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Bows and Crossbows

Nick Buchanan
New Member

Has anyone else found bows can be a little overpowered in large numbers?  We were playing a (socially distanced) game last night with larger lists: 1500 points aside and no knights (we wanted to make it a bit more basic without any hard hitters).  Both sides had two or three units of bow or crossbow in their rosters and there were some veteran sergeants nearby able to use command actions to give them a second round of shooting.  Armoured foot tends to move 5”, 10” if it runs (and ends up weary) so, at best, if it runs twice, bow will get two rounds of fire in before they close (assuming they pass their morale to be commanded a second time by a sergeant) and they can always keep moving backwards 3” to stay out of charge range.  We had one situation where some irregular bow and regular crossbow (both units of 8 each) could shoot at a group of spearmen and, with action dice from the sergeant, have a second go – that’s 32 dice rolled per round and double that before the spear could close.  Needless to say, the spear got butchered.  Ironically, the same thing happened in reverse with the other side’s bow annihilating a similar unit of spear.

So … is it the fact that this was just some lucky dice rolling and that two units of bow were, in each case, faced off against a single unit of spear or is it that bow seem to be a bit super-powered and can ‘machine gun’ down a unit of their choosing?  With greater points rosters on the table, units of 13 seem to be commonplace so we were thinking about implementing a house rule to either limit the number of units that can be fielded or the amount of archers in a unit or, as we’re going to try out next time, limiting the number of arrows that can be used (ie each side has x number of goes before they 'run out').  We’re going to try the latter as we feel it will reduce the likelihood of speculative long-range shooting in favour of more tactical closer range use of archers.  It could simply be that we were (un)lucky in the way that the two armies faced off and that bow vs bow or more heavily armoured horse charging in would have neutralised the bow more effectively. 

So … long question but what are people’s views on bows and any thoughts / observations regarding their use in future?


Many thanks

Topic starter Posted : 13/05/2021 1:10 pm
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