In this, the battle of Gapwood Farm, half of the Vikings (Chaos Warmaster figs on Impetus-sized sabots) were drawn up in shieldwall on a hill next to a farm between two woods. The other half were in a relief column deployed on a corner of the board and would have to wait a few turns before marching to the rescue.

The Imperials advanced with their knights in the centre, screened by skirmishers, and flanked by halberds and crossbow.This time the skirmish screens played little role, inflicting no hits at all.

The first knight thundered in from the Imperial left, charging through their own skirmishers (a neat rule), and crashed into a unit of bondi (marauders). A long battle then ensued with the knights pushing back the bondi, then pursuing into the unit of bondi beside. Because the knights came in at an angle, the marauders didn’t have a unit in support during the combat, even though they were side by side. Because of successive retreat rolls, the bondi would fight, then retreat, then the knights would contact the second unit. They fought the second unit, it retreated and they advanced into the first unit again. And so it went until, at the end, the depleted knights had destroyed one unit and left the other with just a single VBU.

At this point, the Odalsbondi at the Chaos left wheeled forward, hoping to take the next unit of Empire knights in the flank as they charged up the hill. The Empire’s knights (with General) duly thundered up the hill, smashing the Viking skirmishers but rolling a two for pursuit, which left them standing right in front of two fresh units — berserkers to the front and the Odalsbondi that had just wheeled up.

The third knight moved up behind the others and the rest of the Imperials advanced along the line. The Chaos relief force finally began moving on turn four, so marched on the Imperial left.

The Chaos Gods smiled up on their minions, giving them the initiative. The Odalsbondi charged the knights, defeating them but unable to pursue enough to stay in contact. They shortly found themselves charged by halberds and pushed slowly back up the hill. The last remaining bondi turned to face the last of the knights, who wheeled ponderously toward them atop the hill, while the other knights rallied.

At this point, things were looking very precarious for the forces of Chaos. The Gods favoured them with another initiative victory, though, allowing the remaining Marauder (bondi) to move out of the knights charge arc (though becoming disordered). The tense standoff continued another turn, as the reinforcements marched ever nearer.

Then the knights and halberds thundered in to finish off all of the Vikings on the hill in a series of close battles, carving themselves a crushingly convincing victory.

The aftermath

This was the first game where I realized that impetus zero units cannot charge — so skirmishers facing each other just throw verbal taunts until something heavier wipes them out. This is not to say that skirmishers are any less useful, but it does change the way you need to use them a bit.

The shieldwalls didn’t hold as well as in the first couple of games, even defending a hill. Just luck of the draw this time, I suppose.

I really enjoy how ponderous movement is. Several times units that would have gotten in easy flank charges in Warmaster were left fighting frontally instead. However, the slow movement means that any relief forces have to show up quickly (or need some other special rule) if they are ever to get into combat.