|The forces line up at the start of the game.|
In the centre of the 8x4 battle table was the main objective, the mighty Skull Tower. Accessible only to characters on foot, it granted extra magic power and a random bound spell to the army that could control it. It also granted one victory point to whoever controlled it at the end of the game, as did four other objectives dotted around the table. With troops deployed and spells rolled for, the battle started. It would be tedious to describe each turn in detail, so the following pictures and totally unbiased and neutral commentary will have to suffice.
|Chaos hounds rush forward to pee on a tank.|
|Empire handgunners coverted from outrider bits - very nice!|
|Stinky the Giant takes a bite out of the tank, slips on an oil puddle and is crushed to a pulp.|
|The forces of chaos are thinned by hails of crossbow bolt and lead shot, but finally make it to the enemy lines to exact their revenge.|
|Resistance on the other Empire flank is more substantial, but just as easily cut down by the might of Chaos.|
|A lone spawn takes on the Empire spearmen. And loses.|
|Mid game action.|
|Shaggoth takes a late lunch.|
|Lord Steiff and his tribe.|
|A lone ogre doing what ogres do, eating enemy troops.|
|The final confrontation.|
The game played out as might be expected. Shooting took its toll on the forces of Chaos, though three cannons played a very small part in this barrage, falling short, overshooting or cannon balls sticking in the ground. One unit of ogres dodged at least six cannon shots in this way! It was the outriders, handgunners and crossbowmen that inflicted most damage. The steam tank scored an early victory when it mowed down the Nurgle giant, but then hissed and spluttered and did little else for the rest of the game, other than get in the way of the demigryph knights.
Magic was, as ever, fickle. In the very first magic phase, three of the four Chaos sorcerors took a wound after an irresistible force and miscast. As I had chosen just level two wizards, this left them vulnerable for the rest of the game. The Empire wizards caused a good deal of damage with an early casting of chain lightning, but then struggled to attract the winds of magic for much of the game, despite us rolling three dice and choosing the highest two (this a special rule for Skull Tower). Only near the end of the game did the Slaanesh Sorceror manage to cast Hellshriek, panicking the Empire Wizard Lord from the table.
In combat, as you would expect, the Chaos troops barely paused as they rampaged through rank after rank of puny humans. Even the celebrated Greatswords struggled against a severely battered giant (it had just one wound remaining), as it jumped up and down on them, pulverising 18 before finally succumbing to a lucky thrust. The shaggoth digested huntsmen, handgunners and swordsmen before ambling back to claim an objective. On the Chaos left flank, there was nothing left to eat! Only the Empire spearmen had much success. Led into battle by the army standard bearer, they despatched a spawn and several Khorne warriors, a rare combat success for General Robertson's forces. The less said about the demigryph knights the better. They cowered behind a steam tank, then attempted to block entry to Skull Tower from the Chaos army standard bearer. Charged, challenged, defeated and humiliated in one turn of combat. Woeful.
It was the first taste of combat for Chaos Lord Steiff and his marauder tribe, despite having been painted for about a year. After a hesitant start, they despatched two units of knights and strode heroically around the battlefield, vainly searching for surviving humans. Shaggy the Shaggoth probably struggled back to his lair that night, so full of Empire flesh was his gut. At least three units of infantry, about 40 or 50 men, went down under his flailing axes (he did have help from chaos knights and warriors).
After roughly six hours of combat, the battle came to an end. The Empire held Skull Tower and one other objective, while the force of Chaos held two objectives. The final deciding objective was contested, so the end result score was a draw! I have never been a fan of big games, but this one worked a treat and was most enjoyable. It's given me the urge to finish off a few almost painted units and get the whole army based in a unified way.
|The spoils of war.|