Never Say Die
Contact and Deployment

Orders of March

“I tend to speak of regiments, brigades and divisions rather than using historical terminology because everyone understands what these modern terms represent.”—Tony Bath, Setting Up a Wargames Campaign

Though speaking of an “elven regiment” irks to some degree, our simple campaign follows Bath’s lead. The advanced campaign may well devise not only differing denominations but varied organizations for armies of elves, orcs, halfolk, and other such cultures.

Before we talk about making contact with the enemy, we must know what our armies look like on the march. Below, I outline force composition, tactical march formations by terrain type, and prebattle formations.

Composition of Forces

In the Valormr Campaign, each commander on the strategic map leads an army—unless its units are separately deployed, as are the elves at campaign start. For our purposes, an army consists of a number of regiments. If necessary, a regiment may be further divided into two battalions. The smallest unit is a company, which is any number of figures of like troop type. A company of four armored foot, for example, or a company of five longbows.

“If, for the sake of argument, each army consists of 30 or more regiments, even if you possess enough troops to match these numbers, on the normal sized board their use may so crowd it as to inhibit maneuver and turn the battle into a simple slogging match” (Bath, 74).

As the number of miniatures in the figurine collection as well as space on the table for them is limited, we limit the force an army may deploy in a battle to one regiment. An army’s first regiment is the assault force. The rules assume that a second regiment, if any, supports the first, and a third and any other regiments are in reserve.

A commander may reassign regiments to these roles at the beginning of any half period. The first regiment, after taking losses in battle, for example, may be reassigned to reserve, the second to assault, and the third support. The assault regiment always leads the order of march, support follows, and the reserve trails.

Within an army, it is necessary to track the strength of each regiment. A regiment’s strength is a measure of its original figure count after losses. For example, a regiment of 20 figures (800 men) engages with the enemy, suffering eight figures in losses. The regiment’s strength is then 60%. Partials of multiple regiments may be reconstituted, and mercenaries might fill the ranks.

Although an army’s subunits might be dispatched across land and sea, we must be careful not to overcrowd the strategic map. These rules strive to keep the army together—or at least avoid splitting it up.

Each unit within a force always maintains unit integrity. That is, figures remain in company formation, companies within battalions, battalions within regiments. If necessary, assume that, within companies, figure bases touch with a half-figure distance between companies, one figure between battalions, and a distance of two figures separates regiments.

Tactical March Formations

Each force, represented by its commander figure, moves across the strategic map, usually in formation. When contact with the enemy is greater than nil, a force moves in tactical formation.

Advanced: Formations by Creature Type

Like different words for regiment, in a more complicated game, we might assume the formations below are most used by humans and devise differing formations for other creature types. In that case, different human cultures as well may then employ other formations to take best advantage of their own capabilities.

A column is a formation of units, one behind the other. A line is a formation of units, side by side. A column or a line may consist of any size unit: regiment, battalion, or company, and it may be as narrow as a single figure. Within the figure, the formation may be as narrow as a single soldier. A column is most often used in marching; a line in battle.

In our simple campaign, a force’s tactical formation is decided by the terrain type through which it moves.

Track and Mountain: Column of figures. Each figure represents 40 troops, marching in two files abreast, twenty ranks deep.

Road: Column of figures. As on a track but four files of troops by ten ranks.

Forest, Swamp, and Hill: Column of companies. Generally, a company forms itself in four files of figures by necessary depth. For example, a company of one to four figures marches in a single rank, five to eight in two ranks, and so on.

Clear: Column of battalions. A battalion, which is half a regiment, marches with its companies, each formed in four files as above, side by side. The regiment’s second battalion follows in like fashion.

Scouts Out

In tactical march formation, a commander may deploy a scout ahead of the advancing force. A scout is assumed to go up to a mile ahead of the force, so for our purposes, remains within the same hex. A scout costs no army points.

On map contact, a commander who has previously deployed a scout, rolls on the Scout table. A successful result indicates that the scout returns with more information than the commander would otherwise acquire. A captured result means the scout has been interrogated and may have given up information about the commander’s force.

Scout Table
Result Scout’s Disposition
1 Captured*
2 Killed
3-4 Unsuccessful
5-6 Successful†

* Capturing commander adds 1 to contact dice (explained later).
† Commander adds 1 to contact dice.

Multiple scouts may be deployed, in which case, the commander rolls multiple times, one for each, on the Scout table. But a commander may add no more than 1 to the contact dice for scouts. A commander may add 1 for his or her own scouts and another 1 for capturing the opponent’s scouts.

Prebattle Formation

The prebattle formation represents the fluid transition from the tactical march to the battle (or assault) formation. If the battle formation is that in which a force engages the enemy, the prebattle formation positions fighting units to more easily maneuver into battle formation once enemy units’ dispositions are known. In the ideal situation, a force transitions from prebattle to battle formation as it crosses into enemy missile range. For, once under fire, units must move quickly to engage the enemy or be depleted before their force is brought to bear.

When enemy contact is made, a force assumes a prebattle formation. When possible, in prebattle formation, units are formed outside enemy missile range, including that of catapults. Often, it is the prebattle formation which is deployed behind the baseline on the wargames table.

Base deployment

The commander decides the prebattle formation. These rules stipulate only the base deployment size, which is derived from the tactical march formation.

From the base unit of the march formation, a force’s base deployment is of the next larger unit.

Tactical March Formation Base Deployment
Column of figures, two by 20 troops One company
Column of figures, four by ten troops Three companies
Column of companies One battalion
Column of battalions One regiment

Deployed units may be positioned by the commander anywhere behind the baseline. Other units of the engaging force, at this point, are still in tactical march formation as they arrive. This base deployment may be modified by the results of the “contact dice,” which we get into next.

Initial Deployment
Demonstration of Base Deployment.

From a column of battalions, the Aeskrvald Prince deploys an entire regiment behind his baseline (foreground). On his right opposite, Annemie Tacx deploys from a column of figures, four by ten troops, to three companies on her baseline (background). On Aeskrvald’s left opposite, Minke Meine, from a column of figures, two by 20 troops, deploys a single company.

Deployment from a column of companies (not shown) is similar to that from a column of battalions. Columns of figures are shown for demonstration purposes only. Figures are not placed until their deployment.


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