I hesitated before buying this expansion, solely because I really wasn’t convinced about the ‘Hobgoblin Ostrich Riders’. It may be irrational, but I have to like the look of the figures to really enjoy playing a miniature game, and these particular figures just don’t do it for me. In my own imagination, any self respecting Hobgoblin would rather eat an Ostrich than ride one!
Eventually though, I took the plunge and bought a copy, hoping that the Goblin Band and Hyena Riders would make up for my dislike of the Ostriches.
This expansion comprises: A Goblin Band; two units of blue banner Hobgoblin Hyena Riders; two units of green banner Hobgoblin Ostrich Riders; plus associated banners and cards. There is also a four page rule book with two additional scenarios.
The components are standard Battlelore fare, and hence of good quality. I don’t like the figures as much as those in the Goblin Skirmisher expansion (with the exception of the Band that is common to both). The Hyenas look quite good, though more like some kind of lion-pony hybrid than a Hyena. The Ostriches look silly.
Although you still don’t get much for your money, this set is a bit cheaper than the Skirmisher set, retailing at 17 Euros or about £10. This is a better price, but I still think it is a bit expensive for what you get.
The Goblin Band consists of one Bass Drummer and three Goblin Drummers. The band has 2d in Melee but crucially it provides support to all friendly Goblin units in the same section of the battlefield (or both sections if the band is on a hex shared between two sections). The band is Bold. The Goblin Drummers can either be used in the Band or can replace one figure in another Goblinoid foot unit, making that unit Bold.
The Hobgoblin Hyena riders are pretty decent middle weight cavalry, equipped with long swords but able to pursue an extra hex.
The Hobgoblin Ostrich Riders are highly mobile mounted archers, able to move and shoot to full effect on the same turn.
So What Do I Think?
I’m pleased that I bought this expansion, and I give it 8 out of 10. The Band gives highly mobile but somewhat fragile Goblinoid armies a little more backbone. The Hyena Riders further help since they are still quite mobile, and particularly so when pursuing. The Ostrich riders don’t add any more strength, but they fit really well into the fast but fragile nature of Goblinoid armies, and I like their ability to move fast and fire on the move. The scenarios are fairly standard fare, but at least allow you to quickly try out the new units.
I still don’t like the Ostrich rider figures, and I still think the whole package is still too expensive. For me, the Ostrich riders are the epitome of Skirmishers, and should have been included in the Goblin Skirmishes expansion, allowing something extra (and a little bit more ‘marauding’) to be included in this Marauders package (e.g. wolf riders, ogres or trolls?). I don’t mind having a band in each expansion, but that also seems like a bit of a cop-out.