Because this was the in all fairness a re-fresher game for Sally I limited the range of troop types for both armies and although these were fantasy armies there were no fantasy elements included. So without wizards, elementals, mammoths, giant eagles, dragons etc., this was to all intensive purposes a medieval battle. Below are the army compositions:
Command range 4 hexes, command move 4 hexes
6 units HE Spears
5 units HE Archers
3 units HE Cavalry
1 unit HE Bolt shooters
3 HE Generals 210 points
Command range 2 hexes, command move 2 hexes.
12 units Barbarian Hordes
3 units Archers
4 units Light Cavalry
3 Generals 197 points
It was only fair to give Sally the choice of table edge and after both armies were deployed, she won the di roll for first move. The High Elves advanced in a line with 3 units of archers to the fore. The unit of bolt shooters and the other 2 units of HE archers were kept on a 4 hex escarpment on the left of the line. I in response moved my barbarian cavalry to the left of my line facing the HE Spears, but focused on keeping possession of the central wood and adjacent hill. I wanted to keep my hordes on the reverse slope of the hill as protection against the High Elf shooters. I had combined my hordes into units of 6 stands reducing the number of horde units from 12 to 8 in order to make them strong enough to fight the HE Spear units.
The advance of the elvish archers pinned my centre back behind the hill but I pushed my hordes into the wood to do battle on equal terms with the HE Spears and committed 2 generals to the task. The four hex hill was not large enough to protect my entire centre form the HE archers and I soon lost one of my 3 archer units to their concentrated bow shooting. The fight for possession of the wood was quick and brutal and I lost about 10 stands of barbarian horde before I finally repulsed the attacking HE Spears.
On my left wing my light cavalry still faced a line of Sally’s HE Spears. This ‘stand-off’ in all fairness to Sally was a deliberate con, taking advantage of her inexperience. Any move by her Spears against the barbarian cavalry would have seen them quickly scarper, evading any contact with these tough cookies! In the centre her 3 units of HE cavalry moved to take up position behind the line of archers ready to charge my massed hordes in the centre on and behind the hill. In response, in my next tactical move I positioned my 2 remaining units of Barbarian archers ready to shoot at the left-hand unit of HE cavalry if and when they charged.
At this point we took a refreshment break. My Barbarian army had lost 14 stands and Sally’s High Elves only 5. It was Sally’s move next and sure enough the High Elf cavalry charged in! The Barbarian shooters would have to recoil the flank unit of HE cavalry for the Barbarians centre to hold. This sounds like a very sweeping statement, but without going into technical details about the H&H rule system, the difference between a line of 2 or 3 heavy cavalry charging home is very significant. The HE cavalry have A2 armour protection, therefore the Barbarian archer units needed 9+ instead of 7+ for a hit with 8xD12 shooting dice. The dice gods were not on Sally’s side and I scored 5 hits out of 8 – quite remarkable! As this unit was forced to flee disrupted losing a stand the remaining 2 High Elf cavalry demolished 2 more of my Barbarian hordes in the subsequent hand-to-hand combat phase.
It was now my tactical move and the remaining Barbarian hordes plus 2 generals were now ready to swamp the now surrounded HE cavalry and a general. All’s fair in love and war! But, to add insult to injury, my 3rd Barbarian general led 2 hordes from the central 4 hex wood in order to isolate the 3 units of HE spears on Sally’s left from any hope of future command and control. With the loss of the 2 HE cavalry and a general the game would now be decided by the infantry fight in the open ground in the centre of the table. In this both sides lost at least 3 more units and a general, and again, I got the luck of the combat dice and Sally certainly didn’t! This resulted in the final High Elf general being trapped in hand-to-hand combat and after a tough fight, surrounded by the few remaining quick moving Barbarian hordes, this last HE general was lost. Game over!
When you take into consideration that this was the first time that Sally had played H&H for quiet a while, she played really well and in all honesty was defeated more by the dice rather than my tactical skill. The Barbarian army lost more than 40% of its stands and a general, so it was hardly a resounding victory. This game helped Sally tune-in once more to the H&H system, and she will be far better prepared to deal with my tactical deceptions in the next game!