The Battle at the Travelers’ Inn or The Beer is Mine!
The Kingdoms of Men and the Dwarf empire once again found themselves drawing sword and axe in anger using Mantic Games’ Kings of War rules. With beer, ale, and bragging rights on the line the stakes were indeed high. This was Ryan and my second foray into Second Edition and I think we are beginning to master the differences and like the new rules even more.
Since the last battle, Lady Ursula’s or, in dwarf, Rinn Ursula’s army had recovered, recruited, and met up with reinforcements at the crossroads where a couple clans of Rangers were delivering beer to the Travelers’ Inn. News of this had drawn more dwarves to the area swelling the army’s ranks. It also drew unwanted attention bringing a huge force of thirsty men, whose general had acquired a strong taste for Dwarven Ale, determined to claim the valley, the crossroad, and the beer for themselves. Passions were running high on both sides. The innkeeper wasn’t sure what to think but the brewer was worried.
Ryan and I decided to go big, push the limits of our miniatures collections, and run 3000 points each in a massive Kings of War battle. He said it used every human figure he had and even took depleting cannon crews to round a few units out. Fortunately for me I have nice sized dwarf army already painted and based for Warhammer so used movement trays to add to my Kings of War force but there weren’t that many figures left in the box. We both had proxies mixed in (I’ll try to label them in the pictures to reduce confusion) but overall both armies looked great. The massive forces lined up facing each other just outside the front door of the inn really brought a grin to my face while taking me back to those first battles of the Porridge Wars. We agreed it just looked cool (even if the opening picture didn’t turn out- News Zeppelin caught in the fog).
Even before I could use Vanguard (Yay I remembered my special rule!) Ryan introduced his Captain sporting the Tactician rule, rolled a die, and moved the Horde of Knights on his left flank to the center and shifted the Legion of Militia to his far left just to mess with me. My Shieldbreakers were now out of position to face the Knights. His far left consisted of the Legion of Militia followed by a Regiment of Crossbows (proxy) next to a Siege Engine.
A Regiment of Arquebusiers guarded the flank of his Crossbow (Proxy) Horde.
His center consisted of three cannon and a siege artillery piece deployed in difficult ground which were guarded by a Horde of Berserkers and the Horde of Knights. Yes, I was most envious of a HORDE of CAVALRY but since I finally have any mounted troops in my dwarf army I shouldn’t complain too much.
The Horde of Footguard following the Troop of Mounted Scouts had me very worried. Okay, a lot of this army had me very worried.
The far right of his line were moving toward the inn with more Mounted Scouts and Arquibusiers leading a Horde of Heavy Pike while a Wizard oversaw the deployment of the fourth cannon near the vegetable garden.
This was going to be a tough fight. So very many miniatures units were deployed two deep in places and Very Inspiring characters scattered throughout. I was also guessing he took the Boomstick but he opted to make his Elite, Heavy Pike Headstrong with Dwarf Ale. I would probably have done the same as Headstrong is a wonderful thing. Thank Valaya I got the first turn because I was going to need it.
This time not only did I remember that my Rangers had Vanguard I set them up ready to move straight ahead so even before my turn started they had moved into position to pepper the Arquibusiers with arrows though not enough to Waver them.
Before the Knights could charge either of my units in range my Crossbows fired at them rather successfully and my incredibly accurate bombards dropped two more solid hits (making four out of four hit rolls in two turns and then lots of damage). Armor, weapons, heads, and limbs flew in all directions as the dwarf gunners earned a bonus Routing the massive block of heavy cavalry.
While the Red Rangers wavered under combined fire and failed their Headstrong roll Bugman lead the other Regiment toward the militia only to be routed by the same shelling and gun fire.
The Dwarf cavalry on the left flank saw initial success, running down Mounted Scouts and Crossbows only to be brought down by massed infantry. No surprise there really. Fortunately there were more of the frothing, tattooed blighters right behind and ready to go. Cogburn hit the wizard several times but the Nerve test failed. So the weakling wizard went and hid in the vegetables garden launching fireballs that couldn’t seem to hit the enraged mounted lord. Meanwhile the cannon crew were getting very nervous.
On my far right the forward unit of Rangers were torn apart by cannons and artillery even as their formerly Wavering brethren move up with Duane and the Shieldbreakers slamming into the Legion of Militia only to bounce off the massive block of angry peasants. So angry in fact that they charged and routed the Red Rangers.
In the center the Guardians of the Spring caught the second Troop of Mounted Scouts, who had been peppering them with carbine fire, and moved around the woods looking for a flank to charge. They found a Horde of Elite Heavy Pike who cut them down. Cogburn and Cuddles leaped the garden wall, killed the wizard, and turned around to see his brethren brought low by the superior numbers of men. Oh there would be vengeance swore Cogburn. With matching roars he and Cuddles tore into the Foot Guard Wavering them and forcing them to back away. Damn those re-rolls from Inspiring and Thrice Damn Ryan for keeping his forces so well covered by it.
Despite the destruction of the Knights in the center the dwarfs were having an even harder time there. Both the Bulwarkers and the Troop of Ironguard were shot down even as they closed to charge range. Not all of Ryan’s cannons hit, in fact he really seemed to be behind his usual average but with six artillery pieces firing there were a lot of craters blown into battlefield and my lines. Hmmmm, might need to make some craters for future games. Knowing her Crossbow Troop and Handgun Troop were moving into position and neither could survive a fusilade, Rinn Ursula charged the Horde of Crossbows, wounding them, causing no Waver but they were now Disordered and unable to shoot next turn. The dwarfs took aim. To keep the universe in balance both my bombards failed to hit the Arqubusiers.
The Stone Priest, Duane, and the Shieldbreakers hammered away at the Militia while Arquibusiers fired at the poor Earth Elemental. Even as the Legion broke and ran away, the lifeless stones fell back to the earth in a heap. In retaliation the Stone Priest used his throwing hammer and the Army Standard bearer his Warbow of Kaba to wound and rout the Siege Artillery crew. The regiment of human Crossbows was feeling rather exposed.
Having succeeded in Disordering the Horde of Crossbows, Rinn Ursula turned her attentions on the huge block of Artillery deployed within difficult ground. Losing the benefit of her Thunderous Charge was worth slowing the rain of steel death they were dropping on her units and Ryan’s rolls to hit were getting better. The Troops of Crossbows and Handguns joined the Bombards in targeting the Horde Ursula had previously attacked and finally routed the massive unit. The Shield breakers and Stone Priest charged into the last Regiment of Crossbows on the human left flank. We were closing in on turn six and the outcome was anything but certain.
The human General and Army Standard kept charging and sometimes wounding the fierce, mounted warrior woman but couldn’t shake her Nerve so she continued striking down artillery crews. Meanwhile on the Dwarf left flank the Horde of Heavy Pike charged and destroyed the Guardians of the Spring while the Foot Guard kept backing away from the Cogburn the Berserker Lord as I just couldn’t seem to roll as high on the re-rolled Nerve checks but they stayed Wavered. On the farthest right flank the Shieldbreakers were locked in combat with the last Regiment of Crossbows. When turn six ended I rolled another die and the resulting Five meant the game would last one more turn.
With little left on either side, both the humans and dwarfs maneuvered to claim any remaining victory points. Abandoning the last cannon to the crossbowmen to deal with, Rinn Ursula joined Cogburn in attacking the wounded, Wavering Horde of Foot Guard and just managed to finally break the frustrating unit. The Shieldbreakers were equally successful and claimed the right flank by routing the Crossbows. Fortunately for the dwarfs the Heavy Pike Horde was out of position for another charge so all the human characters charged the two mounted dwarfs. Back to back the two heroes desperately fought to hold their opponents at bay. The fight was close, the Nerve checks even closer, but in the end Cogburn held by one point (yes only one more point and he would have Routed) while the lady on bear Wavered but didn’t break. As the sun set on the carnage the dwarf force was ahead by barely 500 points and so won a narrow victory and all the ale. Whew, they don’t get much closer than that.
Wow, that was one heck of a game with the advantage going back and forth so often neither of us were sure where things stood until we had done the math which was easier if we just added up the surviving units. We got set up and started playing so quickly we didn’t even choose a Scenario beforehand so opted for Kill as the default. Besides, we have tendency to try and wipe each other out regardless of the system or genre’ or victory conditions come to think of it. Last battle report I referred to the back and forth of Oldhammer. What I meant was that turn to turn shift in power and plans with results that can change so quickly that it isn’t over until the last die hits the table. If Ryan had rolled a little higher on the final Nerve Tests the game would have ended in a tie.
While I love the way Bulwarkers perform in battle and enjoyed painting the minis, I must say that the pewter Mantic uses for the arms and spears is very brittle and half my Regiment’s spears have broken off. As they are very narrow it won’t be an easy repair either and so I may have to replace them completely. The Hasslefree Regiment is still doing well and anxious for more troops from Kevin White’s sculpting tools. I can see a Horde of HF Bulwarkers in my very near future as well as another Horde of HF crossbow armed dwarfs. Those 25 shots are nice to have. This is the first time I bought unmounted Berserkers and while they don’t hit very hard they do have a lot of attacks, huge Nerve scores, and never Waver. They are all or nothing but I am moving the Regiment of them from my planning table to my actual assembly table as they are very helpful. Besides, they can take advantage of Cogburn’s Inspiring rule. Yeah, they’re THAT berserk.