As part of our ongoing Warhammer Fantasy (8e) campaign, we played a siege game this weekend. Alan, Amy and Ed would be fielding a combined Vampire Counts, Skaven and Chaos Warrior force inside the castle, while myself, James and Andy would be assaulting with a combined Wood and High Elf army.
For the rules, we used the siege mechanics from the Blood in the Badlands campaign book (worth picking up, incidentally, if you see one on eBay).
The besieged forces sets up first, with a few pre-games shenanigans taking place. The Elves had elected to engage in a rapid assault which meant less starvation inside the castle but life would be more difficult for their reinforcements. Two walls had been made distinctly less stable by elven undermining, while pre-battle artillery caused the deaths of a handful of Wood Elves and Dryads.
The basic plan for the elves was to have Dryads, Treekin and Treemen lead a frontal assault on the walls and gates while Wood Elf archers kept the heads of the defenders down. Units of Sea Guard would occupy the defenders on the flanking walls while flying units (Dragon Mage, Frostheart Phoenix and High Elf Prince on Griffon) would cause trouble in the courtyard.
Victory would be decided in one of two ways. The defenders would gain an automatic victory if their reinforcements could enter the castle by the gates. The attackers would gain victory by taking three objectives inside the castle (on the towers) or, if they only had two, by causing more casualties. Anything else was a win for the defenders.
During the first turn, the Frostheart Phoenix grabbed a few skeletons from off the left hand wall, while Rat Ogres placed in a tower were pelted by arrow fire from the Sea Guard – this successfully killed all the Packmasters in the unit who had decided to peek over the battlements to see what was going on. Wood Elf Waywatchers managed to nobble a Necromancer who also leaned out too far.
Meanwhile, the treefolk started their advance as Wood Elf archery, assisted by Flaming Standards, started to whittle down the defenders.
Return fire form the castle saw various globules of plague and poison arc high into the air from various Skaven war machines, but the high point was a Doom Rocket fired at a unit of Glade Guard whose casualties forced them to flee the field of battle. It should be noted that the gate section of the castle, containing Warlock Engineers and Clanrats was bombarded by one of their own Poison Wind Mortars…
Orion and the Treekin both assaulted the gates and front wall respectively, and carried the day, sweeping zombies and rats from the battlements. An Elven banner now flew from the gate section! The Clan Rats had very few options with where to flee and ended up outside the walls on the flank – an interesting image of a horde of rats pouring off the walls! Dryads tried the same on the tower containing Chaos Warriors and, predictably, got spanked for their efforts.
Meanwhile, the High Elf flying detachment cleared the walls in a single swoop and landed in the courtyard, ready to cause trouble in the next turn.
The defenders had lost the front sections of the castle, but were still strong elsewhere, and now a Chaos Lord on his Dragon, accompanied by a Chimera, were now flying over the battlefield, looking for choice Elven units to descend upon.
In their turn, the defenders inside the courtyard utterly mobbed the Phoenix, which now found itself in combat with a massive horde of Zombies and a Hellcannon which had failed to control itself!
The Vampire Counts lead Necromancer had decided that being on the walls while Wood Elf Waywatchers were about was not conducive to a long and healthy life, and dropped down into the courtyard. The Dragon Mage watched him dive into the Garden of Morr inside, but his path was blocked by the Mortis Engine. Summoning his courage (I never like getting this model into combat!), he charged and tore the war machine apart.
Outside, seeing the assault was beginning to lose momentum, the Wood Elf Archers started to advance, ready to back up the attack if weight of numbers was needed. Meanwhile, the Chaos Lord charged the Treeman in front of him as the High Elf Archmage used Walk Between Worlds to send Dryads straight into the courtyard.
The Treeman lasted for two rounds of combat, but its end was fairly inevitable. Meanwhile, the Chimera had flown behind the Archer line and was now threatening their rear. The other Archer unit turned to fire upon it, reducing it to one wound but the Archmage, having seen how the wind was blowing, had already left the Archer unit he was hiding in to, umm, oversee the assault in finer detail. Yes, that was it. Overseeing. Definitely not getting out of Dodge before the Chimera crashed into the rear of that unit.
With a lack of targets, the Dragonmage grabbed a few Skeletons from a wall, while the Prince on the Griffon charged into the second Hellcannon with his Star Lance, seriously damaging it. The Phoenix continued to hold against the horde it was fighting, damaging the Hellcannon it faced in the process.
While the front walls were held by the attackers and, frankly, carnage was taking place inside the courtyard, the towers holding the objectives were no closer to falling. The Frostheart Phoenix continued to hold against the mob attacking it, while the Chaos Lord on the Dragon turned around and attacked Orion in a confrontation that would continue to the end of the battle.
The Dragonmage had watched the High Necromancer scuttle into one of the crypts in the Garden of Morr – just what he had been waiting for. Summoning every scrap of magic he could find, the Dragonmage hurled a massive fireball into the crypt (counts as a building, so re-rolling failed wounds) and incinerated the evil wizard. All the other Necromancers had, by this time, fallen, so the Undead part of the evil alliance were now literally crumbling.
However, the Dragonmage’s elation was short-lived. A unit of Ghouls had left their tower and now charged him in the rear, slaying his dragon. The Mage managed to get away, but the Ghouls were hot on his trail and there were not too many places to run inside the courtyard…
Outside, the Chimera was finally brought down by arrow fire and the once-fleeing Clan Rats reorganised themselves as they were charged by the Sea Guard.
Finally, there was a low cry of elation (along with some excited squeaking) as the defender’s reinforcements arrived – a unit of Hexknights and Chaos Warhounds. If they could just get into the gates (and they had the movement to do it), victory would go to the defenders straight away. However, first Orion had to be knocked off the gate section…
Orion took the opportunity during a lull in his battle with the Chaos Lord to throw his spear – it was an accurate throw that saw the Chaos Lord skewered and plummet from his mount. The Dragon was somewhat upset by this and went into a frenzy, giving Orion everything he could handle.
The High Elf Archmage unleashed a Fiery Convocation on the Stormvermin holding the tower (they had swapped positions with the massively battered Chaos Warriors) but despite killing a couple of dozen rats, he knew it was too little and too late.
The reinforcements were, at least, taken care of. The Chaos Warhounds were shot to pieces by Wood Elf archery while the magical attacks of the Dryads quickly put paid to the Hexknights.
However, as the sun began to set on the battlefield, it was clear the castle was not going to fall. Both sides had suffered greatly (in fact, I have a feeling the Skaven Warlord was the only surviving General!), but the three towers remained in the hands of the defenders. Granted, one set of those hands belonged to Rat Ogres suffering from Stupidity, another set were Skeletons that were literally falling part, and the third were a bunch of Skaven who frankly could not be trusted, but they were held all the same!
A good battle, and it is always nice to pull the castle out now and again. Now I just have to build that Chaos Dreadhold to make for a ‘proper’ evil castle!