Using DBx Armies for Warmaster Historical

Heresy I know, but I’ve a few friends who are keen on Warmaster Historical and all my ancients armies are based for DBx. As I understand it most Warmaster Historical bases are 40mm wide anyway, so no problem there. The difficulty are the who are 20mm wide in Warmaster.

In Warmaster these troops are on 20mm wide bases:

  • Phalanx
  • Chariots
  • Elephants
  • Shock cavalry
  • Artillery

Using a Common (40mm) Frontage

According to the rules 20mm troops on 40mm wide bases get an additional modifier of +1 Attack when charging and pursuing, i.e. +2 total for charging or pursuing rather than +1 (WA, p. 138).

Phalanx in 40mm basing

Reproduced from a document by Rick Priestly (11 Aug 11 2005) in the Files section of the Yahoo Group: Historical Warmaster. Original document is Phalanx in 40mm basing.doc.

A number of players have requested that the rules take fuller account of pike or arissa armed phalangites based to the 40mm edge, mostly because this is a more amenable basing for 15mm models. The following new rules section has therefore been devised to meet this need.

The rules given here give a comparable result to the usual basing – there is a slight reduction in total attacks over the same base area when charging and pursuing (because the bonuses only apply to the stands in contact) but formations are less vulnerable generally because casualties can be removed from the rear of a ‘fighting column’ without affecting the phalanx’s formation. The intent is purely to mimic the effectiveness of the narrow based units – and in principle it should be possible to employ both standards on the same tabletop.


If the phalanx is based to the 40mm edge then ignore the standard phalanx rules, including those cited throughout the rulebook, and apply the following rules instead.

1. The phalanx is a cumbersome and relatively inflexible formation. To represent this, a phalanx moves at normal infantry pace of 20cm in the Command phase only if it is in either a line or column formation and if the unit moves either directly forward or charges. In all other formations or situations, including during evades, the phalanx moves at half pace (10cm).

2. None-measured and fixed moves that take place outside the Command phase – such as advances, drive backs, pursuits, and fall backs are worked out exactly like other troops.

3. A phalanx that is in a column formation at the start of a charge move can remain in column as it moves into combat. The first stand is moved in the usual way and remaining stands are placed directly behind. The unit does not have to form a conventional battleline and stands do not have to maximize frontage as they normally would. This is up to the player – such units can form a conventional battleline if the player prefers. This enables the phalanx to fight in a deep formation as befitting its armament.

4. A phalanx stand can be supported by any infantry stand from the side in the same way as any other infantry stand. A phalanx stand cannot be supported from behind at all – instead a phalanx stand that would otherwise support from behind adds its basic Attack value to the stand in front. The rearward stand can be from the same or a different unit – it does not matter. Thus a charging phalanx stand with a rear ‘supporting’ phalanx stand charges with 3 Attacks + 1 Attack for charging + 3 Attacks for ‘supporting phalanx’. Note that the modifier is the stand’s basic Attacks value and no further Attack modifiers are applied to this bonus.

5. A phalanx stand can support other infantry stands placed alongside it, but can neither support such stands from behind nor add Attacks to non-phalanx infantry stands when placed behind.

6. A phalanx stand striking to its side or rear has an Attacks value of ‘0’. Rearward ‘supporting’ stands cannot add their Attacks to such stands. Note that units which would otherwise not strike at all are still entitled to a single ‘Last Ditch’ dice roll on behalf of the whole unit.

7. Phalanx units treat all dense terrain as impenetrable – woods, broken/marshy ground, steep hills/slopes, woods/tall scrub, and villages/built up areas.

8. Phalanx troops cannot be given ladders to facilitate attacks upon fortified units on ramparts. Note that phalanx stands based to the long edge can be placed on ramparts (as they will fit!) but they cannot benefit from a rearward ‘supporting’ phalanx as described above.

Note. I have taken the principle of a second rank fighting and applied it as a modifier to the stand in contact. The reason for this is simply that the rules define contact as the criteria for attacking – i.e. if you touch you fight – so resolving all the attacks as a bonus through the usual stand doesn’t throw up so many exceptions. This gives you slightly different maths – a very slightly lower average ‘hit’ rate over the same base length in most situations. The advantages are it makes the phalanx less vulnerable to flanking when retreating as rear ranks can be removed rather than edge stands – the advantage of this depends upon the overall size of the formation – it gives a slightly different dynamic. I’ve added a rule to the effect that a phalanx cannot support or support bonus other infantry from the rear – this is simply to encourage the phalanx to fight as a block rather than hide behind other units – there are some fall outs from this that affect pursuit/advances and incidental contacts where phalanx’s are placed behind other units however this is also true of the short edge based phalanx where such stands cannot support other kinds of infantry to their own front.

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