home

Author Topic: Reformation and Counter-Reformation: the tactical uses of combat reform  (Read 1454 times)

Offline Fidelis von Sigmaringen

  • Posts: 8709
  • Attorney-at-RAW
    • View Profile
I first got the idea for this as a result of rules discussions on this forum back in 2013 (!), but I never got around to writing it down. As a result of a similar rules discussion on EEFL, I started a thread there - so, it is more than proper to start a similar thread here, hopefully to the benefit of those that still play 8th edition WFB. 

There is much more to Combat Reform than meets the eye. But before we elaborate, we must first look at the rules of combat reform themselves (BRB p. 55), since they are often misunderstood.

First of all, there is a necessary Erratum, without which the rule cannot be played. Since the first update version in 2010, the text of the third paragraph now reads (changes in Italics):

BRB p. 55 (updated to Official Update Version 1.9):

A combat reform is essentially a standard reform (page 14), save for the fact that the centre point of the reformed unit does not have to stay in the same place. The most common usage of a combat reform is to allow the unit to turn to face its enemy (if attacked in the flank or rear), although it can also be used to bring more models into the fight by increasing the unit's frontage. There are two special restrictions on a combat reform, however — it cannot be used to get a model (friend or foe) out of base contact with the enemy if it was in contact before the reform was made was made, and the unit may not reform in such a way as to contact a different facing on any enemy unit it is in contact with. The model can be in base contact with a different enemy at the end of the reform if you wish.
It is not enough to have no ideas of your own; you must also be incapable of expressing them.
Sex, lies and manuscripts: The History of the Empire as Depicted in the Art of the Time (10/07/16)

Offline Padre

  • Posts: 3073
    • View Profile
Re: Reformation and Counter-Reformation: the tactical uses of combat reform
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2018, 12:13:57 PM »
Very good. More please. I want to win more battles.
Photobucket has graciously resurrected my pictures, so my collected works thread is suddenly working again - see http://warhammer-empire.com/theforum/index.php?topic=38528.0. To see my slowly growing website go to https://bigsmallworlds.com/

Offline Warlord

  • Global Moderator
  • Posts: 9188
  • Sydney, Australia
    • View Profile
Re: Reformation and Counter-Reformation: the tactical uses of combat reform
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2018, 02:04:56 PM »
Zombie conga lines?
Quote from: Gneisenau
I hate people who don't paint their armies, hate them with all my guts. Beats me how they value other things over painting, like eating or brushing teeth.

Offline Fidelis von Sigmaringen

  • Posts: 8709
  • Attorney-at-RAW
    • View Profile
Re: Reformation and Counter-Reformation: the tactical uses of combat reform
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2018, 02:14:58 PM »
It is about combat reform. The possibility of combat reform into a conga line are very limited - and the usefullness even more.
It is not enough to have no ideas of your own; you must also be incapable of expressing them.
Sex, lies and manuscripts: The History of the Empire as Depicted in the Art of the Time (10/07/16)

Offline Fidelis von Sigmaringen

  • Posts: 8709
  • Attorney-at-RAW
    • View Profile
Re: Reformation and Counter-Reformation: the tactical uses of combat reform
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2018, 04:10:53 PM »
Reformation and Counter-Reformation (continued)

If you are wondering about the second restriction: as we shall see, that basically applies to "clipping."

There is a recurring, but incorrect assumption that, because a combat reform is “essentially a standard reform,” you are only allowed options A, B or C in the diagram on BRB p. 14.

This is incorrect for a standard reform, and even more so for a combat reform:

The diagram does not limit the written standard reform rule itself. While A, B and C are examples of what you can do in a standard reform, that does not mean they are the only things you can do in a standard reform. For instance, you can use a standard reform to change the position of the command group and/or characters within the unit, without moving the unit from its current position.
For a combat reform, the diagram is completely irrelevant, because, contrary to a standard reform, the centre point of the unit can change, indeed, in most cases must change. And a flexible centre point allows you far more options for reforming a unit.

Furthermore, it is very important to note that if both sides can make a combat reform (in case of a draw, or if the loser has passed the Ld test), the winner of a roll-off decides who goes first. Going first, however, is not always the best! Depending on the intent of the combat reform, you may well need to go last to achieve your goal.

Finally, note the following additional restrictions:

BRB p. 14: Remember that none of the models in the unit can move more than twice their Movement rate.
BRB p. 55: If a unit is engaged to more than one facing (say to the front and one flank), it cannot make combat reforms.
It is not enough to have no ideas of your own; you must also be incapable of expressing them.
Sex, lies and manuscripts: The History of the Empire as Depicted in the Art of the Time (10/07/16)

Offline Zygmund

  • Pure of Heart
  • Posts: 1634
  • Europe, Finland
    • View Profile
Re: Reformation and Counter-Reformation: the tactical uses of combat reform
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2018, 04:37:14 PM »
When Fidelis makes a new thread about Reformation and Counter-Reformation, I was sure to find out history - real or fantastic - here.  :Ohmy:

-Z
Simulation over gaming. Because fantasy matters.

Offline Warlord

  • Global Moderator
  • Posts: 9188
  • Sydney, Australia
    • View Profile
Re: Reformation and Counter-Reformation: the tactical uses of combat reform
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2018, 01:31:24 AM »
It is about combat reform. The possibility of combat reform into a conga line are very limited - and the usefullness even more.

Can you combat reform to lose ranks and make your unit very very wide? Or is it purely about facing and models in contact?
Just a curious question.

Otherwise sounds like a discussion about character and champion positioning?
« Last Edit: September 02, 2018, 01:33:52 AM by Warlord »
Quote from: Gneisenau
I hate people who don't paint their armies, hate them with all my guts. Beats me how they value other things over painting, like eating or brushing teeth.

Offline Fidelis von Sigmaringen

  • Posts: 8709
  • Attorney-at-RAW
    • View Profile
Re: Reformation and Counter-Reformation: the tactical uses of combat reform
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2018, 07:29:42 AM »
When Fidelis makes a new thread about Reformation and Counter-Reformation, I was sure to find out history - real or fantastic - here.  :Ohmy:

-Z

Since it is about the defunct 8th edition WFB, it is history - real and fantastic. ;)

@ Warlord: stay tuned and find out!
It is not enough to have no ideas of your own; you must also be incapable of expressing them.
Sex, lies and manuscripts: The History of the Empire as Depicted in the Art of the Time (10/07/16)

Offline Fidelis von Sigmaringen

  • Posts: 8709
  • Attorney-at-RAW
    • View Profile
Re: Reformation and Counter-Reformation: the tactical uses of combat reform
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2018, 03:51:27 PM »
Reformation and Counter-Reformation (continued)

Having reviewed the relevant rules, we can now turn to the tactica. The main idea to keep is mind is the following:

If either side wants to execute a combat reform, reflect on what the intent of the reform is, and on what you or your opponent can do to counter it by also declaring a combat reform. Remember: if both sides can execute a combat reform, the winner of the rol-off decides who will go first.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2018, 04:11:54 PM by Fidelis von Sigmaringen »
It is not enough to have no ideas of your own; you must also be incapable of expressing them.
Sex, lies and manuscripts: The History of the Empire as Depicted in the Art of the Time (10/07/16)

Offline Fidelis von Sigmaringen

  • Posts: 8709
  • Attorney-at-RAW
    • View Profile
Re: Reformation and Counter-Reformation: the tactical uses of combat reform
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2018, 07:55:35 AM »
Picture 1.1 depicts the start situation, where Blue consists of elite infantry (like White Lions) and Red of subpar infantry (like Empire Spearmen). Blue has more than a good chance to make mincemeat out of Red and consequently wants to reform into a horde to increas his number of Attacks (1.2).



Note that Blue does not just bring in more models into CC - he also prevents Red of reforming into a bus and having the chance of being steadfast. Red can now still reform by bringing in more models from the rear ranks, but needless to say: that is not really to his advantage.  Of course, that is only possible, if Blue goes first: hence the importance of winning the roll-off to decide the sequence.

Note: Edited to reflect Padre's comment below.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2018, 08:35:13 PM by Fidelis von Sigmaringen »
It is not enough to have no ideas of your own; you must also be incapable of expressing them.
Sex, lies and manuscripts: The History of the Empire as Depicted in the Art of the Time (10/07/16)

Offline Fidelis von Sigmaringen

  • Posts: 8709
  • Attorney-at-RAW
    • View Profile
Re: Reformation and Counter-Reformation: the tactical uses of combat reform
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2018, 01:36:28 PM »
Red can counter this to some extent, if he can win the roll-off (after the Ld test, if required) to reform first. In 2.1, Red has reformed as far as possible into a bus. Afterwards (2.2), Blue can still reform into a horde, but now he will have 3 Attacks less, but more importantly Red will have at least a chance of being steadfast. If Blue reforms sur place and remains a bus, Red will not be steadfast (barring a miracle), but Blue will have only 10 Attacks.  For Red, that still has the advantage that his unit will not suffer as many casualties, making the best of a bad situation. 



Edited to reflect Padre's comment below.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2018, 08:31:11 AM by Fidelis von Sigmaringen »
It is not enough to have no ideas of your own; you must also be incapable of expressing them.
Sex, lies and manuscripts: The History of the Empire as Depicted in the Art of the Time (10/07/16)

Offline Warlord

  • Global Moderator
  • Posts: 9188
  • Sydney, Australia
    • View Profile
Re: Reformation and Counter-Reformation: the tactical uses of combat reform
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2018, 02:49:36 PM »
Hmmm, interesting. Seemingly simple?
Quote from: Gneisenau
I hate people who don't paint their armies, hate them with all my guts. Beats me how they value other things over painting, like eating or brushing teeth.

Offline Fidelis von Sigmaringen

  • Posts: 8709
  • Attorney-at-RAW
    • View Profile
Re: Reformation and Counter-Reformation: the tactical uses of combat reform
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2018, 03:48:28 PM »
Simplex munditiis.
It is not enough to have no ideas of your own; you must also be incapable of expressing them.
Sex, lies and manuscripts: The History of the Empire as Depicted in the Art of the Time (10/07/16)

Offline Padre

  • Posts: 3073
    • View Profile
Re: Reformation and Counter-Reformation: the tactical uses of combat reform
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2018, 04:02:53 PM »
Surely the first illustration - 1.1 - above is wrong? (Though not in terms of the point you are making.) The illustration shows a picture with blues in a 5 wide bus fighting a horde but contacting only 6 reds. In combat you have to maximise attacks on both sides (or am I wrong) and so the reds should have 7 bases involved, 5 straight on and two touching at the corner - thus maximising their number involved in the combat. And the same goes for 2.2, this time 6 blues are fighting when there could be 7.) (edit) Which means two guys behind in rear ranks of the 2.2 blue horde are missing their chances, which if the guy in front has 2 attacks (I don't field Elf White Lions, and my army book is elsewhere) this could be 4 attacks missed out on!
« Last Edit: September 03, 2018, 04:10:13 PM by Padre »
Photobucket has graciously resurrected my pictures, so my collected works thread is suddenly working again - see http://warhammer-empire.com/theforum/index.php?topic=38528.0. To see my slowly growing website go to https://bigsmallworlds.com/

Offline Fidelis von Sigmaringen

  • Posts: 8709
  • Attorney-at-RAW
    • View Profile
Re: Reformation and Counter-Reformation: the tactical uses of combat reform
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2018, 04:07:29 PM »
Good point! Thank you! I will amend that later.
It is not enough to have no ideas of your own; you must also be incapable of expressing them.
Sex, lies and manuscripts: The History of the Empire as Depicted in the Art of the Time (10/07/16)

Offline Padre

  • Posts: 3073
    • View Profile
Re: Reformation and Counter-Reformation: the tactical uses of combat reform
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2018, 04:36:56 PM »
Actually now I think about it there maybe more that is wrong with this theory. If illustration 1. 1 is the starting situation and red rolls to go first in the combat reform, then the illustration 2. 1 is incorrect as the Reds will have reduced the number of models involved in the combat from 7 to 5. Their bus would have to be 7 wide as legally they should have had 7 in the combat to start with. (If my point is muddled please forgive me as I am now on my phone. I think I have explained it adequately.)
Photobucket has graciously resurrected my pictures, so my collected works thread is suddenly working again - see http://warhammer-empire.com/theforum/index.php?topic=38528.0. To see my slowly growing website go to https://bigsmallworlds.com/

Offline Fidelis von Sigmaringen

  • Posts: 8709
  • Attorney-at-RAW
    • View Profile
Re: Reformation and Counter-Reformation: the tactical uses of combat reform
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2018, 04:57:49 PM »
No, that is correct. Funnily enough, I did not have this in my original thread on EEFL - now I know why. That said, Red could still reform into more of a bus, reducing his exposure to Blue Attacks, with still a slight chance of ending up steadfast in 2.2.
It is not enough to have no ideas of your own; you must also be incapable of expressing them.
Sex, lies and manuscripts: The History of the Empire as Depicted in the Art of the Time (10/07/16)

Offline Padre

  • Posts: 3073
    • View Profile
Re: Reformation and Counter-Reformation: the tactical uses of combat reform
« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2018, 05:26:55 PM »
Except when red does go first and forms a 7 wide bus the blues go next and can reform to get 9 into combat, with 9 more behind, which if they are elite would make their attacks nasty indeed! There may therefore be situations where in a roll off you want to go second - that way you can reform to ensure you always have two more in combat on the front rank than the enemy. (Edit) In effect, whoever goes first thus allows the enemy to gain several extra attacks by combat reforming to add corner to corner models on either side. If 2 bus units were both 5 frontage and one decided to increase to 7 frontage then in a roll-off combat reform the enemy would then be able to expand to a frontage of 9 (gaining 4  extra models on the front overall simply by reforming second.) Imagine one unit going first forming a horde with a 10 frontage, then the enemy forming a horde with a 12 model frontage - the second unit would be way up in attacks.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2018, 05:54:38 PM by Padre »
Photobucket has graciously resurrected my pictures, so my collected works thread is suddenly working again - see http://warhammer-empire.com/theforum/index.php?topic=38528.0. To see my slowly growing website go to https://bigsmallworlds.com/

Offline Padre

  • Posts: 3073
    • View Profile
Re: Reformation and Counter-Reformation: the tactical uses of combat reform
« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2018, 05:29:20 PM »
I think this might be a far more complicated and situation-specific theory than originally anticipated. If I wasn't snowed under with a million obligations right now I would love to try and work some of it out.
Photobucket has graciously resurrected my pictures, so my collected works thread is suddenly working again - see http://warhammer-empire.com/theforum/index.php?topic=38528.0. To see my slowly growing website go to https://bigsmallworlds.com/

Online Konrad von Richtmark

  • Posts: 3123
  • Marius Leitdorf Lives!
    • View Profile
Re: Reformation and Counter-Reformation: the tactical uses of combat reform
« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2018, 05:48:00 PM »
Looks like the combat reform rules were much more permissible in WFB 8e than they are in T9A. Figures, I was so underwhelmed by 8e that I never got around to actually play despite owning the BRB and the Empire armybook.
The only good thing about 7th ed heads is that they look particularly inbred and superstitious which is perfect for Stirlanders

Offline Fidelis von Sigmaringen

  • Posts: 8709
  • Attorney-at-RAW
    • View Profile
Re: Reformation and Counter-Reformation: the tactical uses of combat reform
« Reply #20 on: September 03, 2018, 07:53:19 PM »
@ Padre: that was more or less my main point. Either side has to reflect on what the reaction may be by their opponent. And sometimes, one side can only chose the least bad option.

To clarify: it is not always in your interest to have more models in combat. A subpar/regular unit against an elite unit will in most cases be better off to aim not for extra Attacks, but for extra ranks. Being steadfast gives a weaker unit a better chance not to break. If it breaks, there is always a chance that it will be annihilated. If the unit does not break, at the very least, it lives to fight another round of CC, keeping this particular enemy unit tied up, and allowing friendly units to come to the rescue or to seek safety themselves.

In the case at hand: what is better for Blue?
1. Reform into a horde with 5 ranks and 27 Attacks
2. Reform into a frontage of 9, with six ranks and 18 Attacks (but if he suffers a single casualty, he is down to 5 anyway)
3. Stay in a bus formation with 10 Attacks, but also the certainty that Red will not be steadfast, and there is a good chance to run him down.   
« Last Edit: September 03, 2018, 11:16:32 PM by Fidelis von Sigmaringen »
It is not enough to have no ideas of your own; you must also be incapable of expressing them.
Sex, lies and manuscripts: The History of the Empire as Depicted in the Art of the Time (10/07/16)

Offline Fidelis von Sigmaringen

  • Posts: 8709
  • Attorney-at-RAW
    • View Profile
Re: Reformation and Counter-Reformation: the tactical uses of combat reform
« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2018, 12:03:28 PM »
Reformation and Counter-Reformation (continued)

In the next situation (3.1), superior Blue cavalry (e,g. Empire IC Knights) is in close combat with inferior Red infantry (e.g. Spearmen). Red just managed his Break test, thanks to the BSB nearby, but there is a high chance that he will lose again without being steadfast. On average, the Knights should score here 4-5 kills; the Spearmen 1-2. 

Red announces that they want to perform a combat reform. If Blue does not react, Red can reform into more of a bus with more ranks (3.2).
 


It is true that Blue needs only one kill for Red not to be steadfast - but only if he does not suffer any casualties himself. Otherwise, he would need a total of 8 kills to prevent Red from being steadfast. On average, Blue should score here again 4-5 kills, Red only one, but that one would be enough to make him steadfast. 

Edited to reflect Padre's comments below.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2018, 07:35:27 AM by Fidelis von Sigmaringen »
It is not enough to have no ideas of your own; you must also be incapable of expressing them.
Sex, lies and manuscripts: The History of the Empire as Depicted in the Art of the Time (10/07/16)

Offline Fidelis von Sigmaringen

  • Posts: 8709
  • Attorney-at-RAW
    • View Profile
Re: Reformation and Counter-Reformation: the tactical uses of combat reform
« Reply #22 on: September 04, 2018, 03:51:17 PM »
Since Blue realises this, he too announces a combat reform. Blue wins the roll-off, and decides to go first, reforming thus (3.3):



Although Blue has sacrificed a rank, he is still posed to win combat, increasing his average number of kills to 5-6. Without reform, Red will not be steadfast. If Red does reform (3.4), it is true that Blue then needs to kill 4 models (below the expected average) to prevent Red form being steadfast, unless Red himself would kill 3 models (above the expected average of 1).


Edited to reflect Padre's comments below.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2018, 07:39:46 AM by Fidelis von Sigmaringen »
It is not enough to have no ideas of your own; you must also be incapable of expressing them.
Sex, lies and manuscripts: The History of the Empire as Depicted in the Art of the Time (10/07/16)

Offline Padre

  • Posts: 3073
    • View Profile
Re: Reformation and Counter-Reformation: the tactical uses of combat reform
« Reply #23 on: September 04, 2018, 05:11:37 PM »
Are the Reds Orcs as their bases match the 25mm frontage of the Blues' cavalry bases?

Assuming they are ...

In 3.3 couldn't Blue reform from a 5 to an 8 frontage instead of the 6 frontage illustrated, thus gaining more attacks (four more 1A knights and two horses compared to a 6 front) and crucially forcing Red to remain 'as is' because he can't remove models from combat and so is now stuck with 10 front and cannot reform into a bus of any kind to increase depth and hope for steadfast.

Indeed Blue could reform to a 10 frontage (as another 5 on the front would still have base to base contact) and gain more attacks. Or form into a 12 frontage, adding 14 knights' attacks and 7 horses' attacks to the original 5 frontage situation? Red couldn't reform into a bus, but could add a few more attacks on the side. Might not be a problem, however, if their Initiative is lower.

But then again orcs are T4, so maybe they can take the IC Knight's S4 attacks a bit better?
Photobucket has graciously resurrected my pictures, so my collected works thread is suddenly working again - see http://warhammer-empire.com/theforum/index.php?topic=38528.0. To see my slowly growing website go to https://bigsmallworlds.com/

Offline Fidelis von Sigmaringen

  • Posts: 8709
  • Attorney-at-RAW
    • View Profile
Re: Reformation and Counter-Reformation: the tactical uses of combat reform
« Reply #24 on: September 05, 2018, 07:33:21 AM »
The reason is far more mundane - I simply forgot to adjust the size in the first picture, and then replicated that error by copy/paste.  I really should start wearing my reading glasses for the PC too (no joke). The result remains the same, though. Keep those comments coming.
It is not enough to have no ideas of your own; you must also be incapable of expressing them.
Sex, lies and manuscripts: The History of the Empire as Depicted in the Art of the Time (10/07/16)