Monday, June 29, 2009

Chaos versus Lizardmen

Kev graduated and we had a couple hours before poker, so Fullur and I decdided to play a quick one-off. We settled in at 801 points. 

I went with a small, weird army. 10 Marauders, no adds, 11 Chaos Warriors with Shields, Banner of Wrath  (5+ Ward save in shooting phase) and Mark of Khorne, and 5 Knights with Mark of Tzeentch, Banner of Wrath (gives them Frenzy) and an Exalted Hero with the Axe of Khorne.

Fullur took a Scar Veteran on Horned one, 10 Skink skirmishers, 14 skink skirmishers, 8 Cold Ones, and 10 Chameleon Skinks.

I set my goals for the game:

1) Lose via Marginal or Solid Victory
2) Win a Challenge and Roll on the Eye table.
3) Get off a charge with my Knights

We had rough ground left and right, a hill in the left center of the field, a lake, and a forest in the center of my deployment zone. He won the roll so I had to set up first.

Putting the lie to my contention my opponent has always had a hill in their deployment zone, he did not in this game...not that it mattered since his range is only 12". 

Anyway, I put my Marauders 10 wide facing the hill planning to put my Knights to their left and Warriors behind them. He planted a wide string of Skinks opposite the hill.

Put my Warriors behind the Marauders because I saw the Forest and if he had scouts they could get behind me and kill me without any now I knew my Knights had to go over there.

He spread out some more skinks and these were far enough to his left (my right) that I thought they would have little bearing on the battle. My Knights went beside the forest slanted towards my left. His Cold ones went in the middle, my Hero went into the unit of Warriors, his Scouts were able to hid along side the hill. I won the roll for turn and deferred. 

Lizardmen Turn 1
He advanced his battle line, the Chameleons emerged from behind the hill. No magic, on to shooting. Fortunately, my Marauders served their role perfectly and were his only target. Unfortunately, he rolled 5 6s so already half my scree was dead...

Chaos Turn 1
I moved my Knights up a couple inches but did not want his Cold Ones getting the charge, so not super far. I advanced my Marauders and advanced my Warriors on top of the hill to face his skinks. 6 minutes, first turn over.

Lizardman Turn 2
He wisely maneuvered his Chameleons out of my LOS, slightly retreated his other skinks, no other movement. Shooting killed a Chaos Warrior and 2 more Marauders.

Chaos Turn 2
Charge! Both my Marauders and Warriors declared charges on his 14 man Skink line. Knowing he would not be moving his Cold Ones, I started maneuvering my Knights to hopefully get a charge on his other skink line.

He chose to flee with his skinks so my charges failed and I moved just 4". 7 minutes, 2 turns done.

Lizardman Turn 3
No charges, he rallied, lots of shooting, the Banner of Wrath was paying off. In retrospect, I should have given them the Mark of Tzeentch as well, though...4+ Ward in shooting would have rocked. 

Chaos Turn 3
Okay, I have a real problem here. His skirmishing skinks can easily outmaneuver my Warriors, my Marauders will be dead in another turn, I will never be able to bring him to grips: what to do? Aha! IF by some miracle the Marauders could hold for but a single turn, I could charge his Cold Ones with my Knights. 

Charge! Marauders into cold ones...hmmm...advanced my Knights and angled them, broke my General off and advanced him, spun the Warriors to face his Chameleons. 

It was no surprise when both my Marauders whiffed and his General alone killed them so that plan failed.

Lizardman Turn 4
He shot down another warrior, maneuvered his Chameleons back out of my charge range, THE key moment of the game...failed his Stupidity test. His Cold Ones awkwardly shuffled forward. 

Chaos Turn 4
Charge! I charged my General and Knights. Unfortunately, the Stupidity meant the Cold Ones had gone far enough it meant I charged them in the flank. This battle was all but over already. With my Flank bonus, and him having just 2 attacking there and his General in challenge with mine, he could not win the combat

First, the challenge. This should be epic. 4 attacks needing 3s to hit..I managed to roll 2 2s and a 1. My one hit, my to wound roll was....another 1. He attacks back 4 times needing 4s...rolls 31s and a 2. His Horned One then attacks...and rolls a 1. 


I made up for it with my Knights. All 5 hit meaning I started with 11 attacks (I had a Champion) and Frenzy meant 16 attacks needing 3s to hit. I did miss 5 of them but almost everything that hit wounded. He saved a couple but I won the combat by 9. He broke, I caught him, his skinks fled lest I charge into them.

For all intents and purposes, the game was over here. I now had points, he had 1 fleeing unit of Skinks, one almost pinned and one out of position.

Lizardman turn 5
He failed to rally. Shooting missed.

Chaos Turn 5
I had a choice; pursue his unit or try to pin the Chameleons. I tried the latter and swung my Knights into line and my Warriors advanced.

Lizardman Turn 6
His skinks rallied, shooting time. I somehow saved all but one of about 5 hits on my warriors and also saved another hit on my General. Those saves would be big.

Chaos Turn 6
Could not bring him to grips, proved to far away to contest a table quarter. Game over.

Took us about 1:09 to play the game...

Victory or Death
Well, he had 2 table quarters and 40 points for the Marauders. Had he wounded one more Chaos Warrior, he would have scored another 150 or so. Had he put a wound on my General, he would have scored another 90 or so. As it was, he got just 240 points.

Meanwhile I killed his General and Cold Ones, 513 points. 265 points in such a small game is a massacre.

How did I do with my goals?

1) Epic fail. As far from my preferred outcome as possible.
2) Epic fail. Whiff, whiff, whiff. Challenges have not gone well for me. Going in with better WS, S, and Saves, I consistently fail to wound much less win.
3) Epic success. Great charge.

What went right and wrong? Fullur maneuvered very well almost the entire game. He was able to stay out of charge range with his skinks which meant his sniping was doing the job and winning the game for him. My only quibble with his maneuvering was if he did not intend to put his Cold Ones into combat then he should have had them where a failed stupidity test would not cripple him...but that is hindsight. At the time, his placement seemed good since it forced me to be careful with my Knights. I thought he had a rank bonus (he didn't) and knew he outnumbered me and had a standard, so starting a combat at -2 against a tough unit is not something my fragile Knights wanted to do, so his keeping them up there helped keep me from pinning his Chameleons.

Had he not failed his stupidity test I would have either lost to the sniping or had to let him charge me with his elite cavalry. 

My small numbers meant pinning a small, fast-moving shooting force was all but impossible. I have said it before and will say it again...the Wood Elf Army would crush me almost every time.

That one failed Stupidity test combined with me saving just enough of his shooting wounds turned a game he could...and probably should....have won into a rout.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Battle Report - 2500 Point Game. Ogres vs. Dark Elves

Since I had a previous engagement last week, I didn't get to play with everyone on our normal game day. Luckily, Ken (Fixeddice) decided to hook me up with a game. Since Cris's game with Spacemonkey fell through, he could only watch in awe as we took to the field.

Ogre Army List
Tyrant with Tenderiser & Mastodon (heavy) Armor (if killed not in CC comes back with 1 wound on a 2+) - 300
Butcher with Bangstick & Dispel Scroll -180
Butcher with Halfling Cookbook & Dispel Scroll - 180
Hunter & 2 Sabretusks - 185
Gnoblar Trappers x9 - 54
Ogre Bulls x5 with Bellower - 185
Ogre Bulls x3 with Bellower - 115
Ogre Bulls x3 with Bellower - 115
Ogre Bulls x4 with Bellower - 150
Ironguts x6 Full command and magical war banner (+1 combat res) - 343
Gnoblar Fighters x25 with Groinbiter - 52
Gnoblar Fighters x25 with Groinbiter - 52
Leadbelchers x2 - 110
Leadbelchers x2 - 110
Yhetees x3 -195
Gorger- 75
Maneater with Brace of Handguns and Heavy Armor – 86
Total 2487

Dark Elf Army List
Dreadlord on Manticore w/Deathpiercer (Lance w/killing blow on turn he Charges), Pendant of Khaeleth (Ward Save), Armour of Eternal Servitude (Regen +Hvy Armour), Shield, Sea Dragon Cloak, and Repeater Crossbow - 454 (254 for Dreadlord, 200 for Manticore)

Malus Darkblade on Spite w/Hvy Armour, Warpsword of Khaine - 275

Master on Cold One w/Battle Standard, Banner of Naggarythe (+1 Combat Result to all units within 12", and the unit containing it is Unbreakable), Repeater Crossbow, Lance, Heavy Armour, Sea Dragon Cloak, Shield - 274

Shadowblade, Master of Assassins - 300

2 x 10 Dark Elf Crossbowmen w/Musicians - 105 x 2

15 Black Ark Corsairs w/Full Command and Sea Serpent Standard (Frenzy) - 200

War Hydra - 175

2 x Reaper Bolt Throwers - 2 x 100

12 Cold One Knights w/Full Command, Banner of Murder (Armour Piercing), and the Dreadknight is wearing the Cloak of Hag Graef (Sea Dragon Cloak + Any ranged attacks including magic with a Strength value have their Strength halved [rounding up] before rolling to wound) – 414
Total 2502

The Setup
After putting about 6-7 pieces of terrain on the field we roll for table sides. Ken gets the win and picks the side that has 2 hills on it, one of them surrounded a shallow stream and with difficult ground between the hill and my deployment zone. The normal to the other side of his zone has a village in front of it on almost the edge of the table.

He puts both of his bolt throwers on the steep hill, a unit of x-bowmen partially on the same, and his other unit of x-bowmen on the normal hill along with his corsairs. His cold ones+BSB+Malus in the middle along with his general and Manticore, and his Hydra close to his left table edge, near the corsairs.

I put one of my Gnoblar units on my left side, one as far forward as possible, the other held back in reserves for a bit. My smaller units of Bulls are basically screening my larger unit of Bulls x5 and Ironguts in the middle, & my Hunter near the village. I place my Yhettees to able to go through the village, and put my hunter to protect the gap between the village and table edge basically across from the Hydra. My Maneater goes between my unit of Bulls x5 and the village. I don't have many options for my scout trappers, so they go behind the village, out of sight of his army. My 2 units of Leadbelchers go on each flank. I join my Tyrant with the unit of Ironguts and my “aggressive” Butcher with my large unit of Bulls. The remaining Butcher stays on his own to support everyone else.

Ken finishes deploying way before I do and so gets the +1 to his roll to see who goes first. Making his nickname of Fixeddice completely ironic, He rolls a 1. I take his combined roll, triple it, and choose to go first.

Ogres Turn 1
None of my Gnoblars bicker, so I march everyone forward as far as possible except my hunter (who only moves up slightly), my trappers, my Yhetees (who move to just behind the village), and my Reserve Gnoblars Magic is pretty uneventful, although I do get Toothcracker off on the Bulls x4 unit.

Dark Elves Turn 1
Declares charge with the cold one knights on one of my screening units of Bulls. I flee about 2 inches out of charge range, and his charge fails so they only move 7” forward. He moves his Hydra to the flank of my Bulls who are screening my hunter and breath attacks for 2 wounds. Dispels Trollguts. His RBT's fire at a unit of screening Bulls and do about 2 wounds each. The x-bowmen concentrate their fire at the same unit and kill it off.

Ogres Turn 2
I try to roll my Gorger in, but I get a 3 when I need a 4+. No bickering for the Gnoblars who will march forward. I rally my fleeing Bulls. I declare a charge against the Hydra with my Yhetees, but they fail their fear test and can't do anything. I charge his Cold Ones with my Butcher-led unit of Bulls. He stands and shoots (with his Master) and does a wound. My 3 S5 impact hits do nothing. With my 2 Butchers I cast Trollguts on the unit who charged, and the Ironguts (hoping to be able to work around for a flank charge on the Cold Ones), both successful. I move my Leadbelchers towards the Hydra and attempt to shoot him up. I misfire on one, but take no wounds, the other gets 6 shots, hits 5, but only one goes through to be ward saved. My hunter shoots the Hydra who again ward saves the wound.
In CC I let him offer challenges (probably a mistake on my part) and he challenges my Butcher. Since I have regeneration (Trollguts) I accept. I totally miss and he gets a wound through. Regular combat lets me get 2 wounds, while he gets 3. Thanks to the cold ones banners + BSB+outnumber and so on, he wins combat by 6. I break and run 7”, but thanks to having to friendly units in the way, I have actually move about 20”. He runs into the unit that fled earlier.

Dark Elves Turn 2
His Assassin takes out a Gnoblar in my reserve unit who then form up for an epic battle. The Hydra charges the Bulls who he previously breath attacked who stand, rather than fleeing 3” off the table. It doesn't matter because later in CC he kills a bull, but takes 1 wound. Since they lose the combat they flee and he pursues off the table.

One of his RBT's shoots at my Ironguts but does nothing, while the other fires at my advancing Gnoblars along with both units of x-bowmen. I take about 7-8 wounds total but my Gnoblars refuse to panic. His Cold Ones do massive damage (8 wounds) to my unit of Bulls x3, leaving me with one bull remaining with a single wound. I do 2 back, but he still beats me by 11. I resign myself to losing him as well, but instead I roll Insane Courage! Woo hoo!

He moves his corsairs up to help support his Hydra.

CC with his Assassin does 3 wounds to me, meaning I can't attack back. Luckily, I started out with 25 ranked up Gnoblars, so I still have enough for rank bonus and outnumber to win combat by 1. However he easily passes his break test with Ld 10.

Ogres Turn 3
My Gorger arrives this turn. I place him just to the side of where his Hydra will reappear. Again no bickering for my Gnoblars who will move up and should shoot this turn, but I forget to do so. I charge his corsairs with my unit of Leadbelchers who shot earlier. I do 2 wounds to his 5 and flee 5”, but get over run. This puts the corsairs just in front of my Yhetees who failed to charge the Hydra earlier.

My Maneater decides to help his (insanely) courageous comrade and gets a flank charge on the Cold Ones, doing 1 impact wound and 2 wounds in CC. The cold ones attack the bull, but can't get the remaining wound on the bull who can't manage to hit anything either. I still lose combat by 2, but the stubborn Maneater and the bull close enough to the general both pass. Since he one, he gets to reform to be able to fight my Maneater and bull a little better in the next round.

My Gnoblars fight with Shadowblade and take 1 more wound, I still win combat by 3. Shadowblade then fails his break test on double 6s! He flees 6”and I think I have him, unfortunately I only pursue 5”

My Tyrant/Irongut unit heads toward his x-bowmen, while still staying position enough to respond to his General on the Manticore The trappers move to hopefully march block the Hydra when he comes back on the table.

Dark Elves Turn 3
Unfortunately, Shadowblade fails to rally ending the most hilarious (did I say Epic earlier? 'cause I meant hilarious) battle in the game, where a 50point unit of Gnoblars takes out a 300point Dark Elf Assassin. Go Me!

His Hydra comes back on the table and breath attacks the trappers, killing 2, while the x-bowmen on the normal hill kill off enough to force a panic test. I fail and run right into the Hydra to die. After Shadowblade dying, I'm too happy to care though.

His x-bowmen on the hill shoot at my advancing unit of Gnoblars, causing a panic test which is passed thanks to my advancing General, just barely within range to offer his Ld.

His general on the Manticore charges my Gorger and does 3 wounds. The Gorger does 1 back, but unfortunately it's ward-saved.
His corsairs attack my Yhetees and in 15 attacks only get 2 wounds to go through, where as my 9 attacks back do 6 wounds. He flees and I overrun to put my Yhetees to the left of his general, who thankfully is occupied with the Gorger.

Thanks to the reform earlier, Malus kills the Maneater before I can attack back, but can do nothing to my heroic bull who was holding them up. Alas, that is not to last as he breaks this time and is over run. Where they threaten my “reserve” Gnoblars.

Ogres Turn 4
My Yhetees charge into his x-bowmen on the normal hill. Stand and shoot finishes off one of them, but I pass my panic test to make it into CC. I kill off 2 and take no wounds back, thanks to the -1 to hit modifier Aura of Frost on all the Yhetees. I still lose combat by 1, but easily pass my break test.

My hunter charges the Hydra, finally getting a wound through on him. The Sabretusks do nothing. He attacks back and does 2 wounds. I lose combat by 1, but pass my break test.

My other unit of Leadbelchers who have sat back in the corner most of this time move forward towards his cold ones and unleash a massive wave of destruction on them. Getting a combined 18 shots off, I end up kill all the remaining rank-and-file units, but unfortunately I don't touch Malus or his BSB.

My Gorger has to wait to attack back, thanks to his low initiative. Ken's general doesn't hit anything, but unfortunately, his Manticore does the final wound and kills the Gorger.

Magic this turn was pretty uneventful. Magic missile spell and the Bangstick do absolutely nothing, so I regain a wound on the Butcher who battled the cold ones earlier and also cast Trollguts on the unit.

Dark Elves Turn 4
His newly victorious general flank charges my Yhetees and wipes them both out.

The x-bowmen on the hill kill another 3 Gnoblars with shooting, but not enough for a test..
The 2 RBT's fire at my Irongut unit, but don't do anything to them.

His BSB charges my “reserve” Gnoblars who fail their fear test, but outnumber, so they stand firm, but can only hit on 6s. In CC he does a wound to the Gnoblars, but I roll a 6 to hit and my strength 2 Gnoblars do a wound back. Unfortunately he's unbreakable, so he won't be fleeing any time soon.

Malus charges my unit of Bulls led by the Butcher. Unfortunately, regeneration didn't do me any good and he dies in the challenge. He's still within range of the BSB so he wins combat. I break, flee, and am caught by Malus.

Ogres Turn 5
My Leadbelchers charge his BSB in the flank, kill him & overrun. I reform the Ironguts unit with my General in it to threaten either unit of his x-bowmen and/or his general. My remaining Butcher tries to cast Bonecruncher on his x-bowmen on the steep hill, but I miscast. Thankfully, I get the best possible result from that and become Frenzied. I cast Braingobbler on the x-bowmen instead, forcing them to take a panic test. They fail it on double 6s and run 8”. The Gnoblars that should have thrown sharp stuff last turn, but didn't remember to attack the RBT on the hill and kill a crewman.

In CC his Hydra handlers have the initiative on my Hunter and his Sabretusks but don't do anything, my Sabretusks do nothing back, but the Hunter gets 2 wounds on the Hydra, unfortunately they are both regenerated. Finally the Hydra does in the Hunter and my 'tusks are counted as lost as they feed on their dead former master.

Dark Elves Turn 5
Malus charges the Leadbelchers that decimated his unit earlier, but I choose to flee, causing the charge to fail. His Hydra moves closer to my Tyrant/Irongut unit and breath attacks it, but fails to wound. His shooting phase concentrates fire from his RBT's, his x-bowmen, & his General to kill an Irongut and put 2 wounds on another.

Ogres Turn 6
I rally my Leadbelchers and turn them to face Malus, rather than take a rear attack later, which also allows them to reload. Unfortunately, my Frenzied Butcher has to charge either his Hydra or his General on the Manticore. I try for the slightly less of a long-shot and go after the Hydra. CC allows him to get another wound on the Hydra before he is killed off. My Gnoblars fail to even get a single hit on the remaining RBT crewmen.

Dark Elves Turn 6
Malus charges the Leadbelchers who get about 12 shots, but only get 1 wound through, while his General charges their flank. Malus gets off 4 wounds, killing one of them, and his General kills the other one. He overruns into my “reserve” Gnoblars, or at least he would have, but his Terror causes them to flee off the board, and he pursues off the table. Unfortunately for him that means that he only gets the 50 points for the unit, but not the 100 points for the table quarter since he's off the board at the end of turn 6.

His previous success at shooting which had before been mediocre to terrible took an amazing turn for the better in the last round. He concentrates all his fire from the 2 RBT's & 2x units of x-bowmen onto my unit of Tyrant/Ironguts and gets my General down to 1 wound, and is 1 wound shy of killing off all the Ironguts In one round Ken got both my General and my most expensive unit (which never did get into close combat) down to ½ strength.

Victory Points
After 7 ½ hours of gaming that only felt like about 2 ½, we decided to quickly add up our points and call it a day. Thanks to me trying to record what happened, and just having fun hanging out and talking with each other and Cris who stuck around to watch the whole thing, this battle took much longer than what we had expected, thankfully we had fun the entire time.

Ken's victory points came from
General (½ strength) – 150
Ironguts (½ strength) – 172
Gnoblars (½ strength) – 26
Butcher – 180
Butcher – 180
Hunter & 'tusks -185
Gnoblar Trappers - 54
Bulls x5 -185
Bulls x4 – 150
Bulls x3 – 115
Bulls x3 - 115
Gnoblars – 52
Leadbelchers x2 – 110
Leadbelchers x2 – 110
Yhetees x3 – 195
Gorger -75
Maneater – 86
Controlled 1 table quarter at the end. - 100
Total 2240

My points were
Malus at ½ - 138
Hydra at ½ - 88
BSB - 274
Shadowblade -300
Corsairs - 210
Cold Ones - 414
Total 1424

That gave him a Solid Victory (note: we originally thought he just had a marginal victory, but I believe I miscounted some point values that night, trying to quickly add things up before leaving). Unfortunately, I my units that captured 2 of his standards weren't on the table at the end of the game, otherwise I would have had a few more points. Much better from our last battle where I was massacred. :)

All in all, a great day of gaming that only felt like an afternoon and lots of fun. I was happy to take out the Cold Ones and put quite a few wounds on his Hydra. I think the best part is that with their great movement, I can usually get most of my Ogres into CC by turn 2, if I really try.

I don't have the pictures, but hopefully we can get those added in later.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Marauder versus Repeater Crossbowmen

My brother and I have a long-standing debate. He (a Dark Elf player) thinks equal points of Marauders are more valuable than I ( a Chaos Warrior player) think equal points of Repeater Crossbow unit are worth.

By definition, this is a pointless argument. The points costs don't exist in a vacuum. Here is what Games Workshop says is the best use for R.C.

Conversely, the use for Chaos Marauders is this:

In the official tactica, they also say Marauders provide "much needed bulk" or something along that line. 

My contention is Marauders as bulk are pointless since they rely exclusively on static combat resolution bonuses to win fights since they are among the worst fighters available. We have not run a statistical model.

There is a serious problem with any statistical model which is one reason I have not bothered to do one until now. They are based on thousands of events whereas a statistical model assumes every individual roll happens exactly the way they should happen over thousands upon thousands of events. Individual events that go strictly according to percentage are actually the anomaly. 

Also, they happen in a vacuum. For example, in the first one I am about to do, I will assume the Dark Elf player is a complete moron who never threatens flank charges or charges with good units that should be protecting their shooters, never moves their Crossbowmen to give them an extra turn or three of shooting with their mobility advantage, and never march blocks. 

I will also assume the Chaos player is a moron who intends the Marauders to win a combat and can come up with no better plan than walking straight forward into a line of Repeater crossbows without any precautions such as a mark of Nurgle or Tzeentch.

For this model I will use the smallest possible sample size and will make the following assumptions. If something happens 50% of the time, I will assume the first time it does not happen (IE, if a shot hits 50% of the time, we will assume it misses the first and hits the second). If it happens once in three times, I will assume it hits the second time.

Marauders cost 4 points, Repeater Crossbows 10. So 2 Crossbows versus 5 Marauders is the statistical model.

So we start 24 inches apart and give the first turn to the Marauders. That should give them every possible advantage and they should win this.
Walk forward 8". 
Shooting 1: 4 shots:Start needing a 3, over half range, multiple shots, they are needing 5s. One of three hits so we will have 1 try to wound, 50%, no wounds first turn.
Walk to 8". 4 shots needing 4s, 2 hits, this time one wound. 4 Marauders left.
Charge. Stand and shoot kills one more, leaving 3 marauders to face 2 Dark Elfs. I have two shots at passing my panic test so I will auto-pass it. Only about 11% of the time will I fail it so 9 of 10 times I make it into close combat.

Close Combat:
3 attacks, needing 50% to hit, 1 hits, have 50% chance to wound, no wounds.Dark Elfs attack back, 50% to hit, 1 hits. Eternal Hatred means re-roll, 50% to hit, to give every possible advantage to the Marauders, we will say it misses.

Round 2
Dark Elfs have Initiative 5 to 4 for the Marauders. 50% hit, no re-roll this time. This is the second of 2 50%, so one Marauder dies. 2 Marauders left. 50% hit, so one hit, this time I kill a Dark Elf who only saves one in 6 times. 

Round 3: Dark Elf attacks first, 50% hit. This is his third attack so he misses. I have 50% to hit, 1 try to wound, wounded last turn so no wounds.

Round 4: Dark Elf hits this time, no wound. I hit once, kill once and win with 2 guys left.

So lets switch the model and make hits/wounds/saves happen on the first event occurrence.
Marauders move to 16".
4 shots, 2 hit. 1 wound. 4 Marauders left.
Marauders move to 8". 4 shots, 2 hit, 1 wound. 3 Marauders left.
Marauders charge, one more dies on the charge, 2 left.
Marauders attack twice, wound once, saved.
Elves attack twice, hit once, re-roll means they hit twice, kill one Marauder. One left, needs to pass break test on a 6 which is 50%. 
Dark Elf attack 2 times, hit once, no wound.
Marauder attacks once, hits, no wound. Takes break test on 7.
Dark Elfs attack twice, wound once.

When the advantages are all Marauder, they have 40% of their force left. When they are all Dark Elf, the Elf ends with 100% of his force left. Of course, an easy split of the 16.6667% chance of save means they only get 50% of their force.

As you can see, with dumb players who don't do any maneuvering, march blocking, flanking, or anything of that nature, it comes down to where the model falls. If the breaks go the Marauder way, they are left with a decimated force that gave up 1/2 points. If the breaks go the Dark Elf way they are left with a fully functional force.

So if you run the model each way the Dark Elf player ends with 15 points for the two games to 10 for the Chaos player and if you run the model a third time, now it is 10 crossbows to 2 marauders.

Of course, this is one reason I think these models are often an exercise in futility. More often you will see one game where the Dark Elf player consistently rolls 1 under the score he needs to hit and when he does hit the wounds do not go through and then the next game he will hit 9 of 10 and wound 8 of 9 or something ridiculous like that. I have been on both ends of those things.

Ultimately, it comes down to play style. 

Marauders in my armies are only useful as screening units. They need to attack with 4 guys against units with no save to expect to do even a single wound. That means I have no confidence in their ability to do damage so their only real uses are as support for Wulfrik or screening purposes.

For screening, Warhounds are better. Costing 2 points more, they are much faster which allows my Knights/Shaggoths/etc to get into combat faster, though they die just as quick and run much easier. 

If Marauders could skirmish they would be worth 6 or 8 points apiece as they are harder to hit, and if they could move and shoot, they would be worth 8 or 10 points apiece. With no range weapon, they are just pointless casualties in my playing style. 

Conversely, in my playing style, line troops who can shoot enemies to ribbons as they come across the field and then be just as good as my screening units in close combat, those I could always find a use for.

Long story short; I have a sneaking suspicion both sides of the debate see this model as proving their point. To me, it clearly shows Marauders are over costed in the Chaos army (though possibly under costed in many other armies) and an equal number of Repeater Crossbowmen is a better value while my disputing party will think it shows his point.

As usual with things that entirely hinge on playing style and knowing your own armies weaknesses...their value is completely subjective. One mans waste of points is another mans gold mines.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dark Elves Vs. Lizardmen @ 2500 Points

Did Lord Kroak just twitch? No, it couldn't be. The great toad had only been sleeping for a few centuries. It must have been a carrion beetle moving about underneath the ancient Slann's wrappings. But there it was again. Dreadlord Bait, one of the great lord's attendents looked intensly at the ancient undead being to see whether it would move again.

Slowly, the priest's mind began to fill with certain thoughts. The abominable dirtmen, sometimes called dark elves were once again trying to raid the jungles of Lustria. This would not do at all. DBait as the other priests called him for short (actually, it was hsssssss isss sss s, but the rough translation comes out DBait), quickly gave orders to the other priests to gather the cohort. "This is quite fortuitous" thought DBait. The new spawning of Saurus with their innate ability to ride cold ones need to be tested in battle. This should prove interesting.

Okay, with the fluff out of the way, lets get down to descriptions. I brought into this battle:

Lord Kroak
L2 Skink Priest w/2 Dispel Scrolls
L2 Skink Priest w/Cube of Darkness & Dragonfly of Quicksilver
Saurus Scar Veteran on Cold One
21 Saurus Warriors w/Spears, Champion, Standard Bearer
2x10 Skink Skirmishers w/Javelin & Shields
10 Temple Guard w/Champion, Standard Bearer w/War Banner
8xCold One Cavalry w/Champion, Standard Bearer w/Sun Standard of Chotec

My plan was to put the Temple Guard in the middle with the Saurus to one side and a Steg or two to the other. I would use one of the Skink units to screen, and if possible use the other to harry the opponents troops. Then I placed the Saurus first and in the middle of the field, well that was silly. Especially since that meant they were smack dab in the middle of a patch of rough ground. That mistake would cost me dearly.

I put my Cold Ones on one flank so I could use the hill to shield them from missle fire. In retrospect I probably would have been better served to let them take fire since the Sun Standard makes them much more difficult to hit, and they have an impressive save. They took not one shot from a missle weapon all game. That was 40 wasted points. On the other hand, they were at full strength until their last battle, so maybe I played them exactly right.

Here is what the dark elf deploment looked like.

Here is what my setup ended up looking like.

Lizardmen Turn 1:

My magic phase was not spectacular. I managed to cast Portent of Far on one of my Stegadons. The other three spells I attempted failed to cast.

My skinks were out of range so they did not fire. Both Stegadons missed.

Dark Elf Turn 1:

His Hydra moved forward just far enough to be out of charge range, nothing else moved.

He did a lot of firing. He chewed through all 10 of my screening skink unit. He also killed 3 Saurus from my block of 21 leaving me with 18 and 1 less rank bonus.

Lizardmen Turn 2:
I again trudge forward slowly. My remaining skink unit spreads out to act as screen against the predictable hail of bolts from the dark elf line. The only other notable is my Cold Ones marching to within 3" of the enemy War Hydra. My Saurus Scar-Veteran Beday Pr'sntslay'r leading them. I realized after moving them there that "hey, that is the perfect spot to get smacked by some stanky Hydra-breath. Oh well, this was not the worst play I made all game and kept my Cold Ones out of the cross-hairs for most of the enemy army.

Magic is great this time around. I start off rolling 3 dice to cast the Lore of Heavens shield against shooting spell. I rolled snake eyes on 3 dice. Even with the other die added in I would not have made the total I would need for the spell, but the double 1s made that irrelevant. I roll an 8 on the miscast table and take a wound with one of my skink priests. The worst of it though is the magic phase ends when I still have 7 casting dice to use.

Shooting is no better than last turn. No skinks in range and I am not expecting to hit with my Stegadons needing 6s.

Dark Elf Turn 2:
He announces a charge against my Cold Ones with his War Hydra. After looking around to make sure his fellow Cold One Riders are game (aka taking a Fear test because Terror - Fear = Fear) Beday Pr'sntslay'r steadies himself and receives the charge.

On the other side of the field, the Master of Assasins appears in front of my Skinks, killing one immediately and forcing the rest to form up for combat, practically eliminating them as a shielding unit.

End of any attempt at real reporting

Unfortunately, I let this sit too long and do not recall well what actually happened in the battle. So from here on it is just going to be comments about particular details.

When the Hydra charged my Cold Ones the battle went like this: the hydra attacks hitting 3 or 4 times, wounding I think 2, and in the end all wounds were saved. The Beastmasters fared about the same. My Cavalry did a couple of wounds to the Hydra which he regenerated. In the end, one of my Cold Ones killed a Beastmaster. I outnumbered the Hydra, had a standard, and caused a wound. He lost the combat and broke. I pursued. I rolled first: WHAT!?! 3 on 3d6? Why me? Then I saw his roll: a 2 and a 1! That is ridiculous, I rolled nothing but ones and still caught his fleeing Hydra. The brief reference to a name for my Saurus Scar-Veteran above is a joke about this battle. The Hydra was a b-day gift from myself and another guy to Fixeddice. This is the first battle I played against him and I absolutely demolished it. To be fair, I had around 500 points in this battle to his 175, but it was still somewhat of a shock. Below is a picture of the dice from the pursuit roll.

This is a cool shot of my Cold Ones versus his Dreadlord on Manticore. I had broken off my Hero to try and get him into combat more quickly than the other Cold Ones were going to be able to. That turned out to be a mistake as his general charged, rolled a 6 to wound and had Killing Blow. He then overran into my Cold Ones.

This is the field at the end of the Dark Elf turn 2.

This is the field at the end of the Lizardmen turn 3.

My Cold Ones actually fared pretty well against his Dreadlord. I lost 3 in the first round, but held up because I only lost the combat by 1.

My Saurus that were in the middle who were supposed to be on the side got slaughtered. The broke and were overrun by his Cold Ones. It was not even close.

Following his overrun of my Saurus I charged his Cold Ones in the flank with my Stegadon. He ran not wanting to take the hit without the benefit of his shields.

I knew I couldn't wound his general, so I was directing my attacks at his Manticore. Had I remembered all of the rules, this would have been brilliant. As it was, it kept his general from being even more impactful.

I killed his manticore removing the part of his general that caused Terror. This meant that my Cold Ones causing Fear actually mattered. Since the general only had a unit strength of 1 and my Cold One Champion had a unit strength of 2 I outnumbered him. Since neither of us could get through the other's save, that was the only modifier on the combat resolution and I was winning the rounds of combat. Fear causes enemies you outnumber and beat in combat to auto-break barring a roll of insane courage. Barring another roll like the Hydra pursuit, my Cold One champion would have killed his general.

This is him breaking my Stegadon a turn later than he should have. (I tried to play the rules the way I thought they should be, but they would not let me. Oh well...) He caught steggy the next turn. He also finished off my last Cold One and killed a Skink priest.

Final Thoughts:

We definitely still have a long way to go with knowing the relevant rules. I forgot at one point that any monster mount who's rider(s) is/are killed has to test using its own leadership. It took his Cold Ones an extra turn to break my Stegadon. I forgot about Fear against his general because his Manticore caused Terror effectively making it irrelevant... until I killed his Manty. I did not realize the power of rough ground until this battle.

I do not think I played particularly well or poorly in this battle. I definitely made some major mistakes like sending a lone Stegadon against a massive block of Cold Ones, but I also effectively protected my Cold Ones from fire, guessed the range I would need on Deliverance of Itza perfectly every time, and did an OK job of screening with my skinks.

There is no question my MVP for this battle was Lord Kroak. He kept my Temple Guard from having to take a couple of panic tests, but he also leveled the enemy's firing line. He scored almost all of my points by himself. A spell that can hit everything on the field at S4 2d6 times is quite impressive, particularly against elves who all have T3. I will take Kroak any time I can against an Elven opponent.

I lost by a marginal victory, but had I remembered a few key things I might have won by the same. If I did indeed kill his general, that is another 180+ for me, and 180 that he did not get for killing the last of my Cold Ones. Of course, had I remembered the Ridden Monster leadership thing, he could have taken down my Stegadon 1-2 turns sooner and maybe had time to take out my Temple Guard and Kroak.

All in all this was a very fun battle, and I am really looking forward to the next one, when hopefully I will do a better job.

This is the image of Shadowblade that Fixeddice was referring to. I think this was one of my favorite parts of the battle. I got to show this pic around quite a bit and got many kudos. :)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Chaos Versus Brettonia, 2000 points

I knew going in that Liam is pretty new to the game but, from what I have seen, a fast learner. So I tried to build an army that would be fun for me to play, have a chance to win, but hopefully draw or lose by Marginal Victory.

I set my goals early; 
1) Win a Challenge to roll on the Eye table
2) Get a charge with my Chaos Knights
3) Get some magic off
4) lose by Marginal Victory or achieve a draw.

I went with another unusual army for me. My well-known despising of Marauders is particularly hilarious in light of my taking a unit of 20 of them, all that I have...and in an even bigger departure from my typical army building, I used some left-over points to give them a standard bearer and musician. No champion, 2 points short of having enough.

The idea was for them to join Wulfric and go after the field Trebuchet I expected to see. Their entire purpose was to provide a +4 static combat resolution. Knowing I will pretty much always hit on a 4 and wound on at best a 4, I know the odds of me doing more than 1 wound per turn (assuming I go 5 wide to get the 3 rank bonus and include Wulfrik in the front rank, displacing a peon:I will thus have 4 attacks if I charge, I have WS4 which the only unit I have ever seen them have a better WS than is the as a general rule, they hit on 4s. With S3, facing T3 again, I need 4s. So if the opponent has no save, my 4 attacks figure to average one wound per turn in the long run. I am not going to count on them doing any damage since I have yet to run into a unit that has no save.

I also took an Exalted Hero with the Battle Standard and Banner of the gods. It makes him cause Terror and, more importantly, allows units within 6" of him to test as if Stubborn. Intending to more or less Castle and let my Chaos Warriors absorb the charge, figuring to have two shots to not break at 8-, I should break just about 11% of the time. That should handle anything but complete obliteration of my "anvil" units...2 12 man Chaos Warrior blocks with full commands. One I gave the Banner of Wrath, a Magic Missile I forgot all 6 turns, and the other the War Banner  to give them +1 combat resolution which I promptly forgot in the one combat they were involved in. Well-spent points, those banners....

I took one unit of Chaos Knights with full command and Banner of Rage to give them Frenzy.

That left me about 550 points and no way to deal with flying death machines. I wanted to put in a Dragon Ogre Shaggoth, a couple of Chaos Spawn and my Chaos Prince. The Prince was vital. I had the model, it looks awesome, he flies, and, being stubborn, should be able to handle any monster for at least a turn or two. 

Then I randomly decided to make him a Sorcerer of Tzeentch. I ramped him up to Level 4, gave him the mark, and there was 535 points. No room for the Shaggoth or Spawn. Since I was only putting the spawn in since I think they are sub-par, going with Magic which, as we all know, has hurt me far more than helped me, meant I would still be going sub-par and by not taking the Shaggoth, which I still believe will be an excellent troop choice, it gave me a small, compact, fragile army that could do some real damage. 

Having the Chaos Warriors and just 5 Knights meant I would have a slow-moving army. How the field looked would make a huge difference.

We ended up with a tower and  river blocking one edge, a village on the other, and another tower close to the village. The center of the field would be wide open. He won the roll for choosing side and took the more open side which meant I would have a very crowded deployment zone. He then won the roll to see who would set up first. 

I put my first unit of Chaos Warriors, the ones with the Banner of Wrath, on my left flank well forward in my deployment zone. I anchored their left flank against the village. He placed his Men at Arms (Fast Cavalry) in a screening formation at the front of his zone. I placed my other unit of Warriors with their right flank anchored on the tower on my right flank. He dropped Knights of the Realm on what would be my left flank behind the screen. I put my Knights slightly behind the rows of Warriors and in the center. I should be able to lure him in, use by BSB (Battle Standard Bearer) to make my anvils stubborn and use my Knights to flank him once he was engaged. He then placed his Grail Knights (GK) in the center of his army. I put my BSB in the Knights and the Prince behind my left-flank warriors. He placed another Knights of the Realm (KOR) on in the formation behind the screen and then his Pegasus knights and his general on Griffin on my extreme left flank.

Rules Error
We rolled for going first but still gave him the Blessing. Oops. Should have been auto-my turn. Oh well, no harm done.

I actually won the roll and debated for a few moments. I could already see from his army composition and  deployment that he has improved by leaps and bounds. That means if I let him get the charge with his GK on my Chaos Knights, I would never get to attack back and would lose by massacre. So I wanted him to advance. I gave him first turn.

Brettonian Turn 1
He flew his Pegasus Knights and Griffin-riding general up my left flank. Nothing else moved. No shooting, no magic.

Chaos Turn 1
Uh-oh. That means I will have him flying up my backside or flank if I advance. On the bright side, I rolled a "6" and Wulfrik arrived with his Marauders. I brought him in behind the General (who was his "victim" per Hunter of Men), turned my Warriors and Knights and moved them back to prevent the rear or flank charge. Then I flew my Prince on top of my left-flank tower. Time to open up a can of Magic. Cast Infernal Gateway, arguably the  most powerful spell in the game (though seeing what Fullur did next to me with whatever he was using...Ruination of Cities maybe? I might argue that one is far and away THE MOST POWERFUL SPELL IN THE GAME HANDS DOWN, its saving grace being two-fold:ridiculous casting cost and belonging only to one special character).

I cast it at his General. Really did not want that monster flying into my units. Did 5 hits at S9. Bwooohahaha, some good stuff happening here! 2 hits were assigned to the griffin and 3 to the General. General then used his 2+ Ward Save and re-roll failed Armor Saves combo to save all 3 of them. Rules Error. We later discovered that Ward Save was a 1-use only so it is possible had he used the 5+ Ward from the Blessing I might have done a wound or two. As it was, knowing his General had a 2+ Ward save, it really removed any interest I had in attacking his General since he was the definition of effectively unkillable. Why waste resources on something you cannot hurt?

On the bright side, the two assigned to the Griffin needed just 2s to wound...and I promptly rolled a 1. On the brighter side, he failed his 5+ Ward save so I did a wound to the Griffin. I was actually happy with that.  He then dispelled my Flickering Fire.

Brettonian Turn 2
He now flew his Flying Circus of 5 Pegasus Knights and (separate) his General to the back center of my deployment zone. Here is where he made his biggest mistake of the game. He again did not move his other units. Even if he gave me the charge, the best I could do would be hit his Men at Arms which would, even if they broke, mean I then charged his GK and KOR units. Since I could not start fighting them until the following turn, that would mean he could rear-charge me with his Terror causing Griffon. Not a place I want my Knights to be: outnumbered by units with a ++8 combat resolution with his un-touchable General and Griffin attacking before I could attack his GK.  Fortunately, he did not move them forward.

Chaos Turn 2
I turned my C-Warriors and Knights and moved them towards his Flying Circus, started rolling my Marauders around the tower to prepare to flank charge his castle whenever they started to move. 

I then Mis-Cast with Infernal Gateway. Playing error:I took the rather expensive but Powerful Chaos Gift Tendrils of Tzeentch which allows me to re-roll any one die which, per the description, can prevent a mis-cast. I should have picked up one of the 2 "1s" I rolled and had a 5 in 6 chance of casting the spell successfully. Fortunately, I rolled a 5 and the only harm was he could instantly cast a spell automatically. He had no spell casters. No real damage done.

Brettonian Turn 3
One turn too late, he began slowly advancing. He moved his flying circus to my far left flank, out of my charge arc.

Chaos Turn 3
This was becoming a battle of maneuver rather than combat. First huge mistake would probably win or lose it. I flew my Prince to the top of the left tower so I could charge his Flying Circus, moved my Warriors and Knights to support each other and protect their flanks. 
Infernal Gateway on the Grail Knights. Something like 7 hits with S 5 or 6. Hey, magic might be pretty good! He needed to save 5. 2 he saved with Armor save. No problem, 3 shots only needing to get past his 5+ Ward Save and I would remove his Rank Bonus if even one fell. Problem is...he rolled 2 5s and a 6. No damage. Grr. Stupid magic. 

Brettonian Turn 4
His General flew to the left flank behind the tower which would provide me an interesting choice. His castle formation did not move but for the first time in the game had range. He fired with his Men at Arms and shot down a Chaos Warrior. Stupid rolling 1s to save. Agh. By the way...this was the first casualty of the game. Yeah, I did one wound to the Griffin, but this was the first death. In turn 4. Hmm.

Chaos Turn 4
If his General did not have that stupid 2+ Ward Save, I would charge him with my Prince and Wulfrik would be on him next turn (assuming I could survive a round and pass my LD test). But knowing I had no chance to wound him, that seemed pointless. 

So I moved my Marauders forward thinking I would be out of L.O.S. of his General and other units.

Also, I wanted to play well but not great. So I announced, "I am going to deliberately make a mistake here." I then announced a charge on his Men at Arms with my Prince. That would give him the flank charge if his troops miraculously held or if I rolled poorly to pursue or if he fled.  I debated charging the KOR since I would only start at a -2 or -3, but I did not think I could kill 3+ KOR. 

Being Fast Cavalry he elected to flee but rolled poorly and I caught him and destroyed him. Since they are peasants, they caused none of the tests I thought they would force his KOR to take. Oops. 

Well, I had a choice; keep targeting the Grail Knights or try to reduce the force I was about to get hit with since two units of KOR had line of sight and probably charge arcs. So I cast Infernal Gateway at the closest KOR. Got a whopping 9 hits at S6. And I had one of those rolls you dream 1s! Yes! Well, 2 of his 9 saved, then the Ward Save let 4 more save (yep, 50% saved needing 5s. Good times.) Still, I killed 3! The most damage I have accomplished with Magic. I was pretty happy with that, though not as happy as I would have been had he failed hi break test. As usual, he dispelled my Flickering Fire.

Brettonian Turn 5
Time to do what they do best. Charge! General charges the Marauders..being a Large Target he probably had L.O.S. I also let him use the Pegasus Knights (which were on the far side of the tower) to charge. I did not think they had LOS but I think it made the game more fun for him. Also, I pretty much figured my Marauders would be exiting soon anyway, why not make it spectacular?
His General accepted Wulfrik's Challenge. Uh...yay? I would be facing a guy re-rolling 2+ Ward Saves. 
Rules Error: Wulfrik was not legal to offer or accept a challenge. He was not in base to base contact with any enemy. *sigh* And it would matter. 
He also used the 2 KOR to charge my Prince. 

Wulfrik took one wound and in return did 3 wounds to the Griffin, killing it. (oops, he should not have been FIGHTING the Griffin....). 5 Marauders also died. Somehow, some way, I passed my break test.

Meanwhile, the Prince declared a challenge and the KOR champ accepted it. He was unable to hit the Prince who killed him in return. Yes, a kill in a challenge! Oh, wait...unit champ, no roll on the worthless Eye table. Being stubborn, I passed my test.

Chaos Turn 5
I moved into position to charge his Pegasus Knights with my Warriors and Knights on the left flank and my Warriors up to support the Prince on the right flank.
Infernal Gateway to the Grail Knights. Another mis-cast. This time I remembered the Tendrils and changed it to a pass. Actually killed 3 and another when Flickering Fire passed! Awesome. Far and away my best magic game. And it was doing some damage, but nothing game-breaking. Sweet. 

Prince struck another champion in a challenge, wounded 4 times and, needing 5+ to save...he saved all 4. Whatever. In return he wounded me once. Needing a 4+ to save...I took a wound. Time to add injury to Prince rolled a 10. He broke. He would be pursued by 2 units rolling 3d6. I rolled a rather pedestrian 8. His unit on my left rolled...a 6. Safe. His unit on my right 11. Oh, smurf. Wait! He runs into my Chaos Warriors! My Prince lives!

On the other flank, Wulfrik can't get through the Ward Save (and can barely even get TO the Ward Save, wounding just once), Marauders die in droves, flee, chased down, wiped out. I said it after the first game; despite his great stat line, Wulfrik is not all that good. I stand by it. Then again...had we not been facing a stronger-than-reality Ward Save, he might have done better. Or had help in the form of the Prince. So maybe he is just having a rough patch, kind of like Dragon Ogre Shaggoths, Wardancers, and magic up until this game.

Brettonian Turn 6
Charge! His Grail Knights charge my Chaos Warriors. His General and Pegasus Knights had no LOS so pretty much did nothing except seize a table quarter. His KOR had to choose between charging my fleeing Prince, my Chaos Knights, or flank charging the Chaos Warriors. If they were not stubborn due to my BSB the Warriors might have been the right choice...but I suspect he should have charged my Prince. I only had a 2 or 3" lead on him, about 10-14" from the table edge...he was worth more than the Chaos Warriors. But that is from my standpoint so who knows what he should have done. I know I would have charged the Prince....but that is just me.

He did real well in the combat, killing 6 Warriors leaving me just 5. Being Stubborn did not help as much as the BSB being there close by to let them re-roll the failed Break test. They stood firm. 

On the other flank, my Warriors did much better; they did a casualty in the challenge without taking one in return. He had a rank bonus of 2, I. had rank bonus of 1. He had a standard as did I. I outnumbered him and had +1  from the War Banner. I broke his KOR. 

What? Finally, Warriors who performed as expected! They usually just die. I seldom do wounds with "the best infantry in the game". In fact, this game was the first one in quite some time  where they did a casualty and the first one in even longer since they did not break. Against the Dark Elf army they ran in one turn, against the Brets last game they ran in one turn...and both times I started with Rank Bonus of 3, a Battle Standard and musician. This time I started with a rank bonus of just 1. How ironic.

The only other close combat I have ever won in a real game (I don't count Warbands) with Chaos Warriors was one I should have auto-lost but my opponent made a mistake. He had the combat won automatically with a flank charge but accidentally front charged me with casualties...err, Skinks and I did so many casualties to them that I won a combat he would have won had he simply not entered the skinks. 

But this was a legitimate combat win against charging Knights of the Realm. I am extremely happy about that. I have been quite unimpressed with them up to this point. But that was impressive.

Chaos Turn 6
The Knights announced a flank charge on his KOR that were flank-charging my Chaos Warriors. My Prince....passed his test! He would live!

His KOR failed their Terror test. Sadly, that was about the worst outcome for me. I needed them there for my charge. I would more than likely kill several of them with my charge and Frenzied bundle of attacks. That would give me a long-shot chance to win the combat and break his Grail Knights. Obviously no guarantee, but that was my best chance. 

I cast Infernal Gateway at his Pegasus Knights but could do no damage. His Grail Knights and Battle Standard bearer, bereft of their S6 charge, hampered by the Mark of Nurgle, struggled to hit my Warriors and those they hit saved. I could not wound him back except for one Knight Errant. He won the combat, I passed my Break test, game over. Time to total the points.

Win or Lose?
Wulfrik is worth 185 points. The Marauders were worth 92 points. He did over half damage to my Stubborn Warrior unit for another 149. He had no table Quarters. 

He scored just 426 points, though actually, in a game of Maneuver, that is not bad. The game really only lasted 2 turns as the first 4 turns were spent battling for position.

Meanwhile, I killed his Griffon for 200 points. I killed his Men at Arms for 135 points. I killed a unit of Knights of the Realm for 193 points. I also owned 2 table quarters. I did not even do half damage to any other unit.

728 points. I won by 302 points, in a 2000 point game a Marginal Victory. Take away the table quarters and it would have been a draw.

So what happened? Several key moments decided this game. The first one was his not moving his formation forward in turn 2 to put me in a ticklish predicament where no matter what I would be facing a charge from the rear by Pegasus Knights and a Griffon-riding General or by 2 or 3 units of Knights of the Realm and Grail Knights. 

Second, not knowing the Ward Save only worked once seriously altered the game. I would have scored a couple wounds with the Infernal Gateway, known I could actually hurt him, attacked his General with my Prince which most likely would have allowed me to charge his General with my Marauders and Wulfrik.

With a Static Combat Resolution of +3 for rank, 1 for outnumbering, 1 for standard, I am starting ahead by 5. If Griffons have flanks and rear, add +1 or 2 to that. I might have broken his General and killed him, freeing up Wulfric and my own Prince to go after some of his fringe KOR units and frankly I am not worried about the skirmishing Pegasus Knights. I would let them alone get the charge on me so it would have been a much more combat-oriented game.

At the same time, illegally allowing Wulfric to fight his Griffin also had a serious impact. If he is still mobile thanks to his Griffin then his General could cause me a lot of issues. Not to mention saving him 200 points...which again puts us right back to a draw. 

Third, had he charged my Prince instead of charging the Warriors, I think he would have won a marginal victory. He would have scored another 535 points as there is probably about a 95% chance my Prince would have been caught or fled the table barring a roll like the one Fullur and Fixed Dice had...Fullur rolled 3 1s on 3d6 to pursue a Hydra...who promptly rolled a 2 and 1 to get caught. Epic fail, epicly hilarious. 

Anyway, he kills the Prince and most likely won't be in line of sight of my Knights, leaving only one charge possible; my BSB against the Pegasus Knights. This will also cost me a table quarter because my Knights then are in a contested quarter leaving only the quarter for my Warriors to take. Furthermore, that means I do NOT get the 193 for killing his KOR. 

Lets do a hypothetical figure there:
185 for Wulfrik
92 for Marauders
149 for Warriors
535 for Prince: 961 points

I score:
200 for Griffin
135 for the Men at Arms
100 for table quarter
535 points.
He wins by 426, a Marginal Victory...exactly what I was sort of hoping for. 

As we can see, seemingly minor decisions make huge impacts. Any number of things could have seriously altered the outcome of this battle. A roll here or there (like when he made me re-roll all my successful armor saves and instead of saving 4 of 5 needing 2s, I saved none of 5) could have made a huge difference as combats had the outcome reversed. His General might have died early. My Prince could have been (and would have been) over run had I not moved my Warriors forward the full 4".

I loved this battle. For most of it, it looked like he might be able to maneuver me into a corner and get charges on the units he wanted to hit, but I was able to work out of it and force him to hit the unit I wanted him to charge. 

And my intentional bad play of charging the Prince in front of his castle had as good an outcome as it possibly could. If I broke a turn earlier or he ran me down, the game is very, very different.

I said after our first game I expect some epic Bret-Chaos clashes. This game just accentuates that.

I also learned conclusively a couple things.

Seeing all his flying units, I probably should have done something different with my set-up. On the one hand, I like my use of the village and tower to anchor my flanks. On the dark side, I probably should have been more aggressive at inducing the charge from his Knights earlier. My Knights never did get an opportunity to get into combat in anything resembling a favorable position. 
Flying is so lethal to my armies that I essentially have no way to deal with it if it can get behind me. That will seriously affect my deployment and army composition in the future. Maybe I was spoiled by the maneuverability of the Wood Elf army but the Chaos army is just too slow. 

I would say the Spawn, being Unbreakable, would be one powerful answer. Except they are so fragile. The only possible save is Mark of Tzeentch, giving me a 16% chance to save. Not very good. Plus they have to move every turn, so they won't be where I want them to be. A Shaggoth could probably do a reasonable job of anchoring one flank, but the one time I have used one so far, he was pretty fragile as well. So flying units, shooting armies, magic, and monster-based armies are 4 armies that will start every battle with a better-than-average chance of defeating me quite handily. 

So lets see how I did on my goals.
1) Nope. Never won a challenge with anyone who could roll. In fact, the only challenge where I COULD roll saw Wulfrik summarily dismissed.
2) Well...sort of. They fled, so I never got into close combat which is what I actually meant so I will call this a fail, though not the Epic Fail that goal 1 was.
3) This was a massive success. Nothing fact, I did not score any points but I did actually get some spells cast successfully and did a few random casualties. Even though I did nowhere near the points value of the 175ish points I spent to give him Level 4 and the Mark of Tzeentch, it was fun actually getting spells cast and doing damage. The fact it had no real impact on the game is an added bonus. Call this one an epic success.
4) I am okay with a Marginal Victory, especially since if you remove the table quarters I seized on the last turn it was a draw. I could not help the one table quarter since my Warriors were so far from his Knights, but I could have avoided the other and wish I had. So call this a qualified success.

A very nice day.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rules Comments

We often end games having had several rules questions come up, some resolved, some unresolved. I will post the ones that I remember to here, and people can catch up or comment, or post their own answers, thoughts, or questions so they can be researched and read up on. =D
Starting with:

We have had it come up several times as to whether the "Outnumber"-ing part of the Combat Result is calculated based on original unit strength, as the rank bonus, or on end of round unit strength. In the example they give on page 37 of the miniature Rulebook, it appears the numbers are actually compared based on remaining troops, not on beginning of round troops, as we had previously been playing. Whoops.... 0.O

2000 points of Chaos

Just for my own amazement and amusement, I thought I would go through the process of putting together a 2000 point army.

I will start with core. I need three core units.

I know I am fighting the Brettonians and do not fear their shooting. So no need for Marauder screens. On the other hand, my Chaos Warrior big block units have been a disaster. So I am going to switch it up.

Core Unit One:(12) Chaos Warriors w/Shield, Mark of Nurgle, full command, Magic Standard w/War Banner to give me +1 Combat Resolution, 277 points

Core Unit Two as above, except Blasted Standard instead 292 points

Core Unit 3: (20) Marauders w/Full Command, great weapons Mark of Tzeentch, 140 points

(10) Warhounds, 60 points

This is a much different alignment than I normally do. In my head, it sounds worse but with more units, I will have (in theory) more maneuverability. 769 points so far

(5) Knight w/Full Command, Mark of Nurgle, Banner of Rage, 315 points
(5) Knights w/Full Command,Mark of Khorne,  Banner of Wrath, 325 points
These are my "unit I most want to play" ones and a return to the super-fragile 5 man units.

2 Chaos Spawn w/Mark of Tzeentch 130 points
Just because I have the models. And because I think they are quite sub-par. They have no save so are easy to kill.
1499 points so far

General: I need something to deal with the Trebuchet should one show. So...
Prince w/Mark of Tzeentch, Word of Pain 355 points

Exalted Hero w/Shield, Mark of Khorne, Fury of the Blood (MR 2, 4+ Ward v Magic)150 points. I am now at 2004, so drop one Marauder and I have exactly 2000. Unfortunately, the whole point of the Marauders was to use with Wulfrik. So the extra one goes back in, the Exalted Hero comes out, Wulfrik goes in. 

Now I am at 2039. Out come the Warhounds. In go 5 more Marauders, 1999 points. Perfect. 

Again it is an army with a lot of deliberate weaknesses. Once again I auto-lose to anyone with 2+ monsters. With just 2 Heroes I can be Hero-Hammered into the ground. With no combat resolution from a big block of Warriors, I am susceptible to charges. I wanted to put in an army standard bearer w/Banner of Stubbornness, but that would be a 235ish point character and I need the points for Wulfrik to perhaps help out in dealing with the Trebuchet. I also have nothing to deal with magic or to deal it out.

But if I can get into hand to hand combat, this army has a chance. We will see how it goes. And knowing me, I might completely change it. But that is my army-building process.