For those of us who play a gunline set-up for Empire this new edition has severely reduced the efficiency of handgunners. I've been playing around with the idea of replacing them with a gunline of Outriders.

Sound crazy? Perhaps it is, perhaps it isn't. Read on and give me some criticism:

Handgunners:

Single shot BS3 - They will hit 1/3 of the time at long range, 1/2 of the time at half range.

Unit of 30 Handgunners deployed 2x15 = 30 shots BS3 = 240 points.

Against a generic unit of empire troops at half range = 15 hits, 10 wounds.

Armour = Nothing

Move = 4

Outriders:

3x Multiple shot BS4 - They will hit 1/3 of the time at long range, 1/2 of the time at half range. (Same as a handgunner)

Unit of 10 Outriders with Barding deployed 2x5 = 30 shots (effective) BS3 = 230 points.

Against a generic unit of empire troops at half range = 15 hits, 10 wounds.

Armour = 4+

Move = 7

Ok, so we can see that a unit of 10 outriders outputs the same firepower as a unit of 30 handgunners. Furthermore the outriders have nearly double the movement and a 4+ armour save (rivaling greatswords).

Now lets look at the option for the Hochland Long Rifle (everyone's favourite rifle).

Hangunners:

Marksman = 5 points

Longrifle = 20 points

Total = 25 point longrifle, BS 4.

Outriders:

Champion = 16 points

Longrifle = 5 points

Total = 21 point longrifle BS 5.

With the added versatility of the Outriders (Armour, move, BS, points) you simply must a unit of 10 (or 2 units of 5 both with BS5 longrifles!) in a gunline setup.

The only downside of course is that they are a special choice.