Wednesday, 10 April 2013


This battle was fought using Chainmail (3rd Edition)


I have never written a battle report before nor have I played Chainmail before, so this post represents a double first.

Chainmail was written for 40mm scale figures that are individually mounted. We used 15mm figures mounted on 40mm frontage bases. As a concession to the smaller scale we halved all ranges and movement distances and assumed a figure scale of 10 to 1 for massed troops.

I introduced the concept of 'skirmishers'. Under the rules they paid only half the cost for formation and facing (like cavalry) and they were allowed to split move and fire.

The giant was ruled to have a morale of 50.

The troll unit had a couple of special rules. Firstly, hits were distributed evenly between the models and secondly, each troll would regenerate one hit at the beginning of each of Chaos' goes (and they could come back from death if not dismembered and burnt).


The Nightwash River has long been the boundary between the Oblast and the Kingdom of Kalahar. For a long time the Magician Arax the Goatherd has wanted revenge against the Border Princes of Kalahar for it was they that caught and exiled him to the Oblast many moons ago. Since that time he has established a stronghold and accompanying dungeon in the foothills of the Broketooth Mountains. His insidious presence has tainted the lands about and he has turned many of the guttural creatures found there into his minions.

Arax wants his vengeance to be total. The armies of the Border Princes are to be vanquished, towns and villages raised to the ground, the population enslaved, woods burned and farmland salted. But before all this can occur he must first get his army into Kalahar.

There are two ways into Kalahar, the vast untamed wetlands of the Dreadpool Swamps (dangerous at any time of year), or, the Summer Fords (so named because only in Summer is the river low enough for their use). Arax has chosen to cross at the Summer Fords. Despite his best attempts at secrecy the March Wardens (Rangers tasked with patrolling the borders) have alerted the Border Princes of Arax’s presence and intent and an army has been assembled to stop him…


The Forces of Chaos: (517pts)

Arax the Goatherd (Magician + Fireball) @ 70pts
The Black Monk (Anti-Hero & Army Commander) @ 20pts
Groglax (Orc Anti-Hero) @ 20pts
240 Orc Spearmen + shield @ 48pts
100 Giant Orc Halberdiers @ 25pts
270 Orcs + shield @ 54pts
120 Orc Archers @ 48pts
80 Orc Skirmish Archers @ 32pts
160 Pikeorcs @ 48pts
240 Goblins @ 36pts
2 Trolls @ 30pts
1 Giant (Mabalog the Mighty) @ 50pts
120 Wargs @ 36pts

The Forces of Law: (515pts)

The White Prince (Hero & Army Commander) @ 30pts (Enchanted Armour)
The Duke (Hero) @ 20pts
The Sun Priest (Magician + Lightening Bolt) @ 70pts
180 Knights (split into two groups) @ 90pts
90 Men at Arms @ 36pts
120 Dismounted Knights @ 30pts
480 Billmen (split into two groups) @ 96pts
160 Axemen (Elite) + shield @ 32pts
1 Ent (Woodwind) @ 15pts
240 Elven Archers @ 96pts


The battle was fought along the length of a 6ft by 4ft table (although a 4ft by 4ft one could easily have been substituted) with one player at either end.

The scenery was set as follows:
1. The Nightwash river was placed across the centre of the table.
2. Other scenery was rolled for on the table below using a D20.

1 and 20 = Stream
3 = Gully
4 and 17 = Rough Ground
6, 12 and 18 = Hill
8, 11 and 14 = Wood
10 = Pond
16 = Marsh
2, 5, 7, 9, 13, 15 and 19 = Open

Starting with Chaos (and alternating thereafter) each player rolled for a terrain piece then placed it down. Twelve rolls were made in total with the proviso that if six or less pieces of terrain were generated another six rolls would follow (which they did).

After this both players were told to roll 2d6. The highest scoring player was given the choice of which half of the table he wanted to deploy in. This came as a surprise to both players because they had foolishly laid out terrain thinking they would be deploying in the table half where they were sat. Chaos won and immediately chose to swap ends with Law (probably because Law had been busy peppering what he thought was going to be his side of the river with marshes and rough ground in order to make the crossing even more difficult).

Next the players were again asked to throw 2d6. Law (he rolled a 10) outscored Chaos which was unfortunate for Chaos. Had Chaos equaled or beaten Law’s score he would have been able to move the Nightwash and place it anywhere in his half of the table.

Then Chaos was informed that he could now designate three 6” wide sections of river to be classed as fordable. In what Law, and indeed your humble narrator (Gamesmaster), considered to be something of a head scratching move Chaos chose to place one ford (one his right flank) opposite a patch of rough ground, one ford (in the centre) opposite a large marsh and the final ford (on his left flank) opposite another patch of rough ground. But lo! It transpired that this was some form of low cunning as charges could not be made through such terrain (although it was ruled contact to melee could).

Finally both players deployed their forces. This was done alternately, by the unit, with Chaos going first. Neither side could be closer than 6” to the river. Chaos chose to get as close as he could while Law opposed the two flank fords with Billmen supported by Knights. The marsh crossing (which featured a hill right behind the marsh) seemed very lightly guarded, almost suspiciously so. The bulk of Chaos’ forces favoured his centre and left flank, accordingly Law matched this with the bulk of his troops.

It should be noted that before deployment the GM had determined that it was “cloudy”. This was excellent news for Chaos as his Orcs would be able to count full morale, the hated sun being blocked out! Thereafter weather was checked for at the beginning of every even numbered turn.

Note dear reader that the pictures are taken from the perspective of Law but the narrative is written from the perspective of Chaos. So, without further a-do let us begin.

“Low Cunning”
Above is a view of Arax’s right flank (Orc spear + shield supported by Wargs) as seen by some stalwart Kalaharian halberdiers. To the right of the Wargs can be seen the Trolls and Orc skirmishers that deployed opposite the marsh crossing. Also, the fording point is clearly marked.

“View of the Centre at deployment”
From left to right: Orc Horde (including The Black Monk) and Giant Orc halberdiers facing the marsh crossing; Mabalog the Mighty distaining the fords and looking to simply wade across the Nightwash (note Arax hiding behind him – more low cunning perhaps?); Pikeorcs supporting a Goblin horde preparing to cross on the left flank (not shown, Orc archers to the right of the Goblins). But look! There in the background, emerging from the only wood, is Woodwind the Ent, perfectly placed to attack the rear of Arax’s army!


Initiative: Chaos wins and makes Law go first.

Woodwind the Ent awakens not one but two Trees and together they set off, somewhat ponderously, towards the rear of Arax’s army.
All other units hold their position.

The Spears and Wargs make their way to the ford.
The Trolls, skirmishers and halberdiers (including Groglax) all make their way towards the marsh crossing.
The Black Monk takes charge of the Orc horde and about faces them to deal with the arboreal threat to their rear.
The Goblins head toward the ford supported by archers on their left and pikeorcs to their rear.
Mabalog strides directly towards the river “supported” (from behind) by Arax.


Weather: Bad omens for Arax as the clouds are blown away by a strong breeze and full daylight is upon the field. A great ululation is heard as Orcs everywhere scrabble for the factor 50 sun cream as their morale plummets.

Initiative: Law wins but makes Chaos go first.

The Goblins cross the river with the Pikeorcs directly behind and the archers a bit further back.
Mabalog strides across the river and is first to set foot on Kalaharian soil!
In the centre the Orc skirmishers cross the river and flounder in the marsh, they are supported by the Trolls and the halberdiers.
On the right flank the Orc spear cross the river with the Wargs right behind them.
Ordering the Orc horde to engage the Ents the Black Monk detaches himself and heads towards Arax, who is standing on the bank of the Nightwash doing something evil and wizardly.
It transpires that Arax is summoning his arcane power to cast a pall of Darkness over the battlefield. He is successful in this endeavour!

The billmen (now designated as the Wyman Regiment) opposing the Goblins attack them. The rough ground prevents a proper charge but never-the-less melee ensues. It does not go well for the Goblins and they are thrown back into the Pikeorcs.

“What is the collective noun for a whole bunch of soggy, disordered orcs and goblins?”
(also pictured, “tea cup of doom”, good grief you ask people to clear off the clutter…)

Everywhere else the army of the White Prince advances.

“The Duke (the last base on the right of the knights) sends his elite Axemen forward to engage Mabalog”

Suddenly, as if by magic, a regiment of Elven archers appears standing atop the hill that overlooks the marsh crossing. They let loose a single volley of arrows at the Orc skirmishers and wipe out the entire formation!

“The Elven archers appear! (not pictured, Orc skirmishers).”


Initiative: Law wins and goes first.

The Wyman regiment presses home its advantage and contacts the Goblins again. It’s an abject slaughter of poor defenceless Goblins what never did no harm to anyone. On the plus side, the Goblins do at least pass a morale test due to heavy casualties. Unfortunately they loose the combat resolution so badly they rout back into both the Pikeorcs and the archers, everyone remembers they left the kettle on back at the cave and a general rout ensues. This prompts the Black Monk to head off towards the debacle to try and restore some semblance of order.

“Victory for the Wyman regiment! (not pictured, orcish bravery).”

The Ents continue lumbering forward.
The Sun Priest petitions his deity to dispel the magically induced darkness now starting to shroud the battlefield, he is successful! In the artillery phase he will hurl a lightening bolt at the Giant Orc halberdiers, this will kill 20 of them and also kill Groglax!

The pall of darkness has begun to take effect and Orc morale is on the up.
The Trolls and Giant Orcs cross the river and flounder in the marsh.
The Orc horde charge Woodwind the Ent who has become separated from his awakened Tree support. In the ensuing combat the Ent is set alight and immolated. There is general disappointment among the horde that no one remembered to bring the marshmallows.

“The fiery fate of Woodwind the Ent.”

Mabalog charges the Axemen and surprisingly it’s a draw.

“Chop him off at the knees!”


Weather: Remains clear.

Initiative: Law wins and goes first.

The brave Axemen begin to surround Mabalog.
The Duke forms his knights into column and sets off to support the Wyman regiment.
The billmen and the Orc spear continue to engage in a swirling melee.
The Wyman regiment charges the routing Goblins and they fail an emergency rally test. With their backs to the enemy the Goblins are finally wiped out.

“Hooray! The marsh is finally ours lads. Err Sarge I think we just accidentally invaded the Oblast.”

The Elves give the Giant Orc halberdiers a merciless arrow storm and they fail their heavy casualties morale test and run from the field.
The White Prince detaches from his knights and heads towards the marsh crossing.
The Sun Priest hurls a lightening bolt at the Trolls but it does nothing.

The Pikeorcs and the archers finally rally!
The Orc horde about faces and sets off back towards the river.
The trolls advance towards the Elves but the going is slow in the marsh.
Arax turns it up to 11 and casts a fireball at the elves killing 20 of them.
At last some action on the right flank! The Orc spear overcome the billmen and send them reeling back two full moves.

“Nothing can stop us now!”


Initiative: Law wins and goes first.

There is a general advance of every unit not currently engaged.
The Wyman regiment about faces to their left and move into contact with the Pikeorcs (that also have the Black Monk attached), although contact is made in the flank this is not judged a “flank attack”. Neither unit is fighting on its proper frontage and in the resulting melee disaster strikes for the forces of Chaos! The Pikeorcs surrender and the Black Monk is taken prisoner!

“For you the war is over.”
(In the background, reinforcements arriving too late)

The Elves fire at the Trolls and injure the hapless creatures but do not bring one down.

The Orc horde advances as fast as it can but arrives too late to save the Black Monk.
The Trolls continue to struggle towards the Elves.
On the right flank the Orc spear break out of the rough ground and the Wargs cross the river.
Arax successfully casts pall of Darkness, again. He then (in the artillery phase) fireballs the Elves killing 40 of them.


Weather: Remains clear

Initiative: Law wins and goes first.

The Elves split move and fire at the Trolls, they then walk into contact with them, they are assisted by the White Prince. All this is far too much for Trolls and they decide that discretion is the better part of valour.

“I’m sure the briefing said Trolls crush everything in their path, you heard that too right?”
(In the background, the Orc spear square up to the remaining billmen and the Wargs face off against a unit of knights.)

The Sun Priest fails to dispel the pall of Darkness.
The Duke leads his knights across the river to help exploit the success of the Wyman regiment.
The dismounted knights move up in support of the Elves.

The Orc horde charges the Wyman regiment and both units go toe to toe.
The Orc archers fire at the Duke but the arrows just bounce off his heavy armour.
Arax fireballs the dismounted knights and kills 30 of them.
Mabalog and the Axemen have fought each other to a fatigued standstill.


Initiative: Law wins and goes first.

With full darkness now settled across the entire battlefield it was ruled that: only the Sun Priest and the Elves could see in the dark; all units in melee would continue to fight; no unit could move.
The Sun Priest fails to dispel the pall of Darkness.
The Elves fire at Arax, although impervious to their arrows the resulting hits are ruled enough to break his concentration and the darkness spell is broken.
The Wyman regiment and the Orc horde continue to fight the Wymans pass a heavy casualties test!

It is ruled that all the forces of Chaos can see in the dark.
The Orc spear charge the billmen but the resulting melee is indecisive.
The brave Wargs charge the knights and are butchered.
Arax casts Haste on the Trolls. They rally, turn and contact the Elves. Unfortunately they are promptly massacred, dismembered and the remains set on fire (to prevent regeneration).
Out of spite Arax fireballs the dismounted knights killing 20 of them, they pass a heavy casualties test.

At this point Arax admits defeat!

“Arax and his demonic goat familiar are all that remains of the centre.”

“Victorious knights look for opponents on the right flank.”

“Although there is some fighting on the left flank it can clearly be seen who has the upper hand.”

“The Sun Priest blesses the White Prince’s men.”


As the forces of Law mop up the remaining pockets of resistance Arax becomes invisible, casts haste upon himself and flees the battlefield in utter defeat and ignominy.

End Report.


Archers in units of 24 were very powerful, too powerful in my opinion, next time unit size will be capped at 12 models.

The skirmish rules could not be tested as the only skirmish unit on the table was wiped out before it could get into action.

Having models on bases (with a figure count of 2 for light, 3 for medium and 4 for heavy) was no impediment to the game.

The battle was great fun and I look forward to playing more games.

You have not heard the last of Arax the Goatherd, he'll be back in the next installment of this blog which will be entitled  "Attack of the Giants"...

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