CROM Unit Preview #4 – Gunderland Pikemen

“With the knights came what seemed a second, irregular army on tough swift ponies. These dismounted and formed their ranks on foot – stolid Bossonian archers, and keen pikemen from Gunderland, their tawny locks blowing from under their steel caps.” -The Scarlet Citadel

At the heart of the Circle of Iron are the three units that formed that motley horde by the Tybor River: the Poitainian knights, the Bossonian archers, and the Gunderland pikeman. In this preview we look at the front line defenders, the Gunderland Pikemen.

Notable Abilities
In terms of statistics, the Gunderland Pikemen don’t have anything special. Standard movement, standard attack, standard defense. They have two special abilities: Phalanx and Pikes. Phalanx takes away the two bonus dice when a unit charges them. Pikes grant them an extra defense die against melee attacks.

On the Battlefield
The pikemen are at their best arrayed against a charge, so they can be deployed into a contested area and then largely neglected in favor of units that need initiative more desperately. They match very well against the Scion of Set or the Ancestor Guard, both of whom rely on a well timed charge to get the most out of their offense. Phalanx completely neutralizes that advantage, and the Pikes make them hardier once engaged, allowing them to pin those units down and wear them out.

Where the Pikemen falter is against ranged units, and the Legion of Set has many! This makes deploying them tricky, and may force them into the offensive to charge and bring the Pikes into play before they can be obliterated at range…but forcing them into that role eliminates their biggest advantage – the fact that normally you can ignore them and move them last without suffering the consequences of a foe getting the jump on them.

If you can find the right ground for them to hold, the Gunderland Pikemen will hold it for you. They will prove the truth of the history:

“No infantry was a match for the wild Gundermen…”