The Bacchae took the field for the first time this week, facing off against Joel's nasty orcses. Joel had been part of the original Fantastic Battle playtesting group but hasn't not played since. We played a 750 point game on a simplified battlefield (just two large woods on an otherwise oven field) to get re-acquainted with the mechanics.
The Bacchae's stimulant racial trope proved interesting, with the centaurs completely uncontrollable, the maenads and one unit of satyrs becoming berserk and proud, and the other gaining +1 melee and +1 movement. The orcs more-or-less avoided any mishaps during deployment (just a little disease, but what do you expect from orcs), while both the centaurs and the goat-chariot deployed late on my side of the table.
The table was a tad narrow, so we deployed closer than we should have. That meant that units closed faster than they normally would and reduced the benefits of both my shooting and my many magic-users. Bakchos (mage-lord with level 3 confusion) and the dryads (character company magic-user with level 3 entangle) got to cast once each I think, while Pan (magic-user with level 3 curse) was only marginally more effective. First blood went to the satyrs on the far right of the Bacchae line who first shot at a diseased ogre and then finished him off in melee.
The drunken centaurs charged off recklessly into a unit of orc spearmen, while the orc's giant bat swooped across the table into combat with Bakchos himself.
Pan led the maenads forward against the orc centre, allowing Eros (a rogue) to lead a goat chariot into the flank of the orcish unit.
Bakchos's leopards leapt in to his defence and killed the great bat, but not before the mage-lord had taken a wound.
Across the table, units were locked in combat, and characters started to fall. Sadly, Pan was the first to go, and without his cursing, the orcs quickly got the upper hand against the maenads.
For a moment, it looked like all hope was lost and the Bacchic centre collapsed. The centaurs and their foes broke at the same time, and were promptly followed by the maenads and one unit of satyrs. The Bacchae were one company away from their army breakpoint. The orcs could still lose four companies before their army broke.
However, on the left, the leopards, supported by dryads, halted the advance, and then routed the goblin-town mercenaries.
On the right, the orcish warlord and his berserkers engaged with the remaining satyrs led by Paposilenos. Although the orcs were tougher by far, they were already weakened from their earlier combats and satyr shooting. The two units mauled each other to mutual destruction.
And just when we thought all hope was lost... the Bacchae snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat!
A major take away for the Bacchae is just how squishy they are. Mostly made up of irregular companies, they die quite easily. I have to keep that in mind in future. With four units on stimulants, I did forget their various bonuses several times. I wonder is berserk wouldn't be a better racial trope, reserving stimulants for the maenads? The other issue I had was with command and rallying. With only one captain, I felt a little restricted with what I could do. Next time Eros may have to play as a captain rather than a rogue. Every day is a school day!