Bro'k'ien L'eafblower nodded as he listened to his scout. "Return to your unit, Toom 'uch Sno'thisyear. I will gather forces to relieve you."
His scout nodded and departed. The news he had brought was exciting indeed. The small scouting party had discovered a lost temple, possibly even one belonging to the Slann. It would be great if L'eafblower could lead his forces there, check out the ziggurat, and perhaps bring home some great lore for the Wood Elves of Nomoresnowforafewyearsplease.
Quickly he gathered together a small but potent force. Ishov'le'd Wayto Muchsnow would carry his flag, riding alongside the well mounted L'eafblower. Magi'cofth'eskies would come along to provide some magical ability.
With the 10 scouts already on the field, he could only muster 8 Glade Riders, a 20 man unit of Glade Guard, a 10 man unit of Glade Guard, and a dozen dryads. Still, he should be able to get there unopposed, even though there were rumors of a massive Goblin horde in the area, not to mention some Dark Elves out looking for slaves and even some Dwarfs on some random mission or other.
With Too'much and his scouts holding the ground, L'eafblower had little worry. However, he was in for a surprise.
When he arrived at the ziggurat, he saw this worst fears were realized. The dwarf army proved to be more that just a rumor. They were approaching the ziggurat!
Quickly he sprung into action. Throwing a line of Glade Guard in the front of his lines, he put the Skirmishing Dryads behind them. He noticed the Dwarf army had some Rangers skulking about a hill to his left, so he put the smaller unit of Glade Guard on his left to protect his flank against them. Then he noticed the Dwarf general had a couple of their feared cannons and ten thunderers where they could threaten his beloved dryads so he sent the Glade Riders off to deal with them.
(setup): We had 4 armies; the Dark Elves Kenneth just got the day before and had not had time to paint, the Goblin army, the Dwarf army, and the debut of my Wood Elves. We pondered a couple ideas; some sort of 2 sides/allies, maybe the Dark Elves/Goblins against the Dwarf/Wood Elf alliance, or a four-way battle where each force had restrictions that would ensure nobody got ganged up on. Ultimately, we decided to fight 2 separate battles.
We rolled to see who would face who. We went with low 2 rolls would fight on the 2 card-table set-up and the 2 high rolls would fight on the 4x4 plywood table. Josh rolled a 1 for the goblins, Phillip rolled a massive 2 for the Goblins, I equaled his roll, and then Ken rolled a sad 1. It would be his Dark Elves against Chris, Josh and Kevin playing the goblins while I played my Wood Elves against Phillip and Rick as the Dwarf army.
Due to our excitement to see as much of Ken's new army as possible, we "bent" a couple rules trying to build up army points; The Goblins goblins were bolstered by a Saurus unit and 2 skink units. The Dwarf army had a whopping four cannons. Had they fought the goblin masses, it could have gotten ugly quickly.
We had a small hill to the left, the ziggurat in the middle, and the ever-present woods on the right (cleverly disguised as a hill...but played as trees).
I won the roll to set up first. I put my 20 model unit of glade guard in the trees to the right of the ziggurat, giving them a good field of fire. The second unit, 10 models strong, went directly behind the ziggurat to keep them out of the line of fire, planning to climb it and shoot his left wing. Then I put the Glade Riders off on the right to get across the field and go cannon hunting. Finally, I put my Dryads behind the big Glade Guard unit. My scouts seized the backside of the ziggurat.
Meanwhile, the Dwarf army (Rick and Phillip) placed 2 cannons on either side of the ziggurat, controlling nice lines of fire. One 10 man unit of Thunderers was on their left (my right) alongside the cannon while the other was directly behind the ziggurat. Finally, their scouts went behind a hill on my left flank.
Looking back, I should have done a couple things differently. By placing my Dryads behind the Glade Guard, I gave him very tempting targets for his cannons. I would have done better to place them as close to the ziggurat as possible. They could have moved onto it without taking any fire, leaving him to pick off individual models instead of having multiple lines to shoot at. Second, the Glade Riders were set up to get across the field and charge. Dumb, dumb, dumb. They suck in close combat but are good at moving and shooting. *sigh*.
Fortunately, they made an error or two as well. By placing 10 thunderers behind the ziggurat, they basically took them out of the game for some time. Later they said the plan was to climb the ziggurat and shoot from there. The problem with that is it would have been 3 - 4 turns before they could get in position and stop moving. The slowness of the Dwarf army would cripple that plan. Thunderers need to be in position to start shooting on the first turn whenever possible and never later than the second turn.
Second, both my early deployments were on my right flank. They were trying to keep their units separate, so they put a couple cannons on their right. I never did place a unit over there, so essentially for the first few turns they had half their cannons and half their Thunderers doing nothing. Meanwhile, their Rangers going behind the hill did a good job of threatening my flank...but without support, they really had little chance of doing enough damage.
I also would have liked to see them keep the Miners off the table and roll in rather than supporting their right flank (my left). But that is personal choice. Certainly trying to control the ziggurat was also a good plan so really that may have been their best option. Certainly that was their deadliest unit...
WOOD ELF TURN 1
"Forward!" shouted L'eafblower. He smiled as Too'much led his scouts around the crest of the ziggurat even as the Glade Riders, Glade Guard, Dryads and so forth moved forward.
Magi'cofth'eskies cast " gave protection to the otherwise exposed scouts even as the Wood Elf army unleashed a hail of arrows.
The Thunderers, thinking they were safe behind the ziggurat, watched in pain as 4 of their number fell to the accurate fire of the scouts. Meanwhile, the Glade Riders rained arrows on the cannon, but all their shots bounced off the cannon and did no harm. The Glade guard also fired, but could slay only one Thunderer.
I moved the Glade Riders toward the cannon, hoping to shoot the cannoneers before they could unleash their lightning. My shooting was quite ineffective, however. The scouts had to choose between cannon and thunderers. With the protection of the "Hidden Ways" spell, I knew he could not touch them this turn so I elected to shoot at the thunderers. I got some nice rolls and killed 4. The large unit of Glade Guard killed just one of the other Thunderer unit. Ouch.
Dwarf Turn 1
His smile fell as he watched the Dwarf army react. unperturbed, the Thane-led Miners moved towards the ziggurat, grimly planning to attack the lightly armored scouts atop it. The disciplined Rangers started coming over the hill, threatening his flank, and then the Dwarf weapons unleashed. The Thunderers saw the threat of the Glade Riders and dispatched 5 of them into mulch. At least that would help the trees grow...that thought was ripped from his mind as the cannon ball ripped through the ranks of the Glade Guard, killing 2.
Phillip moved on cannon out towards the flank to get a better angle at my mass of Glade Guard and Dryads as Rick marched his miners towards the ziggurat and Phillip marched his Rangers up over the hill. I had nothing on that flank, so it was a very real threat to roll up my flank.
The shooting phase started poorly for me as the first cannon was able to tear through both my Glade Guard units do to some poor movement on my part. Each unit lost a guy. Not so bad yet, and I was less worried when both of Rick's cannons had no shot at all.
Then the Thunderers showed why they are such a great value, killing a whopping 5 of my 8 Glade Riders. That hurt quite badly.
If his shooting was that effective every round, I was in deep, deep trouble.
Wood Elf turn 2
L'eafblower had not become a general by failing to respond to threats. He quickly moved his smaller unit of Glade Guard into position to shoot at the Rangers and began moving the fearsome Dryads over to back them up. Meanwhile, the large unit of Glade Guard and the Glade Riders forward. Magi'cofth'eskies was unable to protect the scouts. This time the shooting was much deadlier as the Glade Riders took their vengeance on the hapless cannoneers. He smiled as the Dwarfs thought about their response.
The 9 man Glade Guard would have to take on the Rangers. A simple wheel movement gave them their target. The larger Glade Guard unit and Glade Riders moved forward as the Dryads shifted over to prepare for a charge at the Rangers.
They dispelled my Hidden Path attempt and, as it would all game, my attempt to cast my secondary spell failed. Actually, I would not again cast any spell successfully. On one turn I rolled a 12 and they equaled my 12. Magic was not kind to me after the first, crucial turn.
Shooting, however, was very kind. The Glade Riders killed 2 cannoneers. the large unit of Glade Guard killed 4 thunderers, the scouts killed a Miner, and even the small unit of Glade Guard was able to kill 4 of the Rangers. The Dwarf army was shrinking precipitously.
Dwarf Turn 2
The Miners continued their inexorable, albeit slow, advance, the Rangers completed their journey over the hill, and they were in position to charge.
Meanwhile, all three cannons overshot badly. The Thunderers did manage to kill 2 more Glade Riders, leaving just one! and 2 of the Scouts were shot off the ziggurat by the deadly Thunderers.
Elf Turn 3
The last remaining Glade Rider (foolishly) charged the single cannoneer, the Dryads continued moving towards the Rangers, and I did not move my large unit of Glade Guard as I was within 15" and did not need to.
Magic was unkind as I mis-cast and took a wound. My shooting was decent; my large Glade Guard unit unleashed their arrows on his 5 man unit of Thunderers. 4 of them went down like bowling pins to a well-thrown bowling ball and the other decided he had enough, taking to his heels. The Scouts killed just one Miner and the smaller unit of Glade Guard could only kill one Ranger this turn.
Meanwhile, the charge into the cannoneer was pointless as neither side could harm the other.
DWARF TURN 3
The fleeing Thunderer rallied. The Miners finally were able to charge the Scouts. Kevin the Dragon Slayer moved around the Ziggurat and headed for the Elven Standard Bearer. The Rangers made a nice march move, coming real close to the Glade Guard. The cannons unloaded, killing one Glade Guard from the large unit and one dryad.
The close combat was all Dwarf as they slew 6 of the scouts who therefore had nobody who could attack back. The last 4 fled and the Dwarfs were to slow to catch them, rolling a sad 3.
ELF TURN 4
The fleeing scouts rallied. The Dryads charged into the Rangers as the Glade Guard moved out of their way. However, the Rangers were overcome by fear and fled, only to be run down by the Dryads and killed.
The Glade Guard then unleashed the full might of their arrows on Kevin the Dragon Slayer who went down to their massed fire. The recovered scouts fired at the cannon but hit only the cannon, doing no damage.
The Glade Rider finally killed the lone cannoneer. I tried to overrun off the table, needing an 8 on 3d6... and rolling a 7.
DWARF TURN 4
The Thane and Miners moved along the face of the ziggurat, trying to get close enough to charge the Glade Guard. Cannon Fire killed one of the last 4 scouts and a Dryad while the other cannon overshot. The Thunderer shot at the Glade Rider, hitting him but no wound inflicted.The large unit of Thunderers then shot down one of the large unit of Glade Guard.
ELF TURN 5
The army moved forward. The Glade Rider shot point-blank at the lone Thunderer but missed. The large unit of Glade Guard shot at the 6 man Thunderer unit and killed 3 of them. Needing a nine because of Thane proximity, they rolled 9. No Thane, they run...
Meanwhile, the small unit of Glade Guard killed a Miner.
DWARF TURN 5
The Thane and his last 3 Miners continued their advance. The cannons then roared...well, whimpered.
The first one mis-fired. On the first roll, it would have only been unable to fire the next turn. Using the Engineer ability, they re-rolled...and the cannon blew up. The second cannon hit dead center on one Glade Guard and was prepared to tear through several ranks of Dryads...but rolled a mis-fire for bounce and stuck in the mud.
The solo Thunderer missed the Glade Rider in their solo battle, while the larger unit killed one more Glade Guard member.
ELF TURN 6
The Dryads had no real target, so they moved towards the ziggurat, putting it between them and the last cannon, and getting ready to fight the Thane's unit should the battle extend. The Glade Rider finally shot down the Lone Thunderer.
The three Miners fell to the smaller Glade Guard unit fire, and the last three thunderers, seeing one of their number fall, had enough. The last 2 fled the field. Only the Thane remained alive.
DWARF TURN 6
The Thane, though alone, had no fear. He charged the Glade Guard, taking one wound from their stand and fire reaction. The cannon overshot.
In the combat, the Wood Elf champion challenged the Thane to one-on-one. The Thane easily disposed of him, but outnumbered, seeing the standard, he chose to flee.
We elected to play to last man standing.
ELF TURN 7
The Glade Guard managed to hit the cannoneers, killing 2, the other fleeing off the table. Meanwhile, the rest of the army chose to see if the Thane would come fight again.
DWARF TURN 7
The Thane did recover but could do nothing constructive.
ELF TURN 8
The general charged. He could not wound the Thane. The Thane killed his horse to dismount him.
DWARF TURN 8
This time, the general slew the Thane. Only Wood Elves remained.
This one came down to a few small details; initial set-up meant a great deal; I was able to employ virtually all of my forces except the Dryads from the first turn while minimizing the damage his cannons could do. Conversely, it took him several turns to get the bulk of his army into position to do much damage.
Successfully getting "Hidden Paths" gave my Scouts on the Ziggurat a protected first turn. Their shooting was effective, which negated a large part of the effectiveness of his Thunderers.
Meanwhile, the Dwarf units were separated far enough that I was able to take them on a little at a time, hitting them with massed fire. Their shooting was divided too much so while they did a lot of damage, it was too separated to cause me to take break tests. With the number of tests I forced them to take, some were bound to fail...and a lot of them did. I only had to take maybe three tests in the entire game.
All in all, a fun, entertaining battle. A few lessons learned;
1) Always have plenty of tape measures available
2) Always have a hard copy of the rulebook on hand
3) Reference sheets RULE!