This week saw a larger than normal game of Fantastic Battles down at Lisburn Gaming Club. Roger ran a 2000 point army of Wood Elves against an unusual alliance of diminutive furry folk - I ran 1000 points of beastlings led by the Red King on our right, along side Chris who commanded my 1000 point army of Ziggurat Dwarves on our left. We played on a 6'x4' table, increasing the deployment bepth to retain the recommended 10bw between the opposing armies.
Mishaps were surprisingly light on disease, although multiple units on either side of the table were enthusiastic; this battle had obviously been coming for some time. Only one unit of elves was late - an elite unit od stag-riders who deployed right at the back of the elven right flank. In the first turn, their impetuous action saw them take their leave of the battlefield. On the same flank, both an elven and a dwarvern shieldwall deployed forward and they continued that movement to start a melee by turn two.
Two large blocks of spear- and shield-armed warriors crash into each other. The dwarves generally got the better of the ensuing melees, but the attached elven mage continued to bless his own unit ensuring the fight continued...
One company of enthusiastic mjowls (owl-gryphons in the service of the beastlings) flew impetuously forward towards a much larger unit of Wild Hunt (ghost wolves). Nearby, an enthusiastic unit of beastling levies also decided to throw themselves forwards, exposing their flank in the process. The plucky fools!
The elven arch-mage leading a unit of chariots burst through the woods and into a hail of sling bullets from the beastling skirmishers. The beastling captain consulted the priests in the settlement who revealed a very promising prophesy dice roll of 6.
In the following turn, further shooting from the skirmishing slingers caused further upset when the prophesy dice was used to good effect to kill the elven leader. A ripple of resolve loss swept across the elven lines, and the chariots were left leaderless. In the centre, the enthusiastic beastling levy were massacred in a melee against the wild hunt, with elven spearmen in their flank.
Over on the other flank, the dwarvern spearmen and axemen on the far left had started their slow advance towards the action, while the flock of great eagle led by an elven captain avoided the large dwarvern units and went for the djinn. The dwarvern shepherd-king on his lamassu wasn't having any of it though, and flew over to disrupt the mobbing. The small company of dwarvern highlanders managed to hit the flank of the elven spearmen, still locking in combat, but even their furious charge was not enough to break the elves.
Having scattered the beastling levy, the wild hunt were pinned in place by the continuosly enthusiastic mjowls who charged into the flank. The beastling chariots reformed into line, while the elven spearmen advanced the bog trolls who had taken up position on the hill.
Back on the right flank, beastling wyrd sister led the moohemoths into battle against the elven glade riders, summoning forth a legion inf shroomlings in their rear. The moohemoths were, in turn, charged in their own flank by a unit of stag-riders. Beyond them to the right, the leaderless elven chariots refused to move, suffering more sling bullets for their hesitation.
On the left, the djinn was being savagely attacked on two sides by eagles, while the eagle-riding captain was matched against the dwarvern shepherd-king. The clash of spears ground on... and on... Meanwhile, a unit of bears charged into a unit of dwarvern axemen, only to be charged in the rear by the dwarvern flanking force.
Back with the beastlings, the moohemoths and stag-riders broke simultaneously, while a veritable horde of elven archers charged, and were repulsed by, the second unit of beastling levy. The elven chariots finally had enough of being sitting ducks and charged and broke the beastling slingers.
And at that point, sadly, we had to call the game. The dwarves had lost on a single company - the djinn - but the beastlings were only one away from their natural break point. The elves were well bloodied, with many losses and a few units close to scattering. Roger was happy to declare his own inevitable defeat, but it could easily have been a truly bloody draw.
The rules hold up well to these sorts of asymmetrical multiplayer games. As the elves were one large army, any elven activation chit could be used anywhere across the table. The allied forces each had a different coloured chit, so command was more restrictive. However, having two warlords greatly helps with command and rallying. The payoff ends up pretty even, and that makes for a delightful game.