Posts Tagged With: High Elves

Ogre Kingdoms vs High Elves (500 points); 08Aug13

After a game against Justinmatters‘ Goblin force, next on the menu for the evening was a contingent of High Elves piloted by Forkbanger.  My list is as noted previously, but for convenience, here it is again.

Miss Madras, Firebelly, additional hand weapon (FB)

Heidi’s lasses, 5 Ironguts, musician (IG)

Helga’s lasses, 3 Leadbelchers (LB)

Blackcat Bone, Sabretusk (ST)

Forkbanger has noted the impracticalities of putting a force of High Elves together at 500 points as everything is expensive and it’s hard to take anything that can absorb a hit long enough to do real damage .

Mage, level 2, Lore of High Magic (M)

15 Sea Guard (SG)

6 Sword Master of Hoeth (SM)

Sky Cutter, bolt thrower (SC)

Sticking with Battle Line, we roll up a hill, a forest, an Earthblood Mere, some Ghost Fences (on the hill) and some wall (not on the hill).  For the third time in a row, the Firebelly rolls Cascading Fire Cloak and swaps it in favour of Fireball.  To be honest, I’d have swapped anything for Fireball in this match up, even Flaming Sword of Rhuin and Fulminating Flame Cage (both of which I love), as small units of Elves really hate strength 4 magic missiles.  The Mage takes Soul Quench and Walk Between Worlds.  I force Forkbanger to take the first turn hoping that the High Elves will advance into my Leadbelchers and get shredded.


Luckily for the gaming, Forkbanger isn’t so silly.  The only movement is the Sky Cutter, which moves to the centre then one-shots the Sabretusk with its bolt thrower.  For this exact reason, I always try and keep the Sabretusk 6″ away from any other units; panic is a very real threat when no-one is packing Lords or BSBs.  We get 3,2 magic dice, then find out that Soul Quench is out of range of any targets.


I run the Ironguts into the swamp (taking a wound from dangerous terrain) and the Leadbelchers walk forward to get range to shoot the Sky Cutter.  Funnily enough, this is just what I hoping to get Forkbanger to do (i.e. walk into my short range shooting) but the difference between Ogre resilience and High Elf resilience is significant.  I roll up 1,1 magic dice then roll low on a small Fireball at the Sword Masters; the Mage dispels it with his single die.  The Leadbelchers manage to put a wound on the Sky Cutter.


The Sky Cutter moves out of the Ironguts’ charge arc and lines up a beautiful shot on the flank of the Leadbelchers; everyone else moves up behind the Ghost Fence.  There are another 1,1 magic dice which turns out not to be enough to even cast Soul Quench, and another impressive turn is completed as the entire army rains arrows and bolts onto the Leadbelchers to no effect whatsoever.


Not surprisingly, the Ironguts charge the Sword Masters (losing one outright to dangerous terrain).  Surprisingly, the Sword Masters elect to hold.  The Leadbelchers, now looking somewhat like hedgehogs after the barrage of arrows last turn, continue their advance toward the Sea Guard.  We finally get a big magic phase (3,1) but I get greedy and fail to cast the big version of Fireball by a single pip.  No matter, as the Firebelly uses her breath weapon [it looks like the Sea Guard are too far away in the maps but there was a corner of the unit in range when we played] and the Leadbelchers unleash hell to shred the Sea Guard.  Impact hits take out a few Sword Masters before they get to swing, and the survivors aren’t even able to finish off a single Ogress before they are chopped to bits.  The Ironguts reform to face the Sea Guard while stuffing tasty white meat into their mouths.


In an act of apparent desperation, the Sky Cutter charges the Firebelly on the flank of the Leadbelchers.  The Sea Guard stay still; I thought that this was to avoid the moving and shooting penalty, but Forkbanger cleverly uses his 3,1 magic dice to cast Walk Between Worlds to get them out of trouble.  Sadly, the dice say no and the Mage fails to cast it, leaving him surrounded by the disappointed glares of his compatriots and (slightly further away) a hungry force of Ogresses.  Still, at least they won’t suffer the same fate as their brethren in the Border Princes did at the hands of the Beastmen.  The Sky Cutter makes up for it, killing off one of the Leadbelchers with impact hits and taking no wounds back.  The Leadbelchers hold, but fail to reform to face.


The Ironguts charge the Sea Guard who flee but are run down.  The Sky Cutter continues its good run by putting two wounds on the Firebelly for none in return.  The Ogresses once again hold but fail to reform.


The Firebelly is killed by the Sky Cutter and the Leadbelchers flee and are run down.  We realise that the game is pretty much over now, as the Ironguts will never be able to charge the Sky Cutter (which can move out their charge arc each turn) and the Sky Cutter is unlikely to kill off all the Ironguts in the remaining turns.  Rather than moving the miniatures, we just roll the dice to see if the Sky Cutter gets a lucky hit to take out the Ironguts or make them panic off the table, but it’s not to be.  Victory for the Ogre Kingdoms!


The game was fun, but it was a bit of a mismatch.  Ogres are good at brawling even at low points but High Elves seem to struggle to even fit in the required three units at this level.  At the start we both assumed that magic would dominate as Fireball is highly effective against small units of Elves and Forkbanger had taken a level 2 Mage, but as it turns out neither of us got a single spell off all game.  In some ways it is a bit disappointing that Forkbanger’s clever play (especially trying to use Walk Between Worlds) were stymied by the dice, whereas my own simplistic ‘run forward and smash’ game was rewarded.

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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’.

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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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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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Beastmen (1600 points) vs High Elves (1920 points); 09Feb11

In turn 9 of the Border Princes campaign the Beastmen have two battles to fight and they are outnumbered in both. I opted to use both of my supporting banners in the repeat of the showdown with Aramoro‘s Bretonnians for the Old Silk Road, leaving a single banner of my smelly goats to have a go at Forkbanger‘s High Elves, who are not only supported by one of their own banners but fortified for good measure. My banner is actually the one that previously fought the High Elves in the battle for the Warrens, so I chose to take pretty much exactly the same set of characters. I decided that this was a good time to throw one of the big monsters from the Rare selections on to the table. My reasoning was that I might as well do something entertaining in the battle since I was starting it 320 points down, and High Elves have the least artillery available to splatter the poor brute across the landscape. It’s hard to argue with a gigantic enraged bipedal bull, so the Ghorgon duly took up an obscene number of my points. As a result, I had to carve the rest of my list down to a fairly minimal bunch of infantry.

Brannick the Forlorn – Great Bray Shaman, Steel Claws, Talisman of Preservation, Jagged Dagger, Lore of Shadow (GBS)

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

Ankar Hearteater – Bray Shaman, Dispel Scroll, additional hand weapon, Lore of Beasts (BS)

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

30 Ungors, full command (U)

8 Ungor raiders, musician (UR)

23 Bestigors, full command (B)

5 Harpies, scout (H)

Ghorgon (Gh)

Forkbanger took this lot of pointy eared chaps:

Archmage, Level 4, Silver Wand, Talisman of Preservation, Ruby Ring of Ruin, Lore of Shadow (AM)

Mage, Level 2, Seerstaff of Saphery, Talisman of Protection, Lore of High Magic (M)

Noble, BSB, Banner of Sorcery, Dragon Armour, Shield, Great Weapon (BSB)

2 x 24 Lothern Seaguard, shields, full command (SG1 and SG2)

18 White Lions of Chrace, full command, Terrifying Mask of Eeee! (on champion) (WL)

5 Dragon Princes of Caledor, full command, War Banner

Forkbanger and Justinmatters generated the terrain while I was sorting out my army list, and we got only 5 pieces to place.  There is a (normal) fence in the centre of the field with an Anvil of Vaul in the North.  To the East of the fence is a Haunted Mansion (which we forgot about pretty much instantly) and a normal building in the South.  Finally, a mysterious wood is in the West, but since I deployed the Raiders in it, we knew at the start of the game that it was an Abyssal Wood.  The scenario yet again is Blood and Glory, which, along with Dawn Attack, feels like it has made up the vast majority of my games.

The Archmage selects Occam’s Mindrazor, Enfeebling Foe, Withering, Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma, Pit of Shades (mmm, my favourites too) and the Mage has Curse of Arrow Attraction, Shield of Saphery along with Drain Magic which appears to come as a freebie for High Magic users.  I briefly consider taking a more lively spell for the Bray Shaman, but just go with Wyssan’s Wildform as usual.  The Great Bray Shaman has Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma, Withering and Pit of Shades.  Sadly, I had rolled up both Penumbral Pendulum and Pit of Shades (both pretty useless against such high initiative foes) and I could only get rid of one of them.  The High Elves finish deploying first, win the roll-off and take the first turn.  This was how we both deployed:

The Dragon Princes move forward, wishing they were riding actual Dragons instead of horses with fancy armour; the rest of the High Elves are quite happy on their hill.  The winds of magic only give a pitiful 1,1 but with the Banner of Sorcery this is actually a pretty decent result for the High Elves since I won’t be able to dispel anything.  The two Elven wizards combine to put Curse of Arrow Attraction and Withering (-3 toughness) on the Harpies.  I mentally write them off, and a volley of arrows from both Seaguard units proves me right.  So not only am I starting 320 short, but I’ve lost one of my units straight out of the gate.  Oh dear.

There’s not much finesse to my army at this stage of the game: I have to get my units forward as quickly as possible or they’ll eventually be shot to death by archers.  Everyone barrels forward at top speed, except the Raiders who stay in the forest (since they’re stubborn in there, and might get to lay a Dragon Prince low with a dangerous terrain check) and the Bestigors, who wheel slightly to keep an option on charging the Dragon Princes.  Magic gives us 5,1 dice to play with.  A casting of the upgraded Miasma on the Seaguard is dispelled, but the Bray Shaman puts Wildform on the Bestigors to further worry the Dragon Princes.

It’s decision time for the Dragon Princes.  They briefly consider charging the Bestigors but realise that at strength 7, toughness 5 they are far too much to handle.  Instead, the noble Elves charge the Raiders, willing to risk the dangerous terrain checks.  The Raiders are having none of that, fleeing the charge and dooming the Dragon Princes to stumble forward into the middle of the charge arc of the Bestigors.  They start to look a little nervous.  To make up for turn 1, we get 6,5 dice for the winds of magic this turn, which combines with the Banner of Sorcery to max out the power dice at 12.  This is going to be bad.  However the Archmage, who isn’t quite the master of magic he hopes, fails a 2 dice casting of the upgraded Miasma on the Gors, thereby ending his contribution to this phase.  Forkbanger sighs.  Still, with so many dice, he might as well use them, so the Ruby Ring of Ruin is used to fire a fireball at the Ghorgon (let through, but fails to wound).  Both Shield of Saphery (on Seaguard 1) and Curse of Arrow Attraction (of the Bestigors) are dispelled.  So much for 12 power dice.  The ranged combat doesn’t go much better, dropping a single Bestigor and failing to wound the Ghorgon.

The Bestigors charge the Dragon Princes, and after some consideration Forkbanger opts to flee with them (which I think I would have done too).  Unfortunately, they roll very low and the Bestigors roll very high and the High Elves are run down.  Perhaps the only consolation for the High Elves is that the Bestigors are now well out of position.  The Raiders fail to rally and are about half an inch too far from the BSB to re-roll it, so they run off the table taking the Bray Shaman with them.  It’s probably quite marginal whether trading them for the Dragon Princes is worth it (points-wise), but that’s how it goes.  The Ghorgon moves up to the East of the Seaguard so that they at least have to move before shooting him; I forgot to roll to restrain frenzy but he probably would have passed anyway on leadership 10 and in range of the BSB.  The Gors swift reform to 5 wide since I think they’ll need plenty of ranks against the White Lions directly ahead of them.  In the magic phase, another casting of Miasma on the Seaguard is dispelled, but Withering reduces the White Lions’ toughness by 2.

The Seaguard in the East wheel to bring the Ghorgon into view, and then it’s straight to magic.  The Archmage continues his poor run by failing a 3 dice casting of Withering on the Ghorgon (lucky for me – that would have really hurt) and Curse of Arrow attraction on the Bestigors is dispelled.  With a single remaining die available, the Mage casts Drain Magic which we instantly forget about.  Volleys of arrows fell another Bestigor and put two wounds on the Ghorgon, but it’s looking like too little.

The Ghorgon charges the Seaguard, and the Gors and Ungors both charge the White Lions, everyone making contact.  The Bestigors swift reform to head back to the action as quickly as possible.  The magic dice are 4,3, and I do something silly.  Miasma is put on the White Lions, but I only reduce their stats by one so they’ll still re-roll to hit (curses!) and since I have no spells left (remember, Withering is still on the White Lions) I try my luck with Pit of Shades on the unengaged Seaguard.  Of course it has no effect.  The High Elves then simply dispel Withering using the dice they saved by letting the other two spells through.  I hadn’t realised that you could dispel remain in play spells with dispel dice, I thought it had to be done with power dice.  So of course the low casting value is easily overcome.  I should have voluntarily ended the spell and recast it (using the dice I effectively wasted on Pit of Shades) thus making sure that at least a higher dispel roll could have been needed.  Anyway, you live and learn.  The Gors and Ungors mow down half the White Lions, though the Gors suffer plenty of casualties in return.  They’re stubborn, so they hold easily.  Meanwhile, the Seaguard fail to wound the Ghorgon and are thoroughly trampled for their failure, although they do at least hold since they’re steadfast.

There is no movement so it’s straight to the magic phase where the High Elves really need a good run to turn things around.  They get 4,3 dice plus a couple from the Banner of Sorcery, and the Archmage casts Withering on the Ghorgon.  Sadly, he might as well have cast ‘nuclear strike on my location’, thanks to a hilarious miscast.  The Irresistable spell itself only reduces the Ghorgon’s toughness by one (so no difference to the strength 3 Seaguard), but the resulting Dimensional Cascade vapourises 9 Seaguard, 6 Ungors and wounds the Ghorgon.  The Archmage himself not only ward saves the strength 10 hit but also avoids being dragged into the warp.  Sensing the Seaguard’s impending doom (since he blew up so many of them that it is close to inconceivable that they could bring down the Ghorgon now) he uses Smoke and Mirrors to swap places with the hapless Mage.  It sucks to be the Mage – his last attempt to survive, putting  Shield of Saphery on his newly-joined Seaguard, is dispelled by the Great Bray Shaman.  The unengaged Seaguard kill a few more Bestigors, but there are still plenty of them left.  The enraged Ghorgon tramples or eats almost all of the remaining Seaguard in the East and pursues a couple of survivors off the table to snack on them at his leisure.  In the centre, the White Lions wake up to the gravity of their situation and severely dent the Gors for only a couple of losses.  Both Beastmen units hold thanks to the BSB re-roll.

The Bestigors, needing a 7 to charge the Seaguard, roll a 12 and hit the High Elves like an avalanche.  Standing and shooting fells a couple of the elite Beastmen but it’s surely too little, too late for the Seaguard.  The Ghorgon comes back on the table and wheels to face the flank of the Seaguard, or, more specifically, the tasty looking Archmage on the flank.  The Great Bray Shaman tries to put Miasma on the Seaguard but the Archmage wisely dispels it.  This allows him to put Withering on the White Lions, reducing their toughness to 1.  The Bestigors chop through the Seaguard like the wild lumberjacks they are, and the High Elves have clearly had enough of this, fleeing off the table with the Archmage in tow.  The Beastmen reform to threaten the flank of the White Lions.  Despite only having toughness 1, the White Lions actually win combat again, mainly thanks to an astonishing number of 1s to wound from the Ungors and saving throws being made.  The Gors, who are down to only two plus the BSB manage to hold on the BSB reroll, as do the Ungors (though they are steadfast anyway).

Forkbanger calls it a day there, since he has about 6 White Lions and the BSB left, and they aren’t likely to do enough damage to rescue the situation on their own.  Victory for the Beastmen!

I’m amazed that I managed to pull off such a massacre there considering the points disadvantage.  Forkbanger had three terrible magic phases in a row – fail to cast, fail to cast, miscast, and that pretty much sealed his doom.  Even the best general can’t do much with dice like that.

I wasn’t too impressed with the Ghorgon.  Admittedly, he did all I asked of him (i.e. eating some Seaguard), but I just felt that those 275 points could have been much more effective somewhere else.  Perhaps I just need to make more of those outrageous number of attacks.

As for the High Elves, we spoke a bit after the game, and wondered if Beastmen against High Elves is just a match-up that hugely favours the Beastmen.  It was also suggested that 1600 points is an army size which is much better for Beastmen than High Elves, although I’m not sure whether that could have been the case.  Forkbanger had a look on the interwebs to see if any useful information could be found, and got the following contradictory advice:

  • spend no more than 400 points on core.
  • spend 800 points on special.
  • not buy command groups for units.
  • not play elves at less than 2000 points.
  • not play at all at less than 2000 points.
  • remove about 50-100 points of magic items and spend it on [something wonderous that wins games].
  • keep the magic item spend the same but change them all.
  • drop the casters and use combat lords/heroes.
  • keep the casters and use them better, duh.
  • change the core units.
  • use a different formation for the core units.
  • use numerically more core units.
  • use less costly core units.
  • use more cavalry.
  • use fast cavalry.
  • use no cavalry.
  • use heroes on eagles as cavalry.

So if anyone has any clever ideas then I’m sure he’d be delighted to hear about them.

Categories: Battle reports, Border Princes, Campaigns, Warhammer Fantasy Battle | Tags: , , , , | 14 Comments

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