Posts Tagged With: Bretonnians

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 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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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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Border Princes Campaign (Turn 14)

After a busy turn of combats in turn 13 of the Border Princes campaign, there’s been something of a mixed bag of results. From the perspective of the Beastmen, a narrow defeat to the men of Furycat‘s Empire was avenged by an equally narrow victory. My dreadful performance trying to invade Justinmatters‘ Orcs & Goblins’ home territory was made up for by two good results elsewhere (here and here) and a general good gaining of their ground. Further West, Aramoro‘s Bretonnians held Malko again (no report yet) and otherwise there’s a victory each in the skirmishes around the Old Silk Road West. Finally, an Empire army makes short work of an invading High Elf force from Forkbanger with a handful of hapless Gors along (briefly) for the ride.

Turn 14 is just as busy. The marauding Orc & Goblin banner that has been hoovering up territory in the Blackfire Mountains is finally intercepted by the High Elves and will have to fight their way free. All along the Old Silk Road there are more border clashes between the Empire, the Bretonnians and the High Elves, with the Empire fighting two battles against each of the others. That includes the regular scheduled clash in Malko as the Empire once again throw themselves at the heavily fortified Bretonnians. Foolish humans, they should be tearing down the walls of civilisation, not hiding behind them. The Beastmen rush South from the Old Silk Road to get to grips with another Empire force, but a bizarre merry-go-round develops around the Lower Thunder Road as various armies from both the Empire and the Beastmen chase each other futilely as the Benny Hill chase music plays. Finally, the Beastmen overrun of the Orc & Goblin homelands continues, with four battles in the offing. One of them is another attempt on the HQ territory while another is in the Iron Claw Orc Camp so we’ll get to play with some funky extra special rules.

Here are the current scores, before we get on to any battles are fought.  With 11 games to play, there are far too many permutations for me to bother to work out anyone’s potential gains and losses.

Beastmen: 36 points (28 territories, 2 of which are special); 10 banners
Empire: 31 points (27 territories, 1 of which is special); 9 banners
High Elves: 20 points (16 territories, 1 of which is special); 6 banners
Bretonnians: 17 points (8 territories, 1 of which is Malko); 3 banners
Orcs & Goblins: 15 points (11 territories, 1 of which is special); 5 banners

So with only the battles from turn 14 plus the whole of turn 15 to go, Furycat is almost assured of overall victory with the sweet plastic prize it brings.  In the fight to be best of the rest, Justinmatters’ Orcs & Goblins are sliding dramatically down the rankings having been top dog for the early phases; in effect they traded a voracious assault by the Empire for an equally ferocious over-run at the hands of my Beastmen.  Forkbanger’s High Elves are the big winners of the late stages of the campaign, taking advantage of some good alliances to keep their lands safe while picking off isolated territories.  Aramoro’s Bretonnians are still desperately fighting to avoid trading their onions for sausage as the Empire unrelentingly attack them across all fronts, but holding onto Malko will probably decide their fate in the campaign.

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Border Princes Campaign (Turn 13)

We thought that turn 12 had been a busy turn of the Border Princes campaign.  We had nice simple victories for my Beastmen over Justinmatters‘ Orcs & Goblins (here), Aramoro‘s Bretonnians over Furycat‘s Empire (here) and the infamous ‘Teclis incident‘ (Forkbanger‘s High Elves defeat the Empire). In the more complex battles, the High Elves used their unlikely Beastmen allies to narrowly defeat the Empire (here) and the Bretonnians were aided by High Elves to see off a marauding Empire army (here).

But we were wrong.  This turn is a busy turn.  Firstly, the men of the Empire allied with the shrinking greenskinned nation to their East, and then suddenly all hell broke loose.  Right along the centre of the map are fights in almost every territory.  In the West Bretonnians and High Elves are banding together to fight the Empire, and the increasingly isolated Bretonnians stuck in Malko are once again desperately staving off an assault from the Empire.  Looking East, a force of High Elves moves into Empire lands for the first time, with support from a trailing herd of Beastmen.  Further East, two Empire banners are throwing themselves at two fortified Beastmen positions to the South of the Old Silk Road.  Finally, there are three battles between the Beastmen and the Orcs & Goblins, including a crucial one in the greenskins’ home territory.  Despite their alliance, not one army from the Empire or the Orcs & Goblins is in a position to help the other nation.  For those keeping count, that’s nine battles this turn, including six each for me and Furycat.

Here are the current score, before any battles are fought.  As with the previous couple of turns there are far too many permutations to be worth calculating who will gain or lose banners at the end of the turn.

Beastmen: 34 points (26 territories, 2 of which are special); 9 banners
Empire: 29 points (25 territories, 1 of which is special); 9 banners
High Elves: 19 points (15 territories, 1 of which is special); 6 banners
Orcs & Goblins: 18 points (14 territories, 1 of which is special); 5 banners
Bretonnians: 18 points (9 territories, 1 of which is Malko); 4 banners

As we move to the last few turns, the pack has started to split.  It’s a near certainty that Furycat’s Empire will take victory (remember that I can’t win the game), but it’s unbelievably tight between the other three players.  Forkbanger’s High Elves have been making quite the come back in the last few turns after accidentally penning themselves into a corner in the mid-game.  Meanwhile, the previously mighty nation of the Orcs & Goblins has been cut to a shadow of its former glory, though I expect that this will change now that the Empire aren’t taking territory off them at a terrifying rate.  Finally, the hopes of the Bretonnians mainly hang on holding onto Malko for the last few turns.

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Border Princes Campaign (Turn 12)

All the battles from turn 11 of our ongoing Border Princes campaign have now been completed, and most of the battles are fully documented.  We had two victories of my Beastmen over Justinmatters‘ Orcs & Goblins (here and here), two victories for the Beastmen over Furycat‘s Empire (here and here), two Empire victories over their erstwhile allies, Aramoro‘s Bretonnians (still waiting for battle reports on these) and finally a bizarre no-score draw between the Empire and the Orcs & Goblins (also not reported yet).  Only Forkbanger‘s High Elves are too soft far away from the action to get any battles in.

After that giant scrum there are relatively few battles for turn 12, although still a good number.  The Beastmen army in the North-East finally get their act together and march in to take the haunted Geistenmund Hills and make an aggressive move into the territory of the Orcs & Goblins.  They also make their now traditional march into the Old Silk Road, but due to poor communication with their High Elf allies they are blocked from actually getting there [High Elves campaign special rule is that they always win Don’t Pass in the Night rolls, ensuring that they are always on the offense when taking territory]; they get good support from the goaty ones.  Equally poor communication in the West traps a Bretonnian banner in combat with the Empire, though again their allies are in position to assist.  In the south, the Empire continue their long-running border skirmish with the Orcs & Goblins, and in the centre there is finally an assault on Malko, a special territory which has been held by the Bretonnians since turn 8.

Here are the current score, before any battles are fought.  As with turn 11 there are too many permutations to be worth calculating who will gain or lose banners at the end of the turn.

Beastmen: 34 points (26 territories, 2 of which are special); 9 banners
Empire: 27 points (23 territories, 1 of which is special); 8 banners
Orcs & Goblins: 20 points (16 territories, 1 of which is special); 7 banners
Bretonnians: 19 points (10 territories, 1 of which is Malko); 4 banners
High Elves: 18 points (14 territories, 1 of which is special); 5 banners

The scores are starting to diverge more and more as we head to the end of the campaign.  With only 4 turns of battles to play (this one included) there is still everything to play for, especially with the key territory of Malko giving 10 points to the holder.

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Border Princes Campaign (Turn 11)

We’ve finally completed all our battles from turn 10 of the Border Princes campaign we’re running in our little group of geeks.  The turn started off with hopelessly one-sided thrashing of my beloved Beastmen by a combined force from the Empire and Bretonnians (here), led by Furycat and Aramoro respectively.  Things improved significantly in the remaining two battles against my erstwhile allies, Justinmatters‘ Orcs & Goblins (victories documented here and here), including one where I was able to overturn a small points disadvantage.

Turn 11 begins with a letter from the Bretonnian general to his counterpart in the Empire, formally announcing the end of their previously steady alliance.  As a result, the only alliances left are those between Forkbanger‘s High Elves and the Bretonnians, and the High Elves and the Beastmen; apparently doing actual fighting is beneath Elven dignity.  Anyway, this results in a massive free-for-all, with battles up and down the central areas; the total is two battles between the Empire and Beastmen, two between the Empire and the Bretonnians, two between the Orcs & Goblins and Beastmen and one between the Orcs & Goblins and the Empire.  In other words, it’s all a big mess.  The only other move of significance is an army of Beastmen failing to make their fear check to take the Geistenmund hills (cowards, the lot of them).

For those keeping track of such things, here are the current scores (before any battles this turn).  I can’t be bothered counting up the permutations of who’ll gain or lose banners since there are so many battles to deal with.

Beastmen: 28 points (24 territories, 1 of which is special); 9 banners
Empire: 27 points (23 territories, 1 of which is special); 8 banners
Orcs & Goblins: 22 points (18 territories, 1 of which is special); 7 banners
Bretonnians: 21 points (12 territories, 1 of which is Malko); 4 banners
High Elves: 17 points (13 territories, 1 of which is special); 4 banners

Finally, a few rules changes.  We’re increasing the base army size to 2000 points (with fortifications / support giving the same 10 % advantage as always) based on some testing from Aramoro and Forkbanger showing such larger games don’t take much longer to play.  We’ve also agreed to shorten the campaign to 15 turns (from 20) since I think that it’ll start to become a big grind in the centre of the map if the campaign goes on too long.  And I’ve decided to stop tracking which armies are led by which characters; it’s annoyingly bureaucratic and adds nothing to the fun.

Thanks for sticking with us so far; there are plenty of battle reports on the way.

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A short note on strategy from the Border Princes Campaign (turn 10)

I thought it might be appropriate write a short article to explain the rationale behind the decisions made for the Beastmen in the Border Princes campaign we’re running at the moment.

To recap, at the end of turn 9, the Beastmen were allied with the Orcs & Goblins and at war with everyone else (High Elves, Bretonnians and Empire, although there hadn’t actually been any conflict with the Empire at this stage). Plenty of battles had been fought over the middle ground around Malko and the Old Silk Road, but over all the Beastmen were at least holding there own, and in particular were doing extremely well against the High Elves. Their alliance with the Orcs & Goblins ensured that some support was generally available for any battles in the centre of the map where serious opposing force could be brought to bear, and additionally were locked in combat with the Empire, keeping them focussed on the South of the Border Princes (i.e. away from Beastmen-held areas). It was clear that the Empire would be able to break through the Orc & Goblin lines in turn 10, and battles with the Bretonnians and the Empire against the Beastmen and Orcs & Goblins looked likely.

In turn 10, the Beastmen and the Orcs & Goblins mutually agreed to break their alliance, depriving both of support against the two human nations who were tightening their hold on the territories around Malko. Worse, being in combat with each other meant that they couldn’t use their own neighbouring armies to assist in battles against the Bretonnians and the Empire, since the banners that would have been able to support were fighting their own battles.

In addition, the Beastmen entered an alliance with the High Elves, a nation with relatively few banners which were largely focussed in the extreme North West (i.e. away from the main fighting) and who the Beastmen seemed to be holding back without too much difficulty (admittedly, this is mainly due to my luck rather than skill).

The result of all this is that the Beastmen traded a powerful ally in a useful position (the Orcs & Goblins with their 17 provinces) for a comparatively weak ally far from the main action (the High Elves, with only 12 territories on the map). The battles with the Orcs & Goblins also meant that the Empire were able to make full use of their well-placed Bretonnian allies to crush the Beastmen army on the Old Silk Road.

So, back to the question: why? It is simple, of course. An acknowledged problem with map campaigns is that you end up fighting against the same opponents a lot of the time, while others (in a different part of the map) can’t be engaged at all. I wanted a chance to fight against Justinmatters‘ Orcs & Goblins, and I wanted to shake up the stalemate in the centre of the map. So ultimately, this was just an excuse to (I hope) liven up the campaign a little by mixing the combinations of alliances and the likelihood of battles being fought.

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Beastmen (1600 points) vs Empire and Bretonnians (2080 points); 15Mar11

It is turn 10 of the Border Princes campaign, and the Beastmen are drawn on to the field to fight the first of their 3 battles.  On the other side of the table are Furycat‘s Empire army, supported by not one, not two, but three banners of Bretonnian knights.  I’ve had pretty good success fighting uphill battles lately, taking on Aramoro‘s Bretonnians down by one banner and Forkbanger‘s High Elves down by two banners, and winning both games.  I think that my improbable luck is due to end now, and in any case I’d need a lot of it to stand a chance against an army with nearly a third more strength than my own.  I waffled for a while about what to take, but in the end I used a fairly conservative army.  Against anyone other than the Empire I probably would have tried out a Cygor to see what they’re like, but since any big guys would be cannoned into fine red mist, there wasn’t much point here.

Kettrin the Frozen – Great Bray Shaman, Level 4, Steel Claws, Talisman of Preservation, Lore of Shadow (GBS)

Greygave– Wargor, BSB, Gnarled Hide, Heavy Armour, Shield (BSB)

Ezekial – Bray Shaman, Chalice of Dark Rain, additional hand weapon, Lore of Beasts (BS)

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

23 Gors, additional hand weapons, full command (G2)

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

2 x 5 Harpies, scouts (H1 and H2)

2 single Razorgors (R1 and R2)

Furycat took this list, testing out the idea of a hero on a Pegasus as a mobile reserve but otherwise sticking with a rather straightforward mix which has served him well in the past.  As usual, he declines the use of wizards, preferring to rely on the Warrior Priests to see him through any magical shenanigans on my part.

General of the Empire, Armour of Meteoric Iron, Dawnstone, Other Trickster’s Shard, Great Weapon (GE)

Captain of the Empire, BSB, Talisman of Preservation, full plate armour (BSB)

Captain of the Empire, Pegasus, lance, full plate armour, shield, Aldred’s Casket of Sorcery (CE)

Warrior Priest, Hammer of Judgement, heavy armour, shield (WP)

30 Halberdiers, full command (H)

31 Swordsmen, full command, Banner of Eternal Flame (S)

2 x 10 Crossbowmen (C1 and C2)

22 Greatswords, full command (G)

Great cannon (GC)

2 Mortars (M1 and M2)

9 Knights of the Realm, full command (KotR)

10 Knights Errant, full command, Errantry Banner (KE)

As usual, we rolled up terrain from the list in the book, getting a scree slope in the South West and a normal hill in the South East, a couple of forests, a couple of mist-wreathed swamps (watch out for Fimir!), some ghost fences in the middle and blessed bulwarks in the North West.  The scenario is the Meeting Engagement so we check to see if anyone is delayed.  On the Beastmen side, one Razorgor is late as is a unit of Harpies (whatever happened to scouts?).  Over on the human side of the table, an impressive display of dice rolling has both units of Knights, the General, the BSB, one unit of Crossbowmen, a mortar and the Halberdiers sleep in too long.  The Great Bray Shaman takes my favourite set of spells, Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma, The Withering, Enfeebling Foe and Pit of Shades while the Bray Shaman has Wyssan’s Wildform and Amber Spear.  The Beastmen set up first and go first.

Predictably, the Beastmen head for the human lines as fast as their hooved legs will carry them.  The Harpies hug the board edge to keep out of the charge arc of the Pegasus rider, but there is no subtlety in the rest of the movement – straight forward at top speed.  The Gors in the West find that the forest is a venom thicket, but improbably none of them succumb to poison (they must be some kind of woodland creatures).  In the magic phase, a cheeky attempt to drop some Greatswords into the Pit of Shades fails when I roll 1,1,1,4.  Amber Spear on the Pegasus is easily dispelled.

The human reinforcements come on, with the characters taking their places in the ranks of the Greatswords, and the only other movement is the Pegasus moving to defend the cannon.  The winds of magic blow strong (6,4) but with only a single Warrior Priest to use it, most of the dice are wasted.  Armour of Contempt is successfully put on the General of the Empire though.  A hail of crossbow bolts and artillery fire kills  8 Bestigors and 4 Gors, but no-one panics.

The Harpies charge into the Crossbowmen defending their blessed bulwark forgetting (just like me) what it actually does.  This will come back to haunt them soon. The Eastern Gors wheel into the face of the Halberdiers to try and get out of the Knights’ charge arc, but it isn’t far enough.  In the West, a couple of Gors die to the poison forest but otherwise they continue their hurried pace toward the Swordsmen.  Finally, I remember to bring on the reinforcements.  Another attempt at the Amber Spear on the Pegasus is dispelled, but Miasma reduces the Greatswords stats by 3.  The Great Bray Shaman also manages to get off Pit of Shades on the Greatswords, but a bit of a scatter followed by some good rolling from Furycat means that only 5 of them die.  The Harpies manage to kill none of the Crossbowmen, lose 3 of their own and flee… right into the most annoying position possible, between the Bestigors and the Greatswords.  For those keeping count at home, that is Crossbowmen 2, Harpies 0.

The Halberdiers charge the inch or so required to get stuck into the Gors  and the Knights of the Realm have no trouble getting a flank charge too.  Another high winds of magic roll gives another 6,4 dice for the Warrior Priest to use, putting Unbending Righteousness on the Greatswords.  The Razorgor in the woods is killed by a guided missile cannon shot while another 7 of the Gors in the West are pummeled by mortar and crossbow fire though again they do me proud and don’t panic.  The Gors lose to the combination of Halberdiers and Knights, although they make a good show of it and it is rather close… Even with the BSB re-roll they still break and narrowly escape the Halberdiers (except for the Wargor who feels obliged to hurl himself into the fray); the Knights restrain themselves and reform.

The surviving Gors in the West charge into the Swordsmen, who hold, but the Razorgor, despite only needing 7 with swiftstride to get stuck into the Pegasus, manages to fail and plods along a pathetic 4″ toward the hero.  The Harpies and Gors both rally, and the Bestigors shake their fists angrily at the Harpies for getting in the way.  The Bray Shaman puts Wyssan’s Wildform on the Gors fighting the Swordsmen.  The Warrior Priest dispels Miasma on the Greatswords but is unable to stop Pit of Shades.  Luckily for him, it gets the maximum possible scatter, clipping the Crossbowmen and sucking one of them to their doom.  In the only combat of the turn, the Gors pummel many Swordsmen for no loss, but they hold despite being out of General and BSB range.

The Halberdiers charge the Gors again, the Greatswords charge the Harpies, who flee though the Bestigors.  The charge range is sufficient to contact the Bestigors anyway.  The Pegasus rider charges the Gors in the rear, barely aware of a giant pig huffing and puffing off in the distance.  While he’s there, the Captain steals Amber Spear from the Bray Shaman using Aldred’s Casket of Sorcery.  In the magic phase, Soulfire fails to wound any of the Bestigors, and Unbending Righteousness is dispelled on the Greatswords.  The Empire artillery finally finds out that ‘misfire’ is printed on the dice, with one mortar exploding and the cannonball sticking in the ground close to the Razorgor.  The other mortar kills off one of the Harpies.  The Crossbowmen break out their sandwiches since everyone in range is already in combat.  The Pegasus rider challenges and is answered by the Foe-render, but only briefly before the Beastman is skewered on his lance.  The remaining Gors fail their Primal Fury check, kill a few more Swordsmen for no further loss but they still lose combat and are run down.  Similarly in the East the Gors fail their Primal Fury, kill a handful of Halberdiers and are run over from static combat resolution.  Finally, in the main combat, the General of the Empire challenges and is answered by the Great Bray Shaman.  This clash of mighty lords leaves each with only a single wound.  The Bestigors continue the theme of this turn by failing to get Primal Fury and, though they trade hits gamely with the Greatswords, they still lose combat and are run down when they break.

A quick look at the table confirms that, yes, I do only have a Razorgor and six Harpies left, so I offer my surrender.  Furycat magnanimously accepts and so the game is over with a massacre to the Empire.

Well, that went pretty much as expected, in that the Beastmen were hammered mercilessly. There were a couple of parts where the dice cost me dearly – notably the Harpies not only failing to hurt the crossbowmen but also fleeing in such a way that they prevented the Bestigors from getting a charge on the Greatswords. Still, I think that I’d probably have lost this one no matter how lucky I was.

There are some very basic lessons I could learn here though.

1. I forgot to use the Chalice of Dark Rain, which might have mitigated some shooting casualties in turn 2.
2. My placement of the Harpies in turn 1, though it did help keep them from being charged by the Pegasus hero, was in fact pretty unhelpful to me – I should have either faced them slightly differently so that they had more charge targets available (as it was they only had the choice of the Pegasus, who was protecting the cannon, and the crossbowmen who saw them off fairly smartly) or just flown them behind the lines again in turn 2 to give me more options and keep Furycat reacting to them.
3. I forgot to bring me reserves on in turn 1, which I blame on playing too much Warhammer 40K (in which reserves can’t arrive until turn 2), but was still silly.
4. As Aramoro pointed out, I could have moved the BSB’s Gors to face the Empire table edge in turn 1 since it was certain that the reinforcements would come on there as there was nowhere else for them to come on. That way I could have charged and at least done some damage to one of the reinforcement units.

Next in the line of fire: Justinmatters‘ Orcs and Goblins.

Categories: Battle reports, Border Princes, Campaigns, Warhammer Fantasy Battle | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

Border Princes Campaign (Turn 10)

We had a couple of very pleasing battles in Turn 9 of the Border Princes campaign, especially for me.  Firstly, the Beastmen overturned a large advantage to massacre the High Elves in the forest of Section 40 then fought off a combined force of Bretonnians and Empire soldiers in even more improbable circumstances over the Old Silk Road. My luck can’t last.

Turn 10 begins with the alliance between the Orcs & Goblins and the Beastmen breaking down; the Beastlords and Warbosses just can’t keep such belligerent armies from fighting each other. As a result a couple of skirmishes break out around the Western banks of the Lower Thunder River with the Greenskins having a single banner advantage in the Eastern-most battle. The Empire continue their advance toward the North and East with one banner making as far as the Old Silk Road where it meets a force of Beastmen. Three banners of the rather static Bretonnians are available to support their allies in the Empire while the Beastmen, embroiled in a fresh war with the Orcs & Goblins, are unable to reinforce their position. Finally, the decimated High Elf armies struggle through the Northern mountain ranges.

At the end of the turn, an alliance of People with Pointy Ears is declared between the High Elves and the Beastmen, the latter of whom have clearly been watching too much of the Narnia films.

The banners that are currently identified are:

Bretonnians: Lord Guillaume L’Echec (crown symbol; currently in Malko), un-named Prophetess (chalice symbol; Section 58)
Orcs & Goblins: Un-named Goblin Warboss (chess knight symbol; currently fighting in Section 61); un-named Orc Big Boss (Orc head symbol; Section 93)
Empire: Two un-named Generals of the Empire (no symbol; currently fighting in the Old Silk Road and cavalry symbol (also includes Ludwig Schwarzhelm); section 85)
High Elves: No identified banners
Beastmen: Great Bray Shaman Brannick the Forlorn (cow symbol;  The Warrens), Great Bray Shaman Black Angus (bull’s head symbol; fighting in the Old Silk Road (yet again))

Finally, for those interested, here are the scores at this stage (before any battles).  The Empire and Beastmen will each gain a banner at the start of next turn regardless of combats, and the Beastmen could get another one  depending on the results of the three battles (Old Silk Road and Sections 61 and 62).  Orcs & Goblins are being pegged back a little in the South, but their gains in the North mean that there is no loss of banners due to good use of their forced march ability.  Both the Bretonnians and High Elves remain static.

Empire: 27 points (23 territories, 1 of which is special); 9 banners
Beastmen: 27 points (23 territories, 1 of which is special); 8 banners
Orcs & Goblins: 21 points (17 territories, 1 of which is special); 6 banners
Bretonnians: 21 points (12 territories, 1 of which is Malko); 4 banners
High Elves: 16 points (12 territories, 1 of which is special); 4 banners

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