Date: Sunday, 1 December 2013.
Location: Woolston Club, Christchurch, New Zealand.
Occasion: Hordes of the Things: Carnage competition - 8 players, 5 rounds.
This was my first ever participation in a HotT competition, and my first appearance at the club in several months as well. My main motivation for joining in was far less to enter the spirit of competition, than to admire the armies entered by others. The imagination that goes into them was a much a source of interest as their appearance...
First action against Brian's 'Indic' army. I call it 'Indic' as I never did ask what sort of 'peoples' it represented, but did observe among more conventional types, an elephantine boar-like creature that had obviously been at the front of the queue when tusks were being handed out.
Definitely over-endowed in the tusk department this behemoth. The other flank was covered by a three-headed, triple-bodied, treble-tailed snaky thing - or more likely it was three snakes acting in beastly concert. Not a particularly pleasant prospect, though I did admire their artistic arrangement on the base!
I gather this army also featured some lizardy creepy-crawlies - but I never encountered them. Probably fortunately. Meanwhile, on the the next table, Gordon's Nordic Horde (my appellation for them) was facing Nick's (? Not sure I caught the name) Silver Hordes and doing quite well. The Danish Mage unfortunately had a small accident...
In another nearby action, Mark's Barbarian army faced Paul's Forces of Darkness...
Reverting to my first game, I shall take up the narrative in the guise of Lt-Col Tarquin Moiseivitch Scrivener, Chief of Staff of the Imperial Russian Army of Exploration into Realms Unknown and Mysterious (IRAERUM).
To: Her Imperial Majesty and Magnificence, Tsarina Elizaveta Romanoff
Highness: I am pleased to report the return of the Exploration Army to the garrison town of Oomff, having departed thence upon our mission some [time] ago. Our travels were early intercepted less than half a verst [i.e. less than a third of a mile - say, oh I don't know, 600 paces?] from the town itself by an apparently Indic army that, among its conventional commanders, heroes and archers, included a large porcine creature bristling with razor tasks, opposite our left, and a slithering group of enormous python snakes opposite our right, where rode our esteemed General Semyon Semyonovitch Smirnoff.
Hoping to envelop the enemy the Pavlograd Hussars was thrown somewhat forward from our left...
... and then the left wing infantry also pivoted to discourage the enemy advance upon that flank. Meanwhile, General Smirnoff had to survive some intense shooting by enemy archers, causing our Horse to fall back a space.
The action was decided in our favour, and Oomff saved from the depredations of the bestial bezonians of barbarism, when the effective musketry occasioned the demise...
... of the enemy general, hero, and a band of archers. Our own loss was trivial [nil, as I recall].
Meanwhile, in the small, not very bustling frontier town of Oomph, well-wishers observed the action from a distance, more intent, in the case of one fellow, of exploring the nutty flavours of the locally brewed amber...
Whilst this action was taking place, in another corner of the Unknown World not far off, the Nordic Horde was riding down the Silver Hordes. The Imperial Army would soon meet them...
Following the success of the first day's action, the army struck farther into the unknown. Soon was descried in the distance a colourfully constructed tower, defended by an army of apparently Jutlandish extraction: the Nordic Horde.
Our early attempt on the brush covered hill to ambush and envelop the Nordic right flank met with failure, the jager fading back into the brush, never again in this battle to re-emerge.
On the other flank, the Nordic boar riders presented a bold front against our cuirassiers.
Somewhat inconvenienced by the patch of boggy ground in the centre, our early attempt upon the Nordic centre failed; our artillery seemed to be experiencing unwonted difficulty getting into action [the Nordic Mage was having an annoying effect], and the Hussars' gallant but foolhardy charge was handily repulsed with loss.
Riding down a unit of boar riders, Genl Smirnoff ordered a consolidation of the line to await the enemy attack. Although we contrived to damage the enemy considerably, a herd of large creatures with tusks intervened to help the boar riders ....
... and our cavalry was overthrown. Genl Smirnoff met upon the heroic battlefield an untimely demise, to be greatly mourned by the Army. Lt-Genl Kyros Aleksandrovitch Ksenofonski took over command, and despite the setback, ordered the Army to resume its march.
It appears that the Indic army's defeat had not marred its martial capabilities, surrounding and defeating Paul's Forces of Darkness...
Resuming the march after the reverse against the Nordic Horde, the Russian Army soon encountered the Forces of Darkness, occupying a rustic village long ago abandoned by it Russian colonial builders. The action once again opened with the jager taking up a position upon the brush-covered ridge flanking the enemy stronghold, surprising and wiping out an enemy war band. Unfortunately, retribution was swift: a second warband assailed the jagers in flank, and, with avian assistance dispersed for good the unlucky jagers.
For the rest, the Dark Forces seemed reluctant to emerge from the environs of the village, especially after the Dark Mage of Moloch ensorcelled himself in a gush of sulphurous smoke.
For our part, we were as hesitant about entering the village as the enemy were to emerge from the place, and subjected the enemy line to a concentrated artillery fire, meanwhile reordering the line preparatory to attack. As it transpired, we were somewhat anticipated by the enemy whose assault we repulsed with great loss. Its hero general down, the charioteers wrecked and the Mage of Moloch missing, the remaining enemy incontinently fled the field...
Fortunes restored, the Army entered a wild, primaeval country. It was not long before we found ourselves confronted by a force of Troglodytes, armed with weapons primitive to all appearance but doubtless effective in their way. We did have something to fear from their Dread Druid with his peripatetic Henge; and we were to catch a fleeting glimpse of that which they worshipped: a saurian monster with teeth and a presence altogether unholy.
This proved a stiff, near run encounter. The Trog Commanding Hero established himself firmly upon the gentle eminence on our left where he was able early to repulse out Hussars' effort to dislodge him. Our musketeers soon found themselves in some difficulty, one unit dispersed [destroyed] the others making no head against an enemy better armed for close combat. Enemy warbands also enveloped our right and even reached the gun line.
However, the Grenadiers forced back the trog centre, and we were able betimes to form a coherent and strong line facing the flanking war bands. It was about this time that the sabre-toothed saurian appeared, which seemed to evoke a certain awe among our opponents, by which we inferred [I was simply told, actually] that we had seen their god. Capricious as are all deities who are not Our Father in Heaven, this nightmarish vision soon passed from our sight, whereat our Army heaved a collective sigh of relief.
The fillip to our morale occasioned by the quick disappearance of the enemy god, our army held all attacks with renewed confidence. The Hussars once more threw themselves uphill against the enemy Chief, with Genl Ksenofonski's cuirassiers ascending onto his flank. The Caveman Chief thus overthrown, our Army celebrated a great victory, and passed unscathed through the lands of the troglodytes. It came to our ears later that ours in recent times was the only army victorious against this primitive, but hard fighting foe [by which can be inferred that Kevin won the competition with 4 wins and this only loss].
Even after such a victory, the travails of the Army were not yet over, for we shortly encountered a colourful Barbarian army that had hitherto, as we afterward learned, been as successful as we. Possibly our previous action had left Genl Ksenofonski in an over-sanguine state of mind, for, in sending the Hussars in a wide flanking sweep, he rather placed them in an isolated position.
True, the enemy seemed somewhat worried by this, especially when one of our squadrons burst through surrounding enemy and menaced their main line.
But a tall dark-haired Magillatron [behemoth - Magillatron is my own name for this fellow] destroying one squadron [element] and preventing the other's return, the Barbarian Mages [two of them!] soon brought the other to an end as well.
This surviving hussar squadron penetrated to within a mere few paces from the enemy Kraznaya Zvezda [Red Star] stronghold, but never quite bridged the slight intervening distance. The attempted rescue was too late in the event, and not all the would-be saviours survived the retreat back to the main line.
At last, unable to make head against the foe, all we could do was to await the Barbarian onslaught. Sure enough, he stormed our centre where our musket armed troops were outmatched in the melee ['shooters' vs 'blades']. The enemy broke through, and our Army flung back in headlong defeat. [This Army of Mark's also ended the day with a 4-win 1-loss record, but was second on a countback].
Although this defeat was the worst we had endured, we are inclined to view this expedition as an outstandingly successful journey into the unknown, seeing and learning wonders...
Signed in behalf of Genl Ksenofonski
Lt-Col T. M. Scrivener (Chief of Staff).
Put in more prosaic terms: I had a great day: 3 wins 2 losses, and had I won the final game by the same margin I lost it, might well have taken out the whole competition!
Here now are some further pics of some of the armies that appeared upon the day's battlefields. Above, Gordon swapped his Nordic Horde for this Lego Star Wars army. Below: another look at Mark's army. It turns out he has recently begun his own blog spots: Chasseur (Napoleonic) and Hordes of the Things (Fantasy). Check 'em out.
Mark has a very characteristic style, kind of simple, great use of colour. Very nicely painted, his armies are eye-catchingly inviting to be played with.
Below is an army I didn't have to face, though I gather it had a large proportion of 'hordes' (1 AP the time). Otherwise I know nothing about them...
Gordon's star Wars Army again, drawn up on parade. I seem to recognize Obi-wan Kenobi and friend; and the little green guy. No doubt Chewbacca is operating the two-legged battle thingy, but otherwise...
The Star Wars Rebel Army drawn up on parade before their LEGion Operational headquarters...
Someone's 'God' figure. Now that's what I'm talkin' about! I have some plastic Romans, which could use a figure like this, as Mars, or maybe Mithras.
One photo I didn't get was Tony's World war Two Germans. How it was organised I don't know for sure, but it did include a King Tiger (behemoth?), an armoured half-track (General 'Knight' perhaps?), and an aereal thingy ('God'?) on the form of a Henshel-129 ground attack aircraft. Leaving early, Tony made way for Robin (the comp organizer) to enter the fray with his WW2 Russians: T34 'Knights', infantry as shooters and hordes, and an artillery stonk (grey 'smoke') as 'god'. You don't need a sense of humour to appreciate Hordes of the Things, but it sure lord don't do any harm!
A couple of Robin's HotT armies that didn't make it to the table-top: Steam punk, soldiers of the queen, with aereals: flying boats and balloons. Fantastic.
Robin's blogspot can be accessed here, wargamingnz, or referred to from my 'favorites' list.