“Pocket” Pocket Battles Thoughts: The Gaesatae

The Gaesatae in the Celts army are very intense units. Apparently the real Gaesatae went into battle naked and, I assume, extremely crazy. (If you look on the little graphic for the Gaesatae unit, they’ve got nothing on but intricate blue tattoos or skin paint, and their swords are strategically positioned over their microscopic naughty bits.)

While they’re wisely paired with any unit with two or more wounds, since they can only be in two-unit formations, I’ve discovered through accident (basically, playing armies generated by some ruby scripts I’m using to draft armies automatically, although it’s more like S-M-R-T at this point) that pairing them with Horsemen produce the deadliest results.

Horsemen: two engagement dice of same value, 2 wounds, Fast.
Gaesatae: two engagement dice of different values, 1 wound, Overwhelming and Fury.

An ideal Horsemen-Gaesatae combination provides 3 different values of engagement dice (like 3-3 and 5-6), which means a 50% hit probability per die—not as good as having an ideal Noble Cavalry-Gaesatae team-up, which would result in a 66% hit probability per die, but nothing to snub at. And given that Fury allows Gaesatae to roll 2+ dice on defense and 3+ dice on charging, even Horsemen up the odds enough.

Now, even though a Horsemen only provides two extra engagement dice, both of the same value, they have the Fast power, which means a Horsemen-Gaesatae unit will also be Fast, ((There are people who complain about the combination of powers like this—i.e. how can little naked men suddenly run faster because in a real battle, they’re not riding the Horsemen’s horses. Thing is, Pocket Battles works at a level of abstraction above that. The game’s not for people who want battle simulae in a pocket, which isn’t going to happen easily, but for people who want units that can be combined to produce various effects, probabilistic and/or logistic, which are then applied to a game of movement and probabilities.)) and greater maneuverability turns the Gaesatae into a menace. If they start in the center, they can redeploy to an opponent’s wing section that’s weakened, which dramatically increases the chances for the Gaesatae to execute a second charge with their Overwhelming power.

And any time the opponent is dealing with the Gaesatae, usually they’re taking both orders and wounds to do it, which is good news for the rest of the Celts. I find that with two Gaesatae units still on the field, the Druid actually does have time to Heal the Warrior Queen at the end of a Battle Round.

Here’s an example 60-point army the S-M-R-T drafting script came up with for the Celts:

– #02 Warrior Queen [engage 4-5-6, 2 wounds; +1 Wounds, Fast, Impetus]
– #05 Gaesatae + #12 Horsemen [engage 5-6-3-3, 3 wounds; Overwhelming, Fury, Fast]
– #06 Gaesatae + #14 Horsemen [engage 3-4-5-5, 3 wounds: Ovewhelming, Fury, Fast]
– #07 Javelinmen + #08 Javelinmen + #22 Slingers + #24 Slingers [engage 3-4, shoot 3-4-3-4-5-6, 4 wounds]
– #21 Slingers + #23 Slingers [shoot 3-6-4-5, 2 wounds]
– #13 Horsemen + #27 Warband [engage 4-4-4-4, 3 wounds; Fast] ((This is a bad unit. Should have been another Warband so that at least there was a 33% hit probability per die instead of 16%. More considerations for the next script version….))
– #26 Warband + #30 Warchief [engage 3-3, 2 wounds; +2 Engagement] ((Should have been an least a Horseman….))

I like the Javelinmen/Slingers arrangement up there in a way I usually don’t.

And so we refine the script….

5 thoughts on ““Pocket” Pocket Battles Thoughts: The Gaesatae

    • No. Different traits stack; the same trait does not. As Tim Selz puts it, “You can be ‘ugly,’ you can be ‘fast,’ you can be ‘ugly AND fast,’ but you can’t be ugly twice.” Paolo hasn’t corrected him, so I suspect that’s the actual answer.

      For “+X engagement/shooting/wounds”, I think those do stack. However, the troop tiles are designed such that it’s very hard to get multiple of these bonuses into a unit that would actually hit anything, so that question doesn’t come up.

      • Hello. In boardgamegeek forums, Paolo made it clear: “+x something” traits do stack; the others don’t.

        Nice web.


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