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Made in au
Fresh-Faced New User




Hi, I have a general sort of question about Warhammer during say 3rd to 6th edition.

I played 7th and 8th and stopped playing sometime during 8th. Recently I've been getting the itch again and am mostly satiating it by reading old rule books and army books from older editions.

My question is regarding rank width. To the best of my knowledge, from as early as 3rd edition until 6th, you could claim rank bonus in combat if you had ranks of at least 4 models wide. And of course it was changed from 7th edition to be 5 models.

But, looking through the old books I've noticed the vast majority of photographed units, are very often ranked 5 models wide. Much more often than 4 models for instance.

So my question is for players who played through those editions, did players actually take units of 5 models wide, even though rank bonus was for 4. Or was 4 more common in actual game play and the studio shots from GW with larger units than necessary simply for cosmetic or marketing reasons?
   
Made in us
Charging Dragon Prince





West Lafayette, IN

It would depend on the unit, actually. The only times I saw 4 man ranks were with elite units like Chaos Warriors, Cavalry regiments where every point counts, or the lunatics (like me) who would try to squeeze ranks for Ogre sized creatures.

www.classichammer.com

For 4-6th WFB, 2-5th 40k, and similar timeframe gaming

Looking for dice from the new AOS boxed set and Dark Imperium on the cheap. Let me know if you can help.
 CthuluIsSpy wrote:
Its AoS, it doesn't have to make sense.
 
   
Made in au
Fresh-Faced New User




 Just Tony wrote:
It would depend on the unit, actually. The only times I saw 4 man ranks were with elite units like Chaos Warriors, Cavalry regiments where every point counts, or the lunatics (like me) who would try to squeeze ranks for Ogre sized creatures.


Is that implying that the benefit of the extra attacks was more important than rank bonus, or simply that a lot of units would be cheap enough that you would get full rank bonus despite being 5 (or more) models wide?

In 7th, at least with the players around me, it seemed like everyone would take basically set unit sizes. Archers would be one rank of ten. Fast cav one rank of 5. Cheap infantry 4 or 5 ranks of 5. Elite infantry maybe 2 or 3 ranks of 5. It would be rare that I would see anyone take ranks of 6 or 7. That could have just been my experience from my area though.

In 8th I did see it, when enormous units became quite common.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/03/05 06:26:22


 
   
Made in us
Charging Dragon Prince





West Lafayette, IN

I don't think people were as forward thinking as "Hey, a back rank that doesn't add to my rank bonus guarantees my actual rank bonus stays for a while." I think it had more to do with footprint and the fact that the movement trays provided by GW for most of the life of WFB had a 100mm frontage.

Now the smallest a cav unit can be is typically 5 models, but nobody would think to put the 5th one in the back rank. It may be more about aesthetics.

However, doing the math on a cavalry charge and survivability shows that the 5th model in the front can at least get you an attack back in a fight where every point of Combat Resolution counts.

www.classichammer.com

For 4-6th WFB, 2-5th 40k, and similar timeframe gaming

Looking for dice from the new AOS boxed set and Dark Imperium on the cheap. Let me know if you can help.
 CthuluIsSpy wrote:
Its AoS, it doesn't have to make sense.
 
   
Made in gb
Been Around the Block





In my experience of 3rd edition, mostly people did what looked best/realistic on the tabletop. There wasn't the same obsession with optimising the numbers back then. I think it was a hangover from the RPG origins of most of the players - they made their decisions based on the fluff of the race they commanded, in the same was as you would role-play a character in D&D.
   
Made in es
Scouting Shadow Warrior





My 2 cent from extensively playing 6th: it depends on the unit.

For weaker units, I often thought they relied on the +5 CR from 3 ranks/banner/outnumber to win as they barely caused wounds (goblins, some skaven or even empire state troops). So I would set them up in ranks of 4 to ensure I had 3 ranks throughout most of the battle. Also smaller front rank helped to maneuver. But using ranks of 5 helped to get an extra rank sitting around a while longer.
Other units like HE spears worked fine with ranks of 4, as they attacked with 3 ranks.

For more elite units, I would set them up in ranks of 5 or even 6. These units would have smaller numbers, rarely getting more than +1 or 2 for rank bonus. Moreover, if in a rank of 4, it's enough to kill one member from a random shot/small spell to lose the rank bonus.
So for example, if I had 12 Chaos Warriors, I would set them up in 6x2. That gives only +1 bonus rank but 3 of them would have to die in order to lose that bonus. And in combat, 6 warriors attacking could be nasty. If I used 4x3 configuration, just by getting one killed I lose one rank bonus, and 5 to lose both. On top of that, that's 2 less attacks in combat (which could be significant if being Chosen, MoK or 2 hand weapons).

That's for infantry. For cavalry or bigger stuff, I never found ranks worth it if considering cost/benefit.

   
Made in us
Willing Inquisitorial Excruciator





Philadelphia

The other consideration was one mentioned by WaveyRaven, but I'll also add that usually you had three command models, a champion, standard, and a musician.

It looked waaay better with 5 model width, having your command models in the "middle" of the front rank, with a rank and filer on either side, rather than the 4 model frontage. So it was primarily an aesthetic choice early on.

Even when the rules moved to 4 wide for rank bonus, I still ran 5 because it looked better. I wasn't trying to eke out every point of CR, and neither did most of my opponents.

For the visuals, 5, 7, 9 frontage looks best, because its balanced (and satisfies my OCD around wargames units :-)

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"There is rational thought here. It's just swimming through a sea of stupid and is often concealed from view by the waves of irrational conclusions." - Railguns 
   
Made in nz
[MOD]
Villanous Scum






Agreed, that's the sole reason that all of my units are 5 files wide.

On parle toujours mal quand on n'a rien à dire.
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Backfire wrote:
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Made in au
Fresh-Faced New User




Thanks for all the replies. It seems based on what has been said that the move from 4-5 models for a rank was not such a big a change as I had imagined.
   
Made in us
Booming Thunderer




I played in the 4th for a little bit, and a lot in the 6th. Most of the units had a 5 wide model front per rank, with some with a 6 model front for regular infantry models. I really did not see many with 4 or 7 models per rank.

With my Dwarf army, I would generally run my units in 10, 15, 20 and 25 models per unit. Almost all of the time, I would be 5 models wide, with noted exceptions of ballistic units. Part of that is aesthetics as mentioned before, part of it is the notion that you get an "extra model" before you need to worry about loosing your rank bonus. Of course on a 20 model unit, the first rank gets taken out of consideration quickly, but the subsequent ranks take more to get taken out. A 25 model unit is that much tougher.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2020/05/22 16:22:33


 
   
Made in gb
Highlord of Terra






Adrift within the vortex of my imagination.

 Cruentus wrote:

For the visuals, 5, 7, 9 frontage looks best, because its balanced (and satisfies my OCD around wargames units :-)


I concur with this 100%, but will go further, I make single rank heavy cavalry six or seven models even if more efficient as five so there are a number of flanking basic models in the unit. With six models I give the musciian a lance and no shield rather thna a shield and no lance, so there are two lances on either side of the unit. One thing I hate are units of five lance armed knights with only two lances in the whole unit. It just looks wrong.

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