Improving Cavalry

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Re: Improving Cavalry

Fri Jan 10, 2014 11:24 pm

The portrayal of cav in the LotR movies is really far from reality. You use cav as a secondary force to disrupt lines so that you can charge in during the chaos or let the infantry charge after weakening a shield wall. And once your infantry engages them in the front you flank with your cavalry into the rear.

If your going in with an all Cav force like Rohan, engage and destroy any enemy cav, while avoiding his inf as best as you can, or use your bow-cav to pester it from a distance for later. Once the enemy cav is done, encircle him but keep him away till you can break the enemy lines enough from throwing spear and arrows, then chew his sides and flank as best as possible till you charge finally for the win.

Look at tactics of cav armies if you need inspiration. Huns are great place to start. ;)

If you use easterling Cataphrakts you'll have a better chance of using cav like your showing in the examples.
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Re: Improving Cavalry

Sat Jan 11, 2014 4:31 pm

I have been pondering about it for some time and honestly I have to say that GW came with probably the most elegant rule for cavalry/pike interaction. It is simple and is consistent with the reason why pikemen/spearmen phalanxes were good at absorbing charges. I'd say that the real matter is how momentum bonus is obtained and lost.

Phalanxes are great at blocking cavalry because they form a compact and massive body that, as hithero mentioned, are not really the favorite of horses and can absorb the momentum of a charging cavalry. Even without pikes, it remains quite effective, as Wellington's infantry squares proved to Ney's cavalry at Waterloo. Spears and pike allow driving more attacks even with little space to swing your weapon and can be used from deeper ranks. This is exactly what the rule system does: packing a bunch of infantry absorbs the momentum of the charge by matching (or beating) the number of attacks and allowing deeper ranks to strike.

As for cavalry, once the momentum of the charge is lost, being stuck on a horse does give some height advantage but makes you quite vulnerable as you can't dodge blows as easily. In fact, most mounted warriors would set foot as soon as the charge momentum was lost and the melee would engage. Once again the rules portray that pretty well: if the cavalry don't have its charge bonus, it gets swarmed by infantry.

So with a few simple rules, we get a pretty accurate system, which is absolutely great. Yet if this is so why does the cavalry system feel wrong? My guess goes with the way momentum is given/lost per rules. Per current rules, a cavalry unit should ride for it full movement and yet receive no momentum for the upcoming fight because it’s the infantry model that made contact during it move phase, while on other occasions it can move a little inch/two centimeters and get full bonus.

A more accurate way to manage momentum bonus would be something like once a cavalry model has moved more than half its movement, it gains momentum and keeps it through following turns until a) it loses a fight or b) it had momentum for some time and is now exhausted. So now we got something way more accurate that could allow a rider to keep pushing through. However, it would be a mess to track on a tabletop game. Throwing weapons used to be single use and were changed because of the record keeping it implied, thus tracking cavalry momentum this way would be the same level of complexity, or even worse if you have to count the number of turns with momentum before losing it.

So the current rules provide a good representation of the cavalry/phalanx interaction, and are simple enough to be handled easily on a tabletop game. As for the momentum managing, using the proper heroes, heroic actions and gear can amount for a good metaphor of the commanding skills required to pull out an effective cavalry charge.
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Re: Improving Cavalry

Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:18 pm

A bit of threadromancy, but hey, I found this topic interesting and wanted to add my 2 cents.

What about: when charging individual models i.e. not supported or in double ranks and not other cav, they get an 'attack' like a throwing weapon (but probably S2 hit) that is resolved when they charge in, and if it kills the model then they can move a further inch (or two) but in his original direction. He can charge into another enemy from here but the special attack cannot be used again this turn.

As an example, a rider of rohan charges a single orc warrior. Before anything else is done, the orc suffers the S2 hit and dies trampled. The rider of rohan then continues in his original direction for 2 inches and can't find anyone else to charge. If it is evil's movement next, they must test courage to charge the rider.

Sound alright? Could change the strength of the hit for armoured horse etc.
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Re: Improving Cavalry

Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:54 am

Thats not a bad Idea. But doesn't help the loss of initiative. I think the real problem with Cavalry is they simply cost to much. If they were 1 less point I think they would work. Also you pay a lot for 2 attacks half the time when you can get elite infantry with 2 attacks for the same price or less (although a lot of these models are OP).

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Re: Improving Cavalry

Thu May 22, 2014 6:14 pm

I thought the base size change that some people have done is the best solution to this. It still doesn't change momentum which will never be feasible because of tracking it. changing the cav base size to 1" wide like an infantry base allows tight packed cav to hit a tight packed line and have direct relationship. currently a cav with a wide base hits two infantry with support, so his extra attack is useless as he is still out numbered on dice. with the 1" base he is equal unless he hits pike walls (as it should be). At the same time the base is longer thus the flanks can be hit by three infantry making flank exposure equal to doom, again as it should be. Dav who I play often uses these bases (I think they are 40K bike bases) and they are not a problem. I think this was the best solution to the game without changing any rules and without changing any points.
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Re: Improving Cavalry

Tue Jun 03, 2014 12:27 pm

currently a cav with a wide base hits two infantry with support, so his extra attack is useless as he is still out numbered on dice

This is not true, unless you charge headon into a spearwall, in which case you deserve to be outnumbered. If you manage to charge standard infantry, you are on equal attacks and with double strikes if you win (with potential of a lance).
And remember, cavalry normally want to charge on a turn they lose priority (so as not to be counter charged and to stand a better chance of getting away next turn or following through with another charge) and if this is the case, you do not need to charge 2 of their front row, you can choose just to charge the one and to leave a gap of a man along their line.


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Re: Improving Cavalry

Sat Jan 10, 2015 4:43 pm

People seem to be under the impression that all cavalry is the same. Cavalry could effective against most things apart from very dense, very disciplined formations.

Look at famous battles from history. Ancient Greek and Roman forces used cavalry to great effect. Waterloo had devastating cavalry charges. Obviously there are times where charges would be ineffective (against large blocks of infantry or pikes) but cavalry is not a one-hit-wonder. They can break through lines and slaughter many times their own number before they are 'blown'

The hun army is not a great place to start for tactics for LotR as they were primarily a light cavalry force who used bows and kept their distance. We're thinking of more heavy cavalry style.

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Re: Improving Cavalry

Sat Jan 10, 2015 6:00 pm

1st Crusader-era European/Frankish heavy cavalry is a good place to look for cavalry stuff as it's being used in LotR (or at least how gamers want to look at it!) Their heavy cavalry was considered a definite advantage, though the Turks/Saracens/Arab forces light cavalry could dance around shooting arrows. If those light cavalry forces got caught up in a charge, they were done. if they split up and let them charge through, it was still game on.

How does this help the discussion? From me, not much, but I figured I'd toss it out there :)
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Re: Improving Cavalry

Sun Jan 11, 2015 7:29 pm

As you have probably noticed, there is a great summary of basic cavalry tactics and counter tactics in the SBG-fanzine (site suggestions section).

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