Mounted encounters (SBH)

16 May, 2010

Last Thursday I took my two mounted warbands around to John’s to see how they performed. He had rejigged his warband, demoting Sir Cumference and recruiting 6 more knights, all dismounted. They had very regular stats: almost all of them were Q3/C4, except for the standard bearer.

The first encounter was with Isaac’s squadron. I charged into his group and caused a gruesome kill, but he rallied to the flag only metres behind where I’d attacked. In his turn he cut my mounted to pieces, and it was game over in no time. My squadron did not have very high qualities and they really needed to attack and retire in the same turn, which would need 3 actions each. It was a very quick encounter in which the standard proved vital. Also the size of the battlefield worked against my mounted, who fled off the board in two moves (if they failed their morale twice)!

The second encounter was shaping up for a great group firing on one of John’s warband when my leader had a critical failure, and it was John’s turn. He charged into contact and cut me to pieces without a loss! My two Pechenegs went very quickly, as you’d expect when they’re sharpshooters. I never even got to fire!

Well played to John, who in both games kept his warband together and moved in effectively. We probably could have played another game (or two), but instead we talked and I planned a dross warband, of Goblins. This weekend I based them, scavenging two hordes from the HOTT army and the two warband elements. I had some unbased archers, so now I have some 13 small goblins, three archers, two overseers, a leader, a standard-bearer, a musician (witch-doctor?) and three warriors. I’m working on a warband for them which should be interesting, as I’m making the small goblins C1, but gregarious. They should be able act well, but stand to be slaughtered in the opponent’s turn.

I discovered that 15mm diameter bases were too small for regular figures, but good for goblins and dwarves, and I now have quite a stack of figures for SBH, as I decided to turn a medieval human horde for DBA into SBH figures. John was talking of taking some really crap figures as ballast, so that it would be harder to get the warband to 50% casualties (provided the dross stayed out of range of any gruesome kills!). Now I’ve settled on 18mm washers for the human foot, I’m ready to tidy up the bases, which makes a big difference in getting a disparate collection of figures look like they belong together (many of them were samples).

While we get familiar with the rules we’re likely to stay with 300 point warbands, but my assessment of mounted after these two encounters is that they’re too expensive to use easily on their own; however, one, or perhaps two, might work as support to some solid foot. Mounted leaders, in particular, are too expensive to work well in a 300 point warband. Still, perhaps I should try again; I did have some bad luck! Certainly, I’d rejig the shooty warband to give them long range shooting, as otherwise they really risk getting cut up by the enemy too easily. Alternatively, I need ones with higher quality so they can move in, fire and retire.

  • The Importance of Terrain

I should add that yesterday as I set to rebasing my SBH figures, or basing more figures for SBH, my 10 year old son and his younger friend were using the figures for a game of their own. Terrain was much in demand, and they really wanted more than the five trees that I had. They supplemented with the camps from DBA/HOTT, which added an economic element, as these became farms or supply-trains to feed their forces. I’m sure they would have been happier if I had a few buildings done or some better dungeon tiles; it’s a reminder of how important the visual aspect of the hobby is, and how much a part of that is terrain (which I’ve yet to do very well!).

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