Saturday, 19 November 2011

Spread Out and Run

I am still in the process of theorising my Ogre army.

A useful shift in thinking was offered by ohiohammer, who pointed out that Mournfangs, without any upgrades, are effectively chariots. And at 120 points for a pair, that is a relatively points efficient chariot unit.

Which is handy, as I had found my thinking drifting down the common stream of thought in regarding Mournfangs as uber-Chaos knights.

I have tried to find as many viewpoints as possible with regard to the army, in order to establish some kind of philosophical basis to the army design. And handily, the Mournfangs appear to be building themselves a fearsome reputation. Which makes the idea of running them as small, un-upgraded, pseudo chariots all the more appealling, as this will no doubt make them fire magnets, and if I am paying the minimum for them makes them even more effective in my terms.

Perhaps I should point out that my strategic thinking is based on something Ben Johnson said ages ago on the Bad Dice podcast, when asked how he fought against Ogres he summed it up, "I shot them a bit, I magicked them a bit, and that was the end of that."

Couple this with the common criticism that the points cost inevitably leads to a small army, and I find myself wondering why the human sewer - that constitutes internet forums - appear to favour the massive horde of Bulls, fighting in an al-la-Grecque style. True this goes against my cautious nature, but I still don't quite understand how - against anyone who knows anything about basic deployment and manouvre - will not end in a massive points sink chasing shadows and exposing itself to possibly three or four rounds of punishing magic.

Obviously there needs to be an element of the phalanx in any list - and indeed the list I have drawn up to try tomorrow, (if I can get out of bed, work out the complications of the Sunday bus service, and find the new club room, and find a (suitable) opponent), has a block of 10 Ironguts supported by 2 blocks of 6 Bulls (the worse excesses of the magic phase hopefully mitigated by use of the RuneMaw banner on the BSB that will sit with the ironguts). And indeed I have considered that for the price of 10 IronGuts, I can get 15 Bulls - and as the IronGuts have the Dragonhide banner, the price of that units is near as dammit the same as 18 Bulls.

However I come back to the notion of "shoot em a bit, magick them a bit," and the army being small. If the army starts small and gets chipped away, it very quickly runs out of potential.

True if that uber-phalanx can achieve it's aim of smashing through the enemy line, and carrying away the enemies most important units, great. But to me this is the tactical nhilism of the Western Front in WWI. Which eventually gave way to the dispersed formations made famous by Brusilev and used so effectively in the Russian offensives of 1916. The basic principle being that instead of offering one large target that will in theory be able to fight through to it's objective no matter what - and if the attack fails the solution is to put more men into the attacking formations and to continue doing this until such time as one third of the attacking force is dead, wounded, demoralised or disorganised (this one third figure is pretty much a constant for defeat in military history) - my idea has been to look for ways to overwhelm the enemy with targets, and to use chaff to further confuse matters, in order that I can fight the two or three battles that I want to fight, and to do so on my terms.

The list I have drawn up to begin the experimentation process doesn't really follow these principles it is true - indeed it is pretty fluffy, I have a Tyrant and a suicide bomber butcher, whose only role is to run forward and pull the pin on the Hellheart (and then to cast a few spells if he survives) - but as yet I don't have the figures with which to test the principles. And I have as yet to really establish the fighting qualities of the army. And at this stage I am not that bothered about magic.

And since I am theorising, I might as well add another observation.

It strikes me that the new Ogre book is the fantasy version of the PanzerKampefGruppe. You have the Ironblaster as the tankhunters/self propeller guns, the gnoblars with trappers are combat engineers, Leadbelchers are machine guns, the Ogres are the armoured infantry and sabretusks and Mournfangs are the armoured recon units. Taken together it is fast moving, hits hard, doesn't have great staying power, and is pretty fragile. Which leads me to think that it is a bit of cul-de-sac to think in terms of the massed phalanx. Armour works best when it attacks between the cracks in formations, not when attempting to take a position head on.

But then as I have said I am a pretty cautious commander.


1 comment:

  1. I think Ogre infantry units would be effective on units of 6. The Maw magic is now quite good at defense (Trollguts and Toothcracer) so if you are running 3 characters in 3 x 6 ogre units you will probably lose one guy by the time you reach combat. This is ideal because you will get all your attacks this way. Paying 130 points to get a +1 rank bonus for a unit of Iron Guts (beyong the first extra rank) wouldn't be too efficient.

    2 Mournfangs with just heavy armour and Ironfists sound amazing, especially if they get that flank charge! I will certainly run 2 such units in my list.