Herlancians vs Orcs: <1000 points, Pike and Shot

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EricTheRed
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Herlancians vs Orcs: <1000 points, Pike and Shot

Post by EricTheRed » Thu Jul 14, 2016 4:25 pm

I'm playing both sides of this game in a digital format. The idea was to experiment with a helancian army imitating a 16th century army: Thus the name, pike and shot. This is also my first game with a decent understanding of the rules, so I be making nasty tactical mistakes. Input on tactics, rules, and so forth are quite welcome:

Orcs:

1 Young Bull (75, 1 triangle)
2 Hags (70, 2 triangles, .5 diamond)
30 grunts (180, 1 block)
Command unit (13)
15 saws (255, 1 diamond)
6 bowmen (12, .5 block, .25 diamond)
6 slingers (24, .5 diamond)
3 trolls (84,.5 diamond)
3 troll masters (12)
5 tabers (105, .5 diamond)
5 tabers (105, .5 diamond)
1 piper (9)
1 piper (9)

total: 989 points

Herlancians:
1 garrison master (w/pike) (75, 1 triangle, .5 star) +?
1 wizard (50, 1 triangle)
25 guard (w/pike) (200, 1 block)
command piece (14)
10 guard (w/spear) (75, 1 block)
10 gaurd (w/spear) (75, 1 block)
20 archers (120, 1 block, .5 diamond)
6 heavy riders (90, 1 block, .5 diamond)
command piece 18
6 war dogs (96,1 block, .25 diamond)
6 pack masters (30 points)
1 Bolt Thrower (35, .5 diamond)
1 Bolt Thrower (35, .5 diamond)

total: 913

My numbers appear to have been off, and I lost the original list. But this test is about a particular strategy for the Herlancians, so I actually don't feel bad that they are lagging in points.

Magic:
Hag 1: crack in reality, Raging Madness
Hag 2: crack in reality, Turmoil
Wizard: Cohesion, Tranquilty

The files:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B7_qf ... mtfeEtDT0E

As of this post, the battle is not over. How ever, the orcs are looking in pretty sorry shape: 5 tabers, 2 trolls, 2 pipers, and a hag remain. The Herlancians have most their dogs (without packmasters but the good loyalty roll), all their ranged, and half of a (pikeless) pike and half of a spear. and yet I wonder if the orcs can still pull this off. Or should they just try to save the hab and the tabers?

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Dave
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Re: Herlancians vs Orcs: <1000 points, Pike and Shot

Post by Dave » Thu Jul 14, 2016 11:39 pm

Very good and I enjoyed that :)

I will be updating and giving a full and proper reply to this post tomorrow, as I'm just about to go to bed, but it was great little game to look at :)
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Re: Herlancians vs Orcs: <1000 points, Pike and Shot

Post by Dave » Sat Jul 16, 2016 10:39 am

Well I'm back and ready to make my full response to your post mate :)

Just a couple of notes to start off with:

Firstly, Characters have to go in the middle front rank of a unit, as they are leading their men into battle.

Page 60 - Characters Joining Groups of Warriors
When a character model joins a group they must be placed as much as possible in the centre of the front row of that group. A command model must also be placed in roughly the same spot in a unit. It is up to the controlling player how they arrange their special models in their groups of fighters. If there is no more room in the front row, for any more characters or its command model, place these special models in the second row instead.


I also noticed that both sides really were in breach of this little rule here underneath:

Page 20 - Step 5 - Deploying Gaming Pieces
For a player to hold their position on the gaming board, 1 in every 5 gaming pieces of theirs they deploy in their own zone, must ALWAYS be set on the foot of their zone's boundary line, which is facing their opponent. If this vital ground was not held, there would be nothing to stop the enemy from creeping forward.


It's a little rule that a lot of people miss, but it's important because it stops missile based armies from setting up right at the back of their deployment zone and avoiding combat as much as possible.

The last note was that the Herlanceian Heavy Riders looked a little to mobile at times with them jumping around on the board a bit. Moving pieces around using the point to point system can make units highly maneuverable, but they will still have to pivot round when they reach their new location on the board. This will greatly decrease a unit's movement, even cutting it down by half.

One good tactic with heavy cavalry is just to charge them in their first turn at a soft target. Even if they don't reach their target in their first turn they will continue charging until they do, and if they get charged themselves, their attackers will feel the full force of the Herlanceian Lances!

My Thoughts on the Battle
I think the Orcs where doing some interesting things with their Units sizes, they were either too big or too small. However, the Orc unit in the middle however was about right, but still a little on the small side. The huge Orc unit on the left of the army was just too big and unwieldy and other smaller units on the right were just to small to take any damage really, but it was good to see what you didn't miss the 'It' special rule :)

The Herlanceians however were far better organised and as you said right from the start had a plan, which was evident in how they were deployed. There units weren't too small and not so big that they were unwieldy. The Herlanceians also played to their strengs, which was to sit back and shoot their enemies as they rushed toward them, which worked well for them in this battle. They could improve upon this army list by getting rid of a unit of warriors for a unit of archers though, because they would have added to the Herlanceians' fire power and if push comes to shove as it often does, they can fight too. You might want to check out their special rule of 'Mass Volley Shooting' on page **.

Page 37 - Mass Volley Shots
Most missile units only shoot off their arrows from their first rank; however more dedicated archers spend high moons of training to learn how to 'Mass Volley Shoot'. This unleashes all their arrows at once, and creates a shower of death to rain down upon their enemies.

Unit pieces with this special ability stated within their profiles can shoot at a target with all the models they have in their group. However, for a mass volley shot to be possible, they still must remain stationary for an entire turn, and the enemy target cannot be within 6 inches of that missile piece.


The other thing I would have liked to have seen was that the Orcs have some brutish characters who have some great killing power! So if I was the Orcs I would be looking to make more use of them in combat.

It was a great first battle report/game test EricTheRed. You seemed to have a great grasp of the fundamentals of the rules, and you also have a good understanding of the more advanced tactics and applying them to the Herlanceians.

Btw, lol and if I was the Orcs I would call it a day there and go home whilst some of them still could ;)
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Re: Herlancians vs Orcs: <1000 points, Pike and Shot

Post by EricTheRed » Mon Jul 18, 2016 4:52 pm

Yeah, I kind of flubbed the characters positions in groups of warriors -- I originally thought you kept heroes in the very center and moved them to the very front when combat started. Your reference clears that out.

went back and checked out the deployment rules. Of note is that table size doesn't matter... its distance from the other side's front line that matters. That probably really hurt the orcs -- initial distance was over 30 inches, I believe.

Deployment really is a big part of the game, and it got largely ignored here, much to the detriment of the orcs. I'll play around with it more in future games. I'll also play around with terrain a lot more.

Special moves early in the game weren't well recorded: the Calvary actually used a number of reorganizing maneuvers to move around. That's pretty much the whole reason that command piece was purchased. And they spent most there time trying to ensure a quick taber flank didn't end the game.

I will happily admit to playing around with unit sizes, and trying to get overlapping going. I'll point out The unusually small orc unit are all archers without mass volley: I was trying to maximize surface area (and thus volley power) while minimizing cost. Mass volley was key to the longbowmen, and I'm not sure even believe in archers without it at this point.

The trick to replacing spearmen with archers would be damage counts: without their spears, the little spear units actually aren't large enough to flank. I built the things mostly as defensive sacrificial units to protect wealth of vulnerable hard hitters In my line up. So I'm fairly happy with them... but it would be interesting the build the army with a heavier archer count.

I'm a little more familiar with beasts rules, and I might have wanted to charge the trolls earlier -- I didn't understand exactly how beasts worked until we had the magic with the dogs.

Thoughts on the units used:

Saws: Saws are mostly offense with little defense: they're expensive and against as mediocre fighters as herlancians, grunts give most of the bang for a third of the buck. Saws are probably best deployed against beasts and other especially tough foes, which this particular lineup is really doesn't have a need of.

Orc Bowmen: I really didn't see them used, but I was left highly unimpressed at their functionality as archers. However, they are dirt cheap, and may be useful in making cheap throw away units to provoke others into flanking.

Tabers: I'm fascinated with tabers: a quick beast unit that isn't held back by pack masters. I didn't quite get them figured out today, but I feel like If I had been less timid they'd have quickly traded one calvary unit for one taber unit and started wrecking havoc.

Slingers: The slingers just kept failing me. I wanted them to poison the dogs, and they just kept being out of range or missing (and I wasn't even halving the hits for a loose moving unit). In the end they charged the dogs, which got most of them killed but accomplished its goal of taking out the dogs... until the wizard saved the barking bacon.

Magic: I really haven't gotten into magic users yet. Perhaps its the game size, perhaps its the factions offered. Not really sure.

Pikemen: I loved the damage on the pikes. They were one of my stars for this game, and the behaved accordingly, scoring the killing blows on both of the large orc units (though they had help from others). They did loose their pikes in the process though, and up until then maneuvered like a semi truck, and put some serious requirements on strategy. I'm not sure they would be as valuable in a bigger battle. Pikemen need a way to change facing ... unless you're talking about the Macedonian pikes rather than swiss pikes.

Spearmen: I'm really liking spear-men at this point. Perhaps its the offensive power they give me, perhaps its just the success we had today, but they're looking a like a solid unit.

Bolt Throwers: I was kind of hoping for more. The stupid things miss a full 2/3rds of the time, which means that if you fire 6 times you'll only hit twice. This army was based on 16th century formations, and the bolt throwers don't appear to be a good substitute for cannon.

Archers: Once again, a little disappointed, but not too badly. I was hoping to see fire power, and I saw it, but this game really isn't made to be decided at range. Which isn't a bad thing. I didn't get to see the archers in actual combat though -- they are apparently able to stand and fight just fine.

Heavy Riders: big base size is a disadvantage. The heavy riders were outgunned, but performed fairly well.

Thoughts on base size:
Wow this is tricky, and a dimension of play all by itself. Where do you put big units, where do you put small ones, and how big or small do you make them?

I didn't find big units to be unwieldy as much as I found them to be vulnerable: units tend to be defeated either when flanked or when they buckle, which means that two small units are in some ways tougher than a single big unit: you can sacrifice one and hit with the other. big units do have advantages in overlap and corner to corner combat though -- its really a tricky part of the game.

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Re: Herlancians vs Orcs: <1000 points, Pike and Shot

Post by Dave » Mon Jul 18, 2016 8:33 pm

EricTheRed wrote:went back and checked out the deployment rules. Of note is that table size doesn't matter... its distance from the other side's front line that matters. That probably really hurt the orcs -- initial distance was over 30 inches, I believe.
:o Those poor Orcs eh :) Really combat should kick off out about 3rd or 4th turn for ground troops and your totally right, Orcs are a combat army and need to get themselves into fight asap. You could dash them and with a bit of luck get them into combat on their 2nd turn, but that would cost you endurance, which would cost the Orcs later in combat. If you do that tactic I would check out Dashing on page 27, Frenzy on page 66 and Exhaustion 69.
EricTheRed wrote:Special moves early in the game weren't well recorded: the Calvary actually used a number of reorganizing maneuvers to move around. That's pretty much the whole reason that command piece was purchased. And they spent most there time trying to ensure a quick taber flank didn't end the game.

I will happily admit to playing around with unit sizes, and trying to get overlapping going. I'll point out The unusually small orc unit are all archers without mass volley: I was trying to maximize surface area (and thus volley power) while minimizing cost. Mass volley was key to the longbowmen, and I'm not sure even believe in archers without it at this point.
Orc Archers are just rubbish, but come in handy some times to take pot shots at characters who wonder off from their main armies protection.
EricTheRed wrote:Saws: Saws are mostly offense with little defense: they're expensive and against as mediocre fighters as herlancians, grunts give most of the bang for a third of the buck. Saws are probably best deployed against beasts and other especially tough foes, which this particular lineup is really doesn't have a need of.
Ye Saws are a little over kill in this size of battle, but sometimes you need a unit with a little more umph.
EricTheRed wrote:Tabers: I'm fascinated with tabers: a quick beast unit that isn't held back by pack masters. I didn't quite get them figured out today, but I feel like If I had been less timid they'd have quickly traded one calvary unit for one taber unit and started wrecking havoc.
We call these units Fluff. They are not as tough as your main units, but in the fluff wars on the flanks, they are pretty good. Fast and with a good number of decent attacks and they do -1 agility to an enemy's save, which is very good for fighting other fast fluffy pieces out on the flanks. Just a good unit.
EricTheRed wrote:Slingers: The slingers just kept failing me. I wanted them to poison the dogs, and they just kept being out of range or missing (and I wasn't even halving the hits for a loose moving unit). In the end they charged the dogs, which got most of them killed but accomplished its goal of taking out the dogs... until the wizard saved the barking bacon.
Slingers are great for killing cavalry and monsters, their secret is there poison :twisted: Dont shoot normal troops with them, its a waste of their time.
EricTheRed wrote:Pikemen: I loved the damage on the pikes. They were one of my stars for this game, and the behaved accordingly, scoring the killing blows on both of the large orc units (though they had help from others). They did loose their pikes in the process though, and up until then maneuvered like a semi truck, and put some serious requirements on strategy. I'm not sure they would be as valuable in a bigger battle. Pikemen need a way to change facing ... unless you're talking about the Macedonian pikes rather than swiss pikes.
Pikemen are a High Risk vs High Reward unit. Yes on their own they would get murdered, but in the middle of an army with their flanks protected, their killing power is awesome! Especially with a Garrison Master in there with the Reroll attack special ability there have ;)
EricTheRed wrote:Bolt Throwers: I was kind of hoping for more. The stupid things miss a full 2/3rds of the time, which means that if you fire 6 times you'll only hit twice. This army was based on 16th century formations, and the bolt throwers don't appear to be a good substitute for cannon.
The rule of thumb for Bolt Throwers is that you need at least 3+ of them to be effective, and you should really take them to knock out monsters or to keep your enemy's flying pieces grounded. Against normal troops on foot you won't see a good return for the points you spend on them. However, they are worth it against high value targets like cavalry and chariots.
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