"Honor, Chivalry, and Faith," shouted the paymaster as he paced before his army, "These are not reasons to fight".
Reaching into a pouch along his side, he drew a single gold coin from it. Holding the coin aloft so all could see, he declared, "This is why we fight. This is the only thing that truly matters."
This week's epic battle was between my Dogs of War and Christopher's Brettonians. This was my first game against them in 8th edition, so I was really eager to see what kind of chaos they could bring to the table. Christopher did not let me down, fielding a nice arrangement of units that would give me a complete taste of what the army could bring to the table.
As we deployed, Christopher established an anvil in the form of two trebuchets and a large block of archers at the center of his deployment zone. On his southern flank, a small unit of pegasus knights descended from the clouds to strike anyone who dared to get to close to his lines. Along his norther flank, a decent size unit of grail knights gathered to face my ogres that were to the west. Just south of the grail knights, a large regiment of realm knights and errant knights gathered.
The early turns of the game saw Vespero's Vendetta get charged from behind by the pegasus knights. As Vespero fell, the other regiments of Sir Christopher moved forward. Both trebuchets rained rumble and stone, but little was lost.
During my turn, the ogres slowly advanced to meet the charge of the grail knights. At the same time, my merchant prince and cavaliers moved to face the block of archers that were dwindling down my knights with each turn. During my first magic phase, my wizard lord attempted to unleash the full power of final transmutation. In response, a beautiful prophetess shattered her magical mirror, causing my wizard to double over and suffer a wound.
The battlefield became blood as both sides clashed across the table. The ogres met the grail knights at the center of the northern front. Faith and cold steel were no match to the raw power that had been armed with the best weapons that money could buy. Elsewhere, the cavaliers were thinned down to a standard bearer and the merchant prince. Knowing that another volley would be their last, they prince charged the knight errants.
As we reached the later rounds of the game, magic became a factor as I was able to finally get off a couple of Final Transmutations. Elsewhere, the pegasus knights charged Braganza's Besiegers and broke them. Surprisingly, the swift knights were not swift enough and the Besiegers were spared from being run down. This gave the Marksmen time to turn and unleash a volley of crossbows into them.
The Brettonians proved to be just as deadly as the trebuchet found its mark and sent a large boulder crashing onto the head of my wizard. At the same time, the knights of the realm charged the notorious Ruglud's Armoured Orcs. Eight orcs were no challenge for the knights, as Ruglud was broken and beaten. Knowing that they would be next, the cannon crew nearby fired one last shot. Who knows if it was fate or luck, but the cannonball smashed into Christopher's BSB, working its way past magic, faith, and armour to score a kill.
As Christopher closed out the game, he charged is archers into my prince, hoping to finish him off. Overwhelmed by the sure number of peasants on his flank, the prince's nerves left him. The errants were quick to respond and run the prince down for his lack of courage.
This was the first game of the campaign that felt epic. This is not to say that my other opponents were not fun and that I did not enjoy our games. The difference between those games and this one was that this game truly felt like a story was unfolding before my eyes. The game had the kind of flow that made it impossible to accurately determine who had the advantage. Each twist seemed to be followed by another and luck seemed like a fickle lady who couldn't decide upon her champion.
When it came to the results, the game ended with a difference of 15 victory points between us. Without a doubt this had been the closest game I have played in 8th edition and reaffirms my belief that this game was something special. (Christopher seems to share my opinion as well, so check out what he wrote here.)
1. Nothing beats a good game with a great opponent. In a way, this game felt alot like the 40K games I have with my buddy Ernie. I love these kind of games that are just relaxing and the fun of the game is in what happens and not the end results.