Monday, March 30, 2009

A Chaos Proxy game

Wanted to get Chad a little more experience moving guys around the field and Rick also wanted to get a small game in so I made up 3 small armies. Okay, in truth I made 8, but we used 3. 

Basically what I did was make up 500 point armies for the Dwarfs, Wood Elfs, Vampire Counts and Chaos. My initial plan was to use the Vampire Counts to see what they could do, but then I thought it might be fun to proxy a bit of Chaos and see if I would like it. I also made 750 point armies for the above.

We decided to start with the smaller, 500 point games. Chad would be the Wood Elf army. I gave them 6 Glade riders (Fast cavalry which allows them to march and shoot, M 9, BS 4, S 3 Longbows with 30" range) , a unit of 14 Glade Guard with Aenach (M5, BS5, 30 Longbows with S3 over 1/2 range and S4 inside 15"), and a Wood Elf Noble on Steed with a Hail of Doom Arrow (one use, 3d6 S4 shots).  It is designed to be a fast moving force that can essentially skirmish in line. The fast moving Glade Riders have essentially a 48" field of fire every turn and can quickly move to prevent march moves by the enemy while still shooting every turn. 

Due to space constrictions, we (illegally per Warhammer rules) allowed Chad to split the 14 Glade Guard into two 7 man units. More on that in a bit.

Rick wanted to try out the Vampire Counts. They had 25 Skeletons with full command (M4, WS2, S3) and 14 Crypt Ghouls (Poison Attacks, T4) to go with Konrad. His stats don't matter as we will see shortly. 

Meanwhile, I took Chaos. To the untrained eye my guys looked like a Wood Elf General on Steed and 8 Night Goblin Spider Riders, but to those of us who could see Tzeentch change illusion magic, they were clearly a Mounted Exalted Champion with Mark of Tzeentch (M7, Ws7, S4, Armor Save 2+, level 2 Wizard w/Red Fire and Indigo Fire) and 2 each 4-man units of Chaos Knights (M7, WS5, S5, T4, Armor Save 2+). Yep, Rick had 40 models, Chad had 21, and I had 9. All is once more right with the world. 

The field had trees and ruined buildings essentially flanking the 4 corners of the set-up zone. To maintain the 24" separation, Chad and Rick each had 12"x12" set-up zones on one side of the table and I had a 12"by 12" setup zone at the apex of the triangle away from them.

I tried to get Chad to put the Glade Riders in front as this would take advantage of their tremendous range and harrying ability, while giving him still plenty of room for his Glade Guard to use their deadly bows. Instead he placed one 7 man unit facing towards the V.C. and another at a 45 degree angle across his zone facing me, blocking in his Glade Riders on the back line. I thought about changing it for him, but then decided it would be better if he learned why since my explanation had not been very clear apparently so I let him keep the badly flawed set-up. 

Rick meanwhile had a building between his set-up zone and mine so he wisely placed his large skeleton unit facing towards me with the building protecting their flank from Wood Elf shooting and put his Crypt Ghouls next to them against his baseline, also facing me, with Konrad in their unit. 

I have sometimes been critical of some of Rick's set-ups, but that was certainly not the case here. I believe he maximized the protective capabilities of his forces while minimizing their weaknesses.

I, meanwhile, had a pretty basic set-up. With no screening forces and no shooting, my army desperately needed to get into close combat as quickly as possible so I lined them up a full 12" into the table and in a line, 4 to the left, general in the center, 4 to the right. My left wing would just barely clear the forest and my right wing would barely clear the building.

I won the right to go first and off I went. I moved the unit on the right and my General up towards the corner of a ruined building towards the Wood Elf army and the other unit up past the woods on my left to get in position for a charge on his skeletons or Crypt Ghouls.

Now, some of you will note the tactical error here. With such a tiny force, I should never divide my forces. Instead, I should try to wipe out one army or the other with all my force, then go after the other.

However, with two inexperienced opponents, I did not want to "pick on" anyone and this game was more about seeing how movement, shooting, and magic worked. Speaking of Magic...

Not only was my general a level 2 wizard, I gave both units the Mark of Tzeentch which meant they each added a power die to my magic pool giving me a whopping 5 power dice in a 500 point game. Pure brute force would insure I got in some effective magic.

First I threw Red Fire (30", d6 S6 hits) at the Wood Elf Glade Guard on 2 dice, but Chad wisely rolled both Dispel Dice he had and, much to the surprise of nobody, Dispelled it. Ah yes, pointless Magic my old friend, You've come to mock me once again (read the last line to the tune and rhythm of the Beatles song The Sound of Silence), specifically the part that goes "Hello darkness my old friend, I've come to talk to you again" and you will see the kind of twisted thoughts and humor that is constantly passing through my mind).

Then I cast Indigo fire at the Skeletons. Lo and Behold...I rolled 2 6s! It was Irresistible Force, I got one off! So I rolled against his 25 skeletons with S2 against T3, so needing 4s on 25 Dice, I promptly hit 5 of them and he saved 2. So 3 Skeletons died and 3 Horrors of Tzeentch were created in combat with them. Bwoohahaha a 6 model swing! Magic is NOT pointless!

See, by that happening, his skeletons were locked in combat and his Ghouls would be unable to march move. *Twiddles thumbs a la Mr. Burns* EEEEEEExxxxxxxxxccccccceeeeeeellllllllleeeennnnnnnnntttttttt.

Combat was not so good as I failed to wound but he killed one of my Horrors.. Fortunately, I passed my combat resolution test so lost none of the little buggers.

Then Rick went. First, he had to test for Stupidity for Konrad. With a weak LD of 6, it figured Konrad would fail once or twice (remember, I designed that army for ME to play...I wanted some very real flaws in it). And he promptly failed. 

I then mis-remembered the rules and said he had to separate from the unit. WRONG! He should have stayed with it. Not the last rules mistake I would make in this battle. SO old Konrad rambled forward 5" which did allow the Ghouls to move up 4" behind him. 

Rules mistake #2. In the same turn, no less. Though suffering from Stupidity, I thought Konrad could cast magic. Of course, I dispelled his Raise Dead as I did not really want him either restoring the Skeletons or bringing in some Zombies to slow my Knights. And he failed the Lore of Nehetek so his magic...well...hello magic my old friend, you've come to mock me once again.

Combat was again not so good; this time neither of us wounded and I passed my test. On the bright side, I was holding up the Skeletons. On the dark side...I was holding up the skeletons.

Then Chad went. Now the realization dawned on him that he had blocked in his key unit. So he wanted to march the unit of Glade Guard closest to me to get them behind a building (which they could not do in less than 2 turns and I would be charging them before the second turn) which would keep them from firing. I convinced him the march was not needed and would keep him from shooting. He finally elected to march the other unit of Glade Guard towards the Skeletons and move the unit just 5". He then sent his Glade Riders also towards the Skeletons. A screen of Forest protected them from my Knights, so probably a good move.

Chad had no magic phase so on to shooting. First, his Glade Guard. They were just outside 15" from me so S3. Maybe 2 hits, but I easily saved both. If by easily saved I mean, rolled a 6 and one...which means I just lost a quarter of my unit and had to take a break test! Ouch. I passed. Then he shot down a Crypt Ghoul with his Glade Riders. Nice! At this point, I had lost 38 points, Rick had lost about 20, and Chad was unharmed. Time to change that.

I could not quite come to grips with 

My second turn. I had the charge on Chad's Glade Guard but needed to maneuver to avoid Rick's Crypt Ghouls, so just the one charge. Since I was on Chad's flank (he had 7 guys in line) he got no Stand and Shoot. 

Magic was cool as, though my Red Fire at Chad was again Dispelled, the Indigo Fire again was successful, this time at the ghouls. And it even did a casualty! Excellent, now I had both his units pinned with Horrors. 

Of course, in the CC phase, he won both, though both Horrors remaining passed their tests. 

Meanwhile, on the other flank I killed 6 (SIX!) of his Glade Guard. Ah, yes. Drooling a little bit. Finally, I have a close combat unit that, you know, can actually DO SOMETHING in close combat! The 7th broke and I overran off the table, mostly to stay out of Chad's bow fire for another phase since his 1 Glade Guard could not have rallied.

Rick's Konrad, for a third turn, tried to be Frenzied as opposed to stupid. For a third turn in a row he failed. Stupid Konrad kept wandering, his magic again was dispelled or did nothing, and in close combat he won both despite losing another skeleton. This time the Horror facing the skeleton failed its stability test and was destroyed. 

Chad shot down one of my Knights on the left flank. This was not going well for me! 

My turn, I charge the skeletons and brought my other Knights back towards Chad's Glade Guard.  Fortunately, he had moved them forward and was facing away.

I thought magic could not be used in close combat, so directly into that phase. I wracked up 6 skeletons. Unbelievably, they PASSED their break test! Of course, they had a 3 rank rank bonus and I, due to points, did not have a banner. So they only lost by 1. Still, they needed a 5 or below. I knew the way Rick was failing 6+ LD tests for Konrad that I could do a few more...but no. Still, he was now down to just 1 rank bonus.

Unfortunately, on the other battle, hit Ghouls killed my Horror. Which means...

Rick's turn. Do I even need to tell you Konrad failed his test and continued shuffling aimlessly away from the action? This time I remembered Stupidity does not allow magic. But his Ghouls charged my Knights. Already engaged, the flank charge by Fear-causing enemies...they broke. And were promptly slain when they ran into Chad's Glade Riders in their fleeing. Fortunately, General, who was not attached, who ALSO failed his test, was clear of the Riders and escaped. Unfortunately, the ghouls charged right into the Glade Riders. Things were getting messy.

And I lost track of events, but more or less they went like this:

Chad did a lot of damage to the ghouls and actually ended up doing a couple casualties. My knights took another casualty when he stood and shot at them coming in to his Glade Guard but then wiped out the Glade Guard. His General shot at mine with Hail of Doom, missed, charged in and finished off the Ghouls. 

My Knights charged in and finished off the Skeletons. His Glade Guard charged my Knights (!) even though I explained to him how bad an idea it was. His General joined the fray. My Knights and General broke his Riders and General and slew them. Rick failed another Stupidity test. We extended the game to have Konrad on Chaos hand to hand and he FINALLY passed his test...twice. We got into hand to hand, my general killed his, and I "won". 

I think we all won because it was a great learning experience and I think everyone had fun. 

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Why Chaos?

We recently picked up two more people for our little gaming group. It is now a pretty impressive array of players for being nothing but a group of life-long friends with just a couple exceptions. We also have a nice cross-section of armies, which brings me to the point.

One of the recent additions wants to play the Wood Elves, the army I am currently running. That is very exciting for me because I have been looking with envious eyes at some other armies but having a hard time leaving behind the army I am playing to just sit on the shelf.

The Wood Elf experiment was a qualified success. I did not lose with them...actually, I never even came close to losing. They are an easy army to play and pretty fun...except they win in ways that are tough for me. That was the other part of the play with an army that is not my normal style.

I typically like very small, well-armored armies with a nice mix of shooting, magic, and close combat with an emphasis on the close combat. My all time favorite army was a Bretonnian army running a general on a dragon, a powerful wizardess, a handful of bowmen, maybe a block of 20 I think? and 10 Grail Knights (back when that line-up was legal).

By contrast, the Wood elves have essentially no armor, they have no close-combat oriented troops and their magic is weak at best.

They stand at a distance and shoot people to ribbons. That is it. The Wardancers suck as a close-combat unit and have no ranged weapons. The Dryads are fun but any unit you stick out there more or less alone, even a fear-causing one such as the Dryads, is at a disadvantage and liable to get smacked around. Of course, they seldom NEED to get into close combat because the shooting is so good. The Glade Guard are a phenomenal unit and are core. But they are boring, too...they shoot, shoot, shoot...that was usually my turn. "No movement. Wizard tries spell X. (failed or dispelled) Glade Guard rolls 20 dice at unit X. Go." Rinse. Repeat.

Even worse, the Wood Elf magic is 2 things:pointless and pathetic. At this point I take Wizards pretty much to just roam around with Dispel scrolls and don't really use them for anything else. No point to it.

So in short, the Wood Elf is GREAT at moving, MARVELOUS at shooting, and horrible at close combat and magic.

Roll call:what are my favorite elements of the game? 100 points if you said dragons, close combat and magic or magic, dragons and close combat.

Elements I like but don't love? Shooting just because it can whittle down vicious enemies before they can get to you or wound elusive enemies who cannot be brought to grips in hand to hand.

Elements that I can take or leave?

Maneuvering. Just trying to get myself into position for close combat and magic. It is something to get out of the way so I can get to the fun parts of the game. I don't particularly like it or dislike it. Just want to get it over with so I can get to the meat of the game. Recognize the importance of it...just don't want to spend a lot of time on it.

Panic and psychology tests. Don't really want to win with them and don't want to lose to them. Would much rather win or lose by sticking the right troops in the right situation.

In other words, the Wood Elves are great at one thing I like and a couple things I either dislike or don't care about and are HORRIFIC at my two favorite phases.

So while they were admittedly fun to play, I had been casting covetous eyes at a couple of armies that are much more suited to my playing style from an enjoyment standpoint.

First I considered the Dwarf army; I already have the models, they will be unused shortly, good shooting (Thunderers) and some fun hand-to-hand guys like the Slayers, Hammerers and so forth. Yeah, I know...the Ironbreakers are the Dwarf All-Stars. They also are not what I wanted to play. Also, I really, really wanted to do a Grand Battery a la Napoleon with like 6 regular cannons, a Flame Cannon and Organ Gun, though the points requirements to do that would mean like a 6000 point game, so it was never gonna happen.

But they are so slow that they would never get into hand to hand, at least not in any advantageous position. And the capricious nature of the cannons is far too chancy for me. I don't like weapons that can blow up in your face, chance of Mis-casts notwithstanding. So no Dwarf army for me. I don't have the patience.

I was looking then at my beloved Bretonnians, but I more or less promised not to play them. They really are my ultimate army in many ways; small, tough force with just enough shooting to keep the opponent honest. Easy to maneuver, get into combat very, very fast, and do a great job once they get there. But I have done that, looking for something new.

I did look long and hard at the Empire. The Steam Tank looks like so much fun that I would play them just for that even with the potential to blow up. On top of that, I LOVE the detachment system. It provides so many tactical options and turns cannon fodder like the State Troops into actually usable units with some actual point to owning.

They can be a shooting army, a hand-to-hand army, a war machine army...they are flexible. They have my beloved Knights. I love knights. It is so hard for me to be in a game involving Knights but not play an army that uses Knights.

I grew up reading books like Ivanhoe and the Arthurian legends. The idea of a Knightly charge, banners fluttering, lances lowered, horse hooves driving...oh, it gives me goosebumps. And to play a game where that can be replicated without being able to use that unit myself? Horrible.

The Empire is a strong, strong candidate. Not only that, they have reasonably decent magic abilities. I can definitely see myself as an Empire guy. The main drawbacks are threefold:

1) Their weak strength means units like the Ogres would be no fun to play against because I know that no matter how many times I hit them I can't wound them.

2) They are expensive to build.

3) Between their war machines tendency to blow themselves up and the distaste people have mentioned about facing the Steam Tank, someone would be frustrated every game, thus removing the element of fun that is the main reason to play.

Other candidates included the Lizardmen and High Elves. I was wavering between those two before landing on the Wood Elf army when my brother snapped up the Lizardmen and my good friend went High Elves. Well, no need to duplicate efforts, so I will pass on both of them.

So it was pretty much going to be the Empire. But I was hesitating because at least one person in our group wanted to face neither the Steam Tanks nor their best Knights. If it were just one issue, I would do it but since there were two...well, I don't want to make it no fun for others just so I can have fun. We are not power gamers here...we actively try to make sure EVERYONE is competitive and has fun, even if that means building weaker armies.

So I was idly paging through some of the codexes and suddenly one caught my eye. I have always played armies with a penchant for being "good guys" like the Bretonnians, Lizardmen, Wood Elf, Dwarf armies...all of which I have played. This one was distinctly not. It was Chaos.

At first it was the daemon units that caught my eye. Their attacks count as magical. Having just watched the ethereal Vampire units wipe out three times their value in Ogres, that could be important. (Ironically, the Wood Elf Dryads would be the right troop choice to face this unit...) But then I looked again.

If I took a Mortal general I could give them all the Mark of Tzeentch. I could field an almost exclusively Knightly army. In fact, an army with an Exalted Champion mounted on a dragon (my favorite single unit of any type to play), a couple units of Knights, and a couple Aspiring Champions. All of them are hard, hard units with good saves and excellent close combat abilities.

By giving them all the Mark of Tzeentch, I would have one 4th level and 2 2nd level Wizards, +3 Power dice, and guys who could get into close combat across the board.

At the same time, there are some HUGE weaknesses: I will have something like 38 guys on the field in a 2250 point battle. I have NO shooting. I did not include any guys for a screen against shooting so the Wood Elf army, the Skink shooting army of doom, and the 75 shot per turn Dark Elf armies would all have a good shot at taking out several of my guys. The Ogres are beasts in close combat. (And my brother showed me a Dark Elf unit that could give them a run for the money). The Vampires have great magic. In other words, I would have a good chance of being about 50-50 winning, which is my target. Being me, I would like to land slightly on the high side...maybe 55-45, no better than 60-40.

The army has almost everything I want; small numbers, good armor, great hand to hand, the chance for effective magic, and a dragon.

Even better, it seems to be a version of the army nobody else plays. Most people I see play Khorne or Nurgle with a little bit of Slaanesh. Nobody seems to like Tzeentch. Plus, I am using no daemons or anything like that...pure Mortal army with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. No plans (currently) to use the Flamers or Screamers or Horrors. Just Knights. And a heavy dose of Magic.

So I am playing a style of army I love and not one being played by people in the Warhammer sphere as near as I can tell.

I am sold. I am going chaos.

Now the mission is to make sure they are as exploitable as I think they are, that they will still be fun to play against. So a few test runs are in order. More on that shortly.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dwarf versus Wood Elf battle

Chad had never played, so after the Lizardman game was over, he and I set up to play. He wanted to try the Wood Elf army, so I grabbed the Dwarf army Rick had just played. I ripped out 2 cannons and replaced them with the Organ Gun just because I wanted to try it out.

On the right side of the field was a small ziggurat, on my left was the King's Wall, on his side of the field was a small building on his right (my left) and a forest on his left (my right). A small stream guarded the edge of the field, essentially meaning my left flank was protected. I put a unit of Thunderers (move or fire, 24" range, s4 guns, 150 points) behind the King's wall on my left, the Organ gun behind and to their right to control the center of the field, the cannon on my baseline to it's right, the second Thunderer unit (same as first) to its right but up towards the edge of my deployment zone, and a 17 man Warrior unit with the Thane in it behind them to protect their flank. 

I explained to Chad how to set up. It took some convincing, but finally I got him to put the 23 Glade Guard (30" range on their bows, no penalty to move or fire, BS 4)  in a line from the building over to the Woods. Behind them he put 12 dryads (2 attacks, cause fear, 156 points) and 7 wardancers (2 attacks, Shadow Dances), their General supporting them, and then planted the Waywatchers behind the ziggurat.

He won the roll for first turn. The Waywatchers came up over the Ziggurat, everyone else advanced straight ahead. He opened fire. Effectively. The Waywatchers shot down 3 Thunderers  on my right while the Glade Guard shot down three more. 

I knew how the Dwarf army was designed and kept my turn short; no movement and then I returned fire with pretty good results. The Organ gun flamed to life, killing 7 Waywatchers, forcing them to break. The Thunderers both shot at the Glade Guard, combining to kill just 2 or 3 of them. The Cannon killed a Glade Guard, a Dryad, and even got a wound on the General. 

His next turn saw him fail to rally the Waywatchers and everyone else advance. He decided to open fire on the Thunderers to my left, killing 3 despite them being behind the King's Wall.

Again I moved nobody and this time the Organ Gun fired on the  Glade Guard, killing 5. The Thunderers also shot pretty well, taking him down to about 10 Glade Guard. It was looking good....except his Dryads and Wardancers were untouched and almost ready to charge. He kept trying to take them out from behind the screen and I kept convincing him it was a bad idea. When facing a shooting army, let your screen do its job; absorb the damage until you are ready to charge. Unfortunately, the cannon ball simply stuck in the mud, failing to do any damage.

His next turn saw the Wardancers cross the ziggurat and everyone else move forward. This time he shot down 3 of the last 4 Thunderers on my right. 

Now I moved. My Warriors, who all game were hanging out defending my right flank (actually, I had moved them slightly each turn to deal with the Waywatcher threat, then the approaching Wardancer threat, so they were out on the extended right wing), got the charge on the Wardancers. Time to shoot.

First, the Cannon. I had his last 4 Glade Guard lined up, the cannonball would wipe them all out...except the cannon mis-fired. Then I opened up with the Organ Gun on the Dryads...only to watch it mis-fire and blow up, taking the Master Engineer with it. 200 points gone, just like that. But it DID do a lot of damage; I got 1/2 the Waywatcher points (147 cut in half) and 1/2 the Glade Guard points in exchange for 200. Costly.  My Thunderers could not even kill a single Dryad. I did win the hand-to-hand, but his Wardancers would not flee. 

The Dryads charged home against the Thunderers behind the King's Wall. The General unleashed the Hail of Doom arrow against the cannon, killing one crewmen. The Dryads killed about 5 Thunderers. The Wardancers lost a couple more.

I now had 4 Thunderers behind the King's Wall locked in combat with Dryads, 2 guys standing behind a useless cannon as they were charged by his Glade Guard, and 16 warriors battling Wardancers. After this turn I had 16 Warriors and my Thane. He had 3 Waywatchers, 2 Glade Guard, and all his Dryads, and his General. 

We totaled the points. We each controlled a table quarter. I did in half his Waywatchers and half his Glade Guard, 5 guys from having over 600 points, instead I had I think 3 hundred and some. Meanwhile, he killed 2 units of Thunderers (150 each), a cannon (90), and my Organ Gun/Engineer blow-up for 200 points gave him about a 220 point win, a solid victory. 

Oh, the pain...had his Waywatchers not fled I would have killed them all and had at worst a draw. Had my cannon not misfired I would have wiped out his Glade Guard instead of leaving 2 alive and had at worst a draw. Or had my Organ Gun not blown up (on turn THREE) I would have had at worst a draw. 3 dice rolls that went against me. *sigh*

On the bright side, Chad is hooked and fun was had by all. I think. And I did get a game in after all, so that was a good thing.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lizarmen Vs. Dwarfs 3-14-09

I did not take notes, so this is my best effort to recall the progression.

We set up terrain with a lake surrounded by forest on what we will call the north side of the table about 13" from the edge, a steep hill about 2" south of that, and a 12" wall just west of the eastern deployment zone.

The Dwarfs won the roll to pick sides, they chose the east side. This meant that the scenery would only serve to impede my advance in the middle, since the trees and water would not slow down my skink skirmishers, and my saurus warriors would advance on the south side.

The Dwarfs won the roll to choose who went first, they chose to let me go. Until I moved past the hill and forest there would not be many targets for the thunderers and cannons, but I had to get in close as quickly as possible because that is where I had the advantage. Fortunately, a 12" march that is not impeded by terrain (skirmishers ignore most terrain, and skinks are aquatic so they ignore water, one of the few terrains that skirmishers don't) can get you across the field pretty fast.

Lizard turn 1
I moved my whole army straight forward their full movement with a couple small exceptions. Additionally, my chameleon skinks had been placed on the northern table edge just far enough forward so I would be outside the required 12", so I moved them east-southeast to get them closer to his thunderers and behind them so they could not fire on me. I had placed my lone skink priest behind my middle which meant his line of sight would be severely limited, so I moved him off to the south flank. He was just able to get LoS to the southern line of thunderers.

Then came the magic phase, I suddenly felt naked when I realized I had not rolled for my priest's spells. We agreed to have me roll them then. I rolled a 6 and a 4 giving me a thunderbolt and meteor spell. I am going to spare the suspense and just tell you that I successfully cast the thunderbolt once in the whole game when it was not dispelled. I rolled a 1 to see how many S4 hits his unit would take, then a 1 for the "to wound" roll. Very effective spell casting.

The shooting phase was a little more successful. I was able to take out 2 of his northern thunderers with my chameleon skinks. I believe I also took out 1 with my northern skirmishers. I had made some kind of mistake moving my southern skirmishers, and they were just out of range.

Dwarf turn 1
He considered some moves, but after checking the rules on his move-or-fire units decided to just leave things as they were. He had no movement at any point during the game. As I understand it, this is how a dwarf army is supposed to operate. I do not think I could play a proper dwarf army.

His shooting phase saw some dissapointing rolls. I believe he took out 2 of my northern skirmishers. His cannons did 1 or 2 casualties. He did manage to cause my southern skirmishers to break, running back 3".

Lizard turn 2
My northern and southern troops once again marched forward. My chameleon skinks ran south behind the line of thunderers to close to within an inch of his northernmost cannon. I figured he would have to get very lucky to hit anything with a cannon at that range, and the thunderers could not turn around to fire at the chameleons. My skinks which had broken the turn before rallied. Cold Blooded is a beautiful thing! However, this still prevented my Kroxigor from advancing much because they were directly behind the skinks. I was able to get them down off the hill, but they would be out of charge range for a while yet.

Shooting saw another couple of thunderers in both lines go down to the skinks' poison blowguns. It is funny how you don't care too much that you have to roll sixes to hit when you have 14-20 shots and any sixes automatically wound. I shot at his cannon with my chameleons, but if I remember correctly did not do any damage since all of the sixes went into the cannon, and any that hit the crew failed to wound.

Dwarf turn 2
He fired away again, taking out a couple from the northern skirmishers, and one or two from the southern group. This may be the turn his cannon took out one of my saurus warriors. His northernmost cannon misfires and rolls a 2 or 3 causing it to not fire that turn or the next.

Lizard turn 3
My northern skinks walked towards his line stopping within 1" of his thunderers. Here they would be protected from his cannons, prevent his thunderers from firing at my more valuable troops, be able to use their multiple-shot blowguns, and not have the disadvantages of being in melee with a regular unit with higher WS. My southern skinks walked forward in front of the Kroxigor who were still outside of charge range. My saurus warriors wheeled on the southern flank and plodded on towards the thunderer line. Shooting went about like it had except for taking out one of his cannon crew.

Dwarf turn 3
Same as before, shoot with rifle and cannon, do a couple of wounds. At some point he managed to do a total of 3 wounds to my Kroxigor unit with his cannons. Had I taken the wounds properly, this would have taken one of my Kroxigor out.

Lizard turn 4
I charge his southern thunderers with my saurus warriors. He stands and shoots taking out 1 saurus on the way in. This is the last wound my saurus will suffer.

I fire at his cannon doing little or nothing. I fire at his northern thunderers taking them down to 3 left in the unit.

Close combat goes about like you would expect I take out all but 2 or three of his thunderers who, needing snake eyes, run like scared little girls. I pursue into the warrior unit right behind them.

Dwarf turn 4
He fires at my northern skirmishers doing some damage. Then he gets to try his northern cannon, which misfires, this is the same one that misfired on turn 2. This time it explodes. His other cannons don't do much.

In melee, I am counted as charging so I tear through several of his guys before he gets his attacks. Had we remembered how CC works, he would have only hit back with his general and his champion. As it was, he did not do much, he needed a three to stay in the fight and rolled an eight. He rolled 10 making it 9" that he ran, I rolled an 11 putting my front line on the edge of the board and overruning both of his routed units.

Lizard turn 5
My saurus reformed to face his cannons to the north. My chameleons marched towards his middle cannon. My Kroxigor, still out of charge range, marched forward behind their skink screen.

Shooting saw the southern thunderers go down to 2, and the middle cannon lose the master engineer.

Dwarf turn 5
His northern thunderers took my northern skinks down to 2 or 3 left. His southern cannon fired... and exploded. They just were not helpful to him.

Thinking this was turn 6, we called it. I missed something in there because at the end of the game he had only one crewman on his remaining cannon. At the end of the game, he had 2 thunderers and one crew on one cannon. I had lost most of one unit of skinks, 2 or 3 saurus, and taken enough wounds on my Kroxigor unit that I should have removed one.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Dwarfs versus Wood Elfs pre-game nonsense

What a day. I have been looking forward to this game since last month's devastation of Josh's Orcs at the hands of my heroic and gorgeous Wood Elf shooting army of doom.  The humiliation of waiting 14 years to play a Wardancer unit only to see them routed by a crap unit notwithstanding, the game was a lot of fun. Warhammer usually is. Plus, with the new lights Rick installed and the felt he and I covered the tables with, it should look spectacular.

So I have been painting like mad and spent a good deal of time making sure there would be competitive armies for the Goblins, a couple Dwarf armies, a Wood Elf army, a fun and competitive Vampire count army. So I got the lists all together, gathered up all the stuff and set out to pick up Chad. 

Then I returned home to pick up the army lists. And headed off to pick up Chad.

Then returned home to pick up the army I forgot to bring. Then headed off to pick up Chad.

Then turned back to get the new scenery I had purchased. 

AAAAAAAAAggggggggghhhhhhhhhh! Not a good start.

Well, knew we would be having pizza, so did not eat breakfast. Well, got there late, things were a bit discombobulated. Never did get anything ordered. No big deal...except when all was said and done I would go from 2:30 yesterday afternoon until 9:00 tonight without eating. D'oh!

Well, anyway, we started off with a good game of Heroscape. Got some nice pictures, hopefully will get my camera issues resolved soon and get them up.

Unfortunately, the one thing I did not get resolved was table space issues. So we matched up Kenneth and his Dark Elf army against Josh and the Goblins, Phillip and his lizardmen against Rick and the Dwarf army (with Chad studying the game under Rick) and Kevin's new Ogre Kingdom army against Chris and the Vampire Counts. That left me without a game.

Now, to be fair Rick offered to sit out but I could not bring myself to play when someone else was sitting out so I was just going to take pictures and notes of all the games.

Oh, remember the numerous things I forgot to bring with me this morning? Well...I also forgot to recharge my camera batteries after Friday's Blazer game so I essentially had no batteries left. Just not meant to be my day.

I mostly watched Kevin and Chris. I explained the way I built the Vampire army to work; the Cairn Wraiths working as a protective screen to allow the Skeletons and Grave Guard to get into close combat without taking a lot of damage, plus carry Mannfred the Acolyte with them and let his Sword of Unholy Power do its work.

Unfortunately, he did not quite get what I was saying and put his screening unit off on the left, leaving his Grave Guard w/Mannfred unit exposed to the Leadbelchers of Kevin. With only 1000 point armies, this was a great risk; should the leadbelchers do enough damage to cause a break test and the test fail, he conceivably could lose almost half his army to the opening volley, a totally unnecessary risk.

That is why these learning games are good, because I could freely mention the strategy upgrade and reasoning behind it.

Meanwhile, Kevin had a pretty good set-up and won the first turn. His Leadbelchers and Gut-dudes all rumbled forward. Unfortunately for him, the Leadbelchers were about 1/4" out of range and his magic phase saw either failure to cast or else dispelled by Chris.

Then Chris was able to correct his set-up. He got the Ethereal Cairn Wraiths in front of his units so they would be the only target for the Leadbelchers. That was essentially the game as it turned out.

The next turn for Kev was more maneuvering and failed Magic. Then Chris charged his Cairn Wraiths into the Leadbelchers. Open up with the Banshee Ghostly Howl and soon the Leadbelchers were gone without ever getting to fire their guns. 

That was the way the game went; Kevin had nothing that could hurt the Cairn Wraiths who rampaged through every unit he had. Ultimately, one unit of Zombies Chris managed to raise was slain by one of Kevin's units, giving him 50 points, the total he ended with. At the end of the game he had fleeing Gnoblars and 1 character (75 point character) on the table while Chris lost a total of 4 skeletons. Brutal.

Lesson: Always, always, always have some way of dealing with ethereal creatures. That one unit did ALL the damage, 925 points. 

Meanwhile, the Lizardmen/Dwarf battle was almost as bad. A major tactical error saw 2 of the 3 cannons covered up by Thunderer units; the army he decided to use had 2 10 man Thunderer units (150 points each), 3 cannons (90 points each), a Master Engineer, and a 17 man Warrior regiment meant to surround the Thane. In theory, nobody in the entire army would move until the Warriors charged late in the game. However, he missed that part of the design and planned to move his Thunderers out of the way of the Cannons. However, an all-shooting army that sees 33% of its shooters unable to shoot (Move or Fire) is going to struggle. 

Phillip put a skirmishing screen of skinks all the way across the front. Perfect. Moved forward, fired. Rinse, repeat, and roll to a massacre victory which was only helped when 2 of the cannons blew up in the same turn. *Sigh*. Poor Rick. No luck paired with sub-optimal starting position meant disaster.

And in the third game, Josh also missed part of the army design. I tried to explain that he needed to put his Spider Riders spread 10 wide, then his Archers 20 wide, then all his hand to hand units, meant to move forward, firing as they went, and allow him to numerically overwhelm the badly outnumbered Dark Elf army. Instead he bunched the Spider Riders on one wing 5 wide, the archers about 10 wide, and spread his hand-to-hand units all across the table. Worse yet, he put his general off on his right wing.

This allowed Kenneth to charge his best unit into the unsupported, unready for close combat Spider riders, shoot one of his 40 spearmen units to ribbons on their way across the field, and never outnumber the Dark Elf army. Even with a 200 point advantage, that set-up meant he was way behind. 

I almost cried on the turn he charged his remaining spearmen into the Dark Elf quarrelers and instead of flanking them with his stone troll, instead charged the stone troll solo into a unit of Dark Elf Corsairs. 

Kenneth and Josh thought it was luck that the Stone Troll died in turn one; nope. Not even close. There were 3+ ranks of Corsairs. He had a +2 for that, +1 for outnumbering, +1 for Standard bearer. Before it even started he had a +4 to his combat resolution. He only had 3 attacks. Even if he killed with all 3 of them and took no return wounds, he would have to take a break test on Leadership 4 (out of range of the general) with a -1. The troll was dying that turn. 

This is not taking anything from Kenneth. He set up his army better and moved them better. Josh was in deep trouble from the word go. 

Overall, looked like everyone had fun, so that is a good thing. Shortly will post report on my battle with Chad.