We had another play-test yesterday, with Farid and Michel playing Orcs and Plains Elves respectively. I wanted to test some specific aspects:
* Is it possible to fight a delaying action
The orcs had a strong numerical superiority and some pretty crack troops (lots of B class due to lucky dice rolls, and quite good commanders). They were also supported by a small observing force of dark elves. They had gotten wind of a plains elves tribal camp a short way ahead past a ridge line, and wanted to get their paws on that. In addition the orcs had one hellhound, a 'big' single monster (but not huge or gargantuan), that was 'hard to kill' and 'spoiling for a fight'.
The plains elves ranger forces were tasked to delay the orcs for long enough to allow the tribe to pull up their tents and get the caravans out of there. To this end they had good troops, but unfortunately pretty crap generals. (Incredibly lousy die rolls).
Chapter One: Command Reshuffle
The elves deployed under blinds, and the orcs had to march onto the table as their cards came up. Grrr, the ogre hero strolled ahead of the army and roared loudly, obviously spoiling for a fight. The next to arrive was Grumbuzz, the orc warlord - surprisingly leading WAY from the front. The next thing to happen was a shocker. The 'Spoiling for a Fight' card came up, followed by a hero card - causing the ogre hero to look around for something to crunch. With no enemies in sight, he caught sight of a particularly obnoxious orc. He roared, charged, and beat Grumbuzz to pulp. Resulting in career opportunities for the first Orc commander to arrive and take the lead.
The remainder of the orc army started to arrive on table, soon followed by the small dark elf observing force. No elves had been spotted yet, but Michel was starting to look worried at the numbers facing him.
NB. The elves in the foreground are not deployed yet, they will be deployed on the blinds further down the field.
Trying to shake up the army facing him, one of the elf heroes strolled forward. He caught sight of the Akz, leveled his spear, ran ahead. Akz leapt forward, probably tripped, and ended up with a good part of the elf's spear burried in his chest. Scratch two leaders on the orc side.
Shortly after, the elf would make the mistake of challenging Blogsok, the wolfrider leader. His luck did not hold out, and he got put to good use as wolf fodder.
Chapter Two: Taking it to the elves
Seeing the ogres coming to a halt, Grr personally took charge of the lead unit and got them moving again. In the center, meanwhile, one bunch of orcs was making good progress, but the other half of their infantry got bogged down due to their commander being an incompetent git. ('Poor' card consistently coming up before his, and no CiC to pass on an activation)
On the elvish left, a combination of Blogsok's wolfriders, and Grr's ogres charged down the hill onto the ranger cavalry. The rangers kept their ground for a short while, but were soon thrown back in disarray.
The next thing to happen was quite a surprise. Farid had kind of ignored his hell-hound, and he was just about to pay the price. The 'Spoiling for a Fight' came about again, followed by the hero/monster card that allowed his hell-hound to activate. The hell-hound looked around for something tasty, but in front of him was nothing but orcs and dark elves. In fact, the dark elf general with his bone armour looked kinda crunchy. The combat was short and decisive. The dark elf general got picked up, chewed, toyed with, then discarded. Due to being an extremely tough guy, he clung on to consciousness, but only barely - still able to operate as a leader, but not a very good one by far.
None of this, however, delayed the main advance of the orcish army. Both on left and right flank, they were pushing back the elven light cavalry, and the first real line of defence was discovered in the woods in front of them.
Unfortunately, the elven army was too far spread out in depth for the separate brigades to support each other, so the only option open was to fall back at best speed.
An explosion spell, followed by orc skirmishers amazing friend and foe by actually hitting something, set the stage for the orc infantry clearing the first clump of trees of elven defenders, without significant losses on either side.
As the elven army was far too spread out to support eachother, the game wasn't a good test of whether or not a fighting withdrawal is possible. However, one last aspect that I wanted to test came up soon after. The elven pegasus riders had just risen odd the ground when the hell-hound crested the hill, and charged straight at them. Luckily, the elves did not panic and sent a quick volley of arrows at the hound. A lucky shot caught the creature in the eye, causing it to fall flat on the ground underneath them heaving it's dying breath.
Observations and thoughts
* Spoiling for a Fight is scary. If you have any of those morons, get them in range of the enemy as soon as possible so they don't go off at their buddies.
* Monsters seem to work okay, both in combat with individuals and with units. However, the freedom they have makes them pretty damn powerful. Use with care.
* Flying: Didn't really get to test them much. However, as an interesting side effect of the altitude bands, a grounded unit cannot evade out of reach rightaway, since the first band is still within melee range. I kinda like that, makes them vulnerable on the ground.
* Orders: I need to work on the list of available orders and the definition thereof. In particular, what is allowed under manoeuvre orders.