A thread on the RPG.net forums got me thinking; should the formations be discussed as part of [[Chaos Dwarf Tactics]]? With Chaos Dwarf Blunderbusses it already is, to an extant - it’s hard to talk about them without discussing formations a little. But should it be gone into in more depth? What do y’all think of different formations in your own experience?
Okay, just a couple thoughts here.
Goblins and Hobgoblins are both exceedingly cheap, and easy to field in large numbers - which is a good thing, because they depend on numbers to win fights. Increasing the number of models per rank means that they can take fewer casualties before losing a rank, and thus fewer casualties before they lose their precious rank bonus. On the other hand, rank bonus doesn’t mean much when you’re flanked, and if you take a regiment of forty models (not unheard of with naked Gobbos and Hobgobbos) that’s a big flank. For simple militia blocks (10+), I’d suggest keeping the number of troops in a file less than the number of units in a rank.
So, for example:
# of units (rank x file)
10 grobi (5 x 2)
15 grobi (5 x 3)
20 grobi (5 x 4)
24 grobi (6 x 4)
30 grobi (6 x 5)
35 grobi (7 x 5)
42 grobi (7 x 6)
Units over 20 models are only really practical for these Greenskins because of their low cost. Factor bows into the equation, however, and things become more complicated. Not only are the troops more expensive, but there are different priorities - how many of the troops can shoot, for example. A unit of 42 Goblins with shortbows is fairly economical to field, but grouping them in a 7 x 6 formation is just plain wasteful - only 14 models will be able to shoot at any given time.
So for Orc, Goblin, and Hobgoblin Arrer Boyz, you’re better off forming units into extended lines two ranks deep; very large formations like this are very difficult to maneuver, however. Hobgoblin archers can be taken in reasonably sized units of 10 (5 x 2) for maximum mobility, this option is impractical in Goblins and Orc Arrer Boyz because they take up Special slots and if you’re going to take them you probably want to take as many as possible.
In this case, extending the number of models per rank is all you can do - but there is a sneaky trick in here I like to mention because of the extended range of these missile troops over Chaos Dwarf Blunderbusses:
Take a large number of troops such as Orc Arrer Boyz, and form them into a long formation two ranks deep. Thirty Orc Arrer Boyz, for example, would be arranged (15 x 2), forty would be (20 x 2), etc. Immediately behind them and to the left and right (leaving a gap to the rear and center of the Orc Arrer Boyz line), place two regiments of other tough units - Chaos Dwarf Warriors, Black Orcs, Bull Centaurs, etc.
Have the Orc Arrer Boyz fire until the enemy gets within charge range - this probably only equates to one or two volleys, sometimes none. As the enemy plans on charging next turn (sometimes with multiple units to take advantage of the wide front), they’ll take the risk of one more volley during your shooting phase. Instead, use the unit’s movement phase to reconfigure into a slimmer formation with a minimum front rank. For thirty models, this would be (5 x 6), for forty (5 x 8). The trick is to have the reformed unit’s front rank remain in place while the remaining ranks fall into the gap left between the two units behind them - these units are now effectively guarding the Orc Arrer Boyz’ flanks, and if the enemy charges they can now charge and (hopefully) flank the enemy.
Sneaky Gits can no longer lap around, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t have a few tricks up their dirty little sleeves. It’s important for Sneaky Gits to have wide ranks so they can get the most attacks possible for the highest chances of their Poison to come into play. Since an average unit is 5 models per rank, this means a typical Sneaky Gits regiment is optimally 7 models per rank - giving them an extra four attacks if lined up properly! Most units are less than five ranks deep, which lessens the use of this formation on flanking attacks, but it works just as well for rear attacks if you can manage them.