The trouble with chariots

I have thought about this for a while, but a comment in another topic inspired me to make a separate topic on chariots in KoW.

The comment, for context.

The trouble comes with generalising or thinking of chariots in only that way.

Chariots were definitely used as mobile missile platforms. The Egyptians famously mastered that.
Those same Egyptians fought against the Hittite Empire. The Hittites developed heavy chariots with (gasp!) 3 armoured crew and used them to charge and disrupt enemy formations.

The Carthaginian, Chinese and Indian Empires used even heavier four horse chariots to charge their enemies.
Sources say that Greek and British chariots were only really used chariots to get to the battlefield and then got off to fight on foot.

The point is; chariots were used in different ways and saying that chariots were used in a particular way is like saying automobiles are used in a particular way.

Which means they can be used in all sorts of ways in KoW too. Which is great, but there is another problem.
How to differentiate chariots from cavalry.
This is a problem because chariots and cavalry fill the same roles.
The historical reason to use chariots instead of cavalry is because horses strong enough to carry soldiers in a battle effective way are not available.
When horse breeding produced horses strong enough to carry a warrior in battle, chariots were obsolete.

Which is great for having some armies have chariots instead of cavalry (it’s great for Ogres); but not for lists that have both chariots and cavalry because chariots are cool and should be in the list so people can take them if they want to.


So the best solution would be to add a Special Rule to extend the Arc of Shooting from 90° to 180° for certain units
as not only some Chariots but also some Light Cavalry was famous for that

Add in that I am missing somehow the difference in mounted infantry (like Dragoons or the Greek Chariots) and the Cavalry/Chariots that operated mounted
Reload is doing that for shooting up to a point but something like not doubling movement on a charge could add into that

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Thanks - interesting take.

While i do appreciate that my comment was a touch generalised, covering a wide range of human cultures and over 1000 years in a sentence it was always going to be :wink:

In KoW, I think that combat chariots are generally in a good place, as are most hero version options. The fact that they aren’t effected by phalanx or reaper/slayer does make them a genuine choice.

The ones that you don’t tend to see too much are the dual use or predominantly shooting .

You see ogre lists with a boomer chariot unit, but thats usually just for the stealthy aura! Never seen skulk chariots used, never played against KoM ones (and don’t have any in over 20k pts of human models).

TK and Elf ones used to be common before the ranged attack drop (so thankfully the 4 legion/4 dragon lists went!), while EoD ones with the shoot/surge option are at least viable (plus obviously being popular model choice from WFB

Will be interesting to see exactly the mechanic for the TK boat things.

KoWH did have a split between combat/dual use/shooting chariots and some specific armies got additional ones (Egyptians got legions, Indians got super heavy versions) - covering the ‘real’ difference that cultures put them to way better than the KoM ones convey.


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Potentially even 360°. Parthian horse archers could famously turn around and shoot at pursuing enemy.
Not sure to how many skirmishers that should apply though.

While that likely be the best way to represent skirmishing mounted troops, I’m not sure it would be the best solution for KoW.

I don’t think it’s necessary to represent these differences in KoW.

KoW starts the game with armies in bow range, so after skirmishing and after mounted infantry dismount.
KoW is also not a historical ruleset. It’s tends to be a game first and represents the romanticised version of war and heroics from the fantasy genre.
Rule of cool takes precedence, as it should.*

There is also no simulation of friction, command and control, formation density, or terrain effects on different troop types.
If KoW was that concerned with realistic representation; phalax should not apply in terrain. Chariots should be absolutely useless in terrain, nevermind having strider in some cases. Hills should be a defensive position.

KoW does, pleasingly (see *), represent cavalry and phalanx better than other fantasy games I have seen though.
The trouble with cavalry in KoW, IMO, is that they are simply outclassed by fantasy troops.
Which is “right”. Cavalry was the best shock troop available on Earth for armies of humans.
If units of elves on drakons, vampires, barbarians with crushing strength, or ogers were available historically; then those would have outclassed cavalry too.

*To be clear: I’m not saying rule of cool should always take presedence, just in fantasy battle rules.
From this thread it should be obvious that I enjoy military history and historical wargaming, I just see it as separate from fantasy wargaming.

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Fair enough!
I was mostly using it as an excuse to start a topic that has been on my mind. :sweat_smile:

Dual use units a difficult to balance in general.
Rangers and gladestalkers are a good example.

I think trying to have chariots as a separate unit that gets taken in the same lists as cavalry is a trap.
Especially if trying to “get them right”.
Chariots that are “done right” are made obsolete by cavalry that are “done right”.

There’s also the issue that when units fill a similar role one will always be more efficient, even if only slightly.
Take zombies and skeletons for example: both have stats that are appropriate to the unit concept and cost the appropriate number of points for those stats, but zombies are more efficient in a role for cheap units.
Dwarf ironwatch have a similar problem.

I don’t think it’s an issue that needs to be solved though.
Having units as an option just so that players can take them if they want for whatever reason (model availability, likes the concept, etc) is a good thing. Not every unit or player has to be competitive at a Master’s tournament. Especially for “generic armies” (elves, dwarfs, orcs, etc).

Which leads to the “best solution” for chariots IMO.
Either have chariots as the only mounted option in a list (or at least the only unit that fills a particular role); or just approach it as making an option to use different models.
Either by having chariot and cavalry units that are pretty much the same in the necessary lists or having a “counts as” rule for chariots and cavalry.


Yeah, this really.

Cavalry, chariots and large cavalry can have a lot of overlap in use and of the 3 chariots just tend to lose out a bit really in lots of lists.

My NA/Varangur have chariot units i use as frostfang and a LotR mumak as ogre/orc chariot legion (nothing else has a big enough base!)

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Well, what is necessary, we had something similar with magic in 2nd, were adding more spells and “what is necessary” were legit points

one thing is, we have Reload and Nimble, which are 2 rules that represent those things but reload being shooting only obviously and Nimble favours melee
so having a rule for shooting only adds something to the game is you can have “nimble” for shooting chariots without making them better in melee as well

it is not necessary for the game, but can be an option

Sorry @kodos, I seem to have missed something.
What are reload and nimble representing?

The difference is that “mounted infantry” used mounts as transport to the battlefield, but then fought said battle as infantry, while mounted troops fought while still riding their mounts.

depending on the time frame, mounted infantry used mounts to either travel to the battle field and fight, which is irrelevant for KoW unless we get some “entry from reserve” stuff
or to fast relocate during the battle

like original dragons which were riding around the field, dismount fire and mount again to relocate
this can be done by having cavalry with reload (not sure if there is still one)

for light cavalry, being more flexible in were to go and what to shoot at is kind of covered by nimble, as you can make that extra turn to get something into LOS that other units cannot
so we already have that light cavalry aspect in game

problem here is, nimble is very strong and give some units nimble just to improve their shooting might be too much because it would also improve their melee abilities

like said Boomer Chariots, Nimble would let them get that extra arc for shooting, but would also make them a very good melee unit, so another special rule that only affect shooting would come in handy

Oh! I see what you mean.
I’m not familiar with KoW Historical and surprised that dragoons would be included.

If one really wants to represent mounted infantry then the Scout special rule would be my pick.

Shooting and close combat abilities are separate.
A shooting attack with decent RA and att plus poor Me and/or low att stat should solve this.
Making it so that only flank (or rear) charges are meaningful sounds like a good way to represent skirmishers.

I vaguely recall troops with the individual special rule, that could work too.

The units with Individual came from KoW Historical.

There was a Skirmisher rule:
This unit is in a loose skirmish formation made up of multiple models. To represent this, the unit has the Individual special rule with the following exception: When enemy units charge a unit with Skirmisher, the charging unit aligns flush the with the skirmisher’s facing, as it would when charging a non-Individual unit. The unit with Skirmisher does not turn to align flush with the charger.

You had 360 charge and shoot, but never doubled/trebled attacks and couldn’t hold objectives

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