It will be interesting to see how the Swindon event pans out. Nearly every army has a shed load of shooting.
I empathise with many of the points made.
Whilst having a number of skirmish units can be helpful as arrow fodder, they are still a break point when you lose them. Yes it is hitting on 6's, but you only need three to cause a break test and as they are often on leadership 5 ..... and then there is the momentum token.
The fact that you have to do enough casualties to take off a base begins to make a difference to the durability of a unit, but it is relatively easy to get the 10% for a momentum token. Especially on elite troops which tend to be smaller in size due to the points cost.
Equal points of archers and spearmen should give a reasonably even outcome.
So working an example from the Dark Age book. Early Medieval Welsh list. Open order archers are 8 points a pop. So 9 bases = 72 points. This unit generates 11 shots.
Fighting against a spearmen unit from the same list - 9 points a base sos I can get 8 bases (72 points)
Turn 1 spearman move 8" forward
Turn 2 archers shoot - long range and a 6 up save means on average 1 base is removed (3.05 hits) - disrupted and 1 momentum token, spearmen move forward 8" and archers move back 1"
Turn 3 archers shoot - short range and a 6 up save means on average 1 base is removed (4.6 hits) - disrupted and 1 momentu from archers token, spearmen move forward 8"
Turn 4 archers shoot - short range and a 6 up save means on average 1 base is removed (4.6 hits which is greater than the 4.5 hits which is 25% of the unit strength) - disrupted, break test and 2 momentum tokens, spearmen move forward 8" (Now 1" away from archers)
Turn 5 archers shoot - - short range and a 6 up save means on average 1 base is removed (4.6 hits which is greater than the 3.75 hits which is 25% of the unit strength) - disrupted, break test and 2 momentum tokens, The unit has no depth bonus and is now at half starting strength! The archers have 6 momentum tokens and can add 3 tokens to the initiative roll to give them the opportunity to get the charge in.
They start the ensuing combat with +6 combat resolution (depth bonus, outnumbering, disrupted, and 3 momentum tokens). The will have 10 attacks (5 bases) and should do 4.2 hits after saves so the spearmen lose a base and have 6 attacks back and the archers will suffer 3 hits losing a base. The spearmen will lose by 7 and are under half strength, not a happy picture.
Obviously these are average outcomes. Sometimes the spearmen might get their unscathed and others they will runaway after the first round of shooting. Terrain and other units might all have an impact, the clever use of skirmishers helps.
I f I had a choice between a Northern (Spear) and Southern (Bow) army I know which I would take!
There again I wouldn't take the Welsh and just march my Anglo Danes across the board in shieldwall