Wednesday, 13 August 2014

BOYL 2014 - The Engines of Avalone: A Hasty Retreat!

The dust has settled, the internets are awash with pictures and the sacrifice of countless miniature heroes are but a memory. 

Yes BOYL 2014 has come and sadly gone.

Once more we are faced with the drab grey of reality. Our battles now are more concerned with staying sane in the real world rather than living vicariously through our miniature armies. Initiative no longer decides who strikes first in combat - only better chances of promotion if we choose to show we have some in the work place. The outcome to the many, varied and entirely dull encounters in life can no longer be decided by the roll of a D6.

Yes, dear reader, I am struggling to come to terms with life after BOYL. Not surprising really considering I have just immersed myself in three (three count 'em!) days of amazing gaming with an amazing, gentlemanly and thoroughly bloody good bunch of chaps.

Actually this is a little disingenuous of me as I am currently typing from the beautiful Lake District and have a few more weeks of School holidays to enjoy!

Before I go any further I should give you something of an apology for the lack of activity on here for some months. As you peruse the pictures of the games I played at BOYL you may notice that my armies have expanded somewhat. In fact my radio silence and the new expanded armies in my collection are indeed linked - I have largely locked myself away from the internet of late and have been furiously painting in order to be ready for the big event. There will be a few posts coming up detailing all the new stuff I have painted, once I get back home from my hols in the Lake District. For now you will have to amuse yourselves with a game of spot the new mini - or indeed working out who's minis are who's as there were a few on the table!

I'm sure many of you have seen the pictures of our enormous Siege game on Facebook, the Oldhammer forum and the blogs of the various participants so I shall endeavour to wind some kind of narrative thread in order to offer you something new. Before I do that I would like to extend my thanks to all who participated and in particular Erny for drawing it all together into some workable kind of form while I waved my paintbrush frantically at the unpainted hordes besieging my painting queue!

In no particular order (and do shout abuse at me if I have missed anyone off as I'm going off the horribly out of date list on the Oldhammer forum and my hazy memory - let me have links to any blogs as well if I haven't put one in for you.) those brave souls included:

Erny - Erny's Place - Master of Fortifications
Rab - Geekly Digest - A chivalrous character but never trust a dragon!
Ollie - The Second Founding - There's always one who wants to plonk a Greater Daemon on the table ; )
Snickit - Snickit's Tail - Tunnel Fighter
Just John - Tabletop Heroes and Villains - Master of Halflings
Vyper - Lead Rising - Lovely Chaos Centaur warband
Lenihan - Where the Sea Pours Out - Bog Raider extroadinaire
Grumdril - small but beautifully formed Orc and Chaos Warband
Citadel Collector - Eldritch Epistles Nice Ass.... Cannon!
Harry - bloody unicorns!
Norse - Handy with a Mortar ; )
Golgfag - top Siege tower builder
Skarsnik and Old Lead - cheers for the guided tour of Newark's pubs too!
Jeff McC - Valiant Wood Elf Commander
Ramshackle Curtis - who came a long way just for the short ride down the hill in a Giant cart
Adam - Estalian stallion!
Lead Pest - Timber!
Fimm - observant fellow and totally non-combative
Dral - so sneaky I didn't even see your Skaven on Sunday!
Martin - Shamutantis - Good Knight
The Otto Von Bismark - TheOttoVonBismark - Lovely chap, if a little Cold Blooded
Paul and Jamie - (Un)Dead nice blokes

Phew - hadn't really realised there were so many of us. Commiserations to Mr Furious who couldn't make it due to matters outside his control but thanks for the battering rams and ladders you sent me - they almost made it to the wall! Apologies also if I've added you to the list but you didn't end up playing -  couldn't keep track of what was going on at the other end of the table let alone who was doing what over the weekend as well.

Right enough blather - on with the game. The whole idea for a siege game came from the gaming weekend I held at my folks' place up in the Lakes. Ollie and Lenihan were made it up and we had a great weekend of gaming. However, despite forcing them to dry brush parts of my second Mighty Fortress set, we didn't get time to play the small siege game I had intended. BOYL 2014 seemed like a good alternative venue.

Little did I expect the overwhelming interest in it or the notice the fact that Erny had proposed gaming the Siege of Caraz-Lumbar much earlier on! I had had some vague idea of adding in the Engines of Avalone scenario I had written as a feature for the old project of getting an Oldhammer Fanzine going.

And from those humble beginnings the whole affair grew into the majestic spectacle that it came to be.

We began gaming on Friday - the scenario was that the Forces of all things decent and holy had marched forth from the fair walls of Avalone to confront the rising tide of filth and Chaos that threatened to engulf it. The battle had not gone well however, and the Forces of Good were routed from the field - their only chance of survival was to reach the sanctuary of Avalone's substantial fortifications...

The faster elements of the Chaotic army array themselves for battle.

A few plucky peasants and militia men stand firm to defend their meagre homesteads.

Many, including the flower of Knighthood fall back to the walls in disarray!

The Elves and Entkind prepare to sell their lives dearly.

Robin and his Merry Men prepare an ambush.

Fearful of an assault, the city's defenders turn out on the walls in strength.

All is strangely peaceful behind the gates - but for how long?

Worried eyes scan the horizon for the oncoming horde.

The city is well defended by all manner of war machines.

The Fimir advance on the left, faced with the daunting prospect of taking on the Wood Elf Beast Masters.

A lone Highlander staggers forth from the drunken ranks and tosses his caber off! A Nasty surprise for the Orc Gruntas facing him...

Beast Masters and Kriegsritter reinforce the left flank.

Snarling and snapping, Goblin Wolf Riders surge forward on all fronts.

And are promptly seen off by terrifying aspect of an enraged Treeman - the first of our many woes facing these powerful creatures!

Chaos Centuars see off some potentially dangerous Elf Wardancers.

Orc Gruntas continue to struggle with the Highlanders while their elite superiors, the Snortas have second thoughts about charging the Treeman!

Wolfriders wheel round to charge the Pistoliers. The Wyvern behind them is lucky to escape injury from exploding Hobgoblin Sky Rockets!

A second unit of Snortas charge the Wild Cats - surprisingly they succeed in pushing back and wiping them out,

The Fimir don't fre so well against the bears. A second Wyvern vows revenge on the frankly irresponsible Hobgoblin Rocket Crews as another missile explodes prematurely.

The Orc horde's bound Hippogriff charges the Treeman and somehow survives three rounds of combat.

Reinforcements arrive in the form of Undead horsemen and chariots - just as the evil assault seems to have ground to a halt in the face of stiff resistance.

Braving both withering hails of arrows and more terrifying treemen, the Skaven press on.

How much longer can the Fimir bare the bears?

Goblins and Pistoliers clash as the Snortas push back the Elf Beastmasters once more. Peasants flee the ominous shadow cast by the swooping Wyvern.

Another Wyvern shaped shadow looms large as the scaly beast swoops down on the Reiksguard who bravely run away! Things don't look too rosy for the creature as it finds itself right in the firing line of the Elf Guard...

The Bears gain the upper paw...

Charged in the rear by a Unicorn was the last thing these Gobbo's were expecting!

The retreat turns into a panicked mob.

Fresh from their victory the Snortas press on - into a storm of crossbow bolts that are to virtually wipe them out!

Err gerrit off, gerrit off, gerritt offffff!

The Pistoliers are finally seen off by a second pack of Wolf Riders.

Having escaped the attentions of the Elf archers the Wyvern Rider pursues the fleeing Reiksguard and eats them all up!

Kicking and shouting finally get the Trolls moving and enable their handler, a Goblin Shaman, to maneuver his Giant Spider into position to launch a fireball at the rampaging Treeman. Now we had a rampaging Treeman that was on fire and frenzied in our rear!

After it minced the Snortas however, the Brute did finally succumb to its wounds.

Who'd have thought it - Unicorns cause instability to all Undead within 12"! Luckily the Hobhounds were hungy for horse meat...

Crossbowmen to the left and Archers to the right but all that Wyvern wanted was the peasants straight ahead!

The Skaven make some headway, supported by Centaurs and a third Wyvern.

Down but not out, the Unicorn continues to threaten nearly the whole of the Undead contingent with extinction!

The Snortas break and run from the flaming Treeman.

A silent and deathly cheer emanates from the forces of Undeath as the Hobhounds finally take down the Unicorn.

With the Treeman smouldering, the Hippogriff looks for a new target and provides the Elf Guard with a nice bit of target practice.

Now freed from the Unicorn's aura the Deathriders surge forward to threaten Robin and his Merry Men - their woods won't protect them from this suprenatural threat... Unless of course they've hidden more Treemen in there!

Rattling slightly from a bellyful of Knights, the Wyvern lopes over to engage the Wood Elf Kinband in the shadows of the castle wall.

Chaos reigns in the centre.

The Elves still hold the hill as the Chaotics break like waves around them.

Another Treeman creeps (if that's possible) ominously towards the engaged Wyvern...

And that is where we had to end it after the good folks of Foundry let us carry on playing to some ungodly hour and we realised that it was well past Beer 'O Clock!

Stay tuned for the next (and probably much less detailed!) installment of the Siege of Avalone...


  1. Magnificent battle, I looked forward to knowing the details of this great fight. Indeed, since Saturday numerous photos of this battle circulate on Web and they give the impression of a huge traffic jam on the battlefield. And finally, not at all. Sceneries are luxurious, I adore hedges around fields, it is the small detail which counts for me a lot.

    1. Thanks Nico - there was a bit of a jam thanks to a mixture of Stupid Trolls, dangerous Treemen and sheer weight of numbers.

      Once the casualties started mounting things cleared up a bit!

  2. hear hear

    Cheers and thanks for posting all this good information in one place. Now go get in the lake before holiday is a distant memory!


    1. Bit chilly in the lake still but I take your point!

  3. great looking game. some awesome action and figures. thanks for sharing

  4. Oh Yeah, Thantsants!! Such a treat seeing all these wonderful pics! Glorious! But I was devastated by the photo of the bad hounds taking out that beautiful and noble Unicorn. Please say that did not really happen!

    Also nice to see you posting again, Thantsants!

    1. Yep back in the land of the living instead of the Land of the Lead - hmmm good blog title that!

      Sorry mate but the Unicorn was eaten - there were two very nervous Undead players who had only just gotten their minis on the table egging me on! I'm sure it's gone to a better place where the rainbows always shine now though. ; )

      We'll have to pick up that Rogue Trader game we planned some time in the near future by the way if you still fancy it?

    2. Yes, Thantsants! That would be great to return to our Rogue Trader game! It is amazing how time has flown by! But we should wait for Mouse to get back 'cause I know that he would love to be a part of it too. One day we'll actually play!

  5. Moi

    1. Cheers mate - for some reason Blogger was telling me that your blog no longer existed!

      All working now though.

      I'd almost forgotten the Jungle Meat!

    2. I changed it shortly after starting it, it was originally Snickit's Tale but I decided I preferred Snickit's Tail, I felt the pun worked better that way around.

    3. I agree - the Pun Fu is stronger that way!

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  7. A fantastic set of pictures, I have to say that the forces of Chaos weren't prepared for the stalwart defence (and the treemen) of the forces of Order!

    1. Cheers Peter - your Chaos Centaurs and hounds were certainly appreciated. We were a bit short on cavalry... and Counter Treeman Measures!

    2. The commentary of the goblin wolf rider running away from the unicorn was gold! :D

      I'm a fan your battle report too -as another has already stated- it looked like not a lot was happening when viewing other bloggers reports.

      Well done Thantsants!

    3. That was definitely one of the more amusing moments!

      There were a number of other Oldhammerers who would come over periodically to observe that nothing much seemed to have moved so I can see how folk might get that impression. In fact quite the opposite was true and each inch of the table was hard won!

      Part 2 is on the way... just trying to select which photos to use out of 109 taken!!

  8. Having rushed off early on sunday I look forward to seeing how this one ended! Did the breach ever get to play? :) And it must be said for the record that I wasn't strictly non-combative- one of my gangers took down a Paddy Wagon in the Judge Dredd game! :)

    1. There was a moment that the breach might have been in play but the Dice Gods decreed it should not be so - not to give too much away...

      I'm afraid wine won out over blogging this evening so you'll have to wait!

      Apologies by the way, the non-combative comment was referring to your role as observer in the Siege - unless you did actually play but were too far down the table for me to notice! ; )

      I certainly enjoyed reading up on the Judge Dredd game - that looked like an absolute hoot.