So another year and another BOYL and this year was a big one! As always the weekend was fantastic, jam-packed with brilliant games, great company, plenty of beer and not much sleep! Thanks so much to all who were involved in making it happen and everyone who attended and made it such a great place to be. If you haven't seen these blogs yet and you'd like a taste of what else went on at BOYL these fine chaps have done a fine job of rounding up what went on - Sean's Wargames Corner, Mr Saturday's Mumblings, Blue's Marauding Miniatures, Give Em Lead, Lead Plague, Realms of Chaos, Dear Tony Blair, Magpie and Old Lead, Riotville, Shadowkings ,. Great to see so much blogging going on! For me, the best thing about BOYL this year was meeting some very familiar online faces in the flesh - lovely to finally meet, chat and game with you all! This year also marked a particular milestone for myself and Warlord Paul as we reached the climatic final battle of our long running Trolltooth Wars campaign - the Battle of Trolltooth Pass...
Some of you will know we've been playing this campaign for a number of years now after the idea was floated all the way back in 2013! Previous installments can be found here, here and here.
I'll be posting some more detailed posts on the miniatures themselves in due course - this was an army I really enjoyed collecting, converting and painting. Also managed to hastily knock up some cliffs to represent the Pass itself - they were just about dry in time for the game!
The initial set up saw Marr's legions marching in to the ambush laid by Dire's Hillgoblins and assorted Chaotics...
It was Vallaska Roue who pointed out the movement below as Thugruff's army entered the Pass: he noticed the swarm of black ants that were Orccleaver's troops scambling about in the hills. Marr gave the word and the Galleykeep, with its escort of Tooki, began to descend. A red flag was hoisted quickly up the mast - the signal of warning to the troops below. (The Trolltooth Wars, Steve Jackson)
Thugruff turned to look up at the black-sailed sky-galleon. As he caught sight of the flag, his pulse quickened. He also noticed that the strange creature behind him had turned his gaze skyward and immediately wheeled his horse round and headed off towards the rear of the troop. Thugruff turned to study the steep rock faces on either side of them. He had heard of the incident that had sparked off the war. Were Dire's accursed Hillgoblins planning another ambush? (The Trolltooth Wars, Steve Jackson)
Arrayed against the legions were 37 tribes of Hillgoblins, represented by large units led by L15 heroes, and various chaotic monstrosities that had survived the earlier scenarios. We were working on a rough ratio of 1:10 to make the numbers a bit more manageable on the table top.
As the noose tightens, the portly Stoneback tribe moves to cut off any prospect of retreat as the Tooki break off to support the right flank.
Daramouss' creatures tear in to the hapless Hillgoblins, decimating several tribes but losing a few of their number in the process.
The shambling horde of Soulless Ones break the Goblin charge on the left.
Using the brief respite, Thugruff marshals his troops in to a defensive line against the encircling Hillgoblins.
Shocked at the savagery of the Clawbeasts, Manic Beasts and Devourers, several tribes of Hillgoblins break and free, relentlessly pursued by their monstrous adversaries.
The thin grey line of the Soulless Ones is steadily whittled down despite the addition of their human warders and Blood Orcs.
More aid comes from the skys as the Tooki swoop down in to the right flank of Dire's army. The Blood Orc riders prove vulnerable to the sharp shooting of the Eyeless archers and one of the War Griffins beats a hasty and riderless retreat.
Fighting bravely on, the mixed unit of Craggeracks, Kobolds, Goblins, Dwarves and Gorians struggles against the masses of Hillgoblins bearing down on them. To their left, the Human regiment dies in their droves.
Losing a few of their number to the arrows of the Eyeless archers, the Rhinoman phalanx blunts the Goblin charge but both sides struggle to gain the upper hand. Next to them the lithe figures of the Black Elves dance among the hordes of gobinoids but struggle to hold them back.
Fearing a flanking maneuver, the Lizardmen charge in, aided by Thugruff himself as well as Tankasun, his one-armed Gorian battle sergeant.
Still held up by the Soulless Ones, Dire's Hillgoblins gnash their teeth in frustration. However, the giant spider creature and other chaos mutants continue to chew their way rapidly through the rotting ranks.
Seeing his army hard pressed on all sides, Marr orders the Galleykeep in to a low pass over the left flank, peppering several tribes of Hillgoblins with potash balloons.
Meanwhile, all was not well in the command camp of Dire's armies, as their general, Orccleaver finally succumbs to Daramouss' Night Shadow, which posessed him all those weeks ago...
Orccleaver's mind was filled once more with the image of the night in the Cragrocks. He was writhing on the floor as he wrestled with the black shadow engulfing him. The more he struggled, the more he was becoming entangled. The harder he tried to breathe, the more difficult it became. His struggles were getting weaker. He was choking on the thick black shadow stuck in his throat. He could not move...
Vallaska Roue returned to the deck of the Galleykeep and announced proudly to Zharradan Marr. "Bone reports that the Night Shadow's power is working. Dire's Goblin Commander is ours". (The Trolltooth Wars, Steve Jackson)
With a bloodcurdling scream, Orccleaver attacked his fellow chiefs like a Goblin possessed! Recovering from their initial confusion, Foulblade and Blackscar fought back, cutting down the hapless creature. The Hillgoblin general was dead!
Things were looking rather perilous for Thugruff's army. The Humans had been whittled down to a mere handful and were on the brink of being massacred. Another Blood Orc had been shot from the saddle of his Tooki and the mixed regiment were still outnumbered...
Despite their skill, the Black Elves were unable to swing the combat in their favour and Dire's troops were beginning to break through the line of Soulless Ones.
The Galleykeep opened up once more, wounding the chaos creatures with its trident cannon but it could not halt the destruction of the left flank alone.
The Lizardmen finally broke the Hillgoblin tribes before them, pursuing and cutting them down ruthlessly but then disaster struck! Surrounded on all sides, with arrows lashing their ranks and the Human and Black Elf regiments on either side destroyed, the Rhinomen broke and fled.
Thinks looked bleak for Marr's legions...
The Rhinomen continued their rout, hoping to escape the Pass alive.
Faced with overwhelming odds, Thugruff ordered his Lizardmen to conduct a fighting retreat in order to fight another day.
Trolltooth Pass once more belonged to Balthus Dire and his Hillgoblins...
So - not quite how the battle went in the book but this was a really enjoyable game! A mighty close game too, though you'd be forgiven for not believing that with the swift collapse of my legions in the last turns! My thanks to Paul for all his hard work, being a great opponent and painting all those Hillgoblins! The whole campaign has been great fun and I've loved bringing one of my favourite fantasy novels to the table top. I can honestly say this was the most fun army to convert and paint so look out for posts detailing each unit. I'm sure we'll revisit Trolltooth Pass again some time and there's a few tweaks I might make to the stats I hurriedly put together for Marr's Legions. I'm booked up already for next year's BOYL but it's be great to run it as a participation game in the future.