GAME 43: THE HERD

*a pool of blood wells up out of a crack in the blasted earth at your feet; it begins to boil vigorously, when suddenly one blood-slick arm and then another shoots out of the pool; a figure drags itself out of the bloodfire and stands up, stretching and massaging a crick out of its neck*

Anyway, I’m back! I’ve gotten a few games of Universal Battle in during the long COVID downtime, but it really hasn’t scratched that gaming itch, in particular the feel of the dice and that sweet clatter of luck in action. With things mostly ok in my home state (New York), my clubmate and I threw down a socially distanced game of KOW last weekend, and it was delicious.

BLOODFIRE GAME 43: THE HERD

Salamanders 2000

Fire Elementals Horde
Fire Elementals Horde
Fire Elementals Horde
Fire Elementals Horde
Scorchwing Cavalry Horde – Fire-Oil
Ember Sprites Regiment
Ember Sprites Regiment
Ember Sprites Regiment
Ember Sprites Regiment
Greater Fire Elemental
Clan Lord – Effigy of Fire, Raptor
Mage-Priest – Fireball (10), Surge (8), Heal (3)
Mage-Priest – Fireball (10), Heal (6) [Shroud of the Saint]

I’ve only played two 1000 point games with Bloodfire in 3E, so I’ve been well-chuffed to try a fuller game with the red army. The only change I’d make to this list might be Blade of Slashing over Effigy on the Raptor Lord, otherwise it’s pretty much spot on for 2k. And yes, I’ll say it now: the Greater Fire is no Agnes 😔 I’m hoping to get some mileage out of her all the same, between the height and 50mm base, but the internal struggle will always be there … until her triumphant return, of course, long may she reign.

The Herd 2000

Spirit Walker Horde – Brew of Haste
Lycan Horde
Earth Elemental Horde
Lycan Regiment
Longhorn Troop
Longhorn Troop
Beast of Nature – 7 Attaks, Wings
Beast of Nature – 7 Attaks
Tree Herder
Druid – Bane Chant (2), Surge (4), Heal (2)
Druid – Lightning Bolt (2), Surge (4), Heal (2)

This is a cut down version of a 2300 point list, and I think you can tell. He explained what’s missing – Harpy troop, Forest Shambler reg, Tribal Tracker – and it seemed like the support staff to help this core do work / handle objectives while the hammers hit things. Also there’s 5 points missing but that could be any number of forgotten items.

We rolled up Smoke & Mirrors, then rerolled to Raze, a much simpler scenario! After bumbling through token placement and deployment and barely remembered scout rolls, Bloodfire won the roll off and took it.

BATTLE


Battelines!


Bloodfire Turn 1 after scouting + movement but before shooting. Scorchwings + Ember Sprites are gunning for the Lycan reg on the right (getting that fire-oil in action), despite the looming Beast.


Singed Lycan rout for first blood! And the central Longhorns cop some Sprite vomit as well. A Fire Elemental horde is surged up to pressure the center.


The Herd advance, with the flanking Lycan horde threatening as is its wont. Heal (2) fails to heal the 2 damage on the Longhorns but the other Druid’s Lightning (2) nails 2 damage on the Scorchwings.


Bloodfire Turn 2 sees the red tide rotate to bring the right hook in and prepare to receive the Herd on the left. Down the center, Fire Elementals roar into the Earth Elementals, with Ember Sprites both blocking out the walking Beast and charging the Longhorns to keep them busy.


Scorchwings + Ember Sprites burn down the Longhorns on the hill, while on the left more Sprites vomit ~5 damage into the Spirit Walkers. In combat, the hero Sprites tag a wound onto their Longhorns, and the Fire Elementals slam 8 damage into the Earth Elementals but they survive thanks to the 3E Nv buff (rolled a 9 twice!)

Fire Elementals burn the central token (1:0)


The Herd responds by sending the Spirit Walkers into some Fire Elementals (I don’t think they were more than 13” away, so minimum wild charge roll … or you know, the brew of haste they had!), the walking Beast into the Greater Fire (yep, his pathfinder means her puddle placement is pointless), the Earth Elementals + Tree Herder into the central Fire Elementals, and the Longhorns back into their Ember Sprites. The Earth Elementals are healed for 1-2 and bane-chanted, then on to murder.

The Spirit Walkers do a very statistical 10 wounds to their Fire Elementals, then botch the rerolled 7 rout (I guess statistically as well). The walking Beast punches 2 damage into the Greater Fire, beginning a slapfest for the ages. In the center, Fire Elementals take 8 damage but hold tight, although their nearby Ember Sprite buddies are blended by the Longhorns.

The Lycan horde burns the left token (1:1)


Bloodfire Turn 3 is going to get ultraviolent. The smoldering left Fire Elementals flank the Spirit Walkers, the Greater Fire countercharges her Beast of Nature, the central Fire Elementals counter the Earth Elementals (with some Ember Sprites controlling their slide to keep the Herder in their front), more Fire Elementals pound into the Longhorns, annnd the Scorchwings take a flank on the flying Beast. With the Herd being burned down or trapped in a grind to the left, the rightmost Fire Elementals abandon the token they were protecting and head towards the action. Ember Sprites take a moment to barf 1 damage on the Lycans but miss the lightning Druid. Both Mages heal the central Fire Elementals down to 5 damage.


In combat, the Scorchwings peck 6 damage onto the flying Beast, wavering it! Fire Elementals atomize the Longhorns, then more Fire Elementals pummel the Earth Elementals up to 9 damage (still no rout), and yet more Fire Elementals scatter the Spirit Walkers and char their corpses. The Greater Fire smacks 2 damage into her Beast.

Ember Sprites burn the left token (2:1)


The Herd retaliates with the Lycan horde (off a hill!) into the mangled left Fire Elementals, the walking Beast into the Greater Fire, the Earth Elementals + Herder back into the central Fire, and a cheeky Druid into the Scorchwings. The flying Beast turns to face its destroyers and backs up (which I think it couldn’t have done when disordered? Tho it didn’t matter in the least). The Earth Elementals got another 3 points of damage healed or radiance of lifed off them (down to 6).


Both wounded Fire Elementals are ended, while the walking beast glumly boops 2 more damage onto the Greater Fire. The Druid can’t hit the Scorchwings.

The Lycan horde burns another token (2:2)


Bloodfire Turn 4, a musical interlude with a dash of combat. Fire Elementals take their first swing at the Tree Herder (freshly turned to face), while the Raptor Lord finally makes contact with the flying Beast. The Scorchwings punch it 20” and nimble turn, pretty much because I’ve never done that but people do it to Bloodfire all the time 😐 And on the left a lot of shooting is brought to bear on the Lycans …


After the pyrotechnics die down, the pups are up to 10 damage but my hot dice can’t seal the deal with a single 7 to rout, let alone 5 to waver. As a consolation, the bane chant Druid takes 4! damage from the Sprites on the hill, wavering! Then the Raptor Lord cuts down the flying Beast (2 missed wounds tidily made up for by the Effigy D3), and 8 damage onto the Tree Herder is a great start to that grind. Finally, the Greater Fire pummels 5 damage into the walking Beast (7 total).

Ember Sprites burn the right token (3:2)


The Lycan horde makes me feel dumb and nimble charges the vainglorious Scorchwings. Derp. Also they regen down to 6 damage. The Tree Herder and Beast countercharge where appropriate, and the Earth Elementals have to flank some Ember Sprites blocking them. Radiance of life + healing bring both Earth Elementals and Tree Herder to 5 damage.


Fittingly, the Lycan one-round the Scorchwings, as the Earth Elementals also extinguish their Ember Sprites. The Tree Herder smacks a hearty 6 damage into its Fire Elementals, while the walking Beast tickles the Greater Fire up to 6 damage (2 a turn, like clockwork).


Bloodfire Turn 5: The Quest for More Blood. The grind continues as the far right Fire Elementals make contact with the Earth Elementals, and the Tree Herder and walking Beast prepare for another round. The Raptor Lord also charges into the bleeding bane-chant Druid. Finally, the Lycan once again find themselves in a ring of fire …


A second volley of 34 shots puts the dogs down, despite the cover of the woods. The Beast is likewise ended by the Greater Fire, but the Earth Elementals and Tree Herder hold tough, both on 10 damage now. The Druid also manages to stick around with a waver.


C-c-c-c-c-countercharge! Healing and radiance brings the Earth Elementals and Tree Herder to 9 and 8 damage, respectively (and the Druid to whatever). In combat, the Elementals’ Fire horde holds at 4 damage and the Herder’s somehow clings on at 11 damage!


Bloodfire Turn 6, time to end it. The Earth Elementals are mobbed by Fire Elementals in the front, Greater Fire in the flank, and Ember Sprites (hindered!) in the rear. The Tree Herder receives the exclusive attention of its rapidly-dissolving Fire horde. Also the Raptor Lord heads back into the Druid and Ember Sprites turn to spit at the other Druid, but miss. Healing brings the Herder’s Fire Elementals back to 7 damage.


But it’s a moot point, as both Earth Elementals and Tree Herder are detonated. That damn Druid sticks around tho!

Herd Turn 6 sees a token lightning bolt miss some Fire Elementals, and there’s no Turn 7. With the center token held, that brings it up to (4:2) in the Salamanders’ favor.

BLOODFIRE VICTORY

It was great to push some models around and roll actual dice, and even better to do it with Bloodfire – and yes, even better to do it when my dice were scaldingly hot. Those red dice haven’t been rolled since 2019, so so so bloodthirsty 🩸

We’ve got a 2300 point rematch tentatively scheduled for this weekend / sometime this month, so stay tuned gentle readers. Here’s hoping y’all can safely get a game or two in as well.

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