De Bellis Antiquitatis or DBA (English: Of the Wars of Antiquity) is a fast play set of rules for the hobby of historical miniature wargaming, particularly ancient and medieval wargaming in the period 3000 BC to 1520 AD. Now in 3rd edition. These rules allow entire armies to be represented by fewer than 50 figures. The rules also include diagrams and over 600 army lists. DBA is produced by the Wargames Research Group and was the first game in the DBx series, which now includes De Bellis Multitudinis (DBM), De Bellis Magistrorum Militum (DBMM, a successor or alternative to DBM), Hordes of the Things (a fantasy version), De Bellis Renationis (DBR, a Renaissance version). and for 1700-1920 Horse Foot and Guns (HFG) An online video game titled DBA Online was also created.
Scale: Each army is composed of 12 elements (stands), with several figures fixed upon each one. The number of men represented by an element varies according to the size of the army simulated and the number of figures that it has, but at a nominal ground it would be more or less 250 for each figure. Ground scale is 1″ = 100 paces for 15 mm figures or smaller, 40 mm = 100 paces for 25/28 mm figures. One turn, called a bound in the rules, represents 15 minutes. Can be used with 25/28 mm, 15 mm, 6 mm, or 2 mm figures (54mm and larger a possible with increased base size).
Basing: The width of the base depends upon the scale of figures being used; the depth depends upon both figure scale and type. The number of figures per base also depends upon the figure’s type. For instance, an element of 15 mm swordsmen is composed of 4 figures mounted on a 40 mm (frontage) x 15 mm (depth) base; a 15 mm elephant is mounted alone on a 40 mm x 40 mm base.
DBA traces its origin back to a two-page experimental set of rules by Phil Barker dubbed De Bellis Societatis Antiquorum that was demonstrated at the Society of Ancients (after whom these experimental rules were named) conferences for 1988 and 1989. Many rulesets at that time (including Phil Barker’s WRG series of ancients rules) had added greater and greater detail regarding weapons and armor, movement and orders. Many gamers perceived that this increased complexity came at a cost in playability.
The De Bellis Societatis Antiquorum ruleset was designed as a “tonic for the jaded” with the goal of providing a fun, fast and challenging game and as an alternative to the WRG series of ancients rules. The first commercial edition of DBA was published in 1990, with Phil and Sue Barker and Richard Bodley Scott as its authors. The game has continued to evolve over the years; the most recent version was published in November, 2014 with just Phil Barker and Sue Laflin Barker as authors.
- DBA 1.0, 1990
- DBA 1.1, March 1995
- DBA 1.2, 1998 (Issued as a set of amendments)
- DBA 1.22, 1999 (Issued as a set of amendments)
- DBA 2.0, February 2001
- DBA 2.1, 2003 (Issued as a set of amendments)
- DBA 2.2, January 2004
- There have been many variants of the game, one is DBA 2.2+, 2012 (Issued by WADBAG, unofficial)
- DBA 3.0, November 2014