Now I know all rule writers try and inject a bit of historical flavour into each army included in their Army Lists. They use special rules, and then introduce the odd tweak here and there to try and give a particular army the "feel" of the original. This is very hard to do with Ancients, as often the evidence is so poor and contradictory that one has little to work with. In light of this, if one does decide to give an Ancient army a bit of flavour, then it's vital to play-test the rules to make sure they actually work in a game.
Now one vital thing has to be remembered about the Assyrian army in WAB Chariot Wars. It cannot field a unit of Bows. None. Nil,. Nada. Zilch. It is verboten. Neither can it field a unit of Spearmen, or Slingers. No. Every unit has to consist of equal numbers of a second type of figure. Bowmen have to be mixed 50/50 with Spearmen, or Slingers. Slingers can only be fielded in a 50/50 mix with Bowmen, and Spearmen have to be mixed 50/50 with Bowmen. And that applies to the standard Assyrian Infantry, and the Auxiliary Infantry, and the Cavalry.
So how does that work in the game? Well, it doesn't.
Now most people I know use a fairly standard size for their Infantry units in WAB. It's a compromise between front rank fighting power, how much frontage the unit takes up on the battlefield, ease of manoeuvre and keeping a decent number of ranks in order to get a good Close Combat Bonus (+1 for each extra rank at start of Close Combat, up to total of +3 for normal Infantry). Some folk use a 20 strong unit with a 5 man front rank. I tend to use a 24 strong unit, with 6 men in the front rank.
Now I want to demonstrate how the unit compositions insisted on by WAB Chariot Wars leave the Assyrian army at a huge disadvantage.
There are two options that one can use to maximise one's fire-power and use the Bowmen to their full advantage (and by that I mean to make them the equal of other Bowmen in other armies). One can take the 24 strong unit and make it 12 wide, with the whole of the second row being Bows. They can then fire at full effect. But that results in a huge frontage and a unit that is hard to manoeuvre, as well as being dreadfully fragile in Close Combat (only a +1 Rank Bonus)
The third option is to just stick to tiny 12 man units of 6 Spear and 6 Bow. That way at least one can have a reasonable frontage and some ease of manoeuvre The fire-power (6) is only slightly down from the 24 strong unit (9), but its chances of surviving Close Combat are almost nil.
So a lot of disadvantages arise from being forced to have mixed units and being banned from fielding Bow, Spear or Sling-only units. But surely there must be some benefits to those compulsory mixed formations?
Well, no. I really can't think of any at all. Okay, so the Bowmen get some degree of protection in Close Combat by having a row of Spears in front, but so what? The Archery rules don't offer any advantage to taking one's archers so far into harm's way that they will find such protection useful, and any sensible commander would ensure they keep their vulnerable missile troops well away from the major punch-ups in the first place. So in practice there is little or no advantage at all in using such mixed formations, and the fact that the rules FORCE one to adopt them is a nonsense.
Now I am sure that the writers did some research. And yes, there is some evidence out there that the Assyrians sometimes fought with their Bowmen protected by Spearmen in close proximity. But it is stretching the evidence far further than it is safe to do so, if one extrapolates from it that the Assyrian units ALWAYS formed and fought that way.
I would suggest that the best way to handle it is to make the Mixed Unit composition rules optional If one chooses to field the types as separate units, then they stay that way for the duration of the game. If one chooses to field them as mixed units - in whatever proportion, it doesn't have to be 50/50 - then they also stay that way for the duration of the game. This solves the ratio problem caused by the figure types in the plastic boxed sets, and it also leaves the choice of how to field one's units to their best advantage down to the commander, which is as it should be.
ps. And no, those are not yet finished. Although painted and varnished, they await the arrival of some new 2mm thin laser-cut bases.