Monday, 29 November 2010

Impasse at Ortar Pass...

Thought I'd try my hand at another rules set. This time a solo game of Warhammer Fantasy Battle 3rd edition. I have fond memories of the games I played as a lad and the book has been a constant source of bedtime reading (I know - sad isn't it!) since I got another copy off ebay some time ago. To make it work as a solo game I'm just putting myself into the role of each force on their turn - a little contrived but I'm really just playing this game to refresh my memory of the rules and try out a few things.

First impressions - my fond memories obviously didn't include the many consultations of tables, rules, stats and modifiers that have slowed gameplay down somewhat! Always loved WFB3 for all the minutiae it goes into with special formations, weapon modifiers and the like so I'm enjoying it - just miss the pace of the brilliant skirmish games I've had with the likes of Skulldred and Havoc.

Anyway got one turn played yesterday afternoon!!

Bit of background - thought I'd set this in the Orc's Drift campaign -

With the Goblin Hordes mobilised against the Grand League in the East, under the agreement between King Fyarr and the Goblin King, Murgol, various lesser chieftains saw their chance at some easy pickings. Fingral Crackscratcha was one such opportunist. His columns of orc warriors trailed the seething mass of Hill Goblins swarming towards the defences of Ramalia, peeling away in the night down the mountain pass that led towards Ortar itself - Fingral had no desire to fritter away his strength against the Grand League's army in a pitched battle with only Goblins to cover his flanks.

As dawn sullenly broke, the grey sky glowered over the hamlets and farms that lay on the outskirts of the city. Fingral licked his lips in anticipation of the slaughter. His leering grin froze - something glinted in the pale and watery sunlight. The faint call of horns rose up and tiny points of light moved through the fields as the sun caught shields and breastplates. They formed up into little squares that blocked the highway. It could mean only one thing - Ortar was defended.

Hidden eyes had watched the Orcs from the woods that bordered the mountains and now Man, Dwarf and Elf stood united against the invader.  Cursing with displeasure Fingral jabbed his blade at the thin line of soldiers. The orc columns began to pick their way through the rocks and onto the plain...

The Impasse at Ortar Pass

Orc Turn 1

The lead elements of the Orc column form up - Ruglud's Armoured orcs take the centre with Fingral and his bodyguard. Covering their right flank is Wyva Longface and his boyz, whilst Gronit Dead-eye's archers bring up the left. The shaman, Dravid Coppafeal, leads two drooling trolls on the extreme left and his doltish apprentice, Avva Badded, prances and gibbers between the two orc mobs. 

All units advance on the Grand League units defending the highway.

Dwarfs can be tricky to hit as they're quite short. Dwarfs hiding behind a wall with crossbows are even trickier so Dead-eye's archers let loose at the Norse Berserkers gnashing their teeth in front of the farm house. Even so, having just moved up, their aim was off - only one Norseman was hit and wounded by the wild hail of arrows.

As they hadn't got their hands dirty with any combat yet the orcs continued their relentless advance...

Eager to get the slaughter underway Coppafeel unleashed three deadly bolts of ligtning towards the Bergjaeger (human scouts) cowering behind the wall by the farmhouse wit their bows. Four hits struck home sending three archers convulsing horribly through the air. The fourth mopped his brow, patting the blackened stone wall thankfully that had deflected the bolt.
Grand League Turn 1
Hurriedly Men and Dwarfs rushed to take up positions by the highway to meet the green tide surging down from the crags. In the centre the Dwarf clansmen anchored the line, a small unit of Norse berserkers on their right and the Ortar militia on their left. Two sapper teams watched on ready to begin digging defenses for the brave few to retreat to if needed.

To their right the Wood Elves who had been so useful in tracking the Orc's movements prepared their advance through the wood to fall upon the enemy's right flank. Next to the militia a small troupe of Wardancers stretched and kicked, warming themselves up for the coming struggle. The bear and hounds of the Elven Beastmasters watched on impassively, while a band of gladerunners peered into the distance ranging their foes. The Elven general, Mellthathar Althathar and the sorceress, Paldaniel stood shoulder to shoulder with the great protectors of the wood - Atkrinson the Rowan, a mighty treeman and the mysterious Zoat warrior, Raphellicus. At the end of the line another Beastmaster soothed his impatient feline charges.

The advance was sounded and the army surged forward - the Elves took to the wood, the Men and Dwarfs stepped off the road ready to meet the Orcs and the archers and crossbowmen licked their wounds behind the wall that ran along the highway.

As the trolls began to bear down on the Dwarf crossbowmen they opened fire - 5 bolts hit home causing two wounds. One of the great beasts staggered, almost mortally wounded, until it seemed to recover. The dwarf's cheers faltered as they saw the crossbow bolts pop out of the deep wounds they had inflicted. The troll, having successfully regenerated the damage, continued shambling towards them.

The Bergjaeger also let loose a volley but this time at the Orc archers - three arrows found their mark but failed to cause any damage, the points skittering off rusted mail shirts and tough orc hides!

Meanwhile the first real fighting broke out on the battlefield. As Wyva's orcs stepped nervously into the wood there worst fears were confirmed. Three enraged wildcats pounced on the unfortuate orcs' flank. Seconds later a ripple of fear swept the Orcish ranks as Atkrinson crashed into them. A guttural command from Longface steadied them but their predicament worsened as an enraged Zoat joined the fray. Four Orcs fell to the wildcat's ferocious claws and another was trampled beneath the Zoat's thundering hooves. As if this wasn't enough Atkrinson crushed another three. A rout was narrowly avoided by Wyva's threats and oathes but the Orcs were pushed back out of the wood.

The rest of the Alliance units edged forward, strengthening the line and the various magic users prepared their incantations.

Gaspar the Wise, the dwarf wizard sent a terrible wind against the Orc archers forcing them to the ground - the Alliance line would be safe from their arrows for the moment. The druid, Breward, created a magical bog in front of the trolls blocking their path, happy in the knowledge that his actions would not cause the death of even these foul creatures. Suffering no such scruples, Pennan Tellur, arch-mage of Merlinas, sent forth a trio of magical lightning bolts in response to Coppafeal's magical attack on the archers. One of the trolls was incinerated, its ability to regenerate negated by the flames.

And so ends the opening turn of the game - the Alliance appear to be mounting a strong defense but does Fingral have a few tricks up his sleeve? Can three units of orcs and a couple of trolls really constitute the true fighting strength of his tribe...

Tune in next time for the next gripping instalment! 

Saturday, 27 November 2010

A right "hand"-some lot...

Got the last of the warriors of the Severed Hand Tribe finished. They comprise the main fighting strength of the tribe - just got a few archers and Hagar Sheol, their chieftain to do  now...

No shields this time I'm afraid but if you look closely one of them has a little frot and back plate on their armour where I managed to fit a small design.

I'll have to see how I go with the rest before Christmas - got plans to make a couple of dioramas as presents. What with all the research for painting schemes, learning how to use styrofoam, building and painting minis I'm going to have to get done Orc's Drift may well have to take a back seat till the New Year...

Next challenge - learning how to make convincing cherry trees covered in blossom and paddy fields for a Japanese scene involving samurai and geishas for the wife (hope you're not having a sneaky read dear as it will spoil the surprise!).

Once I have that under the belt I want to have a go at a naval diorama for my Dad - he is currently writing a book on one of our more illustrious ancestors - Captain Mansfield, who commanded the Minotaur and saw action at the Battle of the Nile and Trafalgar among other engagements! I'm hoping to recreate one of his smaller exploits - the chase and capture of the French ship Franchise, assisted by the Thunderer and Albion. So that's realistic water with waves and adding rigging to 1/1200 model ships!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Keeping the Wolf from the door...

Thought I might while away the evening with a little game to see what the old second edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle rules are like. Also gave me a good excuse to use my recently finshed Golgfag's Ogres.

For a scenario I thought a night raid would work well for the ogres - their objective - live captives of course! I had a bit of a think about additional rules to simulate the dark but in the end the table I was playing on proved small enough for them not to have a great effect on the game.

So the scene is set - the small hamlet of Herdwick lies huddled in the foothills of the Varg mountains. Reports of similar settlements that lie further along the lonely mountain pass being ransacked in the long winter nights have begun to filter down with terrified survivors, and talk of giant men from the North has spurred the commander of the local commander to install a garrison.

The villagers sleep uneasily as the local soldiery set a guard, wondering what the night will bring...

Turn 1

Golgfag narrowed his beady eyes as they swept over the flickering lights in the village below. Supplies were getting low and his belly was rumbling. At a grunted command his raiding party shambled down the slopes and into the small wood that bordered the settlement.

Although moving through the trees as stealthily as they could, there was a loud crash as two of the lumbering brutes misjudged their step and collided. The element of surprise had gone - the two guards the garrison had posted began to peer nervously into the dark...

After a hurried and whispered conference they came to an agreement - the halberdier would investigate while the crossbowman retired to the Inn to alert the rest of the men. A decision the young halberdier soon regretted when he spotted two giant figures lurking by the boundary wall!

 Turn 2

The lead ogres reacted quickly for their size. One trooper leapt over the wall and began to make his way round the back of the buildings whilst the lead ogre charged the hapless guardsman. The struggle was short and brutal as a huge serrated blade cut the soldier's cry for help short. Moments later three more shadowy figures lumbered up to the outskirts of the settlement.

Back at the Inn the crossbowman roused the rest of the garrison. They poured out into the street, hastily setting helmets on straight and gripping their weapons tightly. Carden Schafer, captain of the militia, leads the way, calling to his men to take heart.

Awoken by the commotion, the innkeeper and his assorted hangers-on also step out into the night to see what all the fuss is about.

Turn 3
The militia didn't have long to prepeare themselves as almost immediately the ogre that had slaughtered their lookout fell upon them with a savage cry! Yet, dazzled as he was by the lights of the village, his vicious blade didn't find its mark on either Schafer or the soldier at his side. In response Schafer lashed back but his greatsword glanced harmlessly off the hulk's armoured side. The militia man next to him, surprised at the ferocity of the attack fumbled his attack.

Golgfag and the rest of his band moved up, itching for a slice of the action. All except for the trooper who continued his flanking move round the back of the village, nostrils flaring in anticipation of the fresh meat slumbering nearby.

The guttural snarls of the invaders and desperate shouts of their protectors now woke the store-keepr and his wife, who both rushed out to see what was happening. Wishing they hadn't, they made for the small crowd who were peering nervously into the dark by the Inn.

Preparing to sell their lives dearly the rest of the soldiers formed up behind their leader and joined the fray. This time Schafer and his brother-in-arms landed two blows on the monster. Their heavy, double-handed weapons biting deep to inflict two wounds on their enormous opponent. The hunter now feeling like the hunted waivered, but an ominous rumble from Golgfag steadied him - the soldiers in front of him were definitelythe lesser of two evils!

Seeing an open shot, the two crossbowmen let loose at the ogre trooper bringing up the rear. Both men hit their target but elation turned to horror as the bolts failed to penetrate.

Turn 4
Stung by the crossbowmen's fire, the ogre trooper roared and slammed into the first target he came to - the throng of men pressing against his comrade. The two ogres rained down crushing blows. killing one man and wounding Schafer. The halberdiers again taken aback at the savagery of their enemy failed to make a telling blow but Schafer, undeterred, laid about him with all his might. The first ogre fell under great sweep of his blade, the second bellowed in pain as it left a deep gash down its side.

Golgfag took his opportunity to get what he came for while the soldiers were busy in the melee. Loping forward he easily caught up with the fleeing storekeeper, netting both him and his wife, as the ogre trooper finished his flanking move and stepped out, blockingtheir escape. At this the crowd from the Inn took fright and turned and ran, waking the baker from his slumbers in the neighbouring house. Also spotting this new threat, the two crossbowmen turned and fired - this time scoring a single hit which found a weak point, wounding the beast!

Back at the stables Schafer redoubled his efforts and wounded the ogre in front of him again. Judging this to be a good time to perhaps lend a hand or run, the stable owner and his dwarf emerged...

Turn 5
Ordering the trooper to pursue the fleeing humans, Golgfag turned and began to drag his prize back through the village. Hardly needing to be told the trooper charged down the road and netted the innkeeper. Similarly Golgfag's standard bearer ensnared the tasty looking dwarf who had just appeared in front of him.  

Things weren't going too well for the trooper engaged in combat with the militia. Beginning to tire from his exertions the ogre managed to crush another soldier with his huge spiked mace. This gave Schafer his chance and he lunged forward, driving his sword up and into the ogre's ribcage - wounding him mortally.

Free now of the melee, the soldiers split up in an attempt to rescue the villagers struggling against their vile captors. Schafer and a trusted man charged Golgfag himself, whilst the two remaing halberdiers launched themselves against the ogre standard bearer. At the far end of the village the Inn crowd pause - the capture of the Innkeeper was too much. Yet fear gripped his daughter and the barmaid and they fled. For his elderly father there was only one course of action - amazingly he turned and ran at his son's brutal captor! As father defended son, the old man found a strength he never knew he had. Raining down blows with his stick the ogre fell back his face bloodied and wounded! Having under-estimated his pathetic foe, the ogre misjudged his attacks and the old man readied himself for another round...


Such luck was not with Schafer. His valiant attack on Golgfag was to be his last. The ogre Warlord, dropping his netted victims, easily fended off the soldiers' attacks before crushing them both with his cruelly spiked bludgeon. The remaining militia fared little better - slashing vainly at the standard bearer they were lucky to just evade his counter attacks, let alone strike a killing blow. Seeing the inevitable end to this bloody night the stable owner hurriedly cut his dwarf from the ogre's net, making ready for their escape.

Turn 6
Leaving his prey struggling in their net, Golgfag turned on the crossbowmen. As he charged the nearest one the soldier brought his weapon up and fired. The bolt hit Golgfag squarely in the chest but the crossbowmen barely had time to see it bounce harmlessly away before he met the same fate as his captain. 

The Innkeeper's father's luck had run out too. tired of the bleating old man waving his stick around, the ogre crushed him with a single blow of his huge mace.  The standard bearer too finds his mark, dashing one of his opponents to the ground, while the other halberdier's attack again glances off his thick hide.

The writing is on the wall for the surviving villagers and they turn and flee into the night. Somehow standing firm amidst the carnage and panic, the last remaining crossbowmen fires again at Golgfag as he advances inexorably closer. The last thing he was to see was the brute again shrugging the shot off - that and his last remaining comrade falling in combat with the standard bearer.

With all the militia dead or dying Golgfag gathered the remaining members of his raiding party. After sifting out the best bits from the bodies, they gathered up their hard won prizes and stalked off back into the night...

All in all a fun little game - the rules seem pretty straight forward and quick - at least with this skirmish sized game.

Monday, 15 November 2010

The wolf that one hears is worse than the orc that one fears...

... and there's no missing this lot!

So finally finished Golgfag's Mercenary Ogres (minus Champion) and another vote of thanks to Leadasbestos of the LAF! They've been somewhat time consuming but a lot of fun!

Anyway here's the pics -