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View Full Version : historically accurate skirmisher tactics, what do you think?



EvanM
14-03-2014, 16:07
I think that there should be one small change to the rules and here it is:
a fast cavalry unit or a skirmisher unit may declare "flee!" as a charge reaction WITHOUT CAUSING PANIC in your fellow troops, AND they can auto rally the next turn.

WHY NOT? they are skirmishing pester units, they screen the army and when the enemy gets close they get out of range! thats like the whole point of skirmishers in my opinion but the thought that you have to risk running off the board or causing panic down the whole line just to do it seems utterly lame.

With this change, skirmishers could do the job that they were intended to do instead of being pathetic chaff.

SpanielBear
14-03-2014, 16:15
It'd need some testing, but I like the concept. It'd have to be that they can only auto-rally after a 'flee' charge reaction- if they get caught, they should still be breakable. Also running off the table should still be an auto-kill regardless, just for balance issues.

Now, one problem I'd have as a Wood Elf player would be skirmishers who are immune to psychology, or other such special rules, as they cannot choose to flee...

EvanM
14-03-2014, 16:26
Yeah I totally agree for those two. And I think the misconception is that "flee" reaction shouldnt be "run for your lives!!" it should be "okay pull back behind the frontline men!"

and that also solves the second thing. If you think of it that way then the immune to psych means itd make even more sense for them to fall back behind their melee troops.

kramplarv
14-03-2014, 16:36
From a historical PoW, feigned flights were extremely hard since they more often than not led the army to believe they really were fleeing for real, or the fleeing unit would start to flee for real.

But I agree; it should be some changes made to skirmishers. But I think it will be enough if skirmishers can rally and then move after a flee reaction. Not auto-rally or not cause panic in other units.

EvanM
14-03-2014, 16:43
Thats not impossible I guess but it seems so lame. Like can you really imagine HE shadow warriors retreating through ranks of Swordsmasters to cause panic? thats just pathetic.

I guess panic usually isnt a big deal since its unmodified LD and you usually have your general nearby most of your men so whatever but still.

SpanielBear
14-03-2014, 16:45
Thats not impossible I guess but it seems so lame. Like can you really imagine HE shadow warriors retreating through ranks of Swordsmasters to cause panic? thats just pathetic.

I guess panic usually isnt a big deal since its unmodified LD and you usually have your general nearby most of your men so whatever but still.

Such panics did happen. They happened all the time to the Carthaginians.

Then again, their mistake was using Elephants as skirmishers.

kramplarv
14-03-2014, 16:56
Thats not impossible I guess but it seems so lame. Like can you really imagine HE shadow warriors retreating through ranks of Swordsmasters to cause panic? thats just pathetic.
.

Yes I can :p Why not? Ninjasamurai-elves as they might be, swordmasters have som serious prejudices against shadow warriors and suddenly having an entire formation of almost evil high elves dashing at you at high speed would unnerve anyone. Especially since there is no way to tell if the flight is a feined one or because there might be a dragon behind. or something which is so scary that it can make evil high elves to flee.

EvanM
14-03-2014, 17:30
I still say screw it. I understand the possibility for the panic but still, screw it. I would rather play with fun skirmishers than worry about every deploying an army in a double line

SuperHappyTime
14-03-2014, 17:33
Yeah I totally agree for those two. And I think the misconception is that "flee" reaction shouldnt be "run for your lives!!" it should be "okay pull back behind the frontline men!"

and that also solves the second thing. If you think of it that way then the immune to psych means itd make even more sense for them to fall back behind their melee troops.

We aren't retreating, we're advancing in the opposite direction.

Of course this means the charge reaction should be "retreat" and not "flee". It shouldn't cause panic in the troops, because the troops should have some idea of the strategy

Nerd Knight
14-03-2014, 17:39
If we are looking at this from a "realistic point of view" then there would be a slight chance that the feigned flight would be misunderstood, so maybe the unit being fled through takes a leadership test to see if they are effected. If they fail, they will then take a panic check as they have legitimately misunderstood the tactical retreat, if they pass then all is well and they realized what their allies were doing. Makes it fairly hard to fail (esp with BSB rerolls) but still leaves the sliver of possibility open.

NemoSD
14-03-2014, 18:12
Something I played with as a test/home brew idea is a 'retreat' and "firing retreat" options on skirmishers with multiple ranks, and light cavalry. While the formation is not dense, it still has to maintain the loose appearance of a formation. The way it works is the 'first' rank falls back to the rear rank, making rank two rank one. (Command still stay up front, pushing some dudes back.) Or, firing retreat, the front rank moves to the rear, and all models with ranged weapons in rank two can fire.

It did not seem to unbalance things when we were playing, and allowed the skirmishers to be an effective screen without ever actually engaging in a fight. When used with ten reavers, I was able to effectively kite a warrior block deep in my lines, taking advantage of my opponents tunnel vision. They didn't kill many warriors, but he pursued until he got himself flanked with SM and PG, then the Reavers just charged, followed by the PG and SM. The point of the story is that a small change to skirmishers can keep things interesting, and they do not get rid of the charge risk, they just minimize the risk of being charged. (While this is a standard house rule, we have not seen what a wood elf could do with it yet.)

EvanM
14-03-2014, 18:16
What other house rules do you usually play with?

NemoSD
14-03-2014, 18:27
What other house rules do you usually play with?

The only other one we use is we added a core unit to Empire, the Mixed Pike. It may take up to an equal number of hand gunners as it has pike. It has two special rules, the first is: Pikes Forward, which as long as the unit has a standard or musician and champion, it may reform with pikes to the front, as long as the number of ranks and files remain the same, as a charge reaction. They have a second order, fire and advance. As long as hand gunners are in the first, and second rank, the first rank may fire, then the second rank moves to be in base contact, in front of the former first rank, and the third and forth fill in the gap from the rear. <- It must always have a full command.

(We theme our armies, and when we have an idea we work to create a rule to let the idea work. We have a couple of home-brewed special characters and the such as well.)

Edit Note: We are currently considering a change the cannon. The cannon change we are considering now is that it adds a scatter to the first bounce. We also added a small template, str 3 blast, to where ever the first bounce occurs. We are tweaking and have not implemented yet. We don't want to change the rules to much though, as many of us play PUGs without house rules and we want a small list that is easy to not use.

EvanM
14-03-2014, 19:09
Yeah i agree to the cannon being in need of a change. Its basically a super powered sniper rifle right now.

AND EMPIRE ARE BASED ON 16th CENTURY TROOPS........ so why the hell arent there pikemenn???? in the 16th century, heavy armor on infantry was forgone due to the arquebus.(handgunners). then there were heavy knights with barding (knights) , cannons and stuff were brand new but then PIKEMEN the other main infantry unit used by almost all 16th century armies.

NemoSD
14-03-2014, 19:48
Yeah i agree to the cannon being in need of a change. Its basically a super powered sniper rifle right now.

AND EMPIRE ARE BASED ON 16th CENTURY TROOPS........ so why the hell arent there pikemenn???? in the 16th century, heavy armor on infantry was forgone due to the arquebus.(handgunners). then there were heavy knights with barding (knights) , cannons and stuff were brand new but then PIKEMEN the other main infantry unit used by almost all 16th century armies.

Well that unit was meant to bring some of the 16th century tactics back into the fold. (Pike blocks would be used through out the 17th century as well, fading away in the early 1700's.) In the 16th, we started to see weapons being mixed in units. You'd have hand guns, and pike in the same formation, normally with guys carrying two handed swords to knock away enemy pikes. We were also seeing the creation of disciplined professional militaries, which would lead to the nationalization and professionalization of state armies. Warhammer fantasy does a great job of demonstrating the later, but not so much on the former.

stroller
14-03-2014, 19:58
Understand where you're coming from, OP, but have a couple of niggles.

Once you start running or riding away fast, it's quite hard to stop, so I wouldn't have auto rally - maybe leadership check each turn?

More widely, the juxtaposition of "historically accurate" and "Warhammer fantasy" amused me. Among other reasons, I like Warhammer (both flavours) because it ISN'T historical gaming.

theshoveller
14-03-2014, 20:22
Yeah i agree to the cannon being in need of a change. Its basically a super powered sniper rifle right now.

AND EMPIRE ARE BASED ON 16th CENTURY TROOPS........ so why the hell arent there pikemenn???? in the 16th century, heavy armor on infantry was forgone due to the arquebus.(handgunners). then there were heavy knights with barding (knights) , cannons and stuff were brand new but then PIKEMEN the other main infantry unit used by almost all 16th century armies.
1) 16thC English armies eschewed the pike for the billhook (the halberd in WFB terms) and were successful doing so.
2) Pikemen are actually the last infantrymen to give up armour, sometime in the mid-17th century (http://www.royalarmouries.org/learning/online-learning/littlecote-house-module/explore-littlecote-house-without-flash/great-hall-in-littlecote-house/pikeman) (but it has more to do with logistics and availability).
3) Heavy cavalry go on wearing armour into the 19thC and are still wearing what might be recognisably called 'full plate' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_lobsters) towards the end of the 17th.

NemoSD
14-03-2014, 20:37
1) 16thC English armies eschewed the pike for the billhook (the halberd in WFB terms) and were successful doing so.
2) Pikemen are actually the last infantrymen to give up armour, sometime in the mid-17th century (http://www.royalarmouries.org/learning/online-learning/littlecote-house-module/explore-littlecote-house-without-flash/great-hall-in-littlecote-house/pikeman) (but it has more to do with logistics and availability).
3) Heavy cavalry go on wearing armour into the 19thC and are still wearing what might be recognisably called 'full plate' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_lobsters) towards the end of the 17th.

The English did not give up the pike for the billhook. They still used pikes. Billhooks are a specific use weapon that would be used in dehorsing a rider. There may be one or two in a formation, but they are to heavy to be used as a pike effectively.

This is the average pike used throughout the 16th century:

189203

This is a picture of a British Re-enactment group using period weapons, armor and clothing.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/81/Pike_square_img_3653.jpg (to large to put image here.)

Halbards and Pole Hammers, and Pole Axes such as the billhook, bardiche, and similar weapons started to become more common in the late 17th century, and early 18th century as they became relegated to guard status more and more, and a slightly shorter weapon, that is less dependent on being in a disciplined formation, became more necessary. Anything where you need a real 'swing' to use does not work in a pike block.

Note: The height of pole hammers, and pole aces is the Medieval period, a full 100+ years prior to the 16th century height of the Renaissance warfare.

theshoveller
14-03-2014, 22:11
The English did not give up the pike for the billhook. They still used pikes. Billhooks are a specific use weapon that would be used in dehorsing a rider. There may be one or two in a formation, but they are to heavy to be used as a pike effectively.

This is the average pike used throughout the 16th century:

189203

This is a picture of a British Re-enactment group using period weapons, armor and clothing.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/81/Pike_square_img_3653.jpg (to large to put image here.)

Halbards and Pole Hammers, and Pole Axes such as the billhook, bardiche, and similar weapons started to become more common in the late 17th century, and early 18th century as they became relegated to guard status more and more, and a slightly shorter weapon, that is less dependent on being in a disciplined formation, became more necessary. Anything where you need a real 'swing' to use does not work in a pike block.

Note: The height of pole hammers, and pole aces is the Medieval period, a full 100+ years prior to the 16th century height of the Renaissance warfare.
The scoreline at the Battle of Flodden (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Flodden) (1513) disagrees with you. I never said they "gave up" anything. To eschew is to avoid - and the English are one of the last to give up the bill/halberd/glaive as a formation weapon. Sadly "the Renaissance" moves depending on who you ask and what country you're talking about. The picture you posted is from Switzerland, commemorating a battle from 1602. If it is a British group (friends of yours?) then I'd hazard a guess that they're meant to represent a late-Tudor trained band (so 1571-onwards). They do illustrate point #2 nicely though, don't they?

yabbadabba
14-03-2014, 22:19
Such panics did happen. They happened all the time to the Carthaginians.
Then again, their mistake was using Elephants as skirmishers. We need like buttons. Awesome :D

Something I played with as a test/home brew idea is a 'retreat' and "firing retreat" options on skirmishers with multiple ranks, and light cavalry. While the formation is not dense, it still has to maintain the loose appearance of a formation. The way it works is the 'first' rank falls back to the rear rank, making rank two rank one. (Command still stay up front, pushing some dudes back.) Or, firing retreat, the front rank moves to the rear, and all models with ranged weapons in rank two can fire. Another option is to follow the Napoleonic style, and have one rank in every unit as skirmishers who can deploy within a set distance of the unit, and automatically full back to the parent unit, if in range, if charged. Penalty can be if the charging unit can reach the parent, it connects like a redirected charge.

NemoSD
14-03-2014, 22:40
The scoreline at the Battle of Flodden (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Flodden) (1513) disagrees with you. I never said they "gave up" anything. To eschew is to avoid - and the English are one of the last to give up the bill/halberd/glaive as a formation weapon. Sadly "the Renaissance" moves depending on who you ask and what country you're talking about. The picture you posted is from Switzerland, commemorating a battle from 1602. If it is a British group (friends of yours?) then I'd hazard a guess that they're meant to represent a late-Tudor trained band (so 1571-onwards). They do illustrate point #2 nicely though, don't they?

Want to point out that the wiki article you linked to even mentions it would be one of the last time the bill was used in combat, even though it was instrumental in the victory. Also, the one person who gave an account of the billhooks superiority was not present, and failed to mention the impact of superior bowmanship, gunpowder and accurate cannon use which swayed the battle in the English favor. Further research on the subject shows that the German trained Scottish forces faired fewer causalities from melee, and most were related to arrow and cannon injuries.



Another option is to follow the Napoleonic style, and have one rank in every unit as skirmishers who can deploy within a set distance of the unit, and automatically full back to the parent unit, if in range, if charged. Penalty can be if the charging unit can reach the parent, it connects like a redirected charge.

I like that, but it is not really 'fitting' to the Empire time theme, although a highly disciplined and state founded unit could probably be trained up for it.

yabbadabba
14-03-2014, 22:45
I like that, but it is not really 'fitting' to the Empire time theme, although a highly disciplined and state founded unit could probably be trained up for it. Actually I was thinking as standard across all armies.

NemoSD
14-03-2014, 22:54
Actually I was thinking as standard across all armies.

I am not sure it would fit the theme of most of the skirmisher units, and with rank and file troops, I can name a handful that it might work for. Sea Guard, Reavers, Empire State Troopers, Gnobbler Trappers, most Goblin units, all wood elves, and I am sure there are more that are fitting, I am just unfamiliar with the armies.

Perhaps as an upgrade to rank and file troops capable of firing missile weapons?

SpanielBear
14-03-2014, 22:55
Actually I was thinking as standard across all armies.

I dunno, expecting Orcs to adopt complex Napoleonic formations is maybe too much. Them not giving a **** when their Goblin chaff scampers past, however, seems more fitting. In fact, didn't they use to have a rule just like this?

NemoSD
14-03-2014, 22:59
I dunno, expecting Orcs to adopt complex Napoleonic formations is maybe too much. Them not giving a **** when their Goblin chaff scampers past, however, seems more fitting. In fact, didn't they use to have a rule just like this?

I know Bret Knights, and Ogres do not give three f's when their peasants or gnobblers run like little bitches :-p

EvanM
15-03-2014, 03:53
okay so besides history discussion, WFB isnt historical, I know that, but in order for the rules to make sense we have to compare the rules to realistic contexts.

Yes a good way to emply this would be empire halberdier blocks with archer skirmishers to screen in the front that would be allowed to retreat behind the parent unit.

Could you honestly say that you'd be opposed to letting that tactic happen (without having to roll a panic test on the parent unit at least)?

Its not like groundbreaking, just adding a viable tactic to the game

MOMUS
15-03-2014, 16:56
I think that there should be one small change to the rules and here it is:
a fast cavalry unit or a skirmisher unit may declare "flee!" as a charge reaction WITHOUT CAUSING PANIC in your fellow troops, AND they can auto rally the next turn.

WHY NOT? they are skirmishing pester units, they screen the army and when the enemy gets close they get out of range! thats like the whole point of skirmishers in my opinion but the thought that you have to risk running off the board or causing panic down the whole line just to do it seems utterly lame.

With this change, skirmishers could do the job that they were intended to do instead of being pathetic chaff.



This change would give avoidance armies a major power boost, probably too much. It would make them even more difficult to play against.
Also the double flee tactic would be extremely powerful.

EvanM
15-03-2014, 19:51
avoidance armies .... like wood elves? because according to the internet they could really use a rule like this.

Moss
15-03-2014, 20:46
avoidance armies .... like wood elves? because according to the internet they could really use a rule like this.

Maybe, but lizardmen certainly don't need the help.

MOMUS
15-03-2014, 20:49
Maybe, but lizardmen certainly don't need the help.

Quiet you! :p


Yes. we need the help:D

yabbadabba
15-03-2014, 21:50
I am not overly worried about whether the idea fits any themes at the moment (in can be made to fit for almost anything), but it seems to me a chance to rethink skirmishers and intergrate them further. For Wood Elves I think they should have a new classification - Light Infantry

yabbadabba
15-03-2014, 21:55
I am not overly worried about whether the idea fits any themes at the moment (in can be made to fit for almost anything), but it seems to me a chance to rethink skirmishers and intergrate them further. For Wood Elves I think they should have a new classification - Light Infantry

Clockwork
16-03-2014, 00:45
Quiet you! :p


Yes. we need the help:D

But not to make the Skink cloud more desirable >.>