'Formed Troops: Change third and fourth sentence to read: A formed unit is one that is at least as wide as the minimum number of bases for its type (see table on page 8). When a formed unit falls below this width or the minimum number of bases for its type, it becomes unformed.'
This is the errata that has recently been posted and I have been thinking through the implications of this as I get ready for the Pompey Pillage (places still available I am told).
As a gamer who prefers playing with infantry armies I am always concerned about my flanks and how best to protect them. There is always a delicate balance between mainting a cohesive line of battle and not leaving gaps big enough for your enemy to ride through and exploit.
With the change in rules it is going to become harder, but not impossible, to exploit gaps. Often to get through a gap open order cavalry would often go into a column one base wide six bases deep. Under the new rules this formation is now unformed. (As would a unit only two bases wide)
So why is this important?
1 Unformed units cannot charge - so you could put some really rubbish skirmishers in the way and they can't declare a charge on them
2 Unformed units have to take a cohesion test if charged by a formed unit, so even if you have a really pants formed unit lurking as a flank guard they cause a cohesion test
3 Being unformed skirmish units can charge them, and if it is in the flank, then that is a cohesion test.
4 If the unformed unit is beaten in combat, then it reads the result two lines lower on the combat results table, so even if it is only beaten by 1 (Skirmish unit in flank), then two lines lower means take a break test and if that is passed fall back. Having fallen back and been discouraged it is likely to keep on falling back ad infinitum.
In the past I had to worry about any gap that was a base width +1" in size as this could allow an enemy cavalry unit (or even an open order infantry unit) to get by with relative ease. This was done by either ensuring there was no gap, or by having some sort of formed unit of my own on sentry duty.
Now I think, I will have the ability to have slightly bigger gaps (up to 3 base width) and my sentry units could be skirmishers rather than formed units. This I hope will allow me to be slightly more adventurous in my initial dispositions and subsequent movement allowing me to get across the board slightly quicker.
That is the theory, I will have to see what happens in practice! Roll on Pompey!