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Secure the Bridge - A Torch & Shield Battle Report

Updated: Oct 14, 2023

Jacob here! I am one of the developers at Grimskald and while we are busy getting the game ready for the Kickstarter, we have squeezed in time to do more campaign battles!

Any notes on rules in this Battle Report will be in Green

Once again, Bjorn's Cohort are taking on another dastardly Copperbrow crew! Not Brickbeard's lot as they're nursing their wounds and burying their leader. This time, it's Jared's gun toting, gunpowder sniffing crew. Unlike their Ironthane cousins, they have far fewer qualms with using all the latest and greatest equipment that money can buy including gunpowder... and Copperbrows sure do have the money to spend.


The Crews

Jared's team is lead by a Gunthane named Powderbeard, who is very apt with the firelock and pistol he brings to bare! Bahlnus the Engineer is equally if not more armed than his kin, rocking a crossbow with flare bolts and a musketoon (an early form of pistol shotgun). Furthermore, this crew is backed by the well armoured and armed Knight of the Crown, a wealthy Dwarf in it for the gold (more so than the rest) bringing full plate armour, a sword and a shield to the fight. To finish this crew off, he brings three Clansmen running with spears, hammers and a broadsword and one Shortbeard with naught but a lantern... what a brave fool.

My Crew, Bjorn's Cohort, back at it again after that sound defeat against Brickbeard's Dwarves and the encroaching monsters, fell back to nurse their wounds and honour. The only change between the last battle and this one is that two of mine are Wounded. The Seigethane and my lonesome Clansmen need to do a roll at the start of this battle to see if they recover or are lost to their wounds.

This will be rolled on the injury chart at the start of the battle but before each side deploys using 2d6:

2: Die of their wounds 3: Are still beat up and recovering - missing this game;

4: May participate in the game but start with 1 damage; or 5+: Return to the fight and are available this game

My rolls resulted in my Clansman recovering and my Siegethane still injured from the last fight. Losing my only ranged for this game is tough, though.


The Bridge - Layout, Objectives and Pre-game Mechanics

Green: Monster entrances. This mission, they can appear! Red: Player entrances. Blue: Four pillars at the bridge to hide and block line of sight (important for all those ranged weapons!) Yellow: Doors.

The objective of the mission is to control the opposite side of this bridge. You gain 1 victory point per Warrior you have fully over the bridge at the end of the game (end of turn 6). Furthermore, the gaps are able to be crossed. They give the players the ability to outmaneuver the other so long as they pass their Agility test.. a risky play but definitely worth the risk to break up the front line and secure points for the endgame.

We rolled one d3 to determine how much fuel we had in our torches as per the standard setup. You can have either 1, 2 or 3 turns of light. Lucky for us, we rolled 3 turns of safe lighting.


Turn One - Maneuvering

We set up and begun the brawl. The first turn was quiet, with our short legged Warriors moving up to take positions and advance as much as they can. No ranged attacks were made (being Long Range gives -1 to your ranged Martial Skill and Moving can give -1 as well). Drawing the event card as he started as the Fated One, Jared's event spawned in some gribbly Cretins, easy to deal with on their own but dangerous in packs as they are Swarm Monsters (giving +1 Strength when supporting an attack by one of their own adjacent to them).

Also, this battle was fought on the DIY dungeon tiles that Dan and myself put together, seen in our last blog post. Go have a look if you want to know how we did it. I am very happy with how they have turned out!


Turn Two - Clash!

Turn two went by quickly, but not without action. I tried to take advantage of the gaps with the intention to cross over but first I needed to clear those Cretins. I stayed on my side of the gap because if I was to lose a contest against these little critters, I would have been pushed back into the chasm! In the center, I pushed up as fast as I could. I wanted to close the distance between myself and his gun line. While that brought me to the danger zone, I hoped that I could overwhelm the Copperbrow line and advance into his gun toting crew members before they could get a few shots off.

Jared decided to not open the door to the Cretins to funnel them towards me. (All Monsters have a number of priorities that dictate how they Activate in the Monster phase. For Cretins, the first is Moving towards Warriors in Line of Sight and the second is Moving towards the nearest Warrior. Even though Jared's Dwarves are far closer, because I am in Line of Sight, they will rush towards me in the Monster phase. Great play there!) Jared pushed up with his mainline, the Clansmen with a sword and the Knight of the Crown driving forward. I had forgotten that his Knight was armed with a hammer and fought with blissful ignorance (Hammers have the Bludgeon keyword, which allows the Warrior Driving Back an Enemy to choose the space where they are driven back to, including to the left and right of the Bludgeoning Warrior).

When it came down to the hammer time, the hammer sure dropped. My Dwarf was pushed back without much resistance. Already, it looked rough. The rest of my Crew rushed up to get to the fight. On the flank, the Cretins smelled dinner and plunged in, all three of them attempting to clear the gap and Engage. One failed and dropped in to the darkness, a second was cut down in the following Fight phase but the final one survived the turn to be a further nuisance.

The turn ends with my crew being threatened and my attack on the backfoot. Shots rang out but my Shields thwarted the damage (If you have a Shield in hand, you can roll a Save per successful Hit to negate it, or two saves if it's a Great Shield).


Turn Three - Counterstrike

Third turn begins with a flurry of combat on the bridge. The side room took a backstage with little movement due to the monster still living and one more still to jump over. The bridge got filled with crew from both sides, and I was at a disadvantage. I sent forth my Weaponthane to clean up the mess and support the troops, only to watch as one of my Dwarves was thrown off the bridge by another Bludgeoning strike. My Weaponthane gave his Knight of the Crown a good whack but was Wounded by a crack shot from the Copperbrow fusillade afterwards .

This tables really turned on me. I was already disadvantaged but we pressed on! Hopefully, I could soak up some damage and turn the tide in the next rounds with that Weaponthane? Was it time to give up on that sideroom adventure?


Turn Four & Five - It All Fell Apart

Bleak turned to dire. During these two turns, all pretence of order and the idea of victory faded away. Denial of victory points was the name of game. My two Dwarves in the side hall got occupied by another spawing of monsters, having failed to kill that last Cretin. I was forced to stay in combat, which coincided with the new spawn seeing me first and going for me instead of Jared's Crew.

Adding insult to injury, my Weaponthane got up and was promptly thrown off the bridge for his trouble! Three Ironthanes left vs seven Copperbrows... not good numbers.

At the tail end of the fifth turn, the final plays were made. I was able to move my two Dwarves (one of which was my leader) back towards the main struggle, only for my leader to get a good thrashing on the way in. I formed up for a hopeful push to keep the Copperbrows at least off of my side of the field, denying them victory points.


Turn Six - Last Hurrah and Parting Thoughts

The last turn was a quick turn, seeing as the Ironthanes had failed to hold the tide back, weakened from losses and ever more outnumbered. Even with a spawning Monster ambushing the Copperbrow Engineer and dragging him back in to the darkness, the day was done. Bjorn's Cohort were dispatched from the field of battle, handing the victory to the Copperbrows!

This scenario is great fun. I have done it multiple times when i was playtesting. It is one of the more unusual of the dungeons in that there is a large open space, great for gunlines to sling rounds at each other.

The narrow causeway makes each combat tense and crucial for the outcome of the battle, whilst the gaps give you the chance to do a cheeky flank with some more agile Dwarves.

Jared played really well. I don't think there was anything that comes to mind that he could have done better. He kept his ranged weapons at the rear and fired on every opportunity, doing select damage against non-Shielded Ironthanes. The bridge (and chasm either side of it) worked in his favour with those Hammers. I lost two Dwarves who will now need to roll injury on the next battle because of it.

I messed up. I split my force in a vain attempt to press his flanks where i was already outgunned (figuratively and literally). The monsters bogged me down and limited my ability to respond to his push back over the bridge. Furthermore, the brash rush at the start left one Dwarf alone before his allies could come up and support him, resulting in the first hammered Dwarf. I was on the back foot the whole game. While I lost, it was a good fight. Till next time...

Torch and Shield launches on Kickstarter on October 10th

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