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Horse archers (CL)

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Horse archers (CL)

Post by starkadder on Thu Jun 12, 2014 10:20 am

I have a Seljuq Turk army for use in 350pt games.
I've had four games against a Byzantine opponent.

Today I was annihilated by a single CL unit that destroyed 2CLs and the Noble CM with attached C-i-c in one bound and the follow-ups.

I had worked 2CLs around his flank, faced the same units with 2CLs with the CM as back-up. Not a single hit from five rounds of close range archery. This I can accept as "bad luck" although I seem to be cursed.

The army composition is 2 Commands, 5CL, 3CM, 2FL and 4S. The FLs are generally detailed to protect the baggage.

The overall question is, what did I do that was so wrong? With respect, Impetus does not allow for tip and run light cavalry tactics. You seem to be obliged to go in close, hope you get a few hits and then charge. This plays against my knowledge of Seljuq tactics. It is also becoming frustrating. The iron rule of Fire-Move or Move-Fire but never Move-Fire-Move (a true horse archer tactic) kills me every time with two commands where my Break point is either 6 or 8 depending on the command.

Are Seljuqs just a dud army in Impetus? I love them and won't stop using them but it is becoming disheartening.
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Re: Horse archers (CL)

Post by Granicus Gaugamela on Thu Jun 12, 2014 1:10 pm

How did it work?

Unless you were nicely bunched up how did he follow through to get to grips with you? He can't shoot again, he can only contact and melee so if he's hitting you from the flank then he's rolling 6s for followup, if you're spread out or hitting him on opposing flanks then I'm struggling to visualise how one unit managed to contact all of your guys.

Looking at Seljuks your CLs are 3VBU so a single hit is deadly if your cohesion test roll is 5+ (i.e. VBU3 - 1 hit = crit number of 2, fail that by 3 or more to destroy the unit) but for the CM with General his CLs, even if VBU4, would have had to had an exceptional run of luck to beat you (barring a flank attack). Your CMs are either VBU 5 or 6, +1 for the General gives you a base of 6 or 7 less hits he scored. Even if he is a VBU 4 + Impetus 1 unit he only has 5 dice at you, so unless he scored yahtzee of 6s to get 5 hits you can't be destroyed in 1 melee, and even if he did score 5 hits then you'd need to be a VBU 5 unit with the General to get down to a crit number of 1 and then you'd have to roll a 6.

And if luck is running against you that badly then yep, you're screwed.

Note this is assuming you haven't suffered a whole bunch of losses to make his CL have an easier time of it.

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Re: Horse archers (CL)

Post by starkadder on Thu Jun 12, 2014 11:08 pm

How it worked.

Two CLs (VBU3) behind a single Byzantine CL at short range. No hits.

One CL (VBU4) to the front of the same CL at short range. No hits.

Lose initiative.

Byzantine CL charges to front. I get no hits. He gets one. I bounce, interpenetrating the slightly offset CL (VBU4) behind. His follow-up contacts. Again I get no hits. He gets two. I bounce.

His follow-up then contacts my C-i-c CM (VBU6) on the edge (less than 5mm but a contact). Again no hits. He gets two hits. I bounce.

Then the whole rigmarole resumes only this time I'm disordered and damaged as well.

One CL (VBU3) effectively destroyed a whole command. I am perfectly relaxed about bad luck and it was a famous victory for him.

I'm not complaining. I want to stress that. It's just that, as a former rider and once very keen archer and someone who has actually has done some study of this style of Parthian tactics, I find it alarming that my most effective option would appear to be a brainless charge. Trying to use them historically appears to be a total loser.

Unless I'm doing something dramatically wrong.
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Re: Horse archers (CL)

Post by Granicus Gaugamela on Thu Jun 12, 2014 11:27 pm

5 rounds of no hits is the crux of it mate, you had him surrounded and logically should have cleaned house except the Gods just thought "nah, bit too much hubris in this one" and gave you a bit of a smacking.

Consign those dice to the corner of hell reserved for such bad rollers. There's a pile of red dice that need a friend...

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Re: Horse archers (CL)

Post by starkadder on Fri Jun 13, 2014 12:00 am

It still begs a question, GG.

The heart of movement in Impetus is the Fire-Move or Move-Fire or Move-move-fire etc.

Seljuqs, Parthians, Huns, Avars, Mongols, Scythian - the horse armies all worked off Move-Fire-Move - the one thing they can't do. 27pts of very expensive cavalry has to get so close to a jumped up Pecheneg that it's worthless having a bow at all. And because you can't react to a reaction you get to stand still and take it like a man if you're within 5U.

I can work flanks like anything. That's not a problem. I can't seem to replicate the provocative frontal fire approach without blowing myself up.

Meh, I'll keep trying. At least I know I'm not "gaming" a result. (I'm looking at all the suspiciously mobile shield wall players)
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Re: Horse archers (CL)

Post by Jim Webster on Fri Jun 13, 2014 6:54 am

If you look on the old forum there was one discussion where people were asking whether CL needed bringing to heel because people were using a 'cab rank' of light horsearchers to overwhelm and destroy the enemy who could do nothing in response.

So it could be the rules are about right  Shocked 

 Wink 

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Re: Horse archers (CL)

Post by starkadder on Fri Jun 13, 2014 7:28 am

Cab-ranking is a "gamey" solution as far as I can see, Jim. I don't think I could bring myself to do it. Unless, of course, I am left with no option. Embarassed 

All I'm suggesting is that "move-fire-move" is at the heart of a body of light horse archers. I'm happy to take a minus (although that's still a bit weird for different reasons). Even a reduced move total if attempting it.

Not being able to do it at all seems odd.
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Re: Horse archers (CL)

Post by pw4379 on Fri Jun 13, 2014 7:31 am

Sorry guys, but what is "Cab-ranking"?

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Re: Horse archers (CL)

Post by pw4379 on Fri Jun 13, 2014 7:37 am

I'm pretty new to Impetus so stand to be corrected, but isn't it a case of moving to point blank range and then using the evade if charged?
Of course this will work less well against other CL but I would expect that.
Dice at point blank range as significantly better than short.
 Question

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Re: Horse archers (CL)

Post by Tarty on Fri Jun 13, 2014 7:44 am

Jims talking about a group of units one behind the other that take turns at moving and firing at you in the same phase..…nasty business.
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Re: Horse archers (CL)

Post by pw4379 on Fri Jun 13, 2014 7:45 am

Ah, I see

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Re: Horse archers (CL)

Post by Tarty on Fri Jun 13, 2014 7:48 am

Can be dangerous but this tactic can backfire…especially if caught on the flank unable to evade. CL toe jam. Embarassed 
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Re: Horse archers (CL)

Post by Jim Webster on Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:49 am

Tarty wrote:Can be dangerous but this tactic can backfire…especially if caught on the flank unable to evade. CL toe jam. Embarassed 

Like all tactics it can leave you open to a decent counter  Twisted Evil 

Remember that if you go to within 5u frontally and don't advance further can expect to be charged, and you cannot evade that charge. This is fair enough, that's what flanks are for  Shocked 

And this is the advantage of multiple commands in that it allows you to spread out further and explore the other army's flanks

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Re: Horse archers (CL)

Post by starkadder on Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:56 am

Tarty wrote:Jims talking about a group of units one behind the other that take turns at moving and firing at you in the same phase..…nasty business.

Hmm. Sounds like a certain Celtiberian army, I know, Tarty.  Very Happy 
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Re: Horse archers (CL)

Post by Jim Webster on Fri Jun 13, 2014 9:06 am

The weakness of cab-ranks is that they make you draw up deep, hence your own flanks are open. It's up to your opponent to take advantage of this  Very Happy 

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Re: Horse archers (CL)

Post by starkadder on Fri Jun 13, 2014 9:50 am

[quote="Jim Webster"]
Tarty wrote:Remember that if you go to within 5u frontally and don't advance further [you] can expect to be charged, and you cannot evade that charge. This is fair enough, that's what flanks are for  Shocked 

Which gets back to the central issue. You're obliged to charge. My point is that "Parthian" tactics were meant to be provocative and to incite the enemy to pursue. Instead I have to chew on flanks. It's easier against impetuous cavalry admittedly but I can do that with a rock and a brightly coloured ribbon.

The pin-pricking is meant to aggravate, annoy and disorder. My CLs are not battle cavalry (as in assault).

As I wrote earlier, I will adapt. But they won't be Seljuqs anymore.
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Re: Horse archers (CL)

Post by Tarty on Fri Jun 13, 2014 10:03 am

Personally I think it's pretty hard to run an army like this with the competition restrictions….it is possible but you do need to be careful with it. We need to have some bigger games on a larger table Starkers this is when these guys really shine in my opinion and can be used the way they're supposed to be used.
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Re: Horse archers (CL)

Post by starkadder on Fri Jun 13, 2014 10:14 am

I'd agree with that, Tarty.

It may simply be a 500pt army and I'm building it for that.

Anyway, I still love them. And they are scarily topical.
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Re: Horse archers (CL)

Post by Granicus Gaugamela on Fri Jun 13, 2014 11:36 am

Starkers, you just need some better dice!

2 Cl doing the flank (and preferably rear) thing doing a disruption or maybe one damage followed by the CM going in (no evasion due to CL in rear) and then doing one hit and pushing the enemy back which breaks them because of the well positioned CL and you're grinning like there's no tomorrow.

Almost Willoesque.

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Re: Horse archers (CL)

Post by RogerC on Fri Jun 13, 2014 11:43 am

I still don't really understand the original sequence of events. Why didn't your CL evade the Byzantine CL charge? Did it contact you on a side edge, so never came in your ZOC?

Often, CL evasion is routine, if circumstances permit, unless you think that you'll not be harmed by staying put or the evade itself is damaging (eg because it would take your CL off the table). Positioning your CL so it can evade threats is always something to aim for. It isn't always possible, of course. However, the criticism is the absence of move-fire-move. Isn't that usually achieved by move-fire-evade with the evade being in the opponent's phase?

The ability of CL to evade also means an enemy must make use of potential charges, rather than 'real' charges, or run the risk of the charge finishing without contact being made and ending up disordered (so the evading CL can return to point blank without triggering a reaction). Since a pottential charge doesn't have the benefit of the charge bonus, it is less likely that the enemy will reach units behind the evading CL, at least without a second move.

I also don't really understand the combat with your CM. You say you got no hits and he got 2. True, you were unlucky. But your critical number for teh cohesion test is 5 (VBU=6, minus 2 hits, plus one for the C-in-C). Unless you roll a 6, the combat is a draw, and nobody moves. If you roll a 6, you are very unlucky (and face the test for the C-in-C being lost). Hadn't you any Rolls of Destiny? Saving one or two RoDs for when your general gets a 6 on a cohesion test is, for me, one of the main purposes of RoDs.

Maybe there is was good reason why your description of events makes no mention of evades. If so, all this may be stating the obvious, and I apologise for that. In that case, I just have to agree that you were very unlucky, several times in a row.

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Re: Horse archers (CL)

Post by Gaius Cassius on Fri Jun 13, 2014 12:38 pm

You had very bad luck star. Really bad luck. Not just poor melee dice but also some bad CT rolls. The combination is impossible to win with no matter how good a player you are. Basically all your high rolls came on your CTss

But a couple of things. You didn`t have to stand with your CL and accept melee with the Byzantine CL. Your CL could have evaded. Also, your CM should have demolished the enemy CL.
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Re: Horse archers (CL)

Post by Jim Webster on Fri Jun 13, 2014 2:01 pm

I meant to ask the scale as well, horse archers do better in 15mm on big tables

But I've fought Seljuks against Byzantines using Impetus and it's very close fought

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Re: Horse archers (CL)

Post by Tarty on Fri Jun 13, 2014 9:57 pm

He plays 28mm Jim and probably under 350pts tournament guidelines with two commands. 6x4 table.
It's a hard ask not to get boxed in.
( excuse me for answering this for you Starkers :-) )
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Re: Horse archers (CL)

Post by starkadder on Fri Jun 13, 2014 11:02 pm

Not a problem, Tarty. Smile

I haven't used 15mm in twenty-five years. Jim.
If I did, I would still use a 28mm basing.
It would look spectacular.

Thanks everyone for showing such interest. I will keep on smacking the infidel Byzantine scum as long as my little tin legs will carry me.

Now if I could only get through the running hedgehogs that are Tarty's Celtiberians. That is a whole different problem.


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Re: Horse archers (CL)

Post by Jim Webster on Sat Jun 14, 2014 6:09 am

Tarty wrote:He plays 28mm Jim and probably under 350pts tournament guidelines with two commands. 6x4 table.
It's a hard ask not to get boxed in.
( excuse me for answering this for you Starkers :-) )

My best advice to him would be to ensure he fights on a bigger table. But two eight by four pieces of chipboard, cut them down to six by four and put them together so you're playing on an eight by six table  Smile 

That's the way we used to do it with 25mm figures back in the day. Now we play 15mm on six by four and that's fine for that size of figures

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