This week saw two playtests of Fantastic Battles here in Ulster. The first between my Ziggurat Dwarves and JB's Dark Elves, and the second between my Hearthshire Halflings against Jim's Byzernian Humans.
As noted elsewhere, all our testing to date has been with 10mm armies based on 40x40mm bases, but the game itself is scale agnostic so long as all companies on the table are based the same way.
Rolling for Mishaps saw one unit of Ziggurati shield-bearers (the red shields) and the flying carpet-riding priests suffering the impact of disease, and the other unit of shield-bearers (the blue shields) arriving late and being forced to deploy behind the ballistae on the hill. The Dark Elves mustered all of their elite elvish units on their right (top left of the photo), and had three large rabble units of expendable thralls (all on stimulants) on their left. One of the units of thralls was wracked with disease - a devastating impact on rabble - while another was overly enthusiastic and deployed far too far forward.
The opening turns saw all four batteries of dwarvern ballistae and the flying carpet-riders opening fire on the only unit within range - the poor but enthusiastic rabble unit of slaves. Only requiring six hits to break the rabble, the dwarvern shooting was remarkably successful and the slaves broke and fled. Meanwhile, the late unit of shield-bearers changed into column formation and started the very slow process of maneuvering back to where they should have been in the first place.
In Fantastic Battles, armies break when all of their characters are killed, or when more than half of their companies have scattered. However, expendable troops (like all those thralls) are ignored, so thus far in the game, the dwarves had made no headway towards breaking the elven army at all. In the centre of the remaining elven line, a witch with a pet golem and a cauldron full of blood was leading a menacing pack of poisonous and berserking witch-elves and monstrous lizard-riding noblemen. The fight was not over yet by a long way.
Despite the Ziggurati djinn rushing to their aid and attacking the lizard riders, the red shields couldn't stand before the combined elvish onslaught and broke. The berserking witch elves next charged at the dwarf lord, Gargamesh, on his lamassu who evaded, falling back as the witches surged on towards the ballistae battery.
The blue shields reformed to present the Dark Elf Warlord with their shieldwall and pointy spears.
By this stage, the Ziggurat Guard had defeated both companies of crossbowmen sent to slow them down and were ready to face off against the elves and lizards. The witch elves, furious at the lamassu's evasive manoeuvres, charged into the dwarvern ballistae, and were then attacked from behind by the Warlord and lamassu for their ill manners.
Both armies were very close to breaking - the elves had fought on ferociously despite having lost all of those thrall units in the opening stages of the game. The flying carpets flew around to pin the elven Warlord and dragon in place for the blue shields to fight. At the same time, in a truly frantic combat, the witch elves managed to destroy the artillery before turning to kill the Ziggurati Warlord just as the reached their own physical limits and broke themselves.
This brought the Dark Elf army, finally, to its break point and the remaining pointy-folk withdrew from the field of battle. The Ziggurat Dwarves were left victorious, but badly battered. Of the five characters who led the dwarves that morning, only Akkad the Magic-user remained alive when the day was done.