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Conga lines: why would you avoid using them? 

Are conga lines acceptable?
Sure! Rules allow it. If it fits your playstyle, fine! 16%  16%  [ 7 ]
It's exploiting RAW. I'd avoid, but I won't object my opponent playing that. 14%  14%  [ 6 ]
Not in the spirit of the game. Avoid. Tell it to anyone who is tempted to use it. 32%  32%  [ 14 ]
Cheap. If my opponent did, I'd never play him again. 5%  5%  [ 2 ]
Extreme RAW. To be used only in WAAC games / tourneys. 18%  18%  [ 8 ]
Rule abuse. That's a loophole only abused by rule lawyers. I hate them and they'll see it. 14%  14%  [ 6 ]
That's cheating. It deserves a kick in the face. 2%  2%  [ 1 ]
Total votes : 44

Conga lines: why would you avoid using them? 
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Corsair
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A rule question raised ethical answers: Characters and conga lines, which were once dealt with in another thread: Ethics in army lists and tactics.

Here, I'd like to discuss about the conga line, which raises various comments.
The quotes below indicate several nuances from "acceptable" to "cheating".
Rabidnid wrote:
Conga lines? why not?
Blaqkheart wrote:
I play evil races. I do evil things.
EbonyPhoenix wrote:
I haven't and won't use the conga line, but I see no problem with arranging my units to different widths based upon roles. 2-3 wide for mage hunters, 3-5 wide for flankers, or 7-wide for front or rear all seems valid tactics to me.
Il Maestro wrote:
Personally, I think sometimes people use the 'cheap', 'powergamer' and 'cheese' nametags to justify to themselves why it is that they were not able to win. (...) I think the best way to approach anyone who plays hard lists or uses loopholes in the rules is to consider it as a challenge to overcome.
Dangerous Beans wrote:
Narrower units? I think having a unit thats 4 models wide is still fine. In 6th edition this was common place - I have no issue with that. Conga lines are reserved for cheesy tournament play in the extreme. How anyone can go about justifying a black guard congo line with any kind of rational thinking needs to be shot.
Bitterman wrote:
BG conga line? No. Stupid. Makes no sense and the "real" BG wouldn't do it.
masamune wrote:
In terms of the conga line formation, I just wouldn't do it as, while legal in RAW, it's not in the spirit of the game.
[LLCT]Kain wrote:
conga -> definitly (IMO) not in the intend of the game. But I would consider this not as cheese. It is rule abuse.
Thanee wrote:
Conga lines are the single biggest rules abuse in the game. Right after outright cheating. ;)
You should not rely on them ever.
A Dreadlord with Crown of Command added into the mix can do the same.
Mr. Anderson wrote:
On the topic of conga lines, I think they are so close to cheating that in fact they are cheating. ...help you out with proper tactics, not rule abuse.



My opinion:

1. It is NOT cheating.
Nothing in the rules prevent it.


2. It is NOT a rule abuse:
Sure, it brings you an advantage of having less models in contact, in order:
- to have less hits on your unit (therefore survive longer, especially if stubborn)
- to force all the hits to be aimed at the model you choose rather than the R&F (your model in contact being "unkillable"). Even more effective if the single model in contact issues a challenge.

But it has several drawbacks:
- you hit less yourself (1 model on your side, 3 models on the opposing side).
- you forfeit any possibility to become steadfast
- you have no rank bonus
- your flank is immense
- your army has more difficulty to maneuvre
- you pay for many models, only one can fight.

IMO, it is rather a trade-off than an abuse.
I suppose that the people telling it is an abuse only see the advantage (deemed unfair) while not taking the drawback.
Indeed, it has such disadvantages that it is tactically sound only if one of the following conditions are met:
- the unit is naturally stubborn (BG, Shades/harpies in woods, unit with the crown)
- the front model is unkillable (PoK master)
- the front model cannot be removed (muso/pennant) in case there is a vulnerable character in the 2nd rank.
Of course, the advantage you get (the speed bump) must be justified by the cost.


3. It is no more cheap than other acceptable tricks.
Why would anyone consider that paying many pts for a mere speed bumper is cheap,
while it would be OK to field the Dreadlord “lone guardian build” (Cold One, Full Mundane Armour, Sword of Might, Dragonhelm, PoK, Crown of Command) which has more or less the same effects?


4. It can be justified by the fluff:
- 5 BG telling you: "Nooooone shall pass" (recall Monthy Python's BG).
- 10 BG bodyguarding a high sorceress. The sorceress stays in the 2nd rank while the valiant BG do nothing but boyguarding her, one at a time, until the last one dies.

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Last edited by Calisson on Sun Oct 03, 2010 8:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Sun Oct 03, 2010 4:21 pm
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2 units of 50 zombies 1 model wide, reraising... yippee. 10 trollslayers including 4 giantslayers 1 wide, a new giantslayer steps up and challenges every turn... hammerers withe a defensive thane/lord in front... The fact that noone does it to you doesn't bother you?

This is not 'flying high/airplane' with everyone lining up to slap the hysterical lady. Battles are fought by units engaging each other, not lining up and waiting their turn.

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Sun Oct 03, 2010 6:51 pm
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Hi there,

I've been thinking about all this conga line stuff and i've come to the following conclusion:

-It is not a very extended "tactic" and it will probably come as a surprise to many opponents. As they didn't expect it, it will probably hurt a lot and the user will be considered a cheap tactician, rule abuser and all that.

-When it comes to fluff, it makes perfect sense. I came to this conclusion a few minutes ago, while searching for a book in my library and noticed a certain novel. Title is "Trafalgar" and it is a realistic-historical novel about the epic battle between the British Navy commanded by Admiral Nelson and the Spanish-French Navy commanded by Admiral Villeneuve near the spanish coasts of Cádiz.

Admiral Nelson's tactic was to reform his line into a "conga line" (surprise) headed by Flagship Victory (strongest warship) and head for the centre of the combined navy to fight them one on one, avoiding the overwhelming outnumber factor of the combined spanish/french navy.

So, i must reject the point of "it is against the spirit of the game" as it is very similar to a tactic that has been used in History SO many times by succesful tacticians such as Admiral Nelson. Conga lines are not game breaking on their own: they can be easily flank charged and are very hard maneouver. On the other hand we've got real examples of this tactic being successful throughout History so, why on earth not using them?

Who dares call it a cheap tactic?. Some claim that it's a no brainer, cheap tactic for mindless generals. I can't find it cheaper than charging in a unit's flank/rear, which is far more of a no brainer choice than creating stubborn units commanded by superdefensive characters to hold their ground against overpowered foes.

So, after having meditated about this for some hours and discussing it with my regular opponents, i've come to the conclusion that conga lines are not cheap, rule abuse, mindless, etc...and will become my main tactic alongside with Dreadlords against superuber units my opponents may bring into the battlefield.


See ya.


Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:20 pm
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Actually, I'm more interested by the comments than by the poll. Thank you all participants anyway, it shows that opinions are widespread.


1. Discussion: why is one tactics considered cheap when a similar tactics is considered honourable?

1.1. There is a tactics which consists in taking a stubborn small unit, in order to delay the large opposing über-unit, while you take care of the rest of the army.
When it is done with a dreadlord with PoK and crown on a Peggy, challenging all the time, it is considered OK.
This is an actual, honourable tactics, as far as I know.
When it is done with 10 BG in a conga line, the result is the same (with a higher likelihood of the BG being killed), but some of the same people who accept the lord consider now this is cheap. Why?

1.2. There is a tactics consisting in taking a very large unit, which becomes very difficult to kill in the course of a whole battle.
This is considered honourable.
But if you use a very long unit, which is similarly difficult to kill (with a front charge) to the last man, the same people who accept the large unit consider that it is cheap. Why?

1.3. The Bretonnians place their damzels all the time in the second rank of their units, where you cannot get after them, and nobody complains. Why would a non-Bret player be criticized for placing a sorceress in the second rank of his unit, especially if, in the process (contrary to Brets), he makes his unit much less dangerous and forfeits all rank bonuses?


2. Replies and further discussion.
sulla wrote:
2 units of 50 zombies 1 model wide, reraising... yippee. 10 trollslayers including 4 giantslayers 1 wide, a new giantslayer steps up and challenges every turn... hammerers withe a defensive thane/lord in front... The fact that noone does it to you doesn't bother you?
- they may wish to keep their steadfast property and rank bonuses?
- they may not be stubborn?
- they may fear a flank attack?
- they were not deployed as a conga line, and rearranging the unit takes some time?
- possibly someone in their club told them that it was an abuse and they did not think about it anymore?
- possibly they did not realize that it is an option?
All these arguments are valid for D.netters as well, and it explains why I have not tried it yet.
The conga line is not an obvious tactics, and it does take some thoughts to make it work. It is not an autoplay tactics.

sulla wrote:
This is not 'flying high/airplane' with everyone lining up to slap the hysterical lady. Battles are fought by units engaging each other, not lining up and waiting their turn.
- When you face an über-unit-o-doom, you may wish that they were alternative to engaging frontally that über-unit. The conga line offers you one, just like the unkillable stubborn dreadlord. It's not better nor worse.
- The conga line is also one possibility to put more units in a melee:
consider that you have a large Exec fighty unit plus a small unit of corsairs. If you engage both, there is a rule forcing you to divide evenly the models in contact with the opponent.
Is the only alternative
- to remove half of the Execs in order to put as many corsairs in contact,
- or not to engage any corsair?
The conga line allows you to get a single corsair in melee and do the real fighting with the real fighters, getting only 1 less Exec in contact.

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Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:54 pm
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Never faced or used a conga line, my gut tells me this is because they are an extremely poor formation against any army with a mix of combat, shooting and magic. Abundance of sniping spells mean characters are not safe in them and unbreakable/stubborn troops are usually low T or low armour save.
So I really don't have a problem with them existing.

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Sun Oct 03, 2010 8:38 pm
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To be honest I wouldn't object to them on the grounds of 'cheating' but rather that it simply looks stupid on the tabletop. The example that PjEO gave was naval, it looks slightly more plausible in the form of ships rather than a battalion of men in a conga line.

Game wise I think it's easily countered enough either with mulitple flank charges or sending in your own cheap horde . If they try to charge one of your good units simply flee.

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Sun Oct 03, 2010 8:51 pm
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I wouldn't do it myself on the grounds that it doesn't look good (pretty bad reason) and it doesn't make sense, I mean think about it, no one would try that formation in reality because the enemy wouldn't just stand there and kill the first man before moving on, they would charge forwards and engage the whole unit who are then in a mob. As for Nelson remember that a ship is very different from a man, it consists of hundreds of men and scores of cannons not to mention weighing in the tonnes not pounds.

On the other hand if someone wants to use it then let them go ahead, it's not as if they are invulnerable and they can be broken just like everyone else, if someone uses a tactic that is effective then it is up to me to find an effective way to destroy it or turn it to my advantage.

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Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:12 pm
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I'll illustrate the discussions with possible uses of conga lines (for DE).
You'll see that there are some expected tactical benefits.
Of course, it is not an autoplay like an über unit.
You'll see that the benefit comes to a cost and is not that difficult to counter. It is just one more difficulty for the opponent.

1. Adding slavery rule to an elite main unit.
A large unit does the real fighting.
Could be Execs, COK, hydra, whatever it takes to be on the winning side.
In case the opponent looses, he may escape and, by doing so, deny VPs.
If you can squeeze a unit of corsairs into the fighting, then you can make him reroll the flee dice.
Trouble is that corsairs (except SSS AHW) are not quite as fighting as elite troops. Especially RHB corsairs.
The conga line idea is that inserting a single corsair to the contact line allows only a single elite troop to be removed from the melee, so you remain on the winning side.

2. Getting SCR bonuses without loosing too many ACR.
Your unit of harpies could rear-charge in order to get the +3SCR bonus.
Problem: 5 harpies will be hit by 7 opposing infantry.
In order to mitigate that, you put them in a conga line when you set them for the charge. When you charge, only 1 harpy gets in contact, where it will be hit by 3 infantry, not loosing the whole benefit from rear charging (and less risking the whole unit being wiped out, loosing 5ACR and getting 0 SCR).
In this case, the harpies can only be a complement to a melee in which you have already a large unit (otherwise the harpies will autoloose to the rank bonus & banners).

3. Speed bumper / tar pits.
We all know the "unkillable" PoK crown dreadlord trick: he charges the main opposing unit, challenges all the time, and pins it for the whole game.
Problem is that there is only one crown.
BG can provide more stubborn units (or Execs/WE within COB reach).
A unit of 7-8 BG can delay a large über-unit for 2-3 turns of melee (all the more that it includes a champ).
You can take 3 of such BG units.
Of course, they would be more killy in a wide formation, but they would be quickly wiped out. The idea of the conga line is that you rather want them to delay the ennemy than to kill a part of it (an be killed) quickly.
Meanwhile, you take care of the rest of the army (with magic, shooting or melee), or you get in position for a flank charge.
That could work against Brets, in particular.

4. Sorceress shelter.
Sorceresses are not meant to fight.
If ever they get into a melee, they are quickly dead.
In order to maintain them alive longer, a conga line (or the 2 lines variant) will put the command group in the front, and the sorceress will stay in the 2nd rank.
The FF allows her to cast as if she was not in melee.
Practically, it is just like if the sorceress had more wounds.
Of course, the sorceress can still be killed by the usual snipes, no more no less than if she was in a larger, 5 wide unit.
The conga line is there only to prevent an early kill in melee, that's all.
You need a rescue unit anyway.

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Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:46 pm
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Hi there,


As i see it now, it is perfectly right to pay for a stubborn unit to have it do just that: being stubborn. Then, you add a very defensive character to absorb damage and therefore boost your unit's stubborness. That seems to me like a perfectly right tactic.

I set an example by writing about Admiral Nelson's famous line cut. It's a naval example and it is true that reaction times in naval battles are a lot higher, but it illustrates that the simple idea of "conga line" is not to be called a cheap tactic for free.

As for warhammer combats, some state that having a 5 man wide unit combat a conga line is just stupid because only three models get to hit the conga while the rest of them looks around. Once again this can't be a valid point. When you have a horde formation (10 wide) fighting a 5 man wide unit you also have models not taking part in the combat, just looking around and that seems plain right for everybody. Furthermore, a single model (a Dreadlord) may be fighting on his own a whole unit and only a few models get to hit him, no complaints.

If these cases are considered all right, i can't make a point against conga lines.

My conclusion:

I'm truly honest when i say i am becoming more and more convinced about congas. Within warhammer context, i'm still to find some valid point against congas. Any ideas?


Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:53 pm
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PjEOs wrote:
Admiral Nelson's tactic was to reform his line into a "conga line" (surprise) headed by Flagship Victory (strongest warship) and head for the centre of the combined navy to fight them one on one, avoiding the overwhelming outnumber factor of the combined spanish/french navy.


You are talking about ships here...

People are a weee bit more maneuverable than ships. ;)


Keeping the majority of a unit out of the combat that way simply makes no sense. It already happens in some cases as you noticed (fighting hordes, or single models), but the difference is, that conga lines artificially enforce such a situation. And that is the part, where it becomes rules-abusive.

Bye
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Sun Oct 03, 2010 10:05 pm
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On the topic of nelson using it - what Thanee said certainly is true.
Also keep in mind that naval tactics are so different from infantry tactics that a comparison is completely out of order.

For infantry an exposed flank (which is what will hit you first thing when you see a conga line) is a grave weakness. A ship, on the other hand has the strongest armour on the sides (the technical term for the side of a ship escapes me), and the most cannons. Using them in any other way is wasting a lot of potential. Ships usually only had a few cannons up front or in the rear, and dozens, if not hundreds on the sides.

The only thing that naval combat and land warfare have in common is that what ends up winning a battle is using more force than your opponent has to overpower one flank, or focusing more firepower on one ship than it can take, by engaging it either with a superior ship in terms of the number of cannons and skill of the crew, or by engaging it with more than one ship.

Conga lines for infantry have been used, in a fashion during the napoleonic age because they are very easy to maneouver, and many unit leaders would simply proceed to charge using that formation instead of trying to form a "Proper" line of infantry to engage in a firefight which was difficult for a multitude of reasons, terrain being the most prominent of those.

EDIT - conga lines is probably a misleading term here. The columns were still several men wide, so marching column is more appropriate a term to use.

However, in warhammer it is completely different. Über units aren't the most tactical gameplay either (I don't object to the use of those, though - that would go a bit far, and be hypocritical as even I like to use them, like cold one knights with hydra banner or some such), but using conga lines to beat them is a step lower than that, and it properly qualifies for the term unimaginative to the extreme. There is almost always a way around that (in case of the war altars blessing one unit - why not kill the war altars first, then combo-charge the unit?).

It is also a waste - you need stubborn troops which are expensive, and our stubborn troops happen to have rather a lot of hitting power, too; forming them up as a conga line would not let you use that hitting power. Adding to that is that a conga line looks wrong visually (20 elite soldiers trudging along in line like preschool children? come on... maybe they should also be holding hands so no one gets out of line, and sing).

I disagree with Calisson that it is not rule abusive - there are certain loopholes (and this is one of them, in a fashion) and exploiting them is abusing the rules - not breaking them, mind you (so technically it's not cheating) but so close that I am tempted to call it cheating nontheless seeing as it appears that it is obiously not intended to be permitted by the rules, but seeing as GW is great at keeping its intentions a mystery, I'd rather not discuss the intentions so I won't call it cheating, after all.

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Last edited by Mr. anderson on Mon Oct 04, 2010 3:26 am, edited 1 time in total.



Sun Oct 03, 2010 10:41 pm
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My main problem with a Conga line is that it simply does not work.

The rest of the guys you are fighting simply press around the leader, surround him on three sides, and gank him with the real-life equivalent of 5 or more attacks on one guy. The guys behind him in the conga line are getting hit by two guys on each side, which is pretty much impossible to defend against.

So you wind up with this sorta thing: (x-attackers, c-conga line, C is whoever the conga line was set up to protect).

xxx
xxx
xcx
xCx
xcx
xcx
_c_
_c_

...unles there are strong immediate threats within, say, 3 inches or so of the conga line.

And given that Conga lines are usually done to keep a character (either BSB or caster) out of combat... yeah.

So... it's using the letter of the letter of the rules to violate the spirit of the rules (simulating high medeival/fantasy comabt).


Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:56 am
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None of the above. I have seen only one army that was effective in using this and this was 2 editions ago with Lizarmen and skinks. That was viable then with rules towards LOS, skirmishing, redirecting, front rank only attacks etc etc. This will not translate into 8th edition also because of the rules above. It will shock any opponent it goes up against but that is all it will do. Any player who has a decent number of games would realize how terribly fragile and futile this is and simply charge the weakest part of the line. Remember that if for any reason that a unit is no longer in contact with an enemy model it will count all his wounds dealt etc etc but will be considered for all purposes be out of combat and thus move and act freely after.

The conga line will not be a speed bump..IT WILL be an accelerant. Your idea is to create a long line to slow him down, what ever unit you use be it Harpies, BG etc etc with a stubborn Lord, it will get multicharged by any player that isn't a retard. you can probably hold one unit in place for a turn at most(I even doubt that) and just hand him free points and better positioning. Remember that you can now execute a combat reform and thus face, add or subtract ranks after a combat has ensued regardless if you lose or not. One more point, You want to keep this unit as cheap as possible being a speed bump. Cheap = not resilient. With spells and shooting, this unit can be caused to panic and if in the wrong position cause panic across your lines. The removal of unit strength means that even a single model can cause panic to your units and thus another reason why suicide squads are retarded.

Honestly speaking a Dreadlord is 140 points plus Crown of Command at 35 plus points for mundane armor at what nots. Are you really telling me you are going to commit him to mere "speed bumping"? If you place the line too close he can overrun into your units, put his unit way too far and he will be away from the BSB and shoot your own army in the leg for wasting his Ld 10.

I will repeat hopefully for the last time. DE is NOT a horde army and thus should not use tactics that are reserved for armies that can use them. We do not have the numbers, we do not have cheap expendable units and we by no means should throw our troops to die unless the situation calls for it. Even our 7 point spears or 11 point Harpies are too expensive for pulling any one of these tricks. Hell not even empire can do this. If people prefer and argue that this is even remotely possible then maybe DE is not for them. I don't know where people are getting all these SUICIDE SQUAD ideas.

As for the naval battle thing, this applies on ships and armors, not infantry. An example of which would be an Imperial Guard armor heavy list which deploys in a spearhead formation. Having tougher armor on the sides, you cannot flank this formation easily and thus move and shoot at you in a lined formation. 8th edition already implement such an idea with shoot in 2 ranks rule which was used by Chinese crossbowmen. For people looking for tactics that are viable for Dark Elves, put this in mind. The closest semblance to the fighting methods for DE are the tactics employed by ancient asian and middle eastern countries. Notice how we have spears which were used to compensate for the height disadvantage of asians and how it's reach takes away the advantage of swords and cavalry. Notice how we have lots fast cavalry and scouting, skirmish like units. Notice how we use elite troops that use two handed weapons. Notice how we have effective magic users and mystical beasts and scour the seas. Our army is specialized and elite. We do not use cannon fodder units. We are not Orcs...

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Mon Oct 04, 2010 3:07 am
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Nice to see that we can make a calm discussion about this issue! :D
I wondered if the topic would heat up too much. It doesn't, despite having completely opposite advices. Good point for the maturity of D.netters!



About comparison with naval warfare:
The idea at the time for concentrating fire (done mostly from the flank of the ships) was to make a T with the two opposing formations. With the foe being the vertical part of the T and our fleet being the horizontal part of the T.
In that case, the head of the foes's conga line would receive cannonshots from several of our ship's sides, while we would receive hardly any damage.
Not sure how it applies here.
Anyway, historical examples are not always relevant to explain the best way to use Pegasus or magic...

I would have expected another comparison:
Spartean "300" holding ground facing the Persian hordes.
Very small frontage, when one Spartean falls, the next one steps in.
Stubborn Conga lines just do that, the difference is that it is not the terrain which prevents hordes to overwhelm the small unit, but the hord's formation itself.

A more recent example in history is the progression of infantry in an insecured terrain (think about WWII or Vietnam movies). You'd see long stretched lines of infantry, progresssing slowly, so that when getting ambushed, only a few casualties would be made at a time, allowing reinforcement to come to rescue.
This is probably a more pertinent comparison to how conga lines are supposed to work - if any such comparison is required.


As Thanee says,

conga lines artificially enforce keeping the majority of a unit out of the combat.
For a reason which escapes me, he considers it rules-abusive when done by 5 models, while it is perfectly acceptable when done by a single model (unkillable lord) holding a horde.

About that formation making sense or not, well, the sense was explained: to enhance the survival of the unit in a melee.
Compare how long will last a unit of 7 BG, all in contact with a horde of goblins, and how long will the same unit last if a single BG is in contact?


With Mr. Anderson,

I agree that one of the main risks for conga lines is to be flank charged.
Answering über-unit with conga lines is called unimaginative. Well, when everything else has failed... (see PjEOs's thread, referenced in the first post). Not everyone is a tactical genius, not everyone has the availability of the required troops. Killing a war altar is easier said than done, sometimes having a conga line providing a delay is what it takes.

It is a waste of hitting power, that is true.
What about sacrificial spearmen? Aren't they a waste?
Sometimes, we need only one property of a troop (stubborn) and it can be accepted to pay the price for that and not use other properties of the same troop.

It looks weird, that is true.

About RAI or the so called "spirit of the rules", I agree that the wisdom is not to discuss them! ;)


@ Vulcan
What you describe cannot be achieved by a single unit.
Agree that a conga line can be easily flank-charged, but the opponent needs 3 units to do what you draw.

This is why a more elaborate tactics is to use double-lines.
Two such units can cover each other, providing a shelter for two characters. I described it here => Making a dirty, rule-abusing army.

About simulating high medeival/fantasy combat, where have you ever seen that a sorcerer has to go in the front line of a combat? (OK, Gandalf is a good fighter with a sword. But where else?).


Ichiyo1821
the discussion is interesting: speed accelerator or speed bumper?
It may depend on the army you face.
It will get multicharged by any player that isn't a retard... and has the light troops available for that (not that common a sight in the 8th edition).

About sacrificial troops, I agree that it is easier done with cheap troops, however, we don't have them.
Does it make sacrifice irrelevant? Not necessarily, there might be some cases when the sacrifice brings some superior advantages.
I provided in my previous post some examples.
I don't pretend that it works all the time, but I think that in some common situations, it should provide a benefit.




Keep discussing, guys/girls!

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Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:51 am
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Rending Star
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Calisson wrote:
For a reason which escapes me, he considers it rules-abusive when done by 5 models, while it is perfectly acceptable when done by a single model (unkillable lord) holding a horde.


The one is cowardly, the other heroic, so to say.

It's not exactly the reason, but it's close enough. :)

Bye
Thanee


Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:21 am
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Dark Illusionist
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Quote:
Spartean "300" holding ground facing the Persian hordes.


This situation is entirely different, though. The persion hordes weren't an Über-unit - they were rather unskilled troops, especially compared with the spartan elite soldiers. Adding to that is that they held a bottleneck where their flanks weren't vulnerable to attack (or so they thought, until they were flanked anyway).

One might say that the conga line tactic is actually the exact opposite - you are facing (relatively) low numbers, your flank is entirely exposed and very vulnerable, and compared to what you are facing, your unit is rather crappy (even black guard aren't much compared to chaos chosen), so you're using a bunch of rabble in a thin line out in the open to hold against a small elite force, and that sort of doesn't work in my mind - the elites would not just stand there hitting thin air, they would be all over you.

As Calisson pointed out - real world tactics have almost nothing to do with warhammer, so trying to justify any warhammer tactic by using real world precedence is sort of :roll:
Also in real warfare, the only thing that matters is winning - as some people pointed out, the americans used cheesy tactics (in other words didn't adhere to what was accepted as the norm at the time) when fighting against the british for independence. For starters, they'd have lost the war then and there if their battle lines had stood up to the british in a traditional firefight (that's just what happens when milita fights professional soldiers on the terms of the latter).

But again - this isn't real life, and the objective is not to win at all chances because your freedom isn't at stake. You're there to have fun, and tactics that clearly rob your opponent of the fun in the game are sort of meh... unless they throw the first punch. But it is a thin line and everyone draws it someplace different, so really what you have to do is figure out what everyone generally accepts as being within reason, and what isn't.

I don't use sacrificial spearmen, by the way - so I'm not being hypocritical. An elite army, as we still are shouldn't (in my mind) have to use sacrificial units - that doesn't prevent acceptance of inevitable losses in combat, though, when there's fighting, people die).

As to everything else failing - that is the point - it hasn't. What about killing the war altars? What about using maneouverability to avoid combat with that unit, what about magic, what about combo-charges?

The 48 grave guard unit with all the trimmings is indeed a horrible thing to fight, but then I wouldn't play that person ever again, and most people I know still field an army rather than a sledgehammer and not much besides. In a tournament where a WAAC player brought such a unit instead of an army, I actually would encourage people to use conga lines against him and frustrate him until he gives that tactic up. But there's powerful units, and then there is over the top units - one is OK (every army needs something that gives opponents a headache or two) but if you have one deathstar and nothing besides, you've taken it too far.

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Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:31 am
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The reason I'd avoid a conga line is because it looks stupid on the tabletop.

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Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:46 am
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It's...ok in my opinion, provided there's a fair enough reason to it. Like the other day when there was the post about an unkillable DP master with black guards in a 2x(_) formation, I thought that was a pretty neat trick. You're paying more points for stubborn than the crown of command for starters, one that can be rid of and further limits the maneuverability of your DP master too.

As pointed out, conga lines have their drawbacks too, less attacks, no ranks and vulnerability to flanks where you probably will vanish. If it's just naked BGs for example, you're still losing BGs from wounds, not just the one at the front of the line. And you can tie up these conga lines with your own insubstantial unit. Though I've never fought a person who uses a congo line before, so I can't tell how I'd feel when one is thrown at me. But I think that so long as it's used and done within reason, it's acceptable.

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Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:02 am
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Hi there,

I do admit naval examples are not the most aproppriate examples after all. I do still believe Admiral Nelson's line cut shows that conga lines are far from being "cheap" tactics.

Also, off topic:

@Calisson:

You took it wrong. When trying to cut the opposing line, while it is true that the head of the conga will receive intense fire, that means not the conga line will fail. Most usually, the cutter was the strongest warship (Flagship). Flagships were usually able to make it to the enemy lines due to having more skilled/experienced crew and being tougher warships.

Comparing to DE conga lines, PoK Master would be the Flagship, he will take hits as he is the better prepared to do so.

Then, when the cutter made it to the enemy lines, he engaged nearby warships, drawing all attenttion and allowing friendly warships to get to combat without taking any serious looses. Eventually, the conga line focused on hitting the core of the enemy line and beating their warships one by one.

To sum it up, my point is that the mere concept of "conga line" is not to be called cheap tactic. It has proved to be a successful tactic to enter combat with advantage. Of course, when it comes to play Warhammer, we aren't using conga lines in that sense but the contrary: we want to avoid combat. But i'll say it again. Conga lines as such are not cheap. What we use them for makes them cheesy or not.

I'll provide a different scenario. We are Imperial players and are fighting DE. We fear their WE's Hatred so instead of charging them normally, we reform our GreatSwordsmen into a conga line, take the charge and only 3 WEs hit. Then, we reform r&f and start fighting WEs without Hatred and can, therefore, survive a few more rounds of combat. Can anyone call it a cheap tactic?.

Back to the topic:

Instead, we intend to use conga lines the other way round: to avoid combat as much as possible and i must agree that it may look pretty silly on the table. We may call it rules abuse in the sense that Thanee pointed: we are forcing a irrealistic situation making the most of the current rules. I can see this point but then, why is it not wrong to do the same with unkillable/stubborn characters? We should say here that the logical behaviour of the troops would be to flank him and hit him with the whole unit. Yet we see it as a great tactic to tarpit units. So i still see no real point against conga lines within warhammer context.

And now off topic again:

Some have pointed to the example of the Chosens, Altars and so on. Altars' blessings remain active when the Altars die, at least that's what my country's FaQs state. Still, killing Altars is not easy at all. If i can't pay for a brilliant tactician such as the unkillable/stubborn Dreadlord, i will at least use my BG to the most of their rules to stop such a superuber unit.

And back on topic again:

I've kept thinking about it. Specially about the Giantslayer's case and i've come to the conclusion that Conga lines are actually cheesy. I still can't see them as cheap tactic nor rules abusive bearing in mind the aforementioned points.

I will not use them as a main tactic, but as a "plan B" in case my opponent starts playing cheesy.

See ya


Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:44 am
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well, conga lines...

the only real use i see for them for DE are a small unit of BG with a DP mounted master, with no command at all in the BG.

that way you can make a 5 rank deep unit (first master, counting for 2 on a DP, then 3x2 BG).

most ppl wont even consider adding 6 BG without upgrades to their army, unless specifically for this, but i think 3 small BG units are a good choice anyday.

still, will i use the 'conga line' tactic when i have 2 hard to kill DP masters and 3 units of BG? not as my first option, but if there is indeed just one unit to fear, and its not tackable by normal means, then, well, why not?

I dont like deathstars, deathstars are a cheap tactic in my book, and anything i can field to make an opponent forget about deathstars and apply 'real' tactics, I will use.

conga lines add a certain vulnerability to your units to boltthrowers thou, but with small conga units, the flanks are not really exposed at all.


Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:43 pm
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Quote:
I will not use them as a main tactic, but as a "plan B" in case my opponent starts playing cheesy.


Much better ;)

Quote:
I do still believe Admiral Nelson's line cut shows that conga lines are far from being "cheap" tactics.


As I said in my post above:

Quote:
Also in real warfare, the only thing that matters is winning - as some people pointed out, the americans used cheesy tactics (in other words didn't adhere to what was accepted as the norm at the time) when fighting against the british for independence. For starters, they'd have lost the war then and there if their battle lines had stood up to the british in a traditional firefight (that's just what happens when milita fights professional soldiers on the terms of the latter).


In real life war the objective is to win (not always no matter the cost - especially civilian casualties have to be avoided, for example), not to let your opponent have fun. Real war isn't fun. It gets ever more difficult to justify war at all, but I for one wouldn't complain about a single "cheesy" tactic the Allies used in the second world war, just as an example. When you're fighting someone, you can't complain when they don't play nice.

But let's not discuss justification for war and all that - it will flare tempers, and that is not my intention. All I'm saying is that real world tactics aren't a measure of what sort of tactics are acceptable in warhammer. Ghengis Khan used tons of mounted archers and light cavalry and nothing besides, and his army was extraordinarily effective, but you wouldn't enjoy playing against someone who spent all their points on shooting fast cavalry (assuming that such an army would be effective to play, anyway - I hope you get the idea).

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Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:09 pm
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Also in Warhammer there is something like: "The spirit of the game". There is not for nothing a rule in Warhammer that a unit get rankbonus in case the unit has an extra rank of 5 or more men. So according to the spirit of the game the disigners of the game mentioned that a 'normal' unit is at least 5 men wide.
Since I am most of the time the organizer of tournaments, I should try to play in the spirit of the game. As another was saying before: Using the conga line is not breaking the rules it is more abusing the rules. Since nobody is breaking the rules, I will not forbid to use it in our tournaments, but I will not encourage it.

Imagine the situation: 50 TK spearmen. (Mission 3) (In new edition they will become more cheap most prob) In first turn they reform into a conga line. And during the magic phase they attack the warmachines during the first turn. :P (Most probably an old one. ;) )


Mon Oct 04, 2010 2:11 pm
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Mr. Anderson wrote:
Quote:
. All I'm saying is that real world tactics aren't a measure of what sort of tactics are acceptable in warhammer. Ghengis Khan used tons of mounted archers and light cavalry and nothing besides, and his army was extraordinarily effective, but you wouldn't enjoy playing against someone who spent all their points on shooting fast cavalry (assuming that such an army would be effective to play, anyway - I hope you get the idea).


Not long ago a typical competitive DE list would look like this

Manticore or Dragon highborn with gauntlet of power, full mundane amulets or two
Scroll caddy
20 DR
10 harpies
20 Crossbowmen
4 bolt throwers

whatever you fancy fills the rest...

everything shoots and flees... now isn't this strangely familiar :D

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Mon Oct 04, 2010 4:18 pm
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@uruk-hai: As a rudimentary response to your scenario... Bah!

The rules take that idea into account by specifying that no model may reform more than double its move from its starting postition. A unit of undead cavalry charging my warmachines, yes. A unit of undead footmen, no.

Now, back to the topic on hand...

As Calisson quoted me, I have no intention of using a conga line. At this point, it's not about whether it's in the "spirit of the game" but the severe odds against me planning a need for it. I have no moral compulsion about varying unit widths, or using the Guardian-Lord builds to tie up uber-units.

If I brought an uber-unit and didn't take into account a rules-perfect counter, shame on me. As long as my opponent is obeying the rules in a "friendly" and/or "sporting" manner, I'm not going to be upset that he found a valid counter to my playstyle. Especially since bringing an uber-unit upped the stakes in the first place. :)

Now that I've had my reasonable response, I sadly have to get this off my chest.

[Rant]
Personally, I find it offensive for people to claim to state that I can play only "this way" or "that way". It gets especially irritating when they start claiming that it is "abuse of the rules". Despite the rules having no issue with the unit, tactic, or combination it is somehow offensive to the "Great Spirit".

Please don't misunderstand, I have my own pet peeve builds that I prefer not to see, use, or play against, just like everyone else. I also recognize that the way I like to run my army can be offensive to others, and tone parts down accordingly, of my own free will. I can honestly say that nothing I've seen gives me the right to dictate to another how they must design their list to be seen acceptable. Just because I personally like to see giant monstrosities either stomping little men into dust or engaging in a clash of titaninc proportion doesn't mean that I can say that units of 30-100 infantry models are absurd and cannot be used against me despite their use as a often useful counter to the natural savagery of my monsters.

The part that I can't understand is the reasoning that states that each person must conform to the desires and limitations decided by their opponent. However, these same people seem to take offense that anyone would question their playstyle and deem it anything but perfectly fair and reasonable. Meanwhile, many of those people go on to state that they would never again play an opponent who refused to conform.

I can honestly say that I have never turned down a game based upon my opponent's list. Like the person who tutored me, I will take on any opponent so long as they act like a human being. (and yes, that can be open to interpretation so I'm not going into detail) A true cheat or excessive unsportsmanlike conduct may make me reluctant to play against the person, but never an issue with a legal list.

Okay that's enough for one post. [/Rant]

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Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:02 pm
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I'm very glad to see all of you expressing openly your thoughts. :)

This thread (poll & discussion) results in showing to everyone how an appreciation is not as widespread as one may believe. Here, it was about conga lines, but other issues raise similar hot feelings (remember the Shade Death Star in the 7th edition?).


I'd be delighted if, after reading this thread, people would become more tolerant about other's opinions:
- understanding that playing by the rules is not cheating and should be tolerated without adverse comments (or nothing more aggressive than "be aware that some people could call that cheap"),
- reversely, understanding that some gamers play with a particular spirit in mind, and not taking that mindset into account can be resented as offensive - or as ruining the fun.


My conclusion is that PjEOs had the perfectly appropriate attitude: :D
"having meditated about this for some hours and discussing it with my regular opponents".

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Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:06 pm
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