For our first Kings of War battle for 2023, we pitched two old foes against each other: the noble elves of Emberwell against the barbarian orcs from the Plains of Doom (insert dramatic music here).
After several games in a sci-fi or historical setting, it felt good to take command of our fantasy armies again. A change of venue always is nice. We played a lot of second edition games, but we haven’t had often the opportunity to field our armies in 3rd edition games.
Note: If you play Kings of War, you can use Mantic’s own army builder : the “mantic companion” (an apt name ;D ).
It recently replaced easy army as a KoW army builder and covers all of Mantic games, while generally being up to date.
As the spring sun touched the land, the mountain passes unfroze. After cold winter and people rejoice the coming spring. The warden of Emberwell citadel, however did not. With worry the High Lord Dorelion Kayen the Younger, stood daily on the parapet of his palace gazing north, looking for any sign of his scouts.
One chilly morning, a scouting party returned bringing the dreaded news: Volgor Skullhunta lead his warriors from the Plains of Doom and was marching south. The citadel of Emberwell, sole stronghold of Elvenkin in the north, standing in his path.
Yet again the cat and mouse game between the elves of Emberwell and the Black Banna orcs would begin. Another year of strife, battle, blood and steel lay before the High Lord. He felt terribly old and tired as he ordered his commanders to muster their regiments.
We decided to go for a generic kill scenario, set in an open plain. As said before, we didn’t play a lot of Kings of war recently and needed to get familiar with our orcs and elves again.
After rolling for set-up we fielded our armies. I won the roll and decided Eric should go first.
Eric’s orcs were set up in asymmetric fashion. His heavy hitters, like a hill giant, some gore rider and other nasty orc brutes, made up the main part on his right flank. His fast(er) units, supported by goblins and some trolls, were deployed on his left flank.
My elves were facing a superior number of units and despite the good profile stats of the elves, I was worried. I decided to go for a more defensive tactic and made the enemy come to me. I relied on my archers and the sea guard to weaken the orcs with ranged attacks, before my close combat units would catch the full might of the orcish advance. It was a gamble…
2. Opening Gambit
Having won the privilege to decide what side would go first, my elves graciously allowed the orcs to start our Kings of war game. My idea was, to get the Eric’s orcs into range of my bows and bolt thrower.
As expected, the orc left flank advanced quickly, with the chariot leading the charge. Luckily my ranged units rolled a lot of hits (thank goodness for the elite special rule). The chariot and the troll unit leading Eric’s charge were wavering after my first shooting phase, effectively blocking Eric’s troops on the left flank.
On the right flank, the gore rider and the hill giant came dangerously close to my lines. Being in range, the elven tallspear horde engaged Eric’s only cavalry unit, while a seaguard-regiment charged the giant. The tallspear routed the gore rider, thus opening the centre of the battlefield to my elvish forces.
Meanwhile the hill giant kept on fighting with my seaguard. I had long decided the fate of these noble warriors: they would keep the blasted hill giant busy until I took control of the right flank or die trying. (they died trying -_-)
3. Midgame madness
As the battle raged on, no clear victor was apparent.
Eric desperately tried to maneuver his troops on the left flank, while my ranged units battered them with arrows and bolts. Eventually, the chariot, orclings and trolls were routed and the elvish palace guard and seaguard could enter in close combat with Eric’s regular troops.
The elves were able to keep control of the left flank for the better part of the midgame.
That said, the right flank was a completely different story. Eric threw his orcs against the elvish tallspear, but no side was able to waver or even rout its opponent.
Next to this fierce combat the hill giant launched a devastating counter charge against the seaguard, wrecking havoc in their ranks. Luckily an elven mage with heal and a standard bearer wearing the shroud of the saint were close by. Both healed the heck out of the seaguard, trying to keep them alive. Thus they avoided the elven front to crumble.
Meanwhile, the orcs spellcaster, Orco Yellow Eye, wandered into the centre of the battlefield, trying to support his masters troops on the left flank. The elven general seized the opportunity and charged the vile wretch. Against all odds, not only did the valiant warlord not manage to beat the meek mage; he himself became the target of magic spells and a unit of morax, forcing him to retreat.
At the start of turn six, the elven lines began slowly to falter. Time was the killer… time and the dice.
I was fully aware, that despite the good combat stats of the elves, the resilience of the orcs could turn the tide of war against me at any moment..
Towards the end of the game (turn 7), most of the orcish units were (luckily) either heavily damaged or routed. The elves lost the better part of their units on the left flank, most of the ranged units, a mage and their general. The latter was slain by the orc krudger Ulag.
To the right, only the elven tallspears and their “support healers” were still standing tall, but were not close enough to the take out the surviving orc units.
Prince Veterius Kayen, son to the High Lord of Emberwell, pulled himself free from a heap of corpses. With wide eyes he gazed upon the devastation before him. Then he noticed a single banner waving in the centre of the battlefield. Torn, muddied, but proudly declaring the victory of Emberwell. A victory paid with blood and sorrow.
Exhausted he looked at the body of a dead Morax and wondered how much time the citadel would have gained, until Skullhunta would send yet another war party south…
After a fierce battle, my elves were able to beat Eric’s orcs, but at a heavy price. Most of Eric’s units were lost or would soon have been taken out. My army was a little better of. Luckily my horde of tallspear and the two very pricey bolt thrower, as well as a mage and standard bearer were still standing.
Thus I was the winner by points. In theory, a glorious victory.