Border Princes

Border Princes Campaign (End)

Finally, it’s the end of the Border Princes campaign.  We finished playing the games about 5 months ago, but real-life intervened and posting the results has suffered.  Still, better late than never.

The most important battle in terms of final standings is the last ever Siege of Malko, in which Aramoro‘s Bretonnians managed to hang onto the city despite repeated assaults from the Empire.  Furycat was significantly hampered during this final turn as it coincided with the release of the updated Empire army book (a significant decrease in power if ever there was one); the Empire were defeated in every game they played this turn.  The overall story of turn 15 ended up as one of the Empire’s star waning while Forkbanger‘s High Elves’ waxed.  From a Beastmen perspective it’s been a highly successful turn, pushing back forces from the Empire (here and here) and completing the rout of Justinmatters‘ Orcs and Goblins (here).  The only relative fly in the ointment is a draw in the Old Silk Road, a battle in which both the Beastmen and Bretonnians think that they are defending the territory on behalf of their mutual ally, the High Elves.  Considering that, it is probably fitting to be a draw.  The last ever battle of the campaign is a force of Orcs and Goblins holding out their outpost in the Northern mountains against the High Elves; in fairness to Forkbanger he could have played it safe in the last turn but opted for a far more amusing charge into some Black Orcs (sadly for him it didn’t work out).

BorderPrincesMap-Turn15 end

So, at the end of the campaign, our final scores are:

Beastmen: 50 points (38 territories, 3 of which are special)
Empire: 27 points (23 territories, 1 of which is special)
High Elves: 23 points (18 territories, 1 of which is special)
Bretonnians: 16 points (7 territories, 1 of which is Malko)
Orcs & Goblins: 7 points (7 territories)

To my great surprise (counting from our original plans to run the campaign) the runaway winners are the Beastmen.  Furycat’s Empire limp over the line in second as a catastrophic final turn is not taken full advantage of by Forkbanger’s High Elf forces.  Aramoro’s Bretonnians hang onto fourth by dint of holding Malko leaving Justinmatters’ Orcs and Goblins bringing up the rear.  Furycat will get his prize in due course.

Thanks very much to my friends for playing along with the Border Princes campaign for so long, and especially to Aramoro for doing the maps.  And, finally, thanks to everyone who read the saga of the Border Princes.  I hope you’re inspired to try something bigger than ‘just another game’.

Categories: Border Princes, Campaigns, Warhammer Fantasy Battle | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Beastmen vs Orcs & Goblins (2000 points); 19Jun12

So this is it.  The last battle of the last turn of our long-running Border Princes campaign.  Fittingly this final fight is between erstwhile allies, my Beastmen and Justinmatters‘ Orcs & Goblins.  As it happens this would have been the last fight for the greenskins anyway, as they would have been eliminated from the campaign at the end of the turn (as I took their HQ territory last turn and they failed to retake it this time).  After the rather short game against Furycat‘s Empire, I decided just to use a cut-down version of the same list as last time out.  Notably, I swapped the equipment on my Doombull for a more useful selection, then dropped one of the Bray Shamans and some filler.

Doombull, Sword of Swift Slaying, Ramhorn Helm, Dawnstone, Gnarled Hide, heavy armour, shield (D)

Gorebull, BSB, Beserker Sword, Talisman of Endurance, heavy armour, shield (BSB)

Bray Shaman, level 2, Dispel Scroll, extra hand weapon, Lore of Beasts (BS)

40 Gors, extra hand weapon, full command (G)

40 Ungors, full command (U1)

Tuskgor Chariot (TC)

2 x 6 Ungor Raiders, musician (UR1 and UR2)

5 Harpies, scouts (H)

8 Minotaurs, full command, Ironcurse Icon (M)

Justinmatters went for a fairly normal (by his standards) list featuring a massive block of Savage Orc Big ‘Uns loaded down with characters and huge horrible spider to poison all my heroes to death.

Savage Orc Warboss, Fencer’s Blades, Armour of Silvered Steel, Luckstone (W)

Savage Orc Big Boss, BSB, Armour of Destiny, shield (BSB)

Orc Great Shaman, level 4, Dispel Scroll (OS)

Night Goblin Shaman, level 2 (GS)

37 Savage Orc Big ‘Uns, full command (SOBU)

2 x 5 Wolf Riders (WR1 and WR2)

20 Night Goblins, standard bearer, 2 fanatics (NG, F1 and F2)

3 Goblin Wolf Chariots (GW)

10 Savage Orc Boar Boyz, full command, Gleaming Pennant (SOB)

Arachnarok (A)

We select a Battle for the Pass, and I breathe a sigh of relief that Justinmatters hasn’t loaded up with artillery this time.  Scenery of note includes an Altar of Khaine in the West, a Dwarf Brewhouse in the Centre with a Wizard’s Tower further East and a Wyrding Well in the South East.  My Bray Shaman takes the Amber Spear and Savage Beast of Horros.  Yes, you read that right, I didn’t take Wyssan’s Wildform.  I thought that the Amber Spear might come in useful to hurt the Arachnarok and the Boar Boyz, and I have glorious dreams of getting Savage Beast off on the Doombull.  The Orc Great Shaman has Hand of Gork, Foot of Gork, Pancreas of Gork, ‘Eadbutt and ‘Ere We Go while the Night Goblin ends up with Nightshroud and Sneaky Stabbin’.  The Orcs & Goblins take first turn, and off we go.

For reasons that aren’t clear to me, the Wolf Riders don’t make a vanguard move, but then advance anyway, followed by everything else with green skin.  The Shamans decide not to risk getting a dose of Harpies and join up with their buddies before generating  a mighty 6,6 magic dice.  My only consolation is how far away they are from my lines.  We start off with a 6 dice Foot of Gork (let through) which scatters off the Gors then helpfully crushes one of the Goblin Wolf Chariots.  The only way that could have been better is if they’d panicked as well, but the Warboss is having none of their silliness and they stay in line.  I let through a long range ‘Eadbutt on my Bray Shaman but Justinmatters proceeds to roll exactly what he needs to vapourise the poor chap.  You would think I’d have learned my lesson after this episode… and this one.  Oh well, so much for my magic phase.  I do at least manage to dispel Hand of Gork.

There are feather everywhere as the Harpies flap forward and all of a sudden find that there’s a drug addled maniac swinging a massive wrecking ball right through them.  It’s all too much for the poor ladies and they flee right back the way they came.  The other Fanatic is fired off into mid field to annoy me later.  Everyone else just closes the distance; as neither army has any ranged firepower to speak of there isn’t much choice but to rampage forward and aim for good match-ups.  In a rare event, the Raiders do manage to fell a Boar Boy with their arrows, but otherwise it doesn’t look good news for the little guys.

Helpfully, the huge mob of Savage Orcs gets into a shouting match with the nearest unit of Wolf Riders, paralysing both of them for the turn.  The rest of the army has their minds on the battle though, as the Wolf Chariots declare that it is ‘impact hit o’ clock’ for the Minotaurs, the Wolf Riders and Boar Boyz charge the Raiders and the Arachnarok charges the Ungors.  I was a bit concerned for the Ungors as they’re depressingly prone to fleeing but luckily they hold to face the massive beastie.    Whatever Justinmatters is doing for magic dice, it’s working well as we get another 6,6 magic dice.  However, only the Night Goblin can use them as the Orc Great Shaman is busy deriding the parentage of the Wolf Riders.  He puts six dice into a bubbled version of Nightshroud and I throw all my dice at dispelling it (I might as well since I’ll probably lose another dice any from the lore attribute if I let it through)… it’s not enough.  The diminutive Shaman declines to even cast Sneaky Stabbin’, presumably fearing the mis-cast.  Combat goes pretty much as you’d expect.  The Raiders in the North are annihilated by the Boar Boyz, though they do kill one first.  Impact hits from the Chariots kill a Minotaur before the Doombull smashes them both into flinders (and starts the Bloodgreed counting).  The Ungors take a wound off the Arachnarok before it eats, poisons and stomps a bunch of them; they hold steadfast.  Finally, the Wolf Riders and Raiders show why they’re used for redirection etc and not mainline combat as everyone flaps ineffectually at each other for no effect whatsoever.

This turn starts off in great form for the Beastmen as the Tuskgor Chariot declares a charge into the Wolf Riders, who flee, then redirects into the Night Goblins, fails its dangerous terrain check (thanks to Nightshroud) and blows up having hardly even left my deployment zone.  I realise that I’m going to have to thin out the Savage Orcs at some point so the Gors charge them (losing 9 to dangerous terrain from Nightshroud).  I am aware that this will certainly cost me the Gors but I think that I’m going to need to get the Savage Orcs down to a manageable level before I fight them with the Minotaurs.  Speaking of whom, the Minotaurs charge into the very large flank of the Arachnarok.  The Harpies reckon they’ve got far enough away from the Fanatic and turn back to survey what they can do in the battle.  Not surprisingly, the Gors are indeed severely brutalised by the Savage Orcs, but they do manage to kill off a respectable number before the tattered remnants go fleeing back where they came from.  The Raiders get their murder right on this turn, pulling down two of the Wolf Riders, though amazingly the Goblins hold.  My worries about the Arachnarok venom surge-ing my Minotaurs come to nothing as the big spider is crushed by impact hits plus the Doombull before it even gets to attack.  They gleefully pursue into the shocked-looking Wolf Riders.

The Gors’ escape is short-lived as the Savage Orcs run them down, reforming for the inevitable fight against the Minotaurs.  Hilarity ensues as the Fanatic makes a bee-line for the newly rallied Harpies, killing another one; their flight is improbably short and they manage to stay on the field.  Random movement?  I’m not so sure.  Magic has calmed down a bit (3,2 dice); Foot of Gork (let through) kills a few Ungors, and Hand of Gork is dispelled.  To no-one’s surprise, the Wolf Riders are messily devoured by the Minotaurs, with the impact hits from the Doombull killing all them all before I even have the chance to roll anything else.  Crucially, this means that the Minotaurs are on three Bloodgreed counters now.

It’s a quiet turn, as the Harpies rally, the Minotaurs reform to face the Savage Orcs (while suitable music plays from the background) and everyone else gets out of the way.

It’s on, as the Savage Orcs charge the Minotaurs.  The Boar Boyz manage a long charge (but not quite as long as the picture makes it look) into the Ungors, who I must admit I thought were safe this turn.  We watch the roll for the Fanatic with bated breath, but sadly this time the crazed little chap heads away from the Harpies.  Now that he’s safe from aerial assault, the Night Goblin Shaman leaves his buddies and head for the Wizard’s Tower.  It looks like the Winds of Magic are making up for blowing so strong in the first couple of turn as we get 1,1; ‘Ere We Go is cast and there’s nothing I can do about it.  To build suspense we start the combat phase with the Boar Boyz, who kill off a lot of Ungors for the loss of only one of their own, but the Ungors are steadfast and aren’t going anywhere.  So we’re onto the big one, Minotaurs against Savage Orc Big ‘Uns.  I am not disappointed,  Although the Bloodkine and a few Minotaurs are killed, the Savage Orcs are mauled hopelessly, with only 3 of the unit left (plus the characters).  Even with the re-roll for the BSB, the mob can’t muster the 1,1 required to hold and they flee from the raw power of the Minotaurs.

The Minotaurs declare a charge on the Savage Orcs, who flee through the Night Goblins, panicking them.  The Raiders declare an opportunistic charge on the fleeing Night Goblins to send them packing even further, and the Minotaurs complete their own charge, messily consuming what was left of the Savage Orcs.  The two remaining Harpies decide to chance a flank charge on the Wolf Riders, who hold just to be different.  In an attempt to get some Ungors back to hold off the Boar Boyz again, they drink from the Wyrding Well.  None of them are healed, but they become unbreakable instead (and stupid), which will do me fine.  It’s just as well as the Boar Boyz lay into them again, getting them down only 10 or so strong.  The Harpies are really on form today, as they miss with all their attacks and then one of them gets savaged by a wolf.  Luckily, they win combat anyway and the Wolf Riders flee the solitary Harpy.  With his army in tatters and most of the survivors fleeing, Justinmatters calls it a day.  Victory for the Beastmen!

A satisfying victory, but it must be said that this game always felt like it was going to come down to a battle between the Savage Orc Big ‘Uns and the Minotaurs as we both had so many points invested in those units.  I was worried at the time that I had just thrown the Gors away by getting them mauled by the Savage Orcs, but it turned out to be crucial in thinning them out enough that the Minotaurs could handle them fairly comfortably.  I don’t think I’ll play with a herd of Minotaurs this big again as the game just comes down to whether anyone has the tools to take them out or keep them out of the fight for long enough to mop up the rest of my army.

One thing I should try to keep in mind is how dangerous ‘Eadbutt appears to be.  On paper it looks pretty innocuous but every time Justinmatters casts it he does massive damage to my Shamans.

So that’s it for the campaign games, though I’ll post a final map in due course for the sake of completeness.  Thanks for sticking with us; I’ve had a great time and I hope that the others have too.

Categories: Battle reports, Border Princes, Campaigns, Warhammer Fantasy Battle | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Beastmen (2200 points) vs Empire (2000 points); 12Jun12

As we bring the Border Princes campaign to a close, I have one final game against Furycat.  Overall, it feels like honour is even between our forces, but now the new Empire army book is hamstringing him significantly, so it’s time for me to change things up and make it more of a game.  Furycat is a big fan of the video battle reports from Oncebitten360, and although I don’t care for the format of video battle reports in general, I checked them out on recommendation.  So, in homage to Oncebitten360, I decided to forego my usual Great Bray Shaman in favour a Doombull with all the trimmings and frankly ludicrous block of Minotaurs.  I’ve never really felt like I can get Minotaurs to work well in the past so I’m keen to test it out.

Doombull, Axes of Khorgor, Ramhorn Helm, Dawnstone, Gnarled Hide, Heavy Armour (D)

Gorebull, BSB, Beserker Sword, Talisman of Endurance, Heavy Armour (BSB)

Bray Shaman, level 2, Dispel Scroll, extra hand weapon, Lore of Shadow (BS1)

Bray Shaman, level 2, extra hand weapon, Lore of Beasts (BS2)

40 Gors, extra hand weapon, full command (G)

40 Ungors, full command (U)

Tuskgor Chariot (TC)

6, 5 and 5 Ungor Raiders, musician (UR1 to UR3)

5 Harpies, scouts (H)

9 Minotaurs, full command, Ironcurse Icon (M)

Furycat has been struggling to get a list that suits his style, but I gather that the plan here is that the Lore of Heavens will provide a massive bonus to Knights, especially if the boosted version of Harmonic Convergence is cast.

Wizard Lord, level 4, Dispel Scroll, Lore of Heavens (WL)

Captain of the Empire, general, Helm of the Skavenslayer, Dawnstone, full plate armour, shield (C)

Captain of the Empire, BSB, Shrieking Blade, barded warhorse, full plate armour, shield (BSB)

Warrior Priest, Enchanted Shield, barded warhorse, heavy armour (WP)

Master Engineer, frilly shirt (M)

9 Knights of the Inner Circle, lances, shields, full command (IC)

5 Knightly Orders, great weapons, standard bearer, musician (KO)

45 Spearmen, full command (S)

5 Archers [Detachment to Spearmen] (A)

24 Greatswords, full command, Standard of Discipline (G)

Celestial Hurricanum (CH)

3 Demigryph Knights, standard bearer (DK)

Helblaster Volley Gun (HVG)

We randomly get Blood and Glory as the scenario, and a variety of surprisingly mundane terrain to fight over.  In the North is a Wyrding Well and in the far East is a Sorcerous Portal that we instantly forget about as usual.  The Wizard Lord gets Iceshard Blizzard, Curse of the Midnight Wind, Comet of Cassandora and Chain Lightning; sadly forgetting that the whole point of coming along was to bring Harmonic Convergence.  The Shadow Bray Shaman takes Melkoth’s Mystifying Misama and Enfeebling Foe; the other one has Wyssan’s Wildform and Curse of Anraheir.  The Beastmen happily take first turn, with one herd of Raiders ambushing.

As usual, there’s nothing too subtle in first turn movement for my Beastmen: everyone marches forward.  The Raiders in the West move to tempt either the Inner Circle Knights or the Demigryph Knights into charging through the forest.  I roll up 3,1 magic dice, but fail to cast Miasma on the Inner Circle Knights and the follow-up (Wildform on the Gors) is easily dispelled.

As I hoped, the Demigryph Knights charge into the baiting Raiders (the forest turns out to be a Wildwood, but it doesn’t attempt to beat them up).  However, the Greatswords and the Inner Circle Knights both fail their charges, on the Ungors and the Tuskgor Chariot respectively.  The Wizard Lord leaves his Archer companions to their fate, which apparently is to be a speed bump in front of the Gors.  The Spearmen also move up to face the inevitable charge from the Minotaurs, but crucially they can’t fully align so their flank is hanging slightly to the West.  The winds of magic give us 5,1 dice to play with and I let Chain Lightning through on the Tuskgor Chariot.  In retrospect, that was probably a poor idea as it jumps across half of my army, reducing the Chariot to a single wound, killing the Beasts Bray Shaman and taking off wounds from the Gors, Minotaurs and Ungors.  Ouch.  At least I dispel Iceshard Blizzard.  The Helblaster and the Archers plink a handful of Gors, but it’s not enough to matter.  Finally, the Demigryph Knights make short work of the Raiders and reform to face the line of battle.

It’s turn two and there are targets in charge range, so I happily send the Gors into the Archers, the Minotaurs into the Spearmen and the Ungors into the Greatswords.  I’m not expecting much from the Ungors, but against the Greatswords they’ll be steadfast for long enough to get something else in to help out.  The Harpies charge the Wizard Lord (who flees), fail to redirect into the Engineer and then roll 1,1,1 for charge distance anyway.  Idiots.  I consider charging with the Tuskgor Chariot, but with only one wound left it’ll do me more good keeping those pesky Inner Circle Knights out of my hair for a bit longer.  The same goes for my remaining Raider herd (once the Bray Shaman has run off, of course), moving into the path of the Knightly Orders.  I generate 6,2 magic dice and am greatly helped by the fact that the Wizard Lord is running for his life.  Miasma (-3WS) and Enfeebling Foe (-1S) both go on the Greatswords after two failed dispel attempts.  In the combat phase, the Gors blend the Archers into a fine red mist, and their overrun allows them to charge the flank of the Spearmen.  To no-one’s surprise, there aren’t many Spearmen left after the attentions of a horde of Gors a Doombull, a Gorebull and bunch of other Minotaurs.  Furycat decides that there’s no way back and throws in the towel.  Victory for the Beastmen!

Well, that was one sided.  Furycat discussed this for a while after the game and, while I think he might have been able to kill off a few things, he probably wasn’t going to pull a win out.  I did consider not even writing this battle report up as it was so short, but in the end I decided that I should do it in the interests of completness.  There’s probably not much to learn for any Beastmen readers out there (except that so many Minotaurs is probably overkill), but if anyone can make suggestions on how the Empire could have been played then I would be delighted to read about them.

Categories: Battle reports, Border Princes, Campaigns, Warhammer Fantasy Battle | Tags: , , , , | 11 Comments

Beastmen vs Bretonnians (2000 points); 08May12

For various reasons, it’s been a long time since my Beastmen faced off against Aramoro‘s Bretonnians in the Border Princes campaign.  A few turns ago, we agreed to briefly call off hostilities so that both of us could refocus on other threats (the Bretonnians against the Empire, and Beastmen fighting Orcs & Goblins) and though we didn’t intend a permanent cease-fire there was never the opportunity to clash again.  In the main, this was because Furycat‘s Empire had driven a wedge across the centre of the map by that point.  Anyway, it is always a pleasure to test my mettle against the Bretonnians as they play very differently from Beastmen with heavily armoured cavalry compared to unarmoured infantry.  I wasn’t feeling adventurous so I just went for a lot of goats on the table.

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 1, Dispel Scroll, additional hand weapon, Lore of Beasts (BS)

39 Gors, additional hand weapons, full command (G1)

2 x 5 Ungor Raiders, musician (UR1 and UR2)

40 Ungors, full command (U)

5 Harpies, scouts (H)

23 Bestigors, full command, Banner of Discipline (B1)

24 Bestigors, full command, Manbane Standard (B2)

Harpies are so universally disliked (by people who aren’t me) that Aramoro actively spent some time putting anti-Harpy measures in the army list.  Otherwise, it’s the usual good stuff: double Trebuchets, a huge block of Men at Arms and bunch of I-can’t-believe-they’re-not-Frenchmen wearing metal trousers and riding on horses.

Bretonnian Lord, Charmed Shield, Heartwood Lance, Knight’s Vow, Other Trickster’s Shard, Virtue of Heroism, Warhorse (BL)

Prophetess, level 4, Dispel Scroll, Lore of Life (P)

Damsel, level 2, Potion Sacre, Lore of Life (D)

Paladin, BSB, Dragonhelm, Knight’s Vow, Virtue of Empathy (BSB)

11 Knights of the Realm, full command, Standard of Discipline (KOTR)

40 Men at Arms, full command (MaA)

3 x 10 Peasant Bowmen (PB1 to PB3)

2 x 5 Mounted Yeomen, shields (MY1 and MY2)

9 Questing Knights, full command (QK)

2 Trebuchets (T1 and T2)

We roll up the Meeting Engagement, which on the whole I like as it means that Beastmen can start relatively close and often sweep their foe into a corner.  We have some Blazing Barricades across the centre of the board with a Scree Slope in the East and a Temple of Skulls in the West.  The bulding is normal, the swamp is a Khemrian Quicksand and in the South East there is a Magic Circle.  The Prophetess rolls first and gets Shield of Thorns, Regrowth, Flesh to Stone and Throne of Vines.  Naturally, this leaves the sacrificial Damsel to to get Dwellers Below (she also gets Awakening of the Wood).  Meanwhile, the Great Bray Shaman takes Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma, Enfeebling Foe, Withering and Okkam’s Mindrazor and the Bray Shaman has Wyssan’s Wildform (of course).  I deploy centrally to give me the most options depending where the Bretonnians inevitably castle up; they make their stand around the building.  The Harpies, both herds of Raiders, the Paladin BSB and one unit of Mounted Yeomen are out too late the night before and will come on as reserves.  The Beastmen get to move first to try and get out from underneath the barrage of rocks.

The Harpies arrive in the far West and look to either get into mischief or at least force the Bretonnians to do something about them.  Both herds of Raiders appear in centrefield, nursing hangovers that Ghorros Warhoof would be proud of.  Otherwise, the main battle line just rotates West and starts to close the trap on the pesky humans.  Although it’s not really useful so early in the game we get 6,4 magic dice.  A low-level Miasma is let through on the Peasants in the bulding (-3BS), but Withering on the Men at Arms fails (despite only needing to roll 9 on four dice) and Wildform on the Gors is dispelled.  I hoped that the Withering would use up some dice in a later magic phase (or better yet, not be dispelled at all), and the Wildform was just to make the Gors less appealing as a Trebuchet target; it’s tough to miss such a big herd with artillery.

The Mounted Yeomen and one unit of Peasant Archers move to shoot up the Harpies, and the Questing Knights rush forward round the hill until they are stopped in their tracks by the awesome sight of goaty goodness facing them.  Otherwise, no-one is in any hurry to close the distance, although the Paladin rushes onto the field to try and join his Men at Arms.  We get 4,3 magic dice and start with an Irresistable Dwellers Below on the Gors.  I get lucky, and ‘only’ 10 of them are pulled down to their doom; the miscast kills off a few Peasant Archers, but there’s plenty more where they came from.  The Harpies are shot by many arrows and eventually the sorry survivor flees the table.  Helpfully, one of the Trebuchets misfires (and can’t fire next turn) while the other misses the Gors by a wide margin.

The somewhat depleted Gors reform to 6 wide (that is also useful to tighten up my battle line as we’re nearly playing lengthwise by this point) and everyone continues to hoof it toward the waiting Bretonnians.  The Raider herds take note of the incoming cavalry and move to make themselves unattractive targets; the Bray Shaman joins one to give himself a chance to avoid being hit by a rock or nasty magic.  With 4,4 magic dice the Great Bray Shaman puts Miasma on the Northern Peasant Bowmen (-2BS; let through), but the Bray Shaman fails to cast Wildform on the Gors.  The Prophetess fails to dispel Enfeebling Foe (-3S) on the Knights of the Realm.

Slightly to my disappointment, the Questing Knights don’t charge the Bestigors, instead moving past to threaten my rear areas.  The Paladin joins his Men at Arms, but his outrageous accent is too overpowering for the Prophetess, who leaves the unit and heads behind the building.  Magic comes up with a mighty 6,5 dice, but the Bray Shaman uses his Dispel Scroll on a six-dice Dwellers Below, Throne of Vines is dispelled and Awakening of the Wood fails to cast.  Not bad at all for such a big phase.  In the shooting phase, the Trebuchet lands a direct hit on the Bestigors but amazingly only kills 3 of them.

The Great Bray Shaman urges his herd to charge the building, which they do with gusto.  Everyone else just moves up to threaten charges next turn, except the Raiders who do their best to not be charged next turn.  The Beastmen Shamans have 5,1 magic dice to use, but Withering on the Men at Arms is dispelled with a Scroll and Miasma fails to cast (though there were plenty of dice to dispel it anyway, so it didn’t matter much).  The Great Bray Shaman and his Bestigors wipe out the Peasant Bowmen but fail to even wound the Damsel despite putting five primal fury great weapon attacks into her.  This will become a theme.  Naturally, she holds and the herd of mighty Beastmen are repelled from the building by a lone woman with an inappropriate dress and a faint smell of garlic.

This time there’s some actual forward movement from the Bretonnians as the Knights of the Realm crash into the waiting Bestigors.  The Men at Arms move forward too, presumably to stop the Gors from flanking the Knights of the Realm if they don’t break the Bestigors this turn.  Laughing, the Damsel leaves the building by a back door, leaving the Great Bray Shaman, the Bestigors and me cursing her.  The Winds of Magic give us 3,2 dice to use.  Throne of Vines is let through, but crucially I fail to dispel Flesh to Stone on the Knights of the Realm.  Toughness 7 Knights are going to take a bit of cracking, even for Bestigors who usually love to see Knights.  After a shooting phase which sees a few more Raiders shot and few more Gors hit by falling rocks, we move the critical combat.  The Bestigors put up a decent showing, but Toughness 7 is too much for them and they flee.  Luckily, the stone Knights of the Realm are inexplicably slow and fail to catch them.

After roundly cursing the Damsel for a while, I realise that the Great Bray Shaman can actually charge out of his unit at her; she even holds to my surprise.  The Gors get stuck into the Men at Arms, and the Ungors eschew the Peasant Bowmen and race past them to spike the Trebuchet (note: it’s only my lack of skill with Battle Chronicler that makes it look like the gap between the Peasant Bowmen and the building is too narrow for the Ungors).  After three turns of trying hard not to be charged, one herd of Raiders moves to make it hard not to charge them as they block the Questing Knights (and, conveniently, some Mounted Yeomen) from getting a clear shot at the rear of the Gors.  The fleeing Bestigors rally and turn to face their assailants, and the other herd reform to five wide and turn to face the action.  It’s another big magic phase with 5,5 power dice.  Enfeebling Foe is let through on the Men at Arms (-1S) and then the Withering is cast at them with Irresistable Force (-3T).  Both the Great Bray and the Damsel ward the Calamitous Detonation.  Finally, Miasma is dispelled.  The Ungors easily take out the Trebuchet and reform to face the other one, but the Great Bray Shaman can only manage a single wound on the Damsel.  Not surprisingly, the Gors rip the Paladin to bits and shred a good portion of his unit; they hold anyway though.

It’s charge of the Knights as the Questing Knights (and Mounted Yeomen) contact the poor Raiders and the Knights of the Realm have another go at the Bestigors.  The Prophetess moves into the building now that the Bestigors have helpfully turned away from it.  To make up for the big magic phases so far, we get 1,1 this turn.  The Prophetess rolls terribly on Flesh to stone and it is dispelled; note that this also dooms the Men at Arms to remain S1 and T1 as the hexes on them cannot be dispelled.  Bowfire also does nothing, but a good hit from the Trebuchet kills seven of the Bestigors next to the building; they hold.  My plucky Raiders manage to kill a Questing Knight before being butchered; both cavalry units reform to face the Gors and Bestigors.  The Knights of the Realm turn the Bestigors into kebabs and run a few survivors down.  To no-one’s surprise, the Men at Arms are hammered and flee with the Gors reforming to face the Questing Knights.  Finally, the Damsel manages to ward all four of the wounds she took this turn to survive (and prevent me taking a shot at the Prophetess to boot).

The Ungors charge the remaining Trebuchet, which holds.  That’s the last time I’ll write that for this turn.  The Bestigors charge the Men at Arms (who must flee) causing them to go through the Peasant Bowmen (who panic and also flee).  Then the Gors charge the Questing Knights (who flee) and redirect in the Mounted Yeomen (who also flee).  We get 5,2 magic dice, and I put Withering (-1T) on the Damsel.  It’s mainly frustration at her ward saves, and Aramoro knows it so lets it though.  Wildform is dispelled on the Gors.  The Great Bray Shaman finally kills off the Damsel, and the Ungors easily take out the Trebuchet.

Sadly, everyone rallies, including the Men at Arms who manage the 1,1 they need.  Everyone else moves up to threaten the Gors.  Another pitiful magic phase (2,1) has Regrowth on the Knights of the Realm dispelled, and archery is similarly ineffective.

The Great Bray Shaman charges at the Men at Arms, who flee again, and (again) panic the Peasant Bowmen; this time they go off the board.  Otherwise, there’s not much going on as I can’t get any victory points easily anywhere.  There’s another 1,1 magic phase, which puts the upgraded Miasma (-1) on the Knights of the Realm just to try and make them roll a little higher to get into the Gors.

After some urging on from Furycat, Aramoro declares that all four cavalry units will charge the Gors.  They feel rather surrounded, but at least the Men at Arms flee off the board to give me their juicy victory points.  There are 5,2 magic dice but somehow both Shield of Thorns and Flesh to Stone on the Knights of the Realm are dispelled.  The Bretonnian Lord skewers the Wargor on impact, but the Gors are not so easily cowed (that would be Minotaurs, of course).  There is a lot of death all round but not enough to take out any full Bretonnian units and the Gors end up needing a 6 to hold… which they do.  The game ends and we go to add up the scores; Bretonnians: 787, Beastmen: 872.  So after all that, it’s a draw.  But a great one.

That was a close game, and a lot of fun.  The silly thing is that, in terms of the campaign, we’re fighting over the territory of our mutual ally, the High Elves.  So whichever army won, there wouldn’t be any advantage to be had.  Putting my GM hat on, I guess I’ll rule that both armies stay locked in for another round; however since this is the last campaign turn it doesn’t actually matter in the least.  Overall, it’s fitting to be a draw considering all that!

There were a couple of bits of luck that really affected the game.  Firstly, that pesky Damsel shrugging off a stupendous number of attacks over four combat rounds stymied me in the critical turns when I could have been setting up to vapourise most of the Bretonnian army.  On the flip side, I needed to roll a straight six or less to hold the Gors in combat at the end and avoid giving up a few hundred points (and the game, of course).  All credit to Aramoro for throwing the kitchen sink at the Gors to try and pick up the win in the last turn.

Still, I think that this was a really good game to show what I enjoy about playing Beastmen.  The first couple of turns were just an unstoppable wall of goat braying their way across the table, and the Bretonnians were forced to break them up and take units on piecemeal.  In particular, note Aramoro’s clever use of the building to keep the Prophetess out of trouble; moving in and out as required to stay out of charge arcs.  The Western herd of Bestigors were a little disappointing when they faced up against the Knights of the Realm, but getting Flesh to Stone makes a bit difference.  Interestingly, I’ve taken the Manbane banner in a few games on a second herd of Bestigors and I don’t think I’ve ever used it at all.  Points well spent there…

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Beastmen (2200 points) vs Empire (2000 points); 10Apr12

It’s the final turn of the Border Princes campaign, and my first game is against Furycat’s Empire. With the advent of the new (i.e. 8th edition) army book for the Empire, I had no idea what to expect, so I just went for a minor variation on my usual army, i.e. lots of bipedal goats of varying sizes.

Great Bray Shaman, level 4, Steel Claws, Jagged Dagger, Talisman of Preservation, Lore of Shadow (GBS)

Wargor, BSB, Gnarled Hide, Beast Banner, heavy armour, shield (BSB)

Bray Shaman, level 2, Dispel Scroll, extra hand weapon, Lore of Beasts (BS)

39 Gors, extra hand weapon, full command (G1)

20 Gors, extra hand weapon, full command (G2)

37 Ungors, full command (U1)

2 x 5 Ungor Raiders, musician (UR1 and UR2)

5 Harpies, scouts (H)

23 Bestigors, full command, Standard of Discipline (B1)

24 Bestigors, full command, Manbane Standard (B2)

Furycat purchased the new Empire army book on the day of release and has been vocal about its shortcoming in the time since, but this was his first opportunity to put anything to work on the table [note: in the time it’s taken between us playing this game and me actually writing it up, Furycat has posted some thoughts on the current Empire army book, which I highly recommend reading]. I didn’t actually take a copy of his list, but it was (roughly):

Templar Grand Master, knightly stuff, Runefang (G)

Wizard Lord, level 4, Lore of Shadow (WL)

Luthor Huss (LH)

Captain, BSB, protective stuff (BSB)

Witch Hunter (WH)

60 Spearmen, full command (S)

8 Inner Circle Knights, full command (K)

20 Crossbowmen, standard (C1)

Celestial Hurricanum (CH)

Steam Tank (ST)

As previously mentioned, we’d agreed that we would play Storm of Magic games (the basic scenario) to replace Battle Line if we rolled that. Furycat’s not keen on Storm of Magic as it’s too random for his strategic ‘may the best man win’ tastes, but he accepted that we’d go for it if that came up. And it did. So after agonising over his list for hours, he had to go back and pick another 500 points of monsters or crazy magic items; I got 550 points. Luckily we had Aramoro and Forkbanger respectively on hand for advice since they’ve played quite a few games of Storm of Magic.

So the Beastmen added:

Zoat, level 4, Lore of Life (not that he has any choice) (Z)

4 Royal Unicorns (RU)

The Zoat was selected because it gave me chance to use the Lore of Life for the first time. But that wasn’t the main reason: after all, wouldn’t you choose a Zoat if you could? I guess the Royal Unicorns were told that Ghorros Warhoof’s magic hat was actually the skull of a completely different horned horse-like creature of the forest, and not at all the one formerly belonging to the Prince of Unicorns.  Anyway, the Empire were joined by:

Chimera, some upgrades (C2)

Truthsayer, level 3, Lore of Life (T)

Apart from the four Arcane Fulcrums, we had the usual mish-mash of deadly to forget to use. This time there was a mist-wreathed swamp in the East that no-one went in (not that I blame them), a Sinister Statue that never fired at anything and a few forests and assorted obstacles. For simplicity, I’ve used the same tower picture for all four Fulcrums, but in reality we used the excellent models that Forkbanger has painted. Magic got messy. The Wizard Lord had Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma, Enfeebling Foe, Withering and Pit of Shades while the Truthsayer took Regrowth, Awakening of the Wood and Dwellers Below. Over on my side of the table, the Great Bray Shaman had Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma, Enfeebling Foe, Withering and Okkam’s Mindrazor; the Bray Shaman had Savage Beast of Horros and Wyssan’s Wildform and finally the Zoat has Throne of Vines, Flesh to Stone, Regrowth and Dwellers Below (after all, everyone else seems to think it’s amazing). Finally, the Witch Hunter takes the somewhat redundant step of accusing the Great Bray Shaman of heresy.

The game begins with the Steam Tank generating three steam points and zooming a terrifying 15” into some unfortunate Raiders. The Knights canter up to 13.1“ away from the Gor herd, presumably to reduce the odds of taking a ridiculous long charge, and the rest of the centre moves up to keep pace. The Lore of Beasts is Ascendant but it’s manipulated round to Light (which also does nothing, so no change). The winds of magic give us 13 power dice to 9 dispel dice. I dispel the Hurricanum’s bound spell and Shield of Faith fails to cast. Magical Duel from the Truthsayer is dispelled but Bridge of Shadows is let through, moving the Chimera behind the Gors, facing their rear and Hammer of Sigmar is also let through. Saving dispel dice doesn’t help as Dwellers Below is Irresistibly cast on the Great Bray’s Bestigor herd. Helpfully, he doesn’t jump down a magical hole this time, though 10 Bestigors do. Magical Feedback does nothing, but then it’s on to the event we’ve all been waiting for – the cataclysmic miscast. We are not disappointed, as all the wizards are turned into frogs [note for simplicity: I put a little starburst next to the Wizards for each magic phase in which they’re a frog]. After that, the rest of the turn can’t help but be a bit of a let down, as the Crossbows kill a few Ungors and the Steam Tank runs over the Raiders (though neither herd nearby panics).

Following the standard Steam Tank abatement plan, the surviving herd of Raiders charge into the side of the metal behemoth, and the Unicorns fabulously charge the suspiciously froggy Truthsayer perched on top of his Fulcrum. Sadly, he does stop being a frog in the magic phase, along with the Zoat. I have 12 power dice to Furycat’s 9 dispel dice, and Metal is the Ascendant Lore. Throne of Vines and Magical Duel are both dispelled, but Regrowth does get me back some of the Bestigors. I try getting in on the six-dice Dwellers action, but it is Irresistibly dispelled. To no-one’s surprise, the Raiders do nothing to the Steam Tank, but the Unicorns have a great run at the Turthsayer. Only one can attack him due to the Fulcrum, but it wounds him twice, he fails both 3+ wards and then fails stubborn 8 leadership and flees for his life. Improbable, but highly satisfying.

Now that the Steam Tank can fight back, it spends three steam points to grind those pesky Raiders into a thin paste. The Chimera and the Knights both charge the Gors, and Furycat is suspiciously careful to line up the Grand Master for a shot on the Wargor. Failing another leadership test, the Truthsayer continues his sprint for the table edge. Both the Beastmen Shamans return to normal form, but the Wizard Lord obligingly stays amphibious. The Lore of Beasts is Ascendant, and there are 13 power dice to 7 dispel dice. I let the Hurricanum through on the Harpies, and it kills 4 of them between the bad weather and the Lore attribute; the last one doesn’t panic. Hammer of Sigmar is dispelled, but I can’t stop Shield of Faith. A couple of shots from the Witch Hunter at the Great Bray Shaman both miss despite his rerolls to hit, and the Crossbowmen shoot a few more Ungors. In the main event, Furycat is delighted as the Grand Master easily kills off the Wargor with his Runefang, and a whole lot of other Gors go with him. They do manage to put a wound on the Chimera and drag three Knights off their horses though. The result is that the Gors lose heavily but are steadfast. Following the Truthsayer’s shining example, they fail their break check anyway and flee, getting run down by the Chimera while the Knights reform. To add insult to injury, the Great Bray Shaman’s Bestigor herd and the Ungor herd panic and also head for the pub. So where there was once a mighty battle line of bleating goat men, there is now nothing but some triumphant Knights and a scattering of fleeing victims.  Looking back, I probably had this coming to me after the Truthsayer’s antics.

With nothing much else useful to do, the Harpy charges into the Witch Hunter, the Bestigors who aren’t fleeing like little girls charge the Knights (a match up I’m much happier about, even with that Grand Master in there) and the Gors in the far West try to show that they’re contributing a little and charge the Wizard Lord, who sadly stops being a frog. The fleeing Bestigors pull themselves together, but the Ungors continue running right up to the table edge. Death is Ascendant and I have 17 power dice to 10 dispel dice. This should be good. Furycat sensibly dispels Wildform on the Bestigors, but I follow up with Hunters Moon (sort of like a super version of Wildform that affects your whole army) with Irresistible Force. A Calamitous Detonation does nothing of note, but the cataclysmic miscast is a Power Siphon, allowing the Wizard Lord to put Miasma (-2 WS) on the Bestigors in combat. The Zoat tries again for Dwellers Below, getting Irresistible Force this time and sucking 30 Spearmen (but sadly not the Captain) into a hole in the ground. Not bad. The Magical Feedback wounds the Zoat and then we get ‘Was it just me or did the world move?’ on the cataclysmic miscast table. It’s a slight let down that the only movement is the Bray Shaman swapping to the previously empty Fulcrum as the other two Wizards get teleported to the exact place they started. The Wizard Lord gets to enjoy his reprieve from frogginess as the Foe Render does nothing to him and the Gors bounce back from the Fulcrum; elsewhere the Witch Hunter makes short work of the foolish Harpy. In the main event, the Grand Master does his thing (i.e. kill one Bestigor for each of his attacks) and Luthor Huss turns into the Incredible Hulk and kills some more. In return the Bestigors smite the Knights down to just the champion and hold (they lost anyway despite a good round of combat).

The Spearmen realise that they can just see the corner of the Gors peeking out from the Fulcrum and charge in for a ridiculously minimised combat. The Steam Tank goes for it with 5 steam points and tonks over to the engaged Bestigors. It needs to make 14” on three dice and I breathe a sigh of relief as it makes it 13” across the table. Apparently the Truthsayer left the gas on at home as he fails yet another chance to rally and finally leaves the table. With the Lore of Fire Ascendant we have 9 power dice against 6 dispel dice. I dispel Miasma on the Bestigors in combat, Scroll Withering and dispel Hammer of Faith. With no dispel dice left to stop it, Furycat rolls 1,1 casting Shield of Faith (needing only 3) with Luthor Huss. There’s some sort of pathetic pillow fight between the Spearmen and Gors with only 3 casualties in total but the Gors are scared off by the size of the Captains moustache flag and run away (they get away thanks to swiftstride granted by Hunters Moon). Meanwhile, the three amigos kill off a few more Bestigors but are all cut down mercilessly in return. With that, Furycat has seen enough. Victory for the Beastmen!

That was a highly entertaining game, with ridiculous leadership checks defining both sides. I admit I was highly surprised that Furycat agreed to play Storm of Magic at all, but it turned out to be abnormally… normal. Still, the odds were in my favour all the way with a points advantage combined with Furycat’s unfamiliarity with his new army book.

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Border Princes Campaign (Turn 15)

Well Border Princes fans: it’s taken me entirely too long to post this, the start of the final turn of our long-running campaign.  The map has been produced after a long series of events: losing the notes, improbably finding them again, failing to understand what we’d written, then working it all out again.  It is probably telling that we actually did the map moves in April.

Be that as it may, turn 14 of the Border Princes campaign was full of blood and thunder (but mostly blood).  Aramoro‘s Bretonnians managed to hold Malko for yet another turn, forcing back more Empire assaults than you can shake a frog’s leg at.  Otherwise it’s business as usual in the far West as Furycat‘s Empire push the Bretonnians inexorably toward their home territory; High Elf interference from Forkbanger‘s armies is largely ineffective, though they do make some inroads south of the Old Silk Road for the first time.  There are some skirmishes throughout the main contested area; a block of landed bordered by the Old Silk Road in the North, the Central South Road in the West and the Lower Thunder River in the East but they ultimately don’t affect who owns which patch of bloodstained land (a victories for the Empire over the Beastmen and High Elves are documented here and here, respectively, while a victory for a gimmicky High Elf army against a rather gentle Empire army is here).  In the North, Justinmatter‘s Orcs & Goblins defeat a contigent of High Elves who have found themselves far from the action.  Finally, despite a sound victory in the Iron Claw Orc Camp, the Orcs & Goblins are ousted from their lands with their home territory in the hands of the Beastmen (here, here and here).

Turn 15 is the last turn, and it begins with the Orcs & Goblins breaking their alliance with the Empire.  It’s largely symbolic gesture, as they have only two banners left on the table and they’re both trying to get away from the hideous braying of the Beastmen looting their home territory.  All the nations make a final push for glory, but the main battle in terms of deciding both first and last place is yet another assault on Malko by the Empire against the Bretonnians.  I like to imagine that they’ve long since done away with the castle and are now fighting over mounds of bodies, such has been the bloodshed on that territory.  The Beastmen mop up in the far East, consolidating total control over the lands of the greenskins.  The rest of the battles are mainly grinding along the Old Silk Road as that is where the majority of the banners are located.  Of note, defeats in turn 14 to a banner each of Beastmen and Bretonnians (both by the Empire) has them retreating to the same location (the actual Old Silk Road territory).  We rule that they’ll fight there rather than move again, but as the land is owned by their mutual ally (the High Elves) it’s completly irrelevant to the scoring; whoever wins will simply be defending their ally’s territory.

Here are the current scores, before we get on to any battles are fought. There’s no point working out permutations for number of banners next turn, as there will not be one.

Beastmen: 47 points (35 territories, 3 of which are special)
Empire: 30 points (26 territories, 1 of which is special)
High Elves: 24 points (19 territories, 1 of which is special)
Bretonnians: 15 points (6 territories, 1 of which is Malko)
Orcs & Goblins: 7 points (7 territories)

With only a single turn of battles to play, the scores are starting to widen out.  Nonetheless, there is still plenty to play for.  Of note, if the Empire can finally take Malko and have a good overall swing they are in with an outside chance of taking a clear first place.  On the other hand, a bad turn for the Empire coupled with good work from the High Elves could see them leapfrog the moustachioed powerhouse into a highly unexpected second place.  Malko is also key for the Bretonnians as holding it will see them leave the Orcs & Goblins in last place.  As for the greenskins themselves, events are out of their hands.  I intend to publish one further map so that the final scores are documented for completeness.

As it’s the final turn we agreed to add Storm of Magic games in as one of the possible scenarios, replacing either Battle Line or Watchtower depending on the preferences of the two players.

Thanks for sticking with us so far.

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Beastmen (2200 points) vs Orcs & Goblins (2400 points); 27Mar12

After my crushing defeat to Justinmatters’ Orcs & Goblins in the Iron Claw Orc camp, I had one last game in turn 14 of the Border Princes campaign to play. This was a rematch of my ill-fated attempt to take the Orc & Goblin home territory and cement the whole of the Eastern Border Princes as the domain of the Beastmen. For the first time in ages I eschewed the Great Bray Shaman and chose to mix things up with a Doombull as my general (actually, I was trying to get both, but I couldn’t quite make things fit nicely). The Minotaurs kept their place despite a fairly pitiful showing against an Arachnarok, and in general I tried to mainly use miniatures I own. This is probably not notable in any other gaming group, but proxying is the norm here and Justinmatters in particular builds his army by printing off sheets of paper with the unit displayed as a bunch of boxes next to each other with (for example) BO written in each for Black Orcs.

Doombull, Axes of Khorgor, Ramhorn Helm, Talisman of Preservation (don’t leave the forest without it), heavy armour (D)

Gorebull, Berserker Sword, Talisman of Endurance, heavy armour (G1)

Wargor, BSB, Gnarled Hide, Beast Banner, heavy armour, shield (BSB)

Bray Shaman, level 2, Dispel Scroll, extra hand weapon, Lore of Beasts (BS)

37 Gors, extra hand weapon, full command (G2)

40 Ungors, full command (U)

2 x 6 Ungor Raiders, musician (UR1 and UR2)

5 Harpies, scouts (H)

4 Minotaurs, full command (M)

24 Bestigors, full command, Manbane Standard (B)

Justinmatters returned to his more usual choices after his brief foray into Goblins and spiders, though the Arachnarok clearly impressed him as it another made an appearance here. Still, you can get plenty of artillery with Orcs & Goblins, and no-one likes to take a horde of Savage Orc Big ‘Uns to the face.

Black Orc Warboss, Armour of Destiny, Dawnstone (W)

Orc Great Shaman, level 4 (OS)

Savage Orc Big Boss, BSB, Armour of Silvered Steel (BSB)

Night Goblin Shaman, level 2, Dispel Scroll (S1)

Night Goblin Shaman, level 2 (S2)

38 Savage Orc Big ‘Uns, full command (SOBU)

2 x 5 Wolf Riders (WR1 and WR2)

20 Arrer Boyz, standard (AB)

10 Savage Orc Boar Boyz, full command, Gleaming Pennant (SOB)

3 x Orc Chariots (OC1 to OC3)

3 x Spear Chukkas (SC1 to SC3)

Rock Lobber (RL)

Arachnarok Spider (A)

It’s a battle for the pass, never a good sign when you’ve got significantly less shooting than your opponent (i.e. almost always if you’re playing Beastmen). Justinmatters then ups the ante by sticking a river right across the middle of the table for me to slowly wade across; there’s certainly no reason for him to come to me. We also get a Wyrding Well, a Magic Circle, a Nehekharan Sphinx (generously provided by Furycat as he didn’t need his Warsphinx) and a Sorcerous Portal but as usual we forget about all of them as soon as we start playing the game. Still, I think that it affects us both equally so it’s all fine. The spells are divided up as Hand of Gork, ‘Ere We Go, Foot of Gork and Gaze of Mork for the Orc Great Shaman, Sneaky Stabbin’ and Gork’ll Fix It for one Night Goblin and Vindictive Glare and Night Shroud for the other. After that lot I feel slightly inadequate as I meekly roll up Savage Beast of Horros and Wyssan’s Wildform for the Bray Shaman. Not surprisingly, deployment sees the Beastmen lined up on the 12” mark and the Orcs mostly cowering standing proudly behind a fence near the back of their deployment zone. The Beastmen are happy to take first turn…

…And they duly race out of the blocks until most of them are stymied by the fact that they can’t march across rivers. The Harpies flap around to irritate Justinmatters a bit; I’m not really expecting much of them but they have been heroes enough times for me that everyone else in our group hates them with a passion. Now that I only have a single level 2 wizard, of course I roll 6,5 magic dice. Six dice go into Wildform on the Minotaurs to help them survive the inevitable barrage of artillery and to my great surprise it is let through (as it is not irresistable or anything like that). I’m not sure what Justinmatters thought I was going to do with Savage Beast this turn, but anyway his dispel dice are inexplicably wasted.

Animosity strikes the Orcs in the most hilarious way. The Arrer Boyz decide that gun-lines are boring and flip out, making an outrageous charge into the waiting Gor herd who can’t believe their luck (and neither can I). No-one else is in such a hurry, mostly just shuffling around a little. The greenskins get 6,2 magic dice to split among their many magic users. Gork’ll Fix It is cast on the Gors and I let it through. For one, I’m still confident that they can do bad things to the Arrer Boyz, but mainly because I can spring them across the river if enough Arrer Boyz survive to flee. Foot of Gork is dispelled with all my dice on the Bestigors, and Gaze of Mork wounds a Minotaur and kills off a hapless Raider. The Rock Lobber misses the Bestigors but that’s the end of my luck with the shooting phase. The first two Spear Chukkas kill off two Minotaurs and I try to save more of them from the same fate by taking the third on the Doombull. It doesn’t go completely to plan, as he takes one for the team to tune of three wounds. As predicted, even with a hex the Gors are far too much for the Arrer Boyz, mauling them down to a handful for minimal losses and running down the rest as they flee, conveniently crossing the river.

I charge the Harpies into the nearest Orc Chariot, hoping that they might do something with the combat resolution from flank charging. The general and BSB were both too far away to matter so I could potentially panic some stuff. Karma comes back to the Gors as they fail a charge into the nearest of the Night Goblin Shamans. Still, the Minotaurs move up to cover their side so I’m probably better off than I might have been if they’d had to slog it across the river. That’s just what everyone else has to do, though at least thanks to the sterling efforts of the Arrer Boyz I am safe in the knowledge that it’s ‘only’ a River of Blood. The Bray Shaman puts another six dice (of the 5,2 rolled) into Wildform on the Minotaurs again and amazingly it isn’t irresistable or dispelled for the second time in a row. All my hopes for the Harpies are brought back to earth as they fail to do anything to Chariot, are mauled in return and flee off the table. Easy come, easy go.

The Savage Orc Big ‘Uns and one of the Wolf Rider mobs both suffer animosity, but while the Warboss is able to beat sense into his charges, the Wolf Riders obligingly charge into the Doombull and his drinking buddies. Further East, the Gors are brought back to reality by a combined charge from the Arachnarok and an Orc Chariot. The rest of the army jostles for good positions and the Orc Great Shaman leaves the Savage Orc Big ‘Uns, presumably sensing that it’s going to get personal with the Minotaurs shortly. We roll 5,1 magic dice and a Night Goblin Shaman makes a poor start, failing to cast Vindictive Gaze at the Raiders. Gork’ll Fix It on the Gors is scrolled as having to re-roll 6s will stop them having even a slight chance against the mighty spider. Foot of Gork stomps on a few Bestigors as the Bray Shaman fails to dispel it with dice. The Spear Chukkas make up for their stellar performance last turn by missing every shot; the Rock Lobber goes one better by misfiring, though it’ll be fine again next turn. It’s a bad turn to be a Gor as the Orc Chariot and Arachnarok kill them in droves. Still, they do a good job in return, taking down the chariot and putting a couple of wounds on the spider, then holding steadfast. The Wolf Riders have just enough time to realise their mistake before the Doombull swats them all single-handedly.

With only 8.5” separating themselves from the Savage Orc Big ‘Uns, the Minotaurs roll up the only possible result (1,1) that fails their charge; a single manly tear rolls down my cheek. The Raiders decided that they’ve had enough of babysitting the Bray Shaman and head off to tackle the Night Goblin Shamans who are sitting out in the open. Everyone else finally gets out of the river and the air is replete with the unholy aroma of wet goat. The Bray Shaman puts all the 4,1 power dice into the boosted version of Savage Beast in anticipation of action next turn, but it fails to cast so once again Justinmatters is left sitting with a load of unused dispel dice. Finally, the Arachnarok scythes through a load more Gors but it’s running out of wounds faster than I’m running out of Gors; they hold steadfast again.

This turn it’s proper fighting time as the Savage Orc Big ‘Uns charge the Minotaurs in the front and an Orc Chariot comes into the flank. The Orc Great Shaman moves to get the maximum benefit for ‘Ere We Go, and with all of the 2,1 power dice, it goes off; I fail to dispel it. The Spear Chukkas, denied their shots on the Minotaurs, get a fantastic three hits (of three) on the Bestigors though they do hold after the massive casualties. I’m expecting terrible things to happen from the Savage Orc Big ‘Uns, but although the Bloodkine is pulled down, I roll armour and ward saves like a champion and actually win combat. Good work Minotaurs! I’m a bit happier about next turn as the craziness is beaten out of the Savage Orcs and their choppa bonus is gone. Almost as good, the Gors pull the last legs off the Arachnarok with the Wargor saving a venom surge. They reform to face flank of the Savage Orc Big ‘Uns at 5 wide as they’re down to less than half strength; horde formation isn’t much use if you can only go two deep anyway.

This is one of the most satisfying parts of playing Beastmen as I declare charges with almost my whole army. The Bestigors go into the flank of the Orc Chariot that’s stuck on the Doombull and the Gors flank the Savage Orc Big ‘Uns. The Ungors catch the Wolf Riders and the Raiders get stuck into the closer of the Night Goblin Shamans; in both cases if they fled they’d have gone off the table.  All I need now is a good magic phase to seal the deal so I promptly roll up 2,1 magic dice. They all go into Wildform on the Minotaurs but the Night Goblin sensibly scrolls it. Still, I always feel like I’ve got a puncher’s chance once I make it into combat with a good portion of my army, dependant on match-ups of course. The Raiders shank the pesky Shaman and grin maliciously as they turn to face the other one. Over in the West, the Wolf Riders put up a good show against the Ungors, but they’re outnumbered heavily and are chased off the table. Finally, in the big scrum in the centre, it’s like a pillow fight as everyone ineffectively pokes at each other. Still, the Bestigors smash the Orc Chariot into matchwood and when all is said and done the Savage Orc Big ‘Uns lose by seven. After recent experience (here and here) I’m expecting the Crown of Command on the BSB (even after putting some attacks into him and finding him armoured up to the nines) so when Justinmatters announces he needs snake eyes I’m pretty surprised. Even with a re-roll, he can’t make it and the remnants of the Savage Orc Big ‘Uns flee. Justinmatters has seen enough and offers his hand in surrender, which I gladly take. Victory for the Beastmen!

It was a game with wild swings of luck, but in the end the terrible dice thrown in the main fight in the centre came down a little in my favour. I wasn’t feeling too optimistic in the first couple of turns, but it seems that games with Beastmen are often that way. You take a lot of licks at the start and it feels like you’re just removing handfuls of goats without doing anything in return. But from turn 3 (or 2 if you’re doing well) you can get a lot of combat going on, and a Gor in combat is a happy Gor.

Incidentally, compare the movement of this game against my recent loss to Furycat’s Empire. Here I was largely able to keep my battle line tight together and make use of the general and BSB effects for large portions of my army; even when I took a flank charge (the Orc Chariot into the Minotaurs) I had a counter flank charge with the Bestigors on straight away. In the game against the Empire I had my line strung out across a huge distance and no-one was able to support anyone else. Beastmen benefit greatly from leadership effects thanks to primal fury so the more herds that can get re-rolls or the general’s leadership the better.

As for the Doombull, he is a wrecking ball, that’s for sure. Still, as effective as he may be (and he would have been up to 10 attacks on his own if we’d continued), I am not sure that he’s more fun than the Great Bray Shaman. That’s purely because I find the magic phase entertaining to play with and I find that having only 2 spells, as in this case, means that you have very few options.

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Beastmen (2110 points) vs Orcs & Goblins (2475 points); 21Feb12

Here is the second of my three battles against Justinmatters’ Orc & Goblins for turn 14 of the Border Princes campaign. This time we were playing on the Iron Claw Orc camp territory. The sharp-eyed among you might have noted that ‘Orc’ appears in both the name of Justinmatters’ army and the territory. This is a bad confluence of events if you aren’t the Orc in question. Anyway, there isn’t much of a scenario for this territory. Basically, a D6 roll determines how many (if any) points are killed from your army by clashes with the native Orcs. However, if you are in fact playing as Orcs & Goblins, you get to add that many points to your army instead. It’s not really clear if you’re meant to make up a list then remove the relevant number of dudes, or just write a smaller/larger list so we selected the latter option for simplicity. The upshot is that I lose 90 points, but Justinmatters is reinforced by a mighty 225 points, so from our bases of 2200 point each, I’m actually down by 315 before we even write our names on our army lists.

I fancied a change so I took some Minotaurs, though frankly I’ve never been able to make them work for me too well. I also took no Gors at all, something I think I’ve never even attempted before. It turns out that you can get a lot of Ungors into a core allowance.

Great Bray Shaman, level 4, Talisman of Preservation, Dispel Scroll, extra hand weapon, Lore of Shadow (GBS)

Gorebull, BSB, armour of Fortune, Gnarled Hide, extra hand weapon (BSB)

Gorebull, Berserker Sword, Talisman of Endurance, heavy armour (G)

2 x 40 Ungors, full command (U1 and U2)

3 x 6 Ungor Raiders, musician (UR1 to UR3)

23 Bestigors, full command, Standard of Discipline (B)

2 x 5 Harpies, scouts (H1 and H2)

4 Minotaurs, full command, Ironcurse Icon (M)

1 Razorgor (R)

Justinmatters took offense at the idea that only Orcs inhabited the Iron Claw Orc camp (though in fairness, the clue is in the name) and took an army composed entirely of various flavours of Goblin.

Goblin Great Shaman, level 4 Arachnarok Spider, Catchweb Spidershrine, Dispel Scroll, Talisman of Preservation, Potion of Toughness (GGS)

Goblin Big Boss, BSB, Spider Banner (BSB)

Snagla Grobspit (SG)

10 Spider Riders (Deff Creepers), full command (DC)

10 Spider Riders, full command (SR)

2x 60 Goblin, 3 Nasty Skulkers, spears, full command (G1 and G2)

20 Night Goblins, 3 Fanatics (NG and F1 to F3)

Arachnarok Spider, flinger (A1)

Arachnarok Spider (A2)

Three outrageous spiders, plus about a million Goblins. This may get silly. It does. We roll the Watchtower, and the first piece of terrain down after it is an Altar of Khaine right next to it. So no-one can stay in the Watch Tower at all. Otherwise, we’ve got a Ghost Mansion in the South East that we forget about, a Scree Slope and a Temple of Skulls in the West that never do anything of note and a Wyrding Well slightly to the North West of the Watchtower. The Goblin is a loremaster thanks to the shrine he’s sitting in, but the Great Bray Shaman has to roll for spells like a peasant, taking Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma, Enfeebling Foe, Withering and Pit of Shades. I elect not to start with 6 Raiders in the Watchtower and Justinmatters gets us going.

One set of Goblins squabbles a bit and everyone else moves up for poison fun. The Goblin Great Shaman starts big with 6,5 magic dice. Continuing the ‘go big’ theme, he Irresistably casts Vindictive Glare on the some Ungors and then shrugs off the Magical Feedback, losing a power die for good measure. A few Ungors die, but there’s plenty more where they came from. Itchy Nuisance (-2 movement) is let through on the Minotaurs and Curse of the Bad Moon is dispelled.

The Razorgor and Harpies charge the Spider Riders, who surprisingly elect to hold. The other Harpies trigger the Fanatics out of the Night Goblin mob from the safety of the wall, and strangely the Fanatics all head towards them, though none of them actually splat themselves on the terrain. I get 6,1 magic dice but both Enfeebling Foe and Withering on one of the Arachnaroks are dispelled. The Spider Riders put up a bit of a fight but a couple of survivors break and are run down by the Razorgor. Sadly for said Razorgor, this puts it right in front of the Goblins and the Shaman’s Arachnarok. It’s not a happy place for a big pig.

One Arachnarok charges into some unfortunate Raiders, who hold to stop it redirecting into something useful. The other charges into the Ungors who fail their terror check despite being in range of both the general and the BSB then redirects into the Bestigors. The Great Shaman and the huge Goblin mob charge the hapless Razorgor, who holds to keep them busy for a turn. Snagla Grobspit and his Deff Creepers emerge in Ambush behind the Minotaurs (as an aside, what Beastmen general worth their horns wouldn’t swap the Beastmen Ambush special rule for the basic Ambush rule from the main rule book?). Finally, two of the Fanatics continue their headlong rush into a wall, paying for it with their drug-addled lives. It’s another big magic phase with 5,5 power dice. Once again, I’m forced to let through Itchy Nuisance (-2 movement) on the Minotaurs. Gift of the Spider God on the Arachnarok is scrolled, and Gork’ll Fix It on the Bestigors is also dispelled. After much flicking through rulebooks, the mighty Snagla Grobspit throws his magic javelin at the Minotaurs, and in a huge let down, it misses. We start combat with the plucky Raiders putting two wounds on their Arachnarok before being stomped into the dust; another herd nearby runs off the table and I’m not sure I blame them. The Bestigors put a handy 4 wounds on their Arachnarok, whose venom surge on the Great Bray is stopped by his ward save. It holds anyway though after eating a few Bestigors. The Razorgor puts a wound on the Goblin Great Shaman before being poisoned about a thousand times.

The Minotaurs charge into the Goblin Great Shaman’s Arachnarok, hoping that the immunity to thunderstomps is enough to offset a multiple wound attack. The fleeing Ungors fail yet another leadership test, on 10 this time, and head off the table to get the drinks in ahead of the rush. This time there are 6,3 magic dice, but Justinmatters is taking no chances and scrolls Enfeebling Foe on the Shaman then dispels Withering on him. Miasma fails to cast anyway so he doesn’t even need to use the last dice. Although using the scroll was a good move anyway, it is even more useful this time as he (sensibly) didn’t expect the Shaman to live long enough to use it again. And he’s right. The Goblin Great Shaman is dragged off the back of the Arachnarok and eaten by angry cow people, though the big spider holds. Meanwhile, the Bestigors reduce the second Arachnarok to a single wound, but there aren’t many of them left either.

Urged on by Furycat (who was cheerleading from the sidelines), the Deff Creepers charge into the rear of the Minotaurs. As the Shaman is dead, we skip past the magic phase and straight to combat. The Great Bray Shaman joins his small green counterpart in the dead pile as the Arachnarok venom surges him again and his ward fails to save him this time. In revenge, the Bestigors finally topple the mighty beast, but there’s only the plucky command group now. The other combat turns out to be a complete blood bath with dead and dying Minotaurs and Spider Riders everywhere.  In the end the Minotaurs need to muster a 4 to hold… and they manage it.

I’m not really sure what I was thinking at this point, as I charged the Ungors into the Arachnarok. They weren’t likely to hurt it, they could give up huge combat resolution as suddenly it had something to thunderstomp, and finally it’s stubborn so it didn’t care about the rank bonus they brought with them. Oh well, live and learn. Figuring they’re getting a Spider to the face no matter what they do next, I also charge the pitiful remnants of the once-proud Bestigors into the flank of the Deff Creepers. Anyway, the giant mess finished up with a narrow Beastmen victory and Snagla dead, though the Arachnarok and Spider Riders held again. One flock of Harpies charge into the rear of the Goblin regiment. This might also seem like a poor idea but I had a good chance of doing enough damage to win the combat (as I get +2 for a rear charge and +1 for charging) and even though the Goblins would be steadfast, they’re only leadership 6 and out of BSB range. Sadly, I hadn’t accounted for Nasty Skulkers as Justinmatters has never used them against me before (and I only had a vague idea of what they did), so they leapt into the fray, tipping the odds against me somewhat. And indeed, the Goblin assassins kill a few of the Harpies and the rest flee but get away.

It doesn’t help for long, as the Goblins chase them off the table. The final Arachnarok charges into the rear of the Bestigors, who, it’s fair to say, don’t like it up ‘em. All of the remaining Spider Riders are killed off along with the Bestigors. Even with all that, the pair of Arachnaroks actually lose combat but they’re stubborn and in range of the BSB (who is happily twiddling his thumbs and watching the carnage) so they’re not going anywhere. It’s at this point that Justinmatters realises that his wounded Arachnarok is in range of the Wyrding Well and hence can heal the wounds I’m putting on him pathetically slowly. With my forces all tied up with the Arachnarok double team and the rest of the Goblins just hanging around waiting for something to beat up, I call it a night. Victory for the Orcs & Goblins!

Or, as Furycat put it later in a summarised battle report for the benefit of Aramoro and Forkbanger: ‘Oh God! Spiders! Poison!’

It was a hilarious game with spiders and goblins all over the place, but I was never really in it. Between hapless minions (the Ungors fleeing off the board from the Arachnarok in turn two) and my own poor play (the other Ungors charging pointlessly into the Arachnarok) I didn’t make Justinmatters do anything more than play competently. Which he did, and deservedly got a crushing victory over me, only giving up a few victory points to boot. I should also point out that while I was panicking around the board fighting a never-ending series of huge scary spiders, Justinmatters was quietly keeping a giant mob of Goblins right next to the Watchtower so that he could actually win the game even if I did somehow kill off all the beasties.

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Beastmen vs Empire; 2000 points (14Feb12)

Well, it really has taken me ages to get this battle report written up from turn 14 of the Border Princes Campaign; my opponent this time was my arch-nemesis / best friend, Furycat and his mustachioed Empire army.  I mostly just stuck with the same army as my previous outing against Justinmatters, the narrowest of wins against Justinmatters‘ Orcs & Goblins.  Still, with the reduction back to 2000 points, I ditched the under-performing Lore of Death Bray Shaman and the Razorgors, shuffled a few things around and fit in a Chaos Spawn.  I’ve never tried one before and to be honest I’m not really sure what to do with it, but it’s not many points so I figured it was worth a go.

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, Chalice of Dark Rain, additional hand weapon, Lore of Beasts (BS)

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)

Chaos Spawn (CS)

23 Bestigors, full command, Banner of Discipline (B)

Furycat tried out double Lore of Light wizards, which seems pretty sound on paper.  I like the Lore of Light a lot, although I don’t actually play any armies that can take it (unless I go for the Wizarding Hat, which is still a pretty long shot).

Arch Lector of Sigmar, War Altar, Dawn Armour (AL)

Wizard Lord, level 4, Lore of Light(WL)

Captain of the Empire, BSB, Armour of Meteoric Iron, Dawnstone (BSB)

Battle Wizard, level 2, Dispel Scroll, Lore of Light (BW)

30 Flagellants, Prophet of Doom(F)

20 Crossbowmen (C)

48 Halberdiers, full command (H)

10 Outriders (O)

5 Pistoliers (P)

2 Helstorm Rocket Battery (HRB1 and HRB2)

The scenario is the Meeting Engagement.  There’s a Sigmarite Shrine in the centre and an Earthblood Mere in the far East; the fence in the North West is just that (i.e. a normal common or garden fence).  The rivers and forests lay in wait for us, of course.  There’s a ford in the middle of one of them, which is under the Ungors in the first picture.  Note that the third river just got place in the corner as we were both pretty tired of laying out river by the time that one came round; funnily enough I made a bit of hash of setting it up in Battle Chronicler too but don’t worry about that as it’ll never be remotely near any units.  The Wizard Lord rolls Speed of Light, Light of Battle, Birona’s Timewarp and Pha’s Protection while the Battle Wizard has Net of Amyntok and Banishment.  Over on my side of the table, the Great Bray Shaman has Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma, Enfeebling Foe, Penumbral Pendulum and Okkam’s Mindrazorand the Bray Shaman has Wyssan’s Wildform and Savage Beast of Horros.  A frankly preposterous series of dice rolls sees the Great Bray Shaman, the Wargor and Bestigors late to the battle, while the Crossbowmen, Halberdiers and Captain are similarly detained for an extra round in the pub.  The Beastmen set up first and go first.  Note the placement of the Harpies to stymie the vanguard move of the Outriders; the small Gor herd and one of Raider herds are ambushing.

The Gors helpfully ambush in the West, setting up to either threaten all the units set up over there or be mangled by Outrider machine gun fire depending on Furycat’s preference.  Everyone else moves forward, though the big Gor herd takes a slow approach to give the Wargor a chance to join them.  The Harpies move to give themselves options next turn and (more importantly) get out of the way of the Flagellants while the Chaos Spawn tests the river and finds out that it’s full of blood.  Cute.  We roll 6,4 magic dice, but start off auspiciously with the Bray Shaman getting Irresistable Force putting Wildform on the Ungors.  The resulting calamitous detonation does remarkably little damage (improbably, only a single Raider dies).Despite using 3 dice, I fail to cast the upgraded version of Miasma on the Pistoliers.  This pretty much sets the tone for my magic in this game.

The Pistoliers feel lucky and try the other river, which helpfully gives them Pha’s Protection as it’s a river of light.  There’s minimal other movement (why bother when the Beastmen will come to you?) but the delayed units sheepishly slink onto the table carrying letters from their mums.  The winds of magic are pretty wild with 6,6 dice – I prepare for a lot of stinging.  I let through the Net of Amyntok on the ambushing Gors as it’s only a 50-50 chance of doing anything useful.  The War Altar tries to cast Banishment on the Harpies but fails and then the Wizard Lord casts the bubble version of Speed of Light which I fail to dispel.  I do manage to stop Banishment on the Harpies though.  The Pistoliers shoot up a Harpy in the East but the Outriders annihilate the other flock in hail of bullets, panicking the first lot off the table (luckily, the Gors hold).  The Helstorms remind me why I hate them so much as a single hit takes out 11 Gors from the big herd.

The ambushing Raiders are right on the money, arriving on the Empire table edge just at the right time; any earlier and they’d probably have been panicked off the table again by the Harpies.  The ambushing herd of Gors tries to charge the Battle Wizard, who smirks at them from under his funny hat as they fail to shrug off the Net of Amyntok.  The Ungors charge into the Halberdiers and are joined by the Chaos Spawn as it ambles slowly over.  This time, I only get 3,2 magic dice; Enfeebling Foe on the Halberdiers is dispelled and Wildform on the Ungors is scrolled.  They lose slightly to the Halberdiers and remember that steadfast is only useful if you’re more than leadership 6 or near a BSB; heading back for my lines.  The Spawn is unbreakable, so it sticks around for more punishment.

There’s not a lot of movement apart from the Flagellants moving backward to keep the Gors on the other side of the river for a bit longer (so much for crazed fanatics!) and the Wizards fleeing from the might of the ambushing Raiders.  The Pistoliers cross the river again just to show that they can and are rewarded with Pha’s Protection once more.  There are only 6,1 magic dice this time; Net of Amyntok is let through on the small Gor herd again but the War Altar’s casting of the same thing on the Wargor’s herd is dispelled.  The Bray Shaman uses the Chalice of Dark Rain but one of the Helstorms still lands a direct hit on the big Gor herd, killing another load of them.  In fairness, the rest of the shooting is minimal.  Finally, the Halberdiers put the Spawn out of its misery.

This time, the ambushing Gors escape the Net of Amyntok and hit the flank of the Flagellants.  There’s never a good time to mix it up with flail-wielding lunatics, but if you have to then it’s best to get in somewhere the flails won’t have too much effect.  The Raiders charge the Helstorm, creating my favoured situation for artillery: in combat with something cheap.  The Ungors pull themselves together now that they’ve gone back to the Great Bray Shaman.  I get 4,3 magic dice to play with and the Bray Shaman gets Irresistable Force again on a 3 dice casting of Wildform on the Ungors.  He doesn’t get away so lightly this time, joining the Hierophant from Furycat’s Tomb King army in a hole in reality (side note: after half a dozen games with Tomb Kings, Furycat’s Hierophant has been sucked into the warp more often than not, and has yet to feel the sweet caress of turn 4).  Enfeebling Foe on the Flagellants is dispelled.  The Gors kill a few of them anyway, but being unbreakable, they don’t care at all and reform to face.  Still, even though you can’t beat the frenzy out of them, I’m a lot happier now that they’re too tired to swing their flails.  The Raiders kill one of the Helstorm crew but the others hold anyway.

In a move I didn’t see coming, the Outriders charge the flank of the Gors, none of them dying to the fence as they cross it.  The Halberdiers charge the Ungors again and the Wizards shuffle about for no obvious reason.  It’s another good magic phase for the Empire with 6,4 dice available.  I let Speed of Light through on the Halberdiers then the Wizard Lord puts an Irresistable Birona’s Timewarp on the Flagellants.  The calamitous detonation wounds both Wizards and gets rid of the last magic dice.  The unengaged Helstorm helpfully misfires (and can’t fire next turn either), lighting up the battlefield with pretty fireworks, while the Crossbowmen continue to plink away at the Gors.  Once again the Halberdiers narrowly beat the Ungors and once again they bodge their break check (despite the presence of the general this time) and once again they get away.  Over on the other side of the table, the Gors lose narrowly to the combined efforts of the Outriders and Flagellants and hold, but it’s a blood bath over there. I didn’t actually write it in my notes but I have a vague memory that Furycat opted not to sacrifice any Flagellants this turn (reasoning that they would be re-rolling to hit anyway from ASF) and then epically failed his wound rolls.  Finally, the Ungors finish off the Helstorm crew which improbably panics the Wizard Lord off the board.

The big Gor herd charges the flank of the Flagellants and gets Birona’s Timewarp from the river to match the one on the Flagellents.  The triumphant Raiders charge the Battle Wizard, who flees.  They fail to redirect and stumble unwisely right in front of the Crossbowmen.  The Bestigors charge into the Pistoliers and the Ungors rally yet again.  I roll 5,2 magic dice but start off with 1,1 on an unboosted version of Miasma on the Crossbowmen so that’s that.  The Bestigors smite the Pistoliers into the ground and over run out of reach of the Halberdiers.  Meanwhile, the small Gor herd is wiped out (which inconveniently strands the Outriders out of combat) and the Flagellants take horrendous losses; they reform to face the big herd.

The Arch Lector, tired of just pulling dispel dice out of his cassock (not that he’s needed them), decides to get in on the fighting and spurs his mobile pulpit into the Bestigors.  The Halberdiers continue their game of ‘tig’ with the Ungors and the Outriders canter back to the safety of their fence.  With another big magic phase (6,5), I use all my dispel dice to stop a 6 dice Speed of Light on the Flagellants from the freshly-rallied Battle Wizard.  Net of Amyntok is put on the Gors and the Arch Lector Soulfires a single Bestigor.  The Crossbowmen kill three of the Raiders right in front of them, but this doesn’t bother the plucky little buggers.  In combat, the Gors finish off the Flagellants and reform to 5 wide.  For the third time in a row the Ungors lose a close fight against the Halberdiers and flee, although this time the Halberdiers reform to face the Bestigors instead.  The Arch Lector runs over a few Bestigors with his War Altar but otherwise not much happens in their combat.

The Raiders try again to catch the Battle Wizard, but he flees again.  The Gors attempt to charge the Crossbowmen but fail to escape the Net (note: it looks from Battle Chronicler that they’re miles away, but they were in credible charging range).  The winds of magic only give me 3,1 dice; I put them all into Mindrazor on the Bestigors but it’s dispelled.  The Bestigors all bounce off the War Altar’s ward save, so everyone stays right where they are.

The Halberdiers charge into the back of the Bestigors – this is going to get ugly (if you’re a Beastman).  The Battle Wizard fails to rally and keeps on running, and everyone else is toting move-or-fire weapons so they’re going nowhere.  There are only 2,1 magic dice; the Arch Lector puts them all into Birona’s Timewarp on the Halberdiers but it gets dispelled.  The Outriders and Crossbowmen reduce the Gors to just the Foe Render and the Wargor (though they do hold) and the Helstorm fires a wild shot in the vague direction of the Ungors.  The Bestigors fare surprisingly well against the Halberdiers (they still can’t get through the ward save on the War Altar though) but they still lose and flee.  Then it got complicated…

So, the losers flee from the biggest unit – clearly the Halberdiers in this case.  For some reason, I’d always thought that the fleeing unit got away clean if it rolled higher on distance than all pursuers, but that doesn’t seem to be explicit in the rules.  The upshot of this is that the Arch Lector is almost certain to catch them as he effectively has a 100 mm head start on them (evidently the War Altar can be rotated much more easily than it looks).  So the first question is: is this correct?  To complicate things even further, the fleeing Bestigors ended up in a River of Light so we agreed to see what spell was cast on them.  Of course, it was Light of Battle, meaning that they rallied immediately.  We played it that they got this and then the Arch Lector charged them again, as if he’d pursued into a fresh unit.  Second question: is this correct?

Determined to go out in a blaze of glory, the Foe Render and the Wargor (or Butch and Sundance) charge into the Crossbowmen… they needed an 8 to make it… they didn’t.  The Gor was pincushioned for his troubles too.  The Raiders charge into the surviving Helstorm, more to stop it shooting than anything else, and the others charge at the Battle Wizard who very narrowly manages to stay on the table after he flees.  I get 4,4 magic dice and start off by reducing the Outriders’ BS by 3 with Miasma (let through).  Enfeebling Foe is dispelled but I get Mindrazor on the Bestigors.  It doesn’t help, as I still can’t put a single wound through the ward save on the War Altar; according to my notes I’d managed more than 15 by this point).  The Raiders do manage to kill one of the Helstorm crew, but the other two hold.

The Halberdiers fail a fourth charge on the Ungors, and the Battle Wizard rallies now that the Arch Lector is back in inspiring presence range.  There are only 3,1 magic dice; Pha’s Protection and Healing Hand on the Arch Lector are both dispelled and Armour of Contempt fails (not that he’s likely to need it).  The BSB is shot down by the Outriders despite needing 8s to hit, 5s to wound and rocking a 2+ save (admittedly, down to 4+ from black powder weapons).  I finally kill off the War Altar but the Arch Lector holds firm, and the game ends.  We go to our calculators and the results are Empire: 1250, Beastmen 732.  Victory for the Empire!

Another tight game against my most challenging foe.  Furycat played well and took some bad luck in his stride (notably, the Wizard Lord panicking off the table), still coming out on top.  There are a few lessons here for me though.

The biggest one is surely familiar to all Beastmen players.  Scroll back up and check the map for my turn 1 (don’t worry, I’ll wait for you).  That is a prime example of how not to play Beastmen.  My herds are spread out right across the table; you could drive a bus between most of them.  Beastmen benefit hugely from keeping packed close to get the BSB and general’s leadership bonuses.  Almost as bad, it also meant that I was coming piecemeal across the table, allowing my units to be dealt with one at a time.

Otherwise, I made quite a mistake right at the end by playing aggressively with the Wargor and Foe Render.  There was no good reason to give the Crossbowmen an extra round of shooting by going for an optimistic charge; instead I should have run as far away as possible from the shooting.  Even though there were only 2 in the unit at the end, they were worth 643 points (including the bonus points for the BSB); more than the difference between victory and at least a draw.  The even more annoying thing is that I even considered these factors in the same turn when I moved the Ungors back to keep them away from the Halberdiers.  Still, I suppose it was more Beastmen-y to charge headlong into the teeth of the guns crossbows.

Categories: Battle reports, Border Princes, Campaigns, Warhammer Fantasy Battle | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Beastmen vs Orcs & Goblins (2200 points); 07Feb12

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.

Categories: Battle reports, Border Princes, Campaigns, Warhammer Fantasy Battle | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

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