Battle of the Southern Valley, Part Two (The Rest of the Battle)
The three Big Bosses in their hulking chariots trundled forwards, their drivers’ long whips cracking at the boars’ tough hides. This lashing, though causing little pain, was at least enough to steer them, and the line of the three chariots was unusually neat (and, like the rest of the army, headed directly for the pack camels and mules).
With a huge roar accompanied by the fast beating of kettledrums, the rear of the Arabyan column entered the field of battle.
The handgunners scrambled up the hill and formed into a double line so that they could fire salvos employing every piece down at the foe. The war elephant, closest to the huge wvyern and entirely unafraid of it, perhaps helped by the fact that it towered over the winged serpent, turned to block the war boss’s path. The crew had not thought what they would do if the wyvern simply flew over them, as it so obviously intended to do! Prince Sadrin and his elite regiment of camel riders took up position on the elephant’s right flank, planning to charge at any foe that approached Gamouzo and the tribal warriors bravely standing in front of the baggage.
The light horse in the very centre of the battlefield speedily reformed so that they could launch a cloud of arrows at the wolf riders attempting to run past them. These arrows were joined by twenty more coming from the slave archers, adding up to kill all but two of the goblins. This last pair fled away, and much to the Big Un’s annoyance, their flight put them right in the way of the boar riders’ intended charge into the exposed flank of the light horse. (Game Note: There ought to be an army book rule about this sort of thing – would these orcs have halted a charge because a couple of gobbo’s might have been hurt? I mean really? Then again, as you’ll see soon, they didn’t get in the way in the end!)
Out on the far right of the newly formed Arabyan line the swords and spears did what they could to approach the side of the field where the fighting was to occur. The two wizards now attempted to employ what magic they could, but although they managed first to gift Gamouzo with the strength and ferocity of a lion (Game Note: Bear’s Anger) Zadra then fumbled over the words of his next spell and the resultant wild magic struck him bloodily and collapsed the spell on Gamouzo!
The artillery proved a lot more effective than the wizards. Not the mortar, for it misfired (its crew having been over-hasty in unlimbering and preparing to fire had somehow botched the procedure). It was the cannons who came good. Both sent their iron balls right into the wyvern, a dual blast which tore through its chest to pass through its heart. War Boss BoneMawler now found himself lying on the ground beside his dead mount. As he got to his feet he silently cursed, and vowed vengeance on the Arabyans for what they had done.
As ever with greenskins, even in the midst of battle, arguments have a tendency of breaking out, as one goblin’s muttering annoys another or one orc takes offence at another’s face. Thus it was now, even in sight of the foe and the rich haul of baggage, that the lesser of the two boar riders’ units, and the wolf riders out on the farthest left, chose to squabble amongst themselves instead of advancing. If the wolf riders had not been so distracted, they might have driven the skirmishing archers away, and the boar riders may even have reached Gamouzo. One unit, however, the Big Uns, chose this moment to close on their foe with renewed vigour, and pushed right through the pair of fleeing goblins before them to close nigh upon the horse. (Game note: We decided that in a compulsory move like this, two goblins would not oblige a big unit of Big Un’s to go around and so we just pushed the two goblins out to the side)
When the Big Un’s launched their inevitable charge the light horse chose to flee but they could not outrun the enraged boars and were slaughtered in flight to a man. The Big Un boar riders trampled bloodily over their broken bodies, their momentum barely lessened, and smashed right into the huge block of Desert Spears.
Already the greenskins were reaching the foe. Perhaps even with the wyvern lying dead on the field they could salvage success from this? Bone Mawler moved himself over to the elephant’s flank, not wanting to face a charge from such a monster, while the three Big Boss Chariots advanced once more. The wolf riders on the right flank advanced, perhaps thinking about attempting to aid their War Boss (then again, being goblins, they probably had no such intention.)
The Big Un’s on boars hit the Desert Spears very hard, their boss challenging and fighting the wizard, the rest slaying the army of Amon’s standard bearer Agha Qilij (Game note: That Griffon Standard, if still there, would have saved them from running!) and killing the entire front rank. Although the Arabyan second rank thrust their spears forwards at the orcs, they could not harm them. This was a brutal blow the men of the desert could not withstand, and they broke and fled and were cut down just like the horsemen.
(Turns 3 & 4)
With a roar that could be heard by the swordsmen upon the far side of the field, the war elephant now charged towards Big Boss Erbad’s chariot, a sight so terrifying that Erbad immediately turned and ran. War Boss Bonemawler thanked the orcen gods Gork and Mork that the beast and its crew had ignored him – his own legs would not have carried him to safety like the boars pulling the chariot had done for Erbad!
Frustratingly for Prince Sadrin, he and his heavy camelry could not get through the gap ahead of them, so they could not join in the elephant’s charge. Elsewhere, however, other Arabyans did manage a charge – the Palace Spearmen chasing off a unit of wolf-riders. Neither of these Arabyan charges reached the foe. These greenskins were proving to be not only mobile but slippery too!
As the Arabyan wizards’ magic fizzled and failed, a variety of artillery pieces gave fire. The mortar proved very effective now that it did not misfire, killing three of the orc boar riders who had been squabbling – a turn of events which first snapped them out of their quarrel and then dismayed them so much that they turned and fled! At the same time, one of the canons misfired, but the other tore one of the boar chariots apart, leaving Big Boss Dufdig to continue the battle on foot, just like his master Bone Mawler. Dufdig hefted his magical axe and eyed the elephant off to his right. He needed time to work out exactly what he might do next, not that he was particularly dazed by the sudden destruction of his chariot, rather that his orcen brain was not exactly built for speedy thinking at any time!
The goblin wolf-riders on the far right realised that they could hit the elephant in its flank. Steeling themselves to overcome their fear of its huge size and experiencing a rare surge of boldness, they began to move towards it. Then, holding their spears tips high to aim at the beast’s heavy cloth covered flank, they charged.
The unusually brave goblins did manage to drag one crewman out of the howdah and pierce him with spears as he lay on the ground, but while they did so three of their own number were trampled to death. Belatedly realising the utter foolishness of attempting to attack such a massive monster, the survivors now did what goblins do best and ran away.
Their bravery in charging in the first place had not gone unnoticed. Not wanting to be outdone by a bunch of pathetic goblins several orcs also charged the foe. Bone Mawler, still a little unbalanced by the death of his wyvern, threw himself alone into the camel riders and challenged the prince himself to fight. Big Boss Clubcra, having decided that although there was something frightening about Gamouzo he would not let it stop him, charged headlong into the tribal warriors blocking the way to the baggage.
This proved utterly overhwelming for the southlander skirmishers: the heavy chariot tore four of them down from the impact alone, and more still were gored by the boars. Clubcra smashed Gamouzo’s head in with his Screamin’ Sword, then hacked it completely off for good measure. The last surviving tribal warriors fled along with Zadra the wizard and were ridden down brutally by the chariot. (Zadra lay unconscious but not quite dead amongst their broken bodies.) Clubcra thus found himself in amongst the baggage he and the rest of Bone Mawler’s raiders had lusted after for days. His sword was bloody, his boars enraged, and he was surrounded by loot. He was in greenskin heaven!
Still more charges were being delivered, not least the two goblin chariots who now launched themselves at the Arabyans’ cannons. They might not be as heavy as the orc boar chariots, but this had proved a boon so far, for the foe had failed to notice them and thus had not put a stop to them. One was studded with arrows, yes, but it still had momentum enough to crash into the cannon crew. Between them, these two chariots killed every gunner and crewman. The Arabyans would not be using their guns any more this battle.
To the rear of the greenskins’ line Big Boss Erbad figured it was safe to stop running and turn about to see what was happening. One of the goblin wolf rider units did the same. The orc boar riders and the pair of wolf-riders in the very centre of the field, however, decided that they would go a little further before turning back around, just to make sure no one could reach them.
The Big Un boar riders busied themselves reforming on the rocky ground where they had dispersed the Desert Spears, to face towards the hill that was between them and their real goal – the baggage. Off on the other side of that baggage Bone Mawler and the Prince of Amon were locked in combat, both drawing blood, but Bone Mawler’s rage held and he fought on. The two of them now began a drawn-out combat that would see them busy thrusting, hacking and parrying for some time.
The skirmishing slave archers chose this moment to see if they could chase off the wolf chariots, as they had previously failed to finish them off with their bows. Both chariots fled (the archers charge would have allowed them to reach both), and their voluntary flight took them towards the Arabyan baggage, which was where they wanted to be anyway! The crossbows on the hill managed to rally and reform to face the slowly advancing boar riders, though in truth their hearts were not really set upon facing a charge by a unit of Big Uns that had just chased down an entire regiment and two of their nobles.
As the war elephant wheeled to try and get itself to a position where it might launch a telling charge, the handgunners on the hill took pot shots at Dufdig (who was running around below them on his own). The greenskin gods must have favoured him, for all the bullets all missed. While Dufdig pranced about his fellow Big Boss, Clubcra, easily dispatched the few arabyan slaves willing to try and defend the baggage, and thus rolled his chariot right into the heart of the loot. (Game note: The baggage was counted as a kind of mobile terrain feature, with four models who could be used like a cannon crew to defend it. Now that Clubcra had properly contacted it, then as long as he was alive at the end of the game then he would get the +150 VP bonus for having grabbed some loot.)
For some reason known only to themselves, the spear armed wolf riders now decided they would move towards the Palace Spearmen, as if to threaten them (Animosity @ 6), but then they came to their senses and moved directly away again as far as they could – it was far enough that the spearmen could not possibly reach them in a charge.
(This pic is from just before the wolf-riders’ bizarrely bold turn toward the foe.)
Big Boss Erbad, however, felt a little more reckless and attempted to charge the elephant’s exposed flank with his chariot. He failed, as the beast was just too far away for his lumbering war machine to reach. The Big Un boar riders at the bottom of the hill looked up at the crossbowmen above them …
… and decided to stop faffing about attempting to reform, and instead to get on with the business of battle. They charged, slowed a little by the rocky ground, admittedly, they would still have been able to reach the crossbows if the arabyans had not chosen to flee away (which they did). Still, the boar riders could now see the baggage down below them and some of them were literally salivating at the thought of what they could take.
Behind them one of the wolf chariots slowed its flight as the crew chose to stick around. The other one turned to its left to get away as quickly as possible from the archers behind. This proved a very bad decision for it passed over the rear of the rocky ground just vacated by the boar riders and jolted itself to pieces, tossing its crew down to dash them against the rocks. Far away, next to the greenskin’s own baggage which was behind a hill on the far side of the valley, the other boar riders finally stopped their running and turned to see if anyone was following them. As they stood there, with their own baggage closer to the foe than themselves, they wondered what Bone Mawler might have to say to them later about their lack of contribution to the fighting. What they didn’t know was that Bone Mawler was trying to fight an entire regiment of heavy cavalry and a heroic Arabyan prince to boot – a state of affairs that made it rather unlikely they would have to listen to his complaints that evening.
Not that Bone Mawler was dead yet – he remained locked in combat with the Prince and once again drew royal blood! His fury held a bit longer and he fought on, refusing to accept that against so many his fight must surely prove ultimately futile.
While he fought, Clubcra was rolling his loot-laden chariot through the baggage, and Dufdig was still trying to get away from the war elephant. All in all, the Greenskins were not having too bad a day!
(Turns 5 & 6)
The war elephant tried its best to run down Big Boss Dufdig, but the orc was nimble on his feet and ran out of its reach. The crossbowmen on the hill who had just run from the boar riders rallied, reformed their ranks and re-spanned their bows. Maybe they could make a stand after all? The northern tribe archers, on the other hand, simply got on with the business of shooting and managed to stick an arrow or two into the goblin wolf chariot, merely scratching it a bit. The handgunners on the hill thought they might at least stop Big Boss Clubcra trundling away with his burden of loot, and shot a volley down at him. Once again, their skill (or perhaps the quality of their powder?) proved deficient, for they could not harm him.
(Game Note: Various other units, the swordsmen and the other crossbow detachment now slowed their attempts to cross the field. They couldn’t move quick enough to contribute to the fighting, and so the player got to thinking about table quarter VPs!)
Even though the mortar landed a grenado right on top of the Big Un boar riders it seemed the orcs and their ‘sangliers’ (as the Bretonni would say) were made of tough stuff. Not one was felled by the thunderous blast. War Boss Bone Mawler was not so lucky as his Big Uns, nor as fast as his Big Boss. Finally realising that he could expect only death at the hands of an entire regiment of heavy camel cavalry and their prince, he turned to flee only to be trampled to death immediately by the enemy’s pursuit.
The crew of the last surviving wolf chariot now whooped with glee as their war machine rolled into the midst of the Arabyan baggage. They couldn’t stuff loot into their chariot quick enough!
The Big Un boar riders, finally fully extricated from the rough ground, now tried a second charge at the recently rallied crossbowmen and this time smashed right into them. Nine Arabyans out of the ten died in the next moment, and the boars’ momentum carried them onwards and straight down into the baggage. More whoops of joy sounded, though these a little deeper in tone than the previous squeaky shouts of the goblins, and the while the boars began goring and feasting on camels, the Big Uns grabbed everything of value they could find.
Various other Greenskins were backing off now – knowing that their tribe had done what they had come here to do. Clubcra left in his chariot, while the wolf riders and Dufdig kept moving ahead of the foe. The crew of the war elephant were desperately trying to turn their beast to charge at the plundering wolf chariot, but they could not manage (Out of charge arc!). Instead they thought they might at least prevent Big Boss Erbad in his chariot reaching the baggage and swung the creature around to block him. Big Boss Dufdig was slowing down, chuffed to see that the elephant was no longer chasing him. He was out of breath and stopped for a moment to work out what he could do next. He never did decide, because twenty archers sent a cloud of arrows his way to pierce him from head to toe. He was dead (from one that went into his eye) before he even hit the ground.
Erbad was not going to let an elephant get in the way of his chance to get some loot. Not that he charged the elephant (he was not that daft) instead he just squeezed by it and trundled off into the baggage. (Game Note: This was the fourth and final Greenskin unit to gain the scenario baggage VP – making 600 VP altogether.)
All the remaining Arabyans could do, scattered as they were across the valley, was watch in despair as greedy green hands robbed their baggage and disappeared off into the evening’s gloom.
The Army of Amon’s march south was going to prove a hungry one!
Result: 1060 VP advantage to Greenskins. Solid Victory.
I played the greenskins, though I did describe the army lists and scenario to my opponent and gave him the choice of which side to play. He picked the arabyans. (Thanks Tom, btw, for an excellent game.)
You probably thought that the arabyan deployment was odd, but Tom was trying to make me struggle to deploy appropriately by leaving his baggage placement until last, and with several big gaps it could possibly fit in meant I couldn’t guess which one for certain. This way I was placing my units without knowing where their goal would be! The trouble is he was then left with those big gaps in his line, and units like the Black Swordsmen and Palace Spears were stuck right out on his right flank and unable to get into the battle. Also, I left my orc units ‘til last so that they at least would be close to the baggage.
Oh, and you may have noticed I forgot to employ the Waagh! rule – this is something I do in nearly every game when I play greenskins! It could have helped, but as it was a win anyway, I shouldn’t really complain.