It’s weird how I’ve been into miniatures and roleplaying since fifth grade, but I never actually played a miniatures game until I was in college. Then, like many others I got roped into Warhammer and 40K. I completely missed out on Battlesystem. Wizards of the Coast just released a new free ruleset compatible with 5th Ed. AD&D, but I have no interest in using the new version of AD&D. The old rules are found easily enough on eBay, and they’re based on 2nd Edition AD&D (the version I played all through high school and college) so I picked up a copy.
We got more snow over the weekend (because we really needed more of it), and I had just finished my highlander warband, so I figured why not try the skirmish rules out? So here’s my first Battlesystem Skirmishes After Action Report!
I chose Highlanders vs. Orcs as the forces. The highlanders were made up of two clans: The Mac Layrs (Green/Blue) and the Rennies (Red/Blue). I split them into separate units based on clan. Bran Mac Layr was the commander (a level 6 hero), and he was supported by Rory Mac Layr, (a level 3 cleric). The remaining 2 Mac Layrs were generic level 1 human fighters. The Rennies were all level 1 human fighters.
The orcs were led by Varg (Level 2 orc leader). Varg commanded 4 Level 1 orcs. Also on the orcs side was Gogzarak, an ogre (Level 4 monster). As a monster, he can move and act independently. I used the generic stats provided in the Battlesystem rulebook for all the miniatures.
The orcs and the ogre are attacking the highlander settlement in the hopes of grabbing some sheep. The highlanders are trying to stop them. (Insert your own highlander/sheep joke here.) I deployed the Rennies in the pasture and the Mac Layrs in front of the houses. The orcs were deployed in the woods, and Gogzarak was deployed on his own, across from the Mac Layrs.
That’s Bran Mac Layr with the claymore, near the well. Rory Mac Layr (the cleric) is all the way on the right.
Varg is leading his orcs out of the woods.
Gogzarak the ogre is on his own, taunting the Mac Layrs.
The monsters win initiative, which means the highlanders move first. Using this cool bendy-ruler, I measured out their full move (12″). No way are the Mac Layrs letting some scummy ogre get anywhere near their houses! Unfortunately, this puts them well within the ogre’s charge range.
Gogzarak charges Bran Mac Layr, bellowing as ogres do. He smacks Bran for 1 hit. Bran responds, but rolls a 1. He misses, and initiative immediately switches to the highlanders (weird rule).
In the pasture, the Rennies move to intercept the orcs as the come out of the woods. Neither side can reach melee this round.
The Rennies charge into combat. Two of them concentrate on Varg, the leader, while the other closes with an orc. The strategy pays off as both Rennies score hits and Varg dies. In response, one of the orcs kills one of the Rennies.
Meanwhile, Rory Mac Layr moves to the hilltop to better support both units. He casts Bless on the Rennies, giving them +1 to THAC0 and +1 to Morale. But it’s the orcs that have to check morale this round since their leader was killed. They pass and stay to fight.
The other Mac Layrs all attack Gogzarak, and he attacks back, but no one hits anybody.
Bran Mac Layr circles Gogzarak to get the +2 THAC0 bonus a rear attack gives. The other Mac Layrs flank the ogre. Bran hits Gogzarak for 2 hits! The other Mac Layrs miss. So does Gogzarak. Hoping to further support the Rennies, Rory Mac Layr casts Hold Person, rooting two orcs to the spot.
However, despite his support, the two unhindered orcs still manage to cut down the Rennies like cornstalks.
The two orcs who are still able to move break off and move towards the cleric on the hill. The Mac Layrs and Gogzarak fight another ineffective round of combat with no casualites. Seeing two orcs approaching his position with ill intent, Rory casts his final spell: Cause Light Wounds. One of the orcs drops dead halfway up the hill. The remaining orc checks morale as he had to form a new unit as a result of combat (the other orcs couldn’t move with him because they were held). He fails and is shaken.
Bran kills Gogzarak. The orc rallies. (Sorry, no picture.)
The lone orc charges the cleric while the Mac Layrs circle the hill. Even though the cleric has +1 THAC0 due to being on a higher elevation, he misses. The orc wounds the cleric for 1 hit.
Rounding the hill, the Mac Layrs spy the held orcs and charge. Showing no mercy, they put the filthy greenskins to the sword!
Bran charges the orc from behind, but misses. So does the orc and so does the cleric.
Bran Mac Layr kills the last remaining orc, cleaving him in twain from behind. Victory to the highlanders! Alas, the proud Rennie clan has fallen. Cue the bagpipes!
Battlesystem Skirmishes is pretty easy to learn, especially if you have ever played 2nd Edition AD&D. This whole game took about 25 minutes to play, including the time I took looking up rules and taking pictures. It seems the forces were unbalanced in favor of the highlanders, despite the monsters having more points on their side. I purposely didn’t use missile weapons, which may have altered the battle for both sides.
The cleric seemed to make the most difference in this game. Although his Bless spell didn’t do much, his other two spells really made a difference in how the game played out. If I played this skirmish again I would bulk up the monsters a bit by giving them missile weapons or maybe a shaman of their own.