The final battle from turn 10 of the Border Princes campaign is another clash between erstwhile allies, the Beastmen and the Orcs & Goblins. In a neighbouring territory the Beastmen were able to over-run the greenskins, but this time the Orcs & Goblins have a supporting banner and the numerical superiority that brings. After having finally got round to creating a Wargor to carry my Battle Standard, I (somewhat perversely) decided that this time I fancied trying out a Gorebull instead. The only other time I used a Minotaur as BSB ended in crushing defeat, so I was looking for something a bit more useful from the big guy. I also noticed that I’ve been using the Lore of Shadow pretty much exclusively on my Great Bray Shamans of late, so I went back for another investigation into the Lore of Beasts.
Almar Short Horn – Great Bray Shaman, level 4, additional hand weapon, Jagged Dagger, Talisman of Preservation, Lore of Beasts (GBS)
Garn – Gorebull, BSB, heavy armour, Berserker Sword, Talisman of Endurance (BSB)
30 Gors, additional hand weapons, full command (G)
30 Ungors, full command (U)
5 Ungor Raiders, musician (UR)
5 Minotaurs (M)
23 Bestigors, full command, Banner of Discipline (B)
Justinmatters wanted to bring some Black Orcs, so we agreed to waive that this army should have been headed by a Goblin Warboss (after all, who’s going to argue if a Black Orc rocks up and says he’s in charge?). I didn’t realise quite how many he meant to bring…
Black Orc Big Boss, Martog’s Best Basha (BB)
Orc Big Boss, BSB, Shrieking Blade (BSB)
Orc Shaman, level 2, dispel scroll (OS)
Goblin Shaman, Staff of Sneaky Stealin’ (GS)
20 Night Goblins, short bows, musician, standard bearer, 2 Fanatics (NG1, F1 and F2)
20 Night Goblins, short bows, musician, standard bearer, 2 Fanatics (NG2, F3 to F5)
27 Orc Big ‘Uns, additional hand weapons, full command (B)
Boar Chariot (BC)
40 Black Orcs, full command (BO)
2 Trolls (T)
Ouch, that’s a lot of Black Orcs. I’m not sure what to do about that, so I decide go with my usual plan of ‘wing it and hope for the best.’ We (yet again) got the Meeting Engagement, and then sort out the terrain by random generation and turnwise deployment. I go first, so the Tower of Blood goes in the far South East corner (all my units already get hatred or frenzy, so I don’t want to share it out too much). A scree slope goes in the North with mysterious forests in the East and West. Finally, we have a (normal) building and a ghost fence forming a sort of homestead right in the middle. The Orc Shaman has Gaze of Mork and Bash ‘Em Lads and the Goblin Shaman has the always entertaining Foot of Gork. Meanwhile, the Great Bray takes Wyssan’s Wildform, Curse of Anraheir, Savage Beast of Horros and Transformation of Kadon. I deploy first (only a single Night Goblin unit is delayed out of both armies) but Justinmatters wins the ‘steal the initiative’ roll and makes me move first too. Fine with me, although for a change I wouldn’t really have minded going second.
The Ungors start by entering the building. I’m never sure what to do with buildings in Warhammer because I can never plan far enough ahead to get units out at the right time. Anyway, it was in the way so I thought ‘why not?’ High strategy, I’m sure you’ll agree. Everyone else moves forward, although the Bestigors take a look at the huge block of Black Orcs staring at them from across the field and decide not to hurry too much. Magic only gives me 3,1 dice, and with the Staff of Sneaky Stealin’ I don’t even have more power dice than dispel dice. I try to put the Curse of Anraheir on the Black Orcs just for something to do, but it’s dispelled. The Raiders do manage to put an arrow into one of the Big ‘Uns, so it is first blood to the Beastmen.
Somewhat obligingly, the Big ‘Uns squabble, which probably saves the Raiders from a messy end (for now), but the Black Orcs and Night Goblins go forward a few inches with ‘Plan’s a Good ‘Un.’ The Trolls charge the Gors, who hold. Over in the East, the delayed Night Goblins arrive and unleash their Fanatics, one of whom crashes through the Gors and kills a few of them. Everyone else shuffles around a bit. In the magic phase (6,1 dice) both Gaze of Mork on the Raiders and Foot of Gork on the Bestigors are dispelled. The Night Goblins open fire, downing a Raider and a Bestigor in hail of little arrows. The Gors kill one of the Trolls before it even swings, then run the other one down in pursuit.
The Gors, fresh from cutting down a Troll, decide to have a go at the Big ‘Uns (note: although I forgot they were Big ‘Uns at the time, thinking they were normal Boyz, I still probably would have charged). It was actually debatable whether they should hit the flank or front so we diced for it, and ended up with a frontal charge. The Bestigors, anticipating a lot of Black Orcs in their near future, reform to 5 wide and move up with the building shielding their right flank. The Minotaurs move round the building to set up what I hope will be a devastating charge on the Black Orcs next turn, but the real masterstroke is now to come. I move the Raiders right in front of the Black Orcs, angled so that a pursuit will open them up to a double charge from the Minotaurs and the Bestigors. I’m still feeling smug about my cleverness when a Fanatic is released from the Night Goblins which goes straight through them and wipes the whole lot out. Well, so much for strategy. We get 3,2 dice for magic and the Great Bray puts Curse of Anraheir on the Black Orcs and Wildform on the Minotaurs. I waffled for a while about whether to put it on the Bestigors or the Gors instead, but finally decided that my best bet was to further discourage charges on the Minotaurs. In close combat, my dice are amazing and Justinmatters’ are abysmal: the Gors tear through Big ‘Uns like they’re Goblins, and take next to no casualties in return. The Big ‘Uns are unable to muster the 1,1 they’d need to stay and are duly run down by the Gors. This also usefully puts them out of the Black Orcs’ charge arc and probably saves them from a severe thumping.
Waaagh! The Night Goblins in the East get the turn off to a hilarious start by landing on their own Fanatic, loosing 8 of their number and panicking back from whence they came. The Night Goblins in the West suffer the same fate but hold their nerve thanks to the steely glare of the Black Orc Big Boss. It turns out that the answer to my question about how to get rid of Fanatics is to get their parent units to sit on them. This extra move gives the Night Goblins enough extra distance to charge the Bestigors in the flank, which I certainly didn’t see coming. The Black Orcs charge them too, though this is less of a surprise. One fanatic goes right through the middle of this scrum, but another dies of a drug-induced heart attack. In the magic phase an Irresistable Foot of Gork kills a few Bestigors, but the Shaman survives the resulting miscast despite taking 5 strength 4 hits. That is one tough Goblin. The Bestigors put up a good fight, and even hack down the Black Orc General (I would have gone for the BSB but he was out of reach), but ultimately they don’t have what it takes to hold off that many assailants. A ragged handful of them survive long enough to fail their break check, and are ignominiously run down by Night Goblins. The Black Orcs reform to face the Minotaurs.
I’m not going to get a tastier target for the Minotaurs than that Boar Chariot, so off we go for the blood greed express. In the North, the Gors fail their swift reform check, so the Minotaurs will have to tough it out on their own for a bit longer. I still can’t think of anything clever to do with the Ungors, so they stay in the building. Not surprisingly, the Minotaurs smash the chariot into match sticks and (just) overrun into the Black Orcs with an extra attack each for company.
The triumphant Night Goblins reform to face the action, still crowing about their victory over the Bestigors and (more importantly) the Great Bray Shaman. The Black Orc Big Boss, groaning under a pile of corpses, makes a mental note to thrash them back into servility in due course. The Shaman tries to cast Foot of Gork on the Minotaurs but I luck out and dispel it Irresistably. So now it’s straight on to the main event. I do lose a couple of Minotaurs, but they don’t disappoint and carve their way through 18 Black Orcs after impact hits and stomps. The Black Orcs are steadfast and hold but it’s a near thing this time. They reform to 6 wide to keep steadfast for longer (they couldn’t take another beating like that if they want to have any 10-wide ranks left) and the Minotaurs reform to 4 wide so that all the survivors can make their full attacks.
I finally decide to take some action with the Ungors and move them out of the building hoping for a flank charge on the Black Orcs to get some much-needed static combat resolution in on my side. I decide I need to get rid of the Orc BSB so the Gorebull smashes him into paste. The lost attacks on the Black Orcs mean that the Minotaurs actually lose this combat and it is heart-in-mouth time. Breaking here will put the Beastmen in with a hard job to come out of this game with success. The Minotaurs need a 4… and get a 4 (didn’t even need the reroll). The Berserker Sword comes into its own (by allowing the Minotaurs to keep their bonus attacks, of which there are many at this stage) and I am very relieved.
The Night Goblins charge the Ungors in the flank in another move which, for some reason, I didn’t see coming. In the magic phase we get an exact repeat of the previous turn, as I Irresistably dispel another casting of Foot of Gork on the Minotaurs. The Ungors may not be much of a combat force but they are more than a match for the Night Goblins, sending the little green blighters packing after a round of slapping each other with handbags. The Black Orcs finally take down the Gorebull and there is only a single Minotaur left on one wound, but they do epic damage first with only about 8 Black Orcs remaining. It’s getting tight, but the Black Orcs hold again steadfast.
The Gors and Ungors finally get into position to flank the Black Orcs. The Minotaur is dragged down but after all the attacks there are only 2 Black Orcs left. They flee, and Justinmatters calls it. Victory for the Beastmen!
What a game! The combat between the Black Orcs and the Minotaurs was epic, the stuff of legends; with both units wiped out in the end.
As usual, it’s hard to draw useful conclusions from a victory because the temptation is to say ‘it all worked well’. I think that my try at redirecting the Black Orcs was a good idea, and could have made a huge difference if the Raiders hadn’t been wiped out completely by a Fanatic. I didn’t make very good use of the Great Bray Shaman, though of course I was hoping that I could have him in combat in my turn so that I could get some effect from his spells. Even so, the Curse of Anraheir reduced the incoming damage from the Black Orcs by enough that some survived to kill their general and make inroads into the rank and file. I wasn’t too disappointed in the Bestigors since their ‘heroic’ sacrifice pulled the Black Orcs into the charge arc of the Minotaurs. The Gors had a great day, taking out the Trolls (not such a surprise) and the Big ‘Uns in consecutive turns. In fairness, no-one could have predicted the Big ‘Uns losing that fight, but their dice were terrible.
So, that’s that for turn 10. We’re going to increase army sizes to 2000 points for the next turns so that should be a nice change of pace.