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Experienced players were pitted against inexperienced players, which provided the opportunity for ongoing explanation of the rules throughout the game as applied to specific unit v unit interactions. This tended to provide a steep learning curve for less experienced players at times, but as someone said to me many years ago,”the best way to really get to grips with any rule system is to lose a few games!”
The specific composition of the WOTR armies was:
8 x Retinue Longbow
5 x Retinue Billmen
5 x Mounted Men-at-Arms
4 x Generals
The above army composition was deliberately kept to just retinue ‘B’ class units, and the retinue longbow were not equipped with stakes. The exclusion of levy units of longbow or billmen, and the cavalry being represented by just heavy cavalry, was again deliberate to keep the games as simple and as straight-forward as possible. The nuanced use of ‘D’ class hobilars or ‘C’ class mounted sergeants or pikemen, would add unnecessary complication.
The resulting games did highlight well the key tactics, strategies and policies to be applied using the H&H system in order for your army to perform well and achieve a win over an opposing army of equal strength. Some of these are listed below:
Move your infantry/cavalry in column to get into position quickly, but form a continuous line of deployed units before engaging the enemy by shooting or hand-to-hand combat.
Do not get caught in column formation when contacted in hand-to-hand combat by quick moving opponents.
Make good use of ‘roads’ which are effectively ‘extra easy going’ to move your units quickly to where they are needed most.
Capture and hold key terrain features which give your units an advantage over that of your opponents.
Woods are very useful as they give an extra A2 protection against shooting, slow all movement to one hex, remove all impact bonuses and cause all cavalry to fight as if disrupted when occupying a woodland hex.
Hills and escarpments enable overhead shooting and give a +1 when up-slope of opponents in hand-to-hand combat.
Deploy units in continuous lines where possible and leave gaps in any supporting lines to enable recoiling or fleeing units to pass through or fall back without causing disruption to supporting/ reserve units.
Concentrate your shooting from a number of units onto a single unit when you aim to eliminate enemy units. Alternatively, spread your shooting when you want to force enemy units to recoil or become disrupted.
Always try to engage in combats where you have higher combat factors and greater numbers of stands, or can bring more units into contact than your opponents.
Use your units ‘Zone of Control’ to trap and eliminate units by preventing recoil and flee moves.
Only commit your generals into hand-to-hand combat when it is advantageous to do so. Generals locked in hand-to-hand combat can create command and control problems in your army.
More general advice
Try and plan a few moves ahead, just like chess, and try to anticipate your opponents next move so as not to be caught off-guard!
Be willing to sacrifice units when necessary to disrupt your opponents plans and initiatives, and pull enemy units into the hexes where they can be more easily combatted effectively.
Use quick moving units to try and out-flank your opponent but remember to keep these units within the command range of a general.
Try and disrupt the ‘Command and Control’ of your opponents army whenever possible. Units which become isolated from their general are often about as much use as a chocolate teapot!
And finally, don’t be afraid to take risks, lots of them, after all, its only a game!
Written by Paul K