Wartbed:Unit types

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This article is for suggesting and discussing possible unit types that could be covered in WARTBED. Some unit types are distinctions that come from equipment, but some will have to be qualitatively different.


Troops types

This is a typical rock-paper-scissors model of units (with "polearms" added as a special infantry type, but that could be represented by equipment instead).

Speed Range Stability Good against Weak against Strengths Weak points
Cavalry VH N L Archers, artillery Polearms, Infantry Charge, flanking
Infantry M N H Artillery Solidity
Polearms L VL M Cavalry Artillery, Archery, Infantry Range, front Flanks and rear
Archers M H VL Cavalry, polearms Cavalry Solidity
Artillery N. VL VH N Infantry, polearms Cavalry Against massed formations Any melee

Legend: None, Very Low, Low, Medium, High, Very High

Infantry vs Cavalry

A common misconception is that cavalry is strong against infantry. This is historically wrong and probably stems from that medieval conscript or poorly trained or motivated infantry tended to flee before charging knights. However, a well-disciplined infantry formation of spears, pikes or shield wall could stand against and break up any cavalry charge, and polearm infantry (pikemen etc) were all but unimpregnable to a frontal cavalry charge. Horse also naturally shies from unmoving people and firm obstacles and tend to halt and often throw their riders in front of solid infantry. Unless routed, infantry in principally only vulnerable in the flanks and rear to cavalry.

That's true BUT infantries have no pikes or spears. They have swords (otherwise they would be polearms!!). So in hand to hand combats a fighter with a horse has an advantage agains a fighter without a horse. On the first crush it's a matter of discipline how the infantry can "block" the cavalry that's true, but the infantry have the disadvantage of the height. It's nearly impossible to injure a rider at the head or the chest. Perhaps there could be two "checks" first check is on charge how firm the infantry can block and the second check is in cc where the cavalry have an advantage over the infantry (imho). --bembelimen 13:17, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
In military terminology, any foot solider is considered infantry, regardless of equipment. This gets a little confusing, because even archers were considered "infantry". This is more understandable when considering that pure archer units were relatively rare and they tended to be used mixed with or attached to melee infantry. Bannockburn (1314) and Agincourt (1415) were somewhat special (in Bannockburn a full unit of archers were left unprotected and mauled by English cavalry, and in Agincourt, the English had an unprecedented ratio of archers). Anyway, though terminology now generally makes a distinction between archers and infantry, it still tend to lump all infantry weapon types under the same category. You are right to the extent that any reach weapon will be use useful against a cavalry onslaught than melee weapons. You are also correct in that a rider will have height and speed advantage against a footman in single combat. Thirdly, you are correct in that even an ordered formation of infantry lacking reach weapons or significant shields will be more susceptible to cavalry than better equipped ones. However, it is historical fact that disciplined infantry breaks cavalry, which is evident from Scottish Skiltron tactics against English Knight armies, and English infantry armies that repeatedly beat French cavalry (Knight) armies.
Anywho, using the term "polearms" is basically a convenient shortcut to say "infantry equipped with polearms", but I agree that they will be better against cavalry than non-reach weapons. Also, I think your points will be addressed by that the fewer ranks of the recieving unit, the lower will be its stability and the more susceptible it will be to a charge. Mikademus 21:37, 11 September 2008 (UTC)


My next suggestion regards the different (human) unit types. We could use a sword infantry as basic unit type (with different skills of course). And then we can "upgrade" them. If we give them a horse it will be a cavalry, if we give them a spear it will be a polearms, with a bow it will be a archer etc. So a polearms/archer/cavalry have his advantage but in close combat they will use their swords (with different swordskills). (I never heard, that a spearman use his spear agains a swordman in cc as he have 10 friendly units arround him). So a polearms agains cavalry can use his spear and have really good skills but agains swordmen he have to use his sword and then he sucks.... --bembelimen 13:17, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

In the WH:TT rules all units, except conscripts, are assumed to also carry a basic melee weapon, which are used in cc. (This is an oversimplification of reality, though, but probably a good one for gameplay reasons). The unit definition system will be a bit object-oriented, and excellently amenable to part of your suggestion. Thus, a veteran swordsman might be definable as (human + swordsman + veteran cc). Mounts on the other hand is more problematic. I want to do it as you suggest but the simple solution -to treat horses as equipment- means that they can't act on their own, and treating them as units, which would allow this, creates another host of problems. Also, there is the problem of a cavalry unit where some soldiers have lost their mounts. Will they remain in (a mixed) formation, will they tag along best they can behind the mounted soldiers, will they break off into their own one-soldier regiments, or will they perhaps reform into a new footman regiment? If the last, what happens to your army after the battle is won, will they rejoin their original unit or remain as footknights? Though it seems intuitively easy, is is actually unfortunately somewhat tricky from a programming perspective. But I want a solution to this so we can do something similar to your suggestion, so keep suggestions coming! Mikademus 11:39, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

- Hopefully I can provide some further insight here! Firstly, the infantry weapon IS the polearm. In some situations 'Great Weapons' might also be considered a main weapon, but mostly used by 'elites'. I suppose a decision between a degree of realism (and perhaps over complication) and fantasy-warhammer cannon must be met. There are very few instances I can think of in which 'swordsmen' are used as an actual field unit. It may be suprising but in the viking/saxon era swords were rather rare. Exceptionally expensive! However, even those who did have them wouldn't consider them their most significant weapon. The spear (and shield) would have been undoubtedly been their main weapon. One cannot function succesfully in a shieldwall with a short weapon (and having an extra 6 feet+ really makes quite a difference), however when the shieldwall began to break apart the combat might move into a series of melees. This would be when the hand weapons might come into play (although even so, the spear would still be a more than useful weapon).

Even right through the medieval period polearms were the main weapon of the knight, be it the lance on horseback or the pike on the ground.

These details could perhaps be ignored in the warhammer setting though I believe the power of the various forms of polearms cannot be ignored.

I disagree with the idea of ugrading men from footmen to mounted troops. It would be needless complicated. I say stick to the simple of standard of buying units in either the current Dark Omen style or a style similar to Warhammer tabletop. Hopefully this won't be just random rubbish, I'm very tired. Asgath 00:18, 16 January 2009 (GMT)

I sort of agree with you here, Asgarth. When looking at certain times and regions "polearms" seems to be the infantry type. The Hellenistic phalanx of Philip and Alexander of Macedonia, the Kingdom and Early Republic Roman soldiers, Chinese Warring States (700-200 BC), European Medieval armies (Charlemange 800 onwards). However, in some very significant times we also see a different trend. Roman soldiers tended to use short spears rather than full-length ones, which were of greater use against organised cavalry (which weren't the staple opposition of the times). Roman legionaries under the late Republic and Imperial times used the Gladius as the main melee weapon, a short sword which was horrifically efficient from within interlocked tall rectangular shields, the Germanic and Gaul barbarians used shields and swords or axes as often as short spears. In fact, though we see frequent use of short spears that can be handled single-handedly with shields we actually do not see formations of long spears (pike-like weapons) until organised cavalry warfare becomes common, with the stirrup. (I might miss some data on opposition to and support of Alexander's Companions). Anyway, part of the gist of the matter as I understand it is that short melee weapons in fact can be extremely efficient and not inferior to spears, as was proven by the Roman Legions. But also that polearm (f.i. Swiss pike squares and Scottish skiltrons) can be devastating against cavalry. I too am rambling a bit now, tired as well :) Mikademus 01:13, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Gunpowder units

Types of guns

The traditional (and Warhammer Fantasy) gunpowder unit are the Empire musketeer and cannon/mortars. We can be a bit more diverse than so, though. Between the 16th and 18th century we see a significant development of personal firearms, all with advantages and disadvantages that can be interesting to use in a realistic OR fantasy setting.

The earliest personal gunpowder firearm, disregarding late 15th century "hand cannons" etc are arquebuses; relatively short shoulder-fired guns with wide funnel-like nozzles, generally loaded with metal scraps. These had low rate of fire, short range, low accuracy and wide munition dispersal patterns.

The musket was the next development and was a smoothbored gun firing muzzle-loaded standardised round bullets with medium accuracy, power and range at a low rate of fire (a skilled musketeer could fire between three and four times a minute). Blunderbusses were a short-stocked large-calibre variant.

In the late 18th century the rifle became an infrequent but established part of military weaponry. Rifles have bored barrels, as also later cannon got, which allows for greater accuracy over longer distances. They were also much more expensive to make than muskets, and thus relatively uncommon. They were important at Waterloo but riflemen were still mainly support to musketeers.

Types of firing mechanisms

Firing mechanisms are also interesting. The matchlock used a burning wick and was limited by weather, and matchlock weapons could not be pre-loaded which meant a delayed initial volley. Wheellocks were a development but complicated, expensive, slow to use and prone to misfire. Snaplocks used flint and were cheap and useful, and the snaphance mechanism developed the firing rate and safety of this, until flintlocks replaced all other mechanism types until closed cartridges were introduced.

Unit types

Arquebusers should be relatively cheap units that can inflica area damage at almost-melee ranges. Musketeers should be cheap but mainly useful at short ranges. Riflemen should be expensive, useful with accuracy up until mediaum-to-long range, and primarily used in skirmish formation. Matchlock weapons should be cheap, have normal rate of fire, have low proneness to misfire, and be al but useless in wet weather (water magic would be highly useful against these). Wheellocks should be slow and somewhat prone to misfires. Wheellocks and flintlocks could be limited by faction technology level.

Mhh using weapons depending on the weather is a nice idea, but I think it will be less tactics than luck. If I buy some units with matchlock weapons I will win on a sunny day and I will lose on a rainy day. So I need more luck than tactic/skill.... --bembelimen 13:17, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
I think I agree with you here. Different firing mechanisms probably only adds unnecessary complexity that yields little or no game value. Mikademus 01:22, 12 September 2008 (UTC)


All archer units have VL stability.

Move speed Melee range Missile range Missile power Trajectory type Ammo Reload time Accuracy Strengths Weak points Unit cost
Bowmen M N M M Arch M VL M Firing rate M
Longbowmen M N H H Arch M L M Range and rate H
Horse archers VH N L L Arch M L L Speed Power H
Crossbowmen M N H H Flat M M M Power Firing rate M
Arquebuskers M N VL H Wide M H VL Receive charge Range, acc, rate M
Musketeers M N M M Flat H H M H
Blunderbuseers M N L H Flat M H L Power Range, ammo H
Riflemen M N H H Flat H H H Acc VH

LEGEND: None, Very Low, Low, Medium, High, Very High

Can you make a legend, what every shortcut menas? I don't understand every one. thx --bembelimen 13:17, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
There is already a legend (I changed the important chars to bold) I copied the legend of the first table to this one ^^ btw, I dunno what the shortcuts in the table head mean ;) --Ghabry 15:49, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
I added a legend for the abbreviations in the table. It is basically the same as the infantry table, with missile-related columns added. Mikademus 11:53, 13 September 2008 (UTC)
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