Once more into the breach my Goblins...
Thus begins the annals of this dark time in Goblin history:
This very night. Moonless. Godless. Bleak. Wind drove clouds to broil dark in the heavens above as on the blood wetted earth below a sorry count continued. Bodies a-plenty lay, broken in the wreck and ruin of bloody struggle. This was a close fought thing, this rolling maul of grunts and cries and desperate fighting. Goblins fought here, died here. Dwarves too; though less of them lay, eyes silent-staring at the desolate, roiling, clouded night above.
We gave a good account, blood spilt, flesh speared, sword spent. But it wasn’t enough...
On this day, where giant lizards and dwarves contended for victory, where grand heroes like ‘Bill the nearly Valiant’ nearly succeed in winning the day, where only reflex-bow-carrying goblin-ostrich-riders dare to tread may be found the broken sword tips and arrow points and tips of arrows and points of swords left rusted in the blood drenched earth to show that here was a day of giant lizards and dwarves and heroes like ‘Bill the modestly brave when thinking back on it’ and ostrich riders and Bill, but I think I mentioned him before, and various bits and bobs and general detritus of battle including Ostrich skulls and Lizard teeth and Dwarf feathers and Goblin scales, and a bit of an old stick with the name ‘Bill woz ere’ carved on it, or something like that.
Arrayed across the field, two titanic armies faced off. One a Goblin force of mainly Goblins and a spider of a largish size from far away, and quite a bit more than comfortably big when closer - especially when comfortably sized spiders are smaller than the average pin head. On the other side of the army of Goblins stood a fierce array of Dwarves mostly, who are quite a bit smaller than they would probably like even when close up.
On the right of the Goblins a giant spider slavered somewhat, and the Dwarves were glad they had mainly put their human allies there. On the left the Goblin force was all Lizard, Hyena and Ostrich - a menagerie of animals pressed into battlefield service. Not one unit of foot was there present. Across the steamy field were spear bearers, arbalestiers, elite swordsmen and more. In the middle stood an array of foot and mounted units, some be-lizarded goblins and be-goblined hyenas mingled with halberdiers and archers too. Across from them were bag-pipers and clan chiefs and all sorts of Dwarvish devils.
The Goblin force, mainly mounted, was quick to cross the battlefield and engaged the dwarves everywhere in their own back third of the space that had previously been marked out with little lines for the occasion. However, the Goblin force - all largely scared of their own shadows, retreated with every battle back. Some fast strikes were causing havoc in the Dwarvish lines, and banners were falling, but the retreats were costly, panic losses were mounting, causing banners to fall for the other side at almost the same rate they were being gained.
In the middle of the field the bag-pipers caused the halberdiers to scurry for their lives and left them in such a hurried disarray that the entire unit died in that tragic retreat! This was a story repeated across the field, the Goblins struggled to push the dwarves back, and while their quick strikes were causing some significant damage, losses to routes and panicked retreats were many. Quick - a few fast banners and the day would fall to the Goblins, leave the dwarves too much room to move forward and there would be nowhere to run for the Goblins - literally!
This period of the battle saw many almost heroes rise and not quite succeed - like that Goblin that crested the hill to lead that charge, we don’t recall his name, but he’s a good example of why we don’t stand on a hill in front of Arbalestiers. Or that bloodied unit that tried to force the Dwarvish spears back, but fatally discovered how hard it is to achieve a route against them.
At around this point the voice of a Dwarf battlefield goddess rang out "Giles, you’ve finally won a game!"
The Goblins quailed - no sooner had those words been uttered than more Goblin units fell and it ended, 6 banners to 7 in favour of the Dwarves. It had been a close run thing - if only I had cried "Once more into the breach dear Goblins, steel your heart like a giant lizard..." But sadly I didn’t, and some might well argue that speeches, however passionately cried, have little effect on small plastic figures.
On a more serious note - this was a Call to Arms game using all the expansions, but most especially the Call to Arms cards from Bearded Brave and Horrific Hordes. This game was a lot of fun. My army of Goblins were fast - very fast. Of some 20+ units, most of them were mounted. By contrast, my wife had a smaller army and no cavalry at all. This game really proved how important being bold is - the Dwarves just advanced, slowly and inexorably, my goblins fought hard, they succeeded in gaining flurries of banners with lightning assaults against weakened units. But ultimately the losses I continued to suffer as a result of panicked retreats were significant - my wife was able to use this to her advantage - pushing me against the back of the board and using my units long retreats against them. In the end I think we calculated that 4 of her 7 banners were due to panic losses.
But it was a close run thing - I ended on six banners, and nearly had the seventh. It was a great battle - our heroes had little to do with things, but it was a fast action and hard hitting game with significant casualties all around. I had a numeric advantage, but in the end, her bold dwarves and her strategy of forcing me back so my retreats cost me heavily won her the day.
Great fun! Can’t wait to play again!