Choosing a date for a DBA-RRR game in the Italian Wars

DBA-RRR has lots of army lists for the Italian Wars. I can field all the variations so the question is, which army lists will we use for each game. In our recent games we have arbitrarily chosen a date and that has given us the army lists. One night I went for 1512 (Battle of Ravenna) and another night Adam chose 1525 (Battle of Pavia).

I’d like to systematise the choice, preferably using a die roll or cards. So in this post I do a bit of analysis on the battles in the Italian Wars and line them up with the army lists. I have a particular focus on Spanish and French because those are the armies I have, but Swiss and Italians of various flavours do appear. My focus is also within the boundary of modern day Italy because that is the theatre that interests me most.


Choosing a date for a game in the Italian Wars hence Spanish and French DBA-RRR army lists

There was 12 open field battles between the Spanish and French in Italy during the wars.

These battles correspond to different combinations of the DBA-RRR army lists. There is only one DBA-RRR French army list for this period but two Spanish:

And all three of his master lists have several options.

The following table summarises of the French versus Spanish line ups with the appropriate option within the army lists. If you want to use the table to pick the year, battle, and/or army lists to use for a game, then roll 1d12.

1d12 Battle Year French Spanish
1 Seminara (1495) 1495 I/2 (a) I/4 (a)
2 Seminara (1503) 1503 I/2 (b) I/4 (b)
3 Cerignola
4 Garigliano
5 Ravenna 1512 I/2 (b) I/4 (c)
6 Bicocca 1522 I/2 (c) I/5 (a)
7 Sesia 1524 I/2 (d) I/5 (a)
8 Pavia 1525
9 Landriano 1529
10 Ceresole 1544 I/2 (f) I/5 (c)
11 Serravalle 1544
12 Renty 1554

I’ve knocked up some Option Markers if you don’t want to use 1d12.

Choosing a date for a DBA-RRR game - Option Counters

Choosing a date for a DBA-RRR game – Option Counters

What follows are all the nitty gritty details that led to this mechanism.


Italian War of 1494–98

1495 had two battles in Italy. The first involved the Spanish:

  • 28 Jun 1495: Battle of Seminara (1495): French defeated Neapolitan Spanish

DBA-RRR army lists:

  • I/2 Italian Wars French. 1494-1559 AD: (a) 1494-1496 AD
  • I/4 Neapolitan Spanish. 1495-1518 AD: (a) 1495-1502 AD

The second battle in 1495 involved a combined Italian army:

  • 6 Jul 1495: Battle of Fornovo: French defeated Holy League (Update 30 May 2019: thanks to John Rohde for pointing out my mistake)

DBA-RRR army lists:

  • I/2 Italian Wars French. 1494-1559 AD: (a) 1494-1496 AD
  • I/1 Italian Condotta. 1494-1553 AD: (a) Combined 1494-1495 AD

Italian War of 1499–1504

1503 was the year for battles in Italy:

  • 23 Feb 1503: Battle of Ruvo: Neapolitan Spanish defeated French
    (Update 31 May 2019: Turns out Ruvo was an assault on a town)
  • 21 Apr 1503: Battle of Seminara (1503): Neapolitan Spanish defeated French
    (Update 31 May 2019: Opps, I missed the 2nd battle of Seminara)
  • 28 Apr 1503: Battle of Cerignola: Neapolitan Spanish defeated French
  • 29 Dec 1503: Battle of Garigliano: Neapolitan Spanish defeated French

DBA-RRR army lists:

  • I/2 Italian Wars French. 1494-1559 AD: (b) 1496-1512 AD
  • I/4 Neapolitan Spanish. 1495-1518 AD: (b) 1503-1511 and 1513-1518 AD

War of the League of Cambrai (1508-16)

Battles in Italy during period 1512:

  • 11 Apr 1512: Battle of Ravenna (1512): French and Ferrarese defeated Spanish Imperial and Papacy

DBA-RRR army lists:

  • I/2 Italian Wars French. 1494-1559 AD: (b) 1496-1512 AD
  • I/4 Neapolitan Spanish. 1495-1518 AD: (c) 1512 AD
  • I/1 Italian Condotta. 1494-1553 AD: (c) Pisa 1494-1509 AD, Sienna 1494-1521 AD & Others
  • I/1 Italian Condotta. 1494-1553 AD: (d) Papacy 1494-1495 & 1504-1522 AD and Florence 1494-1506 AD

There were four battle in Italy during period 1509-15 (not 1512) but they didn’t feature Spanish versus French:

  • 14 May 1509: Battle of Agnadello: French defeated Venetians
  • 6 Jun 1513: Battle of Novara: Swiss defeated French
  • 7 Oct 1513: Battle of Motta (1513): Imperial defeated Venetians
  • 13-Sep 1515: Battle of Marignano: French defeated Swiss

DBA-RRR army lists:

  • I/2 Italian Wars French. 1494-1559 AD: (b) 1496-1512 AD
  • I/4 Neapolitan Spanish. 1495-1518 AD: (b) 1503-1511 and 1513-1518 AD
  • I/3 Swiss Confederate. 1494-1515 AD: (a) 1494-1499 and 1514-1515 AD
  • I/3 Swiss Confederate. 1494-1515 AD: (b) 1500-1513 AD
  • I/1 Italian Condotta. 1494-1553 AD: (c) Pisa 1494-1509 AD, Sienna 1494-1521 AD & Others

Italian War of 1521–26

Only one battle in Italy during 1522:

  • 27 Apr 1522: Battle of Bicocca: Spanish Imperial and Papacy defeated French and Venetian

DBA-RRR army lists:

  • I/2 Italian Wars French. 1494-1559 AD: (c) 1513-1522 AD
  • I/5 Spanish Imperial. 1519-1558 AD: (a) 1519-1533 AD
  • I/1 Italian Condotta. 1494-1553 AD: (c) Pisa 1494-1509 AD, Sienna 1494-1521 AD & Others
  • I/1 Italian Condotta. 1494-1553 AD: (d) Papacy 1494-1495 & 1504-1522 AD and Florence 1494-1506 AD

Battles in Italy during 1524-25:

  • 30 Apr 1524: Battle of Sesia: Spanish Imperial defeated French
  • 24 Feb 1525: Battle of Pavia: Spanish Imperial defeated French

DBA-RRR army lists:

  • I/2 Italian Wars French. 1494-1559 AD: (d) 1523-1535 AD
  • I/5 Spanish Imperial. 1519-1558 AD: (a) 1519-1533 AD

War of the League of Cognac (1526–30)

Battles in 1529-30

  • 21 Jun 1529: Battle of Landriano: Spanish Imperial defeated French

DBA-RRR army lists:

  • I/2 Italian Wars French. 1494-1559 AD: (d) 1523-1535 AD
  • I/5 Spanish Imperial. 1519-1558 AD: (a) 1519-1533 AD

The Spanish also had another battle in 1530:

  • 3 Aug 1530: Battle of Gavinana: Spanish Imperial defeated Florentine

DBA-RRR army lists:

  • I/5 Spanish Imperial. 1519-1558 AD: (a) 1519-1533 AD
  • I/1 Italian Condotta. 1494-1553 AD: (g) Florence 1522-1530 AD

Italian War of 1542–46

Battles in 1544:

  • 11 Apr 1544: Battle of Ceresole: French defeated Spanish Imperial
  • 2 Jun 1544: Battle of Serravalle (1544): Imperial Spanish defeated Franco-Italians

DBA-RRR army lists:

  • I/2 Italian Wars French. 1494-1559 AD: (f) 1544-1559AD
  • I/5 Spanish Imperial. 1519-1558 AD: (c) 1544-1558 AD

Italian War of 1551–59

There was only one Spanish-French battle in 1554:

  • 12 Aug 1554: Battle of Renty: French defeated Spanish Imperial

DBA-RRR army lists:

  • I/2 Italian Wars French. 1494-1559 AD: (f) 1544-1559AD
  • I/5 Spanish Imperial. 1519-1558 AD: (c) 1544-1558 AD

But 1554 also had:

  • 2 Aug 1554: Battle of Marciano: Florentines defeated Sienese

DBA-RRR army lists:

  • I/1 Italian Condotta. 1494-1553 AD: (c) Pisa 1494-1509 AD, Sienna 1494-1521 AD & Others

10 comments to Choosing a date for a DBA-RRR game in the Italian Wars

  • Steve Gross

    Excellent for setting up the battles from an interesting period in military history.. Thanks!

  • John Rohde

    Didn’t the French win at Fornovo?

    • Steven Thomas

      To quote Wikipedia “Both parties strove to present themselves as the victors in the battle”. But the French left Italy, which is pretty telling.

  • John Rohde

    I thought it was a French tactical victory in a lost campaign: rather like the Beresina in 1812 or Hanau in 1813.

    • Steven Thomas

      John, I concede. It was a French tactical victory. To quote an contemporary Italian chronicler, Francesco Guicciardini: “the victory was universally adjudged to the French on Account of the great Disproportion of the slain, of their driving the Enemy on the other Side the River, and because their Passage was no longer obstructed, which was all they contended for, the Battle being fought on no other Account.” (Guicciardini, 1753, p. 338-339)

      • John Rohde

        Thanks Steven. I was recollecting from my reading of Oman, which is a favourite book of mine. It’s easy to nitpick but hard to create, so my hat is off to you.

  • Tony Aguilar

    Very interesting Steven.
    One of these days we will get around to working on a DBA 3.0 compatible version.

  • Tony Aguilar

    You are most welcome. I love that period.

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