Furycat and I got in a little extra Saturday night wargaming thanks to an unusual arrangement of our schedules. He suggested a nice small quick 1000 point affair, and I readily agreed. There are probably no great surprises in my list – it’s not easy to fit all you might like into such a small game. It’s probably worth noting that we played closed lists here, something we haven’t done much before.
Great Bray Shaman, level 3, extra hand weapon, Jagged Dagger, Talisman of Endurance, Lore of Beasts (GBS)
Wargor, BSB, Gnarled Hide, heavy armour, shield, (BSB)
29 Gors, additional hand weapons, full command (G)6 Ungor Raiders, musician (UR)
5 Harpies (H)
19 Bestigors, full command, Banner of Discipline (B)
Furycat selected these moustachioed men.
General of the Empire, Sword of Justice, Armour of Meteoric Iron, Dawnstone, Van Horstman’s Speculum (GE)
Captain of the Empire, BSB, full plate armour, Dragonhelm, Potion of Toughness (BSB)
Battle Wizard, level 2, Dispel Scroll, Lore of Shadow (BW)
39 Halberdiers, full command (H)
29 Swordsmen, full command (S)
5 Pistoliers (P)
We randomly selected the Battleline scenario, and rolled up the minimum 5 terrain pieces. It’s probably just as well with such small armies. There was a (suspiciously bloody-looking) Wyrding Well just to the North-West of the centre and a Magic Circle in the South. The forests and river lay in wait to attack our armies when we least expected it. The Great Bray Shaman chose Wyssan’s Wildform, Curse of Anraheir and Savage Beast of Horros as his spells; the Battle Wizard took Enfeebling Foe and The Withering. The Pistoliers use their Vanguard move to head for their goaty foes, and we begin with the Empire.
The Pistoliers get right in the face of the Bestigors, and everyone else strolls forward. The Halberdiers enter what turns out to be a Blood Forest which we instantly forget about for the rest of the game. The Battle Wizard commands 4,2 magic dice, but his attempt to put Enfeebling Foe on the Gors fails anyway. The shooting phase continues in this manner, with the Mortar missing the Gors by miles and the Pistoliers all failing to hit any Harpies.
The Bestigors declare a charge on the Pistoliers, who flee. The Harpies then do the same, forcing another flee reaction. After bumping through the impassable Wyrding Well, the Pistoliers end up having fled across half the table. Both Beastmen units stumble forward a little, of course. The Gors try to charge the Swordsmen, but fail to roll the 11″ they’d have needed to make contact (I was hoping to chew through the Swordsmen before the Halberdiers could get in a good position to support them). In the magic phase, I have 3,3 power dice to use. Curse of Anraheir is put on the Halberdiers (failed dispel from the Battle Wizard) and the Gors receive Wyssan’s Wildform.
The Pistoliers fail to rally, stopping only a little short of their own table edge. The Halberdiers wheel to support the Swordsmen, though 5 of them are killed thanks to the Curse. With 4,1 magic dice, Enfeebling Foe on the Gors is dispelled, but they lose 3 toughness to The Withering. Luckily for them, the Mortar misses again.
The Gors charge the Swordsmen, who hold. I roll 5,4 magic dice and the first thing to go is a dispel of the Withering – the Swordsmen would have made short work of toughness 1 Gors. In a crucial move, the Battle Wizard uses his Dispel Scroll to stop Wildform on the Gors, and then the Shaman fails to cast the Curse on the Swordsmen. After an epic round of everyone doing nothing much (apart from the Empire Captain, who nails all 3 of his victims), the Swordsmen easily hold.
The Halberdiers gleefully charge the flank of the Gors, and the Pistoliers decide to rally before they leave the battlefield entirely. The Battle Wizard gets 5,1 dice and although Enfeebling Foe is dispelled, The Withering reduces the Gors to toughness 3. The Mortar carries on its stellar performance by misfiring, though it’ll be fine again next turn. The Gors are blended thoroughly by the State Troops, with the General killing the Foe-Render in a challenge and the Captain killing another 3 alone. A handful of survivors are unable to muster the 1,1 they’d need to hold in combat, even on the re-roll, and are run over by the Halberdiers who contact the Raiders. The Swordsmen restrain themselves and reform instead.
The Harpies finally catch up with and charge the Pistoliers, losing no-one to a stand and shoot reaction, and the Bestigors throw themselves into the Halberdiers. The Winds of Magic blow strongly, and with 6,4 power dice and some good rolling, the Great Bray Shaman puts Savage Beast on himself, Wildform on his herd and Curse on the humans. The General of the Empire issues a challenge to single combat… and, since I (correctly) suspect the Speculum we go away to look up some rules. We couldn’t find anything conclusive, so ruled that the Shaman’s buffed stats would transfer in this case. Of course, accepting a challenge in that case would be suicidal, so the Gouge-Horn is pushed in front of the General instead. Improbably, there are no wounds on either side of the challenge, but that was the end of the good news for the Empire as they didn’t even kill a Raider, never mind any Bestigors. The Halberdiers flee, and I decide to pursue only with the Raiders and reform with the Bestigors. The Halberdiers only roll a 4″ flee and I triumphantly follow up with… a 3″ pursuit from the Raiders. Curses. Over on the other side of the field, the Harpies don’t manage a single wound on the Pistoliers, lose 2 of their own, flee and are run down.
The Swordsmen charge the Raiders, who hold (I couldn’t really see much point in having them flee). The Halberdiers rally and turn to face their tormentors, reforming for depth while they do so. There are 6,2 magic dice, and while Enfeebling Foe (-1 strength) is let through on the Bestigors, The Withering is dispelled. Apparently aiming to make up for its earlier mediocrity, the Mortar lands a direct hit on the Bestigors and kills 6 of them despite them having Wildform on them. They then fail their panic check and head for the hills. Only a single Raider survives the onslaught of the Swordsmen (or more accurately, the Captain, who again kills with all 3 of his attacks; the rest of the unit only managed 2 between the lot of them). He flees and the Swordsmen fail to catch him.
The Bestigors rally, and that’s it for the Beastmen movement phase. Now that it’ll make no difference, I roll 6,5 magic dice, and to cap it off, the Great Bray Shaman miscasts on a 3-dice casting of Savage Beast. The resulting calamitous detonation vapourises another 3 Bestigors. The Curse is let through on the Halberdiers, but Wildform is dispelled.
The Empire army continue to close the trap on the Bestigors. The magic phase (6,4 dice) is remarkably similar to the previous turn, with Enfeebling Foe (-1 strength) being let through and The Withering being dispelled. The Mortar returns to it’s hilarious, calamitous bad form, missing the Bestigors but landing a shot directly on top of the Pistoliers and wiping them out to a man.
The Bestigors fail to charge the Halberdiers despite only needing to roll a 3, the dice come up 1,1. With 3,2 magic dice, I just put them all into Wildform.
Both units charge the Bestigors. The Battle Wizard uses all of the 2,2 dice to put The Withering (-3 toughness) on Bestigors, and the Great Bray Shaman is unable to dispel it. Of course, the game is over by this point, but Furycat is happy to take the opportunity to get revenge on the Bestigors for all the hurt they’ve handed out over our games, so we roll the dice anyway. Naturally, not a single Bestigor lives to swing his mighty weapon, though the Great Bray Shaman survives long enough for us to decline to roll his break check. Victory for the Empire!
As ever with Furycat, that was a highly satisfying game. It was also a highly instructive one for me, and I hope that I can learn from my errors. Specifically, here are two events from the game which I think are worth mentioning.
1. Charging the Gors into the Swordsmen. Actually, I don’t particularly consider this to be a huge error, and would probably do it again. With only a single rank more than the Gors, I wouldn’t have had to do much damage to the Swordsmen to remove Steadfast, and with Wildform in play I could have expected to mow through them seriously. My hope was to blow through the Swordsmen before the Halberdiers could come to their aid. Good play by Furycat though, firstly by positioning the Halberdier well and secondly by knowing the perfect moment to use the Dispel Scroll.
2. Not pursuing the Halberdier with the Bestigors. This was a serious error – having two pursuing units gave me twice the opportunity to run down the monster block of Halberdiers and the General, and it cost me dearly in the end.
After the game, Furycat looked in more detail into the rules around the use of the Speculum and we played it wrong – only the ‘base’ statistics are swapped. Still, it wouldn’t have made much difference, since he could have simply not issued the challenge if we’d known to play it that way.