The first minor challenge was choosing a pair of armies that I could replicate with my DBA Early Hungarian, and Nikephorean Byzantine armies.
Most of the lists are pretty similar to each other, unsurprising really, so I went for list g (Western British AD450-600) for both sides – Ambrosious with a Dumnonian army against Maelgwyn and an army of Kernow.
Each side gets 30 points to allocate to Aggression and Formation of the units, which must have at least one each. The minimum number of units is 5 (the commander’s Comitatus), you can add up to 9 more from the ‘Contingent’ and if you’re the defender and you’ve fielded all 14 elements, you may have another 5 stands of armed peasants for free. The more units you field, the more below par on Aggression or Formation they would be at the start. But you can spend Command Points making units more enthusiastic. The risk of having a large force is that a smaller, more motivated force would hurt you a lot before you have a chance to motivate your troops. The risk of having a smaller force is that the larger force might be just as motivated as yours by the time you get to them.
I wanted experiment with that, so Ambrosius had only his comitatus of 1 HC, 2 LC, and 2 HI; and Maelgwyn had the same plus 2 LI slinger warbands. The commanders’ warbands were the HC in both cases (it can be any warband in the comitatus).
The table was kept very simple – a standard 2 foot square DBA mat with a hill on one flank and a marsh on the other.
I got a bit confused with the setup rules as half of them are in one section and half in another. I set the two sides up within 24 cm of the table’s centre line, lined up along the edge of the table. Re-reading the rules they should probably be within 24 cm of the table’s centre line in both directions, so about 48 cm or so apart.