Monday, June 8, 2009

The Campaign for Hottsk - Year One

Darkness spreads over the land of Hottsk. Armies of the Orcs gather in the North.

The Dwarf Warlords gather at Agnetha. The hammering of armourers plying their trade sounds through the valleys of Anni-frid.

The Elven Council convenes. It is decided that they must be readied for war. The army must be assembled and Venerable Bede is nominated as General of the Army.

All the while the kingdoms of men quarrel among themselves and are concerned only with their own affairs…

(wait... first a little background…)

This campaign weekend has been a dream of mine for darned near 20 years. Over 20 years, really… From when I very first started miniature wargaming I was interested in playing games as part of a campaign. Indeed I think the very first miniature game system I bought was the first edition of Battlesystem for AD&D. I tried playing it with the counters a couple times, but never really picked up massed armies of figures – oh, I had lots of miniatures for the role-playing game, just not units… I never really got characters in games I ran or played in to the point where they could be leading entire units into battle…

Later I got involved in Warhammer (back when it was a single hardcover book and you could play with any damn thing you wanted!?) because a friend was planning a large campaign – it fizzled before it got started. Laer I tried to get campaigns going first with systems of my own devisisng, then one with Mighty Empires when the first edition came out. Neither made it past the first couple turns.

When I stumbled upon DBA I fell in love with the elegant simplicity of it and saw the potential for some serious campaigning – it even included it’s own campaign system that was also brilliant in it’s simplicity. I immediately set about trying to recruit players for a campaign – We chose the campaigns of Alexander the great. Partly due to the availability of figures (RAFM was easily available through the Wizard’s Corner – our local game store where we all hung out) and also I think Osprey had just started it’s campaign series and one of the first books was The Campaigns of Alexander the Great.

I had the Persians, Cory had the Scythians… I think Mike was supposed to play the Thracians and John the Greeks… I can’t quite remember who was to play the Macedonians or Indians… maybe Jay and Todd…? Anyway, I think John and Mike may have bought a few packs, but I can’t remember if Mike did anything with his. I know John never did anything with his, and they’re probably still sitting in their original packaging in his basement. Cory at least assembled his army and played many battles on his kitchen table against my painted Persians… Cory still has them and they are still, for the most part, unpainted… Another campaign fizzled before it got started.

Shortly thereafter everyone I gamed with went their separate ways moving to Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, etc… and for a decade or so I just dreamed…

To bring a short conclusion to a story that’s already getting way to damn long (is anyone still reading or have you all skipped ahead to the pictures…? I know I would…) – This last winter I abandoned the then current plan of a Wargame Weekend with a focus around the Quebec campaign of 1759 and decided to build myself some DBA and HOTT armies… actually, no that’s not quite true – I was planning on building Warmaster armies in 28mm and though “hey I could play DBA and HOTT with these stands in the interm until I amass enough stuff to play Warmaster…” Well, I stared having so damn much fun playing HOTT I have abandoned all plans of Warmaster (anyone want a copy of Warmaster Ancients and Warmaster Ancient Armies…?) and realized I could easily put together about six HOTT armies with the stuff I had on hand… so I started planning a campaign weekend for sometime in the spring or summer…

This past weekend I hosted that HOTT campaign and it has truly been a DREAM COME TRUE thanks a a group of eight exceptional gentlemen – some of whom drove (or FLEW!) here from Edmonton and Calgary to participate. Thanks to all of you.

I was especially pleased that Mr. Cory Loshney – who initially played Warhammer with me and jumped right on board when I switched to DBA and built that Scythian army – was able to make it.

Here are all the participants gathered around my dining room table ready to begin the first turn:

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

From Left to Right: Jackson, Rick, Christian, Other Tim, Cory, Terry, Bob, and Chris

A list of who played what can be found HERE. I’m not going to get into the exact make up of each army as that would make my brain hurt – Most armies changed somewhat over the ears of the campaign as they were allowed to recruit different elements available.

Here is the MAP:



Starting locations at the beginning of Spring

Locations of the armies after marches completed…

In the spring of the first year or the Great War for Hottsk two armies march on the borders of Angland. The horsemen of Florin were massed on the eastern border in early spring and marched on Morgond as soon as the tracks were dry enough to do so. Meanwhile the Army of Aarkland marched from Drelt, in the north, on Scael from the west. King Aethelbert (the almost ready) ordered his standard raised at Galordon and marched east to meet the Florins. When he received news that Scael was besieged he hoped the garrison could hold on until the horsemen were be dealt with.

Ideed the Garrison at Scael did hold through the spring while the Armies of Angland and Florin met on a field just south of Morgond. There, Aetherbert handed a crushing defeat to the Florins, who then fled back across their border in utter disarray.

King Humperdink (Chris) and his invading army of Florins line up for battle opposite the Anglanders.

The Battle of Morgond observed by Terry and Bob (whose armies were engaged in Sieges). Until the previous evening Chris had never before played Hordes of the Things, and had only ever played DBA once or twice with me about four years ago…

The lines meet, retire and ready to charge again….

The Army of Florin defeated. The Army of Angland suffered few casualties (no stands lost to the Florin’s SIX!?)

Meanwhile in the North the Amies of the Goblin King Skimpi the Sneak invaded the neighboring orc lands of Mørke. Hannurbul, King of Mørke, lead his army out to meet the Halfbads at Argha. Skimpi the Sneak captured Argha after routing the Army of Mørke. A garrison was hastily organized there and the army made ready to move again as news arrived that the Dwarves of Anni-frid had marched down out of their snowy passes and laid siege to the fortress of Glurg

The first battle of Argha is under way! Hammurbull (Jackson) advances his forces to meet the invading Halfbads.

The armies about to clash! (Fatal mistake #1 about to take place – Beasts charging Riders and Hero General in the open… it wasn’t pretty…)

Skimpi the Sneak ploughs through the screen of wolves with his spiders and engages the warbands and hordes of Mørke in the woods.

To the East the usually peaceful Elves marched out of their woodland realm and advanced through the land of the Broken Tusks Tribe. There out on the steppes they met Warlord Bork Redtooth of the Bloody Suns Tribe, who had just arrived there from Black Rock. Here the victory was not nearly so decisive.

The Battle line of the Bloody Suns near on of the Broken Tusks fortified camps.

The Elves begin their long advance!

The Elves continue their advance while the Orcs reorganize their line… The rank and file orcs look on nervously as the giants pass in front of them (“boy… I hope nothing spooks them and they trample over us as they flee…”)

The elves themselves do some dancing about sending their mounted column straight across the table (behind the Elvish main line) and through the woods!?

The Elf and Orc lines clash (FINALLY!? – I think by this time both the other battles were over - in fact this was the only battle we had to call on time as it was damn near 11AM and we were only in the spring of the first year – unfortunately for Christian he made some bad rolls on his last turn and lost a couple stands, thus losing the battle…).


After moves completed for the Summer.

After retiring to their capitol of Waruk the Orcs of Mørke regrouped and marched again on Argha. When they arrived there they found that the Halfbads had vacated their recently acquired lands leaving only a small garrison behind. The Garrison was Quickly reduced and every last one of the Half-bads put to the sword!

The Halfbads had returned to relieve the siege at Glurg. There they met the Dwarves in battle. This was far less decisive and the Orcs and goblins went at it hammer and tongs with the Dwarves for a good long time before the Dwarves were obliged to retire from the field.

Meanwhile, far to the South the Anglanders, fresh from their victory against the Florins marched on Scael to relieve the siege there! They were perhaps a too confident in their abilities and expected the “Northern Barbarians” to flee the field as the horsemen from the east had. The Aarklanders held their ground and in a complete reversal of fortune crushed the Anglanders! The Anglanders, their army defeated and much reduced sued for peace and King Häggis accepted King Aethelbert the Almost ready as his vassal.

King Aethelbert the Almost Ready (Cory, left) leads his army against the accursed Aarklanders, lead by General Lutefisk (Terry, right).

The battle lines clash!!


It was for some time a bit of a shoving match.

Lots of back and forth…

I think the Anglanders flanks disintegrated and the Aarklnaders enveloped them and it was over pretty quickly after that…

The army of the Elves pursued the Bloody Suns to their fortress of Black Rock, but the orcs refused to meet them in battle. Instead the orcs holed up in their fortress and forced the Elves to lay siege. The sige continued through the summer…

We broke for lunch at this point. I had hoped to finish a year in the morning, but it just didn’t work out. Ah well… After lunch the campaign continued…


I’m not sure if they got the wrong directions back to their homeland or if they were suddenly afraid elves might invade the lands of the humans…. but the Army of Aarkland marched across the land of their tributary and into Florin making camp at West Leigh. Maybe they were there for the autumn wine tasting…?

The Army of Mørke, now well practiced in reducing garrisons and sacking towns, marched south into Aarkland and sacked the city of Drelt!

The dwarves continued their retreat all the way to their capitol of Agnetha. This left the passes open for the Halfbads to surge up into the mountains and besiege the fortress of Faltskog! The orcs and goblins were unable to break into the mountains and the early snow enticed them to return to their wilderness in the north.

The Anglanders returned to their capitol and released the fyrd from service for the year giving them plenty of time to make it home for the harvest.

The Florins, however, hearing the Army of the Elves were off in the North fighting orcs seized the opportunity to send out a series of raids into the region of Vico. They were unsuccessful in chasing off the Elves that lived there and eventually return to Florin for the harvest.

In the Northern lands of the Bloody Suns Warlord Bork Redtooth sallied out with his Orc horde and met the Elves in battle. The Elves again advance in a main line while General Venerable Bede led a mounted column around the flank. The battle was nearly bloodless – the mounted column swept into the fortress and the orc army broke and ran – thus ending the rule of Warlord Bork Redtooth!! Many fled north onto the plains, some fled west to join the tribe of the Angry Fists, and some probably even made their way into the wilderness of Halfbad.

Many rumours spread about the ultimate demise of Bork Redtooth. Some say he was killed on the field of battle or captured and executed by the elves. Others say he fled into hiding and is biding his time until he can return and evict the elves from the plains of the Bloody Suns… Whatever the case he took no further part in the Camapign for Hottsk…

The elves advance on the Fortress of Black Rock

Rick (left) about to perform the first of his soon-to-be-signature move - a coup de main seizure of a stronghold! I don’t think any stands were even lost in this game…!?


All armies successfully retired to winter quarters and spent the long, cold months rebuilding and preparing to continue the war in the spring…

At this point Halfbad (other Tim) had acquired 16 Prestige points, Angland (Cory) had 12, and both Aarkland (Terry) and Seroza (Rick) had 10… and the Bloody Suns (Christian) were out of the game!?

Somehow I forgot to take pictures of the armies movements on the map… ah well…

Stay tuned for YEAR TWO!!! I should (hopefully) get them done sometime later today...


  1. Christian KnudsenJune 8, 2009 at 6:21 PM

    Worst. Luck. Ever.

    But I made up for it in spades playing Savage Worlds!

    The whole weekend was a blast - I'd do it again anytime! Hopefully next time I last more than two battles...

  2. I read the entire intro... It is basically my story as well! With my DBA campaign and your HotT campaign ending in success, it seems that the age of campaigns is upon us!

    That being said, I would be interested in seeing those warmaster rules if you were serious about getting rid of them. Let me know.

    Overall, excellent stuff! Excellent! I feel for Christian too... Sad that in HotT some campaigners can be eliminated all together. Great stuff otherwise!


  3. I hope I can have a campaign as great as that someday.
    Very well documented, I can't wait for part two.

  4. Hi Tim,

    Love this campaign. I actually enjoyed reading the background, as it matches mine--I've wanted to run campaigns for years, but the logistics have always made it too difficult--too many figures, too complex mechanisms. HOTT/DBA Campaigns avoid that.

    I'm working on building up HOTT armies for a campaign--additions to DBA armies to make them HOTT, as well as more conventional HOTT armies.

    This blog has inspired me to consider starting one similar of my own.