De Bellis Dinosauris 1.1

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

(aka Dino-Wars!)

A Most Unofficial DBM Supplement

Jeffrey R. Zorn

Special thanks to my Dinosaur consultant: Bonnie H. Rauscher

Sweat soaked every part of Titus the Tribune’s gear and poured off him in rivlets. "By Mithras!" he cursed and took a slashing blow at a mosquito the size of a sparrow as he pushed through the dense, verdant curtain of brush that hung around him. "If I ever find the guides who directed us to this infernal valley I will crucify them myself. Bah! If Octavian wants new types of animals to celebrate his triumph at Actium he should be here himself!" So preoccupied was Titus in the revery of his misery that he failed to notice the sound of something large crashing though the jungle ahead of him. Then suddenly a scaly beast the size of a small siege tower leapt from the trees into the midst of the straggling Roman column, its lashing tail sending two men spinning to their knees. It walked on two feet like a man, but had a head like some lizard, or one of the dragons from the stories of the gods, and a mouth full of teeth each almost as long as a gladius. Before any of the stunned men ahead of him could react this horror grabbed one of his soldiers and tore him completely in half with one bite. As some men scattered in blind panic and others began to toss their pila at the monster Titus barked out orders: "Maximus! Hurry! Bring up the ballistas at once!"

Following is a series of modifications or expansions to DBM designed to allow player to pit their human armies head to toe with the largest, most fearsome creatures ever to walk the earth, the dinosaurs! These rules are meant as pure fun, a chance to try something a bit offbeat, and as an excuse to play with small plastic dinosaurs. The rules are a mix of what we really know about dinosaurs, and what we see in the Movies when people stumble upon a Lost World. If you like them, let me know; suggestions to make them more fun are also great. Except where noted in these modifications all standard DBM rules apply.


All dinosaurs are treated as Expendables in DBM terms (see reference section on Expendables in DBM below). In this supplement they are called Dinosaurs.

(S) Heavily armored dinosaurs, usually with either horns, or a tail with spikes or massive enough to be used as a mace. Includes all members of the Stegosaurus and Ankylosaurus lines and all quadrupedal Ceratopsians, such as the Triceratops.

(O) All the large Saurupods (the long-necked plant eaters), such as Apatosaurus (formerly known as Brontosaurus) and Brachyosaurus. While much larger than (S) class dinosaurs they have no defenses/weapons other than their huge mass. They are waders

(I) All Bi-pedal vegetarians, classically represented by the "Duckbill" and "Bonehead" lines of dinosaurs. They are not as large as (O) and likewise have no special defenses or weapons. They are waders.

(F) All carnivorous dinosaurs, the Theropods. These can be either the large solitary hunters such as the Allosaurus, or the smaller variety which hunt in packs, such as Velociraptors.

(X) All flying reptiles (there are no flying dinosaurs!), the Pterosaurs. The most famous member is the Pteradon (formerly the Pterodactyl). They count as (F) for movement, (I) when shot at, (O) under all other conditions. They are flyers.

Note that the (I) classification is only of significance when Exp meets Exp and they tie; the (I) dinosaur will be the one eliminated. The (F) classification does not carry any combat disadvantage and so they are more expensive than (O) class.


1 figure per 40x40mm base if using 2"-3" high figures for 15mm, 1-3 such figures if using 25s. Larger dinosaur figures are available and would be most striking if used with 25s. A single figure can represent a single large dinosaur, such as a Tyrannosaurus, or 5-10 smaller creatures, such as Velociraptors, or the immature young of the larger creatures.


There is a single addition to the terrain list: Volcanoes (Vl)! A Dinosaur player who wishes to place a Vl must roll a 5 or higher. If the roll fails he may place a another piece of terrain of the same terrain equivalency. Volcanoes are like H(S) in all respects; in addition, any element moving onto/across a Vl must roll a 6 to survive, otherwise it has fallen into a crevice, or suffered a minor lava flow incident. Any bound in which the PIP dice average 2 there is a chance for a minor irruption, on a test roll of 4 or higher. All elements within 300 paces (6" in 15s) of the volcanoes must roll a 4 or higher to survive. Also, dust conditions will prevail until the PIP dice average 5+ on a subsequent bound.

If the attack does not place either a WW or Rv, the defender may elect to place a river running from one long table edge to the other between 600and 1200 paces of the edge (12" to 24" in 15s). If the defender chooses to place such a river he may not place a river running between the short table edges.


Since we are dealing with creatures of limited intelligence which move either in herds/packs or as solitary predators, not a professional army, special rules are required for deploying dinosaurs so that they are not drawn up on table in a human style battle formation. Intermingling of commands is not allowed except where noted.

1. Each element of (F) Theropods is diced for randomly to see in which of the 3 sectors in their deployment area they are positioned. Because of their aggressive, territorial nature no (F) dinosaur may be deployed within 250 paces (5" in 15s) of any other (F) dinosaur. This will likely lead to "intermingling of commands" which is permitted in this case.

2. (X) Pterosaurs must be deployed within 500 paces (10" in 15s) of a H(S) or a Wd. Since they are gliders more than true flyers they like to be near heights from which they can launch themselves.

3. All (O) and (I) class dinosaurs must be deployed within 500 Paces (10" in 15s) of a Rv, WW or M. These are their native environments; also the water helps to support the great bulk of the (O) class Sauropods. (O) and (I) class dinosaurs may also ambush from Rv and WW. This represents their habit of ducking under water to pull up plants.

4. (S) class dinosaurs may deploy anywhere within their deployment zones.

5. Dinosaur baggage may be deployed in any GGo anywhere in the dinosaur deployment zone.


Dinosaur baggage consists of their nests and eggs, and is therefore immobile. Baggage must be deployed in GGo, except Pteradon baggage, which must be placed on H(S), or in Wd if no H(S) are present. Elements within 150 paces (3" in 15s) of their own command’s baggage are not impetuous; this simulating an effort to protect the nests. Rv and WW do not count as GGo to (O) and (I) class waders for purposes of baggage deployment.


Dinosaurs may ambush as normal. In addition waders may ambush from Rv and WW.

Flank Marches:

Dinosaurs may flank march. This represents a herd wandering into a new grazing area at a propitious moment. (F) predators must be spaced 200 paces (4" in 15s) apart from each other as they come on to the table.


Dinosaurs may wheel forward or backward off any corner.

Waders All (O) and (I) class dinosaurs are waders. They may treat Rv, WW and M as GGo for movement purposes, but may only move at 100 paces per bound (2" in 15s) through such terrain. They may also move along the length of any Rv at no penalty. They may move a maximum of 150 paces (3" in 15s) into a WW. i.e they may end movement up to 150 paces from the shore. They may attack naval while wading. As noted above, waders may ambush from Rv or WW.

Flyers (X) reptiles are gliding/flying creatures. They move over any terrain (including WW) at no penalty. They may move over friendly or hostile elements, but they may not end their moves above them (mainly to keep things tidy). If there is no space to place the (X) stand, spontaneously advancing/pursuing/retreating/fleeing flyers will "pop through" elements until they reach a space large enough for their stands. Flyers moving under PIP control do not pop through and must stop in front of other stands if there is no room for them beyond the intervening stands.

Flyers require a space of 2 base depths (80mm in 15s) in front of an enemy element in order to land and attack that element, even if moving impetuously. Under impetuous movement they will move towards the nearest element which has this amount of space in front of it. They may attack naval in WW, this representing tight diving attacks.


Dinosaurs do not create a Zone of Death behind them when they are eliminated.

Dinosaurs wading in a Rv or WW, or (X) class dinosaurs, quick kill Shp; they kill other Naval on a double, otherwise they recoil them.

(X) flyers may execute a "Swoop" attack instead of a normal attack. Once per the dinosaur’s player bound each stand of flyers may swoop down and attack an enemy stand it passes over. In a swoop attack there need only be a single base depth clear in front of the target. This combat is resolved as each flyer passes over its target, even if part of a group move. Combat is resolved with normal factors. Overlaps are resolved as the combat takes place. E.g. a line of 3 Pterosaurs all swoop down on a line of 3 Sp, each Pterosaur directly in front of an opposing Sp. The right most flyer swoops down on its opponent first. At the moment of the attack the Sp element receives overlap support from its neighbor. If this Sp survives and the center Pterosaur swoops in next the center Sp receives overlap support from its neighbors, etc. If the flyer eliminates its target it ends its movement one base depth behind the rear edge of its target, popping though any elements which block its position.

Breaking the Dinosaurs:

Since dinosaurs are classed as Expendables their losses do not contribute toward the Break Point of the army; in effect the army has an infinite Break Point. They are, after all fairly brainless. It is not possible to break a dinosaur command by killing 1/3 of its elements, nor the army by killing half the elements. A dinosaur command is broken when all of its baggage has been looted. The army is broken when half of all army baggage has been looted.

Summary of DBM Expendable Rules:

Expendables are mounted troops.

Expendables ending their move off road in rough or difficult going can only do so as single elements.

Expendables can only change direction by wheels except when turning to face enemy in front edge contact with their flank or rear.

Expendables are impetuous.

Expendables move 200 paces along a road, 200 in Ggo, 150 in Rgo, and 100 in Dgo.

No troops can count as overlaps for friendly expendables.

Expendables have a combat factor of 4 vs. everything.

Troops fighting against expendables do not get to count rear support in close combat.

Expendables are destroyed in combat if their total is equal to or less than their opponents.

Expendables quick kill: Kn, Exp, Bw, Art and Baggage under any conditions and, Sp, Pk, Bd, Wb, and Hd in Ggo. They kill other troops by doubling as normal.

An element of expendables whose pursuit move reaches difficult going is destroyed.

Dinosaur Army List

Tropical. Ag 0. WW, Rv (mandatory if no WW), H(S), H(G) RGo, Wd, M, D, Vl

1 C-in-C - Irr Exp (O) @ 17 or Irr Exp (F) @ 18 or Irr Exp (S) @ 19

0-2 Sub-generals - Irr Exp (O) @ 17, Irr Exp (S) @ 19, Irr Exp (I) @ 15

0-1 Ally-general - Irr Exp (F) Theropods @13

0-1 Ally-general - Irr Exp (X) Pterosaurs @ 14

10-30 Sauropods - Irr Exp (O) @ 7

5-12 "Duckbills" and "Boneheads" - Irr Exp (I) @ 5

5-12 Stegosaurs, Anklyosaurs or Ceratopsians - Irr Exp (S) @ 9

0-12 Theropods (Tyrannosaurs, Velociraptors) - Irr Exp (F) @ 8

0-12 Pterosaurs - Irr Exp (X) @ 9

Theropods may only command, and be commanded by Theropods. Theropods are considered allied generals of a different nationality and will change sides if another dinosaur command is demoralized before they become active allies (meant to represent easy pickings which they cannot ignore). Pterosaurs may only command, and be commanded by Pterosaurs. Pterosaurs are considered to be allied generals of the same nationality; they will not change sides (except in a dinosaur civil war).

Terrain suggestions:

To give the battle field a proper prehistoric "feel" try using some aquarium plants for marshes, brush, etc. Not botanically accurate, but definitely vegetation not of the modern (or ancient) world.

Designer’s Notes:

This supplement grew out of two ideas which suddenly came together in one spine shattering thunder clap: one definitely connected to DBM, the other to the Movies. Have you ever wondered why, in the Movies, the Lost Worlds of dinosaurs are only ever discovered in the late 19th and 20th centuries? After all, these pockets of Jurassic life were sitting there for millions of years. Why did no other "high" civilizations ever stumble across them? E.g Incas in the rain forests of Brazil, Malaysians in the swamps of Southeast Asia, Romans in Africa looking for exotic animals for their coliseum games (I’m keeping the movie rights on this one), etc. Seemed perfectly possible to me.

The second thought grew out of a discussion with a couple members of our club (FLAG: Finger Lakes Area Gamers) about what the best army would be in DBM if you were allowed to design you own. My initial suggestion was an army of all Hd(I) since they count nothing for break points and in a 500 AP game you could have 1000 of them, enough to swamp a lot of opponents! However the thought of buying and painting 5000 figures disabused me of this idea. I then recalled that Expendables also counted as nothing for break point purposes.. Hmm, an army of all stampeding cattle? While intriguing it seemed a bit dull. Then my musings on the Movies came to my mind, and I recalled that the local toy store sold nice 2"-3" high plastic dinosaurs for 40 cents each (I could build a 500 AP army for $30!). The rest is, as they might say: "Prehistory"!

Can an "army" of wild animals, if there are enough of them, overwhelm a human army? Possibly, they certainly have the quick kill capability to cause losses, and since they cannot be broken by conventional combat they can keep at the fight far longer than humans will. The deployment rules are meant to mimic the "typical" appearance of a Jurassic landscape: the large plant eaters lolling by the water, powerful carnivores on the prowl and gliding bat-like reptiles soaring overhead. I.e. the dinosaurs cannot be drawn up for battle in any regular sort of formation and their command structure, such as it is, will break down quickly with individual dinosaur stands crashing off after their targets. Most likely they will hit the human line in small groups, or alone. If the humans can break up the groups and draw off individuals into pursuits they may be able to win the battle by combat. Or, can they get past the nest guardians and carry off the eggs? Certainly the dinosaurs will make for a most unconventional foe.


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