John and I got together last month for another installment in our periodic fantasy campaign inspired by our homebrew fantasy setting.
Dubbed the War of the Coins, the campaign represents a years-long clash between the duchies of Vladisport (a collection of human fiefdoms led by House Begovic) and the dwarven city-state of Miravec, which includes the titular city as well as a collection of holdfasts and walled cities located near the northern edge of the Fellhammer Mountains. The map below displays the city-state of Miravec and its surrounding regions held by the dwarves at the outset of the war.
We developed this setting (the world of Uthdyn) during a collaborative game of Microscope a number of years ago, and it’s since served as the backdrop for Paul’s D&D campaign as well as our Frostgrave campaign and these periodic fantasy wargames.
The complete setting spans several continents across multiple different time periods. This game focuses on one specific turning point in the history of this particular corner of the map.
For tonight’s game, I set up an urban battlefield representing the town of Tor Sigil, a dwarven trading outpost south of Miravec. Before the war, Tor Sigil was a prosperous hub that served as the gateway for merchants and traders heading toward the dwarven city-states of Miravec and Kjelvaskur.
Now, Tor Sigil is the front line of a sustained and bloody campaign of conquest against the dwarves. This game focuses on a last-ditch rearguard action of a small contingent of dwarven defenders as they held the defensive lines in the city to allow the bulk of their army to withdraw and prepare to defend the approaches to to Miravec.
(I may have been channeling a bit too much zeitgeist from the Ukrainian war when writing up this battle report. You be the judge.)
I hosted this game, and took the opportunity to pull out my medieval village terrain pieces, including two beautiful centerpieces from Tabletop World that I painted last year, plus a couple more pieces from Miniature Building Authority. I have a solid collection of medieval village terrain that doesn’t get a lot of action unless we’re playing at my place. Before John arrived, my kids had a lot of fun invading the village with dinosaurs.
You can see our initial deployment in the photo above (and below, I’ll just repost it so you don’t have to scroll).
My dwarven defenders are on the left, and John’s fast-moving skirmish force is on the right. My army featured four hard-hitting artillery units, which I positioned with decent lanes of fire toward the central plaza in the center of the village. John had two cavalry units positioned on the two flanks, ready to ride down by heavy guns and scatter the poor crew. In addition, he had a unit of infantry hidden in ambush – these guys would pop out on from hiding during the game.
The first turn featured a lot of maneuvering as we sought to advance on the four marked objectives on the battlefield. My cannons opened fire, with marginal results.
Turn two was when things started getting interesting. The dwarves, advancing at a stately pace with lots of clanking armor and jingling chainmail, suddenly found themselves facing an ambush, as John’s halberdiers sprang their trap and came pouring out of the alehouse where they had been holed up, nursing hangovers since the night before. Talk about dedication to the war effort!
The same turn, my elite dwarf warriors (in the gold armor) were stunned when a unit of winged pegasus knights swooped in and crashed like a wave, wiping them out to a man.
It was a dire turn of events for the dwarf army. Moving as quickly as they could, the dwarfs pivoted to deal with the ambushing infantry that was running around their backfield. Neutralizing those pesky units definitely took my attention away from the objectives.
Eventually, the flanking force was more or less dealt with, and we resumed our plodding advance toward the central objective (represented by the patinaed statue). In the photo below, you can also see my dwarven berzerker champion (newly painted!) and my blue-skinned frost giant (painted 15 years ago!). Both units played a pivotal role in the final turns of the game.
Opposing them in this clash were John’s stout spearmen. Take it from me – John loves his spearmen. The phalanx rule in Age of Fantasy, which represents units armed with spears, pikes, and other sharp sticks, is absolutely brutal.
While the frost giant carved up the human attackers, gaining a little breathing room near the central plaza, the spearmen formed up to receive a charge from my fearsome bear-mounted dwarf lord. Frothing with rage from the ambush that took out so many of his fearless countrymen, the dwarf lord urged his mount on like a furry missile missile that crashed headlong into the forest of spears.
Stunned and repulsed by the fury of the dwarf lord’s charge, the spearmen fell back. Into the gap stepped (or fluttered, as the case may be) John’s pegasus-mounted champion. The stage was set for an epic clash of HQ-vs-HQ, as the leaders of our two armies traded blows while their foot troops looked on and cheered.
The impact of their mighty blows cracked the stone masonry of the surrounding buildings and ripped up the cobbles in the street. In the end, the pegasus-mounted champion stood triumphant, and the dwarf lord ambled off as fast as his bear buddy would convey him.
That clash actually represented my last gasp at a tactical victory. If the dwarf lord had done his job and defeated the pegasus champion, I could have battled John to a draw and maintained a tenuous grasp on the village of Tor Sigil. With the champion defeated, John had secured a majority of the objectives, and with them, the victory.
The final turn featured a little more action, including some savage combat on the other size of the plaza between my dwarf warriors and another unit of those accursed spearmen. My berzerker champion also carved up several units, more than paying for his points. But tactically, the game was decided when the bear lord was defeated.
Once again, Age of Fantasy gave us a great game with lots of tactical decision making and flavorful results that helped advance our narrative campaign. The dwarves were driven from Tor Sigil – can House Begovic pacify the trading outpost before the dwarves muster a solid counterattack? Stay tuned for more!