Tactics Talk: Setting For Charge in 1.5

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Hello, fellow ASOIAF miniature gamers! Today, I would like to address the changes to charging in 1.5 and how they have opened up anew level of clever play: unit positioning. Previously, you could use positioning to your advantage to some extent, but with 1.5 requiring a minimum of 50% contact to make a charge, we have a realm of possibilities with infantry formations, solo models, and other forms of building defensive barriers to protect vulnerable units in our army! Let’s take a look with some pictures to see exactly what I mean. All models are owned and beautifully painted by my club mate, John Hurley! Thanks John!

In most of my examples, I use a stark dire wolf to illustrate techniques. They are small, incredibly mobile, and easy to position the way I have demonstrated, but they are not the only unit capable of these techniques. Any cavalry unit will be able to zip right into position just as well, but for simplicity’s sake; let’s use the poor wolf as “chaff”.

My first example demonstrates the simplest form of charge blocking. The placement of the wolf makes all front charges impossible. Since no enemy can align to 50% in the front they have no valid target outside of the wolf. Before we go any further, the trays are always shown “full” for aesthetics. We can easily imagine one or both of the units behind the wolf are near death and need a turn to retreat to safety. They could also be holding a key objective and the game could hinge on them staying alive.

Even the Flayed Men fear the appearance of a Direwolf on the field of battle.

My second example shows a wolf blocking two units’ front arcs at the same time. As you can see from photos 2 and 3, the Flayed Men can’t align to 50% of either arc so the infantry is safe for now. What a pesky little wolf!!! Another note. I am aware Flayed Men get a free maneuver. We can either assume this pic is after the maneuver or we can assume the Flayed Men are an infantry unit. The pictures are strictly to demonstrate possibilities.

1. The Flayed Men approach
1. The Flayed Men approach
2. No room to attack the unit on the right.
2. No room to attack the unit on the right.
3. And no room on the left.
3. And no room on the left.

The next 4 pictures demonstrate the wolf guarding the flank of his Sworn Swords. With alignment to the right, the Berserkers are licking their chops anticipating an easy flank charge to help their buddies out. A simple slide to 50% left proves that to be impossible. Our loyal wolf has blocked the charge. There can be no reinforcements to that flank until the dog is dead or moves. Bummer!! The Sworn Swords might do enough damage to stop the great axes from scoring an objective this round! 

1. Berserkers eye their prey.
2. Blocky the Chaffwolf does his thing.
3. Can they make it?
3. Can they make it?
4.  That's a hard no.
4. That's a hard no.

My next example illustrates using the table edge to our advantage. The scenario “a Dance with Dragons” comes to mind. If we pick up the token and turn to this position, front charges become impossible.By marching reinforcements up to guard the left flank the side is then protected as well. The only option left to the opponent would be maneuvering behind to charge. As a result, unless the enemy has ranged attacks or claim the crown zone your unit can keep a death grip on the objective. Imagine Tyrion in poor fellows holding that token while his trusty guard and captain watch his flank. He’ll maintain control on the objective all game (scoring two points each round) and an opponent will be hard-pressed to make him drop it.  

1.  Don't charge me, bro.
1. Don't charge me, bro.
2. Nope, that's illegal.
2. Nope, that's illegal.

In the following situation, we’ll see how an infantry formation combined with a wolf forces the opponent to charge the wolf. The flank of the unit to the right is blocked by the infantry on the left. The front of the infantry on the left is blocked by the wolf. The only valid charge is the wolf. The unit on the right is free to make a charge into another enemy unit!

2.  Three units in the chargers front arc, but only one target.
2. Three units in the chargers front arc, but only one target.
2.  Blocky the chaffwolf  prevents the 50% alignment.
2. Blocky the chaffwolf prevents the 50% alignment.
3.  The unit's themselves protect each other's flank.
3. The unit's themselves protect each other's flank.

My last example demonstrates two things. The importance of some “precision tools” to aid us in gameplay as well as the importance of the smallest of margins. Using pivot arcs to create a perfect pivot, we can see that with the wolf 1” away; the unit to the right can’t be reached. The pivots precisely measure how far we must pivot to prevent moving through the dog. The laser shows a perfect line that can be easily read. The charge is impossible. Meanwhile, on the other side we see that we can’t contact 50% to charge the front arc of the left unit. Once again, the wolf has protected 2 units and cost the opponent a potential round of assault. Pivot arcs similar to these (actually better because he has optional colors and reference lines to measure charge angle) are available from Peacekeeper Games. Check them out! Don’t let sloppy pivots cost you a game!

1. Measuring out the inch.  Helpful note, the ruler is also exactly an inch wide!
1. Measuring out the inch. Helpful note, the ruler is also exactly an inch wide!
2. Using the pivot arc
2. Using the pivot arc
3. Precise pivots ensure accurate and fair play.
4. Laser rangefinders are another useful tool in the wargamer arsenal
4. Laser rangefinders are another useful tool in the wargamer arsenal
5. And we'll leave you with a final image of Blocky living his best life. Blocking charges.

These are just a few examples of how to use the new charge rules to protect units holding key points on the battlefield. The possibilities are infinite and with smart positioning, you can keep a dangerous enemy from attacking vulnerable units. 1.5 has added a serious element of positional awareness the Song of Ice and Fire: Miniatures Wargame, and it’ll be an important skill to hone in the upcoming months. Keep these changes in mind, practice those perfect pivots, and be sure to observe where your opponent could end up. If you have any questions or would like clarification, please comment below! Remember, practice makes perfect, so the best thing to do is to keep your models…. on the table.

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