I decided to take a knightly retinue warband, so put together a retinue for Sir Gaherunt to take out into the wilderness and bring civilisation at the point of a very sharp sword. Here is the list I decided upon:
Sir Gaherunt Q3+ C4 Leader, Knight, Chivalry, Heavy Armour 78pts
Sir Bartrum Q3+ C4 Knight, Chivalry 42pts
Sir Launce Q3+ C4 Knight, Chivalry 42pts
Sir Agloval Q3+ C4 Knight, Chivalry 42pts
Robert Q4+ C2 Shooter:Long 26pts
John Q4+ C2 Shooter:Long 26pts
Simon Q4+ C3 None 23pts
Paul Q4+ C3 None 23pts
I hoped this would give me a good mix between close combat and ranged attacks, as well as giving me an opportunity to use my painted knights (the spearmen and crossbowmen were still WIP, shamefully).
We rolled for the Quest for a Magic Item scenario, which seemed appropriate with knights and set up as follows. The three possible locations for the magic item were marked with unused slotta-bases.
Despite the urging of Sir Gaherunt, the members of his retinue were reluctant to advance with any haste, lacking enthusiasm to close with the shambling abominations ahead; how do you kill what's already dead? The vampiric fallen knight who led the undead showed no such hesitation and dashed forward to claim the magical sword upon the bridge over the river.
Meanwhile, Sir Agloval had left his lily-livered squires behind, forded the river and charged forward to mercilessly dispatch the ghoul who was still feasting upon his last victim.
Rallying his troops with appeals to their honour, Sir Gaherunt led the charge across the bridge.
The vampire clutched his new-found blade and smote the brave knight, exuding a terrifying aura of darkness and cold. Blanching but remaining steadfast, Gaherunt parried the enchanted weapon (which promptly shattered) and pushed back its unholy wielder. Summoning his might, he then struck down the skeleton before him with such power that not only did it crumble into dust, but the other revenants also were returned to what should have been their eternal rest. Cursing in a tongue unspoken by the living, the black-armoured fiend vanished in a swirl of evil smoke leaving Gaherunt and his retinue the undisputed masters of the field.
Poor Barnaby, the curse of the brittle undead warband struck hard! Like I said in my previous post, this has now been addressed within a rules update; apparently the bulk of the initial playtesting had looked at mixed warbands rather than the 'pure' forces that seem to be favoured in Northern Europe and the Americas. Anyway, I picked up a slew of victory points and chose 'Combat Masters' as my advance.
Next up I played against Oscar, giving him an introduction to the game (he was our new recruit). He'd watched a couple of games previously, plays plenty of pc strategy games, and had a pretty vicious and resilient dwarf list drawn up for him by one of the other lads - the one who destroyed my halflings last time round (don't worry, loyal readers, I get him back later mwahaha!).
Our game boiled down to a pretty chaotic melee around the ford (we used the same table layout as before) with a run of about six turns where either the first activation caused a turnover, or a gruesome death caused panic. In the end I nudged it, but from a position of strength (thanks to knowing the rule better) I came this close > < to being broken. I had to use my crossbowmen to slip in and knife his chaps on the floor; there was precious little chivalry shown, sad to say.
After finally putting the last of the dwarfs to flight or to the sword, Sir Gaherunt leant exhausted upon his sword and cast an eye over his comrades. It was not good; Bartrum and Launce would be in no fit state to don armour or grasp a sword for weeks to come, although it looked likely they would eventually make a full recovery, praise be. Agloval was limping but refusing aid. At least the peasants seemed well and had made a good showing in the skirmish. He decided that he better had take on Simon's cousin to bolster the ranks, at least while his knights recovered from their wounds.
In game terms, Bartrum and Launce would miss next game and then come back with -1 to all Q rolls. Algoval was less badly injured but would be at -1 to Q rolls in the next game. With the victory points gained I recruited another spearman, Adam.
Pizza arrived during the game and then most of the lads went off to play Space Hulk:
Now, I think that the picture above is where the game was paused when we had to pack up because they were locking the school, so there you go lads that should help you set up to resume where you left off.
While that was going on I had a revenge match of SBH against Niall (the dwarf chap who slaughtered my halflings). This time I was ready for him, having actually read the rules before the game. Practically cheating, I know! Once again, it all swung on a scrap by the ford. I actually caused a casualty using my archers (*)! Careful use of minions to run in, their Q boosted by Leader, and then make powerful attacks with my two knights (the others were resting in an infirmary bed somewhere, remember) chopped his rats into kebab-sized chunks. Mmmm, revenge!
Another victory to round off the evening was pleasant indeed. Apart from the undead collapse, the games were close and tense right to the end. The only thing that felt wrong was the ineffectiveness of missile attacks, which is what the (*) was about. I'm sure I read somewhere that someone had trialled having a split C score, one for hand to hand and one for ranged. Any other suggestions welcome.
Right, it's past my bedtime.