Monday 13 July 2020

Fantastic Battles - Battle of the Bonefields

Across the parched plain, the mindless hordes of the liche-king shambled forward, keen to add to their number with the countless corpses of their goblin foes. This week's game of Fantastic Battles saw a completely undead army for the first time, pitted against the brave boyz in green.

After the two forces deployed, rolling for Mishaps caused its usual chaos to the lines. The undead army found two of its units were late and deployed further back than intended. The goblins suffered from plenty of desertion and disease, as well as some over-eager ogres, late units of goblin warriors and trolls, and a nonplussed giant. The undead warlord named the nonplussed giant as the man-of-the-match due to the fact that it started its first turn out of command range and promptly turned around and wandered off the table. Not a great start!

Fighting against an army where everything has the mindless trait was a bit eerie. The goblins certainly had the mobility to choose where to attack, but the tortuously slow steady advance of so many skeletons had a real psychological impact. 

Bombarded by skeleton trebuchets from early on, the goblins had no choice but to advance. The problem was that the dispersed nature of the goblin deployment following the Mishap rolls left the greenies with some serious command and control decisions. The right of the main line advanced, but the centre-left was forced to hold back while the captain got his troops into order. 

On the far left of the goblin line, Captain Snatters led an overwhelming sweeping advance with two units of wolf-riders

However, the spider-riders in the woods were faced with a dilemma, attack the skeleton archers and be charged in the flank by an evil tree, or attack the evil tree and be charged in the flank by the archers. In retrospect they could have stayed within the woods and taken part in a co-ordinated assault with the wolf-riders, but after-though is a wonderful thing. And also... goblins.

The spider-riders took on the tree, while the wolf-riders overwhelmed the single unit of skeleton horsemen.

On the goblin right, the green-skins made contact and had the better of the initial clashes as the remaining hill giant made 'come hither' eyes at his more bony counterpart. The two ended up fighting, but the timely support from a company of goblin bat-riders clinched it in favour of the living.

As skeleton units continued to crumble, the really disconcerting thing was that none of their fellow mindless units cared. When normal units lose enough Resolve to scatter, their comrades lose Resolve watching them flee. Mindless units ignore what's going on around them. For every skeletal unit that crumbled, the others trudged on. Every time one of my goblin units fled, their neighbours started quaking in their grimy little boots.

On the left, the spider-riders fled before the evil tree. However, the wolf-riders swept around the woods and took the tree in the flank before moving on to attack the skeleton archers.

Magic played, perhaps, a bigger role in this battle than in many of the previous games. The goblin battle wagon was able to hold up a unit twice its size for multiple turns thanks to the expedient use of the goblin Magic-user's Curse spell. Likewise, a poor unit of goblin warriors thought they had found a weak point in the undead line, until the liche-king Blinked a skeleton phalanx right in their path.

The outcome of the battle was balancing on a knife edge with serious casualties on both sides. All along the green-skin line, goblin units were wavering, and each successive unit that scattered made defeat that bit more certain. In the very centre, the goblin's ogre mercenaries were broken by a unit of wights and a flank charge by the liche himself. However, the goblin wolf-riders made the most of their dominance on the left flank, taking a unit of skeletons in the rear and finally destroying one of those infernal catapults. In the end, the goblins just managed to destroy more than half of the undead horde and secured the narrowest of victories. They were only one unit away from breaking themselves. 

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