Constructing 24 element armies for DBA and DBA-RRR

Our recent game of DBA-RRR with 24 elements a side, shared between two players was great fun. But it did exhaust my supply of figures, as I’d collected enough for 12 point armies using all options. It also resulted in both army looked pretty much identical. Lots of shot, men-at-arms, and light horse. With as few pike as possible. I think more games with 24 point armies are quite likely in the future, but I’d like the army lists some real choices in what troops appear on table. So how should I arrange my 24 point army lists?


Ways to double the army

As I see it there are four ways to get a 24 element army in DBA / DBA-RRR:

  1. 24 Standard: Take 24 elements from standard army list
  2. Double compulsory: Take 24 elements from an army list with doubled compulsory elements but options are unchanged
  3. Double all: Take 24 elements from doubled army list
  4. Allies: Each player chooses from different lists

Option 4 is the easiest but is only relevant when recreating historical alliances. And doesn’t apply to me cause I don’t have the allies anyway.

I’ll look at the other three options with the two most common armies from analysis of Italian Wars battles in Italy and associated DBA-RRR army lists:

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

I/2 Italian Wars French (b) 1496-1512 AD

Troop Type 24 Standard Double compulsory Double all
1x Kn (g) 1 2 2
1x Kn Ordonnance gendarmes 1 2 2
2x Pk Swiss pikemen 2 4 4
1x Sk Aventurier crossbowmen 1 2 2
then 7 from: then 19 from: then 14 from: then 14 from:
1x Kn Ordonnance gendarmes1 1 1 2
2x Kn Ordonnance archers 2 2 4
1x Kn Ordonnance archers1 1 1 2
1x Kn Italian elmeti 1 1 2
1x LH Italian mounted crossbows 1 1 2
1x LH Stradiots 1 1 2
2x LH Argoulets 2 2 4
1x LH Mounted crossbowmen 1 1 2
4x Pk Old bands of Picardy and Piedmont 4 4 8
2x Pk Swiss pikemen2 2 2 4
1x Sk Swiss skirmishers2 1 1 2
2x Sh Italian arquebusiers 2 2 4
3x Sk Aventurier crossbowmen 3 3 6
3x Can Heavy and or field guns 3 3 6

Notes
(1) Additional Ordonnance archers can only be taken if the additional Ordonnance gendarmes are taken also.
(2) Swiss skirmishers must be taken if both additional Swiss pikemen are taken.


I/4 Neapolitan Spanish (b) 1503-1511 and 1513-1518 AD

Troop Type 24 Standard Double compulsory Double all
1x Kn (g) Spanish gente de armas 1 2 2
2x LH Spanish ginetes 2 4 4
1x Pk Spanish pikemen 1 2 2
1x 3Bd Sword-and-buckler men 1 2 2
then 7 from: then 19 from: then 14 from: then 14 from:
1x Kn Spanish gente de armas 1 1 2
2x Kn Italian elmeti 2 2 4
6x LH Spanish ginetes 6 6 12
2x LH Italian horse arquebusiers 2 2 4
5x Pk Spanish pikemen 5 5 10
1x 3Bd Sword-and-buckler men 1 1 2
3x Sh Spanish arquebusiers 3 3 6
3x Sk Italian foot crossbowmen or arquebusiers 3 3 6
1x Can Field guns 1 1 2

Analysis of the options

24 Standard: Take 24 elements from standard army list

Pros:

  • I don’t need to get any more figures

Cons:

  • Not enough compulsory elements: only 5 of 24 elements in army
  • Too much choice: choose 19 elements from the original optional elements (25 French; 24 Spanish)
  • Similar armies: armies end up looking similar as choose most of the options

Double all: Take 24 elements from doubled army list

Pros:

  • More compulsory elements: 10 of 24 elements in army

Cons:

  • Too much choice: choose 14 elements from the doubled optional elements (50 French; 48 Spanish)
  • Will so many optional elements players can optimise armies to feature anything they think is a killer
  • I would need to get twice as many figures to be able to provide all the options – ouch!

Double compulsory: Take 24 elements from an army list with doubled compulsory elements but options are unchanged

Pros:

  • More compulsory elements: 10 of 24 elements in army
  • Less choice than alternatives: choose 14 elements from the original optional elements (25 French; 24 Spanish)

Cons:

  • I would have to figures for the doubled compulsory figures; this is bad but not as bad as having to get all options

If I go down this route I’ll have to get more figures, but I’d only have to duplicate the compulsories. For the two army lists under consideration that is:

  • I/2 Italian Wars French (b) 1496-1512 AD
    • 1x Kn (g)
    • 1x Kn Ordonnance gendarmes
    • 2x Pk Swiss pikemen
    • 1x Sk Aventurier crossbowmen
  • I/4 Neapolitan Spanish (b) 1503-1511 and 1513-1518 AD
    • 1x Kn (g) Spanish gente de armas
    • 2x LH Spanish ginetes
    • 1x Pk Spanish pikemen
    • 1x 3Bd Sword-and-buckler men

Conclusion

I favour the Double compulsory option. It provides a better balance of mandatory elements to optional. It isn’t a deciding factor for me but this option also means I don’t have to get many more figures.

Constructing 24 element armies for DBA and DBA-RRR

Constructing 24 element armies for DBA and DBA-RRR

But this analysis highlighted something to me … my starting point is wrong. Specifically I’m not convinced the DBA-RRR army lists for this period are correct. Correct as in reflect the orders of battle for field armies. For a start they provide a large number of options relative to the mandatory component and I’m not convinced this is correct. More investigation necessary.

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