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Surprise Attack

Experimental Advanced Rules

by Avian

Mostly these have been converted from other games, such as Warmaster. As the title says they are advanced and should only be used by experienced players.

Push back is a rule from 3rd edition and among the things that have been removed over the years this is something they could well have kept.


Push back

When a unit wins a round of combat and not all of it's enemies flee it can elect to push them back. To do this it must not have any enemies in it's flank or rear; it is only possible to push back units by moving forward. When a unit has more than one unit in its front all enemy units are pushed back. You cannot push back your own units, so if there are friendly units directly in front of a unit it cannot push back the enemy. Where several units from one side wants to push back an enemy unit only the only with the highest Unit Strength can do so, unless they are both fighting in the same side of the enemy unit, in which case both may work together to push the enemy back. In case of ties the owning player may decide which unit gets to push back the enemy. Push back occurs at the end of the Close Combat phase, between points 6 (Pursue) and 7 (Redress Ranks).

A Frenzied unit must always push back enemy units, if able to.

When a unit is pushed back it is moved directly away from the pushing unit a number of inches equal to the score the unit lost the combat by. So if a unit lost a combat by 2 points it is pushed back 2 inches. The unit that does the pushing follows up the same distance. The maximum distance a unit can be pushed back is equal to the charge distance of the pushing unit with the lowest Movement or the normal march distance of the unit being pushed back (whichever is lowest). A unit that would normally be pushed back further than it's march move is halted when it has reached it's march distance and is automatically Confused (see below).

When the unit(s) pushed back have a Unit Strength more than twice that of the unit(s) pushing the push back distance is halved.

A unit pushed so that one or more of its models leave the table is considered to have fled the table. If a unit is pushed back into another unit from either side the unit pushed back into has two options. It can make way or it can stand its ground. If the unit being pushed back into is in combat it must stand its ground, it cannot make way. If the unit being pushed back into is fleeing it must make way, it cannot stand its ground.

If a unit decides to make way it is moved aside or back the minimum distance needed to let the pushed back unit complete its move. The unit must then take a Psychology test and if failed the unit is Confused. If the unit stands its ground it is not moved and the unit being pushed back is halted and is automatically Confused. If a unit has enemy units pushed into it and decides to stand its ground it automatically becomes engaged in the combat, but does not count as charging.

If a unit forces friendly units to make way, if it is pushed back further than its normal Move distance or if it is pushed back into difficult or very difficult terrain it must take a Psychology test and if failed the unit is Confused. If a unit pushed back encounters terrain it cannot cross it must make a halt and automatically becomes Confused.

If the unit doing the push back encounters another unit it must halt immediately and the push back is ended. If this is an enemy unit it automatically becomes engaged in the combat, but does not count as charging.


Disruption due to shooting or magic

If a unit suffers enough casualties to remove one full rank in the Magic or Shooting phase it must take a Confusion test (see below) at the end of the phase, assuming that it has not already failed a Panic test that phase. Note that when a unit has an incomplete rank it only has to take a Confusion test if a full rank or more has been removed. So if a unit has three full ranks of five models and an incomplete rear rank of two models it only has to take a Confusion test if five or more models have been killed.

If two or more full ranks have been removed then the Confusion test is at -1 Leadership for each full rank above one which has been removed. In the example above the test would be unmodified if five to nine models were removed, at -1 Leadership if ten to fourteen models were removed and at -2 Leadership if fifteen or more models were removed.

Note that a unit may have to take both a Panic test and a Confusion test in the same turn and it is possible to take a Panic test without having to take a Confusion test and vice-versa., as the two work independent of each other.



Confusion represents a general disruption in the ranks of a unit and quite understandably hampers a unit's manoeuvering and fighting.

A unit becomes automatically Confused in the following circumstances:

A unit must pass a Psychology test or become Confused in the following circumstances:

Confusion tests in the Magic or Shooting phase happens at the end of the respective phases, after Panic tests. Confusion test due to push backs are taken at the end of the Close Combat phase, between steps 6 (Pursue) and 7 (Redress Ranks) and after Push backs.

A unit only has to make one Confusion test per phase. A unit that is Immune to Psychology does not have to take Confusion tests, though it can still be Confused if it happens automatically. A unit that is Confused continues to be Confused until step 2 (Results) of next turns Combat phase.

A Confused unit that is not in combat in it's next Movement phase can only Reform, unless it is subject to compulsory movement. This applies to Frenzied units, who are otherwise forced to charge if able to, as well.

A Confused unit that is in combat will always strike last, even if they have an item or ability that would otherwise let them strike first, such as the Sword of Sigismund.

It should now be obvious that having one unit attacking an enemy in the front and another in the rear is a very favourable situation, because if the enemy is defeated but does not run you can push them back into your own unit which refuses to make way, thereby confusing the enemy unit and making them strike last in the next turn.


Further ideas for Confusion...

When a unit is victorious in combat but has to take a Panic test due to friendly units breaking from other combats within 6" (step 4 in the Combat phase) it takes a Confusion test, not a Panic test. Units that lost their combat but passed their Break tests take Panic tests as normal. This Confusion test is taken at the same time as the Panic tests and not at the end of the phase, as with other Confusion tests. A unit still only has to take one Confusion test per phase.


The Archery Wedge

Any unit of models equipped with short bows, bows, long bows, crossbows or repeating crossbows may be deployed in a wedge formation, or may reform into one during a battle. A wedge has one model in the front rank, two models in the second rank placed symmetrically behind the first, three models in the third rank and so on. When there are not enough models in a rank to complete it models are placed at the edges first. When a wedge has a champion he is always placed in the first rank, with the standard bearer and musician as close to him as possible. If a wedge is joined by a character he takes the champion's place and the champion is placed in the second rank. In all cases characters and command group models are placed at the edges of the formation and as far forward as possible.

A unit can change between a normal formation and a wedge and back again by reforming. A wedge can manoeuvre by wheeling forward as normal, measuring the wheel from the widest complete rank. The wedge cannot turn, but it can move sideways or backwards counting every inch moved as two. It can also wheel backwards, always counting every inch moved by the rearmost complete rank as two. The wedge can march move only when moving /wheeling forward.

When it comes to the units arc of sight and flank/rear arcs measure these from the widest complete rank. This means that the wedge has only a single model on each flank and an unusually large front, consisting of three separate sides - two diagonal sides and the leader model. A wedge can charge any unit any models in its front arc can see. If the enemy unit is very close this may mean that the wedge charges in with one of the diagonal sides first. Rear charges against the wedge are worked out as normal, as are flank charges, though the wegde has rather small flanks. If a wedge is charged in the flank models in an incomplete rear rank should be moved slightly in, aligning them against the models in front.When an enemy unit is mostly in the arc of sight of the leader model it is aligned against him if possible, in other front charges the charging unit is aligned against one of the diagonal sides of the wedge.

When shooting all models on the edges on the wedge can shoot, following the normal shooting restrictions. One consequence of this is that models can not shoot if their line of sight to the target is completely blocked by other models in the same unit. This means that the wedge can loosen a large number of arrows from a quite narrow formation, as long as the enemy target is straight ahead. If deployed on a hill half the models on the inside of the formation, rounded up, can also fire.

In combat each model on the edge of the wedge count as being in base contact with every enemy model you can draw a line straight forward, backward or to the side, as long as that line is not completely blocked by interposing models.As usual a model can attack and be attacked by any models in base contact. Casualties removed in combat are taken from the centre of the rearmost rank first. A wedge can be lapped around as normal, though it can not lap around enemy units.

Units in a wedge formation never gain a rank bonus in combat.


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