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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....

Your Army

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.

The Map

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.

The Strategy

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.

Troop Placement

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 follows: LC LC HC* HC AR AR LI SE LI HC HI SK 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.

The End

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! :)