Category Archives: Review

Yarmuk 636 AD

Due to an unfortunate delay, the full download of “Great Battles of History for DBA 3” will not be available for another week. To make up for this delay Joe Collins, editor of the book, has asked me to feature another chapter and make it availiable for download. The selected chapter is Yarmuk which I of course mentioned in my last post.

As you will recall Phil Steele, a long-time member of the SOA authored this chapter and used Phil Barker’s old flats for the game. I think the flats look fantastic even when compared to more recent figures. They have a certain appealing style all their own.

Yarmuk can be downloaded here. We hope you enjoy this chapter. Feel free to post your comments here to Phil Steele and Joe Collins.

The book in its entirety will be available next week after Nashcon in the United States, HMGS-MidSouth’s premier gaming convention.

Great Battles of History for DBA 3

Earlier this week “Great Battles of History for DBA 3” was been published. Comprising 134 pages this book is aimed squarely at the wargamer with an interest in using DBA 3 to refight the many famous battles of history. I hope this short article provides a little more detail on the books content and aims and the sample chapter below is a useful primer.

Firstly, the book was produced by a number of enthusiasts led by Joe Collins as editor. Rather than cover a small selected period the team opted for a broad approach and therefore have captured many of the famous battles of the period. Indeed, starting in 405 BC the battles stretch to 1479 AD. As such I’m sure there is something for every DBA gamer. The chapters covered provide a good summary of the content.

  1. Gela 405 BC – A Clash of Colonies in the Western Mediterranean Sea —by Charlie Z;
  2. The Hydaspes 315 BC – Alexander Invades India —by John Brown;
  3. Bagradas 255 BC – Prelude to Cannae During the 1st Punic War —by Joe Collins
  4. Cannae 216 BC – Hannibal’s High Water Mark —by Graham Evans;
  5. The Revolt of Spartacus 71 BC – I am Spartacus! —by Robert Beattie;
  6. Carnuntum 170 AD – Disaster on the Danube —by Robert Madrigal;
  7. Battle of Hormozdgān 224 AD – The Fate of Parthia —by Robert Madrigal;
  8. Yarmuk 636 AD – Khalid Ibn al-Walid and the Lions of the Desert —by Phil Steele;
  9. Brunanburh 937 AD – The Birthplace of Englishness —by Joe Collins;
  10. Bouvines 1214 AD – The Eclipse of the Angevin Empire —by Phil Steele;
  11. Verneuil 1424 AD – A Second Agincourt —by Tom Thomas;
  12. Enguingatte 1479 AD – The Dawn of Modern Warfare —by Joe Collins;
  13. Final Thoughts on Designing Historical Scenarios.

Within each chapter the chapter author first looks briefly at the history of the specific battle. This is followed by a section on recreating the battle on the table using DBA and includes army composition, deployment and any special rules. The author then outlines, in some depth a sample game. Each chapter is illustrated with a sample refight and in colour will no doubt provide further inspiration and understanding of the battle.


One of my favourite chapters is that on Yarmuk, written by Phil Steele. Phil, himself a life member of the Society of Ancients, used veteran flat figures from Phil Barker’s original collection to refight the battle using one of Phil Barker’s latest sets of rules. This link between old and new really resonated with me.

Great Battles of History is available as a 134-page, full-color book from for $34.97 USD. You can find it here. For places outside of Lulu’s shipping area, the book will be available worldwide through Amazon in a few weeks. It’s worth noting that mones earned for the first year on the book in excess of $150.00 USD (the startup cost for the editor) will be donated to the Society of Ancients in honor of Phil and Sue Barker.

For those on a tight budget or who would like a complete preview, the book in its entirety will soon be available for free as a download from this website in the coming weeks. Joe first has to complete some editing to get the file size down.

Start Ancient Wargaming – A Short Review

The other week my copy of Sue Laflin-Barker’s “Start Ancient Wargaming” arrived. Readers of this blog will of course recall that I announced its release a few weeks back. However, now I have a copy I can expand a little on the its content.

The books dimensions are 23.5cm x15.5cm and comprises 196 pages, in a perfect bound paperback. Black and white illustrations are used throughout the book, excluding the covers. 

The first fifty pages provide an introduction, sections on choosing, building and painting armies as well as how to model terrain. The techniques used for painting are reasonably basic and are clearly aimed at the new gamer, which is as it should be. The section on terrain is well illustrated and should be very useful for the player starting out. A good number of black and white illustrations are provided especially in the terrain section. Chapter 4 focuses on playing a sample game where Sue walks through a game between two players. Each move in this section is explained and illustrated. 

Chapter 5 provides the full DBA 3.0 rules, though without diagrams. Being used to the DBA 3.0 format the changed page layout, each page being physically smaller, I found the rule layout a little difficult. However, all the rules are here. It is a shame that the diagrams could not be included, however this does not detract from the aim of the book.
Chapter 6 comprises around 80 pages and provides a selection of army lists for 38 conflicts. The conflicts start with Sargon the Great and ends with the Samurai in Japan. Each conflict has two or more army list. For example Conflict 12 covers the campaigns of Prrhos of Epiros and includes lists for Pyrrhus, Demettrios, Camillian Roman and Early Carthaginian. This section combines the descriptions of the army lists, as the appear in the DBA lists which are sometimes expanded or edited by Sue.

As I mentioned in a previous post this book is aimed squarely at the new ancients wargamer. While it lacks the colour and professional look of many glossy publications it is packed with information for its target audience. I can only imagine how useful it would have been to me over 40 years ago.

I purchased my copy via Lulu. I understand that Start Ancient Wargaming can also be purchased through a number of outlets now including Amazon. It is also available in a Kindle format. I encourage you to purchase a copy for a budding wargamer you may know. I’m sure they will find it extremely useful.

Start Ancient Wargaming Using DBA 3.0

If you are like me many years ago you will remember “The Purple Primer”, or “Ancient Wargaming” by Phil Barker. It along with several other books from the local library provided great inspiration. This evening Sue Laflin-Barker sent an email to a few people advising that her new book “Start Ancient Wargaming Using DBA 3.0” is now available.


Available as paperback with black-and-white illustrations this 196 pages book retails for £14.95. The product description provides a useful overview of what is included…

This book introduces the fascinating subject of ancient wargaming using the latest edition of DBA version 3.0. De Bellis Antiquitatis have become known for the combination of simple game mechanics and playability. The rules are easy to learn, but the finer details of tactics are hard to master. The rules are extensively used for competitions around the world. The book starts by discussing how to choose a period of history and build an wargaming army, then it includes the complete DBA 3.0 rules with a detailed step by step play through of a sample game- Germans v Romans on the bank of the river Rhine. There are also numerous sample army lists with discussion of the sources on which they are based. Sue Laflin-Barker was a key contributor to the development and success of WRG. This is her first solo authorship of a wargaming book.

Initially available via Lulu or John Curry Publishing, Sue Laflin-Barker indicates that it should be stocked on Amazon in a few days. No doubt other outlets will stock it in due course as well. This is clearly a title aimed squarely at the new or budding ancients wargamer.