Bohsenfels Bogs, north-east Ostland 2025
It was a rare event, Tzarina Katarin had to lead a pulk of her army into the lands of the Empire. Historically an important, if reluctant ally of Kislev. However, internal unrest and increased pressure on their borders had weakened Imperial control. Taking advantage of the weakening Imperial control, the burgomeisters of Bohsenfels had without right imposed crippling tolls on Kislev trading caravans passing through or even near their domains.
With war in the north approaching rapidly, it was crucial for the war effort that the trading caravans could reach their destinations, trading Kislev´s diminishing wealth for arms and supplies. Diplomatic avenues had been exhausted, receiving nothing but spite and rude comments about the Tzarina herself in return. The disrespect for all things Kislev permeated the city, as shown by a report from the Bohsenfels militia intercepted by her agents.
Not risking a full assault on Bohsenfels itself, Katarin had her agents spread word that a rich caravan was moving north of the city, trying to avoid the tolls. As she had expected, the greedy burgomeisters of Bohsenfels reacted immediately, scrambling a force to intercept the caravan. It was not a small force, it outnumbered her own, but it was a slow force, consisting of mainly infantry and artillery. Once they had moved deep enough into the swampland, her much more mobile army moved behind them, cutting them off from reinforcements from Bohsenfels.
The Ostland soldiers, confident that their superior numbers and firepower would see off the “caravan guards” moved into a line of battle.
The scenario was Secure, which is the one where you get 2 points for controlling terrain pieces, 1 for obstacles, and double for pieces in the enemy´s table half. We had 3 pieces on each side of the field, with another 3 in the middle, so sides didn´t seem to matter a lot. My opponent got to choose sides and took the one he was already on in true tournament champion fashion 🙂
Standard Bearer, healing charm
City spear militia horde, brew of strength
City spear militia horde
2x City spear militia regiments
Dogs of war regiment
3x Halfling scout troops (huntsmen)
1x Musket troop
1x Crossbow troop
1x Engineer, lute of darkness
2x Volley Guns
1x Halfling horse archer troop, diadem of dragonkin (pistoliers)
A slow resilient army to take on my fast glass cannon. Lots of phalanx, which against an army full of TC should be well worth it, two fat infantry hordes and lots of chaff. The War Altar in the middle boost the army´s nerve to very good levels. He also has more shooting than me, matching my volley guns, but adding an engineer that makes the war engines elite, a mortar, the Altar´s lightning and 6 troops of shooters to the mix.
The weakness of the list is that it is slow, with only one weak unit of cavalry. If you deploy wrong with such an army, you can quickly struggle with bad positioning. The army also only has one source of inspiring. My opponent said he had another standard bearer on the paint table for just this reason. It also lacks TC/CS units, the brew of strength and lute of darkness helping a bit.
Duke on Ancient Aralez, diadem of dragonkin (Tzarina Katarin on ice dragon)
Baron on horse, striking sword (boyar)
Wizard, bane-chant, inspiring crown (ice sorceress)
Household knights regiment, brew of strength (winged lancers)
Household knights regiment, potion of catterpillar (winged lancers)
Household knights troop (winged lancers)
Honour Guard horde, brew of haste (sons of ursun)
3x Halfling horse archer troops (ungol horse archers)
2x Halfling volley guns (urugan cannons)
City militia regiment (kossars)
City militia troop (kossars)
With some WIP and magic items for pretty much anyone of noble birth, I made it to 2k 🙂
This list will let me try out if a light infantry component can work in the cavalry heavy army. I went for city militia over archers for this battle. While the brew of strength was thrown onto a lancer regiment at the end, I have been eyeing it earlier, as it makes the knights into mini-honor guard, so it will be nice to test that as well. With the ice sorceress coming in with her bane chant and inspiring support, the Boyar should get better possibilities to go do annoying combat individual things like taking out enemy artillery and shooters or blocking. Will be interesting to see how he works out. Back to 3 units of ungols is also nice, let´s see if they can return to their old ways of pulling their weight well.
The Ostland army has quite a few more drops than mine, and I had no pre-planned deployment for this army, so I was in danger of being out-deployed. However, my opponent dropped down all his early drops on the top / left flank, so I assumed he would end up going heavy on that flank, and as that flank also offered little cover while advancing, it fit me well to go heavy on the opposite flank. My plan for scenario was to grab the forest and obstacles in the middle, which combined with the terrain pieces on my half should be enough for a win. Only a single hellblaster opposed my forces on the bottom / right flank.
The left flank of the Kislev forces, tasked with keeping the superior Ostland forces from pushing up too fast to seize the hill and swamps. I remembered that the Boyar does not inspire the 3! “halfling” units on this side of the field after I had deployed. Oh well, he at least has a lot of weak shooting units to bully.
Right flank, of Kislev army. I managed to hold Tzarina Katarin and a unit of lancers back long enough for my opponent to not spot just how heavy of a right flank I would load up.
Aerial recon of the Ostland battle line. A very defensive deployment, with all the real combat power hidden in the very corner of the battlefield. I think the deployment was too defensive, as it ceded too much of the field to me. As long as his shooters could not rout multiple units early, I would be able to use a smaller force to keep his force away from the objectives.
My opponent´s Ostland army is gorgeous. Lots of cool empire figures from different ages, great paintwork, effective multi basing and a very cool war altar conversion.
In the first turn, the Kislev right flank surged forwards at great speed. Eyeing the lone volley gun, Katarin maneuvered behind a regiment of lancers. She had nothing to fear however, as the Ungol horse archers on the far flank took out the crew of the enemy war machine with precise bow-fire.
The right flank moved quickly towards the woods, outside the range of most of the Ostland shooting. The Sons of Ursun were not able to advance much without getting in range of enemy volley guns and rifles, so they advanced carefully.
The left flank, tasked with holding up the enemy, pretended to have more combat power than they really did. The lancers moved up quickly behind the hill, the Boyar even going onto the hill, daring the enemy guns to fire at him. Even the Urugan cannon moved up, ready to start firing next round. The Ungols loosed arrows at the enemy troops, but the War Altar kept the troops firmly motivated even when taking 3 wounds each. I actually didn´t think about the war altar boost, so I should have focused my fire here instead of getting greedy. In return, the Ostland forces opened up, wavering one troop of Ungols and the Urugan cannon. The Boyar received a lot of attention and took 4 wounds.
Turn 2 the right flank of the Kislev army surged forwards, getting in charge range of several regiments of Ostlanders. Katarin´s dragon breathed cold on a troop of scouts, wavering them.
On the left flank, the Boyar though wiser of being out of cover and positioned himself in a swamp patch, in charge range of the enemy gun line. The Ostlanders recognized the threat posed by the Boyar and opened up all along the line, however, hitting a single rider in cover was not easy, and after all the gunfire, he was still there. A bright spot for the Ostlanders was when the mortar landed a shell on the dragon, wounding the great beast.
Taking advantage of the failure to stop him, the Boyar charged the volley gun, only managing to waver it thanks to the war altar. He had however silenced the gun, and the Sons of Ursun were able to move up the field, getting in a position to charge next turn. The pathfinder lancers charged a spear regiment, but even with bane chant, they were repelled, only wavering their foes. Katarin breathed away a unit of scouts.
The pathfinder lancers got charged in the flank by the other regiment of spears, but luckily held, not even getting wavered. Those spearmen where now in a very hostile environment. Further down the line, the tight formation of the Ostlanders hindered them greatly, and they were unable to do anything about the Boyar inside their line.
After three turns of maneuvering, the sound of shrieking back banners dominated the field. Both spearmen regiments were charged by winged lancers, one also getting a regiment of Kossars in their flank. The Sons of Ursun charged a troop of crossbowmen, the Boyar renewed his assault on the volley gun, and Katarin charged the mortar.
The results were predictable, with all charges breaking through the Ostlander lines. The Ostlanders were once again hindered by their own close formation, and only scattered gunfire managed to land some wounds here and there.
End of turn 4, Ostlanders fully contained in their corner. If this was a tourney game, I would have secured objectives with horse archers and infantry at this point. This being a friendly game however, I decided to just push everything forwards for glory 🙂
Reeling from the previous charges, the men of Ostland felt terror as the shrieking sound of back banners intensified again. The war altar itself fell to a flank charge, and a unit of rifles were crushed by the massive polar bears bearing down on them. Katarin flew behind the enemy lines, her dragon hurting the enemy standard bearer. The Boyar charged the spear horde to stop them from charging the lancers behind him. The Ostlanders only managed to remove the Boyar in return. They did however maneuver tactically so the regiment of dogs of war and the unhurt spear horde could not be charged by Katarin. This was very good play by my opponent, using my charge arc against me.
In turn 6, I wanted to have fun with the Ungols, so the two units charged the scouts. I would of course not have done this in the tourney, as I had at least 29 shots I could take at them. It turned out to be an even worse tactical decision than I had expected, as they then also blocked the Sons of Ursun from charging the other scouts, and they in return then blocked the last lancers from charging the spears. Still, the spear horde was crushed, and the Ungols got to have their fun with the poor scouts they charged.
The Ostlanders removed one troop of ungols and put some wounds on Katarin in their last turn. However, totally surrounded by the Kislev army, tired and demoralized, and now with the Burgomeisters themselves uncomfortably close to the action, they realized that their only chance was to lay down their arms and surrender.
End game thoughts
I think my opponent made things very hard for himself by packing his big army into a corner. For one, it was very easy for me to not expose anything important to his superior shooting. The second big issue was that he could not respond properly once I reached melee. His big meaty blocks of troops, which could have stood up to charges and could have crushed my units in their counter-punch were stuck far from the action as I rolled up the flank. The third issue was that he could not really win on scenario unless his shooting got really hot, as I had practically all initiative once I am over on his side of the board with lots of scenario points behind me.
I think controlling the forest was critical for him. If he had his shooting units inside it, I would struggle much more with getting in without taking damage to shooting. As he had such a big army, he could probably have pushed ahead on one flank and anchored the other with his infantry. Once I actually reached the corner where he had a lot of units, he did manage to make things difficult for me with his many units. I struggled getting good charges as there was just so much stuff in the way.
I got to test out some things in this army and as my opponent also played Rhordia, I got to see some of the other units as well.
Kossars (city militia) – These guys felt too slow for the army. They got one charge, and the rest of the time, they chased after the cavalry. I see the value in having cheap units to hold objectives, which is what these guys would have done in this battle if needed. However, I am leaning towards using them as bow-armed units instead. The enemy halfling scouts were surprisingly hard to kill with shooting, and if they need to hang back on an objective, they can at least shoot a bit as well. I will try out the Kossars as scouts / archers next time.
3 units of horse archers – I really like these guys. With their rat 4+, they consistently put down 2-3 wounds on lightly armored units. Enemy artillery has much to fear from these guys. 3 units does not feel like too much.
Boyar with striking sword (hammer) – Not having to care too much about inspiring, since I placed a bunch of Ungols with him, he did what he is supposed to. He charged right into enemy lines, taking out scary artillery and getting in the way. Striking sword felt nice for that role, giving me 3 re-rolls over the game, 2 turned into hits. Individuals in cover are practically invulnerable to standard shooting.
Ostland MVP: War Altar. It kept all those troops in line where normally they would have melted away from my shooting. It was a lot of times I rolled wavers or breaks, only to get told that, no they actually have 11/13, not 9/11 nerve. I have planned to include one in my army (Altar of Ursun), but I planned to do it when I had multiple hordes. Now however, I think troops might benefit even more from it.
Kislev MVP: Tzarina Katarin. She got three rounds of breath attacks, taking out a unit with it. She also used her high speed to take out the enemy mortar and to then maneuver behind the big infantry blocks, finishing one off with her brutal rear charge.
Tzarina Katarin looked at the row of Ostlanders marching south.
Winged Lancers and Ungols lined the row on each side, watching the men with suspicion.
“Are you sure about this my Queen? Should we not kill them all to make sure they do not rob our caravans again?” The winged lancer rotamaster asked her.
“I am sure. Their leaders swore that they would never lay hands on a Kislev citizen again. They even claimed that they would secure the trade routes through their lands.”
“And you trust these greedy southerners?”
She gave the retreating Ostlanders one last look. She would have liked to kill every last one of them herself. However, the Empire was her most important ally. Without them, Kislev would surely fall. These wretched men would be spared so the alliance would not crumble.
She turned away, calling her dragon to her. She had spent too much time on this distraction. The north needed her.