Battlefield Aer: Fareach Valley
So, you have started down the path to rebellion and are
looking for tips on how to run your army. Well, you've come to the
right place! This article will help orient the new player, providing
both an overview of many aspects of the game, plus specific tips on
one of the two possible first battles.
All the battles in this series are fought at medium difficulty
playing as Calis. Every attempt is made, however, to make the
articles as general as possible, so the information provided can be
used by people playing as any of the four generals.
First, I'd like to start with a comment on the composition of your
army. My personal preference is to go for a "no-flier" army, in which
no sky hunters or bombadiers are purchased and instead an emphasis is
placed on aqcuiring archers and siege engines to combat enemy fliers.
In this series, I will use the no-flier approach. Given this restriction,
you will either want to build a well-balanced army from all the other
available unit types, which is the path followed in these articles, or
an all-cavalry army, which I leave to the reader to experiment with
(hint: Calis with 50% light cav, 50% heavy cav).
Starting with Calis, my purchases before the first battle
consist of: two archers, one skirmisher and one siege engine. For the
no-flier strategy, you need to start building up experienced archers
early! The skirmisher is a very useful unit, both for softening up
difficult targets and for scounting, especially in rough terrain. If
playing as Marcas, you should purchase cavalry and a siege engine
instead, as you will need to mobility and shock power of the cavalry
to back up your infantry. After these purchases, my entire army
consists of: 1 Heavy nfantry (HI), 2 Light Infantry (LI), 2 Archers
(AR), 1 Skirmisher (SK), 2 Light Cavalry (LC), 3 Heavy Cavalry (HC),
and 1 Siege Engine (SE). I give the shield to my heavy infantry,
improving his survivability against powerful or entrenched enemy
Having purchased troops, we now advance to the troop placement
phase. During this phase, we want to examine the map closely - we
want to get a feel for the terrain, where can we move freely, where
are the likely avenues of attack, where can we easily defend if need
be, where are the objectives and how best to approach them, etc. In
the case of Fareach Valley, we are faced primarily with plains, the
only big terrain issue of note being the hills and mountains east of
the town, slightly limiting our approach, but in this scenario it
should not be a big deal.
The town, Nisse, is one objective, with a magical circle of
stones (the Standing Stones) being another. This objective lies in
the middle of the plains and therefore needs no special tactical
consideration in its capture. While there are other terrain
features, they are far from the action and should not come into play.
With two objectives that are close together and lots of open
plains, we will form two task forces, one for each objective.
Although not particurlarly critical in this scenario to form separate
task forces, exactly because the objectives are so close together, we
will still do so just to get in the habit, as it will be critical in
These task forces can be fairly balanced in power, as both us
and the enemy can easily and quickly shift forces from one objective
to another as circumstances dictate.
Our overall strategy for this battle is nothing fancy, just
roll straight forward into the objectives, shifting troops between
task forces as necessary.
Having examined the map, and considered out strategy, we now
need to plan our troop disposition. We have already decided on two
task forces, and now is the time to consider the specific compositions
of those task forces.
They should have roughly the same strength, but we will put
the extra cavalry on the Standing Stones, as there is more room for
maneuver against that objective. Using Calis and the army described
above, I will split my forces like so:
Task Force Nisse: 1HI, 1SE, 1AR, 2HC
Task Force Standing Stones: 2LI, 1SK, 2LC, 1HC*
(The HC in TF Standing Stones is the grade 2 cav that Calis starts
On the map, my troops are positioned in the starting area as
HC* SK SE
We place the siege engine in TF Nisse, due to its obvious
value in attacking a town. The Heavy Infantry will provide the power
necessary for rooting the enemy out of the town, while the archers
will provide valuable support for the siege engine, should it be
attacked unexpectedly, and the HC, should the enemy sortie from the
town to attack. The cavalry will also protect the flanks of this task
force, especially looking out for the vulnerable siege engine.
TF Standing Stones is composed of the lighter, faster troops
as they have farther to move (again, not a big issue on this map, but
it will be on later maps), and the skirmisher troops (SK and LC) will
provide the necessary softening up that will enable the light infantry
to punch the rest of the way through the enemy defenses.
The First Few Turns
While it is generally impossible to provide detailed strategy
for the entire course of a battle, it can be done for the first two or
three turns. It is recommended you play the scenario once or twice
before reading the following.
For both task forces, it is recommended you move the archers
first, as they are the slowest units you have and whenever practical,
all other units should move at the same speed and in such a way as to
be adjacent to the archers to gain the defensive bonus.
In this case, TF Nisse should move the archers due east, and
the heavy infantry and siege engine should move the hexes NE and SE of
the archers, respectively. One cav should move to the hex N of the
archers to protect the north flank of the task force, while the other
cav should move to screen the siege engine:
TF Standing Stones should advance the archer north along the
road, with the LI and SK forming a semi-circle facing north around
the archers. The east flank should be covered by TF Nisse, so move
the cavalry to protect the west flank. This also puts them into a
position to envelope or encircle the Standing Stones, should the
opportunity present itself.
My experience with this battle has shown that the enemy will
spend its first turn advancing its troops towards yours, occupying the
objectives and possibly making a weak attack by one unit against
TF Nisse. With your archers in support, this attack should be easily
beaten off with heavy losses to the enemy.
The second turn will see you able to move your troops in to
attack. You should be able to make direct attacks against the
objectives, although you will certainly not want to ignore the enemy
units that attacked you on the first turn, as doing so will enable
them to get behind your lines and attack your vulnerable units
(siege engines and archers) or occupy any objectives you may already
control, either of which is a Bad Thing (tm).
You should be able to complete this scenario with no
difficulties, and certainly with none of your own units being
completely destroyed. In fact, it should not take you more than three
or four turns, unless you intentionally let units escape and rest up
so you can beat up on them later, thereby incresaing the experience your
troops can gain.
There is also nothing interesting to be gained in this
scenario. Playing as Calis, the Standing Stones yielded a group of
volunteer peasants, which are almost more of a burden than a help.
Still, it is my hope that you come away from this article with a sense
of how to build your army, how to recon the map, and how to group and
place your troops for battle. Other articles in the series will
follow the same basic pattern as this one - discuss troop acquitision
strategies, discuss the map, discuss strategic considerations, discuss
tactical considerations, discuss troop disposition, and finally
discuss specific strategy and tactics for the first couple turns.
Please let me know what you think of this article
specifically, and about this series in general! :)