Sunday, 19 February 2017

Of orcs, soap and the hardships of war (AAR)

  Colour sargeant  Merric cursed under his breath, this blasted wasteland would be his grave. The dust got into everything, he had not had the chance to wash for days, the heat was inescapable and suffocating, he had developed a rattling cough that shook his chest. The ornate suit of plate he had been given by his father for the expedition was tarnished and the the rich red plumage tattered after weeks of abuse in this hell hole. This was meant to be simple, a quick exercise in clearing the area of a few wild orc tribes ready for the mining guilds men to move in, the Guild alliance had only funded the trip for three weeks, he and the men were packing up ready to leave when he received the message that more of the filthy creatures were moving in, now they were working for nothing!. It had been easy at the start, they caught the savages unprepared, the organised and drilled men under his command quickly drove them out and burned their huts. The scout patrols reported the survivors scattering and even ran a few down, more for sport than anything else. He was in line for a promotion and a good pension but now.......but now.......And the men, they could feel it too. This was not the way it was meant to be, it was a break from the border patrols and caravan escorts, a chance to blood themselves against a helpless enemy and make some easy coin. He glanced over his shoulder at the men, grumbling, trying to get the dust from their guns and sharpening their blades, some drank together but he knew their was no harm in it, he had a dram or two before they moved out just to settle his own resolve. 'Shall I form up the men Sarge?'. The question shook Merric from his thoughts. He turned to face Corporal Jann, seeing for the first time how tired he looked, dark rings under his young eyes. 'Ah Corporal, yes get them formed the scum will be here soon enough'. The young Corporal saluted smartly and turned on his heals. Before he moved off his head dropped, he turned back to face Merric. 'Sarge, can I ask you something?'. 'Yes lad' replied Merric, a hint of reservation in his voice.'Some of the men sir.......some of them have heard tales from the scouts sir, they say....they say..' 'They say we are outnumbered' Interrupted Merric, it was not a question. 'Yes sarge' replied Jann, surprised. 'Walk with me Corporal' said Merric putting a fatherly hand on his young charges shoulder, 'it wont do to talk in front of the men'

   He led them to a pile of dusty rocks some way from the troops, some glanced at them as they went, he saw a hint of fear in more than one pair of eyes. He leaned against a rock and gestured to Jann to sit. 'Look lad, the truth is that we are facing a large force, and advanced force of about one hundred and a larger force following up.' He said it with the detachment of a superior officer but Jann saw the worry on his normally calm face. 'But sarge, we got them, we drove them off last time, where are they coming from, this makes no sense!' Blurted the young officer, his voice filled with panic. 'We dont know lad, at a guess the survivors went for aid and now they are back. I've delt with these savages before, they never know when to give up'. Jann had shrunk into himself, he was scarred, Merric had seen it so meany times before, a fresh officer, brave as a lion when the odds were with him, Meek as a lamb when outnumbered. 'Are you afraid lad?' Merric asked, the bluntness of the question seamed to shake Jann. 'I am an officer in the forces of the Guild Alliance, fear is unknown...sir!' Answered Jann, repeating the words they all had drilled into them in training, his voice betraying his true feelings. Merric tried not to smile, the lad was stubborn at least, that would be some help. 'I'm afraid' Said Merric flatly 'and you should be'. 'Sir?'. 'If you are not scarred of a huge horde of savages headed fore you baying for blood' continued Merric 'you are either a liar or a fool and both make you a liability, I dont need a fool by my side I need an officer, an officer understands odds and understands danger and acts accordingly. I need you to fear and act anyway. I need you to help command these men against almost certain death with a resolve born of the desire to survive. Do you understand Corporal?'.'I think so sarge' replied Jann, his voice unsteady. 'Good lad' Said Merric, his fatherly tone almost drawing a smile from the young man. 'Give them hope lad, make them believe they will survive, that is the only chance we have of seeing home again'. 'Do you think we will see home again?.....sir' asked Jann hopefully. Merric gazed into the distance. 'Sir...will we make it sir?'. After a long pause Merric looked at Jann.'Not a chance in hell corporal, now say a prayer and form up the men, they need some hope drilled into them!'.        

O.k. this is becoming a habit!. Another game, another report. This time i decided to use Kings of War as my rule set of choice as i have been enjoying Lion Rampant for smaller scale battles but the narrative seemed to call for some larger scale bloodletting!. I would go into details about the rules and all the cool features but you can down load it for free here so i urge you to check them out for yourself. One thing i will say is that the rules give sizes of units of troops (troops of 10 minis, regiments of 20 minis and hordes of 40 minis, cavalry units are roughly half the number of minis). These numbers give a real 'big battle' feeling and look great on the i have kinda halved them to make setting up quicker! (abuse in the comments bellow). So i have troops of 5, regs of 10 and hordes of 20. I promise i will do a massive game soon with loads of full sized units, honest I will!. The other big thing to note is you do not remove minis as your units take damage. Instead damage is tracked with markers or dice beside the unit (hence dice in the photos). This speeds up play a great deal and leads to the game feeling rather stream lined. I like it!. It also means that if you dont have enough minis to fill out the total number required to form the unit size you can just put what you have on a movement tray of the correct size and hey presto! it'll do (and you are a gamer after me own heart,'what do you mean not enough?, make it enough!').
So, onto the battle itself. No scenario as such but the narrative tells of a force out numbered and facing certain death battling against the odds to survive which is good enough for me!. So a set battle of 5 turns representing the advanced orc force attacking. I love a scenario but sometimes less is more.

The usual 'arty' style photo!, Nothing to do with the quality of the camera!.

The force is based on the Kingdoms of Men army list.

CORPORAL JANN -- Also a hero
2x PIKE HORDES, 2x ARQUBUSIERS REGIMENT, 1x CANNON, 1x MOUNTED SCOUTS (with pistols), 1x MILITIA REGIMENT (the smiths, cooks, medics and other camp orderlies that Merric could press gang!), these have been upgraded to fire just like pistol armed scouts to show the mix of poorly maintained weapons they have grabbed on the way into battle!.

(minis are a mix of Mini art, A call to arms, Hat and Revell,)

This force is whats left to fight the oncoming horde of orcs....speaking of which:

Raarggghhh!, Geerrrrr!!!, Comeereyamurderinbastardsss!!!!!!
(Poor photo, i'm sorry!). Taken from the orc army list:
 1x WARCHEIF (called a Krudger in the KoW rules), upgraded to ride a Gore. 1x SHAMAN (Called a Godspeaker in the list) upgraded to have the Bane chant spell, 2x AX HORDE, 1x GORE RIDER REGIMENT, 1x SKULK TROOP (the ones with the bows and 'THEY HAVE A CAVE TROLL!!! (cant resist, sorry!), he represents a Troop of trolls in the list but i thought he looks so imposing next to 20mm troops just him would do fine!.
All the orc minis are by Dark alliance and Barry the troll is by Games Workshop.

As normal i am using my coloured bases, Guild troops are on green with white trim and the Orcs are black with green trim.

The god forsaken roasted dust bowl....or 'home' if you happen to be an Orc!
The Orcs set up a strong center of Ax hordes with the Warcheif, Barry and Gore Riders in support. The Skulks screen the important stuff!. (bottom of shot).
The Guild forces set up in a defensive formation, a center built around the Cannon and Pike, Gunners advanced to get good fields of fire. The Scouts and Militia are out on the wings to create a mobile cross fire. (top of shot).

As with the last game i have tried to leave out the mechanics (i love game mechanics but they do ruin a good story!) and just go with the flow of the story as it happens.

The orcs waste little time and barrel towards the defensive line, no regard given to the fierce guns of the Guildsmen!.
At which point Merric and Jann gave the order to...wait for it....FIRE!!!!!!
The Scouts galloped around the right and drew a bead on the Orc Warcheif!
*COUGH*COUGH* Bloody gunpowder!!!
The Militia swung around the rock pile on the left and opened up on the orc flank.
The result of the volley was indecisive and when the (considerable) smoke cleared the Orcs kept on coming!. The defenders braced for the charge!.
As the Orcs close the Gores charge the Gunners, wiping them out!.
On the wings the now rather miffed Warcheif slammed into the Scouts!.
Who decided to find a better way to make a living and hoofed it into the sunset!. A similar story on the other flank as the Militia regretted taking up arms and quickly re-thought key life decisions as the orc ax charged them and cut them all down!
'Whos bloody idea was this?'
 Sgt Merric, seeing his force falling left and right ordered a second volley while the pike stepped up to engage the Gores, sending them packing!.
Again the guns did minimal damage!. While the main force of Orcs held the men in the center the Horde of Ax that wiped out the Militia rounded the flank ready to charge!
Sneaky, sneaky, slaughter monkey!
The Warcheif had also worked round the flank and set himself to charge back into the mele!
'Soo meany targets, so little time'
The pike gained ground in the center and began to push the orcs back, then the Ax Horde charged from behind!
The Pikes quickly fell to the slaughter, their organization falling apart with the attack from behind!. Merric looked around him, the situation looked grim!
'Oh bugger!'
However Jann had 'bigger' issues to deal with!

Both men glanced towards each other, lifted their blades and sounded the charge!.......And were quickly repelled!. Then the Orcs counter charged!.

'Sir, you know that hope you were going on about....'
Jann fell under the press of Orcs, Merric was made of sterner stuff and though wounded managed to extract himself from the block attacking him. He looked around only to see The Troll turn over the Cannon
From crew to goo in 3 seconds flat
The remaining Pike charged the Troll but were pushed back by the monster.
'Hey Dave, is your shaft flaccid?'
'Yeah mate, its just the way i'm put together!'.
 Needing respite Merric dropped back and wiped the sweat from his brow, He looked around to see how the battle was going. All that remained of his force was a wavering block of Pike and....and...where was everyone else?, The guns, the horse. Where was Jann?. He gulped.

The noose tightens!.
Merric knew the day was lost. He swore under his breath and shouted over to the Pikemen. 'SELL YOUR LIVES DEARLY MEN, THE GUILD MAY NOT KNOW YOUR NAMES BUT HISTORY SHALL SHOUT THEM!, KILL ALL YOU CAN, WE FALL THIS DAY!, SO FALL HARD!!!!!. And with that he held his sword aloft one last time a yelled 'FOR ALL YOU HAVE MEN...CHARGE!!!!'.

I had to call time at that point but it seemed like a dramatic time to do so. Did any survivors live to tell the tale of the slaughter in the Dead lands?, I guess we will never know!. Before i sign off I want to say a huge HELLO (see I said it would be a big one!) to Mr Airbornegrove26, who not only is the latest person to put his (rather cool) picture in the gallery of followers of the WRONGHAMMER way (tba to be honest!), but also a man that is responsible for some of the best battle reports you will see (and the coolest chaos dragon ever) over on his blog Give 'em Lead, which i highly recommend you check out!.

Anyway, till next time.....



  1. No Comments ? Let me be the first one then. Splendid Play!
    Ace Cool Figures. Not my period of interest but Artfully painted. BB

  2. Thank you for the kind comments sir!, i'm the first to admit these minis and 'minimalist' painting style are not a lot of folks cup o' the proverbial but its fun to do and keeps me out of trouble (sort of)!.