Saturday 16 October 2021

28mm Fantastic Battles - Bacchae vs Orcs

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!

Monday 11 October 2021

10mm Beastling levy for Fantastic Battles

Over the weekend I managed to paint up the first unit for my 10mm Beastfolk army. The miniatures are digital sculpts from Warploque, printed by Small Scale Prints (via Etsy).

These wee guys - sold as 'vermen' which I thought was quite hurtful - consist of squirrels, mice, shrews, newts and frogs. There are only a couple of unique sculpts for each species, but they are some of the most charismatic miniatures I've seen in a while. They stand about 6mm to the eye, so they're quite wee; on par with my halflings, and noticibly smaller than my goblins and dwarves. Here they are beside the Red King for scale. Of course, for that to be useful, you'd need to know that he stands 12mm to the eye.

For my beastling levy I've mixed together the spearmen and archers into a single unit. For Fantastic Battles I plan to run them as either irregular or formed companies, with the long spears, shieldwall and shooting traits. I'm at something of a loss to come up with a suitable racial trope given the variety of beasties in the army (there will also be hares/bunnies, boars, rams goats etc). I suspect I will have to omit a racial trope altogether.

Sunday 10 October 2021

An estrangement of elves - a fantastic 2000 point battle of Fantastic Battles

This week, Roger’s Wood Elves and my Wyld Elves took on Mike’s Undead and Andrew’s Ratkin in an epic 2000 point clash of Fantastic Battles. We played on a 180x80cm battlefield, littered with woods, a few fields and a settlement. Roger deployed facing Andrew (to left), and my forces faced Mike’s (to right).

Andrew’s rats used the night march strategy to start forward of his default deployment area. He survived the mishaps rolls with barely a scratch, while Mike’s mishap rolls meant that his large units of mummies and skeletons were enthusiastic and deployed forward (in lone with the rats to their right). Roger’s wood elf spearmen were likewise enthusiastic, while one of my tree shepherds was late. Otherwise, there was little disruption in the deployments. Roger’s wood elf war-dancers were on stimulants and proved to be completely out of control (he rolled a 1) meaning they would be treated as out of command range throughout the game.

The battle opened with both the undead advancing on the right of the elven line, causing the wyld elves to react and shift much of their line to the right. In a moment of madness, I sent my newly recruited chariot archers forward, led by a magic-user with the entangle spell. The aim was the entangle the large unit of elite mummies in the centre of the battlefield and slowly weaken them with arrow fire before charging home with the stag-riders.

On the far left, a flank march of ratkin assassins led by a rogue erupted onto the flank of the wood elf war-dancers. As a result, he committed what might politely be referred to as a ‘learning point’; the units of glade riders and eagle riders holding the centre of the table turned into column to their left, and proceeded to abandon the centre to reinforce the flank. The gap that had already existed between the wood elves and their wyld elf cousins now became an inviting hole for the ratkin to scurry into!

Sadly, the undead grand battery of indirect catapults with powerful missiles flung into action and launched a barrage of unsavoury projectiles at my elven chariot. Even with four pieces firing, they only managed to take away two resolve, but one of the shots flattened the magic-user leaving the chariots out of command. In the action phase it rolled for impetuous actions and ended up charging straight forward the mummies! And then, straight through the gap came the great rat god, the rat seer on his wagon, and a runaway rat wheel – the last of which hit the flank of the wyld elf chariot!

Further to the elven left, the main wood elf line hung back, having a shoot-out with the ratkin jezails and grenadiers. A second unit of ratkin assassins and a posse of rats with flame-throwers advanced through the woods in the centre, only to be charged by a unit of ents.

Back on the right, the undead lord on his undead dragon and undead giant bodyguards stalled just outside of the bow range of the wyld elf rangers …

… and then swooped forward. The elven rangers had not activated and so could evade – unfortunately the second of the wyld efl magic-users had just moved to join the rangers, so could not evade with them. Her melee against the undead dragon was a short one.

The wyld elf stag-riders, now subject to undead artillery fire, charged forward into the mummies, supported by the giant eagle. However, the eagle was shortly engaged in it’s flank by a skeletal shieldwall, and the stag riders were flanked by the big rat wheel.

In the centre, the rat lord, comfortable with how his minions were rolling up the wyld elves, turned back to threaten the wood elves. His assassin unit moved up to flank the wood elf ents.

The battle seemed to be favouring the rat-undead alliance. I wouldn’t say that the dice gods had abandoned us (especially me!), but …

… this is the result of a best-case-scenario round of shooting with two units of rangers against the undead dragon. The target number was 5+.

After this point, the battle, while not one-sided by any means, continued to unravel. The stag riders and giant eagle were routed and shortly after the rangers who were supporting them were charged in their flank as well.

The bone dragon did finally succumb to the massed attacks of wyld elves and tree shepherd …

… but an undead summoner managed to bring forth a giant scorpion on the flank of the wyld hunt (who were in the process of destroying a bone giant).

The ents in the centre finally dispatched their ratkin opponents, only to be attacked by the great rat himself. The ratkin centre-right also started to crumble after the prolonged shoot-out, but the vermin guard were getting the better of the elven spearmen.

On the far right, the last of the wyld elves succumbed to the legions of the undead and their ratkin allies. With their destruction, the heart went out of the eleven forces and they scattered and fled. The photo isn't blurred, its just the tears in my eyes!

Monday 4 October 2021

10mm Wyld Elf chariot archers for Fantastic Battles

Inspired by/jealous of Roger's wood elf chariots (seen at the time of, but not used in our last battle), I resolved to build one of my own. The chariot and deer are from Cromarty Forge - kindly donated by Roger - and the crew are Forest Dragon archers and a war-dancer with his huge sword removed.

I wanted to have two archers as crew, so used the dancer as a charioteer, running along the shaft in hommage to the charioteers of the Britons (according to Caesar anyway): 

"They can run along the chariot pole, stand on the yoke, and get back into the chariot as quick as lightning." 
Caesar, Gallic War, 4.33

Sunday 3 October 2021

Halflings and wood elves battle at the ford - 10mm Fantastic Battles

Captain Smithwicks rallied his militia and dished out a third serving of Hearthshire's finest travel-stew. The lads at the front of the unit were pre-occupied with the elven shieldwall bearing down on them but, sure, at least the rear ranks appreciated the sentiment...

This week I met up with Roger to run him through a game of Fantastic Battles. Over recent months he has amassed a huge army of wood elves and it was time some of them meet their doom against the finest halfling regiments of Hearthshire. The photo above shows the intended deployments before rolling for mishaps. The halfling battle plan relied on guarding the riverbank and using it to disorder the elven attack.

... and here are the disastrous dispositions after mishaps. The elves (top from left) had some bow armed glade riders and ents who were slightly late, a unit of rangers, massed archers, stag riders, a shieldwall and finally a wild hunt on the flank.

The halflings (bottom from left) had some hyper-enthusiastic treefolk and a skirmishing company of wardens, more treefolk, a battery of catapults, the Hearthshire hearthguard, truffle-hunting pig herds, poultry-riding scouts, kitchen-militia, archer militia (on the hill) and enthusiastic yeoman cavalry. At the very back along the board edge is the much less enthusiastic cockatrice.

Halfling battle-plan out the window, the first initiative chit pulled in turn one was for the halfling units out of command. The cockatrice was rolled for first and decided to fall back... of the table - and the beast was gone. That was a little bit demoralising to say the least. The enthusiastic units on the halfling left started to pull back out of the river, while the rest of the halfling line advanced to meet them half way.

Roger's elves also advanced along their entire front, and the arrow-storm (with chance of occasional catapult stones) began.

On the halfling right, the elves advanced hesitantly, showing undue caution around the halfling poultry scouts. On the extreme flank, the halfling yeomanry swung their ponies around to threaten the flank of the wild hunt.

As the stag riders finally charged the poultry, they evaded backwards, leaving the elves exposed to missile fire (the following turn) from both the geese-riders and the halfling militia archers. The elven spearmen engaged the kitchen militia, and the wild hunt swung to face the yeomen who then barrelled into them, encouraged by the halfling librarian who empowered them with his wisdom.

Over on the other flank, the elven arrows scattered the halfling wardens, and so infuriated the treefolk and hearthguard that they all attempted to cross the river (rather than hold the river bank as was the intention!). The elven magic-user repeatedly entangled the truffle-hunters, preventing them from activating. Every. Turn. Now I know how Jim felt a few weeks ago when I did the same to him!

In the river, the elven ents engaged the halfling treefolk. The second unit of treefolk, who managed to cross through the river where they were finally scattered by arrow fire.

... and back to Captain Smithwicks and his kitchen militia. They managed to hold on in their fight with the elven spearmen/shieldwall. The elven stag-riders managed to engage and rout the poultry, but were left so weakened that a final volley from the halfling militia archers made them flee the field. The halfling yeomanry managed to hold off the wild hunt, but were also left so blown by their struggle, that they played no further role in the battle.

In the end, it was the struggle of the river trees that settled it. The treefolk and ents fought on until their ultimate mutual destruction, killing the halfling warlord and eveln rogue in the process and almost certainly damming (and damning?) the river. The loss of the treefolk brought the halflings to breaking point, and the battle was over, leaving Roger and his elves bloody, but victorious.

Friday 1 October 2021

Centaurs for ProjectBACCHAE

With the 1000 point mark of ProjectBACCHAE fast approaching, here are a couple of companies of 28mm centaur archers from Eureka Miniatures.