The Battle of the Watch Towers- Orcs versus High Elves

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The Battle of the Watch Towers- Orcs versus High Elves

Postby Ratty » Wed Aug 30, 2017 12:53 pm

The Battle of the Watch Towers.
The orcs victory at Yoke Falls drew more clans to the war banners. Many of these roving bands were intercepted and wiped out by the elves seeking to isolate the main orc force, hoping, that as the noose tightened, the orcs would succumb to infighting and then scatter,
However, the elves reckoned without the appearance of larger enemy groups, usually too suspicious of each other to form alliances, the orcs were drawn by the promise of loot and new lands to expand into.
One of these larger groups even managed to slip undetected far into elvish territory before they stumbled upon a line of watch towers being repaired to give warning of just such an event. The elves carrying out this work were caught off guard and scrambled to mount a force to face the oncoming orcs.
Table Overview
An almost completed watch tower looking down to the river
Another tower guarding the bridge

This battle was fought between 2 armies of approximately 260 points (we always allow a little leeway with points, and it also gives the player with fewer points- even though it's only usually about a 5 or 6 difference- a great excuse for their defeat!)
Mark’s scrambled defence was as follows:
1 Hero General, 3 Generals, 5 Spearmen, 6 Archers, 1 Treemen, 1 Giants, 1 Giant Eagles, 2 Dragons. A force with no cavalry! I was amazed when Mark elected to choose table edge and set up first. His force took position in the centre of the table and were obviously intent on forming a defensive line anchored firmly in the woodlands to the front of their position. The treemen and giants were placed to provide a serious deterrent to any approaching attackers. The flyers were to provide mobile support, but also crucially deny key territory to the orcs (hexes occupied by enemy flyers cannot be passed through by any opposing forces).
The elves deploy. "A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a... what do you mean we forgot to bring them!"
The right flank of the elf army preparing to advance up the hill
Last edited by Ratty on Thu Aug 31, 2017 2:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The Battle of the Watch Towers- Orcs versus High Elves

Postby Ratty » Wed Aug 30, 2017 12:58 pm

My orc force consisted of:
1 Hero General, 4 Generals, 6 Horde units (arranged into 4 blocks of 6 stands each), 6 Mountain Orcs, 3 Heavy Chariots, 3 Wolf Riders, 2 Giants. Now it was Mark’s turn to be surprised when he realised I had no missile support or flyers! My plan was simple, close the gap and charge. With superior numbers and cavalry, I split my force into 2 attack forces with the intention of forcing the elves to spread their defence and not allow them to focus their massed ranks of archers at any one point. However, Mark’s mastery of the skies could prove crucial to the outcome…
The orc host
Heavy chariots, ready to race for the hill top
Heavy infantry and giants to contest the river

The game opened with the orcs surging forward. Giants, Mountain Orcs and Wolf Riders headed for the bridge and the river. Two Generals, one being the Hero General led this powerful force. I placed this robust force here hoping their resilience would see them across the river even in the face of elven missile fire. Heavy chariots, hordes, mountain orcs and 3 generals headed for the wooded hill on the left. The gap between the trees was crucial for my chariots to pass through, so they raced ahead determined to seize it.
The orcs move towards the river

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Re: The Battle of the Watch Towers- Orcs versus High Elves

Postby Ratty » Wed Aug 30, 2017 2:08 pm

The elves in the centre advanced into the woodland. A strong force moved up the slopes of the hill on the right flank. Two units of flyers moved into the gap the orc chariots were also heading for, I was getting worried the elves would succeed in denying a way through for the heavy chariots. On the other flank, a lone unit of dragons flew to the river, opened fire and forced a unit of wolf riders to recoil.
The elves hurry for the woods
Dragons move to guard the river

Turn 2. With the elves hurrying to form up, the orcs knew they had to push hard to gain the woodlands on the hill, the clear ground between those woods and the river crossing points. The giants stomped to the bridge, wolf riders sped into the deeper waters of the river to their right (an early crossing here might disrupt the elves from mounting a cohesive defence on this flank). Mountain orcs formed up ready to push into the shallower river sections next turn.
The giants assemble at the bridge

On the other flank. The orc hordes swept towards the woods, the shadowy green depths would offer them good protection from the cursed elven arrows and allow them to approach relatively unscathed (hopefully!)
The hordes race for the safety of the trees

The heavy chariots could see the only clear route on the hill being rapidly closed, however a narrow corridor still remained open. They whipped their slathering wolves to greater efforts and flew through the gap. My concern was that if Mark closed around the chariots they would have nowhere to retreat to due to the woods at their backs, and with the infantry support still slogging to catch up they were on their own for the time being. The elves missile fire was ineffective, but with Mark’s turn next, the orcs were about to suffer!
The heavy chariots race through the rapidly closing gap
Last edited by Ratty on Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Battle of the Watch Towers- Orcs versus High Elves

Postby Ratty » Wed Aug 30, 2017 2:17 pm

Overview of the action

The elves moved some archers to support the dragons, but the majority of their forces consolidated their position ready to face the brunt of the greenskin attack. Unfortunately for Mark, most of the wooded areas where his troops cowered (I mean stood proudly ready to fight to the last), was set too far back for them to target orcs in the river, instead the orcs would be across before being fired upon- Missile fire caused light casualties to the forward orc units, but two out of the three orc chariot units were disrupted.
The heavy chariots in disarray
Wolf riders forced to flee from the river

My next turn saw my massed infantry pressing forward again. I had the brilliant idea of sending the hero general, along with a unit of giants, over the bridge to engage the elves early. The panic caused by this assault would fragment his line and leave it open to massed attack. Brilliant! Only problem was, I decided to move the other infantry first- Mountain orcs entered the river en masse, whilst the horde units swarmed into the safety of the woods on the hill- now to move the giants… but I didn’t. The fog of battle descended (game speak for “Oops, I forgot,”) and I left them where they were. Doh! The missile round saw the elves drive back and disrupt more wolf riders at the river, whilst on the hill a veritable arrow storm caused havoc amongst the orc horde units.
Mountain orcs spalsh into the river
Orc hordes seize the woods

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Re: The Battle of the Watch Towers- Orcs versus High Elves

Postby Ratty » Wed Aug 30, 2017 2:24 pm

The orcs reel back from the arrow strom

As the orcs reeled on the hill, Mark seized the opportunity and sent in the treemen! They pummelled the remaining orcs in the wood, forcing them back- unfortunately the only avenue for retreat was to push back and disrupt the mountain orcs behind (along with their general). The treemen followed up straight into the middle of the three disrupted hordes. It was looking very bad indeed for the orcs!
Treemen lumber into the woods
Chaos erupts in the orc ranks as the treemen batter them back

The elves continued to pepper the wolf riders in the river, this time driving back their general too. However, the main orcish threat crossing the river was unchallenged, with the elves content to await them in the woods.
More wolf riders fall back under fire, this time with a general as well

At the start of the fourth turn, I took stock of the situation. The assault on the river was continuing well. The mountain orcs finished crossing and prepared themselves to charge, although a single unit did move to engage the elves near to the river. They were met by missile fire and forced back into the water. The giants were at last let loose, led by the hero general, and smashed into a unit of elf archers sheltering in an area of woodland nearest to the bridge. A panicked volley of arrows failed to halt the giants, and the elves were crushed. The giants followed up into the woods. The scattered units of wolf riders rallied.
The orc heavy assault troops form up, as giants smash into a unit of elf archers

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Re: The Battle of the Watch Towers- Orcs versus High Elves

Postby Ratty » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:28 pm

The orc giant's take the woodland

The fighting on the orc left flank intensified, the heavy chariots charged in, resisted the missile volley, succeeded in driving back a unit of archers, and locked an elf general in melee.
Heavy chariots hit home

To counter the treemen, the only unit able to attack was a force of mountain orcs with a general. However, fighting treemen in woodland is no easy feat and needed some luck to be effective. I promptly rolled a double 6. Huzzah, free drinks of tea and biscuits for all! My jubilation was short lived, as Mark rolled a double 5 and melee was formed… put away the custard creams and cancel the tea, the fickle dice strike again (mutter, mutter, grumble, grumble). My turn over, I awaited Mark’s response.
Double 6- well worth a photo!
Mark's roll- there must be something in the rules to stop this sort of thing happening to me...
The treemen acting like a giant orc magnet
Last edited by Ratty on Thu Aug 31, 2017 12:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Battle of the Watch Towers- Orcs versus High Elves

Postby Ratty » Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:02 pm

The fighting on the hill was raging. The elves fighting the chariots had mixed success, with losses on both sides.
The battle involving the chariots rages to and fro.

Mark committed a unit of archers into the woodland to draw the attack of the mountain orcs fighting the treemen.
Elf archers move to divert the mountain orcs away from the treemen

This forlorn hope was swiftly crushed and the orcs followed up. However, their sacrifice proved decisive for the treemen, as they promptly won and then destroyed all 3 of the disrupted orc horde units. This was a record in our games- 18 stands wiped out in one combat! My casualty tray suddenly looked full.
Where have my hordes gone? The treemen stand victorious

At the river, Mark threw his own giants against mine. The battle between these monstrous adversaries shook the trees as they locked in a deadly melee. Elf archers moved forward to form up on the flank of their giants, and readied their bows to halt the mountain orcs bellowing on the river bank. However, the dragon riders, who could have moved in front of the line of archers to restrict the orc’s avenues of attack, failed to move (Mark cursed his failure to do this, and admitted he had not used them as effectively as he should have all game- I was, of course, very understanding of this, although my supportive words may have been lost between all the laughter).
The giants clash
Melee forms, but the next wave of orcs is imminent

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Re: The Battle of the Watch Towers- Orcs versus High Elves

Postby Ratty » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:32 pm

Turn 5 opened with mountain orcs and giants hurling themselves at the elven line. The elf archers fired, but I think were distracted as they searched the skies for aerial support, and only succeeded in driving back one unit. The combat round saw the elf line collapse with the loss of their giants, a unit of archers and another unit forced to recoil. At last the elves were beginning to take serious casualties! A strong force of elves still held the large wood on the flank, but were cut off from the rest of the army.
Orcs attck all along the elven line
The elf line in tatters

On the hill, I launched 2 units at the rampaging treemen and drove them back, destroying one stand and disrupting them in the process. The mountain orcs followed up, although they now faced the wounded treemen alone- still a daunting opponent.
The treemen, though disrupted, are still a dangerous foe

The heavy chariots with the general, now joined with mountain orcs emerging from the woods, were now tearing through the elves, wiping out a unit apiece. Unfortunately, the other 2 units of chariots were being slowly wiped out by the driven further away from the main fight- I decided to leave them to their fate.
The elf spearmen and general prepare to despatch the remnants of 2 units of heavy chariots

With the situation rapidly deteriorating for the elves, Mark could only offer limited resistance- although he did finish off the 2 units of orc chariots, and the treemen, driving back the mountain orcs, continued adding to the heaps of orc dead already littering the hilltop.
The unstoppable treemen

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Re: The Battle of the Watch Towers- Orcs versus High Elves

Postby Ratty » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:44 pm

Turn 6 witnessed the last stand of the elves, The orcs attacked with all units available. The last desperate volleys of arrows drove both units of giants back, but it was to no avail. The last few stands of elves needed to break their army fell, and the survivors fled.
The giants close in for the kill...
... but are promptly driven back
But all too late for the elves, and those who can, flee

Another great game finished. It was interesting to see the impact of the unconventional army choices. There is great flexibility in the army lists, and it’s great fun to experiment with the unit blends, although the choices can often backfire with spectacular results, it is still fun to see your opponent’s face as you unveil your new “unbeatable” army for the first (and probably last) time.
The next battle will see, at last, the orcs arriving at Caerfen, brimming with confidence from their run of victories. The defenders really will need to be prepared well to defeat the encroaching hordes!

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Re: The Battle of the Watch Towers- Orcs versus High Elves

Postby Norm » Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:54 am

Nice account, enjoyed thanks. those 6 base units look good on the terrain.

When I do a similar set-up, I find it difficult for the camera to pick up rolling terrain as I have a lot of overhead light (glass roof) and it tends to flatten out all of the shadow - I am looking for ways to add another texture to my slopes that would be both subtle, yet more clearly define them for the camera.

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