"Remind me why we are here, please?" The speaker was Henri, Duc D'Alençon - a short man, though broad and muscular. He was the leader of the expedition and, all things considered, was quite calm.
"My lord, we are following the foul necromancers of the Cabal. All the indications are that we will catch up with them very soon. And this time, they won't give us the slip!" replied Sir Guy de Lusignac, his lieutenant.
"At least," Sir Guy thought to himself "I really hope so. Then we can finish them off and return to where we can get a decent meal and a drink. I can't stand much more of this!"
An hour later, just past noon, the lead cavalry stopped and gave a shout. When their commanders galloped to the head of the column, they saw the reason why: a line of armoured, skeletal warriors stood facing them, completely immobile in the typical fashion of the true undead. But there were so few of them? Even the more experienced knights were grinning broadly - this shouldn't take long at all!
If you are regular readers then you'll know that I often like to shake things up a bit! So, here are some scenario-specific rules:
- The Cabal are defending a small shrine, which acts as a stronghold if attacked or for the purposes of housing ensorcelled enemy heroes. It may be small, but it's full of powerful black magics! If the shrine is captured then the Knights win instantly. Otherwise, either side wins if all the opposing commands are demoralised and at least one of their own is not.
- There are 2 large patches of fetid marsh on the field. They are difficult terrain for movement and combat, but don't block line of sight.
- All the Cabal's horde elements start off the table (this is why they appear not to have as many troops as the knights!)
- The undead hordes can be summoned for the usual cost of 1 PiP each, anywhere within either patch of marsh (as the dead from a long-forgotten war are commanded to rise again). This could even be in contact with an enemy element, flanking them or behind them - as long as the summoned horde is completely within the marsh.
- As is usual with horde elements, they may not move on the turn in which they are summoned, though they may attack if placed in contact with an enemy. Of course, if a horde is destroyed then it becomes eligible to be summoned again in the Cabal's next turn; there is no limit to the number of times they may return.
|Casualties for the northern commands||Casualties for the southern commands|
Up to this point, the casualties on each side had been fairly even. However, now the forces of Lyonesse started to get decent command rolls and the Cabal didn't...
çon's skilful lance. Then, the Cabal's heavy infantry - the Grave Guard - started to take losses. The dark vampire knights were also wiped out by the determined chivalry of Lyonesse. Evil bat swarms hovered overhead, watching the battle unfold below them - but they were too indecisive to make any contribution [too few PiPs to move them!]. The evil shrine looked under real threat as the Cabal's lines contracted!
ConclusionWell, that was interesting! The "hordes from the swamp" idea worked well and seemed reasonably well balanced. If anything, the value of the infantry and cavalry who were distracted by the ever-returning hordes was slightly greater than that of the hordes themselves, but against this the forces of darkness used a lot of command points to keep that threat going. Mind you, I think that you'd need to be careful with the way the terrain was set up; it would be all too easy to create a very unbalanced game.
The same idea could extend to some other types of horde armies. I could easily imagine masses of goblins boiling out of broken ground riddled with tunnels and holes.
Man of the Match
- For the Cabal: tricky, but I think it has to be the hordes, They distracted a sizable chunk of the opposing army and even managed to sucker some hot-headed knights deep into the swamp (where they were dragged down!).
- Lyonesse: also tricky. The regular Knight elements swept all before them, but the halberdiers and archers fought countless hordes of newly-risen undead in the sticky swamp and came out victorious. On balance, I think I'd give it to the halberdiers, though they could probably all do with a good bath now.
- Cabal: I think that the bats win this accolade quite easily. There never seemed to be enough PiPs available to move them, especially just when it mattered towards the end of the game. At least the sneakers tried to ambush the enemy general...
- Lyonesse: The Red Knight (hero) and Saint Florence (paladin) were both pretty ineffectual.