We had our very first campaign battle last night. Aramoro‘s Bretonnians were trying to take the Old Silk Road from the Beastmen, but were surprised to find that Justinmatters‘s Orcs & Goblins had anticipated this move and arrived there to intercept. A nearby banner of Beastmen were able to support the Orcs & Goblins (only fair really, since it was their land that was being fought over). In addition to kicking off the Border Princes campaign properly, this battle was also notable (in our group) for being uneven, in that the alliance of Orcs & Goblins and Beastmen had a 160 point advantage over the Bretonnians. I expect this to become quite common in the campaign, since it’s a sensible strategy, but it is a first for us this time.
Aramoro’s Bretonnians looked like this.
Guillaume L’Echec – Bretonnian Lord, Sword of Might, Orcbane Shield, Virtue of Confidence, Gauntlet of the Duel (BL)
Isoulde Le Détonant – Damsel, Level 2, Dispel Scroll, Warhorse, Lore of Beasts (D)
Pierre-Louis L’Inspiration – Paladin, BSB, Warhorse (BSB)
11 Knights Errant, full command (KE)
11 Knights of the Realm, full command (KotR)
10 Peasant Bowmen (B1)
12 Peasant Bowmen (B2)
3 Pegasus Knights (PK)
2 Field Trebuchets (T1 and T2)
After promising to try out a Hippogryff-riding Lord, that was exactly what appeared on the field. Justinmatters, meanwhile had been working long into the night to cook up this list with Furycat. Also noted are the two allied Tuskgor Chariots, which conveniently run to exactly 160 points of Core.
Goblin Warboss, wolf, Enchanted Shield (GW)
Goblin Big Boss, BSB (BSB)
Night Goblin Shaman, level 2 (S1)
Night Goblin Shaman, Staff of Sneaky Stealin’ (S2)
10 Spider Riders, full command (SR)
10 Wolf Riders, full command
22 Night Goblins, bows, full command, 2 Fanatics (NGA)
53 Night Goblins, full command, 3 Fanatics (NG)
20 Black Orcs, full command (BO)
Rock Lobber (RL)
3 Trolls (T)
2 Tuskgor Chariots (TG1 and TG2)
So, place your bets, ladies and gentlemen. Will an additional pair of chariots be enough to tip the balance in Justinmatters’s favour, or will his inexperience (this is his first ever game with Orcs & Goblins) be ruthlessly exploited by the seasoned Bretonnian general, Aramoro?
The Meeting Engagement was randomly selected as the scenario, and spells were picked. The Damsel got Curse of Anraheir and Wyssan’s Wildform, the level 2 shaman took Brain Bursta and Gork’ll Fix It and the level 1 ended up with Hand of Gork. There were a few late arrivals on each side, the Knights of the Realm were too busy rescuing Damsels from trees to appear on time, and one Trebuchet was also late. This caused us much checking of rule books and on-line errata since the Trebuchet is immobile (i.e. theoretically it can’t actually move on from reserve). It was decided that it could just be placed on a board edge and move no further. From the evil alliance, the battle standard bearer and the rock lobber were delayed, along with one of the chariots.
The terrain was generated randomly and placed in turn, so the battlefield ended up like this after deployment and Vanguard moves. The wall in the West are Blessed Bulwarks, in the North there is a Wyrding Well, and a Sphinx is in the middle of the Bretonnian lines (not sure what that’s doing in the middle of the Border Princes). Incredibly, both the building and the wall in the North East are just normal. The Spider Riders find that the wood is an Abyssal Wood, probably much to their relief.
The Bretonnians decline to pray, so the game begins with Guillaume L’Echec charging his Hippogryff into the Trolls. There is much consternation in the ranks of the Night Goblin archers as their Fanatics are triggered by the arrival of the Bretonnian Lord. After much deliberation, they are fired into the nearby wall to ensure that they don’t get in the way of the rest of the greenskin advance. The late-coming Knights of the Realm come into play on the West, and the peasants successfully manhandle the Trebuchet onto the field in the East. There is nothing exciting in the magic phase, since the Damsel declines to cast anything. The Trebuchet which was able to fire showed why it is so feared, turning a whole load of Night Goblins into green goo. The archers turn a few more Goblins into pin-cushions, but the Goblins all hold firm. Finally, the Bretonnian Lord and his trusty mount make a total mess of their many attacks against the Trolls, apart from a handful of wounds which are regenerated. The Trolls take one look at the heavily armoured Knight in front of them and cover him in nasty, nasty vomit. He is killed, the Hippogryff flees and is caught by the Trolls.
The Orcs & Goblins make a general advance toward the Bretonnian lines, except for the Trolls (who amble forward looking at daisies) and the Wolf Riders (who are too busy bickering over who gets to eat roast Hippogryff leg tonight to move at all). The only action of any note is the Night Goblin Shaman casting Hand of Gork on the Trolls, mainly so that they are facing towards something interesting in the highly likely event that they keep failing their stupidity checks.
The Knights do what Knights do best – charge. The Knights of the Realm and Pegasus Knights both charge the Spider Riders, losing a handful to Dangerous Terrain checks. The Knights Errant hit the front of one of the chariots, which holds. In the magic phase, the Damsel puts Wyssan’s Wildform on the Knights Errant. Unfortunately for her it is a miscast, and the resulting explosion takes out 7 Knights, as well as wounding herself. That’s one down side to going in the middle of the second rank. One of the Trebuchets misfires (but will be usable again next turn) and the other misses the big block of Night Goblins, clipping (and squashing) a couple of Black Orcs instead. In the combat phase, the Knights of the Realm and Pegasus Knights make heavy work of killing the Spider Riders, but they do break, flee and get caught. Unfortunately, this brings both units in range of the Night Goblins. 3 Fanatics are released, 2 of them ending up stuck in the Pegasus Knights and the other in the middle of the Knights of the Realm. Some astonishing dice from Justinmatters ensures that both units are wiped out, and I suspect that the fact that the 3 Fanatics also died in the process won’t have been a lot of comfort to Aramoro. We move to the much depleted Knights Errant fighting the chariot. They must have dropped their weapons in surprise from the miscast explosion, causing no wounds on the chariot (now that I think back, I am not certain that we remembered about the Wyssan’s Wildform that was active on them). The Gor manages to poke a Knight in the eye with his pointy stick, and the charioteers dig in for another round of combat.
At this point, Aramoro has had enough. His combat units are annihilated (apart from the Knights Errant, who are in tatters, locked in combat and are looking down the barrel of a whole lot of Goblins), so he throws in the towel. Justinmatters graciously offers to let him away without a massacre; reasoning that the majority of the surviving Bretonnians are far enough away from his lines to make a withdrawal in good order.
Wow… that was one-sided. I think that between Dangerous Terrain checks and that miscast, Aramoro managed to kill more of his own dudes than Justinmatters did. Although I was certainly impressed by the power of those Fanatics. In such a short game, it’s pretty hard to learn anything useful (er, except that Knights don’t like high strength, Armour Piercing attacks), but the funniest part was certainly the Bretonnian Lord being washed off his Hippogryff in a wave of Troll sick. The Old Silk Road remains in the hands of the Beastmen!