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De Bellis Napoleonics- Project closure

Nearly thirty years a go De Bellis Antiquitatis, affectionately known as D.B. A., revolutionised wargaming. From its introduction, you could play absorbing games at minimal cost. It was my main source of inspiration and set my gaming and collection obsession off. In fact it’s difficult to see how any new wargames system could break the inertia of DBA size “elements.” My aim is of course to get wargames armies completed ASAP. I think a matched pair of Napoleonic armies is beyond my resources of time and money. D.B.N. armies however are accessible…..

De Bellis Napoleonics , currently in version 2.1 is available from It is available as a fifty page download of quite densely typed text. I paid fifteen dollars for it, which is a tad expensive for a download with no illustrations. I do recommend that you view the YouTube clips to see what the game offers. It isn’t updated to version 3 DBA and it wouldn’t be beyond an experienced DBA player to write their own variant but it does the job.

The armylist for France 1794-99 gives you the following to choose twelve elements from. You can choose six to ten musket elements, half of which can morph into poor quality light infantry. The aspiring general can also choose two specialist light infantry that will become the legendary legere by 1800. Hussars are classed as militia light cavalry, up to two units.

Unfortunately for the French, the dragoons on their nags don’t class as true heavies but do loose the militia tag. The army only allows one unit but historical scenarios may call for more. I’ve gone for three bases 50mm square to equate to the rules’ units.

The reorganised infantry allows me to field five units already. These are the mainstay of the French army, five units of muskets.

The single base recommended by the rules just isn’t big enough for the collector in me. Two elements , one behind the other, gives a good impression of a Napoleonic column. It also means that with twelve more miniatures I will have completed the vast majority of an “armee”.

With some cannons and light infantry , the army can join the ticked box of projects. But then I need grenadiers and legere……..

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