It's time for my annual Christmas game of Hordes of the Things, I think. This year, my undead armies (the Cabal of the Black Hand) have invaded somewhere in south-east Asia. Why do we care? Because the necromancers are after the toy factories! Turning out to defend his sources of supply is Santa and his minions, aided by some of the local Kung Fu masters.
In previous years, Santa and his allies have trounced most comers (2013, 2012). However, this time the bony ones have got a new secret weapon. They've managed to resurrect an undead dragon, so let's see how the man in red likes that!
We decided that the rivers were shallow and not particularly fast-flowing. They would affect magic as normal and would reduce movement by 50%, but wouldn't have any effect on combat.
The forces were as follows:
- Santa: aerial hero general, elf shooters, toy soldier cannon, polar bears, hordes of snowmen
- Kung Fu: 2 heroes, priest, swordsmen, hordes of peasants
- Undead (N): Necromancer, anti-hero, lots of bats, hordes of skeletons.
- Undead (S): Necromancer, bone dragon (arrives later at a cost of 6 PiPs), skeleton cavalry, hordes of zombies and ghouls.
The southern necromancer and his cavalry advanced as quickly as possible. The river would have a very negative effect on any magic that crossed it, so the sooner the magician was on the same side as his foes, the better. However, he was somewhat dismayed to see the entire Kung Fu army charging towards him. Interestingly, they were leading with the hordes of peasants; the heroes were at the back!
In the north, the other necromancer sent forwards his bats, intending to use them as a screen between him and that nasty cannon on the hill opposite. The huge column of skeletons on the far flank also advanced, albeit more slowly.
It turns out that bats don't make a very good screen. The elves and the cannon in the hill opened fire with devastating results. Two stands of bats were shot out of the sky just like that! Suddenly the northern necromancer felt very vulnerable as a large pack of ice bears cantered towards him.
A plan: stick the anti-hero in front of the bears and let him deal with them! Sadly, the bears didn't even slow down as they bundled the undead wight backwards. At least the necromancer himself was a little safer - for now!
The southern skeleton cavalry crashed into the Chinese peasant hordes and sent them reeling with some casualties. This wasn't too surprising, really. On the other hand, the nearby zombies and ghouls on the hill were reluctant to cross the river and face the line of Kung Fu warriors; that fight would have been heavily in the swordsmen's favour!
Finally (ta-da!), the bone dragon arrived to bolster the southern undead force. This was none too soon, really...
...as the northern force was in trouble. The ice bears continued to make life difficult for the anti-hero and also tried to catch some of the irritating bats, without much success.
In desperation, the necromancer fled from the fierce beasts and attacked the elves to try to put a stop to their galling rifle fire. He was completely successful and slew one group of the shooters with a shower of violet sparks.
However, this was a step too far. Seeing the enemy general alone and unsupported, Santa flew his sleigh down to confront the evil magician. He attacked just as the ice bears caught up with the necromancer from behind; the undead commander couldn't survive such an assault and perished miserably!
The loss of their commander meant that the northern undead army would need to take a demoralisation check in their next turn. Since they had now taken 10AP of casualties (mostly bats!), they would need a '6' to avoid fleeing from the field.
Predictably, the northern undead command failed the test and became demoralised. Their anti-hero sat on his skeletal steed in the middle of the river, miserable and unmoving, whilst the hordes of skeletons started to shuffle back to wherever they had come from.
The southern general was now faced by 2 virtually-intact enemy armies. He sent the dragon to attack the ice bears in an attempt to hold them up, whilst his zombies trudged towards the waiting Kung Fu blades. If he didn't inflict serious losses on the enemy really quickly then he wouldn't get any chance at all!
The desperate gambit seemed initially to be working as the dragon destroyed the first group of bears very easily. However, Santa's army responded swiftly and the monster was quickly surrounded. The dispirited anti-hero sat and watched whilst the dragon fought against a multitude of foes. Although it survived for a short while, the creature could only push back one foe at a time and eventually it was overwhelmed. The bears smashed the bone dragon to pieces and howled in triumph as the magic which bound it flickered and dissipated.
Briefly, the line of zombies stood intact against the Kung Fu blades, but then the swordsmen overcame their doubts. They sensed victory, laid into the undead hordes with vigour and started to wipe them out methodically.
While the warriors laid into the zombies, the Kung Fu heroes and Santa launched devastating attacks on the skeleton cavalry. In a flurry of blows, they destroyed much of the remainder of the southern undead force, leaving the necromancer fleeing in terror as his army crumbled around him. Game over!
This was another devastating victory for the good guys. The casualty lists really sum it up quite nicely, I think:
|Undead (N) Losses|
|Undead (S) Losses|
I still don't think that we've figured out how to use flyers properly. My attempt to deploy the bats as a screen against shooting was a complete disaster. Between them, the cannon and rapid rifle fire from the elves threw me onto the back foot right from the start of the game!
The dragon was given an impossible task. As it was, it only held up Santa for so long because that army spent all its energy on surrounding and (ultimately) felling the creature.
Finally, I HATE BEARS!