I was really happy to be able to host Tim for his first game of Fantastic Battles on Sunday. Living up to the concept of being able to play any army, regardless of your personal fantasies, I led the black-power-packing, lace-pulp ratmen of the Grand Duchy of Cheddar, against a slimy 15mm army consisting of squid- and fish-men. We played 800 points which I hope made for a very decent learning game.
From the photo's top left, the Squidmen deployed a unit of three companies of fishmen riding giant spiders, a unit of two companies of fishmen riding land sharks, two squidmen units each of two companies (archers in front, spearmen behind), a unit of two companies of squids with heavy weapons, a two-company unit of fishmen spears, and another three-company unit of landsharks.
Facing them, from lower left to right were a three company unit of pike and shot, a single company of dragoons, a steamtank, one battery of artillery, the guard unit composed of three companies of polearms and shot, the airship, and two more batteries of artillery. A Cheddar reserve group made up of the grenadier company and a small two-company unit of pike and shot formed a second line.
The view along the squidman lines. Although the spider-riders were perfectly happy in the terrain, the two units of squidmen formed infantry were to find the rough going rather tough.
Rolling for Mishaps, the squidmen archers turned out to be late and had to re-deploy behind the spearmen, further back in the ploughed fields. The fishmen spear unit, however, was overly enthusiastic and deployed far ahead of the rest of the line.
The battle opened with a torrent of heavy and powerful missile weapons blasting away at the enthusiastic fishmen, reducing them to little more than a pile of sashimi in two turns. While that was going on, the spider-riders and landsharks on both flanks pushed forwards, while the squidmen infantry struggled to get through the rough ground.
The advanding spider-riders caused the Cheddar captain on the left flank (who had the drillmaster strategy helpfully) to pull back the regiment of foote in an attempt to protect the army's flank. The spiders would have been too at-home in the woods for their comfort.
On the far flank, the landsharks closed with the artillery on the hill before the ratmen could manoeuvre any other units to come to their aid.
As the centre of the Cheddar line advanced, safe in the knowledge the flank was protected by a big waterfeature, they were rudely reminded that the squidmen were all amphibious. The nearest landshark unit swung across the pool, right into the flank of the steamtank. The ratman dirigible then puttered over to even the odds by charging the landsharks in the flank.
The landsharks on the squidmen left (Cheddar right) finished off the artillery swiftly and feasted upon their crew, restoring some of the resolve they had lost earlier through shooting. The battle in the centre continued with the steamtak getting the worst of it, while the spider riders closed in with the dragoons on the far left flank of the Cheddar line.
Having dined well on the artillery, the landsharks continued over the hill to attack the small regiment of Cheddar foote who had finally arrived - too late to save the guns.
In the centre, the steamtank finally succumbed to the landsharkes, but the elite Cheddar Blue Guards blazed away to obliterate the nearest unit of squidmen (who had only just emerged from the fields the turn before).
The dragoons could not hold on for long against the spider-riders and scattered, just as the neighbouring regiment of ratmen foote levelled pikes and closed in. The landsharks in the centre of the table reformed to confront the airship that had been pestering their flank, but on the far side of the table, the almost-routed-ratman foote unit managed to rebuff the larger unit of landsharks on the hill - greatly aided by the grenadiers who had charged into the sharks' flank.
On the Cheddar left, the lop-sided struggle beween the regiment of foote and the spider-riders ultimately settled the battle. The spiders could not compete with the ratmen's longspears and, after a hard fought melee, broke and fled from the field. Their loss was enough to bring the squidmen to their army breakpoint and the day belonged to the brave rats in glorious hats!