1101. Think of troops in terms of whether they are committed or have flexibility. Troops are committed when their options have narrowed so they cannot reasonably change their course of action. Troops are pinned when they cannot move laterally or to the rear without grave risk (usually from exposing themselves to a flank or rear charge), and they may also be pinned where they could move off but doing so would expose friends to grave danger. Note that Skirmishers can turn about and move off, so they are hard to pin.
1110. â€œMissile Troops:â€When unable to stand safely in the battle front, a column of missile troops can be used in a rear support role. BGs of 4 MF shooters are useful in this role, and if Drilled can often manoeuvre to take shots at the enemy through gaps.
1120: â€œFlanks:â€ Flank and rear charges by any non-Skirmisher troop type are more powerful than any advantages of morale, armour or weaponry in a frontal combat. LH flank charges on formed troops are worthwhile only if they can make a big impact, usually in terms of giving an already engaged enemy a -1 POA for â€œfighting enemy in 2 directionsâ€ â€“ this can allow your forces engaging them to the front to quickly achieve a decisive advantage. Overlapping an enemy is not as potent as a flank charge but is considerably easier to achieve and has a more immediate effect than flank manoeuvres because manoeuvring to attack a flank can cost you two rounds of missed Melee. Even if uncontested, flank charges usually take forethought one to three turns ahead of time, and can in turn expose you to interception if the enemy is able to prepare. It's not the easiest thing to manage except perhaps on the end of the enemy line. Even charging into the flank of pursuers demands positioning in anticipation of the situation.
1121. Consider a flank secure if no one can hit you there for 4 turns, or you could effectively prevent the attack without detrimental effects.
1122. Turning and rolling up a flank takes time; if you can manage it, swing into the rear instead. You want speed and either Undrilled Cavalry, Drilled MF or best of all Drilled Cavalry for short-range envelopments to strike the enemy in rear charges and inflict negative CT modifiers. LH can get there far more easily but are not as rapidly decisive, and can find themselves beaten off even when fighting against an engaged enemyâ€™s flank or rear.
1123. Narrow outflanking moves can be blocked, intercepted, or flanked in turn by flank guards, but at least that pressures the enemy to respond. Calculate the timing on wider outflanking moves to make sure you will be able to get back into action in time or at least exert forcing pressure on the enemy. Even fair fights between Superior troops can be over in 2 or 3 combat rounds.
1124. Decide ahead of time whether or not to provide flank cover to counter overlaps or only against flank charges. Position flank guards or distant flank coverage carefully to be sure you can intercept but avoid unwanted engagement.
1130: â€œAssaults:â€ Calculate potential enemy charges and intercepts (Skirmishers take note!) and rounds of shooting you will take in an assault. Donâ€™t forget the enemy shooters can step forward to put you in better range. While much of manoeuvring can be calculated to a certainty, victory and defeat in combat are subject to the fortunes of war. However, you can manoeuvre to prepare to mitigate the consequences of a bad result.
1131. Look for ways to disrupt the enemy before the charge. Shooting is one way, forcing LH to evade through and disrupt them is another example. Disrupting Spearmen and Pikemen first is golden for Lancers or Swordsmen.
1132. Try to position screening Skirmishers so they will have room to evade behind instead of on top of the attacking heavy troops. Withdraw them on a timely basis for use to the flanks, unless you have shock troops and want to keep them screened against shooting while trying for an uncontrolled charge.
1133. Whether you win or lose in an Impact is not affected by whether you have friendlies on either flank, but whether the enemy unit you are fighting wins or loses IS affected by the results against friends fighting alongside you. Having a weak BG charge alongside a strong one makes sure you are not overlapped in Melee, but can hand the enemy enough net hits to offset your favorable net hits and the enemy avoids losing the Impact. Once a friendly BG in contact is losing, it will likely continue to lose and test even if another BG joins in overlap, although if the friendly BG is losing by only 1 hit then if both rolls from the new BG hit then the enemy loses as well and tests. If possible, it can be better to instead position for a flank charge next turn into the flank of the enemy either as it stands or after it pursues.
1134. If you are weak in Impact but good in Melee, consider charging on a somewhat narrower frontage to minimize the total hits you might take, and then expand a file before the Melee Phase. If you have an advantage in Impact, or just armour or other disadvantage in Melee, try to spread out and roll maximum Impact Phase dice unless you would crowd another BG or it would result in an undesirable rout or pursuit path for your BG.
1135. Pairing missile troops with close combat troops near them able to use their ability to Intercept to deter charges by the enemy being shot at is an effective technique and can be the basis for brigading troops.
1136. Pairing LH and heavier mounted to charge together makes it hard for opposing Cavalry or LH to use evade tactics as they may be caught and entangled by LH and then caught by the heavier horse whether the LH hang on or rout.
1137. Consider creative use of gaps, such as Skirmisher filler between BGs that can evade or move away to then be replaced by expansion (during manoeuvre or in Melee) of adjoining heavy BGs, or opening 2-wide gaps to allow other BGs to advance or retire through.
1138. â€œBreak Off:â€ In the joint action mounted must break off from steady foot unless they fit an exception. Break off is good against close combat foot if you are better in Impact, but disadvantageous if your advantage is in Melee, breaking off in your own turn gives the enemy a chance to shoot in their turn, or if you take a cohesion loss because you canâ€™t break off or you are placed in a bad tactical position after your break off move. Where mounted and foot are fighting each other, both sides should look at what will happen on break offs and see how they could turn it to advantage. For â€œGhilmanâ€types, breaking off when unsuccessful at disruption allows an opportunity to bolster and resume shooting until ready to close again.
If moving a BG to block an enemy break off, note that if you block them at 1 MU or less the mounted still take the cohesion loss but donâ€™t move back at all, so melee continues next bound or they are subject to pursuit if they rout while in contact. If your mounted routs due to incomplete break off, note that you can move commanders to get in range of nearby friendly BGs before they do their test for routing friends.
1140. â€œDefense:â€ Try to force the enemy into a position where to engage you he needs to accept overlaps, converging shooting, unfavorable terrain, or other disadvantages.
1141. Weaken a strong attack by pinning, turning or slowing the BGs on its wings with flank threats or other distractions.
1149. â€œOrbs:â€ I have used Orb a couple of times, but most players have not. Itâ€™s an almost immobile purely defensive formation used by Pikemen or Spearmen to make a stand when threatened with double overlaps or from several directions. It can divert, obstruct and delay the enemy, though it is easy to bypass since it has no restricted area and cannot charge until it passes a CMT and leaves Orb formation.
Orbs have disadvantages. They are almost immobile. To form them requires a CMT and the presence of unbroken enemy troops within 6 MU. If 3 or 4 bases wide it must contract to 2 wide as part of the Orb move and that is precluded in an enemy restricted area (which is often when you would most want Orb). Since it is by definition 2 wide that means only 3 ranks (i.e. 6 bases) count for hits per base. So 2 shooting hits force a CT.
Orbs of 5-8 bases are the most efficient on a per-side basis â€“ they fight in a single file 2-deep and canâ€™t be overlapped. So itâ€™s a 2 base vs. 2 base fight in most cases. Unfortunately, Orbs donâ€™t get ranks-based POAs but can cancel enemy POAs normally if steady. Orbs of 4 bases or fewer fight 1 base per side, with no second rank, Orbs of 9 or more bases fight with 3 bases per side, 2 front rank and one second rank base. This means the attacker will likely have 4 melee dice vs. 3.
1150. Clearing Skirmishers: Cavalry can drive back and eventually catch or drive LF of LH off the board, though LH is harder. Using stronger LH, or LH and LF in combination, is more efficient. Clearing Skirmishers with forced evades in the Impact Phase can clear the way for you to Second Move the battle line.
1160. Linked Melees; Independent Melees: Combats more than 3 MU apart are independent since even routs or commander deaths donâ€™t have a direct impact on each other. Linked Melees include melees in cohesion test range of each other, which can result in a chain reaction of Cohesion Tests, and multi-BG close combats where a BG is engaging more than one enemy BG.
1161. Multi-BG Melees are common when battle lines meet. One important effect is that front-rank Commanders remain in the front-rank until ALL melees are ended or everyone on one side of the Melee has done a break off. Another is that a BG fighting two enemy BGs wonâ€™t pursue if just one routs. It will get overlaps on its other opponent, but the routing BG wonâ€™t be hit in pursuit and the gap wonâ€™t be exploited.
1162. When a BG in a battle line fails, the overlaps on its neighbors can be devastating. The only way to reverse morale disintegration is with bolstering, which can recover a wavering line and help swing the fight the other way. Committing a Commander to the front rank can be crippling if other BGs go unbolstered.
1170. Shooting Arc: Note that in effective range targets directly ahead are the priority but otherwise itâ€™s the closest. Shooting arc is at maximum width only at extreme range.
Created originally by Mike K and posted on the Slitherine FoG Forum, and appearing here with his kind permission. This is a live WIKI version of the document and so you welcome to edit or add to the content on any of these pages.
If you are adding totally new items to the list of tips, or putting an opposing viewpoint forward for one of the existing tips please do so by adding a new section using letters to supplement the original numerical sequence. ie:
(original point)-407. Non-skirmisher horse are usually 4 bases for shooting Cavalry and good Lancers, while other Cavalry and Cataphracts are often preferred as 6s if affordable.
(new addition) -407.a Fielding large numbers of low-grade cavalry in 4's can allow you to greatly increase unit count, and improve your chances of initiating flank attacks in which their lesser quality/armour becomes irrelevant.
You can use colours if you wish but it's not obligatory. If you are clarifying or enhancing one of the existing tips, feel free to edit the existing point.
The "locked" Original FoG Tactical Tips is available through that link.
1. Army Choice
2. General Tips
3. Doctrine and Drill
4. BG Sizes
8. Battle Plans
9. Troop Types in FoG
10. Light Horse Stable
11. Tactical Miscellany
12. Visualizing Battles
13. Wisdom from the Experts