Following on from our last game of the DBA Month I have been curious to run this test further to Jon's valid point that Warband could be dubbed a "super troop" as they would appear at least on paper to be a killer of most infantry, escpecially blades.
Below is a simulated melee between 8 elements of Gallic Warband classified as Wb3 fast ordinary and 8 elements of Carthaginian spearmen classified as SP4 Ordinary.
Before we begin I present the combat factors for both protagonists.
Warband - +3 Versus infantry
Tactical factors - +1 for 1 element in rear support
Will pursue 1/2 base width if they win a melee.
Carthaginian Spearmen - +4 Versus infantry
Tactical factors +1 for each friendly element in flank contact (shieldwall)
No rear support and will not pursue a beaten opponent.
According to what I have read in the rules it seems clear that we got a few interpretations wrong relating to when to apply certain tactical factors in a melee so I hope the test helps clarify these issues.
For games sake the Gaul's will start the combat.......
The spear get +1 for the friend on the right flank as a shieldwall support. It makes no difference whatsoever if the friendly unit is otherwise fighting an opponent to its front, this does not cancel the flank support!
Even in two ranks in V3 spear no longer receive any rear support factors so its 5 + 4 + 1 = 10
The warband just receive a +1 for rear support so its 4 + 3 + 1 = 8
The Gaul's roll well with a 5 + 3 + 1 - 2 = 7. Our Spears roll a lousy 2 so even with two flank supports only end up with 8 (sorry wrong dice pips shown!) 4 + 1 + 1 + 2 = 8
The warband are beaten again and must recoil.....
The last elements to fight this round roll and although the spears win with a 9 to 6 result it only forces another pushback.
So after the first round the Warband have charged home but been pushed back in numbers by the mass of spears....
It's a roll off and the scores are 5 v 2 both the gauls and spears receive a +1 for their tactical factors and once again the spearmen win and push back the gauls.
The Gauls roll a 6 this time! they only get to add their combat factor in as the rear support is cancelled so its a 9 for the warband. Our spears roll a 3 but do get to add in a +1 for 1 flank support so we have 4 + 3 + 1 = 8.
This was Jon's point that warband only have to beat blades and spears in a melee and they will destroy them.
Because our warband is fast and not solid it must recoil versus solid foot.... (sorry no photo)
The Spears switch the attack over to the opposite flank to try and create an advantage for the elements to the left.... Pity that the warband rolled a 6 here giving them a 10 v 10, another draw when it could of been a thumping, never the less the Warband must recoil....
Round 4 begins
Technically this is an overlap as both the flanks of the warband are in contact with both elements of spear flank edge. The rule book only seems to have one section relating to this and I will have to ask us all to have a think about this rule. For a normal overlap an element must themselves not be in combat with an enemy element to their own front.... So in the case below the two spear elements are not in combat themselves as they form a second line and do not contribute to the combat that their front element is involved with (spears no longer support from the rear) I would say that this allows the spears to overlap the Warband on each flank.
Ironically this helps the warband out next as the push back provides an overlap agains the spears!
The Gauls roll the max and the spears roll the minimum. Not good for the Carthaginian's!
They get a kicking and are destroyed.
The gauls move back into the fight adding some rear support to the element over on the left flank.
What we have seen here is 7 rounds of combat. The losses are the same on both sides with 2 elements each.
I have to say that I agree with Jon. Warband are indeed a force to be reckoned with but ( and there is always a but) as Mark has mentioned using Auxillia to soften them up could be an option.
I won't run another test (thankfully!) but Mark's point is a good one and when we look at Auxillia they are on a +3 versus infantry which is the same as the Warband BUT importantly they recoil when beaten and are not destroyed like spear or blades. Other than the fact that the Gauls get a +1 for their rear support I would be more happy with some Auxillia up front.
Something else worth a mention. A lot of these results would of gone more in favour of the warband if they were up against blades because blades get nothing for flank or rear support. They do have a better combat factor than Spear (+5 v +4) which helps but in combats that allow for overlaps to occur I think that Warband pose a great danger to blades. This test has clearly shown that Spears can hold their own against warband. 7 round of combat has resulted in a balanced result with neither force holding an advantage.
Also remember that as good as they appear against infantry and even to some degree cavalry the table turns if they come up against Knights. I would add that Psiloi and bow armed infantry would be effective against them too!