With Asag and his Stone Allies out of the box for yesterday's showcase photoshoot, it would have been rude not to have played at least one game with them. So I pitted them against Sundiata's Malian army - Hero general, Cleric, two Knights, two Riders, two Spears, two Shooters and a Lurker.
Asag defended, and set up a relatively open terrain, with a couple of decent-sized hills for the Hordes to sit on.
Sundiata ended up attacking along the long ridge.
Asag's rock Hordes were on his right, whilst the medium Beast boulders were on the left. Asag and the giant Behemoth boulders took the centre.
Sundiata went for a bold counter. He posted himself on the extreme right, along with a couple of Riders, aiming to make a bold strike at the enemy stronghold.
The rest of his army was positioned on the left, with orders to rush forward as quickly as possible to pin and engage Asag's army.
Asag went for an equally bold opening moved, swinging the Beasts and Behemoth out to meet Sundiata. The Beasts would be horribly outclassed in any fight in the open, but the hill could work to their advantage, and the Behemoth and support from Asag himself could maybe turn things their way.
An overview of the opening moves. Good PIPs for Sundiata's army had seen them advance well forward. Sundiata's griot, Balla Fasseke (Cleric) had hung back in the centre, with a view to moving up to support his king.
First combat! Balla Fasseke engaged Asag's Behemoth.
On the Malian left the Horsemen of Mema (Knghts) charged home into the mass of Hordes.
Another overview. The Hordes held the initial charge, but Balla Fasseke forced back his mighty foes.
Asag himself flew in to support the mighty monoliths in their attack on the heroic bard.
Meanwhile Sundiata's Knights had got their act together, and cut their way through two lots of Hordes.
Balla Fasseke fell.
With their centre in danger from from Asag and the Behemoth, and a PIP drought making further attacks on the Hordes impossible from his far-flung position, Sundiata urged his supporting horsemen into the attack, sweeping along the ridge and engaging the Beasts.
The fight mostly went Sundiata's way; one group of horsemen was lost in exchange for two groups of Beasts.
Asag and the Behemoth turned and attacked the Spearmen of Kamara, who resisted stoutly, throwing back the Behemoth twice. Poor PIPs prevented Asag from swinging onto the flank in support.
Sundiata and the surviving Horsemen of Wagadou made a run for the stronghold. The horsemen soon found themselves pinned by enemy Hordes.
The other Hordes were now being threatened by the remainder of Sundiata's army, galvanised by their king appearing over the crest of the hill that had previously hidden him from them.
Sundiata attacked Asag's seat of power.
The position at the end.
Sundiata lost Balla Fasseke (Cleric) and an element of Riders. Asag lost two Beasts. Two lost Hordes had returned.
The temptation for both sides in this battle is to attack the enemy Hero general with their own, although without sufficient support this causes the game to turn on a roughly 50/50 chance. Strictly Sundiata would have a slight edge in such a fight, as an odd-number draw would eliminate both generals, but give the loss to Asag who is worth more AP. But wearing down the opponent's army before mobbing the enemy Hero with plenty of combat-winning support is always the better option. And Sundiata had, and went for, the additional option of the enemy stronghold. Asag's army is not really that good at holding ground, including defending the stronghold, with lots of fragile Hordes and fragile (in their own way) Beasts. It's an army better-suited to taking the fight to the enemy on a ground of Asag's choosing. Still, they were both fun armies to play.