I thought it might be appropriate write a short article to explain the rationale behind the decisions made for the Beastmen in the Border Princes campaign we’re running at the moment.
To recap, at the end of turn 9, the Beastmen were allied with the Orcs & Goblins and at war with everyone else (High Elves, Bretonnians and Empire, although there hadn’t actually been any conflict with the Empire at this stage). Plenty of battles had been fought over the middle ground around Malko and the Old Silk Road, but over all the Beastmen were at least holding there own, and in particular were doing extremely well against the High Elves. Their alliance with the Orcs & Goblins ensured that some support was generally available for any battles in the centre of the map where serious opposing force could be brought to bear, and additionally were locked in combat with the Empire, keeping them focussed on the South of the Border Princes (i.e. away from Beastmen-held areas). It was clear that the Empire would be able to break through the Orc & Goblin lines in turn 10, and battles with the Bretonnians and the Empire against the Beastmen and Orcs & Goblins looked likely.
In turn 10, the Beastmen and the Orcs & Goblins mutually agreed to break their alliance, depriving both of support against the two human nations who were tightening their hold on the territories around Malko. Worse, being in combat with each other meant that they couldn’t use their own neighbouring armies to assist in battles against the Bretonnians and the Empire, since the banners that would have been able to support were fighting their own battles.
In addition, the Beastmen entered an alliance with the High Elves, a nation with relatively few banners which were largely focussed in the extreme North West (i.e. away from the main fighting) and who the Beastmen seemed to be holding back without too much difficulty (admittedly, this is mainly due to my luck rather than skill).
The result of all this is that the Beastmen traded a powerful ally in a useful position (the Orcs & Goblins with their 17 provinces) for a comparatively weak ally far from the main action (the High Elves, with only 12 territories on the map). The battles with the Orcs & Goblins also meant that the Empire were able to make full use of their well-placed Bretonnian allies to crush the Beastmen army on the Old Silk Road.
So, back to the question: why? It is simple, of course. An acknowledged problem with map campaigns is that you end up fighting against the same opponents a lot of the time, while others (in a different part of the map) can’t be engaged at all. I wanted a chance to fight against Justinmatters‘ Orcs & Goblins, and I wanted to shake up the stalemate in the centre of the map. So ultimately, this was just an excuse to (I hope) liven up the campaign a little by mixing the combinations of alliances and the likelihood of battles being fought.