200. Killing bases is good, but the sure path to victory is avoiding Cohesion Tests (CTs) while forcing them on the enemy. Avoid unnecessary fair fights since they are a gamble as likely to hurt as help you.
201. Shooting is about disruption first, killing second. The magic number is 1 hit per 3 bases to force a Cohesion Test (CT), which in most cases means 2 or 3 hits are needed. Converge 3+ shooting BGs on a target to start causing serious damage (see below). Converged mass MF archery can be devastating over just a couple of turns, so when faced with it try to defuse massed enemy shooting by charging dangerous shooters or splitting enemy shooting among multiple friendly BGs.
202. Converging shooting on a single target is the secret of destructive shooting. With the +2 modifier for Death Rolls from shooting, 3 or more hits are needed to have a chance of taking off an enemy base. Assuming a target that takes a Cohesion Test on 2 hits and is shot at with even POAs (i.e., 4-6 hits):
- 2 dice have a 25% chance of getting 2 hits and forcing a Cohesion Test.
- 3 dice provide a 50% CT chance, which includes 11% chance of a Death Roll.
- 4 dice yield a 69% CT chance, which includes 31% chance of a Death Roll.
- 5 dice offer an 84% CT chance, including 50% chance of a Death Roll with up to 50% odds of a loss.
- 6-10 dice â€“ suffice to say it gets nasty.
Even if the target has rear support and an IC giving a +3 to CT rolls, support wonâ€™t affect the unit being chewed up with Death Rolls.
203. Create dilemmas for the enemy by using the indirect approach to your goal, such as threatening two objectives or avenues of action to make the enemy either defend against just one and let you gain the other OR weaken himself by dividing his strength to cover both, allowing you to defeat him in detail. (See the writings of Basil Liddell Hart.)
204. You have the tactical initiative (as distinguished from Pre-Battle Initiative) when heâ€™s worried about what you can do to him and reacting to you rather than thinking about what he can do to you and forcing you to react to him. When you have the initiative and plan several turns ahead for his reactions, you can know where he will be going before he does. Much of good generalship historically and in FoG is thinking and planning well ahead both before and during the battle in order to bring troops into engagement with the enemy on favorable terms. In FoG, Movement rates are fixed and movement potential is predictable, so the general can anticipate whether a BG can reach the crest of a hill, a Camp, or charge position in time, and how far the enemy can go to stop it â€“ and can plan turns ahead. While attempts at complex manoeuvres as well as the results of combat are subject to the dice of fate, on the whole you can plan your battle in a way that feels like being an army commander in a set-piece battle. Planning and careful timing is important in setting up multi-BG combats, particularly when relying on a flank/rear attack.
205. If the strength of the enemy lies in a solid, continuous battle front, pin down parts, stretch it, and tie up or distract its flank supports to create weaknesses that develop soft spots, gaps and flanks for you to attack.
206. Pinning means keeping an enemy occupied, preferably in a position where he canâ€™t safely move, where he creates a problem for himself by moving away, or is committed to your desired course of action. Good pinning forces are those that the enemy canâ€™t ignore but canâ€™t easily get to or canâ€™t quickly destroy.
207. Use a manoeuvrability edge (speed, drill, Second Moves) to try to stretch out, divert, or otherwise wrongfoot the enemy and create gaps or other weaknesses that you can then exploit quickly while the clumsier enemy force struggles to respond.
208. Try to dislocate the enemy by forcing weak joints or hinges in the enemy battle front, such as by converged shooting or threats at angles roughly 90 degrees or more apart. Joints or hinges foster gaps, such as angles or where flank joins center, Skirmishers join heavies, mounted join foot, close combat troops join missile troops, or terrain creates a disconnect. Any BG inadequate to hold the line is actually a latent gap. Force the enemy to open gaps when you can even if you donâ€™t have an immediate way to exploit them â€“ weaknesses tend to grow and multiply in battle, complicating the enemyâ€™s situation. See Part 12 - â€œVisualizing Battleâ€ section below.
209. Complicating a tactical situation encourages mistakes, which create opportunities. Complicating is often an advantage when already losing or for a more skillful or manoeuvrable player seeking to force mistakes, and simplifying is an advantage when already winning or with less flexibility.
210. The arrival of reserves can turn the tide or reinforce success, but in FoG they will rarely if ever help prevent a friendly BGâ€™s losing combat from getting worse, although t. Getting them where needed requires speed and visualizing the battle several turns ahead. Drilled fast fighting troops or heavy hitting mounted are best for general reserves, but even Undrilled foot can form a local reserve if a commander is near to lead it forward if needed. Reinforcing failure is usually a mistake â€“ a victorious enemy after breaking their opponents will spend a number of turns pursuing routers and getting themselves turned around and back into the battle anyway, so your forces may be best committed elsewhere. If you yourself are victorious, sending Skirmishers to pursue broken enemy and ensure they donâ€™t rally is more effective than committing fighting troops to pursuit. Keep your Skirmisher or other mobile reserves moving, if only as a bluff and distraction to create uncertainty in the enemy before you decide where to commit them.
211. Troops canâ€™t safely move laterally in the face of the enemy, and only Skirmishers can back up safely. Have a second line if you intend to fill gaps. Second lines are useful for rear support, local reserves to fill or intercept through gaps created by losses or manoeuvre, catching pursuers at a disadvantage, and moving to block flank threats.
220. Lights shoot, flank, encircle, threaten, harass, and distract. Sometimes they can gain Attrition Points or a tactical edge (usually on the flanks) through the initial skirmish battle, but skirmish units are brittle and Skirmisher-Skirmisher are often a lottery on even odds. Only desperation justifies their assault on steady fighting troops without a flank or rear charge ++ POA (and after Impact they often pay a price in Melee). The Attrition Point system makes it prudent to fight hard with your quality troops, not the weak ones â€“ donâ€™t lose the battle by taking undue losses among the supports in preliminary skirmishing. Conversely, try to pick off any easy kills you are offered unless a lure for a trap.
221. Cavalry and LH working together make it dangerous for enemy LH playing the evade game.
222. Cavalry in one rank is less vulnerable to shooting (although presenting a wider target), but its biggest advantage is the ability of non-shock Cavalry to evade. Get in one rank early with Undrilled Cavalry to avoid a fatal failed CMT when trying to expand within shooting range of the enemy.
222 change - most cavalry is armoured and it makes no difference to shooting if armoured cavalry are in one rank.
223. Shooters are good against small BGs since only 1-2 hits can force a test, often at a -1 modifier. Firearms and Artillery are good at helping force Cohesion Tests and add modifiers, especially on large BGs that are otherwise resistant.
224. Drilled is better than Undrilled for manoeuvre, but things equalize when it comes to straight-up charging and combat. Drilled troops that can turn and move are better once more after a breakthrough. Cavalry or Light Chariots can also turn and move even if Undrilled, but if Drilled can also expand and move, meaning they can expand out into 1-deep skirmish formation and move thereafter.
224aâ€œDifficult Forward Movesâ€: These are described on page 41 but often confusing. To deal with these, all you need to do is get your copy of the Quick Reference Sheet at the back of the book, find the Simple and Complex Moves Table, and write â€œDifficult Moveâ€ in the â€œComplexâ€ box under Other Undrilled that is on the first â€œAdvancesâ€ line. Those moves being Complex is all there is to it. For a different way of looking at it, try The Explanation of Difficult Moves on madaxeman.com
225. Fighting troops with the advantage in Impact should charge on a broad front for maximum shock effect with every edge they can muster to win that first fight. Melee-focused chargers facing Impact-focused troops may prefer to pre-empt them with a charge on a narrow front and then expand the line in Melee.
226. How to one-shot a BG on Impact: Disrupt it first (e.g., flank/rear charge, shooting or other CT failures), then hit it with enough hits to score 2 more than it inflicts and hope they roll low. Use a broad front to stack up the hits. A lost close combat with 6 hits taken is a guaranteed base lost.
227. A march column one-wide in range behind the join between front-line BGs can count all its bases in Rear Support (see 705) for both BGs if in range, can act as a second line reserve, and can be routed past without being burst-through. An echelon-back BG covering a flank can be positioned to provide both Rear Support and interception coverage for the flank of the BG in front (a close flank guard role). Second line formations should be smaller than front-line ones and more manoeuvrable since they need to be able to react quickly and fit gaps (this also saves army points and increases BG count).
228. Know your Interception charge rules and how to position to protect nearby units. Your trained eye should intuitively spot all potential enemy threats and friendly flank guard positioning. A close flank guard can provide intercept coverage from a position that often also offers rear support. Far flank guards are posted farther out and force an attacker to expose its flank or rear if it turns to flank your line.
229. Stating the sometimes elusive obvious, the direction of a charge is the direction from which the charger would contact the evading BG as indicated by the direction of the measuring stick laid down by the charging player if interceptions are possible or otherwise after the decision to evade. The charger may wheel at any time during the charge move, so the target may not know the exact route of the charge even if the direction is known. Due to this uncertainty, evaders should keep a prepared line of retreat available directly to their rear as an alternative to evading directly away from whichever charge direction chargers may take. Watch for the risk of burst-through evades.
230. Force enemy to burst through their own troops. The disruption is great for your follow-up, and the entertainment/embarrassment value is a bonus.
231. Set up the enemy in difficult positions where they are liable to charge without orders and you can profitably intercept, preferably with a flank charge.
232. Stay aware at all times of where BGs may need to conform to enemy in combat or take other forced actions in the coming few turns. This may quite dramatically change their facing and position favorably or unfavorably, taking their flanks away from supporting friends. Players can create traps by thinking ahead in this area.
240. With zero modifiers, your odds of passing a cohesion test are 58%. A -1 brings it down to 42%, -2 to 28%. Rerolls and those Commander and Rear Support modifiers matter.
250. Winning: Itâ€™s harder to learn from success than failure. Nothingâ€™s sadder than a lost victory. Reinforce success.
Plan how you can engage and defeat enough BGs to win the battle. â€œI have found that a lot of players moving from DBM to FoG have a subconscious programming to only really aim to kill 1/3 of the enemy army and they possibly overcommit to doing that and then are not in a position to get the last few APs for the win. I have a feeling that in my early games I did exactly the same. As I have played more and more I am generally finding that I have enough committed and have engaged enough of the enemy to get a decisive result.â€ Hammy
251. Losing: If you are losing and time is against you, then cut your losses, push hard where you do have an advantage (or even where itâ€™s a toss-up) and withdraw elsewhere, and either complicate or simplify, depending on the tactical situation. Be gracious in defeat. After the battle, note what you did right, what you did wrong, what you should have done instead, and why you didnâ€™t. Update your doctrine if needed.
260. When in doubt, attack. When in doubt, evade. When in doubt, bolster. When in doubt, rely on doctrine. When in doubt, simplify.
261. Have more than one string for your bow. A shield is of little use without a sword. Make a fist before striking. Add more aphorisms here.
Part 3 - Doctrine and Drill
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