English Archer Unit Sizes?

Atheling
Posts: 209
Joined: Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:29 pm

English Archer Unit Sizes?

Postby Atheling » Wed Dec 01, 2021 2:08 pm

OK, a it of a search for opinions as opposed to a rules query.

What is the optimum size for a unit of Longbowmen using the English Archers rules in terms of hits? Yeah, my maths *is* that bad!

What are the pitfalls of having very large units that are essentially not that great in melee?

Please be gentle, I'm yet to even play again because of you know what.....

Bob Stradling
Posts: 340
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2016 10:46 am

Re: English Archer Unit Sizes?

Postby Bob Stradling » Wed Dec 01, 2021 4:01 pm

There are a number of issues that you have to consider if you are fielding large blocks of archers.

Yes you can put out a huge number of shots, but on the downside only at one target. It is all to easy for a target unit to be obscured by terrain or another unit (potentially your own moving forward!) and if your opponent has skirmishers then they could potentially mop up a round or two of shooting as well.

If you give them stakes then you potentially hand the initiative to your opponent as you try to keep the benefit of the stakes by not moving and thus limiting the potential targets you really want to aim at as your opponent tries to move out of sight of the centre of your unit.

Giving them a combat weapon (hand and a half sword etc) if available to you makes them into a pukka combat force with the increase in attacks and potential to reduce an opponents save. But then they become expensive .... choices choices.

Just put some units on a table and push them about a bit to see what works for you.

Atheling
Posts: 209
Joined: Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:29 pm

Re: English Archer Unit Sizes?

Postby Atheling » Wed Dec 01, 2021 6:01 pm

There are a number of issues that you have to consider if you are fielding large blocks of archers.

Yes you can put out a huge number of shots, but on the downside only at one target. It is all to easy for a target unit to be obscured by terrain or another unit (potentially your own moving forward!) and if your opponent has skirmishers then they could potentially mop up a round or two of shooting as well.
Therein the problem lies- you need 8 Bases or more for the English Archery rule to take effect. Smaller units obviously cannot use it.
They can only take a Maul but I do take your point. just to flip the coin the other way, on Nic (one of the HYW book's play testers) videos, primarily Swordpoint and the HYW, Bowmen seem to get into all sorts of trouble when they are in combat.
If you give them stakes then you potentially hand the initiative to your opponent as you try to keep the benefit of the stakes by not moving and thus limiting the potential targets you really want to aim at as your opponent tries to move out of sight of the centre of your unit.
I would prefer to play the English of the HYW in, more or les, the way they fought. I don't mind a little ad libbing around the periphery, be that tactical or army choices but to drop the Stakes just feels wrong to me. Very rarely did the English fight without prepared obstacles, be they pits in the ground (Crecy), deployed behind hedges, (Poitiers) or using Stakes (Agincourt and Verneuil) or a Wagon Laager at the Battle of Rouvray (Herrings). They could get away with it against the slow moving Schiltons of the Scots but not against the sheer numbers of Men at Arms/Mounted Men at Arms that the French and their allies could field.
Giving them a combat weapon (hand and a half sword etc) if available to you makes them into a pukka combat force with the increase in attacks and potential to reduce an opponents save. But then they become expensive .... choices choices.
Just put some units on a table and push them about a bit to see what works for you.
If only :)


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