It's our eighth game of Strandhogg and the first appearance of the Perry WOTR infantry which I have painted. It seems strange that we are playing a fantasy skirmish game based on a set of historical rules, with both fantasy (LOTR) and historical (WOTR) figures, and refighting a historical (Great Northern War) scenario described in a recent issue of Battlegames.
Anyway, I finally decided to add a little background narrative to our games, so here goes:
After suffering a number of attacks by the goblins, the dwarves decided to form an alliance with the humans from the Barony to launch an invasion into goblin territory. In the opening stage of the campaign Barony troops secured several riverside settlements and made the logistic preparations while waiting for their dwarven allies to concentrate their forces.
The goblin king, learning of their plan, prepares for a guerrilla campaign, but decides to inflict a defeat on the Alliance to teach the humans and dwarves that the goblins are a force to be reckoned with...
The scenario depicts a small force of Barony troops billeted at a river-crossing near a village. With a swamp and a few rivers between them and the known goblin location, they did not expect to be surprised at dawn by a determined attack on their camp, led by a troll.
The herald blew a blast on his horn to wake the men and summon help from the village, while the troll charged right into the encampment, killing an archer and without pausing for a breath headed right for the leader of the group... who failed his Courage test and fled!
The other group fell back towards the village even as the goblin warbands surged across the bridge and the river.
The arrival of the more heavily armoured men-at-arms, led by the young Lord Holmes, prevented the battle from becoming a total rout. In the centre of the picture, our knight once again failed his Courage test...
The flanking force of warg riders which Martin sent now arrived at the centre of the table, but just when the Barony troops thought their fate was sealed, a small band of dwarves arrived on the scene, running as quickly as their legs could take them (fg using a Fate Card to speed their advance!).
The battle now turned into a massive brawl with both sides taking heavy casualties. The goblin king, seeing his point made, decided to leave the field early... but the young Lord Holmes was not about to let him go unchallenged!
Meanwhile, our troll finally gets his man (before dying in a hail of arrows off camera...).
Worried that his heavy armour would prevent him from fording the river safely, the Lord Holmes decided that the bridge would be a wiser course (Martin played a Fate Card that allowed him to move fg's figure). Seizing the opening, the warg riders launched an attack on him.
The attack was beaten off by the arrival of his household knights, while the goblin king made his escape.
The scenario was a bloody draw, although many of the losses represented combatants fleeing the field rather than dying.
The use of Fate Cards added another dimension to the game. I gave each player two cards to start with, giving their opponent another one each time he played one; both players were initially unwilling to use their cards, but eventually we had seven cards played in all.
Strandhogg is currently our most-played set of rules (which isn't saying much since we don't really play often), and while I am harbouring hopes of expanding my WOTR force to a size where I can play a mass-combat game, the others are painting up their own warbands.
Here is a shot of the Gripping Beast plastic Saxon that Martin painted. Hopefully they will be joined by more of their countrymen soon!