Comparing IV 68 Medieval Spanish or Portuguese in DBA2.2 and DBA3.0

I’m in the process of putting my Medieval Spanish or Portuguese onto Big Bases. since I want to use them for Big Base DBA I thought I’d have a look at the army list in DBA 3.0. Well, it is different to that is DBA2.2, so I thought I’d do a side by side comparison.

The army lists side by side

These are the two army lists:

For a start the date range has extended from 1485 to 1515. It now covers the Spanish conquest of Granada and intervention in Italy at the start of the Italian Wars.

The second big difference is there are now a lot more sub army lists. The DBA 2.2 list has only two options: (a) Spanish and (b) Portuguese. The DBA 3.0 list splits Spanish into Aragonese and Castilian until 1478 when the two kingdoms merged to create Spain. In addition the DBA 3.0 list is split by time period as well, making six variations (a to f)

The blow by blow comparison:

Option Portuguese Spanish
DBA 2.2 DBA 3.0 DBA 2.2 DBA 3.0
(b) (a)
to 1494
to 1515
(a) (c)
to 1478
Castile to 1478;
Spain to 1494
to 1503
to 1515
Men-at-arms 4x3Kn (Gen)
or 4Bd (Gen)
4x3Kn (Gen)
or 4Bd (Gen)
4x3Kn (Gen)
or 4Bd (Gen)
3x3Kn (Gen) 3x3Kn (Gen) 3x3Kn (Gen) 4x3Kn (Gen) 3x3Kn (Gen)
Cavalls alforrats 2x3Cv
Jinetes/Ginetes/Genets 1x2LH 1x2LH 1x2LH 2x2LH 1x2LH 1x2LH 2x2LH 1x2LH
Spear 1x4Sp 1x4Sp
or 5Hd
1x4Sp 1x4Sp 2x4Sp
Pike 2x3Pk 2x3Pk 4x4Pk
Javelinmen/Almughavares 2x3Ax 4x3Ax
or 2Ps
2x3Ax 2x4Ax 2x3Ax
or 2Ps
Sword & Buckler 2x3Bd 2x3Bd 2x3Bd
Archers (Bw), Crossbowmen (Cb), Handgunners (Hg), or Slingers (S) 2x2Ps
or 4Cb
or 4Cb;
3x2PsCb,Hg 2x2Ps
2x4Cb/8Cb 2x2PsBw,Cb;
2x2PsCb,Hg 2x2PsHg
100 Years War English and French 2x4Lb
or 4Cb
Ally IV/62b English 1334-1414 1x3Kn//4Bd
or 4Lb
or 2LH
Ally IV/64b French 1347-1400

PsCb = Ps with Crossbow
PsBw = Ps with Bow
PsHg = Ps with Handgun
PsS = Ps with Sling


The Portuguese to 1494 are pretty similar. Same 4 Men-at-Arms. Same 2 Ginetes. The Spear are also the same, but now there is an option to take them as Horde.

The big change is there are no English allies included in the list. The English were the 4LB part of the “2x4Lb or 4Cb” option. In DBA 3.0 the English are merely listed as an ally. Those two extra elements have gone to the Javelinmen (3Ax); previously there were only two, now four. However, the Javelinmen can now be taken as either Ps or Ax.

Generally there are less massed shooters in the army. Previously you could have had “2x2Ps or 4Cb” and “2x4Lb or 4Cb”, so potentially four 4Cb. Now this has shrunk to 1x2Ps (Cb) or 4Cb and 1x2Ps (Bw).

The 1495 to 1515 option is even more different. 3Pk instead of 4Sp, 3Bd instead of 3Ax, and no 4Cb.


The “Spanish” option of DBA2.2 has morphed into four options in DBA3.0: (c) Aragon to 1478; (d) Castile to 1478 / Spain to 1494; (e) Spain to 1503; (f) Spain to 1515.

As with the Portuguese, the 100 Years War option, either French or English option, is gone, i.e. “1x3Kn//4Bd or 4Lb or 2LH”. This option has been replaced by the possibility of French as an Ally.

Three Men-at-Arms in all armies except army list (e) Spain to 1503 which as four. This army list also gets two Jinetes/Genets, like the original army list. The other three army lists get only one. Which is a lot less the maximum of three Jinetes the Spanish sub list of DBA2.2 contained (with the third in place of English/French).

The Aragonese get Cavalls alforrats (2x3Cv) but nobody else gets cavalry.

Spears and Javelinmen are still in there for armies up to 1494. For some reason Castile can take Javelinmen as Ps or Ax.

The shooters, 2x2Ps and 1x4Cb in the DBA2.2 Spanish army list, have changed in the new lists. Only army list (c) Aragon to 1478 get massed crossbowmen, all the others only get Ps. Only army list (d) Castile to 1478 / Spain to 1494 get three stands, like the original, and the others get only two. Generally there are less shooters and usually they are skirmishers.

Like the Portuguese the 1495 to 1515 option has 3Pk instead of 4Sp, 3Bd instead of 3Ax, and no 4Cb.

Conclusions and grumbles

Okay the Medieval Spanish or Portuguese army lists have changed. There are more sub-lists. Two has become six. Like many DBA army lists it isn’t clear why the author has done what they have done. Why decide to split up the lists. The resulting lists are pretty similar and generally just differ by an element or two. Why bother?

But accepting they are different, do the differences make sense? … well, not to me.

The army lists have less Jinetes/Ginetes/Genets. This troop was a distinctive feature of the Iberian armies, into the Italian Wars. I wonder why they have been reduced.

The Cavalls alforrats of the Aragonese annoy me. Generally the DBA authors seem to split up Iberian heavy cavalry into the knights and some other less type e.g. Gothic nobles and Gardingi. The Cavalls alforrats seem to be the latest example of this. For other nations these are merged into one troop type with the less armoured assumed to be filling up the rear ranks. But in Spanish armies they are split out. Why? No clue. Particularly since the Spanish were remarkably egalitarian compared to their European contemporaries. If you had the wealth to be an armoured guy on a horse then you got treated like the other armoured guys on horses. Puzzled.

The DBA3.0 authors seems to shun massed shooters in Medieval Spanish/Portuguese armies. You could get a lot in the DBA2.2 lists and now they are like hens teeth. I’d like to know what evidence there is that most archers and crossbowmen in Medieval Portuguese and Castilian armies were skirmishers (Aragonese excepted, for some reason).

In particular, the lack of massed Crossbows in the 1495 to 1515 options bugs me. This was start of the Portuguese expansion, and it was led by crazed Fidalgos with crossbow and willing to charge with sword, I find the crossbowmen’s definition in the Portuguese list as Ps rather surprising. Similarly for the Spanish my impression is that Spanish crossbowmen in the early Italian Wars were not just skirmishers, but admittedly, I could be wrong on this.

If the authors were going to change the army lists, it surprises me that the Spanish army list to 1494 don’t have a big infantry option. After all the Spanish (actually Castilian) army used in the final conquest of Granada was conducted by a army that was predominantly infantry (90% ish). Admittedly the field battles probably had a higher proportion of cavalry (as in the lists above) than the siege army. However, DBA doesn’t really distinguish sieges and open battles, so there should be a option for this.

2 thoughts on “Comparing IV 68 Medieval Spanish or Portuguese in DBA2.2 and DBA3.0”

  1. I’ve had my eye off DBA for a very long time, but always enjoy a good list.

    What I learned form these lists:

    It’s pretty common knowledge that spear troops would evolve over time into pikemen.
    This has happened independently at different places and times.

    It appears that the fascination (and difficult to classify for gaming purposes) Almighavar either evolved, or were replaced by the Sword and Buckler / Rodolero.
    I suppose it makes perfect sense – both fairly fast moving hard hitting foot who can operate in looser formations than spear/pike.

    The fact that they are an almost exclusively Iberian troop type blocked me form considering the evolution in the past.

    • Yup, evolution from Spear to Pike makes sense. Evolution from javelinman (or Almughavar) to sword & buckler is less obvious but plausible. I have a dim memory the trend started in Aragon.

      Personally I think Almughavares are super cool. Also super underrated in DBA. I have a Catalan Company army to paint some time. Their historical opponents, who they stomped on, where French Knights and Turkish horse archers. Try doing that with DBA’s Auxilia troop type. 🙁


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