Warband underpowered

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MartinDNeil
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Warband underpowered

Post by MartinDNeil »

I've played a couple of games using warband against romans and the warband are near annihilated in a face-to-face matchup. Especially average warband - and these are the majority type in the lists.

Being superior at impact doesn't give them the necessary edge, where they will tend to be at evens against superior romans. And they will be at 2:3 odds in the subsequent melee phases regardless of the size of the unit, with small hope of feeding troops in before they disrupt or fragment.

I propose that warband get the following bonuses during melee:

- 3rd rank negates enemy armour
- 4th rank negates enemy skilled sword

A warband 'going in deep' with four ranks will be on an even match up against romans. Only when they lose bases would they start to lose their melee capability.

So a 12-base size warband going in 4 ranks deep against a 6 base superior legion unit would be 96 points versus 90 points. Not quite an even match but the warband's odds would be much improved.
grahambriggs
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Re: Warband underpowered

Post by grahambriggs »

I'm not sure that those changes would be historical.

Roman battles against warband armies tended to go one of two ways:

- Romans swept away by a fierce charge. This tended to be Roman generals who weren't the brightest with average legions.

- Romans manage to hold the first rush and they grind the warbands down in a tough fight. These tended to be better Roman generals, often with veteran legions.

While superior armoured legions can chop through average warband quickly, they are over twice the points cost. The warband general needs to hold the Roman centre as long as possible while enveloping the flanks. It's still not an easy fight as the Romans are tough opponents for warbands.
MartinDNeil
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Re: Warband underpowered

Post by MartinDNeil »

Graham

What's not historical about it? They warband are still at a narrow disadvantage against the superior Romans in melee and it would for a longer grind giving the barbarian general time to get around the flanks.

Currently the supposed charge advantage is simply negated by the Romans taking superior troops, and they certainly aren't hamstrung by a lot of average troops on the lists in the same way the barbarians are.

Finally the example I gave was two units of near point equivalence. All else being equal equivalence should lead to approximately equal outcomes, at least in the same historical period.
grahambriggs
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Re: Warband underpowered

Post by grahambriggs »

Let's try it again and I'll bring the Warband
MartinDNeil
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Re: Warband underpowered

Post by MartinDNeil »

I was looking for a more analytical and reflective response.

You've said the rules are historical even though you've acknowledged to me personally they dont work for warband armies.

What's the point of a rematch? You will just kick my newbie ass. Is that your point? If it is a more subtle and instructive lesson would be to describe here how to wield an average warband army and lead it to inevitable victory against romans despite its limitations.
grahambriggs
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Re: Warband underpowered

Post by grahambriggs »

I believe warband don't do well under the rules because the troop types they did well against historically (average or even poor legions protected or armoured or Macedonian successors with a fair chunk of protected offensive spears) are rarely seen on the wargames table. In those match ups they are fine as they should be. However, people tend to go for armoured superior legionaries or tons of pikemen with or without elephants and protected impact foot are a bit over matched then. And to be fair, when they fought veteran legions they usually lost. I suppose the other way to put it is that they are quite match up dependant as an army.

Nevertheless there are ways to maximise their chances against, say, superior armoured legions. A solid line of superior legions is better than a solid line of warband. The warband might get lucky in the charge but in the melee the legions are at an advantage. So the warband need to avoid that. How to do that? Here's a Gallic army at 800 points:

Inspired Commander, troop commander, allied Gallic commander

3x12 HF warband
3x6 LF
6x4 light spear, sword superior cavalry (1 armoured, 5 protected)

Initiative is 3 so will likely outscout the Romans and go for a relatively open battlefield

Deploy the warband in the centre, 2 deep and 18 wide, not too far forward and deployed early so the Romans can see the target they want. Put the LF in front of them. possibly with a cavalry unit in support if the roman has good skirmishers. If your LF can get the upper hand they can tempt the legions to charge out of the line. Divide the rest of the cavalry on the flanks.

The Roman then has three threats facing him. A mass of warband in the centre and two cavalry wings. If he focusses on the warband the cavalry will swamp his flanks. If he faces off the cavalry the warband can charge in. The legions are good against warband when they are all together but units going in individually end up double overlapped and can easily be in trouble.

You do see warband on the table in competitions but that's often just a unit or two in a combined arms army or in a themed competition (there's one next month for example that allows only one armoured unit in the army).
dave_r
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Re: Warband underpowered

Post by dave_r »

I've used plenty of warbands in the Dacian and done very well with it. Whilst I have the 24 bases of Superior, Protected Impact Foot, Heavy Weapon. I also have around 7 unit of 8 Average Warband.

I haven't found Romans to be an issue as I can put the superior chaps against the veterans and the warband can chew up the average or other units in the army.

I don't see this as unhistorical as armies of the era tended to put their best troops in the centre of the army. The average rabble are usually better on the wings or in terrain where they will shred most troops.

They aren't forgiving and need to be used carefully. Wargamers tend to make better decisions having more knowledge of what will happen than ancient generals who would usually be clueless as to how their troops would fare
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MartinDNeil
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Re: Warband underpowered

Post by MartinDNeil »

Graham - Thanks for the army design and tactical suggestions.

You criticised my proposed rule change as ahistorical but your choice of deployment for the warband, as a two deep line stretching across the board doesn't have a historical feel to me. It fails to exploit the 'superior on impact if deployed deep' rule change, which I assume was instituted to even things up a bit for weak warband. Likewise minimising the warbands in the army is the opposite to what I would expect in a warband army.

It seems to me that the army is designed to win and is not a reflection of the historical reality supposedly reflected in the list. My (supposedly) ahistorical suggestion was for the warband to 'go deep', analogous to a Napoleonic infantry column, thus simulating casualty replacement, morale advantage from depth and staying power in combat.

Dave - yes, I am aware I can avoid the heartache by using Dacians instead, but this is a little beside the point. I can solve a lot of the rules problems by using different armies. On the other hand, we could all avoid the expense of buying and painting new armies by improving the rules. I'd fix the software not the hardware.
dave_r
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Re: Warband underpowered

Post by dave_r »

How well did armies consisting mainly of warband do historically?

They generally lost against Romans.

If we are attempting to make troops better when historically they were poor that isn't a problem is it?
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MartinDNeil
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Re: Warband underpowered

Post by MartinDNeil »

Dave. Indisputably true, but why have a points system if not to adjust for this fact?

All armies should be playable.
dave_r
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Re: Warband underpowered

Post by dave_r »

Martin, It's a fair point well made.

The issue is that warband are very good against some opponents that they historically didn't fight overly much - I'm thinking of the likes of bowmen, spearmen, non-shock cavalry and some others.

So whilst they may appear over-pointed against some of their historical opponents, we do have to cater for the fact that they may face non-historical opponents.

7 points is fairly cheap (around half the points of Roman legionaries) so I don't think they should be any cheaper.
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