Wednesday, 17 May 2006

Battle for Rohtang Pass

In the sequence of 'Schild en Vriend' revival games, the May game (after WW1 in December, Lowenheim in January, WW1 in March, Memoir44 in April) was a 25mm fantasy battle using the Te Wapen rules ( ).

Four players were present: Maarten, Alan, Eddy and myself. Eddy was so kind to provide us with an after action report:

Just a small AAR on last night�s game The Punitive Expedition into the Orc
homelands after the successful raising of the siege of L�heim. As fate
would have it Alan and me would be playing the brave humans, Maarten and
Phil playing the ugly, cowardly bad guys so it seemed that the God of Dice
was for once going to play fair tonight.

It would be a classical medieval/fantasy battle and Phil re-assured us that
�There would be no suprises�. At that point in time we should have realized
anything Phil says has the believability of a press statement by Mohammed
�There are no Americans in Bagdad� Saeed al-Sahaf but that would become
painfully clear in the game ahead.

So we split-up our army into 3 sections to be able to navigate the 3
mountain passes leading up to the Orc plain � and presto, suddenly archers
appeared out of nowhere to pepper our trapped troops with deadly arrows from
the safety of the mountains. �Well, you can�t call that a surprise, can you
- you�re moving through mountain passes, what did you expect ?� was the
only comment from Phil so we knew that there would be other trouble ahead.

Those archers had cost us two units, both of them ranged units (blunderbuss
and archers) and managed to delay our approach considerably so while the Orc
army was happily setting up a battleline only our cavalry had managed to
extricate themselves from the mountain passes and form-up in a line. There
they would wait a couple of turns for the infantry to catch-up and cover
their flank.

As our cavalry was on the left, and the Orc cavalry / wargs was on the right
a gigantic cavalry clash was clearly going to happen so it would be
important to get the first charge in. Through some cunning play (read :
luck) it were the humans who got to launch their charge first. And what a
charge it was � virtually annihilating the Orc cavalry but then it dawned on
us that it had all been a gigantic trap as the deadly card of �Judgement
Day� was used on our troops � twice - This had the effect of removing just
as much figures from our units as we had killed in that charge. 2 heavy
cavalry units got wiped-out, with a third just hanging on and our most
powerfull unit � the Red Dragon � frozen in place. It was a disaster from
which the left flank would never recover. Gone was the tactical plan to
occupy the enemy burial mound.

So with our left flank gone, our right flank still hopelessly stuck in the
mountains and out of the game, our only hope lay in the centre where we had
a local superiority as the Orc army had concentrated too many of their units
on their right flank to counter our cavalry. But the God of Dice hadn�t
abandoned us : Maarten and Phil were getting low dice while even our
long-shot totally-against-the-odds attacks managed to kill some enemy units
so the unit kill tally was slowly turning into our favour. With one unit
killed equaling 1 VP we were even ahead by 1 point throughout the middle of
the game though we didn�t control any of the victory locations worth 2 VP�s.
It was getting late so at that point Phil declared that since neither army
was likely to fulfill their victory conditions a �moral victory� would be
given to the first army to reach 10 VP�s. It was 7-6 in our favour at that
moment so a desperate struggle in the center ensued with both sides going
for kills regardless of the consequences. The Orcs were up first killing 3
of our units so it was 7-9 and they were only 1 VP removed from victory, but
in our next turn the last cavalry unit coupled with a wizard�s fireball
attack and even a regular infantry attack (the only one in the game IIRC,
all the rest being ranged, cavalry or magical) managed to kill an orc unit
and in a stroke of genius Alan also managed to occupy the central victory
location stone which netted us an additional 2 VP�s : 10-9 � we had �won�,
but given the carnage all around us, we would have settled for a draw

Aftermath :

As this was a card-driven game with activation, attack bonus and opponent
counter-cards we had to use-up all our cards to get out of those bloody (in
both senses of the word) mountains and out into the plain while the Orc army
had had a chance to accumulate some deadly counter-cards which they used to
good effect. I don�t think we ever used either a bonus card or a
counter-card throughout the game which is fine as it means the system is
flexible enough to cope with different situations and strategies.

I should have brought along my digital camera (and I will next time) as the
table looked spectacular. For those who were there here�s what I would have
taken pictures off : the Orc army lining up beautifully in the center of the
table, the total confusion in the mountain passes following the ambush, the
human heavy cavalry drawn up for battle on the hill and the charge downhill
and the scenes of Armageddon in the centre as both armies just battered each
other to pulp.

1 comment:

  1. splendid report Eddy.
    Indeed I had a great time.
    After the game we evaluated the new additions to the Te Wapen ruleset. But I think the rules as they are now held their ground. I like the carddriven system a lot and the balance of cards was great.