Thursday, July 9, 2015

D3H2: DBA or HOTT? Huh?

 I use to play Great Hordes!, or GH! for short. GH! was a hybrid of DBA and HOTT, based on the basic text of HOTT 2.0, with the addition of the DBA troop types and associated rules, a points system and a few "tweaks" provided by its very opinionated creator, Jeff Bolton (still miss you, Jeff!). I was probably its main (maybe only) torchbearer after Jeff passed, because it allowed us (hey there, Tulsa!) to play Ancients to Medievals and pure fantasy with a single set of rules.

Now DBA 3.0 is out and while still essentially DBA, it is a more compelling, chaotic and nuanced gaming experience. If you didn't like DBA before, you probably still won't like it (unless age has brought you wisdom : ) but I like it even more. A good succinct review highlighting changes in 3.0 can be found here.

A couple of months ago I discovered D3H2 on The Miniatures Page. I hope Mr. Tom Thomas will pardon my re-posting here (with slight editing) his post from 28 October 2014, to save you, Dear Reader, the pain of wading through some Irrelevance to get to the Relevant:

"I created D3H2, which is basically DBA3.0 with the HOTT elements added in. As part of the development team for DBA3.0, I was able to incorporate the changes needed to bring HOTT up to 3.0 standards while we labored away on 3.0, hence the supplement was created in parallel with the new version of DBA3.0.

"I've played HOTT since version 1.0 and have always felt many of its methods were better than DBA 2.2 – and I managed to get Phil to agree and add them to DBA3.0. On the other hand many of the new features added to DBA 3.0 (like Fast), while great for DBA are even better ideas for HOTT – which needs to cover a wide variety of fantasy worlds (and be flexiable enough to cover worlds yet unwritten).

"HOTT's original tongue-in-cheek style doesn't reflect the more realistic take of today's fantasy novels (I'm not sure it really reflected the better works of fantasy from times past either). D3H2 allows a more historically rooted game but with fantasy elements.

"Generally the rules follow DBA3.0 but I have retained the point system, victory conditions and Big Battle aspects of HOTT2.0 as I believe them to be superior to DBA3.0.

"I have used all elements from both games (with a few blended together) so it is in some ways a bit more complex than either game. Feel free to limit yourself to just the pure "HOTT" elements. (But then I can't field my Lannister Pike blocks!) Its all in there but use only what you want.

"This unofficial version (though using only official rules) has greatly increased interest in HOTT locally (which frankly, due to play balance issues and weariness with the stereotyped elements, had been waning).

"If you're interested contact me at (you must own a copy of DBA 3.0 to use the supplement).

"We just had our first tournament using D3H2 here in Atlanta. I will be running demo events at Siege of Augusta, Nashcon and Historicon.


So while GH! was HOTT 2.0 with DBA 2.2 (I think) added in, D3H2 is DBA 3.0 with HOTT 2.0 added. And I am very happy with the new hybrid. Sleep well, GH!

So what changes will the HOTT player face in D3H2? 

Access to the DBA troop types: Scythed Chariots, War Wagons, Camelry, Pikes (YAY!) and the proper light troops, Light Horse, Auxilia and Psiloi. We get to keep Shooters (Teppo for my Samurai!) and Bows both, and the rules for Longbows and Crossbows from DBA.

2 kinds of Hordes! Tougher DBA Hordes costing 2 points and "Inexhaustible" Hordes - meaning they can regenerate ala HOTT - for a single point.

Solid and Fast troop designations, and the ability to designate even more troop types than in DBA. Now you can have "Fast Knights," typified by Macedonian Companions.

DBA players now have access to a Points System based on HOTT.

Army-assigned terrain types and terrain pieces that are placed via a dice method that makes it way harder to tailor the battlefield.

Camps and 3 types of built-up areas. Note that the DBA "City" with all of its complicated denizen rules is replaced instead with the simpler HOTT Stronghold.

More limited deployment and movement in base-widths instead of paces. Movement is generally increased and the infantry even more so relative to cavalry.

LIght Horse and Psiloi moving more than once in a turn.

Less rear support during close combat but the addition of some side support. I really like this. Combined with the Solid/Fast designations and new close combat results on tied scores, some real granularity in troop type differences is created.

Some additional foot types pursue automatically when winning a close combat, or have the option to pursue in some cases.

DBA players now get to play until half their army is destroyed instead of a third. I like this, too.

Give DBA 3.0 or D3H2 a try. You might like 'em. If you like GH!, you'll like D3H2, and best of all, it's sanctioned by the author, Phil Barker.


  1. How/where could I get D3H2 rules? I e-mailed author but he didn't response.

  2. Hi WarMyLove. It may take a day or two to get a response from Mr. Thomas. He's the only contact I am aware of for the D3H2 rules. I recommend you be patient and keep e-mailing him. Thanks for reading!

  3. I bought a copy at a con in Dallas. Still haven't read the whole thing yet.

  4. Luckily the rules themselves are just a handfulof pages : )

  5. Could anyone please send me the rules too at

    Thanks a lot

    Regards from Germany

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Hi,

    Is anyone able to help me with a copy of the rules supplement.
    I have sent Tom an e-mail, but have not had any response.
    Many Thanks!