Chris Harrod and I had another game of Arthurian HOTT. This featured Chris’s Chris’s Picts on sabots to provide Big Bases. I fielded my Welsh (Cymry) with Arthurian and Reconquista Christian Elements for Big Base HOTT. I went for my traditional historical Welsh option where the religion is implicit. Chris put a Goddess on table (the Morrigan).
Summary: The Morrigan was scary and my Welsh had to dance around a bit, but it turned out god was on our side and Arthur’s host took the day.
Table and Deployment
Chris placed the terrain with a large wood, small rocky hill, gentle hill, and a road. Chris set up across the table. I wanted to fight down the open flank (the Welsh left flank) and set up accordingly.
I wanted to attack so rushed my archers (Shooters) forward to the rocky hill. Behind them the Welsh battle line advanced.
Chris pushed his entire army up to the edge of the large wood.
My archers captured the hill as the rest of the army followed behind.
The big wood caused a problem for Chris. With constrained PIPs he chose to push his main body forward past the wood. This left a small number of elements behind.
This is the point where I started by complicated on-table redeployment. I pushed my mounted forward. Behind them the infantry shuffled right.
I wanted my mounted facing Chris’s Horde elements on the table edge. So I started drifted by mounted, started with a Knight, to the left.
I’m guessing Chris wanted to fight a defensive battle so formed a formation reminiscent of a Zulu Buffalo Horns formation i.e. with both flanks angled forward.
Arthur started drifting left following the Knights.
This was the moment the Morrigan appeared. “The Morrigan (also known as the Morrigu) was the shape-shifting Celtic Goddess of War, Fate and Death” and “she was said to hover over battlefields in the form of a raven or hooded crow and frequently foretold or influenced the outcome of the fray” (a href=”http://www.novareinna.com/guard/morrigan.html”). Right. Chris now had the moral ascendency. He literally had a god of battle on his side. Would my religious stronghold protect me?
At the moment the Morrigan appeared my Welsh were still in the middle of their redeployment.
But one more turn and I managed to get my Welsh into a semblance of order. Mounted on flanks. Shieldwall in the middle. The question was … where would the Morrigan strike first?
Okay, it wasn’t so hard to figure out. I had Knights and Arthur on my left facing Pictish Hordes so Chris sent the Morrigan to strength this flank.
You cannot believe the terror facing a living God on table. They have huge factors, can fly, and hence to ignore ground troops for movement.
So, as the Morrigan attack, the unflappable Arthur continued the Welsh advance.
The Morrigin is potent but not irresistible. My Knights initially stood up to her.
Unhappy with her first attack the Morrigan flew over the top of the Welsh battle line and settled to the ground behind them. I’d carefully placed a Spear unit here to protect the back of my main line. They, brave lads, faced the Goddess.
Otherwise I ignored the Morrigan and continued my advance. I wasn’t going to win fighting a Goddess. I was going to win against the main Pictish host.
Damn flyers. The Morrigan flew over my rear guard and hit the rear of her favourite Welsh Knights.
The Knights turned to face the divine threat but exposed their rear to the Pictish Horde approaching.
Of course, Chris had chosen to position his Goddess between two of my elements, so I got to sandwich the Morrigan before she sandwiched me. Not that it helped.
And, as usual, I ignored the battle with the deity on my left and continued my attack on the rest of the line. This time with a crunchy contact. The Picts suffered a couple of recoils and a destruction.
Unfortunately, on my left the Morrigan finally got her way with the Knights. She chose them early in the battle and their fate was sealed.
Next door Arthur destroyed the Pictish Horde facing him.
But the pivotal action was in the centre. Welsh Spearmen assisted by their bishop destroyed the Pictish Hero General. And that was game.
Conclusion and observations
A God (or Goddess) is pretty scary but I found a deity is not a battle winner by itself. Chris played the Morrigan well, deploying her at a good time and attacking a sensible spot. But, despite being terrified for most of the battle, I managed to counter her. I had lined up my mounted to attack Chris’s weak flank with the Hordes and I figured he’d use the Morrigan there to protect his flank. That in turn led me to put an element of Spear behind my main battle line as a anti-God ploy. I also kept my Riders right back by the Stronghold to discourage an straight up attack there. When it became clear Chris wasn’t going for that option, I brought the Riders forward to help against the Morrigan. Eventually I lost a Knight element to the Goddess but by then I’d won the battle elsewhere.
All in all a good game. I glad Chris chooses to spice things up in our games by taking a variety of army combinations, often with fantastical elements. For myself I’m content to stick to a historical line up.