View Full Version : unit formations (bus, horde, etc)

09-08-2014, 00:32
What units should be in what formation, is the question. How many men should be in a unit before you consider deploying as a horde?
Which units should be 7 wide to max attacks?

Also any other formations that you use in your games and why

09-08-2014, 04:58
I think the answer to your question would take about a 2 or 3 page tactics article (per army). The answer is not always going to be the same for any given unit depending on several factors.

1) The current battlefield situation
2) What are you facing?
3) How are you armed?
4) What troops are you using?
5) What supporting units are nearby? (friend or foe. See #1)
6) What is the unit's purpose? Are they just meant to hold up the enemy (tarpit or stall), or can they realistically win combats?

09-08-2014, 05:48
I tend to determine unit formation this way- the idea is simple, horde is generally better than deep. There are some other considerations like maneuverability, but in open terrain offense is better than defense-

1. Is the unit likely to win combat against the enemy? If yes, go horde, if no proceed to 2
2. Is the unit going to stick around if it loses, or does the unit need steadfast? if no go horde, if yes, then proceed to 3
3. Is the amount of damage the unit will do in horde worth losing the unit? if yes stay horde, if not- then go deep.

09-08-2014, 06:03
I like that paradigm. I think one thing that's left out is high elf elites, with martial prowess and their high PPM you really can't afford hordes of 4 ranks (hordes of 30 gains you nothing). I like to see elites for high elves 7 wide to get you a few more attacks while maintaining ranks. This is usually good.

The units I wonder about are: clanrats of 50+ men, plague monks, spearelves, empire swordsmen and halberdiers, knights, silver helms... anyways

Right now I field 50 swordsmen and 50 halberds both in horde.
Clanrats I feel should be bus in units of 40 ish, but what about 50-60?

Lord Solar Plexus
09-08-2014, 08:14
Entirely depends on the situation at hand and the opposing unit(s). For example, 50 Halberdiers are ever so slightly better in combat than 50 Clanrats with a casualty ratio of ~7:6.25. In this instance it would be wise to field the Halbs in horde to actually get those 7 kills and make the Clanrats lose attacks first. For the latter however, it would be better to go as a bus in this situation because the chance they lose is a bit higher. Of course they will lose even more drastically as they change the attack ratio from 1:1 (or 30:30) to 2.1:1 in the Halberdiers favour but assuming an Ld AoE, they'll probably hold until help arrives (and they cost a lot less).

Were the Clanrats to fight, say, 50 Skeletons, they should form a horde though. While my advise is not to be a slave to the movement tray, we sometimes find ourselves in difficult situations where we either must charge or reform and receive the charge.

09-08-2014, 08:48
Strangely, the horde vs the column works exactly opposite to real life. A deep column of troops was the way to go if you wanted to charge, a wide front was better for defence cos you can wrap around a la Wellington's tactics vs Napoleon.

In WFB, though, basically if you want to defend and make an anvil that won't do much damage, go column. If you want to do damage, go horde. Of course this is situational and depends on buffs (mind razor, I'm looking at you) character support etc etc.

For instance 40 bretonnian men-at-arms with halberd won't do much in column. However, use a damsel to put the Blessing on them and have them close to the bsb and they're not going anywhere. They might even break smallish elite units on static combat res alone. If they find themselves facing similarly mediocre troops, reform into horde, stick wyssan's on them and you've suddenly got quite a nasty combat unit.

09-08-2014, 09:02
Columns do have one important advantage for offensive use.

If the troops are good enough to win combat, the column can deny steadfast, thus making the enemy more likely to break. This is especially true for impact chargers, and while cavalry tend to be too expensive (and unwieldy due to base length) to field this way, infantry units with rules like hatred and devestating charge can benefit hugely.

Lord Solar Plexus
09-08-2014, 09:07
This isn't Napoleonic tactics, this is more 15th or 16th ct. There are no lines and pelotons of musketeers. Bonaparte's French columns also were helped by a previous softening up with artillery.

09-08-2014, 16:45
Late 1500 to early 1600 sounds about right to me.

09-08-2014, 22:04
There's no "breakthrough" rules, you can't literally smash your way in the middle of a nother unit. However column formation can be offensive if you are going for breaking the enemy by denying steadfast as opposed to just killing them.

Would you ever use a clanrat horde against a superior enemy?
Sometimes even 50 men in horde have enough ranks to have steadfast for a while..

So what about plague monks? Is 40 too small to be a horde? 60 of them would probably be better IMO or give them the plague priest on the tower to give them horde frontage but still have ranks.