Ok, so why the weird title? Well, I just sat down this week and completely rebased an entire army from its old WRG DBx style basing over to Warhammer Ancients Battles (WAB). As I sat there prying little 25mm figures off of perfectly good bases my mind began to wander, until the X-acto knife promptly brought me back to reality! However, in those few seconds of free association the kernel of an idea began to flow (before the blood did as well) and take shape about rebasing, and how it is really a metaphor for wargaming divorce and re-marriage from one set of rules to another.
Now, what I mean is that how we base our figures often makes a statement of our committment to one particular rules set or basing standard. For example, I would say that since WRG 6th/7th edition ancients, that style of a basing had become a standard. Very few new sets of ancients rules in the past 15 years or so took the bold step to propose an alternate basing system. Well, that changed in the late 90’s with WAB. Now, WAB very explicitly states you can use any basing method to play, but definitely advocates their own basing (and this is evident from following the Yahoo groups forum).
Well, after playing the rules a few times I came to the conclusion that I liked them. In fact, I liked them a lot more than DBM. Now this is not a bash at DBM, I played WRG ancients from around 1985 and helped playtest the original versions of DBA and DBM. I just came to the conclusion that DBM no longer looked or felt like the descriptions of ancient battles I read in primary or secondary sources. So, this brings us to the divorce part.
By taking the dramatic step of rebasing my army to WAB, it is no longer useable for DBx. I’ve basically divorced myself from that set of rules permanently (in regards to my own armies, I’d still happily play it if someone else wanted to) and I find that a pretty radical step in a wargamer’s life. Also, by adopting the WAB basing convention, I’ve essentially wedded myself to that set of rules (at least temporarily and until the next rebasing).
So, my relationship with one set of rules that lasted almost two decades is over. A new one is beginning and I wonder if WAB will last as long as WRG did.