The Art of War


Many times players ask what the best frontage should be, when playing WAB. Here are some thoughts about the frontages of units.

First a summery of the advantages and disadvantages of a front rank of 3 to 6 models:

3 models in front row

4 models in front row

5 models in front row

6 models in front row

Easy to Wheel

Easier to Wheel

Less easy to Wheel

Less easy to Wheel

No rank bonus!

All models in the rear ranks count towards rank bonus

The models in the 5th column do not add to the rank bonus

The models in the 5th column do not add to the rank bonus

All models can fight

Almost always all models can fight

Mostly all models can fight

Often not all models can fight

May fast march

(Drilled unit in 3x4 formation could make a nasty free turn)

May not fast march

May not fast march

May not fast march

Costs 25% less

Costs reference

Costs 25% more

Costs 50% more

Will make 0.75 kills

Will make 1 kill


Will make 1,25 kills

Will make 1,5 kills

Max CR=4

Max CR=8

Max CR=9

Max CR=10

Average CR=0,75

Average CR=4

Average CR=4,25

Average CR=4,5

Average CR2=1,5

Average CR2=5

Average CR2=5,5

Average CR2=6

Min CR=0

Min CR=3

Min CR=3

Min CR=3

Costs are relative towards the costs of a unit with 4 models in the front rank.
Kills are against equal enemy without armor, other bonus or leader.
Max CR is maximum kills (including leader) + maximum bonus (3 ranks)
Average CR1 is based on average kills without leader.
Average CR2 is based on average kills without leader when two ranks fight.
Min CR is based on killing nobody.


A Graphical representation of the chart above:

The baseline shows if the cost is relative equal to the CR result.


Normally the extra kill you will get are equal to the extra costs. An extra front model will cost 25% more and will make 25% more kills.

But adding the rank bonus, will show another result. The first 4 models will add to the rank bonus. The extra models will not. The combat result will have to grow by 25% too to stay relatively equal. This then means that the amount of kills will have to be 1 in stead of 0,25 for the extra front model (because the total CR, including ranks, must grow from 4 to 5 (+25%)).
Therefore the relative cost is lowest with a unit with 4 models in the front rank.
Adding Standards and leader will further lower the effect of the extra front model.

Luckily WAB is more complex then this calculation. A lot of factors will have a profound influence on the combat result. Think of rank negating flank attacks or Elephant battles. Better armour, Strength or weapon skill will add to the effectiveness of the kills. Who fights first has an influence (pikes, larger movement so you can be the charger). Cheaper units, army battle standards, higher ground and so on.

Another drawback is that a large unit with a large front (especially Phalanx) is so much cooler to look at!

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