The Germans: A Tactical Guide
If the British represent a by-gone age of heroic warfare, the Germans in Infamy, Infamy! are the embodiment of Rome’s worst nightmare. Wild, untamed, brutal and coming to get you! The Germanic tribes were the product of an extraordinarily harsh existence; living as they did in a wilderness that had barely been touched by man’s hand and in tribal groups that were perpetually at war with each other as they competed for what minimal natural resources the land could provide.
The Germans are poor, with a very small military elite that are ill-equipped due to lack of resources and the absence of a manufacturing capability that could provide the metal armour and weapons enjoyed elsewhere. As a result, even their warrior elite are still dressed in hides and rudimentary armour taken from their foes. However, primitive as they appear, they are a people who have through necessity had to fight to survive and are a tough opponent as a result. It would be fair to say that as Barbarians go, the Germans are the BIG Barbarians.
As with the Britons, a player fielding Germans needs to play to their strengths and skills. Unlike the Britons, the lack of armour and chariots means that they lack, at first glance at least, a fast, hard hitting core to their army. However, do not despair. The ability to ambush and to generate, and attack with, Fervour can give them an edge over their Roman opponent and actually makes them a great force to start playing Infamy, Infamy! with as they oblige you to focus on the key Barbarian traits. What’s more, and this is ABSOLUTELY KEY, the woods and forests of Germania, as generated by the terrain generation system, provide them with a much tougher battlefield for the Romans to fight on. Placing terrain is such a way that breaks up the table and channels the Romans down narrow paths where they cannot form a solid line of battle will give you a greater opportunity to ambush and a greater opportunity to use terrain to dominate the ground. Arminius did precisely this when he defeated Publius Quinctilius Varus and his three Legions in AD 9 and you should look to his example to find the key to German success.
More so that the Britons, Ambushing is the Germans greatest tool. Even areas of marsh can hold large Mobs when support options such as Arminius’ Wall are chosen. Seemingly dense forests are penetrable when the Secret Way is used. Do not overlook these options as the Romans will be very keen indeed to manoeuvre with their flanks protected by dense terrain. A well-timed ambush through what appeared to be heavy terrain can be devastating, especially if that results in hitting a flank.
More than. for any other force, Fervour is key for the Germans as not only is it an antidote to Shock, it is the means that the largely foot army of Germans can move with enhanced speed. This will be far more likely to reap dividends than trying to rely on Foot Cavalry operating with Germanic Cavalry as whilst their mobility is impressive, they are not likely to be present in sufficient numbers to move large bodies of Warriors rapidly. As a result, building up Fervour to the highest possible level will be key for the Germans who will find it important to ensure that they are the ones launching the charge to contact rather than receiving a charge from the Romans.
As with the Britons, the ability to attack and have the first four, five or six points of Shock inflicted on you cancelled out by Fervour can be a huge advantage, especially if you can cause a similar number of points of Shock on your opponent. As we said yesterday, the Romans will start losing combat dice after two points of Shock, potentially, if your Group begins with 6 Fervour, they will only begin losing combat dice after a very significant eight points of Shock have been inflicted.
Selecting Your Force
The Germans need to compensate for their lack of quality with quantity and the ability to deliver a hard punch. Focus on Warriors but seek out Fanatics as a means to land an early blow before your main body makes contact. The terrain should give you lots of opportunity to launch an ambush from relatively close quarters. Preceding this with a Group that can ambush with a full six points of Fervour and that will fight to the death to cause maximum damage will greatly enhance the chance of an immediate follow up attack with a strong Mob breaking a Roman Formation
Slingers are always good as they can negate the strongest armour but javelin armed skirmishers are also good at frustrating the enemy by getting in their faces and evading away when chased. If you can break up a coherent Roman advance by drawing out some of their troops to make impetuous attacks, then sacrificing a low value skirmisher Group to do so is a good return on investment, especially if they chip off the odd Legionary as well.
German cavalry is relatively slow due to poor mounts (they can’t Step Out), but they are aggressive and can operate with Foot Cavalry. If you have the choice of two support options the same, a couple of these can give some surprising mobility to some of our Warriors and the cavalry are more than capable of preparing the way with a charge of their own.
When deploying onto the table, the Germans should not be afraid to lure the Romans into a landscape heavy with terrain. Refusing to deploy until your opponent is deep into your territory will allow the enemy time to make errors and straggling units to emerge due to the card activation system making it likely that not all Groups activate every turn. The Romans can, of course, play their Signa Cards to try to ensure a more co-ordinated advance, but that means they may not have them available at that critical moment when you decide to launch your attack. Choose your moment with care and don’t be afraid to snap up small, isolated enemy Groups, especially if they try to shut down Ambush Points and are isolated when doing so. The more you can nibble at the edges of the enemy force, hopefully getting some small wins in this way, they more you tip the scales in your favour.
In the following image we see a Roman force drawn up in what we described as their ideal formation. But the terrain here is much denser. That force simply cannot continue it’s advance in that neat fashion. Some Groups or Formations will be obliged to take the lead, others will have to follow. What is more, the troops following will find it difficult to rush to support other being attacked as the heavy terrain will slow them down. This is why selecting some light or allied troops is so important for the Romans and that is also why it is critical that you try to dispose of them before taking on the Legion, if you can.
Choose your time with care. If you are not ambushing then you’ll need two or three turns to get your fervour up to a good level. Remember that controlled movement is best used up to the moment that you send the attack in. Whilst you can stream across the table very rapidly in an Uncontrolled Mob, if the enemy attacks you he can well hit your Mob piecemeal rather than as a body where the Groups can offer mutual support. If you need to reform a Mob that has moved in an Uncontrolled manner, you can’t simply move back into contact in order to reform, you need the Leader to issue a ‘To Me!” Command and that takes time and saps Fervour. Moving as a Controlled Mob should still be rapid enough if you have built up enough Fervour, so save Uncontrolled movement for the final pell-mell charge to contact if you possibly can.
Missile troops are a good way to chip away at the Romans if you have space. Just reducing a Group of Legionaries by one man is a major win as this reduces the level at which Shock will take effect. As we have seen before, Shock is relatively easily rallied by the Romans, but if your missile troops can oblige them to burn a Signa Card or two this will reduce their tactical nimbleness, even if only temporarily. Using your missile troops to get the Romans to put their shields up just before making an attack with Warriors will at least burn a Signa Card. Seek out small tactical wins like this to sap your opponent’s command and control superiority.
Fervour provides a huge advantage at the start of any Close Combat, but it is fleeting and burns out fairly rapidly. Once Fervour burns off, your Groups are at a huge disadvantage due to their lack of armour, so don’t be tempted to slug it out. Use the Barbarian Command to ‘Push Up’ fresh Groups early and then use the Break Contact order to disengage and rally back as soon as Fervour disappears. If you have Wailing Women serving as a Rallying Point this will allow you to hang in the fight for a little longer but be sure to have other Groups ready to feed in. Note here: Wailing Women should remove two points of Shock from each Group when you fall back on them. That is one for the Errata I’m afraid. That’s good news for you!
Your German Warlord is the Bravest of the Brave, see the special characteristics, so he will be in the front rank of any fight. Use his Warlord ability wisely to maximise your combat dice BUT remember that your lack of armour will make him taking a hit more likely.
With the Roman ability to strip off Shock relatively quickly, it is critical that German force gives them no respite but keep constant pressure on the enemy. With the German emphasis on foot Warriors as their main strike they are well advised to try to isolate one part of the enemy force and overwhelm that. Even better, deal with any Roman light or cavalry Groups first and allow your force to focus on the main enemy body. If you can get two mobs operating as two fists, hitting first with the left and then the right, the Romans will be hard pressed to withstand the pressure. Your ten-man Groups give you the ability to take some damage whilst remaining above that 50% strength mark, something you need to keep your eye on as well as the levels of Fervour and Shock.
In short, the Germans need to use the terrain to their advantage; harass the enemy to encourage them to make errors and over-commit their supports. If the enemy force can be broken down with each part attacked in detail the Germans can overwhelm the enemy with a series of hard hitting attacks that break off only to rally again and attack full of Fervour. Keep rallying back and then keep coming on again with renewed Fervour.