So, you are thinking to yourself – lockdown is the right time for a new army and you are attracted to a Warband Army out of the Classical Army supplement – the question is which warband army is right for you?
Let’s dive in and think about the different armies you could have.
There are lots of good things about Warband armies, as well as some downsides to consider.
The upsides first, they generate extra momentum tokens if they make a successful charge, and if they win the first round of combat, you read the combat resolution one line lower, so almost guaranteeing at least a push back (if you win
The main downsides are that they are impetuous so you are sometimes forced to charge something you don’t want to, like a unit of superior fighters in a phalanx and with a defence value of 4+, this will not end well. A bit like adding the extra strong chili sauce to the kebab in that little shop that you swore you would never go back to after last time.
The other down side is that they tend not to have a lot or armour available to them so can die in droves, and their leadership tends to be pants so if they start to run they tend to keep going. On the upside they often have a lot of commanders available to them and often they come with an extra attack, which can make all the difference when you need to win the first round of combat.
Wining the initiative is really important if you are a warband army, as is avoiding huge multi-unit combats as that dissipates the benefit gained from your extra momentum tokens when charging. Oh and you can never disengage a warband unit, so once you are in combat you are there to the end, which may not be too long.
You have three variants with two types of warrior. Both are Open Order have Javelins and Shield and the Highland Warriors have a better leadership than the Lowland chappies. They can also take halberds if you are so inclined. Never sure if they are really that useful except against D2 cataphracts.
They have some useful supporting cavalry and they have commanders that add +2 Cohesion and +3 attacks, what is not to like.
Some might complain that the Open order chappies are more brittle, which is true, but the 8” charge can be really useful when you generate extra momentum tokens when you charge, I may have mentioned this before!
If you like some steady troops to mix in with your warbands then this army could be the one for you. They also have the evade ability, but how that works with the impetuous rules is one I have yet to work out! In theory evading away to lure an enemy unit out of the line to be counter charged sounds great, it is just putting the theory into practice. They can add heavy throwing spears which negates the evade ability, but who doesn’t like a heavy throwing spear.
A rarity in a warband army the Ligurians can have two units of superior fighters and they have light armour to boot! You can field these chaps either in close order or open order and have a mix of the two. Great commanders, the only downside is that there are no cavalry available and no allies either.
A really interesting mix available with up two units of hoplites available to provide a little solidity to your battle line, however you can only have open order warbands, but they can have large shields (a must have) and one can even have light armour! There are some cavalry available to them, but they are more show ponies than decent fighting troops.
Introduce two new units to the warband world. Fanatics and chariots. The chariots can be fantastic and are both mobile and hard hitting, the downside is that if you cannot have the good noble cavalry and the chariots together.
As for the fanatics I would leave them at home, I have never been convinced by the stubborn ability and that is all that they have.
Again, you can have a mix of open and close order warbands and some interesting allies are available to you.
With up to 60% of your force being mercenaries and two types of warband unit available to you you could make this a warband army, but there again why?
There are three different time periods, the earliest one would be the most warband friendly as you can have chariots and some reasonable cavalry. The real point of interest is the ability to use a scythed chariot or two!
Open order warbands with good supporting cavalry and chariots.
Your choice here is between throwing spear and halberd to equip your warbands with. Some reasonable supporting cavalry. However, a dearth of open order troops. Your Sarmation allies may be helpful. You can also have a wagon tabor to try and block off a flank. It may work. They can be stubborn but why would you.
Allowed both close and open order warbands with some reasonable supporting cavalry. Again, they can be stubborn but why?
Only open order warband, but they can be tooled up so that they can either be D4 or D5
Open order warbands and chariots with the potential for some Roman allies.
All open warbands and interestingly there can be formed units of archers which is quite unique for a warband army. The allies available to this list can also help to provide some variety.