Here is the first of the five battles in which my bleating Beastmen herd is involved for turn 13 of our Border Princes campaign. The border skirmishes with my erstwhile allies, Justinmatters‘ Orcs & Goblins have escalated to the point where I’m assaulting his HQ territory this turn, but this isn’t that game. Justinmatters finally cracked and started using the 8th edition army book for the Orcs & Goblins, and decided it might be unwise to fight a crucial battle as his first ever. I took more or less the same arrangement as my last outing against Aramoro‘s Vampire Counts, losing the hapless Minotaurs in favour of some more Gors, Raiders and a flight of Harpies.
Great Bray Shaman, level 4, Steel Claws, Jagged Dagger, Talisman of Preservation, Lore of Beasts (GBS)
Wargor, BSB, Beast Banner, Gnarled Hide, heavy armour, shield, (BSB)
Bray Shaman, level 2, Dispel Scroll, Lore of Shadow (BS)
39 Gors, additional hand weapons, full command (G1)
20 Gors, additional hand weapons, full command (G2)
30 Ungors, full command (U)
5 Ungor Raiders, musician (UR1)
5 Ungor Raiders, musician (UR2)
5 Harpies, scouts (H)
39 Bestigors, full command, Banner of Discipline (B)
Justinmatters probably had some selection criteria in mind for this horde of greenskinned hooligans, but I have no idea what it might have been.
Black Orc Warboss
Orc Big Boss, BSB (BSB)
Savage Orc Shaman, level 2, War Boar, Dispel Scroll (S)
50 Orc Big ‘Uns, additional hand weapons, full command, Ranger’s Standard (BU)
40 Night Goblins, nets, full command (NG)
25 Black Orcs, full command (BO)
28 Squig Herders (SH)
6 Trolls (T)
14 Boar Boyz, full command, Gleaming Pennant (BB)
10 Arrer Boyz, full command (AB)
We roll up a Battleline, and the only piece of funny terrain is a Magic Circle in the South. The Great Bray Shaman selects Wyssan’s Wildform (don’t leave the forest without it), Curse of Anraheir, Amber Spear and Transformation of Kadon, with the Bray Shaman taking Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma and Enfeebling Foe. On the other side of the table, the Savage Orc Shaman revels in the opportunity to try out new spells and gets ‘Ere We Go and Gaze of Mork. Noting the lack of artillery in the North, the Harpies reluctantly engage Operation: Get Smashed By Fanatics. The Orcs & Goblins win the roll to go first and take it.
The game begins with a near catastrophic series of mis-readings of the animosity rules (in which the Warboss beats his unit so severely they flee off the table) before we get ourselves sorted out. The Arrer Boyz squabble and are beaten back to shape (but in smaller numbers) by the Warboss. The Night Goblins head toward the Harpies with We’ll Show Em! and the Squig herders squabble about who has to stand closest to the actual Squigs. The Night Goblins then charge the Harpies, who flee and get away. To my great surprise, a bunch of Fanatics are not suddenly hurled into the middle of the table. The rest of the mobs move forward with the exception of the Boar Boyz, who presumably have a cunning plan. The Shaman channels 6,4 magic dice but strangely decides not to bother casting any spells. Apparently his plan is even more cunning than I suspected.
Determined to match the incompetence of the Squig Herders, the small Gor herd gets lost and arrives behind the Beastmen lines. Imbeciles. The Harpies fail to rally, and everyone else moves up. The Ungor Raiders are shoved unceremoniously in front of the massive mob of Big Uns. It’s a tough life being at the bottom of the ladder if you’re a Beastman. Continuing the magical nature of the game so far, I get 6, 5 power dice. After a quick look at the stat line for Squigs, I start by putting Miasma (-2 move) on them; I’m happy for them to stay right where they are. An Amber Spear kills a single Boar Boy, but Curse of Anraheir on the Big Uns is dispelled using all 6 dispel dice. I put Enfeebling Foe on the Black Orcs just for something to do (I know that it’ll be dispelled in the next magic phase, but it doesn’t hurt to try) and then Wildform on the Gors to liven up the expected combat next turn.
The Night Goblins squabble again, and charge into the Gors. The Black Orcs, not wanting to be shown up, join in the action. The Arrer Boyz squabble again, presumably in an attempt to not be the ones standing next to the decreasingly serene Warboss, but he beats another few of them to death anyway. The Big Uns charge into the Raiders. With 6,3 magic dice, Enfeebling Foe is dispelled (of course), but I’m able to stop Gaze of Mork at the Bestigors. The Big Uns predictably annihilate the Raiders and reform to face West (I was hoping they’d fail to restrain, but at least they’re out of my hair for another turn). The Gors get netted by the Night Goblins but go absolutely bonkers, tearing apart greenskins left, right and centre (total kills: 24 over both mobs). When the dust settles, the Black Orcs are unable to muster the 1,1 they’d need to keep fighting but the Night Goblins are steadfast so hang around for another round of blending. I think that the Black Orcs had the right idea after that performance.
Seeing a never-to-be-repeated opportunity, the Ungors charge the fleeing Black Orcs and wipe them out. The remaining Beastmen herds manoeuver to set up charges next turn, except for the Raiders who move to tempt the Squigs into doing something stupid. We carry on getting lots of magic dice with 6, 2 this turn. Curse of Anraheir is cast on the Big Uns (tried but failed to dispel) but a single die casting of Miasma on the Night Goblins and a two dice attempt at Amber Spear on the curiously reticent Boar Boyz both fail. The Night Goblins are hammered thoroughly for the second round in a row and this time they aren’t steadfast. Even a re-roll for the proximity of the Battle Standard Bearer isn’t enough to keep them going this time, and they flee; the Gors, seeing the Big Uns hoving into view, reform to five wide and face East.
The Squig Herd obligingly squabbles again and fails to make the charge into the Raiders. The Big Uns charge into the small unit of Gors, but nine of them trip and die thanks to the Curse. Over in the West, the Boar Boyz and Trolls both charge the Bestigors. There aren’t enough remaining Arrer Boyz to squabble, so the Warboss leads a couple of them into the building without having to slap any more sense into them. Just when the Shaman really needs the magic dice, we only get 4,1. Gaze of Mork is dispelled and the Bray Shaman uses his Dispel Scroll on ‘Ere We Go. The Big Uns mercilessly crush the Gors, who flee and get away. Sadly for the Big Uns, not only do they lose a few more to the Curse when pursuing, but they roll pitifully for distance and present their flank to the big Gor herd. The combat between the Trolls, Boar Boyz and Bestigors is incredibly bloody and close, but the Bestigors narrowly squeak it. The Trolls realise that they’re now out of both general and BSB range and turn tail for their board edge. The Boar Boyz, or, more accurately, the single surviving Boar Boy plus the Shaman, make use of their Gleaming Banner and hold on the re-roll (note: I think we did this wrong because the standard bearer was dead by that point, but it didn’t make any difference). The Bestigors breathe a sigh of relief and reform to 6 wide.
The Wargor’s Gor herd charges the flank of the Big Uns, but the Ungors make a mess of their charge into the Night Goblins. Meanwhile, the Raiders get right up in the face of the Squig Herd in the hope of luring them off the table, the Harpies flap into the middle of the table to try and look like they’re actually contributing something and the surviving Gors rally. In another titanic magic phase, we have 6,6 dice to play with. Enfeebling Foe (-1S) on the Big Uns is let through but the Curse is dispelled using the Shaman’s Scroll (I think this was a case of ‘use it or lose it’). The Squig Herders are once again hit with Miasma, this time the upgraded version. Wildform on the Gors is dispelled, but it doesn’t really help the Big Uns who lose be enough to flee, although they do get away. The Bestigors finish off the last Boar Boy and the Shaman, and Justinmatters calls it a day. Victory for the Beastmen!
Sadly for my conclusion writing, I don’t really feel like there are any great things for me to learn from this game. It was fun and satisfactory in the sense that everything went my way, but after the Gors hammered the Black Orcs so convincingly in turn two it was clear that the dice were on my side. The combat with the Bestigors was a little uncomfortable but I felt confident that they’d do enough damage to the Trolls and Boar Boyz to remain steadfast until I could get some magical augmentation and hexing into the action. As it happened, they did just fine on their own.