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"Tactics for the Undead"

An Age of Might and Steel Tactics Article by Steve Hazuka


Shuffle and Moan! Get to the ‘meat’ for using the Undead in the Age of Might and Steel (AoMaS) 15mm Fantasy system.


The Undead armies can be a most powerful army as they don’t require Activation Rolls and morale is never a factor. However with their reliance on Magic Users they could come to a screeching halt without their leaders. Employing spells that can benefit their attack and defense takes some careful planning and mapping out prior to the combat.

Undead are always led by an attached Magic Users. They are based separately from the unit in case they are killed. Undead are not affected by Archers unless their opponent uses a Holy Flight spell. Undead units cannot use Morale Spells and do not have to roll for Activation. They may not use any type of heavy unit. Undead never Retreat unless ordered. Undead Magical User leaders if killed are not replaced, if this happens Undead units will not attack but remain in place only defending if attacked. Evil Magic Users may combine like undead units if the leader is killed to a maximum of 12 stands. Any stands remaining are lost and removed from play. Evil Magic User may raise one stand of Undead, per turn, from the battlefield to replace losses. To do this the Magic User and unit must be standing on a victorious battle site.

Since archers are not very effective against Undead the opposing player will have to employ Holy Flight to do any damage to advancing units, this is where the Undead player should use Obscuring Mist as the units advance into archery range.

This will force the use of two Magic Users to make a ranged attack on the Undead, one to clear the Obscuring Mist spell with Unblinking Eye and the other to use Holy Flight to do damage to the attacking unit. This will keep the Magic Users of your opposition very busy.

Points spent on Light Foot, like Zombies, are well spent. Having a front line advancing behind a screen of Zombies will provide cover and distract the opposition from going after your main element. They’re dead already so don’t worry about hurting their feelings and you don’t have to worry about their morale, they can fight to the last stand.

When they do engage in Hand to Hand use a Heroic Acts spell to counter act any differences in unit type or negate the effects of the Turn Undead spell that they will employ. Of course Undead archers can be a murderous force also.

Armed with a Magic User casting True Flight can wreak havoc on an enemy army. Also use them as a screening force. Set them on the battlefield and let the enemy charge them and wipe them out, they won’t run.

Magic Users should also summon a Demon to attach to the main element of attack. Demons have a permanent Fright spell attached to them that will negate any charge bonus used to attack them and with their Magic Attack spell they act as a powerful addition to the units attack.

Don’t forget the Raise Undead spell. You can raise a stand of Light Foot from the remains of a battlefield. When your Undead unit has won and your opponent has either fled or been wiped out your Magic User can refill the losses by using the Raise Undead spell. It again will force your opponent to either re-engage them or be forced to deal with them later.

Protect your Magic Users! Watch out for your opponent creating a Heroic Band to seek out and destroy your Magic Users. This is where a summoned Demon bodyguard can help out or keeping a special unit such as a monster along with the Magic User to prevent them from getting picked off by a roving band of do-gooders. If you have to, you can park a Light Foot unit at a strategic point and they will defend it without guidance and then either attach to another unit or prepare to fight off a Heroic Band.

Combining units is another solid tactic for the Undead. If your troops are getting sparse or your Magic Users are getting few and far between you can combine a couple of units to form another. Remember only 12 stands are allowed to a unit so any more simply fall back on to the battlefield. For the Undead player though it’s almost like a bank account, you can always raise them later.

Unfortunately the best way to clear a battlefield of Undead is with Heavy Cavalry. A frontal attack smashing into the line will scatter bones and trample them to dust without too much problem. To counter this remember to have a Demon ready to negate the Charge bonus and the Magic Attack spell will help even out the odds, for a turn at least.

Keep a Medium Foot nearby to come in and relieve the pressure or an Archer unit within range to put some holes in the line before the onslaught happens. Since Heavy Cavalry is expensive you should celebrate any loss of them and force them to have to either confront you or deal with your harassing.

The Undead are a great army if you like playing a light force. They can be expensive due to the Magic Users but making a horde of them by maximizing all units to 12 stands will cause kingdoms to cringe and pale with their marching.

For an Undead Army in AoMaS see these Alternative Armies codes:

HOT83 Undead Command
HOT74 Wraith Lord on Flying Beast
HOT12 Ghoul, Wraith & Knight
HOT13 Undead Chariot
HOT14 Hordes of the Dead
HOT21 Zombie Horde
HOT22 Plague of Bats
HOT24 Undead Cavalry
HOT36 Wraith Cavalry
HOT40 Skeleton Archers
HOT41 Skeleton Spears
HOT63 Undead Catapult
HOT64 Cadaver Zombies
HOT55 Cadaver Giant
HOT67 Were Monsters
HOT68 Greater Demons


Webmaster's Notes

This article was originally published on Alternative Armies' content portal Barking Irons Online in 2011 and is reproduced here with permission.

You can buy The Age of Might and Steel rules direct from Alternative Armies on thier web site here.

Barking Irons Online was Alternative Armies' official content portal that I ran for them from 2011 until 2013, You can find (almost) all of the content it hosted on Orcs in the Webbe in the respective categories in the menus or browse through it all by clicking on the  maroon  "Barking Irons" tag below.