After the Beastmen’s traumatic battle against the Empire and their Bretonnian allies in the Old Silk Road, I am looking to get back some territory in the first of two battles against the Justinmatters‘ Orcs & Goblins for turn 10 of the Border Princes Campaign. We opted to play the equal-sided battle in Section 61, although we got Justinmatters’ banners mixed up (it should have had a Goblin Warboss as the general). I decided to test out a unit of Centigors in this army, and so I dropped a Bray Shaman and shuffled other units to make room for the drunken fools.
Black Angus – Great Bray Shaman, Level 3, Steel Claws, Talisman of Preservation, Jagged Dagger, Ironcurse Icon, Lore of Shadow (GBS)
Herod of the Short Mile – Wargor, BSB, Gnarled Hide, Heavy Armour, Shield (BSB)
25 Gors, additional hand weapons, full command (G1)
20 Gors, additional hand weapons, full command (G2)
30 Ungors, full command (U)
Tuskgor Chariot (TC)
23 Bestigors, full command, Banner of Discipline (B)
5 Harpies, scouts (H)
5 Centigors (C)
Justinmatters selected this bunch of green-skinned reprobates (roughly):
Orc Big Boss, Martog’s Best Basha (BB)
Orc Big Boss, Battle Standard Bearer (BSB)
Orc Shaman, level 2 (OS)
Goblin Shaman, Staff of Sneaky Stealin’, wolf (GS)
2 x 25 Boyz, additional hand weapons, full command (B1 and B2)
2 x 20 Night Goblins, nets, musician, 2 fanatics (NG1 and NG2; F1 to F4)
10 Spider Riders, full command (SR)
5 Wolf Riders, musician (WR)
Boar Chariot (BC)
2 Trolls (T)
Spear Chukka (SC)
With terrain randomised and deployed turn-about as usual, we had a mysterious forest in the North West, and two sets of fences at opposite ends of the table. In the centre of the North was a Wyrding Well (looks suspiciously bloody in this diagram) and an Elven Waystone next to the fences in the East which, admittedly, doesn’t look much like it is the work of Elves. The building in the South is a Dwarf Brewhouse and the one in the North is a Grail Chapel. In fact, since both armies are in the Forces of Destruction, it is effectively just a normal building. Finally, boringly, there is a normal hill in the South East.
The mission is Blood and Glory (again), but there are plenty of banners on each side so there should be no shortage of brutality. The Great Bray Shaman takes Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma, Withering and Enfeebling Foe, the Orc Shaman gets Gaze of Mork and Bash ‘Em Lads and the Goblin Shaman has Gaze of Gork. Finally, the Centigors turn out to be sober and we get on with deployment. Beastmen have far fewer units and duly get the first turn, which is just the way I like it against armies with more shooting than me (i.e. all of them).
So, as usual, the Beastmen spend their first turn racing for the enemy lines. I briefly debate whether to hang back with the Centigors to reduce the chances of the Spider Riders getting the charge on them early, but I decide to just go for it – having initiative 4 was a factor in my thoughts. The Bestigors, having been stuck in the building as there was no room on the front line, duly leave it and get themselves in a tangle behind the Elven Waystone. I had considered just putting them behind the Wargor’s Gors as a second line of attack, but this way did keep the Great Bray Shaman close to the Waystone for as long as possible. The winds of magic only give us 2,1 dice to play with, and the Goblin Shaman’s Staff of Sneaky Stealin’ means that I’m not likely to get much done this phase. An attempt to put Miasma on one of the Night Goblin units is dispelled, and that’s it.
The Boar Chariot and one of the Night Goblin mobs both move forward with animosity, and no-one is forced to stay still. The Spider Riders fancy their chances against the Centigors and go for it as fast as the many legs of their mounts will carry them. Both chariots charge the small Gor unit but an improbable charge roll of 2,2,1 for the Wolf Chariot would leave it less than 1″ short; the Orcs riding the Boar Chariot don’t mind – it’s just more bashing for them. The Wolf Riders fail their swift reform check despite being in range of the General and BSB, but they only need line of sight on the Harpies for the Shaman’s magic missiles anyway. After rolling 4,3 dice for the magic phase, Gaze of Gork is dispelled on the Harpies (I don’t want them panicking away so early), and Gaze of Mork fails to kill any of the Gors in the West. The shooting is ineffective, knocking over a few Gors here and there, although the Spear Chukka has no unobscured targets and misses it’s shot at the Gors. The Boar Chariot kills a few Gors with impact hits and holds after losing to the musician. Over in the East, the Centigors lose one of their number to a Giant Spider and then go mental, killing 8 of the Forest Goblins and running the survivors down. I can’t say I’m not impressed so far.
The Centigors lose one to a fence (which makes you wonder how they manage in forests if a fence can do that to them) before crashing into the Spear Chukka crew – note that my lack of skill with Battle Chronicler makes this look outrageous, but it was fine on the table top. The Ungors charge the West Night Goblins, losing 6 to the inevitable fanatics, although the back ranks do sit on one of the drug-fuelled maniacs. The Wargor and his drinking buddies lose 8 of their number (but kill both fanatics) on their way into the other Night Goblins. It’s times like that when I’m glad that Beastmen don’t pay a load of points to bother with armour. Finally, the Harpies realise the Spear Chukka is not only out of reach but being handled by the Centigors, don’t like the look of the Wolf Riders and so decide to charge into the flank of the Wolf Chariot (again, it looks impossible on Battle Chronicler but it was fine in the game). The Bestigors and the Tuskgor Chariot (pleasingly, my only unengaged units) manoeuvre a little to set themselves up a little for the next turn. I get a good roll for the magic phase, giving us 6,4 dice to play with and channelling to boot (although the Staff of Sneaky Stealin’ soon takes that one away) and I’m looking to throw all my hexes onto Justinmatters’ units. Sadly, I roll 3,3,2,1 in a four dice attempt at Withering on the Wolf Chariot which doesn’t even meet the casting value so that’s it for magic. Luckily, it turns out that my smelly goats don’t need help from the warp anyway. The 3 remaining Centigors skewer all the crew of the Spear Chukka before they even know what’s hit them, reforming to face the back of the Orc Boyz mob. The Harpies put a couple of wounds on the Wolf Chariot for none in return (how come they can’t manage that against Crossbowmen?); it flees an epic distance to the far side of the Brewhouse (failing to banjo itself on the building) and the Harpies find themselves in the flank of the General’s Boyz mob, which is probably not a good idea. The Wargor and his Gors kill of a whole pile of Night Goblins despite the nets. The little green guys flee off the table (because they hit the Wolf Riders, although they don’t panic) and the somewhat diminished Gors pile into the Boyz waiting behind. The Ungors kill a decent number of their Night Goblins, who obligingly net themselves and cause few casualties in return. Despite being stubborn from the Brewhouse and in range of the Big Boss and BSB they flee and end up behind the Boyz, staring at some thirsty Centigors; the Ungors clip the Trolls in their pursuit. Not bad considering the lack of magical assistance. The Gors in the East fail to live up to this level of service, failing to wound the Boar Chariot. It kills one in return and passes morale after losing on static combat resolution again.
The unengaged mob of Boyz charge the Ungors sitting right in front of them. The Wolf Chariot fails to rally, not surprisingly since it’s now miles from the General, but the Night Goblins pull themselves together and opt to stay facing the Centigors, who wonder if anyone would notice if they just bypassed the rest of the fighting and went straight for the beer in the Brewhouse. The Orcs & Goblins get 4,4 dice for their magic phase. Evidently they decided that, since the Beastmen magic for turn 2 was useless, they ought to go one better. The Goblin Shaman casts Gaze of Gork on the Tuskgor Chariot with Irresistable Force. The resulting devastating miscast (1,1 on the Orc & Goblin chart) finishes off the Wolf Chariot and the surviving Fanatic and causes a handful of casualties across the other units. The Shaman himself is killed and the Wolf Riders panic off the table. Ouch. To add insult to injury, the spell fails to wound its target anyway. Apparently this is expected of Goblin Shamans (er… shamen?), and the Orc Shaman carries on with his business as though nothing had happened, putting Bash ‘Em Lads on the General’s Boyz mob. The Boar Chariot finally fails it’s morale check against the ranks of Gors now pressing down upon it and it flees; the Gors reform to face the main action. The Gors with the BSB do an admirable job fighting the Orcs but it isn’t enough to stop them testing for insane courage (losing all four Harpies didn’t exactly help their cause). Even with a re-roll they can’t manage it, and a paltry 3 survivors flee past the Bestigors; the standard bearer and BSB both commit seppuku rather than face the shame of flight. The Ungors lose a lot of their number but they hold since they are usefully stubborn next to the Brewhouse.
The Tuskgor Chariot charges the fleeing Boar Chariot. It’s not in the way and it can’t redirect so I go for it to try and over run, which it duly does. The Centigors charge the newly rallied Night Goblins and the Bestigors charge into the General’s Boyz. In the magic phase (3,2 dice, and I get to keep all mine since the Staff of Sneaky Stealin’ is gone), Justinmatters knows that he’ll have to dispel any hexes I put on the Boyz with the Big Bosses to keep himself in the fight. He lets a Miasma (-2 WS) through on the Boyz with the Shaman, which I cast in the hope of getting him to commit his dice to it, but does dispel Enfeebling Foe on the main mob. Oh well, it was worth a try. The Centigors finish their good run, losing 2 to the Night Goblins and failing to run them down. I tried them first in the hope that they could get into the rear of the Boyz and hence get another round of combat this turn, but it was not to be. In the main event, the Big Boss, BSB and Boyz are obviously tired after their previous exertions, only managing to kill 2 Bestigors between the lot of them after some dreadful rolling. The Bestigors show them how it’s done, chopping them down to a few left plus the characters, who fail both attempts to hold (needing a 3 to do so). They get away (again, except for the BSB), but Justinmatters decides that is all he need to see here. The Big Boss is stuck in a unit under 25 % of its original size, so the game comes down to whether he could roll 1,1 to rally them next turn, otherwise they are near certain to flee off the table (even if they rally, the Bestigors could just charge them again and finish the job). Since this is Blood and Glory, that would be their breaking point reached.
Victory to the Beastmen! As usual when the game goes your way, I find that there isn’t much to be concluded, apart from ‘well, that worked.’
The Centigors did well although I think they might be flattered by getting to be sober when facing an army with low initiative. Against Elves they still would get skewered. Still, it was quite nice getting to roll armour saves for a change. I like them enough that I have added a unit of them to my to-do list, shamefully stealing the good ideas of Beastlord and Zebrazach. It won’t be any time soon though; I’ve already got far too much painting to do.
I am still not really sure of how to deal with Fanatics. I got rid of 3 of the 4 in this battle just by sitting on them with my guys and sucking up the damage, but there must be a better way. I am open to suggestions.