Sunday, 18 September 2011

The third and final battle at Ashak Rise

Finally finished off the third, and final, play through of the Ashak Rise battle, part of the epic Bloodbath At Orc's Drift campaign. As regular visitors to this blog may recall, I am umpring this venerable Eighties Games Workshop campaign, originally penned for Warhammer, but using the Lord of the Rings skirmish rules instead.

Twice now, the orcs of the Severed Hand tribe have assaulted Ashak Rise, held by a small posse of dwarf deserters from the army of the Grand League of Ramalia. Once, the orcs were routed and the dwaves escaped with all their gold, panned from the river Canis. Second time around things did not go as well, with the dwarfs wiped out and the orcs victorious. For previous battles I suggest readers consult the battle reports earlier in this blog.

I decided to play this scenario out a third and final time, and average the results. This would determine how many Severed Hand orcs arrived at their eventual objective, Orc's Drift, and also at what stage in the battle.

For this battle there were only two of us, so no independent umpire - not that one is really needed for Ashak Rise. My opponent opted for the orcs, leaving me playing the dwarfs a second time. No biggie, but on this occasion I decided to experiment by deploying the dwarf leader, Borinn Fimbull, on the bridge rather than near the mules, which is where he started on previous occasions. This meant there would be no dwarfs initially close to the cabin. I wanted to see if it made any difference to the defence to have the strongest dwarf holding the bridge from the off.

The orcs duly arrived, and as ever, the dire wolves did the bulk of the fighting on the bridge. Two dwarfs were felled by orc arrow volleys as they raced towards the bridge, and Borinn amazingly was brought down thanks to some jammy rolling by the orc player. This photo shows his last moments as he was swarmed by wolves on the bridge, and faced five Str 4 attacks.

Luckily for the dwarves, Snorrin arrived in the nick of time to take over the defence of the bridge, holding it for four more turns before he too was killed. By this time three dwarfs were at the cabin loading gold onto the mules. Six dire wolves now raced for the cabin, but one dwarf managed to exit the game with a mule in the nick of time. This photo shows him just before the initiative roll - had the orcs won it, he would not have been able to escape.

Meanwhile, orcs arrows brought down one mule. A second dwarf set off cross-country with another pack mule and two bags of gold, but was eventually intercepted by the wolves, who first killed his mule, and then finished off the dwarf. A last dwarf tried to escape on foot with a single bag, but was also killed by the wolf pack. The other dwarfs died individually in various parts of the field.

Again, I was disappointed by the dwarf crossbows, which really made very little impact, even though four dwarfs spent nearly every turn in the first half of the game shooting. Both dwarf leaders died taking multiple attacks from the wolves - Snorrin was slain with 6,6,6,5 on the wolves' damage rolls. You can't really argue with that!

I had some really, really lousy rolls, although my luck did significantly come good at key points, for example when I needed Snorrin to get to the bridge before the wolves had a chance to break out onto the road east.

Total losses: one dwarf escaped with mule and two bags of gold, all other dwarfs KIA. Two orcs were killed, along with five wolves.

Next up: Linden Way! How will the Kwae Karr orcs manage against the Meledir town militia?

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