Peeling Apart The Plate Mail
You can CTRL-click on any of your troops to get more details about their capabilities and Points Of Advantage. POA is used in combat calculations and helps to represent the effectiveness of certain troops against other specific troop types during their initial charge and in the subsequent melee. The Prussian Spearmen are bad news for just about anything they charge, unless they happen to be more heavily armed and armoured, but just how effective they are depends on more than just the type, as terrain again changes up the calculations. Once in melee they are still quite good, but if your charge doesn’t cause some disarray they may be in for a tough fight.
You might have noticed mention of a cohesion test in the description, which has another huge impact on battle and is calculated during combat based on the unit’s characteristics as well as the roll of two six sided dice to make things a little random. There are four states, Steady, Disrupted, Fragmented and Broken/Routing. Your units start Steady for the most part, but can become Disrupted due to enemy melee, missile attacks or even by certain terrain. Disrupted troops suffer a combat disadvantage to represent the battle line being pushed out of position, while Fragmented troops fight poorly, have reduced movement and will refuse to charge the enemy. Once you are Fragmented there is a good chance the troops will soon rout from the field. The best way to achieve this is to hit units from the rear or flank.
Of course there is a chance your troops might pursue those routing troops to try to finish off a few more, which can be annoying if they manage to drag themselves well out of position, There are rally checks which apply to any unit which is not Steady and has not lost a level of cohesion in the previous turn, allowing them to reform and become more effective, especially when in range of a general. The other benefit of being within range of a general’s command is the ability to change facing once for free, Slitherine’s way of replicating them actually receiving orders while on the battlefield. Ensuring that your enemy doesn’t have the chance to recover cohesion is key to victory.
In order to win a battle you generally have to rout an absolute minimum percentage of enemy troops, as well as a certain percentage more than you have lost. Tennis was a medieval invention after all. The quality of the troops matters less than the number, if you can force all the enemies archers and peasants to flee the nobility and professional solders are not going to stick around to try to win it themselves!
That is what happened in a Time Warp campaign I tried which saw the Roman Legions of old attempt to take on a Swedish army from the 15th century. Those Romans might be tough in hand to hand but they weren’t expecting crossbowmen to be able to successfully stand up to their charge, let alone make a good accounting of themselves in battle!
There is a lot to learn to become effective at this game but also a huge amount of fun. It is also wonderful to be able to save mid-combat as some battles can take quite a while to win, and this lets you leave and come back later when you have the time to finish it off.