Saturday 23 March 2024

28mm Fantastic Battles - The short, thin line...

Jim and I met for a nail-biting 28mm Fantastic Battles clash between my halflings of Beerenburg, and his ferocious orc horde - coming in at 1200 points per side. The halfling breakpoint was a bit short (get it...?) at just 11, while the orcs had a massive breakpoint of 17.

As the defender, Jim lay out the battlefield and deployed deep, massing archers, boar riders and a couple of elite units on his right (top left of photo), with a large unit of ogres in the centre, supported by a horde of big orcs with heavy melee weapons to their left, and a rabble in horde formation behind. His left flank (top right of photo) consisted of archers and orcs with long spears in column.

The halfling line was very short and thin by comparison. From left to right were the heavily armed and armoured dismounted burghers, a mercenary giant, the Alchemists' Guild artillery, massed archers of the Mercers' and Tailor's guilds, Brewers' Guild archers, mounted burghers, urchin slingers, Cutler's Guild swordsmen and another giant.

Mishaps saw units on both sides ravaged with disease, one enthusiastic giant serving Beerenburg, and one archer unit a piece being enthusiastic and late on the orcish side. 

The battle began with rapid advances on both flanks of the orcish side, the orc magic-user adeptly using the Blink spell to bring forward the late archer unit on his own right flank. In the centre, the big marsh slowed up the ogres somewhat, enabling the halfling artillery to start peppering them with shot. Elsewhere, the expert shooting of the massed archers began to take its toll.

The enthusiastic giant on the halfling left was brought back under control some swift thinking by the rogue and started to move back into position as the orc boar-riders advanced through the fields.

A fierce dash forward brough the orc horde into combat with both halfling archer units, silencing their bows but, only engaged against one company of each unit, the orcs were not quite as overwhelming as they might have been.

On Beerenburg's right, the orc spear unit formed into line and charged into the Cutlers' Guild swordsmen, the urchin slingers evading as they came forward. The mercenary giant on the halfling right then started angling to catch the spears in the less-pointy flank.

The halflings used an expediently emerging swarm of rats to hold off the orcs on their left, but the ogres were blinked right across the swamp to engage with the already committed Mercers and Tailors in the centre. By this point, the halfling magic-users - and empowering bard and a doctor and barmaid with bless - had their work cut out for them, doing everything they could to hold the line against significantly more, and noticeably aggressive, orcs.

On the left the rats swarm gave way and the orc archers rushed foolishly forward into the dismounted burghers to allow space to their rear for other units to manoeuvre. The giant and the boar riders met in a fight that could only ever have ended one way: bacon back on the menu.

Across the line the halflings were now almost all committed. Another rat swarm emerged to the rear of the orc horde, nipping at their ankles. 

And then more units started to break. The Mercers and Tailors could not withstand both the horde and the ogres and ran for it. At the same time, the orc horde had enough of fighting to its front and rear and also bottled it.

The ogres now pushed forward into the Alchemists Guild artillery while the third and last rat swarm emerged in the wrong spot, not aiding the combat at all.

On the halfling right, the giant made it into the flank of the orc spear unit, while the mounted burgers started to move into the gap left by the Mercers and Tailors.

The orc archers fighting the burghers broke, as did the halfling artillery. The halfling left was holding, but about to be swamped by elite orcs. The centre was well and truly orcish, but on the right the halflings were in a strong position, the orc archers and long spears there taking a beating while the beer kept flowing to restore halfling Resolve.

The out-of-command rats started an ambitious (and ultimately ineffective, but hilarious) advance against the orc rabble in reserve.

The long spears broke on the halfling right allowing the giant and Cutlers' Guild to start rolling up the flank.

The mounted burghers managed a sluggish move towards the ogres who turned into column and charged them.

The Dismounted burghers on Beerenburg's left were struggling a bit against the elite orcs, but a well placed giant evened the odds.

The battle hung in the balance, the halflings were at 8/11 break points, while the orcs were now at 14/17. The orc warlord and a rogue rushed to add their support to the unit of archers on the orcish left, while a captain and the halfling warlord joined the mounted burghers. 

And then it was all over. The orc archers broke, taking their characters with them, while the remaining halflings swilled ale through gritted teeth and held on. As close a run thing as it could be, but still a glorious victory for the stout guilders of Beerenburg!

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