This is a battle report of the first battle we have generated with our test Hostile Realms campaign. The Middle Kingdom marched a Size 2 Battle Group into the lands of the Undead and engaged in battle with a Size 3 Battle Group belonging to the Necromancer's Empire. This battle took place near the undead city of Daniz, just west of the Salty Bog.
The city is located in a Light Terrain hex. We used my terrain generation card deck to generate the terrain for the table top, assign the battlefield objectives, and deploy the commands.
In the view below, the Undead are deployed on the right in 2 commands. The Middle Kingdom is deployed on the left in 3 commands. The battlefield had a Class II creek that ran the length of the table. Otherwise there were some roads, a few Class II hills, a Class III village, and a Class III town. The battlefield objectives from front to back in the photo below were:
- small hill in right foreground ( 2 VP)
- town in right center (13 morale chips)
- long hill behind the town (4 VP)
- village in left center at the end of the table (10 morale chips, 7 VP)
Below is a photo of the tabletop from the other end. The Middle Kingdom army was divided into 3 commands:
- Left Flank Command: 2 feudal knight units, 1 sergeant unit led by the Count of Bovis, a mounted hero. I rolled his quality and determined he was an Average (D10) leader with good combat skills.
- Center Command: Crossbowmen, hand-gunners, an organ gun, minotaurs, pike-armed civic militia, and a unit of household knights equipped with magic Horseshoes of Speed.. This command was led by Father Brutus. Father Brutus is an unusual-looking, short, grizzly priest whose family rushed him off to join the clergy early in his adult development. I rolled his quality and he was an Exceptional leader (D12+1), but a terrible spellcaster (D4 aptitude). Apparently, Father Brutus has alienated his deity.
- Paladins Under the Rex's Gaze: 1 unit of household knights equipped with magic Wings of the Pegasus. They are led by Jean the Good, the Rex mounted on a pegasus. I rolled Jean's quality and he was Abysmal (D6) as a leader, but phenomenal as a warrior. His poor leadership as CinC also added a Command Indecision card to the deck. Does this surprise anyone?
The council meeting in the Middle Kingdom's royal council tent was a scene to behold. The Count of Bovis, Father Brutus, and other leaders were standing around a map of Daniz when the Rex strode in and removed his helm. His hair was perfect and he flashed a winning smile to the nobles. He asked the assembled lords, "Are we ready to fight today?"
Brutus told the king, "Sire, the undead have skeletons and zombies, but our scouts report that they also have a bone giant, mummies, and a unit of magically protected wraiths. Perhaps we should discuss a plan to deal with these threats."
The Rex picked up his famed Mirror Shield and smirked at the priest. "You want a plan? Don't lose the battle until I win it." And he left.
|Center command commanded by Father Brutus|
The Count of Bovis' mounted command advanced and captured the small village on the left flank. The infantry command advanced to threaten the the town in the center. An Uncontrolled Charge card sent the minotaurs charging impetuously toward the center of the Undead line.
The Undead were carefully using their magic to Bless their units and magically improve their capabilities.
|Minotaurs charge the Undead|
The Middle Kingdom cavalry on the left flank moved to threaten the right flank of the Undead army. Meanwhile the Rex and his paladin bodyguard flew into the air and began to fly in a wide arc around the left flank of the Undead army.
The Undead moved 3 units of skeleton archers into the town in the center.
|MK knights moving against the Undead right flank.|
After some lucky Move and Heroic Moment rolls, the Rex overcame his own poor leadership qualities and dive-bombed a unit of skeletons behind the Undead front lines.
|Household knight equipped with Horseshoes of Speed gallop past the town to assist the|
Paladins Under the Rex's Gaze as they descend upon the undead in the background
The minotaurs fled from melee after failing a morale check on a Courage card, but Father Brutus rallied them with some raw meat. They then promptly charged back into melee again.
And lost and routed away again. Sigh! At least they look tough.
|You can see Father Brutus waving goodbye to his minotaurs.|
After another Courage card, the feudal knights in Bovis' command fled from a unit of wraiths. It's pretty understandable since they had no magic weapons and couldn't harm the wraiths.
Meanwhile the Rex and his paladins were starting to roll up the flank of the main Undead command.
|The lich's attempt to cast a spell is defeated by the Rex's Mirror Shield.|
|Victory for the Undead on this flank|
At this point, the Undead commander had to go home and acknowledged that his forces had at least suffered a Marginal Defeat. The morale chip count was 13-0. The undead wraiths could probably take back the small village on the flank which was worth 10 Morale/7 VP, but I don't know if they could reach it before the pegasus-mounted paladins caught them. The Rex clearly did win the battle with the help of his household knights. Most of the other Middle Kingdom units were routing, routed off the board, or disordered. Jean the Good is obviously a strategic genius.
Jed did a much better job with his magic in this battle. He used it to bolster his troops and with the poor magical abilities of my opposing priest, the Undead wizards were able to use magic very effectively on the battlefield.
Having 3 commands to Jed's 2 commands was a real advantage. The deployment draw also forced Jed to deploy his 2 commands first. I was then able to see his deployment and place my troops where they would be needed most. Having that 3rd command allowed me to give the Rex his own personal command with which he could deliver his flank attack. Drawing the Wings of the Pegasus magic item was also very lucky since the Rex was already mounted on a flying steed.
I (the Middle Kingdom player) kept my weaker infantry away from the Undead. Neither the mummies nor the bone giant were even able to get into melee. I also used my mobility to pick and choose where the fights would be. The 2 units of household knights were very fast because one was flying (Wings of the Pegasus) and the other had Boots of Speed. Between the two mounted units, they probably destroyed 5 units and cost the Undead around 20 morale chips.
Since most of the Undead units don't rout or retreat, they would just get pulverized by the knights for their full 4 wounds. The Pegasus Knights were Melee D12+3 to start and the attached Rex would raise them UP2. By himself, the Rex was something like Melee D12+5. The only other effective unit I had was the organ gun that managed to vaporize an advancing skeleton unit at point blank range with a single shot.
I was also pretty lucky because the Rex's low Command die initially worried me a bit. With only a D6 for Command, I needed to roll well to move them. Otherwise, I was concerned the Pegasus Knights would take too long to make their flank attack. Some good rolls and well-timed Heroic Moment cards allowed me to bring the finishing attack in the nick of time.
The Undead had trouble winning melees against the heavily armored knights. Sometimes this was because Jed rolled poorly, but I also avoided the mummies and the bone giant, 2 units I thought would be dangerous to my knights in melee. The giant is Mighty and ignores armor, so I knew I had to stay far away from him. Jed's other excellent unit, his wraiths, scared off my feudal knights with Courage checks, but never caused any wounds, ended up out of command on a flank and was isolated from the rest of the battle.
The Undead army has a lot of units with excellent special abilities, but it can be very difficult to manage. Jed has really been developing his techniques, but his most recent challenge has been which leaders to bring to the battle. Wizard commanders are ideal for the Undead, but they can't use their spells when they're attached to units. If the Undead doesn't bring a warrior-type leader that can attach to units, the army misses out on the Heroic Moment card which allows a unit with an attached character to treat the card as a wild card.
I screwed up with my magical item assignment. I should have assigned the Magic Shield to the Count of Bovis so he could use its magical capabilities to make effective attacks against the wraiths who are immune to non-magical attacks. Oh well, in the end, the Rex bailed me out with his powerful ego.