Author Topic: Hawkshold vs Monsters & Mercenaries  (Read 1110 times)


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Hawkshold vs Monsters & Mercenaries
« on: January 03, 2017, 02:11:51 AM »
Inaugural playtest game with the new Hawkshold!

The very first thing we wanted to test out was Kevin's concern that Militia Pikemen are too optimized for their role.  My feeling was that the large guys could get the matchup they wanted with their speed, so I tried to prove Kevin right by spamming Militia Pikemen against Monsters & Mercs.  If it's ever going to happen, this is pretty much the worst case scenario.

Hawkshold:  4 Lancers, 4 Militia Pikemen, 1 Knights, 3 Command Cards.

Monsters & Mercs:  3 Half-Orc Swordsmen, 1 Half-Orc Spearmen, 1 Wildmen Horse Archer, 1 Earth Elemental, 1 Hill Giant


Hawkshold (top to bottom)
1st row:  Pikemen, [gap], Pikemen, [gap], Pikemen, Pikemen, Lancers
2nd row: Lancers, [small gap], Knights, [small gap], Lancers, Lancers

M&M (top to bottom): Half-Orc Spear, Half-Orc Sword, Half-Orc Sword, Hill Giant, Half-Orc Sword, Earth Elemental, Wildmen Horse Archers

The yellow dice represent my objectives:  both units of Pikemen at the top were ordered to shuffle sideways to their right (bottom of the picture), while one of my Lancers had the order to go onto the top of the hill.  My other two Pikemen were move capped to not outrun the line.  Scott gave his Wildmen Archers an order to go behind the Hill Giant and shoot the vulnerable D:1/2 Pikemen.

Cavalry Moves

I use order of operations to keep my cavalry at the top in place for a turn while the cavalry in the center start to shift right (bottom) to overwhelm that flank.  Scott changes the Wildmen to go up the hill and threaten my Lancers, because if he doesn't my Lancers will lead the Elemental by the nose.  A mistake on his part that costs him 1 CA instead of 3 CAs later to keep the Elemental on the right path.

Wandering Elemental

At the top of the picture, my cavalry are in positions with (mostly) the matchups they want.  The Lancers on the hill are the closest target for the Earth Elemental and so he peels off towards them.

Horse Archers Destroyed

I draw the Plan at just the right time, and all the yellow dice are objectives for those units this turn.  (Can't remember what the fourth CA was spent on).  I've basically made a mistake by letting my Lancers in the center go to the right (bottom) instead of the left (top) in the early turns.  I needed both Lancers up top to deal with the Half-Orc Spearmen.

At the bottom, the Lancers charge the Wildmen Horse Archers. They blow their rout check and are cut down by free strikes.  Yeah the Earth Elemental will be flanking the Lancers next turn, but the Lancers will be uphill.

Lancers Flanked

The Earth Elemental charges, but still needs 2s to hit so it only does 1 damage.

Further up the Half Orc Sword curl back to prevent the two units of Militia Pikemen from pinching.  This leaves me with only a Two's Company where I'd need 2s and 2s despite having 14 dice.  And with 2.5" move, getting around that flank would take some time.

Hawkshold Charge

At the top, the Knights charge the Half Orc Swordsmen and put them into the Red.  They rout and are destroyed. 

Near the large hill on the bottom I engage in some shenanigans:  I charge the Half Orc Swordsmen with ONE unit of Militia Pikemen.  On Scott's turn he'll conform to them and expose the flank of the Hill Giant.  If he charges the Pikemen in front, he'll get flanked by the Pikemen on the side.  I also DC the Lancers on the hill to hold back so that on the turn after Scott conforms, he'll be able to pinched by them.

Scott almost throws a monkey wrench in my plan by forcing a Yellow check immediately.  7 dice needing 4s and 3s, with a card means I take 3 Green boxes and have to check.  Thanks to Bravery I pass, but I lose the Bravery mark.

Hill Giant Shuffle

At the top, the Half Orc Swordsmen charge the Militia Pikemen.  Another card and Scott forces a Yellow check.  I've spent a number of CAs on Direct Control & changing orders, so I opted to draw cards instead of Bravery all the Pikemen...which means I fail the rout check and flee.  He does not destroy them in free attacks.

In the middle, Scott DC's the Hill Giant to slide to it's right.  This puts it in front of the Knights and out of 2.5" from my Militia Pikemen.  Second time he's used their slow move against me (although I think this one was more clever than the first, seeing as curling back is an obvious thing).  Talk about him using a bad break from last turn to his advantage!

Hawkshold Pinches

With my double-pinch plan gone, I go for my back-up double-pinch plan:  the Militia Pikemen pinch the Half Orc Swordsmen and the Lancers get an order to pinch the Earth Elemental.  The Half Orcs blow their pinch check and are put into the Red and pass their rout check there.  The Earth Elemental takes 6 damage from the charging Lancers.

In the middle, I hold back my Knights while the Militia Pikemen slowly move into place (I had to change their order to do so).

Near the top, my Lancers happen to be just in Final Rush range of those Half Orc Swordsmen, so I let them charge.  Anything less and the flank of the Knights would have been exposed.  On this turn I need 3s and 3s whereas he needs 2s and 3s.  I don't rout them and it's going to get worse for me from here.

At the very top, I DC my Lancers to protect the flank of the other Lancers but not charge the Holding Half Orc Spearmen.

Knights go Squish

At the bottom, the Lancers finish off the Earth Elemental, who puts one unit of Lancers down to its last box.  The Half-Orc Swordsmen rally out of final rush range of the Pikemen.

Near the middle, the Hill Giant charges the Knights.  Out comes Accuracy and the the Knights go into the Red.  A failed rout check later and the Knights go pop.

Near the top the Half Orc Swordsmen now need 3s and 3s while the Lancers need 3s and 2s.  Which is to say that the Lancers are put into the Yellow, but at least they pass their rout check.

Trading Flanks

At the bottom, the freed up Lancers can see the Half Orcs.  They final rush and destroy them, taking 2 damage in return.

In the middle, the (Bravery'd) Pikemen flank the Hill Giant and start whittling away at it.  The Hill Giant immediately puts the Pikemen into the Yellow, but they pass.  That D:1/2 really matters against big guys.

Near the top, the Half Orc Swordsmen destroy the Lancers.

At the very top I DC the Lancers to run around the Half Orc Spearmen.

At this point I own the bottom half of the board and he controls the top half.  Which means that there's going to be a lot of re-positioning because neither side has lost 1200pts.  As such the pictures are going to start representing each of us having taken a full turn, rather than a picture of his turn followed by a picture of my turn.

Maneuvering Again

This is my next turn.  At the top, his Spearmen are chasing my Lancers, who're running laps around them.

In the center the Hill Giant destroys the Pikemen in the third turn of combat (D:1/2...) And my Pikemen are rolling up, doing like 5 pts in 3 turns without cards.  This would hugely impact the game.

At the bottom, my units are reorganizing and heading to the other flank.  I also rally the fleeing Pikemen, but I forgot to flip them around before I took the picture.

Giant Runs Away

This is on my next turn, again.  Scott changes the Hill Giant's order to have it flee back to the safety of the Half Orcs, away from the swarm of Hawkshold.  The Half Orc Swordsmen charge the Militia Pikemen, and will eventually kill them.

We honestly consider calling it here, because this is a lot of maneuvering that could take two more hours.  Scott has less than 1,000pts on the board so he can't get better than a draw.  After the Militia Pikemen fighting the Half Orcs die, I'll be one unit away from being under 1,000pts myself.  For example, my Lancers with 1 Red box left are keeping 240pts on the board.  So technically I'm winning, but we're really close to a draw.  But we decide to play it out.


I start putting pressure on the Half Orc Spearmen, threatening to get a pinch with my two units of Lancers.  This forces Scott to bring the Hill Giant out again while the Half Orc Spearmen withdraw.


After another turn of maneuvering for flanks, the Hill Giant advances just enough that my Lancers are in the flank and can draw a 2.5" path to the flank of the Hill Giant.  I play both Mights that I drew that turn to put the Hill Giant into the red.  He fails the Cge 13 check.  He has an Ordered Retreat but with only 2 boxes left, it'd destroy the Giant.  I kill him in free strikes, which is enough to break him.

The one chance he has is playing Strike vs the charging Lancers on the front of the Hill Giant.  If he kills that unit I break as well.  The Lancer only have 1 Green box left, so 4 total boxes.  And I have no Blue cards.  9 dice, needing 3s and 6s should be about 4-5 wounds.  Scott whiffs, not doing a single hit.

If those flanking Pikemen who did 5pts on the Hill Giant when they should have done 3pts had only rolled a little bit less well, the Hill Giant would have been able to play Ordered Retreat and then the Half Orc Spearmen would have rear charged my Lancers and broke me the next turn.  Or if the Hill Giant hadn't flubbed the to-hit roll.  If the Earth Elemental who'd flanked those Lancers early in the game hadn't basically flubbed one turn of rolls, my Lancers wouldn't be sitting on 240pts with 1 Red box left.  Basically there were several ways this game should have been a draw, but the dice decided that it wasn't to be.

I'll post my thoughts in the design forum.


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Re: Hawkshold vs Monsters & Mercenaries
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2017, 09:57:29 AM »

I have to say that the pike men unit is very much a specialty unit as such it works as it should.

The problem is making it a viable unit to take when compared to other units for their price. It's a bit of a gamble but a decent gamble if it's supported.
I can't think of a reason to take more than one in a normal army build.
The bull bears it's horns in hope. Hope to fend off those who would feed on it's love. The love of all the ones who held the wall upon which all memories have been written. Existence fussed to rip and explode the bull into the breach of threat.To scream in all the colors the essence of it's love.