Saturday, May 31, 2014


Your line has failed to prevent the enemy's decisive action, but have cost them a number of lives. It is left to you as the last hope of victory against staggering odds. You've survived this much, what could the last few of them do? You charge strait in, glory just a few swings away. The five of them in range swing at you, obliterating any hope of success, and deliver a few extra hits to make sure you are dead.

Fighting against two people seems hard enough, but outnumbered 3:1, 5:1, or even 10:1 are odds that can be overcome. It takes a good bit of time, energy, and a smidge of luck. Granted, one new guy against 10 veteran fighters probably won't stand much of a chance, but the strategies I present here would at least give him a little bit more hope.

The first thing to understand when fighting outnumbered is that a lot of people can swing at you. Fairly obvious. The goal is to reduce that number to something manageable, ideally one, but two being somewhat acceptable. The bulk of the effort required to win the fight is in maneuvering around their group, trying to catch someone out of the pack or get them into a single file line.

But wait a minute, how is the lone swordsman going to outmaneuver a pack of enemies? Well, that brings me to the other thing to understand about fighting outnumbered. People fight more cautious when they are in the pack. If each of them were reckless, it would leave more openings for you to exploit. Instead, the average Belegrim will stick together and try to keep the whole group facing you as a line.

Making the odds a little more even requires one of two things: forcing the enemy into their own way, or reducing their ability to keep up with you. By circling, you force their line to wheel about its center. If they want to keep a strait line, the fighters on the flanks have to cover a good bit of ground to keep up. By changing direction, you can often catch someone on the flank advancing too far, still trying to catch up to the rotation the other way. Even if they aren't open to a kill shot, tagging a leg or arm does help substantially over the course of the fight.

If you do manage to leg one of them, they may be forced to abandon their teammate as you move away, reducing how many people you have to fight. There is one danger, that you might lose track of the legged opponent(s) as the fight progresses.  As long as you are occasionally checking your surroundings, you should be able to draw the mobile fighters away from their injured comrades (which is hopefully a growing number).

As the pack begins losing mobility, legged opponents will clump up and the group begins having a hard time rotating. This will eventually lead them into forming a circle. If you had a teammate, the circle causes a number of potential vision gaps. Even solo, you may catch someone who is having difficulty tracking you as you reach the opposite side of the circle. Changing directions, in this case, may allow you to get a quick kill.

A note on aggressive groups: despite the fact that the group is pushing against you, you still have an opportunity to win, but with a great deal of effort. Instead of circling towards them, you need to circle away. As you backpedal, angle away from one flank or the other. That flank will have to push harder to circle past their line. In such a way, this is much the same fight, but with everyone on the move.

One other common scenario is when a large number of the enemy has been wounded and only a few mobile fighters remain on the team.  Often, those with mobility will fall back towards their wounded comrades, especially if a skilled fighter is about to fight them in the open.  They'd rather seek support than risk giving up their teams only mobility if they fail.  In this case, the outnumbered fighters might actually have an advantage, but are still in for a rough fight.

I use a 6 on 2 situation for an example.  A knight and one of his teammates are outnumbered, but facing four legged opponents and a couple of mobile ones.  If the mobile fighters had chosen to engage the knight and his friend in a 2 on 2, they would be at a disadvantage.  So instead, they choose to cover the flanks of their wounded allies.  In this case, the two outnumbered fighters split up, hoping to draw the two mobile fighters away from the wounded to fight them one on one.  If the knight can get one in the open, he should be able to kill them and then roll around to help his ally.  Even if he doesn't, with the two of them circling the pack, each one might find someone's back in the process because the enemy has to split their attention between them.  Once the mobile fighters are taken care of, it is a matter of slowly picking off the legged opponents while the two fighters circle around them.

The moral of the story: don't give up.  All those odds stacked against you just mean you are in for a hard fight.  If you lose, go down in a blaze of glory.  If you win, gain a sense of accomplishment.  Just keep fighting.

Next week: how to use numbers to your advantage; or how to prevent everything I just said from happening.


  1. I'm out in california, so my experience in large battles is low, so I really appreciate this information- I'm trying to soak up the learning, and really enjoying your work. Keep it coming!

  2. Most of what I've written so far works fairly well on the average practice scale. Though, I guess I should write a few things for large scale that people from smaller realms haven't had a chance to see. I'll keep that in mind for future posts.