Sunday, 18 December 2011

The Battle of Breakneck Pass

Another day, another attempted battle report

I decided it would be fun to finish the year with a large battle report, since it had been a while since I put one up. Having worked out that I could muster 6,000 points of Empire when I did the recent photo shoot, this became the game size and my Orcs and Goblins were chosen as the opposition. The infamous Peter Spiller (who destroyed me so tragically in the final round of the Masters) volunteered to take control of the greenskins, whilst Shags generously agreed to perform the duties of Head Scribe, and so we had everything we needed in place.

We decided to play Battle for the Pass, to see whether it made the game more interesting to be forced to organise things in waves and press forward that way. We also used the Wild Magic rule from Storm of Magic - 4D6 power dice with the opponent receiving the highest 2 dice for dispelling. Other than that, it was a pretty standard approach to a game of Warhammer.

I will admit that not a lot of planning went into this game. We decided we would do it only a few days before the fact, and the game was played in a slightly hurried fashion because I needed to leave the club earlier than usual. It also made taking decent photos more difficult, with the poor light, my limited skills and my hardworking camera phone not helping the situation either. I think in future we will need to make a point of better planning these things in order to have a better chance of achieving a good result. Anyway, here is what we ended up with...

The Empire Army
Arch Lector of Sigmar (Army General)
     Barding; Prayers of Sigmar; Shield; Warhorse
     The Mace of Helstrum
     Dawn Armour

Templar Grand Master
     Barding; Full Plate Armor; Warhorse
     Dawn Stone
     Crown of Command

General of the Empire on Pegasus
     Full Plate Armor
     Sword of Bloodshed
     Potion of Strength
     Enchanted Shield

Wizard Lord of the Amethyst Order
     Magic Level 4; Lore of Death; Warhorse
     Talisman of Preservation

Templar Grand Master
     Barding; Full Plate Armor; Shield; Warhorse
     Sword of Sigismund
     Holy Relic

     Barding; Full Plate Armor; Battle Standard; Warhorse
     Charmed Shield
     White Cloak

Warrior Priest
     Barding; Prayers of Sigmar; Great Weapon; Warhorse
     Armour of Destiny

Warrior Priest of Sigmar
     Prayers of Sigmar; Great Weapon
     Armour of Meteoric Iron

Master Engineer

Battle Wizard of the Amber Order
     Magic Level 2; Lore of Beasts

Grey Guardian
     Magic Level 2; Lore of Shadow

40 Spearmen
     Spear; Light Armour; Standard; Musician; Sergeant

58 Halberdiers
     Halberd; Light Armour; Standard; Musician; Sergeant

30 Free Company
     2nd Weapon; Standard; Musician; Sergeant

29 Flagellant Warbands (Core)
     Frenzy; Flail

30 Knightly Orders
     Barding; Full Plate Armor; Standard; Musician; Warhorse; Preceptor
     Standard of Discipline

10 Crossbowmen

10 Handgunners
     Empire Handgun

35 Greatswords
     Great Weapon; Full Plate Armor; Standard; Musician; Count's Champion

18 Knights of the Inner Circle
     Barding; Lance; Full Plate Armor; Shield; Standard; Musician; Warhorse; Preceptor
     The Steel Standard

13 Knights of the Inner Circle
     Barding; Lance; Full Plate Armor; Shield; Standard; Musician; Warhorse; Preceptor
     Banner of Swiftness

5 Pistoliers
     Brace of Pistols; Light Armour; Musician; Warhorse; Outrider with Repeater Pistol

5 Outriders
     Repeater Handgun; Light Armour; Musician; Warhorse

1 Great Cannon

1 Great Cannon

1 Mortar

1 Steam Tank

1 Helstorm Rocket Battery

TOTAL: 5998 points

There was not a lot of thought required when constructing this list - it was really a case of using everything I had painted. There was the odd painted Spearman or Free Company model left over, but I pretty much cleaned out my cases. Given the choice of 2 middling units of 15 White Wolves or a single horde of 30, I went for the horde. I don't get to use it in normal games, and I figured I could well be looking at units of Black Orcs that could wipe out 15 knights in a single round.

From a balance perspective, my list lacks shooting. 10 Handgunners and 10 Crossbowmen do not a 6,000pt army make. My artillery contingent is no larger than what a lot of Empire players would field in an army a third of the size, so I guess that means I'm a bit light on. The points have all really gone into Knights, which I am OK with. I like my cavalry and they have been my best investment in points in my tournament armies all year.

The Orc and Goblin Horde
Black Orc Warboss (Army General)
     Armour of Destiny
     Ironcurse Icon

Black Orc Warboss on Wyvern
     Heavy Armour
     Enchanted Shield
     Talisman of Preservation

Black Orc Warboss on Wyvern
     Heavy Armour; Shield
     Dawn Stone

Orc Great Shaman
     Magic Level 3; Big Waagh; Choppa
     Dispel Scroll

Goblin Great Shaman
     Magic Level 3; Little Waagh
     Feedback Scroll

Goblin Warboss
     Light Armour; Shield
     Wizarding Hat

Black Orc Big Boss
     Heavy Armour; Battle Standard
     Obsidian Lodestone

Goblin Big Boss on Gigantic Spider
     Great Weapon; Shield
     Gambler's Armour
     Potion of Foolhardiness

Savage Orc Shaman
     Frenzy; Magic Level 2; Big Waagh; Choppa
     Lucky Shrunken Head

33 Savage Big 'Uns
     Frenzy; Second Choppa; Warpaint; Standard; Musician; Boss

40 Orc Boyz
     Second Choppa; Light Armour; Standard; Musician; Boss

25 Orc Boyz
     Choppa; Light Armour; Shield; Standard; Musician; Boss

36 Night Goblins
     Netters; Shield; Standard; Musician; Boss
     3 Fanatics

35 Night Goblins
     Netters; Shield; Standard; Musician; Boss
     3 Fanatics

20 Goblin Wolf Riders
     Spear; Light Armour; Shield; Standard; Musician; Boss

5 Forest Goblin Spider Riders
     Spear; Shield; Musician

5 Forest Goblin Spider Riders
     Spear; Shield; Musician

50 Black Orcs
     Heavy Armour; Shield; Standard; Musician; Boss
     Banner of Swiftness

Orc Boar Chariot

Orc Boar Chariot

Wolf Chariot
     Spear; Short Bow

Wolf Chariot
     Spear; Short Bow

Wolf Chariot
     Spear; Short Bow; Extra Wolf

14 Savage Boar Boyz
     Frenzy; Choppa; Spear; Warpaint; Shield; Standard; Musician; Boss

8 Trolls



Rock Lobber

Rock Lobber

TOTAL: 5999 points

A few notes should be made here. Firstly, Pete had included 2 Doom Divers in his army. However, when we were unpacking the stuff, we could find the little bat-winged loonies, but not their catapults. This resulted in a quick reshuffle that saw the second Giant drafted into the list. Not ideal for the balance of the army. Also note that Pete appears to have forgotten to pay for the extra magic levels on his Orc and Goblin Great Shamans. They played as level 4s during the game. A little greenskin trickery, no doubt...

For all that my Orcs and Goblins can easily accommodate 6,000 points, the list lacks a bit of balance in a similar manner to my Empire. I don't have much painted shooting (a problem exacerbated by the issue I mentioned above). I also don't have any of the tricks introduced in the 8th edition army book - Mangler Squigs, Arachnaroks, or even Pump Wagons (which were available before, but nowhere near as lethal). My focus on painting Empire all year has resulted in my Orcs being a bit out of date - a problem I will need to address soon.

The battlefield
The forces of the Empire are arrayed for battle
The Empire deployed in a solid mass across the pass. In the centre were the White Wolf Knights, led by the Arch Lector, Templar Grand Master and Wizard Lord. Immediately behind the White Wolves were the Halberdiers, led by the Warrior Priest and the Amber Battle Wizard. To the left were the Knights Snow Leopard (the larger unit of Inner Circle Knights) led by the other Grand Master and the BSB. Between those units were the Spearmen, deployed in a deep formation. Hard on the left flank were the Pistoliers, with the Outriders behind them and the Handgunners at the back.On the right of the White Wolves was the Steam Tank, followed by the Free Company. Behind them were the Greatswords led by the Grey Wizard, and the Crossbowmen were in turn behind the Greatswords. On the right flank were the Flagellants, with the remaining regiment of Knights behind them, led by the mounted Warrior Priest. The Pegasus lurked behind the Knights, with the Empire artillery positioned on the highest point of the hill, giving them a commanding view of the field.
As seen from the front

The Orcs and Goblins form up across the pass from the humans
The Orcs deployed with the large block of Black Orcs in the centre of the line, led by the army general. Behind them was the BSB, commanding the unit of Orcs that also sheltered the Orc Great Shaman. To the right of the Black Orcs were the Trolls, followed by both regiments of Night Goblins. A unit of Spider Riders were on the far end. Behind the Night Goblins were the Savage Orc Boar Boyz as well as a Boar Chariot and a Wolf Chariot. The Rock Lobbers occupied the crest of the hill behind them. Behind the Trolls were a Giant and a Wyvern, with the horde of Orcs in the forest behind them. The Orcs were led by the Goblin Warboss with his magic hat, who was cackling maniacally and setting fire to random objects with his newfound powers.

To the left of the Black Orcs were the Savage Orc Big'Uns, led by their Shaman. Behind them were the second Giant and Wyvern, with the large regiment of Wolf Riders further back. The line was anchored by another unit of Spider Riders, with a trio of Chariots lurching about behind the line.
And from the front

Before the battle commenced in earnest, the Spider Riders crept forward, closing off the advance of the enemy fast cavalry and trying to lure the Flagellants into something silly.

Empire Turn 1

The Empire left flank advances, ignoring the pesky Spider Riders in their path

The right flank also pushes forward, led by the charging Pistoliers
The Empire army advanced across the pass, with the push led by the Pistoliers, who spurred their horses forward and into combat with the waiting Spider Riders. The Handgunners and Crossbowmen also advanced, with no targets in range. The Flagellants managed to ignore the taunting of the Spider Riders in front of them and marched stolidly forward.

The magic phase saw the Empire gather 17 power dice compared to 11 dispel dice for the Orcs. The Wizard Lord threw 6 dice at Doom and Darkness on the Black Orcs and their accompanying general. Rather than dispel it, the Goblin shaman produced a Feedback Scroll, however he tried to read it upside-down and got no good results and a twisted tongue for his efforts. Buoyed by this success, the Wizard Lord threw 6 more dice at a boosted Purple Sun of Xereus, however apparently that spell is harder than it sounds, and she stuffed up, failing to make the casting roll.

Sneering derisively at this display of ineptitude, the Amber Wizard decided to show how it was done and cast an irresistible Wyssan's Wildform on the engaged Pistoliers. Whilst the spell was successful, the Wizard was engulfed in a massive explosion. He barely survived, and 13 of the Halberdiers and 2 White Wolves were not so lucky. That's how it's done, eh?

In the shooting phase the Helstorm crew carefully lined up the Night Goblins on the far flank. Devastation was assured, however as they lit the fuse, the Engineer interfered. "No no, you're doing it all wrong. Let me show you how..." Before anyone could stop him, he had fallen headfirst into the machine, sending a rocket spiraling out and slamming into the wall of the canyon. Remarkably nobody was hurt. The Mortar crew had a similar target in mind, however they were distracted by the nonsense around the Helstorm and ended up sending the shot far wide. Fortunately it landed directly on a Troll, which was consumed in the resultant explosion. High-fives all-round. The Cannons both took aim at the nearest Wyvern, however they were using the special ammo provided by the Engineer, and both shots plugged firmly in the ground before they could reach their target. One Savage Orc was unlucky and stepped into the path of one of the cannonballs and was driven underground by the projectile as it crashed into the earth.

With the uncommonly manly (and hairy) physiques bestowed upon them by the enthusiastic Beast Wizard, the Pistoliers managed to defeat the Spider Riders they were fighting. The Goblins broke and fled, running face-first into the canyon wall and being wiped out, whilst the Pistoliers surged forward and triggered enemy Fanatics. However, there were only half as many as there should have been. Seeing the fate of the Spider Riders, the Big Boss on his own Gigantic Spider had a sudden attack of nerves and realised he wanted to be elsewhere. Turning and fleeing through the Boar Boyz, Chariot and Rock Lobber, he abandoned the battle. He was accompanied by the regiment of Night Goblins he had been leading, and they took their Fanatics with them.

The remaining Night Goblins released their Fanatics in seemingly random pattern - one failed to reach the Pistoliers, another headed towards the distant Knights, and the final one was sent straight into a tree. The tree survived - the Fanatic did not.
"'Ere dey come, Boss": The Empire approach the waiting greenskins

"Dere dey go, Boss": The sight of the fleeing Spider Riders is too much for the Night Goblins, who panic from the field, led by the Big Boss on his fuzzy Gigantic Spider

"Huzzah! Wait, what is that whirring noise?" The Pistoliers complete their rout of the Spider Riders, however they have a close encounter with some Fanatics

It was a modest opening volley from the Empire artillery

Orc and Goblin Turn 1
The Orc advance was thrown into disarray by the Trolls, who failed their Stupidity because of the general still feeling sorry for himself about Doom and Darkness. However, discipline was maintained elsewhere with not a single unit succumbing to Animosity. The line moved forward fairly cautiously, with the Fanatics both whirring dangerously close to the rather nervous Pistoliers. The remaining Spider Riders crept through the nearby forest, discovering it was a Wild Wood. They made a point of not ending their move in it, even as they stopped directly in front of the Steam Tank. Death by Tank is preferable to Death by Tree, apparently.

There were 15 power dice in the magic phase (plus 1 for channeling), however the battery of Warrior Priests in the Empire army saw their dispel pool grow from 10 to 14. The Orc Great Shaman attempted to cast a boosted Foot of Gork, however this was dispelled. Next the Goblin Great Shaman attempted to cast Curse of da Bad Moon, however he couldn't quite remember the words and he failed. A final attempt from the Orc at 'Eadbutt was also stopped, and the magic phase fizzled to a halt.

Both Rock Lobbers took aim at the advancing Steam Tank, however in a grand display of accuracy, they both managed to land their shots in gaps where nobody was hurt. Pacifists!
"It's only a Steam Tank": The Orcs advance, led by the heroic Spider Riders who fearlessly face off with the advancing Steam Tank
The Orc left flank advances

The right flank also moves forward, slowed somewhat by the shambling Trolls

The gap between the armies closes steadily
Empire Turn 2
With a toot and a lurch, the Steam Tank crashed into the waiting Spider Riders. In a display of valour, they rolled a double 1 for their Terror test and prepared to go meet Gork and Mork. Alongside the Steam Tank, the Spiders were charged by the massive unit of White Wolves, whilst the regiment of Free Company also joined the fight. Unfortunately, 4 of their number were crushed when they entered the forest and one of the trees didn't like their faces. Next to them, the Flagellants rushed toward the Savage Orcs. Unfortunately they misjudged the distance and staggered to a halt, stopping with some of their number in the same forest. A rustle of branches and a 4 quick shrieks later, the remaining Flagellants were once more muttering about the end being nigh...

The Pegasus took to the skies and made for the nearest Chariot, however the crew saw it coming and swerved to the side, crashing into the canyon wall and reducing the Chariot to kindling. Seeing that the Goblins were doing his work for him, the Captain steered his steed toward the next Chariot instead. The Orc crew wisely decided not to flee, and held firm against the charge.

Across the field, the Empire lines shifted. Most moved forward, however the Knights Snow Leopard shifted further toward the flank rather than advancing through an approaching Fanatic. The Pistoliers rode up the hill behind enemy lines, heading toward the enemy war machines.

Magic saw the Empire generate 11 power dice (plus a channel), whilst the Orcs had 7 dispel dice. A boosted Soulblight was blocked with a Dispel Scroll, whilst an attempt to cast Enfeebling Foe on the Black Orcs was also stopped.

The Mortar and Helstorm decided the time was right to fire upon the massive block of Black Orcs. Unfortunately the Mortar developed a problem under the "expert" supervision of the Engineer, and would not fire for the next couple of turns. Even without the interference of the Engineer, the aim of the Helstorm crew was off. The shot landed almost harmlessly, claiming the lives of a couple of unlucky Wolf Riders. One of the Cannons misfired with a dud shot, whilst the other actually managed to hit the Wyvern they had been targeting - but only managed a single wound on the beastie, with the rider protected by some foul amulet.
On the far side of the field, the Pistoliers were far more successful. In a barrage of lead, the Wolf Chariot that had been wheeling toward them was consumed and destroyed. The war machines would be theirs! Meanwhile the Crossbowmen managed to pick off a couple of Savage Orcs as they advaned, and the Handgunners gunned down the nearest Fanatic, much to the relief of the Knights it had been menacing.

The combat phase saw the Steam Tank grind the Spider Riders to a pulp, whilst the White Wolves overran straight into the waiting Black Orcs in a thunder of hooves. The Free Company surged forward as well, however they didn't quite make it to the Black Orcs, and there were a number of enemies eyeing them off angrily...

For his part, the Captain on his Pegasus cut and slashed expertly, crippling the Boar Chariot and sending the crew running. They were duly cut down as he swept on through, flying straight into the last of the Chariots on the right flank.
The Empire advance continues

"We got dis, Boss": The Spider Riders brace for impact as they incur the wrath of half the Empire army
The left flank advances warily, with the Fanatics whirling dangerously nearby
Give them a volley! The Pistoliers swing around the flank and pepper the Wolf Chariot with bullets
Into the woods... The Spearmen advance gamely toward the Night Goblins and Trolls before them
Overrun! With the Spider Riders reduced to roadkill, the White Wolf Knights carry on into the waiting Black Orcs
The Captain on his Pegasus continues to clean house behind enemy lines
That's so metal: 30 Knights and 50 Black Orcs prepare to do battle
The Empire right flank prepares to be "Savaged"
Orc and Goblin Turn 2
The Orc turn began with Orcs with the Great Shaman in their midst getting into a disagreement, which quickly deteriorated into a brawl. This was dealt with by the Black Orc BSB, who "mediated" with the help of his axe. Nearby, the large unit of Wolf Riders also began to bicker (safe in the knowledge that the BSB was too far away to do anything violent to prevent the argument). On the right flank, the Savage Orc Boar Boyz were struck with a sudden voilent bout of inspiration, and surged toward the unhappy Outriders.Waving their weapons wildly, they crashed into the unfortunate Empire light cavalry.
Uh-oh... The Savage Orc Boar Boyz lunge forward in a burst of enthusiasm - straight at the Outriders
The Trolls considered charging into the flank of the White Wolves, however the Warboss on his Wyvern flew straight into the thick of the fray, waving them on and pointing toward the Spearmen instead (or at least, waving his axe wildly in that general direction) . The Trolls obeyed and crashed into the Empire infantry in a lumbering gallop, whilst the Night Goblins scurried in alongside, nets at the ready.
Here come the Trolls. Awaking from their stupor, they crash into the waiting Spearmen, aided by net-wielding Night Goblins
On the Orc left, the other Wyvern took to the air and surged straight into the Flagellants, who greeted it with shrieks of impending doom and did other useful things like setting their own hair on fire. Behind the Wyvern, the Savage Orcs and Giant both crashed into the front of the unfortunate Free Company, who were beginning to question the wisdom of their rapid advance into the teeth of the enemy army.
It looks worse than it is... The Free Company try to fend off a Giant and a zillion angry Savage Orc Big'Uns, whilst the Wyvern charges so hard into the Flagellants they they fall off their movement tray
A Warboss on Wyvern arrives to support the Black Orcs in the pivotal combat
The remaining Fanatic continued to whirl about in a scary but ultimately ineffectual manner. The Boar Chariot behind the Orc lines turned and headed to intercept the Pistoliers, in response to frantic gestures from the nervous Rock Lobber crews. The Giant on the right flank stepped up past the Savage Orc Boar Boyz, protecting their flank from any feisty manoeuvres from the lurking Knights.

In the magic phase the Orcs received 16 power dice and channeled another, whilst the Empire gathered 15 dispel dice before channeling one more as well. The Savage Orc Shaman hurled 6 dice at 'Ere We Go, however the Empire Wizards recognised the danger it posed and used 8 dice to ensure the spell was stopped. Next the Goblin Great Shaman made another attempt at a boosted Curse of da Bad Moon, however this was also blocked by the humies.

Finally, the Orc Great Shaman gathered his remaining power together and summoned a great Foot of Gork to stomp upon his enemies. Unfortunately Gork's attention was apparently elsewhere. His stomp landed nowhere near the intended target of the Knights Snow Leopard, and he then tripped and ended up landing on the Great Shaman's own unit! 6 Orcs were squished by the great green foot, which very nearly panicked the whole lot of them from the field. Only the frantic waving of the Battle Standard (and perhaps its use as a makeshift club on the most cowardly of the mob) kept them in the fight.

The shooting phase saw one of the Rock Lobbers manage to land a stone directly on the Steam Tank, however it did little more than dent the thing, inflicting a single wound. Then came the critical combat phase...

The Free Company defended valiantly against the Giant and the Savage Orcs, inflicting a wound each on the Giant and the Shaman in the combat. The Giant retaliated by making an example of the Sergeant, picking him up and hurling him back into his best mate, crushing both of them. The Savage Orcs killed 7 more, and even the Shaman got in on the deal, clubbing another soldier repeatedly with his whacky stick. This all proved too much for the beleaguered Free Company, who turned to run but were trampled by the rampaging greenskins. The Giant rushed forward into the Steam Tank, whilst the Savage Orcs managed to reach the Flagellants as they struggled with the Wyvern.
"Ow, that hurt!" Turns out the combat was every bit as bad as it looked, and the Free Company are smashed and routed
The arrival of the Savage Orcs only further excited the Flagellants, who shrieked delightedly about their impending doom, set each other on fire in a festive manner and whacked themselves on the back with their flails in a self-congratulatory way. This bout of happiness granted them rerolls to hit and to wound, and they set about killing stuff and waiting to be killed. The Wyvern was dragged down (9 attacks resulting in the 4 wounds required to barely kill the already-wounded beast), and 10 Savage Orc Big'Uns succumbed to their lunatic attentions. Not to be outdone, the Savage Orcs frothed and bellowed with rage, hacking down 15 of the crazy humans in return. The Warboss was too busy lamenting the loss of his favourite scaly pet, and didn't contribute much. The Orcs had won the combat, but this didn't seem to dim the enthusiasm of the Flagellants.
The end is nigh: For once the Flagellants might actually be right
Behind the Orc lines, the Captain on his Pegasus continued to dazzle with his fancy swordsmanship, cutting the Wolf Chariot to pieces and wheeling about to face the centre of the Orc forces. The carnage was too much for the Wolf Riders, who took the opportunity to turn and flee, scattering through the various friendly units before running face-first into the canyon wall on the far side of the pass.

In the centre of the field, the Black Orcs pulled a Choppa in either hand and waited for the White Wolves to arrive. As the Knights crashed in, the Arch Lector roared a challenge. He was met by the Black Orc Boss (apparently the Warboss had better things to do). The Boss brandished his weapons, however his head was promptly caved in with the Mace of Helstrum. It only did 1 wound though (my notes declare it the Mace of Disappointment - thanks Shags), so no Overkill. Across the line, the horses managed to kick a couple of Black Orcs to death, but it was not going to stop them striking back at full force...

The Black Orcs started by trying to cut down the Wizard Lord, however some disappointing rolling saw their 8 attacks result in only 2 wounds, one of which was saved. The remaining 28 attacks rained in upon the Knights, however they only managed to land 9 wounds. Worse, in an uncharacteristic display of rolling aptitude, I managed to pass 8 out of 9 4+ saves. So only a single White Wolf was lost. The Wyvern managed to maul another to death, but the 2 Warbosses could only manage another 2 kills with their combined total of 8 WS7 S8 attacks...

Having waited patiently for their turn to strike, the White Wolves went to town on the Black Orcs, smashing 13 of them down with the help of their hatred from the Arch Lector. The combat was a disaster for the Orcs. They lost combat by 10, broke and were easily run down by the jubilant Empire Cavalry. Their pursuit carried them into the front of the Orc regiment containing the BSB and the Great Shaman. The Wyvern did manage to escape, using the Black Orcs as a distraction and sauntering away in a nonchalant fashion.
Run away! The Black Orcs are crushed in their duel with the White Wolves, and run into the ground as they flee
Women and Warbosses first! The greenskin general is cut down with his fleeing comrades
With the decisive combat over and the loss of the Orc general, only a couple of combats remained. The Outriders managed to club a single Savage Orc Boar Boy to death before being wiped out. The Savage Orcs whooped, hollered and frothed crazily, but their celebration had to scream to a halt because of the sheer rock wall in their faces. 

The final combat was between the Trolls, Night Goblins and Empire Spearmen. The Spearmen prepared to try to poke the Goblin Great Shaman to death, however as they did so a mass of nets sailed overhead and entangled them, making their task more difficult. Nevertheless they did manage to critically wound the babbling wizard, leaving him on 1 wound. The Night Goblins retaliated by knifing 3 Spearmen, whilst the Trolls accounted for another 6. This was too much for the Spearmen, who routed and were run down as both units pursued.
Well that went well... The Spearmen are comprehensively thrashed by the Trolls and their numerous net-wielding supporters

Give him the stick! The Giant pursues into the waiting Steam Tank

Hmmm, decisions, decisions. Through the Fanatic and into the Giant, or wimp out and charge the Night Goblins in the flank?

It's all bad: the pursuit of the White Wolves carries them into the waiting BSB's unit

The horror! End of turn 2

Empire Turn 3
The Steam Tank commenced the Empire turn by attempting to generate 4 steam points to try to run over the Giant before he could bring that massive club to bear. Unfortunately, the seemingly harmless rock that had landed on the tank had done more damage than the driver realised, and the Steam Tank hissed, wheezed, and did another wound to itself.

Seeing the Tank in trouble, the Inner Circle Knights charged straight through the forest and into the flank of the Giant. One Knight failed to steer on his way in and rode directly into a tree, however the rest arrived unscathed. Nearby, the Greatswords made encouraging noises, waved their weapons at nobody in particular, and made plenty of idle boasts about how much trouble the Orcs would be in if they ever got into combat.
To the rescue! The Inner Circle Knights hit the Giant in the flank in an attempt to save the Steam Tank

On the left, the Knights Snow Leopard considered charging through a Fanatic and into the waiting Giant, but in the end they decided against it and wheeled sharply to crash into the flank of the Night Goblins. They would avenge the fallen Spearmen! Nearby, the Halberdiers charged the Trolls as they licked the remains of the Spearmen from their slimy fingers.
Door number 2: the Inner Circle Knights choose not to charge through the tricksy Fanatic, and instead flank the Night Goblins and the Halberdiers launch their countercharge on the Trolls
With both armies channeling 1 dice, the Empire found themselves with 18 power dice to the 12 dispel dice of the Orcs. 6 dice were thrown at the Enfeeling Foe on the Savage Orcs, however this was dispelled. This was followed up by Mystifying Miasma, which was allowed through and dropped their WS to 2. A boosted Soulblight was attempted on 6 dice, however this was dispelled. Finally, the Amber Wizard managed to cast Wyssan's Wildform on the Knights as they rode to the rescue of the Steam Tank.

In the shooting phase, the Helstorm finally found its range and managed to blast 13 of the Orcs from the large regiment into oblivion. One of the Cannons fired at the fleeing Wyvern, killing the rider and reducing the beast to a state of pitiful mourning over the state of its rider. It planted its feet and refused to move, guarding and/or eating the body of its fallen master. The Handgunners managed to half kill the Giant on the left flank, whilst the Pistoliers continued their good form by peppering the Boar Chariot and taking off 2 wounds.

In combat, the Giant unleashed a hammering blow with his club on the Steam Tank, caving half of its side in and inflicting 6 wounds (leaving it on 2). The thundering crash surely ensured the driver would never hear anything again. The cavalry then arrived to the rescue, skewering the Giant and pushing his falling corpse away from the Steam Tank. 

The Flagellants refrained from celebrating their imminent demise in the usual self-destructive manner, however it did not save them. Between the Savage Orcs and the now-walking Warboss, they were hacked down to the last man.

On the far flank, the Inner Circle Knights found themselves netted as they crashed into the flank of the Night Goblins. The BSB brandished his sword in a splendiferous and useless fashion, whilst the Grand Master cut down 2 Goblins and his Knights killed another 5. This display was not enough to impress the Night Goblins, who retaliated by calling them names, mooning them, and generally not running away thanks to Steadfast.

Nearby, the Halberdiers found the prospect of fighting the Trolls unsettling, and they failed their Fear test. Nevertheless, the encouraging anger of the Warrior Priest assisted them, and they inflicted 6 wounds on the Trolls. Apparently the Trolls had failed to take their magic pills that morning, and they failed all of their Regeneration rolls. They did smack down 5 Halberdiers and stomped another 4, however it was not enough to win the combat and they promptly fled. The Halberdiers were too busy being relieved that the horrible creatures were gone, and barely pursued at all.
That's right, run!
Finally, the Orc unit containing the BSB and Great Shaman recognised the futility of their fighting the massive White Wolf unit, and fled without offering a fight (Pete simply took the break test and failed). They were run down as the Knights carried on into the remaining Horde of Orcs, led by the fiery Goblin Warboss.

Orc and Goblin Turn 3
Things were looking grim for the Orcs and Goblins. The general and BSB were gone, as was the heart of the army. But they were not yet done fighting. On the left, the Savage Orcs declared a charge on the flank of the Inner Circle Knights, who were still untangling their lances from the corpse of the Giant. Realising they were unprepared, the Knights abandoned their lances, wheeled about and fled from the wild Orcs. Their flight took them straight through the Greatswords, who promptly panicked and fled with them. This did not stop their dire threats, however: "You'd be in soooo much trouble if we weren't running away..." 

Elsewhere the Warboss trotted alongside the Savage Orcs, heading toward the Empire artillery on the hill. The Savage Orc Boar Boyz swung away from the canyon wall and prepared to head toward the enemy once more.
Ummm, thanks but no thanks. The Knights decide not to be charged by the frenzied Savage Orcs, and their decision inspires the Greatswords to make a similar choice

What's all the fuss about? The artillery watches on as the right flank flees the wrath of the savages
The Giant was ready to charge into the flank of the engaged Knights, however the remaining Fanatic had whirled across his path and stopped directly between them. The only path was through, and a Giant on 3 wounds was unlikely to make it... Instead he had to settle for walking sedately around the crazy Goblin and stop right next to the Knights, waiting for next turn.
Preparing to flank the flankers: the Giant moves right up next to the Knights as they try to wade through a sea of little green men in black cloaks
The winds of magic churned, and the Orcs found themselves with 19 power dice against 14 dispel dice. Finding himself in dire peril, the Goblin Warboss with the Wizarding Hat decided it was time to improvise. Throwing 6 dice at Flaming Sword of Rhuin on his unit, he deliberately overloaded with power and was engulfed in a towering magical explosion. The blast consumed 4 White Wolf Knights and 3 Orcs, and as the roasted pieces of Orc, man and horse rained down, the grinning Goblin was revealed unscathed, brandishing his flaming weapon from the centre of an impressive crater.

Attempts at Curse of da Bad Moon and Sneaky Stabbin' were dispelled, however the Great Shaman did manage to cast Itchy Nuisance on the White Wolf Knights. What he was hoping to achieve when the Knights were using great weapons was not entirely clear. The minds of Goblin Shamans move in mysterious ways (most likely he just wanted to annoy them with the itches whilst they were trapped in their full plate armour)...

The Rock Lobbers were both on target for a change, launching their stones at the crippled Steam Tank. The first glanced off harmlessly, however the second landed with a crash - only to roll a 1 for the number of wounds. The Tank remained on a single wound!

In combat, the Arch Lector pressed through the ranks to face the magic-wielding Warboss and swung an almighty blow at him, only to roll a 1 for the number of wounds with the Mace of Disappointment (again). The Orcs managed to drag a single Knight from his saddle, however the Warboss saw the evil intent in the faces of the Knights and dropped his flaming weapon in order to focus on his shield. Blows rained down and 2 wounds were inflicted, however using the ancient Ninja discipline of Parry Everything, he remained unharmed. 

As indestructible as the Warboss was, his Orcish comrades were not. They were thrashed in the combat and broke, only to be run down as the forlorn Wyvern watched on, still trying to munch through a particularly gristly bit of its master. The Trolls were caught by the pursuit and destroyed, however a later search of the field showed no signs of the Goblin Warboss or his magic hat, although a very badly abused shield was later located some distance from the battle.
The final stages unfold
The riderless Wyvern watches on as the Knights continue to mop up the remains of the Orc centre
Come back, cowards! The Savage Orcs are left hacking at trees after the humans decide to knick off rather than fight
The Night Goblins on the right continued to duel with the Inner Circle Knights, however they got a little too excited with their mockery of the humans and forgot to focus on their nets. This resulted in them netting themselves, much to the amusement of the Knights. The combat went poorly; many Goblins were cut down and at the end of the round, the unit was no longer Steadfast. In a chorus of shrieks the unit broke, Night Goblins going every which way. They were ridden down by the victorious Knights, and with them went the last ounce of defiance in the Orc and Goblin horde. The game was over.
Alas, the Goblins couldn't hold forever
Well, that ended up being a lot more one-sided than we would have liked. In theory, Orcs and Goblins vs Empire is a relatively fair match-up. I knew we didn't have a lot of the tricks available that the Orcs might like to use, however I figured that the extra flexibility allowed by my having more than enough stuff painted in general might compensate. After all, my painted Empire army was stretched to the limit, so it was hardly going to be an optimal list. As it turns out, the Empire stuff I have seems to form a more than serviceable hammer. The large units of Knights, bolstered by characters, are a pretty effective force - especially when there are not things like Mangler Squigs getting in their way.

So, where did it go wrong? I think the problems started with army composition, especially once the Doom Divers had to be cut out. The Orc list didn't have enough spine to compete with the tough cavalry unit in the centre. The Warboss really needed the Crown of Command in order to give the Black Orcs serious staying power. The list probably also needed some more Steadfast units to grind things out and hold up my more dangerous elements. As it was, things were a bit too piecemeal, and units were picked off pretty rapidly.

I think another key for Orcs and Goblins at this size will be scattering lots of characters with relatively high Leadership through the force. You won't be able to keep things within Inspiring Presence range of the general (unless you're brave and willing to put him on a Wyvern). As such, you're probably better off fielding fewer, larger units, and leading each one with a Lord character. The lack of a BSB reroll can't be helped, but it would make the army a tougher proposition as a whole.

By his own admission, Pete didn't deploy especially well. The faster elements were trapped at the back, and he never even got to charge with a single Chariot. This was partly caused by my willingness to gamble on a 20" charge with the Pegasus, but it was still a problem. If they had been right at the front, it might have made a difference. The Spider Riders should also probably have fled from the Pistoliers, rather than holding. Their flight from combat led to the panicking of half the Night Goblins and really ended with the partial collapse of the flank.

The pivotal combat was definitely affected by luck. 38 WS4 S5 attacks, 8 WS7 S8 attacks from the Warbosses and 3 WS5 S6 from the Wyvern should not translate into 5 wounds. Having said that, I think Pete became a little too concerned with the near-certainty that the White Wolves would be Stubborn (which they were). I'd have used great weapons on the Black Orcs and flanked the Knights with the Trolls. Yes, the Knights probably would have held. And the Trolls would then have been flanked. But the Orcs would surely have won the combat handily, and it would have been better than how things turned out.

I recall reading battle reports in White Dwarf where the authors admitted to having to play the game through a few times before they got a game worth writing a report over. Having seen our last few attempts deteriorate into blow-outs, I begin to see why this might need to be the case. In future we might need to be willing to set aside enough time to play the game through more than once, in order to try to eliminate games that get messed up by a terrible patch of rolling or some other misfortune. In the end I didn't bother wrapping this report into the full package including background story and maps, because it just didn't feel worth it for a game that effectively ended in Turn 2. Still, we got lots of happy snaps, so hopefully that alone makes it worth a look.

And you can be certain that this Goblin with his Wizarding Hat will be back...


  1. Why not link your blog battle reports to ye olde hoc site?

  2. That was an awesome report!
    Whereabouts are you guys?

  3. We're in Hampton - we all meet and play at the Hampton Games Club (

  4. Totally painted !!! Great !!