwhile.
Complexity: Supported LH complexity for the (a) list; Medieval combined-arms complexity for the (b) list.



III/68 West Sudanese:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1000AD-1591AD

C

3


Effectiveness: All-bow or all-auxilia is awkward, and neither is an answer for enemy heavy foot.
Complexity: Funky.



III/69 Tuareg:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1000AD-1880AD

C

2


Effectiveness: Monotype camel army -- very funky. Without the camel trick this would be an F rated army -- can't answer any heavy foot or most armies when it loses the terrain roll.
Complexity: Very Funky.



III/70 Georgian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1008AD-1089AD

A

3

(b) 1090AD-1120AD

B

3

(c) 1121AD-1683AD

B

3


Effectiveness: A nice mix of mounted and heavy foot support, although a bit too many light horse in the two later armies.
Complexity: Medieval combined-arms for the first two lists; Arab combined-arms for the third.



III/71 Anglo-Danish:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1014AD-1075AD

C

1


Effectiveness: Little psiloi support and no mobility.
Complexity: It could be simpler, but not by much!



III/72 Communal Italian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1029AD-1199AD

B

4

(b) 1200AD-1320AD

B

4


Effectiveness: A nice medieval mix, hurt a bit by the horde. The German ally provides an A rating.
Complexity: With war wagons and horde, these guys almost deserve a 5 complexity rating. But since horde are usually an inactive part of the army, we'll give these guys just a 4.



III/73 Seljuq Turk:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Rum 1200AD-1243AD

C

3

(b) Others 1037AD-1276AD

F

2


Effectiveness: The early list is the better, but the later list has better allies and some upgrade to C. Both lists suffer from way too many light horse, especially at aggression 3. The Ghaznavid ally made as heavy as possible is a good ally, as is the Ghurid, and both together merits a B rating.
Complexity: LH complexity with a variety of support elements adding some difficulty for the (a) list.



III/74 Fanatic Berber:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1039AD-1529AD

C

3


Effectiveness: Interesting, but not exactly full of punch.
Complexity: A slightly lighter version of Arab combined arms.



III/75 Konstantinian Byzantine:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1042AD-1071AD

A

3


Effectiveness: The Georgian ally is worthwhile. A very nice mobile army with a bow and some heavy foot supporting group.
Complexity: Upgrade to 4 if the army has more than a single artillery.



III/76: Papal Italian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1049AD-1320AD

B

3


Effectiveness: A nice medieval mix. Some allies provide an upgrade to A.
Complexity: Upgrade to a 4 difficulty with two allies.



III/77 Scots Isles and Highlands:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1050AD-1493AD

D

1 or 2


Effectiveness: Too many blade, with little else.
Complexity: The higher complexity is for the army with Bw and Wb; the lower is for the all-blade version.



III/78 Early Russian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1054AD-1246AD

C

2


Effectiveness: Fairly nice mix, especially with a little punch and a little more heavy foot from an ally. Upgrade to B with Early Polish or Early Hungarian ally.
Complexity: Cavalry and psiloi-supported spear is an easy duotype army to run.



III/79 Cuman:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1054AD-1394AD

F

2


Effectiveness: Way too many light horse for aggression 3. Alan ally upgrades these guys to a D.
Complexity: Monotype LH complexity.

 


Book IV Armies

IV/1 Komnenan Byzantines:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1071AD-1149AD

B

3

(b) 1150AD-1204AD

B

3


Effectiveness: A nice combined-arms mix, but a bit unfocused and a bit lacking in heavy foot. The Kn/Sp/Bw combination of the Later Crusader ally adds some good punch and an A rating. Treasure this Byzantine army, as they have a reasonable chance at victory.
Complexity: Standard complexity for a combined arms mounted heavy army.



IV/2 Cilician Armenian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1071AD-1375AD

A

2


Effectiveness: A nice psiloi-supported spear and knight army. A little slow, but an ally command of Seljuqs of Rum or of Ilkhanid can give it a fast-strike maneuver command.
Complexity: Taking all spear and no auxilia would downgrade these guys to a 1 rating. The Seljuk Turk or Ilkhanid allies upgrade the Armenians to a 3.



IV/3 Anglo-Norman:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1072AD-1181AD

A

3


Effectiveness: A good Medieval mix of knights, spear, and bow, with the added benefit of psiloi support and dismounting. Too bad it doesn't have one element of light horse or cavalry. The allies are nice, but don't change the complection of the army much.
Complexity: It would be historically wrong and just bad form to take more than one War Wagon element, so no increase in complexity there. With little to no mobility to speak of, the Anglo-Normans beg for a 2 rating, but the added complexity of dismounting options keeps us from downgrading it.



IV/4 Feudal French:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1072AD-1150AD

A

2

(b) 1151AD-1330AD

A

2


Effectiveness: Knights and psiloi-supported spear is a good one-two punch. The Communal or Crusader allies are much the same, with the addition of a little bow. The Feudal Spanish ally is much better, with some speed in light horse and some nice bad-going troops.
Complexity: The Feudal French are basically just knights and spear with some psiloi support. The Feudal Spanish ally adds some nice complexity amongst its complimentary troop types and a 3 rating, as does the Communal Italian ally.



IV/5 Sicilian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1072AD-1194AD

C

3

(b) 1195AD-1235AD

C

3

(c) 1236AD-1442AD

B

4


Effectiveness: Aggression is too high for an army with half the troops psiloi and horde. The (c) list is the best, and is probably worth an A rating if you take the Later Crusader ally.
Complexity: For lists (a) and (b) you better be competent using psiloi and knights together. The possibility of a Littoral landing offers some interesting options. The added balance and troop options in the (c) list makes it a more complex list, as well as having to work with the 6Kn wedges.



IV/6 Syrian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1092AD-1286AD

C

2


Effectiveness: Sorta cool, but not enough punch and not enough heavy foot. Either of the Crusader allies would help quite a bit and warrant a B.
Complexity: Upgrade the Syrians to a 3 if they take an oddball Khwarizmian ally. Otherwise, these guys aren't particularly remarkable for their tactical complexity.



IV/7 Early Crusader:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1096AD-1128AD

B

2


Effectiveness: This army might deserve an A, it is close. The army is a little slow and poor in bad going troops, and all of its allies provide a solution to one or both those holes and a ratings upgrade.
Complexity: The crusaders are borderline 2 or 3 in complexity.  Definitely bump them up to 3 if an ally is used.



IV/8 Ghurid:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1100AD-1215AD

A

3


Effectiveness: A nice little army. Go with mostly pike, some psiloi-supported spear, and the rest bow. Good mobile elements to support the heavy foot.
Complexity: The choice between spear and pike in this list determines whether we rate it as a 2 or 3 - the pike being the more complicated choice. The army does best and is most interesting with a mix of the two types.



IV/9 Eastern Forest American:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1100AD-1620AD

D

2


Effectiveness: Warband and psiloi do not an open tournament army make.
Complexity: See IV/71 Chimu.



IV/10 Mound Builder American:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1100AD-1701AD

C

3


Effectiveness: Too slow, but you could make an army out of these guys if you know how to use warband well.
Complexity: This is a fairly complex force with three Lits, and a somewhat combined arms foot force. No mounted means little mobility, but you could find enough here to put together a reasonably interesting command structure and plan.



IV/11 North-Western American:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1100AD-1770AD

D

1


Effectiveness: Helpless against most heavy foot.
Complexity: See IV/ 72 Amazonians. These guys are marginally more complex in that you can do a Littoral landing with Bow or Psiloi.



IV/12 Polynesian or Melanesian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Polynesian 1100AD-1785AD

C

1

(b) Melanesian 1100AD-1785AD

C

1

(c) Hawaii 1100AD-1785AD

C

1

(d) Maori 1100AD-1785AD

C

1


Effectiveness: Monotype armies aren't game-winners in big battle.
Complexity: Wall O' Blade mania or Melanesian Spear! We think it's boring. At least you may get to try a littoral landing. Let's see, might we have heavy foot in that landing party?



IV/13 Medieval German:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1106AD-1235AD

A

3

(b) 1236AD-1450AD

A

3

(c) 1450AD-1478AD

A

5

(d) 1479AD-1519AD

A

5


Effectiveness: A whole batch of nice medieval combined-arms armies. The (a) list dismounts, which is always nice. Their allies are fun, too. The other lists don't dismount but still have a nice group of troops -- the pike are quite useful. The (b) list allies are also nice.
Complexity: The Medieval Germans offer a full variety of troop types in these four lists. Lists (c) and (d) are cumbersome juggernauts in regular DBA, and translate to that in BBDBA as well. They are difficult to play, but offer a really interesting challenge to an advanced player. The (a) list seems to be the most popular because of the dismounters, but it would be nice to see more of the later lists and their knight wedges in competition!



IV/14 Jurchen-Chin:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1114AD-1125AD

F

1

(b) 1126AD-1234AD

C

3


Effectiveness: The high aggression cripples the early list, which is all mounted. The later list has some nice supporting troops for their cavalry, but not enough to bring it to the first rank of cavalry armies. Still, it would deserve an upgrade on a larger map.
Complexity: The simplistic (a) list will be difficult to play because of their aggression, not their complexity. The (b) list offers a more varied selection of troops (including Arty) and a useful ally.



IV/15 Qara-Khitan:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1124AD-1211AD

D

2


Effectiveness: Too high aggression for an all-mounted army, even if it has a nice mix of mounted troops. The Uighur ally gives it some essential foot troops and a C rating.
Complexity: This is about as complex as an all mounted force can get, unless it has a bunch of Elephants or Scythed Chariots which the Qara-Khitan do not.



IV/16 Scots Common:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1124AD-1512AD

B

4


Effectiveness: This army is nearly an A rating, but its lack of mobility and almost any mounted troops is a bad fault - Take the warband and bow, by all means.
Complexity: The Scots are a challenging pike army, with little in the way of mobility. As a result, they are not very forgiving. We recommend featuring the Highland Rabble in any plan of battle.



IV/17 Later Crusader:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1128AD-1303AD

B

3


Effectiveness: A Medieval knight/spear/bow army. Almost an A rating, but lacks a bit of spark. All of its allies are interesting, and any of them provide the variety to upgrade the rating to A.
Complexity: Pretty standard mix, except lacking any psiloi support. The allies make the Crusaders more interesting, if not more complex.



IV/18 Lithuanian or Samogitian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1132AD-1435AD

D

3


Effectiveness: A nice mix of LH and bad-going troops that almost manages a C rating. Lacks punch, like many maneuver armies. Has very good allies -- Teutonic Order or Post-Mongol Russian or Later Polish all give it an upgrade to B; Golden Horde an upgrade to C because of the bow.
Complexity: Because of the nice balance of mounted mobility and bad going troops, you can have a reasonable plan for any terrain. Making use of the terrain or lack thereof is the challenge. The allies have a significant impact on the effectiveness, if not the complexity.



IV/19 Tarascan or Toltec-Chichimec:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1168AD-1521AD

C

2


Effectiveness: A bow army with some nice supporting heavy foot, but still slow as molasses.
Complexity: This Bow and Blade mix is a mostly simple and powerful troop interaction, however planning for the lack of any real mobility will cause some difficulty.



IV/20 Ayyubid Egyptian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1171AD-1250AD

B

3


Effectiveness: A nice cavalry and light foot army. Too bad neither of its allies are heavy-foot oriented.
Complexity: Nothing particularly crazy here. The Khwarizmian ally provides an upgrade to a 4, assuming you take the oddball troops options.



IV/21 Anglo-Irish:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1172AD-1300AD

B

3

(b) 1301AD-1394AD

B

3

(c) 1395AD-1489AD

B

3


Effectiveness: An interesting mix of medieval combined-arms and the light foot usually lacking in those armies.
Complexity: Combined arms with mounted, bow, blade, and bad going troops.



IV/22 Serbian Empire:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1180AD-1459AD

A

3


Effectiveness: A nice knight/light horse mobile force with bow and spear infantry support. Ottoman and Condotta allies are both worthwhile improvements.
Complexity: Non-heavy foot combined arms complexity.



IV/23 Feudal English:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1181AD-1322AD

B

3


Effectiveness: This army is an extreme version of the typical Early Medieval combined-arms mix of knight, bow, and spear. In this case almost no spear, and horde instead. The North Welsh ally gives some very useful psiloi-supported spear to provide some heavy-foot bulk and an A. The other allies have too many bad-going troops to be much use for an aggression 3 army.
Complexity: The only reason we are tempted to give the English a score higher than the standard medieval combined-arms mix is because of the mandatory four or six elements of Hordes. It's not quite enough to warrant the higher rating though, and the allies don't present too much of a tactical challenge, since the most useful one is psiloi-supported spear.



IV/24 Khwarizmian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1186AD-1246AD

C

4


Effectiveness: Not bad, but really needs some more foot troops. The Knights in the Qara-Khitan ally are a nice addition.
Complexity: The Elephant, Hordes, and 5Wb options are enough to push this Cavalry and Light Horse force to a high complexity score. Those oddball support troops present the Khwarizmian commander with some difficult decisions. If you don't take the oddballs, downgrade these guys to a 2.



IV/25 Later Bulgar:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1186AD-1395AD

C

2


Effectiveness: Knights and light horse are a cool combination, but aggression 2 is a little high for an army to be successful without much foot. The Serbian Empire ally are a significant improvement and a B; the Golden Horde ally would be fun, but not much use on a 4x2 board.
Complexity: Nothing too special here - Knights and Light Horse. The Serbian ally increases the complexity score to 3.



IV/26 Lusignan Cypriot:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1192AD-1489AD

A

3


Effectiveness: This is a really keen mix of troops supporting what is basically a bow army. It is likely to be a difficult army in practice, but with real potential. We can see this army being overlooked. The Mamluk ally is quite worthwhile.
Complexity: This is a fairly standard complication combined arms force with a bow base. Nice balance.



IV/27 Estonian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1200AD-1227AD

F

2


Effectiveness: Last of the Warband armies. Take the Early Russian ally if you want to have any chance (probably a D army with them). A monotype warband army with no mounted and high aggression -- if your enemy wins the terrain roll and has anything but lots of heavy foot you are pretty much out of luck.
Complexity: See IV/71 Chimu. Most monotypes would automatically get a 1 rating, but we view playing Warband as an art form that just requires a little too much creativity for the lowest rating.



IV/28 Prussian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1200AD-1283AD

C

2


Effectiveness: Cousin of the Estonians, but a lower aggression and better mix of troops. If you aren't comfortable with your anti-heavy-foot strike force being warband, though, you should avoid these guys. Early Pole ally upgrades to B.
Complexity: If you take Auxilia and the Early Polish ally, upgrade these guys to a 3. Otherwise, it's just bad going exploitation often against historical enemies that will ride down warband in the open. These same enemies often show up in open tourneys.



IV/29 Tupi:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1200AD-1601AD

C

2


Effectiveness: Warband and Bow. It may be fun, but it isn't fast, and I'm not sure it is effective either.
Complexity: This perfect balance of Bow and Warband - eighteen elements of each - feels almost like a monotype because of its simplicity. We can't rate it as a 1 though. There are some subtleties to playing Bow and Warband in complimentary roles.



IV/30 Teutonic Orders:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1201AD-1522AD

A

3


Effectiveness: A very nice medieval combined-arms army. The wide range of allies is also nice, but not particularly necessary. A bit light on heavy foot for some, but it has very nice cavalry and light horse components to make up for it. Teutonic Order with an early Medieval German ally ended up in a three- way tie for first in Big Battle Doubles at Historicon 2001, and DS used it for a victorious run at NashCon 2004.
Complexity: The Teutonic combined arms presents a fairly typical complexity for a mounted heavy combined arms force. Taking one of the later Medieval German allies (c) or (d) increases their rating to 4. The same thing can be said for taking the Hordes option, instead of the very useful bad going troops. Real men take Hordes.



IV/31 Nikaian Byzantine:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1204AD-1261AD

B

3


Effectiveness: This army is typical of what we call Byzantine combined-arms -- a mix of troops that always seems to under-perform, somehow. A little too light, not fast enough, and not hard-enough hitting. Still, it seems like a nice mix of troops on paper, and the allies are worth experimenting with.
Complexity: These guys are built very similarly to the Epirot Byzantines, and present a similar Byzantine challenge and complexity.



IV/32 Romanian Frank:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1204AD-1311AD

B

3


Effectiveness: Knights and psiloi, without the glory of the Early Ostrogoths. The Seljuk ally is interesting, and the Catalan Company ally likewise, but this army still has no real way to beat a wall of spear or a wall of bow.
Complexity: Knights and psiloi interaction is a little complicated, but can be very effective. Take an ally for an upgrade to complexity 4.



IV/33 Epirot Byzantine:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1204AD-1340AD

B

3


Effectiveness: Not enough heavy foot, but it seems like a good force mix on paper. The Sicilian ally is worth exploring, too - unless you feel like just giving up because you are Byzantine.
Complexity: The Epirot Byzantines are just begging to succeed despite their Byzantine nature. Focusing primarily on success with their nicely balanced mounting strikes us as the key to it. This is still a fairly challenging task, given that they are Byzantine and lack much in the way of useful foot. The Sicilian ally probably increases their complexity to a 4.



IV/34 Trapezuntine Byzantine:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1204AD-1461AD

C

4


Effectiveness: A little too light, and not enough of anything -- the typical Byzantine problem. Maybe the most pitifully challenging combined-arms armies are all Byzantine?
Complexity: The option of a Littoral landing force with the Trapezuntine adds complexity to what is already a difficult mix of troops to succeed with. Perhaps it is the lack of shock troops or an inclination to emulate their historical past, but we see most of these Later Byzantine armies as tragically doomed from the start.



IV/35 Mongol Conquest:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1206AD-1266AD

D

2


Effectiveness: On the 4x2 board, these guys cannot play battles of maneuver. Both their allies are good additions to their force mix with big batches of bow and heavy foot (spear for the Koryo, blade for the Sung) and a C upgrade. The artillery can really be fun for a light horse army, though.
Complexity: The option of three Artillery to compliment Cavalry and Light Horse is a challenging tactical puzzle; increase the complexity to 4 if you go with more than a single artillery. It's definitely a great use against massed Bow or a BUA, but it's just SO slow compared to the mounted. Besides, does anybody still use BUA's these days?!?



IV/36 Later Muslim Indian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1206AD-1315AD

B

4

(b) 1316AD-1526AD

A

5


Effectiveness: The early list is a little lacking in punch, but the later list is an enemy-muncher that splits very easily into a refused-wing command (lowpip with artillery), a central mounted command, and a flanking wing command, with enough bad going troops to assign to either the central or flanker command and give them the highpip dice.
Complexity: Both (a) and (b) Later Muslim Indian lists have quite the eclectic mix of troop types. The (b) list goes a step further with the addition of three mandatory Horde, three Artillery, and possibly three Knights! Command structure and PIP planning is crucial for the later list.



IV/37 Indonesian or Malay:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Malay or Sumatran 1222AD-1511AD

B

4

(b) Moluccan 1222AD-1511AD

D

2

(c) Javanese 1222AD-1511AD

C

3

(d) Others 1222AD-1511AD

D

2


Effectiveness: The Malay/Sumatran list has the elephants to protect its warband from enemy knights or cavalry; two of their allies (Ming Chinese and Sinhalese) are very good additions. The Javanese list, especially with the Khmer/Cham ally, has enough elephants to try to protect its warband (but probably fail). The other two lists aren't going to compete in open tournaments very well.
Complexity: Generally speaking, the elephant and warband troop interaction is fairly complicated and challenging, especially with the 2.2 changes to warband. Terrain choice is critical, as there may be too few PIPs to go around. The Malay or Sumatran rate complexity 4 because of the extra elephant beyond the Javanese. The three light horse available to (a), (c) and (d) also present some interesting tactical options.



IV/38 Granadine:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1232AD-1492AD

B

3


Effectiveness: This is an interesting mix, but with spear and lots of crossbow it has solid heavy foot, and lots of LH for maneuver. The Fanatic Berber allies are useful. An enjoyable army for a general with lots of skill with LH, but not for the timid. Aggression 0 is helpful.
Complexity: The Spear and Bow mix of the Granadine army form a nice base for the mobile LH to maneuver around. This will call for a fairly skilled gamer to find success.



IV/39 Navarrese:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1234AD-1327AD

C

2

(b) 1328AD-1378AD

C

3

(c) 1379AD-1430AD

C

3


Effectiveness: An odd combined-arms army with bad-going emphasis. The (b) list has the best chances. If you're looking for a Medieval auxilia army, this is a good one, but it will have trouble if it doesn't get terrain, and at aggression 1 it could be better.
Complexity: While there are significant amounts of Auxilia in all three lists, (a) is really just a bad going focus medieval army. Lists (b) and (c) are more balanced which results in their higher rating.



IV/40 Siamese:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1238AD-1518AD

B

4


Effectiveness: Warband, Auxilia, Elephants -- a good combination, but it would take some practice and skill. No matter which way you go (choosing auxilia or warband) you should probably take the ally with the other type of troop (Malay with warband, or Burmese with auxilia) to give you flexibility.
Complexity: Warband, Auxilia and Elephants present some serious gameplay challenges, PIP allocation, command structure, terrain issues. etc.



IV/41 Early Swiss:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1240AD-1400AD

B

1


Effectiveness: Against opponents without knights this might be a low A army; against opponents with lots of them, more like a C. Psiloi supported blade is just a bit too risky as your only open-ground troop type. Not enough mobility, either.
Complexity: The
Über-Blade army, you get twenty-seven elements of 6Bd in a BBDBA army. That's a definite monotype.



IV/42 Islamic Persian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1245AD-1393AD, 1499AD-1520AD

C

2


Effectiveness: Aggression 0 is nice; on a larger board these might be worth a B rating. But on a standard 4x2 board they just don't have any way to fight armies with a wall of heavy foot.
Complexity: The Islamic Persians are almost entirely Cavalry, which qualifies them as one dimensional. As a bonus they get a mandatory three Hordes elements. Cavalry and Horde mix so well in a battle line, don't you think?



IV/43 Later Hungarian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1245AD-1395AD

C

2

(b) 1396AD

A

3

(c) 1397AD-1526AD

A

4


Effectiveness: The early list is too light and not enough foot for its aggression, although with the German ally it is much better - B rating. The Nicopolis list is fairly nice if you don't let the French Ally do anything stupid (unlike the historical battle). The later list is quite nice, although be warned that it is a fairly difficult combined-arms army to run.
Complexity: The 6Kn wedges in the (b) and especially the (c) list are difficult to maneuver and use effectively. The War Wagon options in the (c) list even further compound the challenges that the Later Hungarians present with their interesting mix of troops. Ultimately, the (a) and (b) lists are reasonably simple in their approach as compared to the (c) list with War Wagons.



IV/44 Post Mongol Russian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1246AD-1380AD

B

2

(b) 1381AD-1533AD

A

3


Effectiveness: These two lists do very well on a larger board. The (b) list with light horse is better. They suffer from a lack of a central foot battleline.
Complexity: Both lists bump up a notch to 3 and 4 respectively if any number of War Wagons are taken. Otherwise, the (b) list's trade of Cavalry for LH makes it just a little more complicated.



IV/45 Mamluk Egyptian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1250AD-1517AD

B

2


Effectiveness: Aggression is a bit high, and number of foot is very low.
Complexity: Lots of Cavalry monotype doesn't offer much in the way of complexity, the Syrian ally might add a little.



IV/46 Ilkhanid:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1251AD-1355AD

D

2


Effectiveness: Aggression is too high for a LH army with no foot to speak of. The Cilician Armenian ally really comes in handy and warrants a B.
Complexity: Mostly a LH army, the Ilkhanid are a monotype maneuver army. The Cilician, Armenian and Syrian allies bump it up to a 3 rating.



IV/47 Golden Horde:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1251AD-1556AD

D

2


Effectiveness: High aggression and lots of LH. The PMR ally adds a bit of punch and a C.
Complexity: This is basically a Cavalry and Light Horse army. These mounted are difficult to play with effectively, but we aren't looking at much complex troop interaction here - just dodge and weave.



IV/48 Yuan Chinese:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1260AD-1368AD

B

3


Effectiveness: A nice maneuver army. With the addition of Koryo or Malaysian allies to give it something to do against enemy heavy foot, this army is quite nice. Not enough heavy-foot punch to make the A ratings list, though.
Complexity: Taking the Warband option bumps this list to a 4 rating. Otherwise, it is a fairly even balance of mobile mounted and Blade with Bow. The Malaysian ally would also bump it to a 4 because of the addition of Warband and a possible Elephant General.



IV/49 Anatolian Turkoman:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1260AD-1515AD

C

3


Effectiveness: A light-horse army with good bad-going contingent. This army could do well in the hands of a LH expert, but not on a 4x2 board, and not at aggression 2. The Mamluke or Ottoman allies add a bit of something, but not enough.
Complexity: Combining advanced Light Horse tactics with bad going efficiency is a fairly difficult task.



IV/50 Palaiologan Byzantine:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1261AD-1384AD

B

4


Effectiveness: A nice little cavalry army with perhaps a little too much of everything else, and not enough of anything in particular that isn't cavalry. Serbian Empire is a good ally.
Complexity: This Byzantine Cav based army has too many little bits of everything else, and that's why it is so difficult to play effectively.



IV/51 Morean Byzantine:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1262AD-1346AD

D

4

(b) 1347AD-1460AD

D

4


Effectiveness: These fellows will perform historically -- defeat after defeat.
Complexity: This is another odd Byzantine mix. Both the (a) and (b) lists sport five elements of Psiloi. - that's fifteen elements in a triple army! That's enough reason to take an ally each and every time.



IV/52 Later Nomadic Mongol:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1266AD-1508AD

D

2


Effectiveness: Too high aggression for a Cav/LH army with no useful foot.
Complexity: This is basically an all Cavalry and Light Horse army. These light troops are difficult to play with effectively, but we aren't looking at much complex troop interaction here - just feint and counter-feint.



IV/53 Mixtec or Zapotec:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1280AD-1523AD

D

2


Effectiveness: A nice little auxilia army, but no good way to win any fights in good going. The Tarascan ally is definitely worth having to allay that lack a bit and a C.
Complexity: Auxilia monotype bad going army that can at least mostly count on winning terrain with an Ag: 1, so plan accordingly and don't let DK roll for initiative. Adding the Tarascan ally might bump it up to a 3, but we are not sure.



IV/54 Medieval Scandinavian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Danish 1350AD-1390AD

A

3

(b) Union 1391AD-1523AD

A

3

(c) Swedish 1391AD-1523AD

A

2

(d) Others 1280AD-1523AD

A

2


Effectiveness: All of these armies are a good mix of heavy foot (blade and spear with psiloi support plus crossbow) with some knights for punch. The artillery is a nice addition for a lowpip refused wing. The Medieval German ally is probably worth having, especially the earlier dismounting version.
Complexity: The (c) and (d) lists are the simpler troop mixes of the four lists. Despite the Arty in list (c) the Swedes fall just short of a 3 rating. The (b) Union list upgrades to complexity 4 with the addition of the later Medieval German ally.



IV/55 Ottoman:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1281AD-1361AD

D

2

(b) 1362AD-1512AD

B

3


Effectiveness: The early version with a huge wad of light horse and no allies will do poorly on the compressed Big Battle board, even on the rare occasions where it gets to choose terrain. The later version desperately needs an ally, and has several nice ones (Serbian Empire is the best; Wallachian gives it useful Bgo troops) but still will need a brilliant general to do well on the small board.
Complexity: The (b) list Ottomans present a more balanced mix of troops and the challenge of Artillery, so warrant the higher complexity rating. Adding the Serbian empire ally may be effective, but does not really present much of an additional tactical challenge. The Wallachians probably do.



IV/56 Order of St. John:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1291AD-1450AD

C

3

(b) 1451AD-1522AD

C

3


Effectiveness: Too many psiloi. The Armenian ally is a very nice addition, though and upgrades it to a B.
Complexity: Both lists are two faceted - a mostly standard medieval mix with a pack of Psiloi. There must be an army structure and mission decision regarding the Psiloi and how to use them effectively to compliment the generic medieval troop types. A high pip command of Knights and Psiloi is one possibility.



IV/57 Low Countries:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1297AD-1329AD

A

3

(b) 1330AD-1410AD

A

3

(c) 1411AD-1478AD

A

3


Effectiveness: All three of these lists are nice pike armies. They'd be better with a bit more mobility, perhaps a couple of LH, but with aggression 0 they can choose terrain that makes their flanks secure and gives them a situation where they can get their pike into something meaty.
Complexity: These three lists are similar in many ways, including complexity. Despite being fairly monotype, there is still the ongoing challenge of the pike troop type. The (b) and (c) lists have the added benefit of Artillery, and so are slightly more challenging to use well.



IV/58 Medieval Irish:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1300AD-1487AD

C

2


Effectiveness: A fun army, but hard to win fights in good going against non-historical opponents.
Complexity: This is a fairly ordinary bad going capable army with low aggression. The list changes slightly depending on if you want the Scots command or the Irish command contingents. Although, we don't really think this impacts the complexity much.



IV/59 Post-Mongol Samurai:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1300AD-1464AD

B

2

(b) 1465AD-1542AD

B

2


Effectiveness: These guys would be nice if they had just a bit of psiloi support or an ally with some mobility.
Complexity: This is a fairly simple army that probably lives or dies with the strength and toughness of its Blade. The (b) list at least offers the option of some shock troops with the 5Wb which provide nice bad going capability or the hopeless Horde, both options resulting in an upgrade to complexity 3. Hey, we challenge you to try to find something useful to do with 12x7Hd besides die miserably.



IV/60 Catalan Company:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1302AD-1388AD

F

3


Effectiveness: Aggression 4 Auxilia army. What more need be said? Much better with the Alan ally - D, but still almost incapable of winning a battle without brilliance or treachery or incompetent enemies (and historically they had all that).
Complexity: It's hard to discuss complexity when the army list is doomed. Pretend that you will win terrain, and we suppose there might be issues of complexity to discuss. However, in the real world - you lose terrain and die die die. On the brighter side, you can make use of a small mounted command with light foot support moving at the same speed as the knights and the LH flitting around. This might be worth something to think about, in our dreams.



IV/61 Italian Condotta:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1320AD-1495AD

A

3


Effectiveness: A very nice medieval combined-arms force with some good allies. Early Swiss ally is great, adding some powerful blade; Later Swiss ally is perhaps even better with massed pike; Free Company ally with dismounting knights is powerful and flexible. What's not to like? This army list with the Later Swiss ally won the Big Battle Doubles tournament at Cold Wars 2003.
Complexity: This is an interesting mix of troop types with a significant Knight force. The various options provide slightly more or less complexity, but taking the Later Swiss ally definitely deserves an upgrade to a 4 complexity rating. Playing the Condotta as Littoral and using the 8Cb deep elements would also possibly warrant an upgrade.



IV/62 Hundred-Year's War English:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1322AD-1455AD

A

3


Effectiveness: One of the best bow-heavy armies. High aggression doesn't hurt bow, and the support troops are good. Like most armies with dismounting knights, this one is slow and rewards methodical play.
Complexity: Bow are a little bit more difficult than most troop types to use effectively, and the 100YW English have plenty of them. This is predominantly a Bow and dismounting Knight mix, with a little support from other types.



IV/63 Aztec:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1325AD-1521AD

C

2


Effectiveness: Take the bow option, and the Tlaxcalan ally, if you want to have a chance in an open tournament and a B. High aggression is good for these guys, giving them a better chance of putting their mass of Wb into some meaty heavy foot. No mobility except the psychotic Warband charges!
Complexity: Due to their high aggression, they will frequently find themselves on open terrain with absolutely no mobility. A careful plan is needed, and the Tlaxcallan ally is quite useful and offers an upgrade to a 3 rating with the introduction of a significant number of Bow to the mix.



IV/64 Medieval French:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1330AD-1345AD

B

3

(b) 1346AD-1418AD

A

3

(c) 1419AD-1445AD

A

4


Effectiveness: The two later lists are good dismounting knight armies. We like the (c) list with the Scots pike best; there are trade-offs with taking them as an ally or embedded in the army itself. The early list is a typical knight army without sufficient heavy foot to make the A rating. All these lists, like most dismounting knight medieval armies, are slow moving.
Complexity: Fairly standard medieval Knight army complexity. Taking the (b) list 5Wb option results in an upgrade to a 4. The Pikes in the (c) list whether ally or embedded and possibly an Arty result in a slightly higher rating.



IV/65 Wallachian or Moldavian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1330AD-1504AD

D

4


Effectiveness: Take the ally to get a C. This is a fun army, but with no heavy foot and too much psiloi. The Later Hungarian ally is an excellent addition, as is the Later Poles. The two Cav army allies (Golden Horde and Ottoman Turk) also work surprisingly well, as the only way to shut down their mobility is to put enough terrain that suddenly the psiloi of the main army are useful. But at the end of the day, you'll need brilliance and luck to pull off a win with these guys.
Complexity: An army primarily built on skirmishers that can delay and move effectively calls for a brilliant commander. The (c) list Later Hungarian ally adds a lot of complex troop types and possibly a 5 rating.



IV/66 Later Polish:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1335AD-1510AD

B

3


Effectiveness: This is a fine army, and we nearly gave them an A rating. A very nice mix of troops. The only problem is a shortage of infantry of all types. Against elephants, massed bow, warwagons, low-aggression pike armies, or psiloi-supported spear these guys will have serious problems. The Lithuanian ally helps with the lack of foot, as does the Later Hungarian (c) ally, but not quite enough for an A rating.
Complexity: The (c) list Hungarian ally promotes this list to complexity 4 just based on its wacky array of troop types. Otherwise, the Later Polish are a fairly average complexity mix of troops with the WWg being a bit of an oddball element. Lots of mounted mobility may leave the foot straggling behind without implementation of a good plan.



IV/67 Jalayarid:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1336AD-1432AD

D

2


Effectiveness: LH armies without any foot have problems, and this one is no exception. The Turkoman ally, or even better the Georgian ally, help a little and just enough to warrant a C rating.
Complexity: All Cav and Light Horse, this is basically a maneuver mounted monotype where the allies provide a little variety and complexity.



IV/68 Medieval Spanish or Portuguese:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) Spanish 1340AD-1485AD

A

4

(b) Portuguese 1340AD-1485AD

A

4


Effectiveness: A very nice combined-arms mix of troops. Better bad-going troops and better mobility with the LH than most late medieval armies.
Complexity: The better bad going troops and mobility allow for a more complicated and multi-faceted plan than most late medieval armies. Compared to them the Portuguese and Spanish don't have to worry about the PIP drain and complexity of handling any Artillery or difficult pike. On the flip side, they have more LH and you must master BGo troops to use these puppies.



IV/69 Albanian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1345AD-1430AD, 1443AD-1479AD

D

4


Effectiveness: A very light army with nice support troops. In the right hands this army could do very well, especially with the Condotta ally -- it might deserve upgrading to a C or B rating with ally. But it still has an awful lot of light troops, so if maneuver and delay and psiloi/LH cleverness is not to your taste, seek elsewhere.
Complexity: Maneuver, delay and Psiloi/LH cleverness call for a very complex plan and advanced play.



IV/70 Chanca:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1350AD-1440AD

C

2


Effectiveness: Psiloi-supported spear is a surprisingly good general troop type. If these guys had any mobile elements we'd upgrade them to a B, but they don't. Take the Wb option to deal with enemy pike or blade or spear, and also to use as a surprise mobility aspect if you have the pips.
Complexity: The 2 rating is based on taking the Lit, Warband, and Auxilia options. After all, who wouldn't take them? Okay, maybe not all of the Lit, but at least one as the CinC. Not taking a Lit CinC would just be plain wrong. Otherwise, Spear with Psiloi support is about as simple as it gets.



IV/71 Chimu:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1350AD-1464AD

D

2


Effectiveness: These guys do well against their historical enemies, but a Wb/Ps army without any other troops is likely to get slaughtered in most open tournaments. It'll give you fast results, though!
Complexity: We decided to rate the Chimu as a 2 because Warband are a difficult troop type to master, and with twenty-seven of them you better find a way.



IV/72 Amazonian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1350AD-1662AD

D

1


Effectiveness: Even Agg 0 won't help these guys win many battles. They better hope they're fighting against Later Sarmatians.
Complexity: Monotype Bow, just line them up and shoot… maybe.



IV/73 Ming Chinese:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1356AD-1598AD

A

5


Effectiveness: A nice mix of Bd, Bw, Cv, LH. The Burmese ally is an excellent addition. Note, however, that artillery can be a very difficult element to use, and the Ming have six!
Complexity: The Ming highlight a complex tactical problem - how to employ six Arty effectively, despite the downgrade to +2 in close combat that came with DBA 2.2? Despite reducing the mandatory Arty, taking the Burmese ally presents its own tactical issues with regards to PIP supply. This would be a problem for any ally with significant Elephants and predominantly bad going troops.



IV/74 Free Company:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1357AD-1410AD, 1444AD

A

3


Effectiveness: Dismounting Knights make good tools for high aggression. This army is slow and methodical, but certainly strong.
Complexity: Not much else beyond the Knights and the Bow, really, although we would recommend taking a couple of Psiloi and perhaps one Arty. It's still a reasonably complicated mix, if not too varied.



IV/75 Timurid:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1360AD-1506AD

B

3


Effectiveness: If you like Cav armies and maneuver, this one would be fun. Unfortunately, at aggression 4, there may be very little room on the board for your superior mounted mobility to operate.
Complexity: Take the maximum of three Elephants for more effectiveness and complexity.



IV/76 Early Burgundian:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1363AD-1471AD

A

3


Effectiveness: The purest dismounting-knight army. Go with maximum pike. More than a little slow, though.
Complexity: Maximum pike provides more complexity, otherwise a fairly standard medieval combined arms mix - just heavy on the dismounting knights.



IV/77 Black and White Sheep Turkoman:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1378AD-1504AD

D

2


Effectiveness: Another high-aggression Cav army without any heavy foot.
Complexity: We are looking at a quick attack forces with mounted and a low pip blocking bow and Horde command. Not too many other options. The allies don't present much else to add to the equation. These guys would be difficult to use effectively, but not particularly complex in nature.



IV/78 Yi Dynasty Korean:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1392AD-1598AD

B

4


Effectiveness: A nice mix of troops, with a good "place-last maneuver command" potential. Needs some heavy foot other than pike -- the Ming Ally is a good addition.
Complexity: This mix of speedy mounted and awkwardly slow foot presents some real complexity, command structure challenges, and PIP issues.



IV/79 Later Swiss:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1400AD-1522AD

C

3


Effectiveness: Pike do well in Big Battle, but this army is much better as an ally for a non-pike-using main army than as a triple. LH and Arty are both essential for mobility and as a bow-counter respectively. Too bad they are in such short supply, as are other useful supporting troop types. Aggression 3 doesn't help much either.
Complexity: Monotype pike armies are one of the most challenging monotypes, just because pike are so difficult to use effectively under normal circumstances.



IV/80 Hussite:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1419AD-1434AD, 1464AD-1471AD

B

5


Effectiveness: This one is hard to rate. If you lose the terrain roll you will never get the bulk of your armies into combat, as most of your army can't enter Bgo at all. Against some armies it will be unbeatable; against others it cannot win. You will have a lot of drawn games in tournaments.
Complexity: Effectively using fifteen elements of War Wagons is obviously a significant challenge.  50% of the Hussite army requires +1 PIP for command control and can't initiate contact with the enemy - good luck!



IV/81 Inca:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1438AD-1534AD

F

3


Effectiveness: Don't take this out against anything but its historical enemies unless you love it. Agg 2 without any heavy foot or any way to deal with mounted, except perhaps a wall of Lit to delay the inevitable.
Complexity: How does one use a Lit(Gen) effectively, or the possibility of three? We are not sure, but would like to try to find out!



IV/82 French Ordonnance:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1445AD-1464AD

A

4

(b) 1465AD-1503AD

A

3


Effectiveness: The (a) version is a less-aggressive Free Company with good allies. The Italian Condotta is a very nice addition (take the LH). A good dismounting-knight army. The (b) version is no longer dismounting, but the pike option (or the pike ally) is a useful addition.
Complexity: The (a) version with maximum Arty and the Italian Condotta ally with LH warrants a 5 complexity. The non-dismounting, non-ally version of the (b) list is less complex, but taking a full Swiss ally bumps the (b) French to a 4 rating.



IV/83 Wars of the Roses English:

Effectiveness

Complexity

(a) 1455AD-1485AD

B

3

(b) 1487AD

B

3


Effectiveness: Blade and Bow is a strong combination, but this army ends up very slow. Take at least one or two cavalry. The Scots Common ally is an excellent improvement, possibly making it an A army. The 1487 no-bow version as a triple army has real potential as a pike-blade mix with good Bgo troops and psiloi support -- possibly an A army in the right hands.
Complexity: Both the (a) and (b) WotR English lists offer slightly less complexity than the medieval standard due to the lack of dismounting knights. Taking the Scots Common ally's massed pike warrants a 4 rating. Taking the pike, auxilia and psiloi mix option in the (b) list would also push the rating to a 4.



IV/84 Burgundian Ordonnance:

Effectiveness

Complexity

1471AD-1477AD

A

4


Effectiveness: A good late-Medieval dismounting-knight army, especially with maximum pike. For a more Bow heavy option, take the WotR English ally. Lack of mobility is a factor though in either case. Generally speaking, the high aggression combined arms dismounting knight armies are particularly effective in BBDBA.
Complexity: The Burgy Ordonnance presents a fairly high level of complexity because of the mix of dismounting knights, bow, pike and Arty. The pike may be more potent, but is also more challenging than the more bow heavy mix option.

 


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