Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
jdripley

Reserve Forces

Recommended Posts

In real-life military operations from ancient times through civil war and even (I believe) the present, no good commander has committed their entire force to an engagement right away. They often send out a portion of their army and keep a portion back in reserve. This reserve is then sent in as the battle progresses to reinforce a crumbling portion of the line, or to exploit a weakness that the enemy presents. In reading about ancient battles in particular, the wise application of reserve forces quite often marks a decisive moment in the battle. You could say that the addition of those reserve forces is a key in winning or losing battles.

 

 

So I think about that, and then I think about my Warlord game.

 

I simply do not ever use reserve forces. I often form a broad line, and advance towards the enemy. Twang goes the bow, Swish goes the sword, and may the tougher models win. But what if I designed my armies to have a reserve troop? Not necessarily anything big. Perhaps in a smaller army the reserve troop is just a Solo. In a bigger game it might be a small or mid-sized troop. Nothing too fancy, just some soldiers to throw into a key spot. Theoretically that ought to be a tactically sound decision. I suppose that its success may very well hinge upon what percentage of the army is devoted to the reserve force (perhaps 10-15% as an initial guess?).

 

 

Has anybody used a strategy like this? How has it gone for you?

Or do you find that your "second line" models like Reach models perform as your reserve force just fine?

How long should you hold a reserve force back? Timing would probably be very critical. Too early and why bother, too late and they may as well head for the hills...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that the random initiative card deck of the game largely destroys the application of real-world reseve units as much of a planned strategy. However, sometimes the draw order of the cards can actually create the exact situation where you end up sending a troop to reinforce a weakened area of the battlefield. In large part, I think it ends up being an unplanned part of the game, as more often than not, you are best served by engaging with as much of the power of your list as you can bring to bear in as short a time as possible. Holding units back only serves to offer your opponent numerical superiority in the short term, which can easily hurt you later in the game.

 

~v

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe not a whole unit, but I do keep a few models back at times to plug holes in my line or rush through gaps in their lines. Fast moving solos I also keep back, mostly because any solo ahead of the main force is destined to die almost instantly.

But I don't intentionally build a reserve force. That's an interesting tactic. I wonder if it would work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think what you are describing is more for the epic level battles and not necessarily for the skirmish level game. In large scale battles not every soldier is going to be able to participate right a way. It is more necessary to send them in waves and dictate where each wave goes based on how the prior ones are faring.

 

In the skirmish world, pretty much everyone is involved and can jump in the fray. There isn't really any waves so to speak.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I plan for a reserve troop. I don't always get to use it that way, but I do plan. My reserve troop usually has more archers in it than the other troops. That way the troop has some value while waiting for areas on the battlefield to develop where the troop's melee soldiers are needed.

 

As far as the tactic working, it has worked about 50% of the time for me. Sometimes the reserve unit is too far away to get where it is needed in time. Sometimes the front lines have become so blurred & fluid that the reserve unit ends up being engaged before I'm ready to use it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Echoing what Stubbdog said, Warlord is too small a scale for this tactic IMO. It is just a skirmish game with 20 or so models per side. It already represents a small conflict.

 

Now what could be interesting is a 1500 point game where each player only fields 1000 points right away, and can then deploy the remaining troops later. ::):

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, that's kindof what I was thinking - scale is off for that.

 

Perhaps the closest you could get would be to have a troop of Rush Attack models a hop and a skip behind the front line, which can ..rush.. forward.. when needed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the tactic I've seen some players using on the table, screening a large solo with the rest of the army forcing their opponent to spend much of their main firepower just getting to the superheavy in the back of the army. Can't begin to tell you how many times I've been beaten about the tabletop by that one. :lol:

 

DRG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To properly use reinforcements you probably need to depart from the usual 5 turn limit. In that case I can see holding back part of your force and focusing on killing the part of the opponent's army that is best able to deal with your reserve force. But it probably requires fairly long games to work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
To properly use reinforcements you probably need to depart from the usual 5 turn limit. In that case I can see holding back part of your force and focusing on killing the part of the opponent's army that is best able to deal with your reserve force. But it probably requires fairly long games to work.

 

I think if you played a more objective based game reserve troops could be more viable. Say taking a base and holding it or something like that. Being able to bring a unit in to fill a gap or deal with a strategy your opponent is using.

 

If you are holding an objective on your side of the board and a fast moving enemy unit over runs the defenders, Having a reserve unit to reinforce the defenders with out having to pull back an attacking force is always nice.

 

Although I think summoning units to the table is the coolest reserve rules I think. Although I know its not what this topic is about. But Its what fills this slot to me in the game. very cool.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I alluded to earlier, the fundamental problem with holding units in reserve (unless both sides are required to do so) past Turn 1 is that you are likely giving away the Support advantage to you opponent. Further, depending on where your reserves are when you do want to bring them in to play, it is very possible that unless they are already near the battle lines, they won't be able to engage and fight immediately, decreasing their effectiveness in most situations. There are exceptions to this, of course (using a group of weaker soldiers as a picket line to protect ranged units in the back of your force, for example), but even in most scenario situations, you will be benefited by having all your troops engaged as early as possible.

 

~v

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can do it in big games. I watched the 10,000 (?) point game at origins and there were plenty of forces laying back at times. We used to occasionally do 3 way battles that were 1500 each or one on one 2000 point battle and you could have held stuff back in either of those. Also a lot depends on your build. When I build all horde armies, I always have reserves because hordes work better for me in a couple waves... but you can't really do that with a 15 or 25 model force as easily. Adam is very good at reserving stuff and then crushing you in third or fourth turn. Maybe he'll post his thoughts. I remember a game, back when Uru was one of the better cards, where he and solo troll hit the line in like turn 3 and ripped my line to shreds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think this is an instance where the rules do not really mirror the realities of large scale combat. My understanding of the use of reserves in the real world is that it's a response to the observation that once you've committed a combat unit it is effectively locked so that you lose the ability to do any major maneuvering with it. In that context it makes sense to hold back 1/3rd (just and example) of your force to be able to deal with situations that evolve during the battle. In a skirmish battle game you don't really see this phenomenon. Models are extremely mobile and holding back reserves is in practice simply handing your opponent a points advantage for the first X turns till you commit your reserves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...