Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Effective Army Building Part 2: Follow the Leader

Tutorial Tuesday

Welcome back!
Today is part 2 of my attempt  to explain how to build an effective Army for wargaming. BEGIN IS NOW!

In last weeks Tutorial Tuesday I espoused the importance of solid leadership and a couple different types of leader type I am rather fond of. Now we're moving onto the "Meat and Potatoes" of an effective army:

Effective Army Building: Strong core elements of troop type infantry (light, medium, and heavy)

Well, one can't really have an army without soldiers, and that's what I want to talk about today. Of course there are many types of infantry in any game we play. Sappers, Assault Troops, Heavily armored Ape-men in mobile tank suits... But when all is said and done, they all boil down into 3 different types:
  • Light Infantry
  • Medium Infantry/Line Troops
  • Heavy Infantry
  • Specialist Troops
 Light Infantry, can classically be described as lightly armored, highly mobile forward elements of an army, designed to strike fast, strike hard, and fade away before an enemy can bring any heavy firepower to bear on their position (often playing traps, mines and other "surprises" for the enemy as they follow behind. Light Infantry are the scouts and forward skirmishers of your army. They set up in advance of your front line, often just out of line of sight (L.O.S.) of enemy units and are designed to take out other forward elements of your enemies forces, whilst hindering your enemies advances into your own occupied zones. They will often be issued with specialist equipment such as camoflage (or camo cloaks), stealth, traps and mines, and other interesting surprises to unleash all kinds of hurt on the other player.
You, as a player, are going to want to us L.I. as a highly mobile assault force, sneaking into cover, setting up ambushes, and harassing the enemy positions so your other forces can move in and up to occupy and control the board.

Medium Infantry/Line Troops, are the grunts of your army. The poor bloody infantry. These are the Line troops of your army, with non-specialized but highly effective squad level equipment, and are designed to do one thing better than any one else... HOLD THE LINES. They are designed to function at their best when countering the enemies movements into your occupied territory, and making sure areas you control and have conquered remain your zones of control. Often Medium infantry are issued with squad support weaponry, have moderate defenses and will also (in the case of 40k) be mechanized with some form of troop transport/A.P.C./ I.F.V.
As the player, you'll want to use these lovely blokes (and blokettes?) to maintain control of everything you gain in your games, whether its territory you already have, territory you just took, or to cover your advance as you systematically wipe your opponent off the board.

Heavy Infantry are the heavy-hitters of your army. The movers and shakers. They are the best of the best and are equipped to deal with anything your opponent can throw at them. Usually equipped with high damage, high effectiveness weaponry, these troops are equipped to bring the fight to your enemy and force them out of your way so the rest of your men can move in and mop up.
Simply put, use these forces as a hammer, and beat your opponent down with them. They are made to walk through fire and still be strong enough to beat some ass on the other side. Push them into and through your opponents defenses and to take out their hard-points with concentrated fire and sheer bloody-mindedness.

Now, of  course, different armies will have access to not only different unit types (all of which will fall into the above categories of troops) but they will also have access to varying degrees and amounts of each type. To make an example, in Infinity, Pan Oceania has a very large number of Heavy Infantry, but relatively few Light and Medium types. Haqquislam is the exact opposite, with lots of Light and Medium troops but few Heavy. Both armies, therefor, have very different play styles.
In the End, everyone has to develop their own play style with their chosen Army(s) but, I do have some guidelines I use when designing my forces that may help you out.

There is a reason that there are three main types of infantry.
Speed, reliability, and power. Each type specializes in one of those roles... but needs the support of the others to operate at peak efficiency.
  • Light infantry, if left unsupported by the tougher types, will get corralled and hedged in only to be shot down (their armor is usually insufficient to deal with prolonged combat). 
  • Medium Infantry, while numerous, suffer from inferior weaponry to the other types and will eventually be whittled down to the point where they cannot operate effectively.
  • Heavy Infantry simply need support. They are slow, usually prohibitively so, and will be easily out maneuvered and out-numbered. eventually their armor will give out and they'll die like the rest.
So, when it comes to developing an Army list, with the points I assign to Infantry, I usually work on the following formula:
30% Light Infantry
50% Medium Infantry
20% Heavy Infantry
Now I want to be clear, This is not points totals. This is pure model count numbers. Heavy and Light infantry will usually end up being more expensive than Line Troops because of their specialized/skilled nature, so allotting them less points is assinine. (Plus I really like Light infantry and have been known to steal numbers from the Medium Infantry to support my unhealthy habits).

So when next you build up an Army, remember your types and keep your models safe!

Next week I'll explain how to support your troops and keep your army safe.
So until next time, 
May your gunsights never waver.
Bean out~

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