Faction Preview: Rebels
Rebels have had a huge amount of additional development in A Call To Arms, and in particular some "subfactions" of rebel troops from particular parts of the Warhammer world. This preview takes you through some of the new rebel troop types and the background for some factions that may not have got into the playable list, but whom you will still have to defeat in your struggles to master the Warhammer world!
Rebels were almost nonexistent in previous versions, so the changes we've made are genuinely radical; this is just a selection of the largest ones, but native warriors of the New World, daemons in the Chaos Wastes, and Hobgoblins on the steppes can also be found. The mercenary selection has also increased hugely, with the pirate cannon adding a mercenary artillery piece to the game for the first time. The differences aren't just in terms of gameplay; the focus we've now got on local areas and their specific mercenaries and rebels gives the entire game world a level of depth that simply didn't exist in previous versions, something that makes the game far more immersive as fiercely independent city-states and smaller countries still proudly push their liveried troops out onto the battlefield. In A Call To Arms the player will also be able to use rebel forces in custom battles (though not in campaign mode), allowing you to actually command armies exclusively of Estalia, Marienburg, or other smaller nations!
The wasteland, between the Empire and Brettonia, is of vital importance to the wars of its region. This is primarily as a result of its dominant city, the prosperous and fabulously wealthy seaport of Marienburg. Marienburg's gold can buy mercenary ogres, pikemen or crossbowmen to swing the tide of a civil war; its powerful burghers can also summon significant forces of their own, and some previous Imperial civil wars have had a Marienburg-backed claimant as well as those with the traditional power bases of Reikland and Middenland. Fiercely independent, Marienburg's army at the start of the campaign is not going to be instantly easy to defeat.
Marienburg and the nearby town of Weskenheim are both filled with Marienburg forces, with their brightly coloured and expensive uniforms, as well as powerful mercenaries. The Marienburg City Guard, with bright uniforms and halberds, are their elite infantry; the bravos of the Marienburg docklands are also often pressed into service as sword-armed duellists. Their heavy handgunners are their final unique unit, tougher in close combat than other handgun-armed troops but still able to deal a serious reckoning to armoured enemies.
Marienburg and Weskenheim:
In the southwest of the Old World lies the kingdom of Estalia, once a powerful nation in its own right but now weakened by much conflict. Dedicated primarily to the sun-goddess of strategy and war, Myrmidia, the nation's troops are still more than prepared to fight against any invaders! The Estalians have long fought against the Arabyans, occasionally crusading into the desert and occasionally being invaded themselves; the kingdom's rugged hills and forests have long thwarted prospective invaders, and the fertile fields of the south make it a nevertheless tempting target for Lucciniese freebooters, Arabic sheikhs or Brettonian kings.
Estalia has one southern province in Arabyan control at the start of the game, with the rest of the provinces under rebel control. The Lucciniese, Brettonians, Wood Elves (if they capture Brionne), and Skaven are all also close enough to try and make a play for control there though. The Estalian basic troop type is the diestro - young infantry fighters with swords from merchant or richer farming families, effective attackers though they tend not to hold a disciplined line. The jinete, a light cavalry fighter, is also very common and useful for harrassing enemy forces, and finally the heavy crusader Knights of Myrmidia, capable of a sacred chant that can boost nearby units, round out the mix.
In the far east of the map, parts of Ind are just inside the playable area. This far eastern kingdom is known for its mysterious monsters and other miracles not experienced further west, as well as being part of vital trade routes to Nippon and Cathay in the far east. The Emperors of Ind will jealously guard their cities against western powers.
Ind has just two specialist troop types as well as standard eastern spearmen and archers; Guardians are powerful anti-monster infantry whose high hit strength makes them exceptional at cutting up ogres and other problematic local troops, and their sacred White Elephants are a huge and terrifying sight on the field of battle. Coupled with hordes of spearmen and archers, and some ogre mercenaries, the single Ind province is a very tough place to attack for Chaos Dwarf, Ogre, or Dragon Island players, though worth it considering its great wealth.
The Imperial Army:
The mysterious isle of Albion is famous for its strange stone circles and other mysteries. The humans of Albion are often split between two druidical priesthoods, that of the mysterious dark emissaries and that of the truthsayers. Albion is also famous as the home of a large number of giants, less barbarous than the crude monsters that serve in orcish or ogre forces but still rather dim. The giants of Albion are protectors of local villages, using their brute force to defend the villagers who gratefully feed and care for them.
In-game, Albion's troops are mainly spearmen and archers, tougher than their Brettonian peasant equivalents but not professional soldiery. The greatest advantage they have is undoubtedly the presence of huge giants, capable of smashing enemy soldiers to pieces and particularly deadly against other monsters or cavalry. Some Albion troops can also be recruited as mercenaries, something to note as a Chaos, Kislevite, Brettonian, High Elf or Dark Elf leader who chooses to head out into the northern seas. The isle of Albion is large with two provinces, and can be a good base for exploration and attacks on Norsca, Brettonia, or the New World; other small island provinces nearby are also culturally very similar.
An Albion levy:
Pirates are available as mercenary units in several areas of the Warhammer world; they are commonly found around their island home of Sartosa, though at the start of the campaign it has recently been subdued by Lucciniese forces. Sartosa was long a pirate principality, with various crews of pirates (even dwarf pirates and vampire pirates) consistently duking it out for the piratical crown. There are also pirate bases in the Southlands and northern Lustria, and pirate ships can be found across the seas of the Warhammer world.
Pirates are probably most dangerous at sea, where particularly in the early game they can wreak havoc with your shipping and blockade your ports. Eventually the High/Dark Elven, Tilean, Arabyan and Imperial navies may become strong enough to beat them off, but pirate ships are always something to worry about. On land they can make a useful mercenary addition to your forces. There are three pirate troop types; the light cannon, the pirate swordsmen, and the deckhands. The light cannon is the only mercenary artillery piece, making it invaluable to forces with weak long-range shooting capability (Luccini, Araby, Orcs & Goblins, even Tomb Kings or Lizardmen). It is not exceptionally tough but the ability to fire on enemy walls or have a ranged attack that can really damage enemy monsters is not to be sniffed at. The swordsmen are an effective infantry unit, useful both in attack and defence, and the javelin-armed deckhands can easily be run down with cavalry but have large stocks of javelins that can really hurt slow-moving infantry forces (pike and crossbow generals beware!).
A Pirate crew: