First game of the year earlier this week, and one planned which was nice, was a re-match from the game back in November where my poor Empire dudes were beset by an Orc horde in the 'Ruination' scenario and the town was duly ruined which you can read about here.
As planned then, we had decided to stage a re-fight with the tables turned with 2400pts of Empire troops attacking 1800pts of Orcs entrenched in four buildings and misc barricades. The objective being to capture or retain as many buildings as possible each building counting as 1 victory point except the 'strongpoint' in this case the watch tower, which counts as 2 victory points. The buildings could also be destroyed but then don't count VC's but can be denied from your opponent.
|Intial move with the Empire moving onto the battlefield
Ian's Orcs deployed first and his deployment was once again pretty good, his army being pretty much standard troop types but with a bit of artillery support in the way of 3 Bolt Throwers, a Catapult and a Doom Diver and a reasonable reserve.
My Empire troops then deployed off table, ready to move on in the first turn, with a battery of 3 mortars as an experiment along with a fairly standard troop deployment and selection of almost entirely infantry bar a lone unit of Pistoliers as artillery hunters.
The first move was uneventful with the Empire troops moving onto the field and a bit of mutual artillery sniping to small effect.
Second turn the Empire continued it's advance as quickly as possible and the artillery dual continued with a slight advantage in casualties caused by the Empire.
|The Empire close on the Orc lines
The Pistoliers decided that rather than face the vageries of a Pump Wagon charge, decided to charge it and with only one loss for the destruction of the Pump Wagon this was a wise decision.
The only other conflicts of note were regarding Ian's two small Wolf Rider units bent on mischief, the unit on his left flank decided to break in panic from the destruction of the Pump Wagon, the other on the right flank move towards the Empire where a unit of Archers peppered it with arrows but only causing one casualty and not enough for a panic test.
The third round proved to be the crunch with the Empire centre charging into the Orc lines. I had pretty reasonably surmised that nothing in the Empire army was amn enough to dislodge the Orc General and his bodyguard from the Watchtower, so the plan was to sweep the two supporting Orc Archer units and try and take the other three buildings to get a narrow victory.
Now the Flaggellent unit had been the target of much of Ian's shooting on the way in, both missile and magic and by the time they got in the were reduced to about a third or quarter of their number by the time they charged in and though supported by a slightly depleted Greatsword unit the charge in ended in a draw and a continuing melee.
On the other side where a slightly depleted Swordsmen unit and the army General, an Arch Lector charged into the other, around half strength Orc Archer unit and only managed the same result, a drawn melee.
The Pistoliers and archers shot away at the Orc artillery to small effect and the Mortars beginning to run out of viable targets began lobbing shells at one of the buildings holding a compliment of Orcs.
At round four, it was already apparent with the failure of the Empire first charge to dislodge the Orc Archers from the wall that I was going to toil with taking any of the buildings housing untouched Orc melee units with depleted numbers of Greatswords Swordsmen or Halberdiers, so a slight change of plan was attempted, namely in lobbing Mortar shells at one of the buildings to perhaps damage or destroy the building and therefore negating the Orc victory point but more importantly softening up the Orcs inside to a possible (if very likely fruitless assault) from my infantry.
Alas, most of the shells fell short (or long) of their mark.
Round four continued with the Empire managing to break the Orc Archer Unit on the right and pursuing and destroying them but losing the last of the Flaggellents in the process. The Sordsmen and General had a second drawn melee with the other Orc Archer unit and the Pistoliers charged a Bolt Thrower (because it was easier to charge and melee, than it was to shoot at the bloody thing) and destoyed it. The Orc left flank Wolf Rider unit rallied but didn't yet return to the fray, but the right flank Wolf Rider unit now circled round behind my one untouched unit of Halberdiers who were forced to turn to meet the small but delaying threat. (They likely weren't going to reach the town in any event for at least a couple of turns).
Round five proved to be the final round (out of a permitted 7 turns) as time beat us. The remnants of the Greatswords charged one of the buildings and took more casualties than they dished out against a unit of Black Orcs housed in the central buildings, the swordsmen and General finally broke the remaining Orc Archer Unit and made a bee line for the un-occupied building on the Orc left. The Mortars again pounded away at the other building in vain hope of reducing it and it's occupants to rubble but only managed some supperficial damage and a couple of casualties inside.
At this point it was obvious that even if lucky, I was unlikely to manage a draw with the best of my Units depleted and unlikely to win in melee against the entrenched Orc units to oust them from one of the occupied buildings and so with time beating us, victory once again going to Ian's Orcs.
A good battle this time once again and an interesting scenario that I would play again. The seven round limit seemed strange last time as it looked with the Orcs that this was way too generous, but with the slower and less deadly Empire they would need the seven rounds in all likelyhood to gain a good victory, all going well.
The Empire once again seemed to lack a bit of 'oomph' and just didn't really seem up to the task in hand, dice throwing was average, neither up nor down and Ian's dice throwing the same or perhaps going towards the poor side so that wasn't the issue. It was always going to be difficult with the Orc Toughness being the 'to over-come' factor never minding the extra -1 to hit for the cover etc. The Mortars as an experiment were a reasonable success but lacked accuracy on the day to swing it enough. The random mage spells being in-offence but augmentary didn't help but I've always thought that the magic phase for most armies tends to cancel each other out unless you get a mis-cast or unstoppable.
Not sure what I could try to make the Empire a bit more of a challenge in this scenario, in both battles they've managed to stay intact and deal a bit of damage but don't have the moxy to get Orcs shifted from the buildings or the keep them out on a unit to unit basis. Food for thought though and enjoyable scenario's for that reason.