HOTT 52 - Battle 4 - Attack on An'Burkag's Encampment

I fought my HOTT 52 Week 4 battle over lunch today and had a blast! I tried out the Magician unit for the first time. After the battle report, I'll give you my thoughts on this unit and how it plays out.

To create my armies I have tables that represent armies when they're all militia, all regular/professional, or a mix of the two. Regular armies have (more) elements like heroes, magicians, blades and knights. Militia armies have more of riders, warbands, spears and hordes, plus the cleric that sees to the needs of the common folk pressed into service!

This battle, I wanted to mix it up, so I rolled randomly for regular/militia or militia/regular, then rolled to see which exact army was to be used. The human army would be a militia/regular army. The Orc army, led by the War Chief An'Burkag, would be regular/militia.

General/Spear x1 (2 AP)
Spears x3 (6 AP)
Shooters x2 (4 AP)
Riders x2 (4 AP)
Knights x2 (4 AP)
Blades x2 (4 AP)
General/Knights x1 (2 AP)
Knights x1 (2 AP)
Blades x4 (8 AP)
Spear x2 (4 AP)
Shooters x2 (4 AP)
Magician x1 (4 AP)

The orcs were supposed to have Spear x3 and Hordes x2, but I swapped them out for the Orc Shaman as my Magician experiment.

The orcs lined up outside of their camp, howling and cursing at the humans who appeared on the horizon. They anchored their right flank with an impassable hill.

The human commander put her knights and riders on the flanks with the intent of sending the speedy riders to threaten the stronghold or Orc reserves.

The Orc Shaman Oz'turk, seeing the hateful Human Knights to their left, moved over to that flank, preparing foul spells to cast at them. Meanwhile, An'Burkag detailed a unit of Orc Spears to line up with him to prevent the Human Riders from flanking them or attacking their camp!

The Human army rolled down on top of the orc defense and pushed them all back!

Undaunted, the orcs and goblins gnashed their teeth, gripped their cold iron weapons and charged back at the humans, pushing them back!

(It was an amazing story the dice told! Every orc unit on the line recoiled when it was the human's bound, and almost the same in reverse when it was the orc's bound!)

The human knights, seeing a potential trap, charged at the flanking Orc knights. With nowhere to go, the retreating Orc Knights crashed into the melee between goblin and human archers. The unit broke up! Unfortunately, the impetuous Human knights made a mistake in turning to attack the Orc Shaman. When they attacked, they were overcome by his foul magicks!

(In HOTT, if a Knight (Kn) attacks a Magician and suffers a minor defeat in that same bound, they are destroyed! I had to reread that rule several times to make sure I understood it. It's subtle in the wording... if the Magician had charged/initiated contact, then the way the rule reads, the Kn would not have been destroyed!)

The Orcs also protected their rear/right flank, with the Orc spear destroying the light Rider cavalry. The orc line, however, suffered several defeats and began to fragment.

The human army pressed their advantage and pushed the orcs back. Warchief An'Burkag raced to reinforce the line and the Shaman Oz'turk rained spells and curses on both the flanking knights and units in the humans army, but they had little effect.

In the end, the orcs were unable to mount a serious defense and An'Burkag was forced to sound the horns of retreat. The humans marched upon the remains of the camp and burned it all to the ground, celebrating a hard fought victory!

Orcs: 12AP lost, Humans: 8 AP lost.

I rolled quite a few 6 to 1 combat rolls, in favor of the humans, which almost always spells defeat for the orcs. Once the line developed gaps, the bonuses for overlaps from the intact human line spelled the story out. Which was surprising, as the defeats on the flank really blunted whatever advantage I thought the humans would need.

So.. the Magician unit. Fun! It's basically an advanced artillery unit, being able to launch spells at 3x the distance of shooters, a little further than regular artillery. It does require PIPs though, so it requires a choice to be made between moving a unit or two, or using spells. Unfortunately, out of 4 attempts at a spell, only one had any sort of effect (a recoil), so the results weren't as good as I hoped. I was taken by surprise at the result of the Magician killing the Knight unit, though! I'll remember that for the future.

I don't know how this would have turned out if the Orcs had kept their Hordes and extra Spear unit, but it was a fun element to play with. Now I need to try a Cleric... and I need to buy 15mm human Wizards and Clerics! I don't have any!

PS. If you're curious about my force composition tables, as well as how I conduct my fantasy wargames campaigns, here's a link to my rules.


  1. It's wise to save you Magician's spells until it can do something serious - either by possibly forcing a recoil that destroys something, or targeting an element that is vulnerable to them (eg Hero, Behemoth). If you use them on something that is likely to recoil, you are risking a frogging for little reward! Magicians are also good in melee combat (and don't need Pips for that except to move them) and are speedy, so can switch positions fairly easily.

    1. That is true, with a +4 CF, they are fairly robust! I just figured that with the randomness of PIPs, I would use spells when I got 6s. The humans had no heroes or behemoths, so it was what it was!

  2. I'm enjoying your recaps, and Magicians can be fun. One time I won a battle on the first bound when my Magician ensorcelled my opponent's Hero general. Of course, there have been plenty of times where my spellcaster frogged himself.

    Even though the in-game effect is like that of shooting, I like to describe the spells my Magicians cast: anything from making the Hero's pants fall down, to a creeping pestilence, to a B-52 Arclight bombing run.

    1. "Of course, there have been plenty of times where my spellcaster frogged himself."

      I haven't frogged a magician in years; once I roll that first '1' I just avoid bespelling for the rest of the game and switch entirely to close combat.


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