Original FoG Tactical Tips

Field of Glory Tactical Tips - Original Version

Created originally by Mike K and posted on the Slitherine FoG Forum, and appearing here with his kind permission. This is a locked version of the document. There is also a WIKI version which you are free to edit and add to. The "WIKI" FoG Tactical Tips is available through this link.

1. Army Choice
2. General Tips
3. Doctrine and Drill
4. BG Sizes
5. Commanders
6. Terrain
7. Organization
8. Battle Plans
9. Troop Type Notes
10. Light Horse Stable
11. Tactical Miscellany
12. Visualizing Battles
13. Wisdom from the Experts


101. Your army should fit your personality and offer a tactical style that is comfortable for you – medieval French and Scythians favor very different personalities. Appearance counts too – if you don’t like the look of the army you won’t be enthusiastic about painting it. Pick an army that suits your tastes, tactical temperament and command skills, or build two for variety.

102. What historical characters, armies, or peoples have your admiration, interest or affection? Some enduring wargame wisdom is to play an army you can love even when it loses. (“Ancient Wargaming,” P. Barker)

103. A 400 point DBM/M army is usually close to enough bases for a Field of Glory army. To give you an idea, in flipping through the Companion army list volumes, I see Starter (600 point) armies ranging from 31 (Hephthalite Hunnic) to 87 (Jewish Revolt) bases, including Commanders.

104. The Companion army list books are organized thematically by region and period and the army lists are primarily balanced to be playable against historical foes and within the theme. Historical match-ups and thematic/period play are recommended, but armies poorly regarded in earlier rules sets are often surprisingly playable in Field of Glory as the range of army performance is narrower.

105. A new player getting to a feeling of full competence with an army may take a few games for some “easy” armies with simple structure and doctrine to dozens for “hard” ones, but even some armies will simply clash with a player’s tactical inclinations and temperament.

106. Some armies have definite advantages or disadvantages against particular opponent types and some are favored for flexibility against a great range of opponents, but there are no “killer armies.” Some cite Knight Point of Advantage (POA)/Complex Move Test (CMT) factors, armoured foot and LH, and numerous light foot as evidence of the superiority of medieval armies, but others disagree, seeing these as tactical advantages balanced by troop costs or countered by other factors and point to a wide variety in tournament standings.

107. In any event, there are definitely some armies that will fit your tastes, interests, tactical inclinations, and temperament better than others, and those will be the ones best for you.

110. Good or bad doctrine can make or break the army for a player. (See Part 3 below).


120. What is the strike force (your “hammer”)? Mounted or foot? Are your fighting troops strong in Impact, in Melee, or both types of close combat? Which BG will be the “schwerpunkt” (hard point) you will support (see Part 8 – Battle Plans below).

121. If you don’t have a strike force that can engage the enemy at an advantage, how will you engage the enemy? Skirmishing/shooting or using superior numbers or mobliity to outwing and overwhelm the enemy are the usual alternatives.

122. Level of mobility? Drilled/Undrilled? How much maneuver is needed for your army vs. its opponents?

123. Any Heavy Foot or other troops suitable to act as a pinning center, flank barrier, or “shield” for the army in open ground?

124. Terrain troops: How does your army use or deal with terrain? For open-ground armies, having some Medium Foot suitable for holding, clearing, or attacking through terrain is useful. Driving out missile troops based in bad terrain is a common mission.

125. Skirmish/anti-skirmish capability? Skirmishers are cheap and having even a small number of them can be quite useful.

126. Missile troops that fit the army? Enough shooters can break BGs with shooting alone, or fragment them and break them with a charge. Those with close combat abilities such as Swordsmen, Stakes, or front-rank spears are more versatile.

127. Counters and Trumps vs. specific enemy troops/threats of concern?

128. What are its special features of interest? E.g., particular troops available, or special rules such as ability to dismount freely at set-up.

129. Deficiencies: What are the potentially painful weaknesses of the army?

131. Versatility: How opponent-sensitive and terrain-sensitive is the army? How versatile is the army in terms of army list options? How versatile is your actual fielded list in terms of tactical options? Toolkit armies can be very versatile, but armies that lean to their strengths can be more reliably effective and easier to command.

132. Are there clear, workable and attractive doctrinal options/battle plans?

133. Do these fit your temperament and skills?

134. What commanders will you need for this army? Undrilled troops need more care.

135. Initiative is important. The usual goal is to win initiative and get to pick the terrain region, place terrain first, and deploy second, but with some doctrines for some armies, moving first in order to gain manoeuvring room (or to pin your prey and deliver a decisive thrust to its heart) is preferable and the army may use a Troop Commander as CinC and limit its LH and Cavalry elements to help achieve this goal.


140. Combined arms forces use heavy or medium infantry as an assault, pinning, blocking or herding force or base of maneuver for skirmishers or mounted. Their mounted arm is usually but not always a striking force. Combined arms armies can range from a simple mix of troop types to complex “toolkit” armies for which it is important to optimize the performance of their diverse troop types by maneuvering for favorable match-ups.

141. Pike armies include both a few armies like the Swiss Pike steamroller as well as combined arms Hellenistic or Medieval forces with a large force of Pikes used as the main battle line in conjunction with a mounted striking arm and light foot and light horse.

142. Armies focusing on a main line of one or two battle troop types plus good supports can work well and are easier to play competently than “toolkit” armies with a variety. Having fewer and simpler tactical decisions is likely to mean fewer mistakes. Undrilled troops often work well in this type of army.

143. Infantry-focused armies rely on numerous heavy or medium infantry to do most of the fighting, with other troops enabling the battle line to fight, primarily by protecting their flanks. Wheeling the army as a whole in order to fight across the depth rather than width of the table is a common battle plan against foes with superior mounted in open terrain.

144. Lancer armies tend to focus on Knight or Cavalry lancer charges but fill out the army with some supports, lights and other cheap troops. Other heavy Cavalry armies typically combine shooting and shock and may include a few LH BGs as well as supports such as infantry or Elephants.

145. Skirmisher armies win slowly and can be frustrating to fight against. If they have a heavy strike force, typical strategy is pin-and-punch – pinning and disrupting enemy cohesion and formations with shooting and maneuver to create weaknesses that are then exploited with attacks by the strike force. Those without such a force maneuver to concentrate shooting and take the enemy apart BG by BG. Skirmisher battles tend to run for many turns, so you want to play fast.

146. “Shooty” (Missile) Cavalry/LH armies and LH-focused armies take more skill and experience than average. An even BG split between Cav and LH is often recommended. LH are easier to handle, but Cav deliver more firepower and if equipped for it may be able to act in a dual role including close combat, with the preferred targets being BGs disrupted or fragmented by shooting of flank or rear charges.

147. “Elephant army” is sometimes used to refer to an army that has some Elephants, but should be reserved for those with numerous elephants as a major striking arm, notably Classical Indian in the published lists. Author RB Scott has called Elephants “glass cannons” – they can do a lot of damage and are hard to kill, but once you kill an Elephant base that BG autobreaks and is removed by the end of the turn (after up to two rout moves to the rear). Therefore they need to be handled with care to limit how much enemy force can be concentrated against them.

160. Quantity has a quality all its own if it can be brought to bear in good time.


201. 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.

202. Shooting is about disruption first, killing second. The magic number is 1 hit per 3 bases to force a Cohesion Test (CT). Converge 3+ shooting BGs on a target for serious damage. 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 their shooting among multiple friendly BGs.

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 initiative when he’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.

205. If the strength of the enemy lies in a solid, continuous battle front, try to pin down parts, stretch it, and tie up or distract its flank supports. This creates weaknesses.

206. Pinning means keeping an enemy occupied, preferably in a position where he can’t safely move or moving away from where he could pose a problem. Good pinning forces are those that the enemy can’t ignore but can’t easily get to or can’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, fighting troops join missile troops, or terrain creates a disconnect. Any BG inadequate to hold the line is a latent gap. Force the enemy to open gaps when you can even if you don’t have an immediate way to exploit them – weaknesses tend to grow and multiply in battle, complicating the enemy’s situation. See Part 12 - “Visualizing Battle” 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 an advantage when already winning or with less flexibility.

210. The arrival of reserves can turn the tide or reinforce success, but getting them where needed requires speed and visualizing the battle several turns ahead. Fast drilled 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 – the enemy can spend a number of turns breaking their opponents, pursuing routers and getting themselves turned around and back into the battle while you act elsewhere. Keep your skirmisher or drilled reserves moving, if only as a bluff and distraction to create uncertainty in the enemy before you decide where to commit them.

211. Troops can’t safely move laterally in the face of the enemy, and only Skirmishers can withdraw safely. Have a second line if you intend to fill gaps. Second lines are useful for rear support, local reserves to fill or intercept in 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. 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).

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 and able to evade unless shock troops. Get in one rank early with Undrilled Cavalry to avoid a fatal failed CMT.

223. Shooters are good against small BGs since only 2 hits force a test at a -1 modifier. Firearms and Artillery are good at helping force Cohesion Tests and add modifiers, especially on large BGs.

224. Drilled is better than Undrilled for manoeuvre, but things equalize when it comes to straight-up charging in and combat. Drilled troops that can turn and move are better after a breakthrough.

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 failuress), 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.

227. A column behind the join between front-line BGs can count all its bases in Rear Support 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. Evaders should keep a prepared line of retreat directly to their rear as an alternative to evading directly away from whichever 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. Stay aware at all times of where BGs may need to conform to enemy in combat or take other involuntary actions in the coming few turns. This may change their facing and position favorably or unfavorably. 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: It’s harder to learn from success than failure. Nothing’s sadder than a lost victory.

251. Losing: If you are losing and time is against you, then cut your losses, push hard where you do have an advantage, 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 didn’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.

301. Know your troops, know your army, know how it loses, and know how it wins. Plan how you’ll make it work, write it down, and practice it.

302. Doctrine guides your army composition, order of march, terrain selection, deployment, battle plan, formations, maneuvers and other tactics. It is the result of your thinking through your potential battles in advance and helps you shape battles the way you want them. It is a reference point that keeps you on track, avoids known mistakes, and that you can fall back on when in doubt or suffering from fatigue rather than always having to improvise under time pressure. Doctrine provides clear purposes and roles for every BG so you always have a clear idea of what it should be doing to improve its position and contribute to the battle.

303. Doctrine can be written or unwritten, simple or complex, molded mainly by the nature of the army and opposition but also by player taste. On the simplest level, it can be a single “canned” order of march, deployment and battle plan, on a more complex level it provides if-then alternatives based on terrain, opposition, and how the enemy deploys. With experience, a doctrine develops and becomes fully internalized by habit, but a written doctrine early on can give a new player a jump-start on learning from experience.

304. A good doctrine should be clear and easy to implement, making use of terrain and each BG with clear organizational structure and roles within the capacity of the troops. It speeds planning and set-up at the beginning of the battle, which can disconcert the opponent or mislead him into overconfidence, either of which is useful.

305. Some people find painting a good time to think about doctrine. There was a player who chatted with his troops about their role in the army’s battle plans and doctrine as he painted them. He said his armies fought better (or maybe it was just that he did).

306. Just for illustration, here’s a simple starting point for one type of default Medieval French offensive doctrine: Our goal is to deliver a lance charge en haye (in one rank) on an open battlefield against several non-Spear/non-Pike BGs and break through the enemy, then exploit. Knights in line abreast charge a picked target area, Cavalry in echelon back to protect Knights’ flanks by tying up any flank threats, Archers try to guard Cavalry’s flanks, and Mob guards the camp.

See Part 8 - “Battle Plan” below for more specifics on battle planning to fit into doctrine.


320. Drill is dry-run practice in battle maneuvers in accordance with your doctrine so that troop handling in battle is easy. An hour of table drill deploying and moving the BGs of a new army will pay ample rewards. You want to know cold how different BGs move, turn, contract and expand alone and along with others they are brigaded with. You don’t ever want to confront an unexpected Complex Maneuver Test. You want practice in deploying and maneuvering battle lines, echelons with refused flanks, rear supports, reserves, and both close and far flank guards.

321. Special attention should be given to handling Skirmishers and Missile Cavalry effectively. Set up an opposing force and practice maneuver and evasion with obstacles including terrain and troops until you master each situation.


401. 800 point armies normally have from 9 to 15 BGs. Choice of BG size within the allowable ranges should depend on points available and the role of the BG in your battle plan. More BGs means more organizational flexibility and more tactical articulation for the army, particularly useful for drilled troops who are able to take full advantage of it. Having more but smaller BGs means the army can absorb more attrition points without breaking, so having a number of small cheap “filler” BGs that avoid being broken in combat can allow heavier losses among the stronger engaged BGs. Mobs or LF are the cheapest filler BGs; 4-LH BGs cost more but with their mobility are more likely to contribute to the battle without risking survival. BGs assigned by doctrine to the second line also tend to be smaller than others. The disadvantage of smaller BGs is that fewer shooting hits can trigger a 1-hit-per-3 bases Cohesion Test and if 4-strong will suffer the -1 modifier for 25% loss after losing just one base.

402. Big BGs are less mobile when changing direction, but they shrug off Cohesion Tests from shooting more easily (helpful when of low quality), last longer when taking damage, and have more bases that can enjoy reroll benefits from Commanders in the front rank. Armoured, Superior and Elite fighting troops can be effective in smaller BGs than average, while Poor and Undrilled troops tend to run larger. Note that BGs of 6 bases can easily deploy from column or 2-wide and wheel more quickly than 8s, while both 6s and 8s take 25% loss at 2 bases, and 6s test at 2 shooting hits while 8s test at 3 shooting hits.

403. Only the first 3 ranks count for “1 per” loss rates in Cohesion Tests. Most troops fight in 2 ranks; some such as Knights, Chariots or Elephants in 1. Thickening to 3 ranks can be useful to anticipate losses in a hard frontal fight between lines of battle. Thinning 2-rank troops to 1 rank should be reserved for situations where frontage is more important than resisting power, where troop quality still gives them the advantage against more numerous opponents even in one rank, or where a sacrificial BG is used to tie up and absorb damage from multiple opponents to allow freedom of action elsewhere.

404. Since each BG is 2 attrition points, large or small, it can make sense to make large sacrificial, “arrow fodder” or forlorn hope BGs that may be doomed but at the price of 2 attrition points can tie up several enemy BGs in melee or with their restricted areas for a few turns while you act aggressively elsewhere.

405. For drilled fighting foot, 4s and 6s both have advantages. For undrilled foot, 6 is small (but fairly common for MF terrain fighting troops), 8 is typical, 10 large, and 12 unwieldy (due to frontage and not much better in terms of loss percentages than 10s). The exception is Pikes, which are normally in 8s or 12s.

406. Mixed Formations: This is usually fighting foot in the front rank and a rank of missile foot behind. Some HF/MF can have LF in a 3rd rank, where BG size will be 6 or 9. Rear ranks fight with front-rank POA but note that Light Foot still lose 1 die per 2 fighting in the second rank of a mixed formation, so once 2 of them fill in to the second rank a die is lost.

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.

408. 6 LH and especially 8 LH BGs are less nimble and harder to bring to bear than 4s, and having 2 BGs instead of 1 can be very useful tactically while still concentrating shooting and splitting enemy shooting. That said, 6 LH have an edge against 4 LH without needing a POA, throw 3 shooting dice, and won’t take 25% losses with a single base lost.

409. The likelihood that a Fortified Camp will hold out for a few turns makes it easier to ignore LH behind your lines who are seeking those 2 attrition points, or give time to get reinforcements there. Note also that the Camp can need not be on the baseline. A Fortified Camp on the baseline can be used as the pivot point for an army wheel strategy intended to turn the battle 90 degrees in order to shorten the battle front. A least one BG will be close enough to the Camp to chase off intruding skirmishers if needed.

410. Don’t buy more bases or upgrades than you need for a BG to fill its role. Missile troops can skimp on armour, Undrilled troops are for fighting, not clever manoeuvre, and superfluous quality wastes a lot of points (Poor skirmishers are good value for roles where they won’t get hurt).

For more recommendations by troop type, see Part 9 - TROOP TYPE NOTES below


501. Commanders are a key part of reinforcing success and in turning the tide where things look bad. Commanders do 4 things:
(1) Bolster the BG they are with in the JA Phase to try to recover lost cohesion. I view this as the most important because it’s their one indispensable role.
(2) Raise troop morale within their range by adding to Cohesion Test rolls (if a BG is in close combat they need to be with it to affect it). You saw above how important a +1 or more can be.
(3) Help restrain shock troops and improve manoeuvre by a Complex Move Test bonus and personally leading Undrilled troops to let them perform “difficult moves” near the enemy without needing a CMT.
(4) Fight in the front rank of a BG to improve its quality for close combat rerolls. The problem is that they have no effect on any other BGs when in the front rank, and they get out of the front rank only after the BG is out of combat.

502. The relative importance of these roles depends on the army and circumstances. For example, Pikes and Spears depend on being Steady for combat POAs, so bolstering them from Disrupted to Steady is an important priority. Better quality and better equipped troops need Commanders less. BGs in close combat can only be affected by Commanders with them, so Commanders offer a broader morale benefit for missile troops and Skirmishers than troops engaged in close combat.

503. Keep Commanders moving when they can improve your position, such as moving to Undrilled troops who might face a difficult move their next move so that they don’t need to take a CMT for it, or joining troops facing imminent combat to help sustain them in a Cohesion Test if they lose, but still exerting influence over other BGs by not fighting in the front rank.


510. Fancy manoeuvring, the need to redeploy troops, or heavy incoming shooting each increase the need for Commanders. The consensus is that 800 points requires 4 generals but many armies are fine with 3 at 600 points. Taking 2 is unusual and risky, but might work for an army with few BGs and no movement or morale problems.

511. Troop Commander (TC): Cheapest, they are the workhorse front-line generals for bolstering troops and for front-rank combat while someone else is looking after CMT/CT bonuses. Their weakness is their limited 4 MU radius, so they can often only cover 3 BGs in a battle line and do a poor job of covering dispersed BGs such as Lights.

512. Field Commander (FC): 8 MU radius and +1 flank march arrival bonus make them good commanders for flank marches, brigades of several BGs working in concert, and as part of doctrine and tactics for some armies. They also provide +1 Initiative if the CinC. In some circumstances a FC can do the work of two TCs for CT and CMT purposes, but for exercising a broad influence an IC is more effective and if you have an IC then TCs are more efficient for bolstering and front-rank combat within the IC’s radius.

513. Inspired Commander (IC): The +2 Initiative bonus can be valuable in giving you the advantage in deployment (although the player without Initiative gets first move). A radius of 12 MU and additional +1 bonus to CTs and CMTs makes them good army commanders. ICs are good at covering dispersed wings, long battle lines, undrilled troop CMTs, and to support the morale of troops facing heavy shooting. Their bonus makes them very good at bolstering BGs or rallying routers. They can cover most of a compact army. Because of their value, they are generally kept out of the front rank.

514. Commanders and FLANK MARCHES: Flank marching is uncommon is singles games, although it has obvious advantages in a more crowded doubles battlefield, and can be useful to turn an opponent’s flank in suitable terrain or to bring an extremely large army to bear. Ally commanders save points and are well suited for flank marchers who will operate independently anyway. A FC increases the chance of arrival per turn from 6/36 to 10/36 and will be better to handle moderately dispersed flank marchers.

530. COMMANDERS IN THE FRONT RANK: Commanders fighting in the front rank improve close combat rerolls by one quality level BUT have NO influence beyond the BG they are with. The bigger the BG, the more bases get a reroll bonus – this and the CT bonus disproportionately help Poor fighting troops which tend to have large BGs. Note that Commanders take a death roll when their BG takes 2 close combat hits: their risk of death then is 1/36 if they won, 1/12 if they lost. In addition, a Commander with a routing BG, front rank or not, always has a 1/6th death risk from pursuers who maintain contact. Another negative is that Commanders in the front rank are stuck there until the BG is no longer in combat or pursuing. Note that when mounted break-off in the Joint Action Phase this allows the Commander out of the front rank and he can then do his JA Phase move.


601. Obviously, your doctrine includes an appreciation of favorable and unfavorable terrain against different foes that guides you in your choices and placement during set-up. Before starting set-up, you should assess the respective forces and decide what your terrain priorities are. Ideally you've worked through your doctrine and drill so you'll have several terrain-based deployment and battle plans available which guide terrain placement and you can modify and put in operation during and after deployment. Know what the battlespace you want looks like. Central terrain is usually much more important in a battle than flank terrain. You have the chance to place or move most terrain pieces, an opportunity to improve them to your advantage or make easy terrain-related mistakes.

602. Terrain can be an obstacle, a shelter, a bulwark, an avenue, or a trap. Bad going in the middle of the field can divide an army’s communications with its flanks, allowing the other side to use it to create dilemmas for the divided force. It can obstruct and delay the enemy’s response to action on the other flank. It can shelter missile troops that harass the enemy. It can be the anchor of offense or defense on one side or the other if strongly held or impenetrable to the enemy. It can serve as flypaper for unsuitable troops if you can lure or force them into it where their movement will be bogged down, or expose other troops to flank attacks if they incautiously advance past it.

603. Don’t seize or contest a terrain feature without a purpose. Would it delay the enemy? Divert his attention? Hinder his advance? Force him to detach forces against it? Put pressure on the flanks of his nearby formations?

604. LH-heavy armies need manoeuvring room so you want to second move forward at the start of the battle to stake out room and slow the enemy’s advance. Steppes are the preferable terrain choice, followed by Agricultural and Desert. With Initiative in Steppes, there are three good terrain strategies. The simplest is to take 2 large size open areas to block additional terrain as much as possible. A second approach is to take 2 12 MU open areas with the same goal, and to take a minimum size gully and brushy hill to use up those terrain choices – the other player is then limited to one brush and some uneven ground (which is like open ground for LH and Elephants). The third approach takes this further by taking the gully, brushy hill, and the other two brush, all minimum size, leaving the opponent only with broken ground. The obvious disadvantage of actively placing bad terrain is that you don’t have the chance of rolling a 6 to remove it entirely – you may have more terrain than otherwise, but more control over placement, so the “activist” approach depends on having good terrain doctrine.

605. Disorder or even severe disorder is not necessarily crippling for heavy troops against lights in terrain since they start with a 2:1 advantage in dice count and may also have the advantage of armour and other POAs.

606. It is a useful habit to write a note on the bottom of 3 ambush markers and place them in every game, or at least practice thinking about where they would go. Don’t overlook Commander placement in ambush.

620. Don’t overlook selection of Impassable terrain features (LF and MF can’t go there either!), Rivers or coastline for securing a flank, hills as defensive positions or to allow overhead shooting (see Rules p82), or bad terrain on top of hills to make them more defensible or obstruct manoeuvre.

621. Only Light Foot and Medium Foot enjoy Difficult terrain. Severe disorder cripples Pike and Spearmen POAs.

622. Chariots and Knights have a worse time in Rough than other horse.

623. Uneven ground has no effect on Light Horse or Elephants.

624. A thin terrain feature such as a gully is an excellent barrier to protect missile troops desiring a beaten zone of shooting across it, as well as allowing ambush by any troops (except Heavy Artillery).

625. Massed archers in the middle of Rough or Uneven terrain have ample time to shoot up any Heavy Foot crawling towards them at 2 MU per turn.

626. Beware that bases entirely in a Forest or Village can only see and shoot (or be shot at) within 2 MU (4MU for (Rough) Plantations). This can help or hurt.

627. Use march columns for greater speed on roads or going through slowing terrain, but note that Undrilled are slower to expand out and move on once through it

BRIGADING (using this term since “battle group” is already taken)

701. Field of Glory may look like a unit-based game at first, but author Simon Hall and other veterans attest that to make an army work you need to think in terms of groups of BGs serving coordinated tactical purposes. Experience suggests that people who treat BGs as independently operating units and overfocus on one-on-one opportunistic match-ups rapidly start losing to those who think in grand tactical terms and coordinate BGs in positional or mission-driven brigaded groups with roles that can be expressed in tactical terms such as pinning center, offensive wing, defensive wing, reserves, enveloping force, etc.

702. This said, lone BGs are good as a reserve, for capturing camps, dealing with terrain, chasing routers, and other roles where they are effective alone. But a brigade of two or more BGs working together still has many more alternatives for manoeuvre, shooting and charges and can multiply the possible threats against opposing BGs. I particularly urge using LH in pairs or trios in combat roles.

703. Skirmishers in front of shock troops can protect them from cohesion loss from enemy shooting and insulate them from enemy skirmishers seeking to provoke a charge. LF are easy to handle as they can interpenetrate freely. LH ahead of the battle front require care since a gap is needed to evade or withdraw behind heavies without bursting through, so drill your LH with your heavies before using them between the lines. The gaps can easily be filled if the heavies are in deeper than normal formation so they can expand to fill the gap in the Manoeuvre Phase (or in Melee).

704. Don’t be afraid to have Commanders lead Skirmishers forward on the first turn deep into the 18 MU zone between the deployment areas in order to limit the enemy’s ability to second move (slowing him is often but not always desirable) and to counter enemy lights on the same mission. In the following Joint Action Phase they can fall back towards the battle line being led forward by another Commander.

705. Columns for rear support can be very useful in supporting 2 BGs and avoiding being burst-through by routers, but they need good positioning and plans for deployment to both flank and front if needed. A march column or 2-wide formation is good for a grand tactical reserve.

706. Rear support and flank cover BGs should be brigaded for doctrinal and tactical planning purposes with the front-line BGs they are supporting unless they have another specific task, though they need not be deployed in the same quarter-army grouping.

706. Putting inferior fighting troops in front has some advantages – they get rear support from the quality troops behind, and the rear supports are more likely to take out pursuers rather than be swept away in a rout.

707. Battle lines only affect movement (including taking a joint Complex Move Test). They can’t mix horse and foot, except that Light Foot can be in a battle line with mounted and Elephants can be in a battle line with foot (take these as hints).

708. Weak troops can handicap their strong neighbor BGs in close combat against a common opponent since the enemy might take more hits than it inflicts against the strong BG but neutralize that loss with an equal net hit advantage against the weaker BG.

709. Deepening front-line formations by an extra rank or partial rank preserves combat power by providing replacements in the event of base losses and makes it harder for the enemy to inflict 1 hit per 3 bases on it from shooting when the BG has friends on each flank. Large warband BGs facing Romans are frequently stiffened in this way.

710. Temporary or permanent gaps in the line can be tactically useful to allow non-LF friendlies to charge out or evade back or to allow deep formations the option to deploy. The risk is overlaps (the narrower the BGs in the battle front, the more a single overlap can tip the balance) or the gap being penetrated – having second-line BGs to counterattack or fill the gaps is prudent.

711. Position to avoid burst-through evades and routs – remember the troops running back can only shift one base width to avoid friends to the rear. Formations are worthy of a lot of drill to get the positioning right.


720. There are some principles of order of march. Sometimes you can mislead the opponent into misreading your battle plan and seriously misdeploying before your later deployments surprise him, but this is not common and usually involves suitable terrain. Practical deployment areas and formations are usually fairly obvious, and it’s often hard to avoid the obvious match-ups in the center of your position (where else would the Pike blocks go?) so the main objective in order of march is usually to allow you to weight a flank more heavily, position a reserve, make a play for certain terrain, or delay placement of certain troops sensitive to match-ups.

721. Having a deployment doctrine and pre-battle plan can help avoid weakening your overall position by excessive focus on initial likely match-ups.

722. Fast troops that can easily redeploy can be put down early in the order of march (such as mounted reserves or Skirmishers that don’t need to wait to deploy with the infantry they need to screen). Ideally this placement can serve as a feint or offer several threats to complicate your opponent’s planning.

723. Standard skirmisher screens don’t give much of your plan away so can go down early, though you may want to defer light BGs whose exact positioning will be critical. Unless you want to save one or two BGs for later to take advantage of an opportunity on a flank, LH can generally go down early, and LF likewise in terrain and facing infantry.

724. Reserves are ideally good quality mobile fighting troops not placed too far from the center of gravity of the army, in which case putting them down first does not disclose much, or they can be used to misdirect enemy attention.

725. Low-quality troops tasked as camp guards or for skulking in the rear also generally go down early so as not to waste later deployment windows.

726. Strong and homogeneous heavy foot battle lines can go down early, in the first or second quarters, but leaving some BGs for the third or even fourth quarters can be useful to adjust their center of mass or provide the option of a detachment to counter a particular threat after seeing more enemy deployments.

727. Author RB Scott’s prescription for Medium Foot is to generally deploy them last because they are match-up sensitive and not highly mobile. If intended to take an offensive role, it is useful to adjust targeting by deploying them late. Exceptions to this could include those doctrinally tasked to guard the camp, back up a main line, or control or contest terrain regardless of other troop dispositions.

728. Low-mobility troops like Artillery or Battle Wagons should either go down at the start as part of a defensive position or with the intention of affecting enemy deployment plans, maybe inducing overreaction, or deploy late once you can determine where they will be most useful in the fight.

729. As part of your pre-battle drills, write down order of march or, better yet, throw down terrain and practice putting troops down in alternative order of march to gauge what would work best to accomplish your deployment goals without prematurely tipping your hand.

730. A few summary examples of order of march: Parthians put down camp guards (if any) and a spread of LH across the front first, then LH and any LF, then Cataphracts (and any combat infantry) last where ideally they are positioned to make multiple threats, therefore inflicting a dilemma on the enemy. Numidians are also a pin-and-punch light army and would usually defer placement of match-up sensitive strike troops (such as Elephants).

731. Republican Romans might put down some lights and a reserve cavalry BG first, then several legionary BGs, then more legionaries on one side or the other of the first (depending on what the enemy is doing), then the flank support troops to weight the army to one side or another, and finally MF troops.

732. A Hellenistic army is usually built around delivering the Pike phalanx to its targets while also striking with an offensive wing. The uncertainty is usually not where the Pikes go but the roles and weightings of the flanking “brigades,” so the first deployment might be lights and the second Pikes, or vice versa.

733. All this said, order of march and the relative abilities of the two sides to react to enemy deployment should not overrule or impair sound formations or battle planning. Troops in Field of Glory are generally manoeuvrable enough to get themselves into the fight, and match-ups are not as sharply rock/scissors/paper as in some other rules – any troop type is capable of at least doing some damage to any other.


750. Ally Commands work well for flank marches since such contingents are not in the line of command of the rest of the army. The obvious use of a flank march is to place a friendly force past an enemy flank where it is not practical to envelop it by manoeuvring on the field. If he has an exposed Camp or low quality filler troops in the back, a flank march can make him pay for it, or of course you can take his wing or center in the rear if the flank march arrives before the fight is decided. If you are lucky, your opponent will over-react or under-react to a flank march, by a hasty attack or hesitating to engage.

751. Note that flank marchers (and ambushers) are in effect bumped to the back of the order of march, with all the on-table troops moving up in the order of march. This gives the enemy more ability to respond to their deployment, but he won’t know that there is a flank march or real ambush until near the end of the process.

752. An obvious flank march (vs. one masked by ambush markers) encourages your opponent to attack you quickly to take advantage of his temporary numerical superiority, which may suit you if you prefer to start with a defensive battle. For this reason, however, a sizable double-flank march is hazardous because the balance of available forces is initially unfavorable for you on the table. Alternatively, your opponent may be unnerved or cautious and reposition forces to defend against or trap a flank arrival, giving you time to skirmish while advancing your line of battle to engage other troops or exert converging pressure when the flank march arrives.


801. Doctrine gives you order of march, terrain selections for different regions (which may be customized by type of opponent), default deployment concepts and one or more overall default plans that you can evolve and customize through the setup process.

802. To score enough attrition points to win you need to engage and defeat at least half the enemy forces (preferably the weaker half) and try to avoid overly exposing your troops to destruction by the rest of the enemy army.

803. Try to figure out what kind of battlespace the opposing player and his army favor and how he would seek to exploit it. Do you know his temperament, aggressiveness, and favorite tactics or styles of play?

804. Assess favorable and unfavorable types of ground given the army match-up and determine what features you will need, would like, or wish to avoid.

810. The geometric portrayals of battles in battle maps suggest useful images for thinking about the tabletop as well. Battles tend to have fairly simple overall geometry affected by terrain and set by the main battle lines.

811. Width is important. A useful old military term that fell out of use since opposing armies stopped facing each other in parallel lines of battle is “outwinging” the enemy, meaning having a line of battle that extends farther on a wing than the enemies. Outflanking is distinguished to mean being or moving into a position on the enemy’s flank. Outwinging can develop into a flank attack with time, suitable terrain, and limited enemy interference. It certainly discourages an enemy advance that would increase the potential threat to their flank.

812. Depth is important in terms of manoeuvring room behind your lines, allowing you to evade or manoeuvre away from the enemy or shift troops, and in terms of the depth of the battle front, providing rear support and reserves to plug ruptures in a committed line of battle. Skirmisher armies don’t need depth of battle front, but they need manoeuvring room and can find multiple lines useful as well.

813. You don’t need to cover the table. Don’t spread dangerously wide. Unless you can tactically anchor a flank, a hanging flank is no more exposed with 24 MUs than 12 MUs of open ground beyond it, and stretching can weaken your battle front.

814. Smaller armies tend to get outwinged and should not engage all along the front since they run out of frontage before the enemy runs out of troops. Try to be outwinged on only one flank. Consider BGs in echelon back on the flanks, or terrain. These armies can still face a race to break through the middle before being swamped on the flanks.

815. In 800 points most armies don’t stretch fully across the table, so seeking to outflank the enemy is commonly considered. It is an important option mounted armies who don’t wish a frontal showdown with the enemy and have troops fast enough to successfully win on a wing and envelop or start rolling up the enemy troops before the friendly center wavers.

816. The mobility of mounted and the manoeuvrability of drilled troops are advantages wasted in a head-on fight. “Dirty geometry” creates more chances to exploit speed and manoeuvrability than than parallel lines of battle. Conversely, an unmanoeuvrable army should try to force a head-on fight with clean, largely parallel geometry and little manoeuvring room on the flanks or in the enemy rear area.

817. Always try to hit an enemy BG from two directions at the same time. Even if it sustains the initial attack it is at a negative POA against both opponents for fighting in two directions.

818. Dividing your army or breaking the cohesiveness of your battle front gives opportunities to a more nimble foe, but if you are more mobile you can have discontinuous lines of battle that can’t be exploited because they can’t physically be hit – the targets move away first.

819. Detaching forces against the opposing camp has value only if you can pillage it in time to affect the battle or divert stronger enemy forces that are close enough to attempt to save it. Low-grade LH are suitable for wither purpose.

820. Look at each defile on the table – any defile, meaning any passage between areas of obstructive terrain, whether narrow or fairly wide, offers possibilities for slowing or blocking an advance, or bringing to bear converging shooting or close combat attacks.

830. Avoid drifting into a fight by starting with a strategy, which is likely to fall among the following categories:

831. Frontal attack: Two lines of battle basically go at it frontally, unless one is outwinged and then outflanked, in fair and open ground this is decided by might and the right (die rolls). Undrilled, unmanoeuvrable armies minimize their weaknesses and bring their fighting ability most easily to bear in a frontal fight. The fight doesn’t need to be quick to be successful, and indeed can swing back and forth, with successful opportunities to bolster BGs very important. Once a BG gives way, ripple effects through Cohesion Tests and overlaps can turn sharply against the loser. A frontal attack strategy can be frustrated by an opponent performing a screen and smash (see below) on one wing, often combined with attempts to flank attack or envelop that wing, while denying the rest of the army a target. Few singles size armies can cover the table from side to side in adequate strength – even Infantry walls that can physically create a barrier across the table will have some mediocre troops and can get holes punched in them by shooting and focused attacks. One approach is to wheel the geometry of the battle lines approaching 90 degrees to narrow the maximum frontage to cover from 72 MUs down to 48 MUs.

832. Penetration: An attack focused on the enemy’s center with the objective of smashing through by main force. To succeed the attack must be on a broad enough front to not be crippled by enemy overlaps, and adjoining portions of the enemy’s line must be kept from converged shooting against or flank attacks on the penetrating force. These adjoining areas are best pinned, flank guards used to protect the attack, and light troops used to keep the enemy wings from freely manoeuvring to respond. As in some historical battles, the decision may come down to whether a breakthrough can be achieved before the enemy wins on the flanks and turns into the center. Using second line troops to form a front to one or both flanks can buy time, but the hinge of the new front on that side remains extremely vulnerable. Penetration can be the only viable strategy, such as where the enemy’s flanks rest securely on terrain held by the enemy that can’t be effectively contested.

833. Wing attack: A wing attack has some of the same aspects of concentration on a part of the front as a penetration, but is much safer since usually only the inner flank is in danger. Wing attacks include a frontal advance with an echelon forward towards the target wing, a flank sweep (aka a left hook or right hook) by a force that outweighs its opponents at the end of the line and can clear them and roll up the enemy line, and also an army wheel if the enemy does not respond.

834. Envelopments: Some envelopment can develop in the course of battle on a wing, but a full-scale envelopment even on one flank is hard to achieve against a wary opponent. A flank march is the easiest way to try it. A double envelopment is only feasible for an army that can pin or screen the whole enemy front for an extended period while having a couple BGs on each flank either flank marching or working around the flanks. The center is the anvil on which the enemy line of battle is pinned to be hammered from flank or rear by the flank envelopment force.

835. Army Wheel: This is often tried by a walking wall of infantry seeking to turn the fight into a frontal battle on a narrower overall frontage. You need enough width and solidity to try this, and terrain in the way can obstruct or invalidate this plan, particularly if it can be held by enemy you can’t dislodge. Where opposed, the wheeling army can easily lose order, get stretched out, leave room at the pivot point or swinging end, and open gaps in the center of the line.

836. Pin and Punch: This involves pinning the enemy along most or all of his front with weak forces while overwhelming one point in his line with a powerful strike force that counts on a quick breakthrough that will be exploited by turning or wheeling to rolling up other enemy BGs that are frontally committed. Pinning may note require initiating close combat – putting the enemy in your restricted area or simply in charge range may prevent the opposing BG from changing position.

837. Screen and Smash: Similar to Pin and Punch except that you are not engaged in enough strength to pin the enemy – they are merely screened and slowed down (typically by skirmishing Cavalry or lights) to buy time for a smashing attack on part of the enemy’s forces. Once you win there and have broken some BGs, the overall situation may be fluid. You can’t roll up the enemy line since those troops were not pinned in place – they have probably already either passed forward to your side of the table, turned to move directly toward your breakthrough force, or formed a new front. Both sides regroup and evolve new battle plans to gain the tactical initiative.

838. Defensive/offensive: This is getting into a defensive position early on, receiving an attack, and then counterattacking when the enemy is failing or at least fully committed. If you can’t rely on your opponent’s temperament or scenario requirements to prompt an attack, how can you provoke one? Infliction of cohesion and base losses by shooting can prompt an assault, but you need to get shooters in range to do this. Flank marches or ambushers can lead the enemy to try to engage and defeat you before those troops come into play. If not, the army should advance to be able to coordinate with the flank marchers or ambushers.

839. Shoot and Scoot (aka Shoot and Maneuver): This can take the shape of one of the other strategies above, particularly screen and smash, but is more opportunistic. The key concept is using the firepower and mobility of an army of lights (and sometimes missile cavalry) to tactically isolate, disrupt, fragment, and break successive BGs of the enemy with concentrated shooting while avoiding exposure to losses themselves. Favorable terrain is important; ample maneuvering room is critical.

Your doctrine should clarify the roles of the troops you have and what you want the battle to look like against the kind of opponent you have. Some troops are suitable to fight in the battle front, while others may need protection from terrain or positioning. Fast assault, slow assault, blocking, pinning, delaying, harassment, firepower are all potential roles.

841. Some troops are best on Impact, while others have melee advantages that make them likely to break the opponent over time. Others can help prepare an assault, such as by shooting up the enemy or luring him into uncontrolled charges. Sacrificial attacks such as Scythed Chariots or sacrificial units used to force enemy pursuit out of position also have a place.

842. With armies built to use a finessed toolkit approach, getting appropriate matchups is important, but newer player should be wary of letting this be the dominant tactical consideration in deployment or maneuvering lest their maneuvers become overcomplicated and tactically unsound. Sometimes you just need to fight what’s in front of you.

843. Heavy Infantry is quite slow unless enemy is kept off so it can do second moves – this can involve brigading mounted with it to chase off skirmishers.

844. If your mounted are stronger, a good plan is to mass them in a wing attack to break a weaker opposing mounted wing and then flank their center. If your mounted are weaker, try to anchor or refuse a flank and mass them as flank cover of the foot on the open wing.

845. If the enemy has a skirmisher or mounted edge overall or on a flank, decide whether it helps the battle overall more to keep your lights as a force in being or be willing to risk them to tie the enemy’s down or divert them away. Sometimes you can’t afford to lose the flank cover, sometimes pairing off BGs with the enemy provides you with some needed security. Sometimes trading BGs makes sense, sometimes you can’t afford to lose them. If you have the advantage in lights, you want to disperse or destroy theirs so yours can help disrupt enemy heavies with shooting.

846. The purpose of delaying troops is to buy you time and space. This is accomplished by preventing second moves, inflicting cohesion loss when possible, forcing the enemy to deploy, wheel, or otherwise divert himself from the direct route to his goal. Assuming enemy normal movement rates, you can calculate how many turns you have before they can present a danger to their objectives. Delayers are normally lights, although skirmishing cavalry can also be used. Foresee evasions carefully and try to avoid evasions that could leave the enemy with room to second move, but above all don’t lost any BGs delaying unless it provides a critical advantage in time and space (such as leading enemy BGs away from their goal to a corner, or bogging them down in difficult terrain).

847. Don’t leave your best troops out of the action. They are too expensive to stand idle.

860. Using the concepts in Part 12, an attack should have focused, even if multiple, objectives in mind, and at each point in time in the battle there should be a BG that the commander identifies as the “schwerpunkt” (hard point) you are relying on for success and which your other efforts support directly or indirectly (such as by cleverly diverting enemy attention and forces). This may not involve a concentration of force, but does involve a concentration of effort and concentration of pressure. Concentration of pressure does not necessarily require physical proximity – threats can work as well.

861. If you are more mobile and clever, you can draw the enemy’s attention and forces away from a target point and then reconcentrate pressure there faster than the slower enemy can respond.

862. Beware of detached forces that dilute your power more than they weaken your opponent.

863. Develop a good sense of time, space and troop movement distances and keep objectives and their timetables in mind through the battle. Estimate how many turns it will take troops to get where they need to be. Continually visualize where the battle front, combats, threats, decision points and particularly the schwerpunkt will be or can be the next turn, in two turns, and in 5 turns.

864. Don’t get too micro-tactical and lose sight of the battle as it is now and will be over the next turns.

865. Feeding troops into fair even fights is gambling on attrition – the tactical goal is to commit troops with an advantage.

866. Pursue judiciously. Rally from pursuit when the troops are presently needed for the local battle, it is often wise to pursue aggressively with the goal of getting farther behind the enemy line of battle to have more freedom of action, to ensure superior or elite troops are too battered for a Commander to rally.

901. Poor troops are cheap, suitable for padding the number of BGs. They can delay, guard terrain or the camp, and fight and soak up losses if not subjected to excessive pressure. They can only rear support other Poor troops, but can be used to plug a gap or face to form a front to the flank if in a second line. Their weakness in combat is that 6s get rerolled–a Commander in the front rank of a large Poor BG can fix that, and a cheap small Poor BG behind can provide it with rear support and flank protection that can make it much more durable, but the general rule with Poor troops is to try to hold them out of close combat unless they have an advantage. A large block of Poor Spears or Pikes can serve tactically as a mobile terrain feature that limits the manoeuvre of enemy mounted and provides protection for LF shooters deployed to their front, but it needs a flank guard on the open flank. Being cheap, you can afford a large number of Poor troops (Poor LF Javelinmen are a great deal at 2 points per base), and quality has a quantity all its own, but to turn that quality to advantage takes more skill than using more reliable troops.

902. Elite troops are rare, and for the purpose of this list can be treated like Superior troops. Both qualities are deadlier in combat, less susceptible to morale failures, and easier to bolster or rally than average, therefore requiring less personal attention from commanders and able to keep heavy pressure on their targets in close combat or when shooting. With rerolls and especially with a general, they are very resistant to Cohesion Tests, but they die as easily as any other troops on death throws so don’t expose them needlessly to storms of arrows.

903. SHOCK TROOPS GENERALLY: Shock troops are aggressive close combat troops with good impact power but liable to charging without orders, in some cases bursting through and disrupting your own troops in order to charge. An important precautionary rule of thumb is to keep them pointed at their targets but out of charge range until you are ready to charge. Keep friendlies other than screening skirmishers out of the way.

910. SHOCK LANCERS: This includes most Knights and some Cavalry. Lances give an Impact POA against most troops other than stationary Steady Pikes or Spears, and force a -1 CT Modifier if the enemy are defeated in Impact, in addition to the modifier if the defeated enemy are MF in open ground.

911. Only one rank counts in combat, so they normally charge one-deep with maybe a base or two in back to fill in for losses or expand in melee. Some people use 4s, some use 6s. Although 6s are good for staying power, higher quality Knights seem to most often be in 4s as this is cheaper in points, easier to manoeuvre, and resilient enough. Except against steady non-charging Spears or Pikes, Knight Lancers generally have the advantage against Cavalry and MF and are neutral or advantaged against HF, so are suitable for charging into most things not behind fortiifications. They should beware heavy archery, especially from Crossbows or Longbows.

When Knights face one-deep evading Cavalry, you need to start the charge within 1 MU of the Cavalry to have decent odds of catching them in an evade. The Cavalry can’t face you frontally, but will be happy to manoeuvre to flank charge you, so Knights need flank protection against them. LH flank and rear charges can usually be defeated easily unless already engaged from the front.

912. Think of these not as Knights but as slow but heavily armoured Cavalry Lancers. Since they fight 2-deep, 6 bases is recommended for Cataphract BGs, fighting either 3- or 4-wide at Impact (depending on the POAs), although they are often seen in cheaper 4s as well.

913. CAVALRY LANCERS These are a very common troop type that fills the mobile shock force role in the later ancient period and in some later armies that Knights do in western armies in the Medieval period, although they fight with 1 die per base (in 2 ranks) while Knights fight with 2 dice per base (in 1 rank). 6-base BGs are preferable, but again higher quality troops are often in 4s. Cavalry Lancers should avoid head-on fights with Knights, since the Knight Lancer POA trumps that of the Cavalry Lancers and the Knights are more heavily armoured, giving the Knights an advantage in both Impact and Melee. They are shock troops who can’t evade, so like Knights should approach unfavorable opposition with care.

914. “SHOOTY CAVALRY”: This is Cavalry that relies heavily or primarily on shooting, often used in conjunction with shooting LH. Its close combat power can range from strong to weak, depending on quality and equipment. Swordsmen capability is common and desirable. If Unprotected, they should be kept in one rank if in any danger of being shot at. They can deploy one-deep to shoot up or chase down light troops or play the Light Horse shoot-and-evade game against Knights and non-missile infantry. They are usually in 4s to change formation and manoeuvre easily. These troops are simulated nicely in Field of Glory, and it takes talent and experience to handle Shooty Cavalry effectively, so take extra time in battle drill and combat practice. One problem with shoot-and-scoot armies is that wearing down the enemy takes time, which makes decisive results harder to achieve within tournament time limits. It is tempting to add shock troops for offensive power and as a threat and deterrent, but they need to be used effectively and avoid becoming exploitable targets for the enemy due to their inability to evade attacks.

915. MOUNTED CROSSBOWS: In their favor, Crossbows have good armour penetration (e,g., against Elephants, Cataphracts or Heavily Armoured Knights) but they have POA penalties against lightly armoured Foot that are good targets for bowmen. Mounted Crossbow LH are most useful against in-period opponents including Knights and Light Foot, and are often the only LH Medieval armies can have. Crossbow Cavalry usually have decent armour and Swordsmen capability, making them circumstantially useful, but unfortunately they are not strong in close combat against Knights, their favored shooting targets. Mounted Crossbow Cavalry are also good for sweeping away LH; 4-base BGs facilitate their shooty cavalry role.

916. OTHER CAVALRY: This covers other Cavalry in a close combat role, which can include Shooty Cavalry that is doctrinally or situationally relied upon to act in a shock role – if so, having Swordsmen and Armoured is desirable for Melee. They normally fight 2-deep and 6s is the best size for close combat. 4 is more brittle but also commonly used. 4 is OK with good armour and quality, but Average Cavalry is safer in 6s since the -25% loss penalty hits them harder without the benefit of rerolls. Note that Unprotected or Protected Cavalry in combat formation (which is more than one rank) take increased casualties from most shooting.

Light Spears are not a full substitute for Lances for Cavalry, but they have some advantages. The POA is not limited to open ground, is not a shock POA like Lancers that leads to uncontrolled charges, and does not prevent evasion if in one rank (so they can act as “heavy skirmishers”). However, when used by mounted it is only a tiebreaker, so, if the opponent has one POA, the only way for them to even up in order to count Light Spear POA is if uphill, in fortifications, or the enemy is MF/LF. Therefore the fact that it is not neutralized by Steady Spears/Pikes is rarely useful against HF.

917. HEAVY AND LIGHT CHARIOTS: Heavy Chariots are the closest thing to Knights in the ancient world and are handled similarly except they also often shoot with Bow, giving them the chance to disrupt enemy with shooting before charging. Light Chariots with Bows can be used like shooty Cavalry; in close combat Light Chariots are like Cavalry but with twice the dice (this is based on period performance). Since Chariots fight in one rank, both heavy and light chariots are usually in manoeuvrable 4s. Since they have no armour rating, armour doesn’t affect incoming shooting or melee one way or the other, although Swordsmen and other Melee POAs are used against them. Note that Drilled Light Chariots in march column can turn 90 degrees to form a line as a Simple move and can add an advance as a Complex Move, while for Undrilled Light Chariots an expansion is Complex and adding an advance is impossible.


930. HEAVY FOOT are the troops best suited for fighting in line of battle in open ground. They are more resilient taking CTs for losing a close combat than MF are, but slower than MF and suffer more serious disordering effects in terrain. The infantry of an “ideal” army would include a mix of HF for open ground front-line combat and MF for shooting and use in terrain.

931. MEDIUM FOOT: Medium Foot gives a POA to horsemen on Impact and their morale is more brittle than Heavy Foot when losing to mounted or Heavy Foot in the open, but they have a distinct advantage in controlling bad terrain because they are not disordered by uneven or rough ground. Among the most prized medium foot are Almughavars (Average Protected Undrilled Offensive Spearmen) or Dailami (Superior Armoured Drilled Impact Foot Swordsmen), which can dominate terrain but also be effective in the open. Fighting Medium Foot can be fielded in 6s but without good quality 8s are recommended for cohesion test purposes. The balance of MF terrain forces between two armies frequently influences their terrain choices, goals and tactics. Whether to have at least a few terrain troops is an important consideration in army recruitment.

932. PIKES: Pikes are taken in 8s or 12s and fielded 4-deep for combat, sometimes 2-deep to cover frontage. The merits of 3x8s vs 2x12s are much debated: 8s get you 3 BGs instead of 2 for more flexibility, are manoeuvrable square formations, and their 2-base narrow frontage limits the number of incoming hits by splitting incoming fire among more BGs. 12s are more resistant to shooting cohesion loss and damage, and are said to be less vulnerable to overlaps and being flanked and pounded when they pursue. 8s seem most common, although some players field a mix.

Pikes are typically brigaded in line abreast in order to roll over the enemy. They should press to engage in most cases, and need flank cover to avoid being bogged down by flank threats or attacks. Echelons work nicely with Pikes. They are shock troops, so a combination of uncontrolled charges, pursuits and responding to flank threats can easily leave brigaded Pikes somewhat scattered and vulnerable to counterattacks.

The combat dynamic against Impact Foot such as Legionaries is equality at Impact, with Pikes gaining the advantage in Melee unless disrupted, in which case the advantage passes to the Impact Foot as they can use Swordsmen. Steadiness in good order is required to deny Swordsmen and Lancer POAs, and the rank bonuses are lost at Fragmented, so bolstering Pikes should be a Commander priority against Swordsmen.

When advancing, use Light Foot as a screen. Opponents will hesitate to charge them for fear of ending up on the Pikes. Withdraw the Skirmishers ahead of time for a coordinated final charge – against missile troops, you may want to leave them in place and get close enough to uncontrolled charge through them (although that means possible piecemeal attacks against overlaps in Melee).

933. SPEARS: Spearmen are noted for being good against mounted troops, but have general utility. You can always find something useful for Spearmen to do. Offensive Spearmen are good all-around infantry that are competent against both foot and horse. As MF (such as the highly regarded Almughavars), they are useful for dominating bad terrain and also serviceable in open ground. Defensive Spearmen are cheaper and are fairly common, especially in later eras, and are a good choice for covering a broad frontage on the table and serving as a “shield” wall of infantry for the army. Their disadvantage is that they lose their Impact POA for 2 ranks when charging.

Usually taken in 6s or 8s. Spearmen POAs depend on fighting 2-deep. As with Pikes, bolstering them to Steady is necessary for their best POAs, so they deserve special commander attention. The importance of steadiness also favors using them in 8s to be more resistant to cohesion loss from shooting and allow them to deploy deep, 3-wide with 2 bases in a third rank to replace close combat losses and preserve their POAs.

934. IMPACT FOOT: This is a fairly common infantry type including troops such as most Roman Legionaries and “warband” types. Intended to overwhelm foot opponents by a fierce charge and/or a burst of projectiles before contact, they charge hard against Foot with a ++ POA but are not as versatile as Offensive Spears and are not the equal of Spearmen against Knights, or Elephants for that matter. Dave Madigan feels impact foot are “pants” (a term of derision among kilted Highlanders?). They are not regarded with the affection Offensive Spears get. The key issue with Impact Foot is what POAs they have to offer AFTER Impact, in the Melee — Swordsmen is standard, but this is trumped by Skilled Swordsmen (this is how Legionaries prevail over Warbands).

935. LIGHT SPEAR FOOT: Light Spear is very common Impact weapon type representing a wide variety of troops from earliest times on that were armed with light spears or javelins, thrust or thrown, or with other equipment with similar tactical effect. This POA is a weak sister to Impact Foot, lacking the doubled ++ POA against foot, and is therefore used for Roman Auxilia and some legionaries of the later Empire. The tactical value of a LSp BG will depend on whether it has quality, armour and capabilities.

936. SWORDSMEN: Swordsmen is a widespread and important POA that gives staying power in Melee. It is usually paired with an Impact POA for fighting troops, which is very important. It is sometimes paired with a missile POA for shooters, who don’t use it if they are able to stay in a shooting role but find it useful for purposes such as contesting terrain to obtain shooting positions. Having good armour will be important if they do get into close combat with capable fighting troops. Only a few troops out there have Swordsmen or Skilled Swordsmen as their only POA. Undisrupted and non-disordered Spearmen and Pikes are very effective against Swordsmen/Skilled Swordsmen because they neutralize the Swordsmen POA.

937. USING MISSILE FOOT: Longbows are the best missile foot weapon. Crossbows have comparable penetrating power but their low rate of fire is reflected in negative POAs against lightly armoured targets, making them most useful against Medieval opponents – Bows are better against the generally Protected/Unprotected troops of earlier eras. Because second shooting ranks shoot 1 die per 2 bases, MF archers are most efficient in 4s (3 dice) or 8s (6 dice) rather than 6s (4 dice). Having a range of 4 MU or more is important – short-range non-LF missile foot have to get dangerously close to the enemy to shoot – fielding handguns or javelins with LF is safest unless the missile foot have armour and capabilities suitable for close combat.

Missile troops are generally more effective against mounted than foot, but can be swept away in close combat by good troops in clear terrain. They do have the advantage of shooting the enemy first: using Bowmen as an example, the Bowmen can theoretically shoot two times at long range and two times at effective range at well-handled advancing HF in the two turns they must advance before being in range to charge – note that troops with 4 MU range can get in 3 turns of shooting if they step to just inside range when the HF stop just outside. Against Cavalry, shooters must step forward into effective range to enjoy one round of full dice before being charged. Fragment the attackers and you win, disrupt them and you make the charge uncertain for the Cavalry. Enemy skirmisher screens reduce you to 2 rounds of shooting at the assault troops, none if the enemy are content to wait for the shock troops to burst through the skirmishers in an uncontrolled charge.

In Impact, missile foot get the benefit of rear rank shooting (1 roll per base, 1 per 2 for LF) when charged, so their BG rolls up to 50% more dice than its attackers, but typically this is at a negative POA needing 5-6 for hits against the 4-6 or 3-6 rolls of the attackers. For all-missile foot BGs, winning the Impact is critical because once it gets to Melee they get pounded to pieces by opponents who may have both combat and armour POAs. Most Missile foot are cheaper because they are unprepared for close combat, but some with good armour and Swordsmen POA can match their opponents.

In addition to looking for opportunities to converge shooting, missile foot seek ways to shoot repeatedly without being contacted by close combat troops. A few armies have mixed BGs with shooters able to shoot at full effect from the second rank, and Longbowmen may have stakes to fend off mounted, but otherwise trying to achieve this goal in wide open ground is highly situational – e.g., recessing them between advanced “bastions” of heavier troops or with an advantage of terrain can allow them to shoot longer, and flank threats can pin down target enemy BGs for a time.

Missile foot are strongest behind fixed defenses or taking advantage of favorable terrain. Shooting from hills over friendly troops is good when you can manage it, and a rough hill in the midst of the battle is an excellent perch for shooters, especially if they are Swordsmen. Any uneven or rough terrain that allows them to shoot freely helps missile foot by slowing and disordering the enemy. Shooters with close combat POAs are versatile bad terrain troops, although they should beware of tough MF shock troops like Almughavars, Dailami, or good Roman Auxilia.

939. MOBS: The first reason to take a Mob BG is as attrition filler when you have an extra dozen or so points. Their combat potential is low and they are not hard to break, but they can serve some useful roles such as Camp guards, terrain troops, diversions, or for facing off skirmishers. They can also provide cheap flank guard rear support for poor troops, such as a block of 12 poor Pike.

940. LIGHT FOOT ROLES LF types were common in most ancient armies for reasons applicable in FoG as well. Light Foot is cheap, particularly the poorer ones (as cheap as 2 points/base), and are useful as filler BGs and suitable for early deployment in the order of march. They can stake out space on the first move, they can prevent the enemy from second moving, they can screen heavier mounted or foot against shooting and charge provocations, they can chase off enemy LF, they can swiftly penetrate, hold, ambush from, or harass from terrain, they can distract and divert enemy attention, they can disrupt the enemy with harassing fire, they can assault fragmented enemy with double their normal dice, they can block or pursue enemy routers to keep them from rallying, they can themselves rout without unsettling heavy troops, and in some armies they can provide back-rank shooting support against mounted in infantry units. They were and are used to counter elephants and scythed chariots. They can move in battle lines with horse and can interpenetrate and be interpenetrated by more troop types than any other troop type can. What they can't do is fight effectively hand to hand against well-ordered heavier troops or easily concentrate battle-winning massed shooting. LF have many potential roles, but in practice opposing LF BGs tend to pair off and effectively cancel each other out for the battle, so they are unable to generate enemy Cohesion Tests to support friendly combatants.

941. LF COSTS: The average LF costs 4 points, Poor 2 points, and Superior 5. Bows or Crossbows have extended range and cost an extra point – other weapons such as Slings, Firearms, Javelins and Light Spears are free. For some tactical roles, BG size, POAs and quality don’t matter, although if they are intended to fight other LF or shoot effectively these are important. Having a mix of types may be the most cost effective approach.

942. LF BGs: 4 LF can shoot 2 dice at normal range, but LF need 6 bases to get 2 dice at extended range, so Bows and Crossbows should always ideally be in 6-base BGs while others can drop down to fragile 4s.
With only 2 MU range, it is risky to get close enough to use Javelins against anything but slower foot, but with Light Spear they can be used to drive back other LF with charge threats. Firearms also have a short range, but their shooting has a -1 CT effect that makes small BGs of handgunners useful in support of other shooters. Taking into account cost and POAs, my preference is Crossbows to face Knights, Bows to face other horse and foot (or slings to save points or if in 4s), and Javelins or Firearms to face Elephants. 6-base BGs work well for shooting non-missile targets, while 8s get another die at normal range but also need to take 3 hits rather than 2 hits to be forced to take a CT.

943. LIGHT FOOT vs. MOUNTED Mounted in the open are not your friends. Even poor LH filler BGs can chase down and kill LF in the open, although LF with Light Spears and armour become a much tougher proposition. LH can catch you fairly quickly, while Cavalry can’t catch you 1 on 1 before the table edge if you run without worrying about shooting them. If you have two LF BGs against one mounted BG, you may be able to wear it down with shooting. Against mounted in the open, look for troops who can intercept a charge or whom you can evade behind, or have rough ground behind you. Beware that mounted may still beat you if they catch you even in rough terrain, but you have better odds and the speed advantage there. Screening your foot from shock horsemen is an opportunity to provoke them into an uncontrolled charge that you evade so that they may run into or close to your foot. Also, since LH in combat can’t evade and won’t break off against foot that is disruptedm there are times when you willingly entangle them with your LF to enable heavier troops to charge into the Melee and smash the LH.

944. OTHER LIGHT FOOT TACTICS In addition to the techniques above, against Light Foot you may be closing and charging to force them back if you have the tactical advantage, or retiring while the enemy does the same to you. Against slower troops, getting in range to shoot and/or range to provoke an uncontrolled charge is usually the objective. As usual, you are looking for 1 hit per 3 bases to provoke Cohesion Tests. You can’t charge heavier troops in the open, so they can basically ignore you or charge you to make you evade away, but you can keep harassing them with shooting.

950. ELEPHANTS: Elephants are the most powerful of the exotic troop types, but they are brittle: Elephants get a +1 on Death Throws, but, once one of the two Elephant bases in a BG is killed, it autobreaks, routs, and will be removed at the end of the Joint Action Phase. They are in danger if left alone in the face of the enemy – you want to limit their exposure to the two enemy bases they will be fighting, no overlaps, by having friendlies on each flank. Recessing them a foot base depth back makes them less of a target.

A single elephant BG in the right place can impose a -1 CT on two opposing enemy BGs if they lose, so they should move as part of a foot battle line flanked by a strong offensive foot BG on at least one side in order to win the Impact Phase by at least a 2-hit margin and therefore maximize the chance of cohesion losses. In Hellenistic armies, they can usefully be posted on the flank of a Pike block, provided that their flank is covered and Skirmishers screen against shooting.

Elephants can also attack in conjunction with strong mounted BGs. Disorder should not be a problem for adjoining friendly mounted BGs since only 2 bases of each BG will be in range to be disordered by the Elephants, and a dice is lost only when 3 bases are disordered.

In either case, Elephants are undrilled, so you probably want a Commander accompanying the battle line to minimize this problem. Remember that only front-rank Elephant bases count for hits per base – and they count 2 each – so avoid using Elephants in column.

If faced with Elephants, know that everything that can shoot except Bows and Slings gets a POA against them, and that Elephants lose their usual close combat POAs when they fight LF. Javelin/Light Spear LF are useful against Elephants if they can get at them.

951. ARTILLERY: Artillery is situationally useful. Artillery has decent range but low (or no if Heavy Artillery) mobility and takes a negative shooting POA against lighter targets. Artillery just shooting at a BG forces a CT if the BG takes 2 hits from shooting by anyone, regardless of the number of bases in the BG. In addition, any troops shot at by Artillery take a -1 CT modifier. This can be quite effective. An Artillery BG is unlikely to score 2 hits itself, so its shooting should be combined with archery to take maximum advantage of each opportunity.

Since Heavy Artillery is immovable anyway, taking field fortifications allows Artillery and other troops defending them to be placed 5 MU farther forward in the center and better withstand enemy attacks. Fortifications, particularly if defending by Artillery, create a zone which the enemy usually avoids. Alternatively, you can place the Artillery without fortifications where it can create a corridor the enemy will seek to avoid. The ability to channel enemy attack is useful for a defensive or defensive/offensive battle, but Artillery does not play much of a role if the battle is fought nearer the enemy’s baseline. Intervening terrain can be useful to make Artillery harder to attack, and it can be deployed in uneven or rough terrain without disordering effects. It ambush or go in difficult, but difficult or impassable terrain can secure a flank and set up a fire zone at an angle across an enemy line of advance. Since they can’t move elsewhere or pivot once placed, I suggest drilling practice deployments involving Artillery or fortifications several times before trying them in battle.

952. BATTLE WAGONS: These are available to only a few armies. They can shoot 1 dice or fight with 2 dice on each of the two base-widths on a side edge and enjoy a shooting POA, Impact POA, and +1 on Death Throws, as well as negating POAs for Lancers and better armour, among others. Some can be fielded with Light Artillery. They have some fighting power and are rather durable. They can be used to block a defile, anchor a defensive position, act as a stationary or moving flank guard, or serve like a slowly moving fortification or obstacle. However, the downside is that they need a CMT just to move and move at best at the speed of Heavy Foot – whatever they do, they do slowly. {Any comments from those experienced in the use of Battle Wagons are solicited.}

953. SCYTHED CHARIOTS: These are entertaining, don’t count towards attrition, and have a decent chance of doing damage to even elite troops if they can get into contact, but they disappear quickly if things don’t go all their own way. Take them in 2s, aim them towards expensive troops and try to protect them until they get there. They get a POA except against skirmishers, steady stationary Pikes/Spears, Elephants, Lancers, and Battle Wagons, so Lights are usually sent to defuse their attack with shooting. Their purpose is to get attention and unsettle the enemy – and cause damage if lucky. There are those who take the Pontic army just to get this toy, but most people think they are each a waste of 15 points.

954. CAMELS: Fun, rare, exotic, ill-tempered, able to travel with ease in soft sand, and disorder horses, they are offered a combat role in few armies but are happy in camp dioramas. I’ve noted 0-8 Unprotected Poor Undrilled Bow Swordsmen Camelry in Early Arab Allies (ROR p. 60) and 0-4 Heavily Armoured, Superior Undrilled Lancers/Swordsmen Cataphract Camels in Hatran Allies (ROR p. 59).

1101. Think of troops in terms of whether they are committed or have flexibility. Troops are committed when their options have narrowed so they cannot reasonably change their course of action. Troops are pinned when they cannot move laterally or to the rear without grave risk (usually from exposing themselves to a flank or rear charge), and they are also pinned where they could move off but doing so would expose friends to grave danger. Note that Skirmishers can turn about and move off, so they are hard to pin.

1110. Missile Troops: When unable to stand safely in the battle front, a column of missile troops can be used in a rear support role.

1120: Flanks: Flank and rear charges are powerful. Short-range outflanking moves are worthwhile only if they can make a big impact, such as cohesion loss from a flank charge or forcing pressure on the enemy’s position. Otherwise, overlapping is not as potent but easier to achieve and has a more immediate effect than flank manoeuvres.

1121. Consider a flank secure if no one can hit you there for 4 turns, or you could effectively prevent the attack without detrimental effects.

1122. Turning and rolling up a flank takes time; if you can manage it, swing into the rear instead. You want speed and Drilled for short-range envelopments.

1123. Narrow outflanking moves can be blocked, intercepted, or flanked in turn by flank guards, but at least that pressures the enemy to respond. Calculate the timing on wider outflanking moves to make sure you will be able to get back into action in time or at least exert forcing pressure on the enemy. Even fair fights between Superior troops can be over in 2 or 3 combat rounds.

1124. Decide ahead of time whether or not to provide flank cover to counter overlaps or only against flank charges. Position flank guards or distant flank coverage carefully to be sure you can intercept but avoid unwanted engagement.

1130: Assaults: Calculate potential enemy charges and intercepts and rounds of shooting you will take in an assault. Don’t forget the enemy shooters can step forward to put you in better range.

1131. Look for ways to disrupt the enemy before the charge. Shooting is one way, forcing LH to evade through and disrupt them is another example. Disrupting Spears and Pikes first is golden for Lancers or Swordsmen.

1132. Try to position screening skirmishers so they will have room to evade behind instead of on top of the attacking heavy troops. Withdraw them on a timely basis for use to the flanks, unless you have shock troops and want to keep them screened against shooting while trying for an uncontrolled charge.

1133. Whether you win or lose in an Impact is not affected by whether you have friendlies on either flank, but whether your enemy loses IS affected by results on either side. Having a weak BG charge alongside a strong one makes sure you are not overlapped in Melee, but can hand the enemy enough net hits to offset your favorable net hits and the enemy avoids losing the Impact.

1134. If you are weak in Impact but good in Melee, consider charging on a somewhat narrower frontage to minimize the total hits you might take, and then expand a file before the Melee Phase. If you have an advantage in Impact, or just armour or other disadvantage in Melee, try to spread out and roll maximum Impact Phase dice.

1135. Break Off: In the joint action mounted must break off from steady foot unless they fit an exception. Breakoff is good against close combat foot if you are better in Impact, but disadvantageous if your advantage is in Melee, breaking off in your own turn gives the enemy a chance to shoot in their turn, or if you take a cohesion loss because you can’t break off or you are placed in a bad tactical position after your break off move. Where mounted and foot are fighting each other, both sides should look at what will happen on break offs and see how they could turn it to advantage.

1140. Defense: Try to force the enemy into a position where to engage you he needs to accept overlaps, converging shooting, unfavorable terrain, or other disadvantages.

1141. Weaken a strong attack by pinning, turning or slowing the BGs on its wings with flank threats or other distractions.

1150. Clearing Skirmishers: Cavalry can drive back and eventually catch or drive LF of LH off the board, though LH is harder. Using stronger LH, or LH and LF in combination, is more efficient. Clearing Skirmishers with forced evades in the Impact Phase can clear the way for you to second move the battle line.

1160. Linked Melees; Independent Melees: Combats more than 3 MU apart are independent since even routs or commander deaths don’t have a direct impact on each other. Linked Melees include melees in cohesion test range of each other, which can result in a chain reaction of Cohesion Tests, and multi-BG close combats where a BG is engaging more than one enemy BG.

1161. Multi-BG Melees are common when battle lines meet. One important effect is that front-rank Commanders remain in the front-rank until ALL melees are ended or everyone on one side of the Melee has done a break off. Another is that a BG fighting two enemy BGs won’t pursue if just one routs. It will get overlaps on its other opponent, but the routing BG won’t be hit in pursuit and the gap won’t be exploited.

1162. When a BG in a battle line fails, the overlaps on its neighbors can be devastating. The only way to reverse morale disintegration is with bolstering, which can recover a wavering line and help swing the fight the other way. Committing a Commander to the front rank can be crippling if other BGs go unbolstered

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