Well, just wanted to a take a quick second and talk about my thoughts on how to plan an army for wargaming.  As most of you know I am a big fan of both Warhammer Ancient Battles (WAB) and Clash of Empires (COE) for my 28mm wargaming.

A few weeks ago I was asked how to plan out an army for wargaming by a somewhat novice friend of mine.  If he would have asked me this question 10 years ago, I probably would have answered the questions this way, “Put together a killer list, you want something that will punch your opponent in the face!”  If I was asked about painting, I would have shrugged my shoulders and said something just as ambivalent, “Just paint them anyway you want, it really doesn’t matter, they are your figs.”  The sad truth is that I was more interested in winning, than wargaming in antiquity (I am a recovering WAAC  WHFB player).

I now officially repent if you knew me before 10 years ago.

So, I was recently asked what I do to plan an army.  Well my short answer would look like this; research, read & mentally picture your army in advance.  While some die-hard historians will deride many of the books published from Osprey, this is a good place to start for the average (non-historian) wargamer.  These books typically have good overviews of history, tactics and some major battles fought by the army you are interested in.  The books can be kind of pricey, so get them from e-bay whenever you can.  In addition to fairly detailed narratives, the books do have many color plates and depictions of ancient warriors, weapons and armor.  Several of these books contain magnificent images by Angus McBride, which is just a bonus!

So I review the material from books and the internet and put together a list which represents the army as it was composed in history.  Now, I will give you the following caveat, make sure you understand the game mechanics also.  A balanced army which is well painted in an accurate color pallet and historical composition will generally serve you well and be of great enjoyment to you and your opponent.

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2 thoughts on “Army Pre-Production – Help

  1. Pat:

    Nice overview, as well as confession. I started out somewhat in the opposite direction – that is, when I started out (and this not too long ago) in wargaming (WAB), I was more into the historical background of an army (amateurish at that). Now, I try to incorporate some units that may or not be so historical, but give my army at least some kind of punch. For instance, I added a unit of bowmen to my Trojan War army. I don’t think I’ve ever read of bowmen specific units in either the Iliad or other references from the period, but figured their spear carrying comrades need some kind of missile defense/offense. Still, I won’t go too far off the historical track – i.e. I won’t have a Trojan War army of 70 percent archers! Best, Dean

  2. Great posts… For 40K and WHFB, I tend to build on army on what I think it will look like. This has led a lot of getting my a** kicked in events over the years. I have really enjoyed the switch to historicals, IMHO the themed and mostly historical armies are usualy competitive as long as you do not try to make them do something they cannot do. I agree on the game concessions, for example, in WAB I feel you have to have some sort of cav (or fast infantry in some forces) in order to be competitive in open play. Now to get to back to work on these darn English…

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