As any cavalryman will tell you, there’s nothing quite like a horse for going to war. A trusty steed has many advantages – firstly, it beats walking, which as everyone knows is for plebs. Secondly, it gives a commander an unmatched view over the battlefield (and a higher vantage point from which to look down their nose with scorn at their enemies), and thirdly it grants a great degree of mobility over the common infantry, which can be used for reconnaissance, rapid redeployment, or simply for galloping pell-mell through the enemy and on to glory!

Quite aside from the obvious ‘real-world’ advantages, there are several good reasons to mount your heroes on horses in games of SPQR. From a modelling perspective, there are very few things that look more striking on the table than a well-mounted commander, and the excellent selection of mounted models are a perfect opportunity to really flex your painting muscles. With SPQR requiring relatively few models, you can take the time to go to town on your heroes – as we all know, a great paint job is the best offering you can make to the Dice Gods when pleading for their favour, especially for those of us who’ve already sold our souls for just one more six!

When mounted, a Hero gains +1 Wounds – perfect for keeping them safe from the archers and slingers who will no doubt seek to bring them down with cowardly missiles, and for those drawn-out melee slugfests. Nothing shows off a Hero’s prowess like simply refusing to die from a wound that would have slain a lesser warrior outright! There’s no need to travel light, either – being mounted means the rider’s armour does not impact their Move score, so don that armour and get stuck in!

As well as making them more survivable, a horse also makes a Hero significantly more deadly with a spear in their hands. Both Short and Long Spears become Lethal 2 when Charging on horseback, making an already-dangerous fighter even more so. In addition, mounting a horse (rather obviously) changes a Hero from Infantry to Cavalry, allowing them to both lead Cavalry units more effectively with their ability to double their Move value once per Phase for a Move or Melee action, and also grants them the extra Melee Dice per model when charging (assuming there aren’t any footsloggers tagging along).

Now, some people might say that all horses are much alike – while this is usually true, there are some exceptions to the rule. Some factions and troop types are able to give their horses Barding (the most notable being the legendary Sarmatian Cataphracts), and their Heroes can follow that example, reducing their Move value by 1″ but increasing their Armour by 1 point – perfect for armour-obsessed lunatics like yours truly! Some horses aren’t even horses – camel-riding warriors from Africa and Arabia count as Cavalry (camelry), albeit without the increased mobility. Horses, however, hate camels, and so camel-riders gain significant bonuses when fighting their equine opposite numbers. Sadly, there isn’t a camel-riding Hero… yet, so we won’t linger on the desert beasts.

The Horselord Talent Tree

Finally, the Horselord Talent provides a mounted Hero with a variety of special abilities, geared towards making both them and their unit into either lethal horse-archers of the kind who plagued Rome in the East, or the kind of shock cavalry that wouldn’t really come into fashion in the West for many centuries. With the ability to tailor your Hero towards either ranged or melee combat as they level up and progress over the course of a campaign, you can build your Warband to work in unison as a perfectly-drilled killing machine!

Led by a Hero, Sarmatian Cataphracts Charge

All in all, a horse is a wonderful investment for any self-respecting Hero, and for my money is absolutely mandatory for Warbands with any significant number of cavalry Minions. For a mere 20 Denarii, all of the bonuses described above are granted to your aspiring champion, with the added bonus of making them look extra fancy and important on the tabletop battlefield. Saddle up and ride to glory!

A Clash of Heroes

Are you ready to forge your empire? With a lightning-fast and easy-to-play system, SPQR allows you to build a complete warband capable of scouting out enemy armies, clashing across borders, and conducting raids on farms and villages.

A Clash of Heroes contains:

  • Softback 196 page A4 rulebook – Revised Edition
  • A Roman Hero
  • 8 Caesarian Romans with gladius
  • 8 Caesarian Romans with Pilum
  • Caesarian Romans shields decal sheet
  • A Gaul Chieftain
  • 40 Gallic Celts & Celts command
  • 12 Celtic Archers
  • Celtic Warriors shields decal sheet
  • Bases
  • 12 x D6 dice
  • Unit statcards
  • FREE Battlefield Sacrifice Special Miniature – Exclusively available in this box or alongside the SPQR rulebook on the Warlord Games Webstore
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