Friday, 16 October 2009

Autumn 988 - Girls Gone Bad

Sir Geoffrey Chambers was ecstatic. He had beaten back the Tropilium invasion and now Treyine controlled a part of that once mighty empire, and he had preserved enough of the army to now face the Hykar with some possibility of victory. He felt sure that he was destined for greatness in the nascent Treyine empire. Still, there was the small matter of thousands of young, vicious girls on ponies facing him. He was outnumbered and would have to fight aggressively to counteract their advantage. He formed his troops up with both flanks refused. About half of his archers had set their stakes out to hinder the Hykari advance. The enemy had deployed their heavy troops in the centre with vast numbers of light horse on the flanks. It was clear what their plan was and Sir Geoffrey knew what was needed.

The enemy began their advance. The light horse swept down on his flanks as expected, so Sir Geoffrey raised his arm and yelled, "CHARGE!" His knights leapt forward beside the Ekran contingent. The infantry, even the Brethren spearmen who had finally turned up, followed, while the archers moved to guard their flanks as best possible. Then the fight began in earnest. Sir Geoffrey's knights crashed home against the enemy general's horsewomen, who fired a desultory rain of arrows at him. A few men were wounded but none fell from their saddles. The Ekran knights, however, took many casualties as they hit the enemy spearwomen and were driven back, but not before the spearwomen routed from the field.

The fight in the centre raged on as Sir Geoffrey's knights whittled down the enemy horsewomen, but it was taking too much time. Meanwhile, the light horse tried to encircle the archers, who desperately turned to face them and tried to loose as many arrows as possible. They certainly gave as good as they got and drove off many of the light horse, but archers died too and the Treyine numbers were being reduced too. Unfortunately, even the rout of the Hykari general did not discourage the light horse. Clearly they had little respect for their leaders and they fought on just as hard, but their command was hampered and they were soon facing more arrows as well as the Treyine infantry, who had turned to chase them. Slowly the girls on ponies died and slowly the Treyine army gained ascendancy.

Eventually there were only a small number of horsewomen left and the Treyine archers were all around. The end of the matter was no longer in doubt. It was merely a case of how much damage the Hykari could do before they routed. The answer was: not too long at all. The approach of Sir Geoffrey and his knights was enough to break the Hykari morale and soon they and their ponies were streaming from the field. Sir Geoffrey was most pleased, and he was sure that the King would be too.

I was worried about this battle. There were twice as many Hykari as there were Treyine troops. Also, they had significantly greater manoeuvrability than I did, so I expected to be surrounded and cut down. As it turned out, I was surrounded but driving off the enemy general severely hindered Steve's ability to make use of his advantage in speed. My longbowmen's advantage was range and hitting power, which allowed them to hold their own against twice their number of light horse. Steve still routed and severely hurt a lot of my archers, but not enough to win the battle. That said, it could have gone either way really.

One thing we learned from this battle was that light horse are quite hard to use en masse effectively. Steve suffered because some of his light horse routed when friendly units retired into them, but he will have learned by next time! I have some ideas of my own that I would like to try out, so I plan to use the Hykari army myself at some point. Can't wait!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Autumn 988 - The Eastern Border Kingdoms

The messenger entered the King's chamber in a hurry, but still performed the usual obeisances.

"Sire," he began, "I bring news from the Border Kingdoms. The Brethren have invaded in the west and subdued the land. The Goblins have invaded in the east. The Border Kingdoms are no more."

The messenger continued his tale hastily as the King looked intently at him. "Sire, I observed all as you had instructed. The Border Kingdoms army was decimated by the Brethren onslaught. They clearly knew that they could not hold the Brethren out and retreated from that battle with the remnants of their force. Perhaps young van der Walk thought he could hold the Goblins off more easily. I saw them deploy on the open plain where the Goblins caught them. The witch summoned a demon to assault the Goblins at the start of the battle. Its first pass caused the enemy skirmishers to flee but the infantry held steady."

"The Goblins were clearly incensed by the demon's presence and lost their minds for they charged heedless at their foes. Their assault was strong but the Border Kingdoms infantry held them off for a while. It was unfortunate that young van der Walk died in the first clash of arms. His presence might have secured a better outcome for his people. There were not many goblins left at the end of the battle, and all of those knew they had fought that day."

"I rode here as fast as I could after the battle to report to you, and I suspect many refugees will approach our borders before long too."

Edward IV of Treyine sat back and looked at the messenger with satisfaction. He indicated that the man should leave and turned to his counsellors.

"So, the Goblins appear to be working with the Brethren. Strange bedfellows indeed. I foresee an advantage in this, once we have dealt with those meddlesome witches from Hykar."

This battle went pretty much as expected, although I feel that I gave a good account of myself against the Goblin hordes. Had I not forgotten that the Goblins had the Frenzy attribute, I might even have done better. I forced enemy threat tests on the Goblins at the wrong moment and did not get to use my wizard again after that. I should have cast first and threatened afterwards. Still, it was not as lopsided a game as the fight between Tropilium and Treyine. The question is, what shall I do with all my nicely painted Border Kingdoms troops now?

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Autumn 988 - Brethren in Arms

Luther van der Walk was pleased that the Brethren had chosen to invade. Now he would prove his worth and crush them. The battlefield was constrained by two woods, so he would be able to concentrate his best forces in the centre while leaving the rank and file to secure the flanks with the aid of these natural obstacles.

Seeing the enemy deployed in similar fashion, he directed his wizard, Endora Henbane, to target the enemy general with a blast of mystic power. She obliged and Brethren General Miles Gloriosus exploded in a fountain of blood and guts that caused his entire unit to bolt forward. Despite the loss of their general, the remainder of the army was unperturbed. With the general dead, Luther was convinced that victory would be easy. While his main body stood still, he orderd the skirmishers forward into the woods to secure them against the enemy skirmishers.

With that the enemy began to advance piecemeal. This would be even easier than he had thought. Brethren knights and sergeants charged his position, leaving their less impetuous comrades behind. Seeing a chance to remove some of the enemy threat, Luther led his cavalry forward in a charge against the advancing knights. They were sore hurt already but the fight went against Luther and his cavalry were driven back. A panicked cavalryman grabbed Luther's bridle.

"My lord, they are too strong for us." So saying the cavalryman turned Luther's horse around despite his protests and fled for the rear. Luther's horse bolted with the rest of the cavalry and suddenly Borderers were streaming to the rear on all sides.

A few lone units fought on, struggling to stem the tide of the advancing Brethren.

It was useless. They were isolated and cut down by the faster Brethren sergeants, leaving only a few spearmen to retreat. Many more were cut down in the pursuit.

This battle saw the Wizard killing the Brethren general in the first turn; yet another example of Steve's fabled ability to throw sixes at the wrong moment. Unfortunately, the Border Kingdoms cavalry, with their general, routed in the first melee they fought. This left the borderers much weakened and unable to coordinate their defence properly. The Brethren mounted troops were able to waltz around the Borderers and pick them apart at will after that.

The Border Kingdoms lost a territory and their morale collapsed so they surrendered to the Brethren. I wonder if there will be a Border Kingdom after the Goblin invasion in their other territory?

Border Kingdoms
1 Retinue Cavalry
4 Borderers
2 Skirmishers

The Brethren had no permanent losses.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Autumn 988 - A Farewell to Empire

Sir Geoffrey Chambers was a happy man. He led a small company of mercenaries normally, but today he was at the head of a battle-hardened army, invading the greatest empire that Talomir had ever known. This type of action suited his aggressive nature and his confidence was bolstered by the fact that he knew the enemy army had taken a beating recently. Naturally, he was confident.

With the enemy force arrayed before him, Sir Geoffrey could see that he outnumbered them ten to one or better. This would be a walkover. Even the enemy wizard, a runty little man called Pharos, was by all accounts not particularly a great threat. Well, he would swamp the wizard with bodies if he had to. He ordered the advance. The enemy awaited him on the reverse slope of a hill.

As he closed on them he ordered the archers on his flanks to swing around and encircle the enemy. He and his knights charged but were driven back by the enemy. The mystical aura was stronger than expected and he failed to trample them underfoot immediately. However, the enemy wizard fell in that initial onrush. He regathered his troops and charged again. This time the enemy fell like wheat before a scythe. The Tropilium general was last seen disappearing under Sir Geoffrey's horses hooves and the man's soldiers scattered and were cut down.

Sir Geoffrey had conquered new territory for this current masters. Perhaps he would be rewarded with a more permanent position now ...

This was the most unbalanced game we have ever played. A single Tropilium Legionary unit faced thirteen units of Treyine soldiery. Kudos to Steve for stepping up to the mark and trying to hurt the Treyine army before they could destroy him.

The end result was the total destruction of the Tropilium troops and the wounding of Pharos the Mage and the Tropilium general. Pharos will be out of the campaign for two seasons, while the general will return in three seasons.

After the battle, Tropilium morale collapsed and they surrendered to the Treyine army.