Billyjoeray reporting to the Dropzone with some more list building advice! This time I would like to talk about assigning units to battlegroups.
Number of Battlegroups:
First off, you should always aim to have the maximum amount of battelgroups allowed for your game size. This means that you will always have the maximum number of activations available and this will give you the most options when in a game.
If you have the maximum number of battlegroups, the chances of you running into a scenario where you are forced to activate something before it is “ready” is much smaller. Whereas, if you have less battlegroups than your opponent, they can take advantage of having more activations to force you to activate your units before they do. This can allow them to hide until they are ready to force you into a trap. There are essentially no downsides to having more activations in a turn, so it is really a severe disadvantage to have less than the maximum number of BGs.
While there are some obvious unit restrictions built into battlegroups based on what units are mandatory for each particular battlegroup and what additional slots that group offers, how you assign those “other” units to the battlegroups can be extremely important. How you organize your battlegroups will dictate how you are able to make decisions and react to your opponents when you are playing the game.
Battlegroup composition is an incredibly important factor when you’re deciding which group to activate. When assigning units to a battlegroup during list creation, the first thing you need to ask yourself is, “What is the battlefield role I want this group to fill?”. If you have a battlegroup that is mostly anti-tank, you might want to add support units that are also anti-tank to that group. This will make the group specialized for a particular role, in this case the AT role. The last thing you want to do is have a battlegroup composed of units that have very different roles, because you may be forced to activate that group in order to take advantage of only one part of the battlegroup, and not have a viable use for the other portions because they were activated prematurely.
For example, if you have a unit of AT and a unit of AA in the same battlegroup and they are not meant to compliment each other (i.e. the AA isn’t to provide an AA bubble for the AT), then you may be forced to activate the AA to attack a dropship that will move out of striking distance before your AT component has a decent target.
The second really important question to ask yourself is, “When do I anticipate activating this unit?” Units that are going to move and fight together should be in the same battlegroup if possible because they go at the same pace. Aggressive units should be grouped with other aggressive units and defensive units should be grouped with other defensive units. Such as, having the AA which is providing an “AA bubble” for your advancing AT squads in the same group as those squads.
Another way of utilizing good battlegroup composition is to put units with the same pacing in the same battlegroups. For example, if you have a battlegroup composed of troops that you aim to use mainly for searching for objectives, you may consider putting another slow paced/defensive style unit into the same group. A good complementary unit for an infantry battle group is AA that you intend to use for reaction fire. The reasoning behind this is that once they are in position, it isn’t as important when the AA activates on your turn, since they are able to fire out of sequence when they reaction fire. This allows you to activate your infantry whenever you need to because you don’t have to worry about wasting the potential of the AA, since they will be utilizing reaction fire anyway. It also lets you activate this group early in the turn, without doing very much, in order to force your opponent to activate their units and potentially move out of position first.
Although, this generalized list building strategy is not always feasible, especially for units that occupy the support slot, which in many armies, can be the most impacted of all slots. In this case, it may pay off to add those units to a battlegroup where the mandatory unit does not play an aggressive or especially active role, such as an infantry group, or a command group for some factions. In these two cases, the mandatory unit takes a back seat to the support unit, which you can activate when you need it and not have to worry about whether the mandatory unit’s activation has been wasted, since it has intangible elements to its battlefield role.
An example of this is the Ferrum, which is a very powerful unit that has a lot of versatility with its drones. Adding this unit to an Infantry battlegroup allows you to activate the Ferrum when you need it without having to worry if your other units aren’t going to be able to “do their job” since infantry can search for an objective pretty much any time during your turn.
If you think about these questions they will help you form battlegroups that will let you make efficient decisions when playing the game. It also leaves you less likely to be in a situation where you are forced to move something out of position because of the fact that it was “stuck” in battlegroup you had to activate for a different reason. While these suggestions can be useful, they are not absolute, and there are some circumstances where you may be forced to group units in ways that you did not want. In these cases, the best thing to do is to be mindful of this weakness try and position your units on the board to mitigate it.