House Rules

Version 3.2 is available at DE BELLIS MULTITUDINIS ( as a free download from Phil Barker’s Wargames Research Group website – many thanks to Phil for making this resource available.

DBM 3.4 Amendments

This is a further set of minor amendments voted on by players in 2020. Of 33 suggestions put forward, the following were accepted.

Page 11

Change Points Values:

Camelry(S) from 11 to 10 AP

Camelry(X) from 9 to 5 AP

Regular Bow(S) from 7 to 6.5 AP

Irregular Bow(S) from 5 to 5.5 AP

Add a line to “Adjust for all grades if:”

Regular C-in-C’s or sub-general’s element, if there is only one other non-allied Regular General in the army     -5

Page 12

Terrain Choosing

In numbered paragraph 2, change:

  • One WW, and only if none is already present and (if the army list book allows a BUA to his army) he positions a BUA in contact with it. Unless it is compulsory, he can only include a WW in his terrain selection if he dices and scores 5 or 6. A different option can be chosen if dicing is unsuccessful.


  • One WW, and only if none is already present and (if the army list book allows a BUA to his army) he positions a BUA in contact with it. He can only include a WW in his terrain selection if he dices and scores 4, 5 or 6 if a WW is compulsory, otherwise 5 or 6. A different option can be chosen if dicing is unsuccessful.

Update March 2023:   In a further poll, a majority of players voted to remove this change.  So DBM 3.4 no longer includes it (i.e. a compulsory waterway is once again placed by a defender without dicing).

Page 19

Spontaneous Advance

Add at end of section:

The first spontaneously advancing element must if possible be one which will either end in legal contact with an enemy element, end in a position that provides rear or overlap support for a friendly element, or make a full move without interpenetrating another friendly element. The second and each subsequent spontaneously moving element must be selected according to the same criteria, until there are no more which meet those criteria.  Any subsequently selected must be the nearest to the targeted enemy

Page 24

Change “Recoiling Elements” to:


A recoiling element moves back its base depth to its rear without turning, or a base width if this is less.  If it meets friends facing the same direction, it may pass through to their rear if of a type allowed to do so (and must do so if it is psiloi), otherwise if naval it pushes back naval, if land troops any but elephants, war wagons, baggage or naval.  If it meets skirmishers facing any other way, it pushes them back directly to its own rear unless their front edge is in contact with enemy. Other troops not facing the same direction cannot be recoiled through or pushed back.  Elements that would be passed through or pushed back by recoiling elephants instead flee.  An element recoiling from distant shooting only by enemy entirely behind an imaginary line extending its rear base edge, first turns 180º.  Land troops on a bridge recoiling from naval turn and flee back to land.

An element pushed back behind a recoiling element does not itself count as recoiling.  If it meets friends it passes through them or pushes them back in the same circumstances as if it was recoiling.

A recoiling element is destroyed if it starts or ends its recoil with an enemy element’s front edge in contact with its flank or rear;  or if it cannot complete its recoil move because either: its rear corner only or rear edge meets any of; or an element that it pushes back has its path blocked by any of:

¨       Enemy (other than psiloi contacted on a side or rear edge or rear corner, who immediately flee).  Unless the recoiling or pushed back element that meets enemy is psiloi, this enemy is also destroyed if contacted on a rear corner only or a rear edge by the recoiling or pushed back element’s rear edge, or on a rear or side edge by its rear corner only.  It does not then count as having been destroyed in close combat.

¨        Friends it cannot pass through and cannot push back sufficiently for the recoiling element to complete its recoil move.

¨     Terrain it cannot cross.  (Landing troops can re-embark.  A boat recoiling on a river follows its curves.)

¨        A PF parapet or TF, except from inside an enemy TF or unopposed at a gateway.

In each such case any pushed back element (unless itself destroyed – see DESTROYED ELEMENTS above) is moved back as far as the obstruction.

The pushed back element is lost if it is pushed even partly off the table edge.  The recoiling element is only lost if it also crosses the table edge.

Note: this is not a rule change but a clarification.

Various alternatives were suggested for depicting foot elements required to be double-based with cavalry elements in DBMM army lists.  The option with the most favourable votes was retaining these elements as Psiloi(I), as recommended in the DBM adaptation notes in the DBMM army list books.

A line was accidentally omitted from DBM 3.2 and 3.3 under “Exchanging mounted and foot elements” on page 9.  The following should be added after the “Regular Cavalry” line:

  • Irregular Cavalry or Camelry – if (S) or (O) as Warband (S), if (I) as Auxilia (I)

JGL 1.11.2020

DBM 3.3

DBM 3.3 comprises amendments which have been discussed and voted on by DBM competition players.  They were used in competitions during 2014-15, after which the rules authors were asked to make them official amendments as DBM 3.3.  One of the authors, Richard Bodley Scott, agreed; the other author, Phil Barker did not respond but has not raised any objection.  DBM 3.3 is now the standard version used in UK DBM competitions.

1  Troop Definitions

Elephants: El(I) are treated as El(I) when in close combat against El(O) or El(S), otherwise as El(O).

Knights: Kn(S):  Elite nobles and gentry, and permanently embodied elite units such as Royal or Ducal household gendarmes or the Military Orders…  Remove “or Indian”.

Kn(I): …often fighting as part of deep clumsy wedge formations…

Blades: Bd(S) …or exceptionally skilled and motivated armoured infantry such as veteran Roman Legionaries or Praetorians, or Anglo-Danish Royal huscarls.

Bowmen: Bw(S): such as English longbowmen or Ottoman janissaries.

Bw(X): Remove the restriction on Bw(X) shooting from a rear rank.

2  Army Point Costs

Reduce Reg Sp(S) from 7 to 6 AP.

Increase El(I) to 15 AP

Reduce the AP cost of a Regular C-in-C or sub-general by 10 AP if there are no other non-ally Reg generals in the army.

Insert asterisk after “temporary fortifications” on page 11.  Add new line at end of section: “*These include fortifications shown as Fixed Obstacles (FO) in the DBMM army lists.”

3 Double-based Knights

In the first paragraph under Rear Support on page 22, delete “or knights(I)”.

In the first bullet point under Rear Support, delete the first (I), to make it clear that Kn(I) can support other grades of Kn with which they are double-based.  Delete “or shot at except by artillery”.

4 Spears and Pikes against Elephants

Under Combat Outcome on page 23:

Spears – delete “of the same grade” and substitute “able to give rear support”.

Pikes – delete “of the same grade, or of (X) or (I) if the front rank is (X)”, and substitute “able to give rear support”.

5  Grading factors

Substitute for the first +1 line on page 23:

+1 if your element is (S) [but not Art (S)] shooting, and scored exactly 1
more than (S) opponents, or equal to (O) or (F) opponents.
+1 if your element is Art (S) shooting, and scored equal to (S), (O) or (F)

6 Turning when contacted in flank

Add new sentence after “if there is room” in line 7 of the second paragraph under Close Combat on page 21:

“If a single element is legally contacted while it is in a gap less than an element width such that it cannot turn, then it moves in the direction of the contacting element until it can turn, the contacting element moving back as required.”

Bw(X)/Bw(I) double-based elements

The original 2016 edition of the army lists produced for DBMM, usable also for DBM, introduce a new combination which is not permitted by the DBM (or DBMM) rules.  These are Bw(X) double-based with Bw(I), and appear in the Hussite and Medieval German lists.  The latest reprint of the relevant list book corrects this and shows these troops as Bw(X) double-based with Bw(O).

Welsh and other Irregular Bows

The revised DBMM army lists regrade most Welsh Bw(O) [and some English archers] as Bw(S).  This grading is not appropriate for DBM, so after a poll of UK competition players the Irr Bw(S) in the Welsh, Anglo-Norman, Anglo-Irish and Feudal English army lists will continue to be Irr Bw(O) in armies used at UK DBM competitions.  This does not apply to Irr Bw(S) in the Hundred Years War and Wars of the Roses English lists, which remain Bw(S).

JGL 31.7.2017 (revised 2019 and 2022)

Army Lists

In DBMM Army List 4/80, Hussite, 1-3 ditches per WWg are compulsory.  As Hussite armies attacked as often as they defended, it is not realistic to require them always to fight behind fortifications.  Accordingly, change “1-3 per WWg” in that line to “0, or 1-3 per WWg”.

JGL 27.10.2018

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