Sunday 25 February 2024

Assault on Bad Reinigung (Oathmark)

 My experiments with Oathmark continue. This time, I am adding character figures to the mix, specifically commanders and champions. I have finished painting enough figures to field fully painted units(!) and have made some movement trays to ease movement. Now my troops can slide around the battlefield as if on rails. The trays are a little off in places, because I am not good at measuring and cutting as accurately as I could wish, or it might just be the bases of the figures that I did not cut precisely enough when I did them originally. However, they are all made from scrap materials and only cost me time, so I am happy enough. I have plans to add magnetic sheet to the trays if I can find a relatively cheap source here in Norway. That and some steel paper will sort the main issues with keeping the figures securely on the movement trays.

I have also made some unit cards for the game. These have the stats for the units listed on them, and those units with a champion or captain leading them have that character listed on them too. They are playing card sized and should do quite nicely instead of a roster. Putting them in card protectors means that I can use wipeable markers to mark them up if I need to make changes during a battle.

Smarting from their previous defeats at the hands of the humans, the Orcs have descended on the picturesque village of Bad Reinigung. This time, they have brought two of their most fearsome warriors and one of their greatest minor commanders. Captain Bloodnok of Bloodnok's Marauders has high hopes, especially because he has managed to recruit some giant spiders to his force. Surely that will be enough to put an end to the hegemony of the Human heavy cavalry.

On the Human side, Captain Nedbart Seagoon, commander of Seagoon's Doorsmashers, hopes to end Orcish incursions into his district. Let that fop General Bluebottle or one of the other district commanders deal with the Orcs instead. He is fed up of it. All he wants is to sit on his verandah in Bad Reinigung and enjoy the view across the valley to the River Vaskelv, a view that takes in his steadily growing herd of hairy pigs. He will be relying on Sir Ferax the Trampler and his unit of heavy cavalry to trample the Orcs under foot and scatter them to the winds. He also hopes the Sir Edric Doomsayer will speak the doom of many an Orc this day.

I diced randomly to see how much terrain to set out and where to place it. The dice decided on 5 pieces of terrain. They also chose to place 3 of those in the Human centre and the village of Bad Reinigung on the Human right. Only a single hill found its way into the Orcish set-up zone. I also diced for deployment, applying a little common sense as needed. The Orcs concentrated their forces around the hill in their centre and on their left flank. The humans spread out a bit, but with their two wings separated by a marsh and a forested hill.

The villagers of Bad Reinigung had fled their idyllic village and headed into the hills. It was safer that way. Now their fields were about to be trampled by the two armies facing each other across the valley.

The view from the Orcish lines

The Orcs had deployed their units to give them a numerical advantage in manoeuvring. The Humans had deployed in depth to try to stay the course.

The armies manoeuvred towards each other. Captain Seagoon planned to take the weaker flank of the Orcs out and then to fall on the remainder. Captain Bloodnok planned to walk straight over the puny Humans, although he had learned respect for the Human cavalry in previous battles. As they closed, Captain Seagoon raised his sword into the air and uttered the battle cry of his ancestors.


Captain Bloodnok gave the time-honoured reply: an Orcish battle cry of great antiquity.


The Orcish archers let fly their arrows and scored first blood. An enemy archer would not be going home tonight. The Human response was to shoot the Orcish soldiers. The Rememberers would be singing of those soldiers.

Then the battle lines clashed.

The early fighting saw casualties falling on both sides and gaps appearing in the lines. The archers were effective and whittled away at the enemy. The warriors fought hard and Orcish soldiers fell alongside their Human counterparts. Sir Ferax the Trampler's cavalry fared poorly in these early clashes as Captain Bloodnok's Marauders cut them down and left them disordered. The Orcs were sworn to vengeance and held steady even as their dead piled up. The Humans were less sure and seemed to be wavering.

Wolves score 5 hits on the archers but suffer 3 in return. This was a bloody combat indeed!

The Wolves joined the fray and suddenly the Human archers were puppy chow! But, it was at a cost to the Wolves. They were all slaughtered by Seagoon's Doorsmashers, who wheeled round and attacked the Wolves in the rear.

As the battle progressed and the casualties increased, the Spiders joined the fray, and Argrabad the Irascible proved that an Orc mounted on a giant bear was the equal of a unit of human soldiers if he could only get the bear turned in time to attack the humans in the flank.

With total collapse of the Orcish and Human right wings, the remaining forces wheeled to charge straight down the valley. Unfortunately, the Orcs were too much for the Humans. There were just too many Orcs attacking from too many different directions and the Humans were cut down almost to a man.

A lone archer surveys the oncoming Orcish horde

Only a single archer remained. Even though the Orcish horde had been cut in half, it was not enough. He prepared to sell his life dearly as he gathered arrows from his fallen comrades, for he had used all those in his quiver. Bad Reinigung would be an Orcish village for now. Its jam buttie mines would feed the Orcs, not the Humans, and the clear waters of the River Vaskelv would refresh Orcish throats not Human ones. For now anyway. No doubt the skalds would sing of the archer's stand and it would inspire future generations to retake the valley.

Well, that went completely the other way from previous games. Part of the issue was set-up, part was having so many fewer units than the Orcs, and part was poor activation rolls by the Humans. They did as badly as the Orcs had in previous games. It was good fun though, and the addition of champions and commanders changed the dynamic of the game. Being able to coordinate attacks by using the commanders was very useful. I need to read the champions and commanders rules again to make sure I am doing it all correctly before I add spellcasters, but this definitely seems to take some of the sting out of the Human Heavy Cavalry. I think I am going to mix up the Human army a bit for the next game though. They need more units to counter the Orc hordes, maybe by deploying in less depth, and it might be fun to add a monster to their side too.

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