Sunday, 7 October 2012

WAB Pictish Army (Part 1)

In complete contrast to my Anglo-Saxon army, here comes something completely different.

If this army is labelled as Pictish, it would be suited as such for up until about AD900. After this point, it becomes an army of the Kingdom of Alba. The differences in appearence, equipment and so on would have been very small, and in game terms it makes very little difference either. 

The strengths and weaknesses of this army are pretty much the opposite of the Anglo-Saxons. Where one is weak, the other is strong.

One great strength of a Pictish / Alban army is its mobility. Nearly all troops have a base movement of 5, so skirmishers can absolutely roar across the table and be in places the enemy might want to be before they're out of the starting blocks. This is amplified if you take the option of using cavalry. I have, as the temptation is too great to avoid. A largeish force of light horse, equipped with javelins and hand weapons, can run rings around ponderous footsoldiers, and will make mincemeat of any unit that breaks.

Another advantage is that this army tends ot have a lot of missile troops. Although javelins predominate, short bows and even crossbows (during the Pictish period) mean that an attacker potentially has to trudge forward through a hail of fire before ever getting to grips with an army that can go on evading him all day long.

Finally, troops are cheap. You can place enough men into the field to turn the game table black. The downside of this of course is that it isn't a cheap army in monetary terms! I was eagerly awaiting Gripping Beast's plastic generic Dark Ages troops, but found that Miniature Design Studio troops will get round this problem.

The biggest single disadvantage is the parlously low Leadership rating of most of the troops. Although you can put a huge army into the field, it's a swine of a job keeping them there! You need to go out of your way to put characters with units and / or use every single bit of rank advantage you can. Fighting a mobile battle, using missile fire and hit and run tactics helps, but if a unit of spear gets into a tussle with a group of Saxon Thegns, there's pretty much only one result.

The other great disadvantage is a dearth of well-armoured infantry. There is basically a single unit of armoured troops (the Toisech) allowed to you in the core units. If you want to, or can afford to, or are willing to swap the cavalry for them, you can add some heavy infantry through the Dogs of War options available.

Most troop types only have bucklers for protection, so against an enemy with missile fire, you can find your large army evaporates very quickly...

As a Pictish army, the spearmen can be designated as pikemen. Whilst this provides an advantage in that they are pretty much guaranteed to strike first, it's worth remembering that pikes and bucklers are a poor answer to heavy infantry. This disappears with the changeover to Alban, along with the crossbow (unfortunately).

No comments:

Post a Comment