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The impossibly fast passage of time

Over eight months ago, Jeff posted his plans for the army he’d be using in the Beard Bunker’s campaign. Meanwhile, only a few days ago, Maisey said he felt like he’d dropped the ball in not getting a vampire painted for his skellingtons. That may be, but at least he’s painted a Necrononcer by the name of Mallick.* I haven’t even painted a single character yet. In fact, the best thing I’ve got is a Green Stuffed butt crack. There’s only four months left before I’m meant to have this army ship-shape and ass-kicky. Until now, my plan for my Hochlanders ran thusly: “Bimble along and paint things in green and red when you fancy it.”

Well, yeah. That there ain’t enough beans for a stew, grandma.


Turns out I’m almost as good at painting Hochlanders as I am at making up American-South-sounding metaphors. Ooooooh, self-buuuurn. Self-flagellation aside, I’d better get my posterior in gear. Put simply, I need a plan.

When it comes to concocting a plan for a new army, there seem to be two schools of thought: one, plan everything and stick to it, lest ye trundle off the rails. Two, to start buying pretty things and keep it up until you can put them on a table and shout “I made this!” with childlike glee.

There are disadvantages to both of these methods. Proponents of method one can feel beholden to their plan even if it stops being fun, and the I Made This! crowd often end up with a dragon, three elite units, and fourteen beautifully painted character models.

I suspect the way of joy is a balance of the two: plan your army, but be ready to change said plan if it’s not working. Don’t just stick blindly to your guns. Half of being organised consists of assessing your progress and amending your plans accordingly.

My plans always seem to go like this:

1. Decide what I want.
2. Decide what I need to make what I want rules compliant and fun to play with/against.

What I wanted was a unit of scruffy knights and a big unit of handgunners. Hochland’s famous for its fine quality blackpowder weaponry, so having a bunch of them seemed in keeping. Also, my other Empire army isn’t very shooty, and I wanted this one to be different.

What I needed was to not turn this army into a gunline. Those are boring to use and to fight against; no-one needs that. So, that meant having enough missile troops to make the shooting phase a meaningful one, but also not taking artillery that’d be useless in the close confines of the Drakwald Forest (stick to the theme, stick to the theeeeeeeeeeeeme!). I also needed some infantry regiments; so far I had nothing that could take a charge.

After prodding the Empire Army Book for a wee while, this is what I came up with for the first two thousand points:

However, the roster’s only half the story. With concepts I’m unsure of (like “will that many missile troops actually do anything?”) I find it helpful to visualise how the army will deploy. Behold:

The bottom of the image is the Empire table edge, the top faces the rest of
the table. The odd-coloured blocks denote characters.

The left flank is definitely the weak one. During deployment I’d probably stick the centre of the line down first, and then switch up the flanks depending on where the enemy’s deploying. Another weakness I’ve tried to account for is the army’s inability to deal with big monsters. To that end, I’m packing a level two wizard using the Lore of Death, which specialises in hurting individual models.

Oh, and a really finicky note (in case someone thinks I'm thpecial): between making the deployment map and the roster, I changed a regiment of handgunners into a detachment. Obviously, now that they're a detachment, the Helblaster isn't going in between them and their parent unit.

So. What do y’all think? Is this army a big slice of retard pie, or am I on to a non-cheesy winner?

Either way, I’d better get painting.


*Necrononcers are Necromancers who, on ethical grounds, only animate the corpses of pervs and serial molesters.


  1. Christ on a bike with little, tiny, training wheels. EIGHT MONTHS. Hmm, an army change and nowhere near enough painting of my own stuff later and I really need to raise my game!

    1. Hahaha... focusses the mind some, doesn't it?

  2. Hi Charlie,
    Thought I'd share my thoughts with you on your deployment, seems to me the only reason you have a weak left flank is because of the deployment style. A list like this really benefits from refusing flank or castling. By deploying in either of those types you can remove the worry of your weak flank. As for your concern about monster I think it's a valid one, but how confident are you in a level 2 being being able to stop monsters? He kind of sticks out like a sore thumb to me ( sure you have a story of Epicness for him being there though.) all in all. The list looks like it has a nice balance to it, and with good deployment will do well.

    Dice jesus

    1. Yeah the wizard and her backstory will be covered once I've converted the model (and oh god is that conversion going to be an ambitious one). Also, forgive my schoolboy question, but can you define the difference between refused flank and castling? In broad brushstroke terms, though, it's a good suggestion. Thanks :)

      I have to say, my biggest difficulty with Empire seems to be taking on monsters. Magic and cannons are very unreliable. I suppose the knights might do something, but they're likely to get flattened in the process.

  3. Refusing flank is where you deploy a unit, much like the knights on a flank, trying to get your opponent to draw his army away from yours, then you bring your knights back onto your flank, most people tend to use faster moving units to be able to leave the flank quickly, hopefully you can bait a big block unit of your opponent on that flank, and if you have it will tKe much longer for that unit to get back into the game. If he decides to deploy a monster on that flank, you can then redeploy that unit through movement ( outriders and pistoleros are very good at this). And it may give you that one extra turn of shooting at the monster.

    Castling has a similar feel to it, but you tend to not deploy anything away from the other. Easiest place to castle are in the corner, you basic aim is to have all you blocks in the centre with flanking units to the sides, deploying in a curve with the blocks at the apex, ideally you want to pick either corner or centre with a hill or place with elevation on the board, then you deploy you missiile weapons and artillery behind, your plan here is to funnel your opponent into on spot and keep you shooting for the maximum amount of time, hopefully taking a toll on the opposing army.

    1. Awesome, thanks! I have a horrible feeling you explained it to me years ago, but that there is one of the clearest articulations of the distinction I've yet seen. My brain-meats be enhanced. Arr.

  4. Thank you fine sir, always here to help mate.


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