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I had a new idea recently about a new empire army, it came to me as i was reading a book on the english civil war.
So in the baisics it would be a couple of large spearmen blocks each with 2 blocks of handgunners. Some pistoleers to represent the cavalry and cannons etc.
How do people think that these sort of formations would fair in any form of competative game?
They would fare well enough, I suppose...human spears are really the epitome of mediocrity. Even with an extra rank fighting, we don't have ASF (in fact we have "nearly always strikes last"), our weapons skill is abysmal, and we certainly don't have the combination of higher initiative and ASF that leads to rerolling misses. Spearmen really are the worst form of state troops. As for the handgunners, I see that the idea is for them to fire in defense of the spearmen when the parent regiment receives a charge? By taking move-or-shoot detachments, you've finished the job of pinning the regiment in place that was begun by taking a weapon (spears) that loses a rank's worth of attacks if it charges. The other problem with the handgunners (don't get me wrong, I use handgunners) is that the extra point of armor penetration is often less valuable than the extra 6" of range offered by the competition: crossbows. I'd recommend a mix of the two, or pure crossbows. Pistoliers are a fine unit of light cavalry, but take more than a little skill to employ to best effect. Cannons are fantastic. Perhaps a mix of cannons and mortars would be better...but take at least two cannons if you take any, for redundancy's sake. Anything worthy of the attentions of a cannon is something you can't afford to miss...and cannons have a nasty tendency to overshoot the target or land a perfect 1" in front of the target and then fail to bounce.
For an English civil war army, you might be better served to field halberdiers in place of the spearmen, and make the handgunners independent regiments in order to free the movement of the halberdiers. Halberdiers aren't as good as swordsmen, but they do, in my mind, fit the theme better...and they're far superior to spearmen.
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Remember that if you field large blocks, you can fit enough men into your detachments to allow them to operate semi-autonomously. It's never bad to have those 10 handgunners standing nearby with grins on their faces saying "Hey, we're within 3in, eat lead!" even if you intended them to just stand on a hill blazing.
The point which Marneup has made is quite a valid one though- you don't want Move-or-Fires as your detachment unless you can count on having lots of magic and artillery to pull your enemy towards you.
You would be building Cromwell's 'New Model Army' (oh how I hate that man), so cannons, pistoliers, halberds, swordsmen, mortars, and priests would all be good and valid. You'd want to avoid large blocks of knights, as well as archaic weapons like Greatswords.
Halberds are better than spears, which were "the poor man's weapon" at the time anyway, so go with those. Detachments of Swordsmen, or vice versa, would be good.
Cannons and mortars are cheap and quite devastating, so get them in droves. They're better than pistoliers (you only need about 2 regiments of 6 for this).
I really wish I could play against you some time. I have an army based on the Irishmen who fought against Cromwell's army after the English Civil War...