For various reasons, playing games of Warhammer Fantasy Battle hasn’t really been on the menu for me lately, but I got back into the swing of the battles for turn 14 of the Border Princes campaign with the second of four games against Justinmatters‘ Orcs & Goblins. I decided that playing with two Giants again so soon would be boring so I brought in a couple of Razorgors and a Bray Shaman toting the Lore of Death. It’s been a while since I used either in my lists; I feel like the Razorgors ought to be pretty handy for picking off lone characters, artillery and generally making a nuisance of themselves, but somehow I just never seem to be able to do much with them. The only previous time I tried out the Lore of Death was on a Great Bray Shaman and I was pretty underwhelmed (though I did well enough in the game).
Great Bray Shaman, level 4, Steel Claws, Jagged Dagger, Talisman of Preservation, Ironcurse Icon, Lore of Shadow (GBS)
Wargor, BSB, Beast Banner, Gnarled Hide, heavy armour, shield, (BSB)
Bray Shaman, level 2, Dispel Scroll, additional hand weapon, Lore of Beasts (BS1)
Bray Shaman, level 2, Chalice of Dark Rain, additional hand weapon, Lore of Death (BS2)
39 Gors, additional hand weapons, full command (G1)
20 Gors, additional hand weapons, full command (G2)
2 x 5 Ungor Raiders, musician (UR1 and UR2)
40 Ungors, full command (UH)
2 x 5 Harpies, scouts (H1 and H2)
2 x Razorgors (R1 and R2)
23 Bestigors, full command, Banner of Discipline (B)
Justinmatters just took the same list as our last outing, though he did take the bold step of actually using the Wolf Chariots this time.
Savage Orc Warboss, Armour of Silvered Steel, Dawnstone, Potion of Foolhardiness, War Boar, additional hand weapon (WB)
Orc Great Shaman, level 4 (OS)
Black Orc Big Boss, BSB, Dragonhelm, Crown of Command (BSB)
Night Goblin Shaman, level 2, dispel scroll (S1)
Night Goblin Shaman (S2)
30 Savage Orc Big ‘Uns, additional hand weapons, full command (SOBU)
26 Night Goblins, full command (NG), with 1 Fanatic (F)
2 x 5 Wolf Riders, musician, standard bearer (WR1 and WR2)
9 Savage Orc Boar Boyz, musician, standard bearer (SOB)
3 Goblin Wolf Chariots (WC)
5 Spear Chukkas (SC1 to SC5)
2 Rock Lobbers with Orc bullies (RL1 and RL2)
We randomly select Blood and Glory with only 5 terrain pieces. Even the deployment of the terrain is part of the game: Justinmatters puts an Altar of Khaine away out in the West, reasoning that there’s no reason to share the frenzy that most of his army has anyway. Similarly, I put a Scree Slope in the East as I hate when artillery is parked on it (though we forget about it straight away anyway). Otherwise, there is normal hill, a mysterious forest and a Charnel Pit all in the middle. Strictly speaking the Charnel Pit is supposed to be impassable but considering the bit of terrain we end up using, it is agreed to be ‘merely’ dangerous terrain. The Orc Great Shaman takes Hand of Gork, ‘Ere We Go, Fists of Gork and Gaze of Mork; the first Night Goblin takes Sneaky Stabbin’ and Gork’ll Fix It and the other has Itchy Nuisance. Meanwhile, I yet again get my favourite set of spells: Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma, Enfeebling Foe, The Withering, and Okkam’s Mindrazor on the Great Bray Shaman and Wyssan’s Wildform and Curse of Anraheir for the Bray Shaman. The Death Bray Shaman takes Doom and Darkness and Purple Sun of Xereus; I’m not really sure what would be useful from that Lore, so I just wing it. Looking at the deployment of the Orcs & Goblins, I decide not to ambush either a herd of Raiders or the small Gor unit. The Razorgors and one set of Raiders were deployed early until it became clear where teh action was going to be, hence the tight deployment of other herds. The Harpies scout to annoying positions and the Wolf Riders vanguard up to try and intercept them, then the Orcs & Goblins get going first.
The game begins with the Wolf Riders moving towards the Harpies, and that’s about it. The Winds of Magic give up 4,2 dice; Itchy Nuisance fails to cast on the West Harpies and Fists of Gork is dispelled. However, the shooting phase is more productive as both Razorgors are turned into kebabs and a rock lands right on top of the Ungors killing 8 of them before they even moved. Luckily no-one panics, but so much for my hopes of working out good uses for the big pigs.
The Harpies in the East charge the nearest Spear Chukka, releasing a Fanatic as they pass who only manages to kill one of them as he whirls through. I ponder a bit about the other Harpies and finally charge them into the Wolf Riders. Naturally, everyone else move forward with the Raiders in the West popping into what turns out to be a Fungus Forest before steering clear again. I have 6,1 magic dice to use, and put 5 of them into the little version of Purple Sun which is promptly dispelled. Unopposed, the Great Bray Shaman puts Enfeebling Foe (-2S) on the Chariots, mainly to use up some of Justinmatters’ magic dice in a later turn getting rid of it. In the East, the Harpies easily kill the Spear Chukka crew and over run into the next one, but it’s a different story on the other side of the table. The Harpies only pull down one of the Wolf Riders and lose 4 in return; not surprisingly the lone survivor heads for the board edge and the victorious Goblins reform to face South.
The glorious Wolf Riders charge into the Raiders accompanying the Bray Shaman and make contact despite needing an 11. The other Wolf Riders lose interest in the Harpies and move to redirect the small Gor herd, and the Fanatic has a heart attack (in fact, he’d have hit a cliff wall anyway). Again, the rest of the army is content to stay still and wait for the Beastmen to do all the work crossing the table. Justinmatters rolls 6,3 magic dice and starts by putting Itchy Nuisance on the Bestigors (-1M and I) which is let through. Gork’ll Fix It on the engaged Raiders fails to cast, then Enfeebling Foe is dispelled. Finally, ‘Ere We Go is dispelled since there’s nothing else to do with the dice. After the great shooting of last turn, every piece of artillery misses and one of the Spear Chukkas even manages to fire a crew member instead of the more usual projectile. Things briefly look good for the Raiders as they kill all but one of the Wolf Riders, but they lose a couple of their own, break and are run down by a single Goblin joyfully waving his flag. That’s the end of my experiment with the Lore of Death. More happily, the Harpies kill off the crew of the second Spear Chukka and reform to face along the battle line.
The Gors charge the Wolf Riders in front of them, who choose to hold for reasons best known to themselves. The Harpies fly over the intervening units and into a Rock Lobber while the Ungor herd (presumably reasoning that it’s safer in combat than being shelled by rocks from the sky) charges the Night Goblins to try and determine once and for all which group is the more oppressed. Not fancying more dangerous terrain checks than are strictly necessary, the Gors and Bestigors in the centre tiptoe gingerly over the ickiness of the Charnel Pit while ordering the Raiders to move up and hurl insults at / get in the way of the Savage Orcs. It’s a pretty quiet magic phase with only 2,2 dice. Enfeebling Foe (-1S) is let through on the Savage Orc Big ‘Uns, and Curse of Anraheir goes through despite an attempt at a dispel. I’m hoping that it will tempt the Savage Orcs to hold off charging until I can get ready for them (plus, Justinmatters hates that spell). The Harpies easily kill off the Rock Lobber’s crew and overrun into the next one screeching with undisguised glee. This panics the nearby Night Goblin Shaman who runs through the Savage Orcs to get away; sadly I can’t recreate the scenario that caused this in Battle Chronicler so the picture looks rather weird. The Ungors, delighted with the opportunity to pick on someone smaller than themselves, show off the power of Primal Fury and beat the Night Goblins heavily, eventually running them down when the break (and more importantly, getting nicely behind the Savage Orc Big ‘Uns). Meanwhile, the improbable success of Goblins riding on wolves continues as the Gors only manage to kill 4 of the Wolf Riders and the last one holds on insane courage.
There are no charges, and the only moves are the Shamans moving further away from the Harpies marauding about behind the main line of battle and the Wolf Rider heading behind the Gors to threaten a charge on the Bray Shaman. The fleeing Shaman pulls himself together under the stern glare of both the general and BSB. We only roll 2,2 magic dice but the Goblins channel twice. Enfeebling Foe is dispelled again, and the Itchy Nuisance (-3 M and I) goes through on the Bestigors as I fail to roll the double 6 I’d have needed to stop it. The only shooting of note sees the charioteers kill 3 Raiders but the plucky blighters hang on in there. After his valiant display last turn the final Wolf Rider is killed off by the Gors, who reform. The second Rock Lobber is spiked by the Harpies who choose to restrain so as to make sure that they didn’t accidentally clip the Wolf Chariots when pursuing; I’m confident that one of the Shamans is still in range anyway.
It turns out that I’m right as the Harpies flap over to the Night Goblin Shaman skulking away behind the Boar Boyz, and the Gor herd charges into the last Spear Chukka in the East. The Ungors reform to get a rear charge on the Savage Orc Big ‘Uns but the other units don’t move as I’m quite happy with a stand-off for another turn while the trap closes in the East. This time it’s my turn to channel twice to add to the 3,2 magic dice rolled. The Orc Great Shaman uses all his dice but fails to stop Wildform on the Bestigors, but Enfeebling Foe on the Big ‘Uns fails on two dice. I use the final two dice to put Curse of Anraheir on them instead and it goes off Irresistably; the Magical Feedback wounds the Bray Shaman. Not surprisingly, the Spear Chukka is destroyed by the Gors (who reform to face the flank of the Big ‘Uns) and the Night Goblin Shaman is killed by the Harpies (who overrun into yet another warmachine).
This time it’s finally ‘go’ with the charges as the tense stand-off ends and a Waaagh! is declared. The Savage Orc Big ‘Uns lose half a dozen to Curse-induced dangerous terrain checks as they run into the surviving Raiders and the Wolf Chariots and Boar Boyz both make it into the Bestigors, the latter only clipping the herd. Finally, the lone Wolf Rider fancies his chances against the Bray Shaman now that he’s been wounded. The Shamans mill about with the Orc moving to where ‘Ere We Go will be most useful. Our rounds of low magic continue with only 3,1 magic dice which are all put into ‘Ere We Go. Sensing that I’m about to lose the Bray Shaman, I use the Dispel Scroll. In the big combat, the Wolf Chariots are wiped out and a single Boar Boy is taken out, thereby ensuring that the Bestigors remain steadfast when they lose narrowly. Sadly, I fail the Leadership check even with the re-roll and the Bestigors are off. Luckily, they don’t get caught, but the Boar Boyz pursue into the Bray Shaman who looks rather surprised before being unceremoniously trampled by the pig stampede. The Savage Orc Big ‘Uns easily kill off the Raiders but lose another four to the dangerous terrain check as they over-run (but only 3″ so not enough to allow the Gors a flank charge). Finally the penultimate Spear Chukka is killed by the Harpies who over-run into the last one, high-fiving each other at their glorious run across the table.
Both Gor herds charge into the Savage Orc Big ‘Uns, but the Ungors can’t make it on their little legs. The Bestigors fail to rally and run right to the edge of the table, and so I don’t get a magic phase either. Dang it. The Harpies polish off the last Spear Chukka (they’ve killed six of the seven artillery pieces on their own, not to mention a Night Goblin Shaman; surely this is their best game ever) and reform to face the rest of the action. The Savage Orcs are hammered down to just four plus the Black Orc Battle Standard Bearer, but he’s stubborn so they’re not going anywhere.
Justinmatters has an interesting conundrum: he can either charge the Boar Boyz at the Bestigors, ensuring that they go off the table and he’ll get the points for them, or he can reform and hope that the BSB can hold on for another turn until the cavalry can ride to the rescue. He chooses the former, apparently not fancying the sheer number of attacks that the Black Orc will have to weather. All three of the remaining pieces head over to do bad things to the Harpies and stay out of range of anything that might hurt them. We finally get a good number of magic dice at 6,3; with no Shaman of my own, this is going to be bad. Gork’ll Fix It is let through on the big Gor herd, and I try but fail to dispel Gaze of Mork on the Harpies which vapourises them all. Still, they had a good innings. In the only combat the BSB and remaining Savage Orc Big ‘Uns are dog-piled (er, goat-piled?) for minimal loss of Beastmen life. Both herd reform to give charges on the Boar Boyz and the Night Goblin Shaman next turn.
Neither herd of Gors makes it to their intended targets. I only needed to roll an 8, but it was not to be.
All remaining units move out of potential charge arcs, and the Orc Great Shaman lines up a good Gaze of Mork on the Gors. It’s the only spell cast as it get Irresistable Force and I briefly hope that it’ll suck him into the warp, but sadly it’s just a Magical Feedback that doesn’t kill anything. A few Gors are blown up by the Gaze, but it’s no big deal. We don’t bother with the Beastmen turn 6 as nothing important can happen, and it’s clear that this is going to be close as we go to check the victory points (neither side reached its Breaking Point). The results are Orcs & Goblins: 1381; Beastmen: 1500. So with a 119 point difference, it’s the narrowest of possible wins. Victory for the Beastmen!
I really enjoyed that game, it felt all the way through like both sides were really closely matched and that even one bit of luck or great skill could be the decisive moment. I thought that moment had been the Bestigors breaking, but fortunately that didn’t quite lose me the game. My original hopes for the game, to play with the Lore of Death and the Razorgors never really came to anything, so I’ll run them out again some other time.
On thing that was discussed a little afterward was my choice to charge the Wolf Riders in the West with the Harpies, even though they could have flown over them into the Spear Chukkas. I thought that the Harpies had about a 50-50 chance off taking out the Wolf Riders and from there they would have been able to run amok through the artillery. Plus, the Wolf Riders were carrying a tasty banner, whereas the Harpies were not, so I felt it was worth a go to try and get the Orcs & Goblins on their way to Breaking Point.
Thinking back about it, I was probably quite fortunate that the Savage Orc Big ‘Uns didn’t over-run the Raiders by much in turn 4, as a frontal charge from the Gors into them proved far more useful as it meant that I could pour a ridiculous number of attacks into them and neutered them before their initiative step. With the Bestigors, I feel that I did everything right: wiped out the Wolf Chariots to get their victory points, killed a Boar Boy to ensure that the Bestigors remained steadfast and rode out the turn of the Choppa and spear bonuses. Until the break test was rolled, I thought that the Bestigors could probably do reasonably well against the Boar Boyz in subsequent rounds and perhaps even put some hurt onto the Warboss. Still, as it turned out, I got a highly satisfying win anyway so I can’t really complain.