Sunday 17 September 2023

Burrows & Badgers campaign - 2.2 Rumbled in the Ruins

This week we returned to our new Burrows & Badgers campaign with a three player rumble in the ruins. The roguish Dirty Paws, (purple deployment), Lord Knawsley's royalist retinue (blue deployment), and the Jackass free company (yellow deployment) went at each other in an open engagement. For secondary objectives, the Dirty Paws were trying to assassinate enemy leaders and bring down the biggest beast in town - Lord Knawsley. In turn, the noble beaver's aim was to assassinate enemy leaders and take down as many of their men as possible in the process. The Jackass aim was to deliver a wee parcel in across the far side of the table - we played the opposite corner - and otherwise to strike unseen from the shadows.

On turn one, one of the Jackass moles emerged from underground with his parcel mere paces from the exit point on the battlefield, far beyond the reach of either of the other bands. At the start of turn two he nipped off, earning experience and delivery fees, but playing no further part in the skirmish.

The Jackass company hunkered down in their corner, lining up crossbows out of ambush while the rogues and royalists advanced more generally - the Dirty Paws seizing the central ruins and sending their rookie squirrel Knut to take up position on what remained of the temple roof.

And that's when the Jackasses began to play silly buggers. Their bat-leader only knew one spell, transpose, but he started to let it rip. First, he switched the places of the wee squirrel Knut (armed only with a bow) on the roof top, for Lord Knawsley's second. The angry if ungainly badger ended up clinging to a roof beam, while Knut appeared in the centre of the royalist retinue! Bloody funny, but bloody awful...

Things ended predictably, but not quite as you might imagine dear reader. Knut took a hammering, suffering 14 wounds, but remained standing. In his own next turn, he threw down his bow and, armed only with his fingers, heroically sacrificed himself, going at it against the glorious beaver.

Noting the rookies' heroic fingery sacrifice, Edwin and Malachy, the the two stoat rogues leapt into action. They were trying to get the the Jackass leader, both for the assassination objective, and the prevent Transpose being cast again. They were intercepted, however, both suffering catastrophic crossbow shots, followed by a savaging from the free company's black rat second.

Next, that pesky bat transposed the rogue's leader, Old Broc (who had just made it into contact with the black rat), for another royalist mouse. Both went down, the mouse to the rat, and Old Broc to Lord Knawsley's massive hammer (supported by a mini mouse swarm). Sgian Dubh, the rogues' pole-cat second ambushed another of the royalist mice.

The rogue's rat, Harry, and bat Seren, were shot by mouse archers and slingers and then the royalist badger - having taken multiple turns to climb down from the ruins, joined the melee and finished off Sgian. Thus endeth the Dirty Paws' day out with a total party kill. 

The Jackass bat then transposed an injured mouse for Ivy the mouse nun who was quickly dispatched.

Having enough of the shenanigans, Lord Knawsley finally pinned the free company bat in some rough terrain and removed the pesky bugger from play.

Fresh from taking out the rogues' second out of action, the angry royalist badger then thundered across the ruins to smite the free company's second, causing the rest of the rats to flee the field.

In the post-game phase, there were a few serious injuries - several of the rogues were hamstrung meaning that next time they'd have to be wary of shooters - but it could have been much worse. Both royalists and free company came out of the match with a lot more loot; none of the rogues were recovered enough to go exploring after all.

There are so many things I enjoy about B&B, but I still feel that three player games are a weakness. Despite having warbands deployed equidistant, and trying to have as much balance in the terrain as possible, there are certain issues that come up that we experienced in the last campaign. This game, being able to transpose animals for two different warbands into situations of certain death was hilarious, but felt very powerful. By doing this, it forced the rogues and royalists to fight each other, allowing the free-company to sit tight and await the outcome. This isn't something that would be possible in a fight between two sides. That wee bat-mage is marked, and every effort will be made next time to not give him the opportunity the control the table.

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