How select and organize your army.
This is the first decision each new player must do, and it is an important one.
My advice is to choose an army that you like, or led by an historical character that you want to emulate on the game table. This is important for it will help you to keep using it even when the results will not be positive. This at the beginning can happen, and quite often. A second important point is that the army doctrine should suit to your game style.
Are you aggressive? Charging knights are the right tool to deliver dreadful charges. Do you like a prudent and conservative approach? An army with good terrain troops and a solid center could be what you are looking for.
If you have some more experienced mates in your club, listen to their advices. They could give you some valuable idea.
A 400 AP army in 15mm requires time to be assembled and painted, 25mm even more. If you belong to a club, it is a good idea test it before buying the necessary figures. Make some experiments, tailor the army organizations that you like, and just then start buying and painting.
Each army has a “doctrine”, a correct way to use it. A good approach is to try to use it historically, this usually works well.
The army structure should let you execute the task you assign to each corps, and optimize corps and army endurance for their performance. First of all, you must think to the plans that you want to carry out.
Do you want to attack just on one wing? On both? Burst through the enemy center? Do you want a corps able to swarm and take a difficult going? Do you want to flank march? Do you want a reserve corps to be used as fire brigade?
A good start is to have at least two plans available. If the main one is impossible due the opponent you face or the terrain set, you have at least a second option.
Plans must be simple. The more coordination and time you need, the worst is. Pips and enemy usually will mess it up. Don’t overstretch. Be ready to cope with 1 pips.
Once you have the plan in mind, you should assign the troops to the corps that will execute it.
Your corps should be strong enough to carry it on with some losses. If the things go wrong, the corps demise should not fatally wreck the army.
It’s usually a bad idea have a corps that is more than 50% of the army. Down it goes, down the army.
Usually armies have 3 corps of similar size, or 3 similar and one smaller. Also choosing two big (33%) and two small ones (16%) is a right composition.
What is important, is to realize how ME work. For example, having a balanced army with 3 corps each of 24ME, but including all 2ME troops in one wing and just 1/2ME in the other is a bad idea.
The element loss equivalent would be 12 and 48 ME respectively. The corps with the better troops will probably break faster and you will lose the army elite. 2ME troops are usually tougher, but need adequate break points. Corps should ideally have ME divisible by 3 and 4. Look well at how breaking and disheartening work.
Another important aspect, is that of the physical space your army needs on the field. How wide is your army? How deep? How many reserves it has? Can be deployed in flank sectors or not? You should have a clear idea of the room it takes to deploy it and to maneuver it.
This is extremely important when selecting and placing the terrain. You should know in advance how much open going you need and look for it, and how much clutter the table to protect the flanks or to use your terrain troops superiority, if you have it.
This means that the plan must consider the terrain, and the composition must suit to the terrain.
The terrain depends by aggressiveness. Is your army terrain sensible? If it is, better have low Ag.
Another point to be considered when organizing the army is if take or not the stratagems. These are paid for, so you have less troops. Usually I use them with irregular armies, while buying them with more costly regulars is less common.
Stratagems give you additional plan options: a feigned flight or an ambush can prove decisive in a game if well executed.
About corps, there are four way to organize them:
You can choose just one troop type. This works for some simple armies as Huns. A corps made only by ILhS is very effective.
You can select core troops, needed to the task you give to the corps, and then put in it filler, to raise the ME
You can select two core troops and engage just one, while the other act as support or filler. This makes the army more versatile, but there is a price to be paid: reduced frontage, or combat situations where the troops have to fight in the wrong environment or the worst opponent. It is just a matter of field initiative. If you have it, it works, if you are pressed hard, not.
You can combine arms. Go for several useful troops, to coordinate them on the battlefield. This is demanding and difficult, but if well done can guarantee the victory. This needs a lot of skill though. Needless to say, the more troops you mix the better (or worst) is.
Troops sometime have a synergy. It is a good idea to use it. Exploit special supports, if you have any, or special skills.
As example Regular Cv and Lh work well together. If you use Marian Romans, brigade Cv and Ps together to enjoy the support.
As a general rule, always put a tactical reserve or a second line in a corps. Flanks are important, but in DBMM there is also the depth to consider. Breakthrough are frequent, and you need to deal with them.
As example, a back line of humble ps I can be worth gold when you need the decisive overlap, or to avoid that your general could be attacked in the flank.
The baggage should always be taken. It gives free ME. If the baggage is regular, its loss could be devastating. Regular baggage in small regular armies usually is worth an important percentage in ME.
How will you defend it? Think about it in advance. Irregular large armies have less concerns.
These are some basic tips. If you take a look to the sample army list of this website, you can have a better idea about some ways to organize an army.