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The Battle of Twelve Ballistas

Posted November 3rd, 2020 at 11:08 AM by Sylvano the Wasabus
It was a battle in one of our big game scenarios. On one end of the huge wall map the dwarves controlled the North-East, while the Samurai held the South-East. There was an unspoken truce as both factions extended their lands westward.

Unspoken truces always end, dont they? It seems our species is a warlike one; always fighting for one reason or another. In our big game the factions have personalities. Its what the person playing them thinks that faction would do.

My son was playing the dwarves. There were carefully building a strong empire and had decided it was time to head south into Samurai lands. After all, there was no official agreement, so they werent violating anything.

I was playing the samurai. We were outraged. Wed considered the dwarves allies, and felt betrayed. Most of our points were in the West so they immediately turned around and headed home. We had very few points available in our homeland. We withdrew and allowed the attacking dwarves to take the first two outposts by abandoning them.

I consolidated my forces and came up with 680 points of samurai, which is a medium-smallish army. We decided to make a stand. Although we suspected that the dwarves had many more points, we werent certain. If they did, wed try to destroy as many points as possible as we died honourably defending our outposts.

When my forces met the dwarven host we discovered they had 1600 points- almost 1000 points more than us. We were going to be slaughtered. Often when the points are so mismatched the larger force ends up taking very little causalities- just a few hundred points. Even it we killed 300 that still left a large 1300 point dwarven army to continue wrecking havoc and conquering our outposts. (the outposts generate 20 points per turn. A capitol city generates 50 points)

Our big map has terrain information on it. I noted that the battlefield was to be forest. Wed just completed the first version of our new spell books. The nature school had a few spells I liked- one could make trees move, and another could make them move and attack. I might be short of forces but I wasnt short of trees. (and we werent as short as our opponents, ha ha)

My eldest son hates ballistae. It irritates him no end that their ten range can poke at his forces while theyre moving into position. It really bothers him. For this game he decided to take a dwarven force and 12 dwarven ballistae. The dwarven version is even better than the normal version; fires more dependably (5+) and with 11 range.

Im not sure why he chose 12 ballistae. No doubt he knew that the samurai, vastly outnumbered, would take up a defensive position. Ballisatas are good at harassing defensive positions. I also considered that he might be trying to prove a point- that he thought ballistae were unfair. Either way, I was ready for him.

Dwarven movement is slow- only 3/turn. There are modifiers and they help but its still slow. My two samurai mages had time to cast a dozen spells (Id given them a lot of spell points). Theyd cast spells on the trees, which had walked into a long line, protecting my forces and blocking LOS. My son had not anticipated that! (one of the rules for this scenario was that the trees were not destructible). So my army was safe and his dwarves had a long walk ahead of them.

We had a few surprises in store too. Id left a few holes in the tree line and we had a pair of ballistae of our own. The ballistae require setup- which means if they move, they cant fire. My mages were able to open and close the holes by moving trees to frustrate the dwarves (and my son).

When dwarves reached the forest the mages sent a few fighting trees at them, and my forces poured out of those holes to attack the dwarves in melee. Id rendered the dwarven ballistae practically useless. We were still outpointed and lost the battle but I took 700 points of screaming dwarves with me!

My son is a good sport and he congratulated me and even called it a tactical victory for the samurai. Hes accepted that ballistae can be countered and hes even tinkered with their points and mechanics to make them more dependable. Im not sure that hell take such an army again- its just not his style. Whatever happens, this game will live on in legend!
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