The Scarlet Plains
The second choice available to the novice general for his first battle,
this scenario is no harder or easier than the Fareach Valley, though the map
is noticeably larger. If you read the first article, there isn't much need
to preface this one, so....
All the comments concerning your army made in the Fareach Valley
article apply here as well. I will assume the same purchases as in
the Valley, so that my starting army consists of: 1 Heavy Infantry (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 again
give the shield to my heavy infantry, improving his survivability against
powerful or entrenched enemy units.
This map is fairly small, though the objectives are a fair distance
apart and there are some terrain considerations that will almost certainly
come into play. Both our objectives, the Shrine of Hespae and the village
of Fellstan, lie in the open plains with no surrounding terrain features,
so we will have plenty of room to maneuver around them for optimal attacks.
Of note, however, is the river that runs along the western approach
to Fellstan, and the mountains on the other side of that river. We can use
this river to cover the western flank of the army tasked with the capture
of Fellstan - if any enemy units try to attack across the river, it will
slow down their progress enough for us to move our cavalry into a blocking
position, allowing the rest of our army to advance unhindered.
We have two objectives here that have some distance between them.
As such, we want to form two self-sufficient task forces. Fortunately,
with the river to cover the flank of one task force, and the edge of the
map to cover the other, we can form armies strong enough from our small
pool to take these objectives simultaneously.
Like Fareach Valley, there is nothing elegent about the strategy
in this battle - a direct march to the objectives with simple frontal
assaults against both should carry the day, though we do need to be on
the look out for forces that might attack across the river.
As in Fareach Valley, we want to use our Heavy Infantry and
Siege Engine in the attack on the village. This imposition
virtually defines our task forces for us:
Task Force Fellstan: 1HI, 1SE, 1AR, 1SK, 2 HC
Task Force Hespae: 2LI, 2LC, 1HC*
(The HC in TF Hespae is the grade 2 cav that Calis starts with).
On the map, my troops are positioned in the starting area as
I placed the skirmisher with TF Fellstan simply because I feel
the strength of TF Hespae is already sufficient for its task without it,
and I can use the extra unit in TF Fellstan to free up the cavalry
to screen the river.
The intention with TF Fellstan is to advance the archer down the
road, with the HI and SK forming a line in front of the archers, while
the cavalry will advance along the river protecting the western flank
of the task force. The eastern flank will be covered by TF Hespae.
TF Hespae itself should advance directly east with the cavalry
covering the vulnerable north-eastern flank, TF Fellstan protecting
its south-western flank.
Also note that TF Hespae consists of units with a fast movement
rate - if they capture their objective quickly, they can very quickly
be brought to bear for the attack against the Fellstan.
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.
After moving as described previously, the enemy will then move to
attack TF Fellstan. This attack will be weak and easily beaten off,
and the enemy units will be poorly positioned to defend against you
when you make your attack in turn two.
In turn two, TF Hespae should be able to surround and annihilate
the forces defending the shrine. The main force of TF Fellstan should
finish off the remains of the initial attack, preferably by envelopment,
so as to be that much closer to the village at the start of the next
turn. There will be some enemy units attempting to cross the river
to take your army from the rear, but your fast moving cavalry should
be able to trap them on the river and finish them off at their leisure.
After these first two turns, TF Hespae should be freed up and
the enemy forces should be scattered and in disarray, leaving them
as easy pickings for your forces to mop up in detail.
Again, 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 Shrine of Hespae yielded a group of
volunteer apprentices, which are ok, but are nothing to write home
about. Still, it is my hope that you come away from this article
with an increased sense how to recon the map, and how to group and
place your troops for battle.
Please let me know what you think of this article
specifically, and about this series in general! :)