We deployed in secrecy using a screen of boxes along the middle of the tabletop, not bothering with unit cards.
Turn 1 saw a lot of movement from both sides. I had thrown most of my troops on my left, hoping to outflank the Jackal. Björn had placed his crossbowmen in a staggered pattern on the left and right so they could watch each others´ backs. The skeletons held the center and were positioned brazenly in the light. Behind them the Wailers lurked. Far ahead of them, behind a large formation of rocks, his Tunnel fighters had take the center. Seeing that my force massed on his right, he sent his Scouts down his left flank, darting into the shadow of a large rock needle. All his Crossbows went into hiding.
My own scouts stealthily brought up the vanguard, hugging close to the base of large rock formations. The closer one got to the source of light, the less shadows there were to hide in. Being close to the rocks meant that even if the light source moved, they stood a good chance of remaining in the shadows. My Totem, Keeper and one of the axemen warbands angled toward the left. Since they were well out of range of the crossbows, I didn´t bother to hide them. The other Wolven axes crept towards his Tunnel fighters who threatened my right flank, going into hiding.
Björn forfeited activation on both of his Skeleton units, the Necromancer and two crossbow warbands to move the source, which promptly moved towards his own lines, exposing a few Jackals, then to his left and putting the Skeletons in the shade, then back towards me. This left one of my Scouts in the open, who was promptly spotted. Three crossbow bolts struck the rocks close to his position, and one glanced off his shoulder pad.
My Tunnel fighters had deployed on Björn´s right. They had moved towards the enemy and gone on Wait, hefting their throwing spears meaningfully. Their presence had already paid off as they had prevented two of the Jackals´ crossbow packs from moving to the flank and getting a better line of sight to my Scouts.
After nearly overlooking some of the units in the shadow, we dug out some "glow in the dark" dice and took to marking units´ positions with them.
At the start of Turn 2, the light source moved again, nearly exposing one entire pack of Scouts. Having won initiative, I was faced with the decision of either stopping my advance and moving back into the shadows, or running the gauntlet of three crossbow packs. I compromised and moved them to the left, into the cover of a small rock formation, and put them on Wait. The unfortunate Scout that had given away the unit last turn had to take a move action to get back into command distance before going into hiding again. The Jackals, on Wait, sniped at him, but failed to hit him in the gloom.
The decision proved to be a wise one since Björn moved the light source again (forfeiting his skeletons´ activation), which promptly moved toward my position and exposed the area I had meant to take cover in. The giant needle of rock in the center suddenly threw a long shadow, allowing my Wolven Axe to get close to the Jackal scouts and Tunnel fighters. I sent my Totem after them to watch their backs against the inevitable flanking move by the Jackal scouts. The Keeper followed the Scouts towards the enemy crossbows.
My other Scout unit infiltrated forward and finally got range to the foremost Jackal crossbowman. Having just fired from Wait, he had given away his position, and despite being in the shadow he was killed with the second shot. First blood!
Björn moved the light source again (his skeletons probably weren´t Raised at all. I was starting to suspect they were just dummies propped up on stakes). It moved one meager inch, not enough to expose my Scouts, but suddenly one of his crossbow packs had two Dwarves in the open. My Tunnel fighters promptly spotted them and stuck throwing spears in them. The Necromancer forfeited, and the light source suddenly raced six inches towards the Jackal Scouts who suddenly felt horribly exposed – as did the Wolven Axe threatening them. They were spotted by the Scouts and crossbows, and the tunnel fighters rushed forward and started throwing spears. Then the crossbowmen opened up at long range. Two of the axemen fell down, one with a quarrel through his eye (on a roll of 1, no less), and one whose chest suddenly sprouted a spear.
On Turn 3, the source again drifted a single peaceful inch. By that time, the left corner (from my position) was deep in shadows. Both my Scout packs began howling, and the three units of crossbows and one Jackal scout in range were all visibly shaken. The hunt was up! The hand crossbows sang as the Dwarves fired wildly into the shadows. One Jackal crossbowman was hit and killed (more by chance but by design). The second pack managed to spot and kill one Scout with a few well-placed quarrels.
My axemen were butchered in the open ground as the Jackal Tunnel fighters and crossbows opened up again. In response, the Totem went into a loping run and pounced from the shadows, killing the second Scout, the Keeper following up and guarding its back. The second axe warband ran up in support of the Scout packs.
The Wailers continued their drift towards the flank to give the Wolf Scouts a taste of their own medicine. Their terrible piercing cries echoed through the cavern, but the Dwarves stood their ground resolutely. The Necromancer hissed the syllables of a spell, and the Skeletons jerked into sudden action, firing at the Totem in the shadows. It howled with rage and pain as a bolt embedded itself in its flank. A swarm of small, dark creatures descended on the Jackal Scout, and, stripped of his flesh, he rose again to fulfill his duty to his dark master and revenge himself on the Dwarven god-beast.
The shaken Jackal crossbowmen were hit again as my Tunnel fighters charged them and gave them a good mauling. In true Jackal fashion, the remaining Leader fled in panic.
On Turn 4 the shadows jerked around as the glowing swarm was thrown into a frenzy of movement by the echoing howls and the smell of blood. The Wolf Totem and its skeletal opponent were suddenly thrown into sharp relief. The Jackal crossbows opened up again, rattling a few bolts through their comrade´s ribcage and wounding the Totem again. The Keeper was thrown into the first convulsions of his change. Armour popped and leather rent as he transformed into a hulking beast. The Totem struck down the Skeleton, roaring victoriously, but then the last Jackal scout dropped on its back, stabbing it again and again with his claws. Rising from the bloodied carcass, he ducked into hiding again.
The Scouts moved in on the demoralised Crossbowmen, braving the ineffectual return fire from the few that had managed to go on Wait. Striking suddenly from hiding, their hand crossbows and axes made short work of the warband. The craven Jackals turned and fled but were struck down to a man. The victors managed to take a few shots into the shadow where they suspected the second crossbow pack to be.
In the shadows of the center, the remaining Wolven axe crept forward and hid themselves again, but their position was spotted by the Jackal tunnel fighters who ventured a few spears in the dark. Their dark master must have smiled on them, because one of the spears found its mark (on a roll of 1). The Wolf slumped against his comrades with the spear sticking out of his neck-guard.
On the crumbling flank, the Necromancer started hissing again, but his spell failed and the skeletons merely plodded forward. A dead Jackal crossbowman was flayed by the shadowy beasts and rose, blocking the path of the Scouts. The Wailers screamed again in the dark, dismaying the scouts on the right, and positioned themselves within charge distance.
A sudden about-face by the light source at the start of Turn 5 lit up the Wailers and their cowed opponents. The Wolves won initiative and overcame their fear, charging half-heartedly into the Wailers. The screaming beasts lost one to a crossbow bolt, but their demon-horn blades cut down three of the Wolves in return. The vaunted Wolf courage held, and the two survivors grimly held on to their axes. Their comrades fared better, routing the last crossbow pack on this flank with hand crossbow fire. The Tunnel fighters raced up to support their brothers who were desperately holding off the Wailers.
The Risen swordsmen again slumped down and refused to move as the swarm circled overhead. The light failed to reveal any of the Dwarves who supported the Keeper, so the Necromancer tried to goad the Risen crossbowmen to greater speed. To no avail – longing for the long sleep of death, the Skeletons remained drowsy. Between them and the remaining Crossbow pack, they failed to spot the Wolven axe or hit the Keeper in the dark. A second Jackal crossbowman shed his skin and flesh and rose, still dripping blood.
The Tunnel fighters went on Wait as the Wolven Axe and the Keeper-Totem descended on them. Thrown spears wounded the Totem, but then the Wolves were among them, striking down two fighters with their two-handed axes. One of the axemen suddenly slumped to the ground as the Jackal Scout stepped out of the shadows and struck from hiding.
On Turn 6, the light dipped again, revealing part of the throng of Dwarves in the middle, with the slavering Totem towering over the Tunnel fighters. On my left flank, the Wolven Scouts went into hiding again and shot down the last of the Jackals with well-placed bolts from the darkness. The Wailers´ relentless screaming dismayed their opponents, who were cut down to the last Dwarf. The Tunnel fighters moved towards the center to defend the surviving pack, sending the two Risen crossbowmen back to the grave.
The melee in the center saw all the Jackal Tunnel fighters slain, but after the Necromancer exerted his power, the quickened Risen Crossbowmen and the last Jackals sent over a volley of steel-tipped bolts that killed the Totem instantly. The dead Wolven Axe´s bones rose again and clawed at his erstwhile comrades. The Scout, striking again from hiding, slew one of the axemen. This proved too much, and their nerve broke.
The skeletal swordsmen shambled towards the Wolven scouts.
Turn 7 the light died just as the Wailers loped towards the Scouts and screamed at the top of their demonic lungs, dismaying the Tunnel fighters. Threatened by the Wailers and the Risen, and with the Jackal Scout and Crossbow pack sneaking towards them, the remaining Wolves decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and retreated just as the darkness closed in.
This was when I noticed my Scavenger, who had spent the whole game nestled in the shadows in a patch of fungus forest at the base of a spire. What the... ?
As we congratulated each other, we came to the conclusion that Ruegar must have had inadvertently stumbled into a patch of sleep fungus, triggered the spores and slept through the whole ordeal. With the silver-light bats gone, he would have quite a hard time returning home, or catching up with the remains of his patrol!
The game was extremely fun and above all, atmospheric. The lone candle´s light threw areas of stark shadow, and the whole mood it created had us holding our breath at times. I can recommend trying it for atmosphere value alone. Ruegar´s fate shows that it´s hard to keep track of your units (we hadn´t got enough glow-in-the-dark dice to go around). Also, checking stats and rules from time to time required a flashlight. In the end, we established a corner table with the lists and rulebooks and a second candle, and screened it from the main table with a piece of cardboard.
The most difficult thing was establishing where exactly the edge of the shadows lay. Movement would cause the candle to flutter, and sometimes we had to wait until it had calmed again. Several times we weren´t exactly sure whether a model was in the light or in the shadows, so this kind of game needs a relaxed opponent or an arbiter.