Here we are for the fourth and final of my battles for turn 11 of the Border Princes campaign, this time an equal points affair against Justinmatters‘ Orcs & Goblins. I decided to continue with the Gor hordes and low magic build I’d tried out in my previous game against Furycat‘s Empire, but in a dramatic change from normal, I dropped the Bestigors that have done me so proud lately. Taking their place was the mighty Ghorgon, a beast that has underwhelmed me somewhat in a few previous outings (notably here, though I’ve tried it in a few others too). I also noticed that despite enjoying both chariots and Razorgors, I’ve never yet put a Razorgor Chariot on the table… until now.
Beastlord, Steel Claws, Armour of Destiny (BL)
Wargor, BSB, Beast Banner, Gnarled Hide, heavy armour, shield, (BSB)
Bray Shaman, level 2, Chalice of Dark Rain, additional hand weapon, Lore of Beasts (BS)
2 x 39 Gors, additional hand weapons, full command (G1 and G2)
20 Gors, additional hand weapons, full command (G3)
5 Ungor Raiders, musician (UR1)
5 Ungor Raiders (UR2)
5 Harpies, scouts (H)
Razorgor Chariot (RC)
Justinmatters, heartened by the good showing of his Grimgor Ironhide-led Black Orc army, took almost the exact same list again after scaling it down to 2000 points. Note for clarity: this is the 7th edition army book.
Grimgor Ironhide (GI)
Black Orc Big Boss, BSB, Martog’s Best Basha (BSB)
Orc Shaman, level 2 (OS)
53 Big ‘Uns, additional hand weapons, full command (BU)
20 Black Orcs (BO1)
25 Black Orcs (BO2)
5 Spear Chukkas (SC1 to SC5)
Rock Lobber (RL)
Once again, we roll up the Watchtower scenario, and once again my 20 Gor unit are too busy drinking themselves senseless to set up in it. The Orcs don’t have a 20 strong core unit to put in it either (in fact, the keen-eyed of you will note that there is only a single core unit, costing just fractionally over the required 500 points, in the list) so I’m going to get the first turn – just the way I like it when facing so many artillery pieces. There is an Idol of Mork in the South West and two fences in the North; a Blazing Barricade in the East and a Ghost Fence in the West. As has become inevitable by now, the Orc Shaman rolls up Gaze of Mork and Bash ‘Em Lads. The Bray Shaman takes Wyssan’s Wildform and Pann’s Impenetrable Pelt; I’ve never tried Pann’s Pelt before, but it seemed like this was a good game to try it.
The ambushing Raiders are obviously not the elite trackers I’d hoped for as they show up on my table edge, and are joined by the Bray Shaman since the imbeciles evidently need babysitting. The Gors are a bit more with it and come on from the West, scenting the Goblins crewing the Spear Chukkas as easy meat. Everyone else races forward as fast as they can apart from the Ghorgon, who holds back to keep with the Razorgor Chariot. The winds of magic continue their pitiful gusting from my previous game and the Bray Shaman uses the 2,1 dice to put Wildform on the BSB’s Gor herd.
One of the Spear Chukkas in the East fails its animosity check and head toward the Beastmen lines with Plan’s a Good ‘Un. The Big ‘Uns turn to bring the Harpies into line of sight for their Shaman and both the Black Orc units move straight forward to get stuck into the Beastmen. We get 6,1 dice for magic, but there’s only one spell to cast – Gaze of Mork at the Harpies. Fearful of a miscast, only 4 power dice are used, and so it’s easily dispelled by the Bray Shaman. Most of the artillery fire is stopped or misses due to the Chalice of Dark Rain but one of the Spear Chukkas does manage to take 3 wounds from the Ghorgon.
There are charges possible in turn 2, so I am a happy goat. The Harpies and ambushing Gors both charge a Spear Chukka. The BSB’s Gors charge the Big ‘Uns, and the Ghorgon and Razorgor Chariot rampage into the Eastern Black Orcs. Letting the side down somewhat, the Raiders fail to charge a Spear Chukka despite only needing a 4. The Beastlord’s herd enter the Watchtower and start making themselves at home. Yet again I roll 2,1 for magic, and this time Wildform is dispelled on the BSB’s herd. In combat the small Gor unit squashes the Spear Chukka and over-runs into the next in line. The Harpies do less well, losing one of their own and failing to run off the Goblins. The Razorgor Chariot starts off its appearance in my army in less than stellar style, rolling a single impact hit that fails to wound. Nevertheless, between it and the Ghorgon, many Black Orcs are laid low though the Ghorgon is down to a single wound and the chariot has three left. Despite the carnage, the Black Orcs are steadfast, so they hold. Finally, the Gors and Big ‘Uns do major damage to each other (including the Shaman being cut down) and after all is counted up, the Gors have lost by two. I fail my break test twice despite needing only 7 so they flee and are cut down, taking the BSB with them. In fact, I rolled 10 on both the break checks so it didn’t actually matter that I was steadfast and in range of the Beastlord. To add insult to injury, I also rolled 10 for fleeing distance but the Big ‘Uns sprinted a might 11″ to catch them. The only consolation is that they were 11″ further from the Watchtower.
One of the remaining Spear Chukkas in the East obligingly squabbles, though there are next to no targets available anyway, so presumably they’re only arguing over why there’s nothing much to do; the rest of the artillery take sub-optimal pot shots at the Raiders. Grimgor leads his Immortulz in a frontal assault on the Watchtower, issues a challenge and duly shreds the unfortunate Foe-Render is hastily pushed into his path by the Beastlord. Many more Gors die, but there are plenty more where they come from and they repulse the Black Orcs from the building. Meanwhile, both the Harpies and the ambushing Gors spike their respective warmachines and the Ghorgon and Razorgor Chariot finish off all but three of the Black Orcs, who fail to muster the Insane Courage they’d need to hang around and flee for the table edge. The Razorgor Chariot reforms to face the flank of the Immortulz.
The Razorgor Chariot charges into the flank of Grimgor’s mob hoping to thin them out a little with impact hits before the big guy makes way to smash it to flinders. The Ghorgon declares a charge on the fleeing Black Orcs to hasten their exit from the game and then redirects into a Spear Chukka next to them; the Raiders follow suit into the last remaining bolt thrower. Over in the West, the Harpies sigh and move from Operation: Kill Small Squishy Stuff to Operation: Redirect Big Scary Stuff. Their impending sacrifice is duly noted as the Beastlord ransacks the Watchtower for ale. For the third turn in a row, I roll 2,1 for magic dice although this time it is enough to put Wildform on the herd in the Watchtower. The Ghorgon and the Raiders finish off the Spear Chukkas, but the Razorgor Chariot comes to a sticky end. Following its theme from the first charge it scores only a single impact hit, which fails to wound. Grimgor Ironhide reduces it to matchwood before doing something completely unexpected: reforming his mob to face the incoming ambushers.
Waaagh! The Big ‘Uns charge the hapless Harpies and Grimgor Ironhide charges into the ambushers. Predictably, the Harpies are annihilated for no loss among the Big ‘Uns. The Gors lose heavily to the Black Orcs and flee but get away.
The Raiders once again fail to make a charge on the artillery, though it’s probably fair enough since I suspect that Justinmatters forgot to fire it last turn anyway. The Bray Shaman leaves the other herd of Raiders to their fate and joins the Beastlord in the comfy chairs in the Watchtower; the Raiders head off to redirect/speed-bump the Big ‘Uns. I finally manage to roll more than 3 power dice for magic, getting 5,3 to play with. It’s enough to put Wildform on the newly rallied ambushers, which might be helpful to thin out the Black Orcs next turn.
No surprises to the Orc & Goblin tactics this turn: the Big ‘Uns slaughter the Raiders and the Immortulz finish off the ambushers (though they do lose a few more of their number).
So it’s come to this: I move the Ghorgon, 275 points of raging murder-beast into a position to redirect the Big ‘Uns. It’s a far cry from throwing Harpies and Raiders into their path. Still, what can you do? Over on the far side of the battle from all the action, the remaining Raiders charge into the Rock Lobber. With 4,2 power dice, the Bray Shaman puts Pann’s Pelt on the Beastlord, mainly in the (vain) hope of drawing out some dispel dice. As a result, Wildform on the Ghorgon is dispelled. The Ungors push over the Rock Lobber, and the one survivor optimistically reforms to face the action, which he might manage to take part in if he really hurries.
The Big ‘Uns charge into the Ghorgon, who eats a good number of them before being dragged down and thoroughly beaten.
The game actually goes on until turn 8, but it’s not really worth any more pictures. In the Beastmen turns the Bray Shaman casts either or both of his spells, and in the Orc & Goblin turns, one or other of the mobs charges the Watchtower, causes and receives massive casualties and is repulsed. By the last turn, Grimgor Ironhide is down to just him and the BSB charging into a Watchtower garrisoned by about ten Gors plus the Beastlord and Bray Shaman; but they can’t quite force the Beastmen out. Victory for the Beastmen! Incidentally, we played turn 9 just to see what would happen, and I finally failed the break check, so if the game had gone the full way to turn 9 I’d have lost.
Overall, it was a highly satisfying and close game. From turn 4 onward I was praying for the game to end, and each successive turn reduced the garrison of the Watchtower still further so it was all very tense at the end. I felt that I missed the Bestigors, and the Ghorgon just isn’t enough of a beast to make up for them considering how many points it costs. The Razorgor Chariot was something of a let down, but it did enough to earn itself another go in my army. Perhaps if I could roll more than 1 for impact hits it would have been more impressive.