Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A large battle of elves vs. orcs in MapTool

After some time of inactivity, here is a battle report of elves vs. orcs using Rally Round the King, played in MapTool. In this battle, the elves led by Yoselith the Defender have arrived to challenge Warchief Zagul's campaign of conquest.

Game setup, with a 1" grid and force leaders marked

Yoselith's forces are concentrated at the center. At the front there are four units of elf archers, followed by two bodies of elf soldiers. At the rear, Yoselith stands with three units of elf marines, ready to come to support the battle as needed. [As I played the elves, I made the recruitment rolls and deployed them before finding out what the orcs would do.]

Zagul's main forces are a wide line of melee troops including ogres at the center, black moon orcs and then orc soldiers. In front of them are three units of skirmishers (orc archers.) Warchief Zagul stands with two units of wolf riders and two units of soldiers. Ready to take the other flank are two units of trolls and another two units of soldiers. Lastly, their reserve is composed of two more units of soldiers.

The orc skirmishers advanced, followed by their line of soldiers. The elf forces moved too, their archers firing before the orcs could get into range. The skirmishers moved back, now pressed against the advancing wall of their own troops. Meanwhile, the trolls and wolf riders kept shouting at their own commanders, unable to maneuver to the flanks.

Angered with his troop's lack of discipline, Zagul sounded his horn to make all the forces (but the reserve) advance. The orc skirmishers ran to the woods to make way for the soldiers... and then the orcs charged, a tide of metal advancing on the battlefield. The elite elf archers stood their ground and fired at the approaching enemy, causing some damage but later they suffered heavy losses and routed. The elf soldiers directly behind the archers charged, but the orcs counter-charged and engaged again in melee.

Turn 4: the orc infantry charges the elf archers, while some of the elf soldiers were still maneuvering
The rest of the orc line advances, and the ogres enter combat. Despite their losses, the elf soldiers manage to push back some of the ogres and orcs. Elf discipline starts to show: the other body of elf soldiers makes an about-face and charges the side of the orc formation, causing a unit of orcs to rout. Meanwhile, the orc skirmishes start maneuvering again, to strike at the elves engaged in combat.

End of turn 5: the first line of orc warriors may be hurt but the trolls are coming to their aid
Warchief Zagul decided to join the battle and charged the second body of elf soldiers. However, the elves resisted and he found his dire wolves stuck between the enemy and his own troops [and unlucky rolls for his undisciplined units prevented them from joining the melee]. Eventually he was wounded and forced to abandon the combat. This caused some of the orcs to scatter, but the trolls and other orc soldiers were so filled with bloodlust that they kept fighting.

The battle continued and it was time for Yoselith to enter the fray. His elf marines managed to defeat the remaining orc soldiers, but with heavy losses. He then faced the raging trolls, hurt them but was forced to abandon the fight -- and along went the remaining elves.

In the end, only the trolls remained in the battlefield, looking for more victims of their blood frenzy. The orc invasion had been halted, but the elves were also left weakened.

This was a pretty balanced battle, with the elves elite units capable of countering the orcs' frenzy. Playing this on MapTool worked well (I also had some tokens on the hidden layer to help pivoting units). In fact, I intend to move all games larger than skirmishes to the virtual tabletop -- after all, I have been playing them mostly with flat counters. Surely, these screen captures using very simple tokens end up looking like some weird Tetris clone but I intend to make some better-looking ones.

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