Sunday, October 11, 2009

Campaign Round 1: Wood Elf Verse Goblins

First, a preface. We started a campaign where the attrition elements requires a different style of play. the further you get from home, the more each casualty will hurt. It is not enough to simply win a battle, it is imperative to minimize casualties.

Knowing that a casualty might not be with your army for the next battle means you sometimes need to be a bit more conservative in how you maneuver your army.

Fortunately, I am playing the Wood Elfs; an army that relies on maneuver to avoid combat and tries to win with massed missile fire.

Now, I also know there is a 5-in-6 chance I will be facing an army smaller than my own, and 750 points does not go far, so I want to have a force that is hard-hitting and can still deal damage if I lose a few troops as I move out.

Building the Army
I started with my hero. I could either go a Wood Elf Noble or a Spellsinger. The Noble is slightly cheaper, can provide some close combat punch, has a higher leadership, and for me, magic pretty much always is pointless. I went with the Noble.

I know I might run into some Vampire Counts, and if so, fear of Ethereal means I might need some magic so I made him a member of the Waywatcher Kindred and gave him the Spites of Luminescents and Shrikes, which means he and any unit he joins have their attacks count as Magic.

Thus Windstar will lead my War banner forth.
Since he has the Waywatcher kindred and can deploy with Waywatchers, kind of a no-brainer to take some, so I maxed out a unit at 10 of them. They should provide me some good shooting that can louse up an opponents' battle plan.

I still need 2 core units so I took 5 Glade Riders. Fast cavalry with 30" bows...I have a 48" reach, though they are only S3. Still, I should hit often enough to do some damage and, being Fast Cavalry, might even be able to go after War Machines.

Finally, I took a big unit of Glade Guard. Probably my favorite core unit in any army, they have great striking power, particularly from 15" in. With their ability to suffer no penalty for moving or firing, they are a fast, mobile, deadly fire base that, in emergency, can form into ranks and at least maybe take out an enemy or two on their way out the door. I took 19 since often I can either place them on a hill in 2 ranks or occasionally even go 19 wide and control the center of a field.

the set-up
When forces were rolled, it was determined I would be facing 500 points of Orcs and Goblins. Good news; most O&G fear Elfs, and I would have a 3-2 advantage in points.

We rolled scenario and drew Surprise attack. Since I had just 4 placements, placed first, and he had 5 placements, it meant I would get 2 4" moves besides.

I had hills on my left and center, a forest out of my deployment zone on my left flank, and on the right flank half-way across the table another forest (placed there via Wood Elf ability). The center of the field was open.
I started by lining up my Glade Guard 19 wide in front of the hill. The plan was to get within 15" as quick as possible and then retreat 2.5" per turn in a shooting retreat to maximize the number of turns I was wounding on a 4+. He lined up 20 bowmen wide opposite me...though I thought for some inexplicable reason they were spearmen.

Next I placed the Glade Riders on my Right planning to make for the forest and shoot him from there.

He lined up another 20 bowmen behind the first.

I placed my Waywatchers on my left, planning to head for that forest, giving me a horse-shoe to fire on him. I planned to concentrate my fire on one unit at a time.

He placed 10 Black orcs behind the bows on my right.

I put Windstar with the Waywatchers.

He placed a bunch of regular Orcs on my left behind the bows. I advanced the Waywatchers 4". He placed his Black Orc general with the Orcs and I got my Waywatchers into the forest.

I won the roll to go first.

Wood Elf Turn 1
Windstar led the Waywatchers to the edge of the forest, the Glade Guard advanced the full 5", the Glade Riders shot forward about 16" to enfilade the enemy. Time to do what Wood Elfs do best.

Twang! Twang! Twang!

No, not play banjos, fiddles, and country "music". They were shooting. And shooting. And shooting some more. Then, just for something different, they shot.

The Glade Guard shot down 6 Night Goblin bowmen. The Waywatchers then almost whiffed, shooting down just 1, and the Glade Riders could also do but 1 wound. Still, 8 Night Goblins down in one turn. This was promising.

Orc and Goblin Turn 1
All his units passed their animosity test, which I was happy about. I think the Orcs and Goblins MIGHT be playable if they did not have that rule. Well, his 12 bowmen open fire on the Glade Guard that tormented them so badly. They hit just once, but that one proceeded to kill a Glade Guard.

Why? What did he ever do to them? How do they know he was not one of the 11 guys who did no damage?

Anyway, about 7 or so guys from his 2nd unit of bowmen had line of sight on the Glade Riders and took pot shots on them. However, being goblins, they may have been imbibing in pot and the shot was rot, doing no damage.

You are welcome for the horrible poetry, by the way.

He also had no magic so the turns went pretty quick.
Wood Elf Turn 2
I moved the Glade Guard forward a couple inches to get within 15". The Glade Riders now proved their value, riding behind enemy lines. In some respects, this was a tactical error, but in others it was brilliant. More on that in a moment.

The Waywatchers were in perfect position. Time to shoot.

The Glade Guard again showed why they rock as a core choice, shooting down another 8 Night Goblin archers.

Okay, so the enemy is "just" Night goblins. Average T, not particularly dangerous...still, whacking 14 of them with 2 rounds of shooting is pretty awesome. Not a lot of units can do that.

The Waywatchers for whatever reason, instead of finishing that unit off, fire at the second line, killing 5, and the General kills another. This turn I remember his Pageant of Shikes, but it does no damage.

The Glade Riders also do well, hitting 4 times and killing one of the Black Orcs. At this point I am ecstatic with my shooting.

I mentioned a tactical error. I should have concentrated all my fire on individual units until they were gone. That had been my plan, and I randomly abandoned it on turn 2. Why?

Excellent question. On the bright side, it did put me behind his close combat monsters and march block them...which would matter. I accidentally learned the power of that maneuver and probably saved myself several casualties, though I think the outcome was pretty much determined already by point totals and a field quite favorable to me.

Orc and Goblin Turn 2
The Orcs promptly fail their animosity test. The General has an ability though where he whacks around his troops, and rolls just one. So one orc dies to the orc attack. He then tries to wheel towards the Waywatchers, only to be march-blocked by the Glade Riders, so he only goes 4".

His 4 man unit fires at the Glade Guard...and promptly do nothing useful. I still should have finished them off! His big unit of archers has a bunch of guys who can see me, but their shooting is ineffectual, killing just one.

Wood Elf turn 3
Time to start phase 2.

Glade Guard retreat 2.5 inches. You can call it a retrograde movement. Advancing to the rear. I call it lining up the shot...

Glade Riders move to keep both the orcs and Black Orcs march blocked.

Between the Glade Guard and Waywatchers, I finish off the second line of archers...leaving the 4 untouched. Pageant of Shrikes again fails to wound.

Glade Riders again fire at teh Black Orcs, hitting 4 times...and failing to wound even once. S3 versus T5 is bad news.

Orc and Goblin Turn 3
Lets see...what would be the WORST possible outcome for the Orc army? Oh, I know...both eligible units failing animosity.

So they did. Pathetic dice rolling.

The bowmen would simply stand and bicker. The Orc general was tired of the bickering, so this time he hits 5 of his guys, killing 2. He has done 3 casualties to his own unit, more than his entire army has done to me. Animosity is so horrible.

Anyway, the move towards the Waywatchers commences, Black Orcs can only advance 4" towards my Glade Guard, He splits off his General to go see what the Glade Riders are up to.

Wood Elf Turn 4
The retrograde advance continues, as I advance another 2.5" towards my edge of the battlefield, trying to keep distance between me and those nasty Black orcs. Everybody else is happy where they are.

Glade Guard now opens fire at the Black Orcs. They wound 4 of them...and all 4 promptly fail their saves and die.

The Glade Riders have a choice; shoot at the Orc general or at the 4 man archer unit. It seemed like I had shot at the Black Orcs three or four times without wounding (2 times for those who can count...which apparently is a category I do not fit in...) so thought firing at the General was a last-ditch resort. I shot at the 4 bowmen and 2 died. The other 2 broke and, being less than 25% of the starting size, would not rally.

Meanwhile, the Waywatchers were looking at a formidable group of Orcs. If I had to face them in close combat, it was very dangerous; if Windstar was killed, it would put my overall campaign strategy in a serious would taking any serious hit to my Waywatcher unit.

So they took their job seriously, and put down 3 orcs with some very accuragte fire (and some lucky Lethal Shot casualties).
Gobline Turn 4
The 2 archers run into the Glade Riders and die. The Black Orcs and Orcs both advance 4".

Later, he pointed out this is the turn he should have called the Wwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaggggggggghhhhhhhh but did not. Good point.

Wood Elf Turn 5
I need to concentrate on the Orcs as they are close to my Waywatchers so I bounce the Glade Riders onto a hill in his deployment zone and open fire on the Orcs. I should have built a fire and had s'mores, it would have been equally effective and tasted better.

Fortunately, the Waywatchers killed 3 more and the Pageant of Shrikes did its first casualty of the game.

The Glade Guard wounded 6 black Orcs, but 3 saved. Uh-oh...

Goblin Turn 5
Ah, a great turn for the gobbos. The Orcs finally get to charge, though by now they are but 5 strong. Too little, too late. For the first time in the game, the Black Orcs get to march.

In close combat, the Orcs strike down a Waywatcher. With no save, he is squishy and easy to kill. My General is ineffective, but the Waywatchers do kill one orc. I outnumber, so win the combat but the last 2 orcs laugh and stand.

Wood Elf Turn 6
The Glade Guard continue their nice bow work, retreating 2.5"...I mean, making a retrograde advance...and wound 6 Black Orcs, killing 4. That once mighty unit breaks and flees.

The Glade Riders fire on the General and even with the minuses and needing a 6 to wound, they do wound him once...and he cannot save. Excellent.

I get to strike first. The Waywatchers kill one Orc and the General the other.

Orc and Goblin Turn 6
At this point, he has 3 models on the table; the 2 fleeing Black Orcs and his General. He calls the WWWWWWWWWWWaaaaaaaggggggggghhhhhhhh and charges the Glade Riders...who slay him with their Stand and Shoot.

Post-game Wrap Up
With a 250 point advantage, I was a prohibitive favorite to not only win this game but win via massacre...which we knew going in. These games are just to provide a minimal obstacle to taking "free" territories and perhaps cause some attrition problems. As a result, my goal was 2-fold; first and foremost, win the game, obviously, so I get the territory.

2nd, minimize my casualties so I lose as few troops as possible.

I succeeded brilliantly, losing but 3 guys, all of whom made their rolls and proved to be minor casualties who will heal in time to move with the Banner.

As far as the game itself,I think I played pretty well. I used the Wood Elf mobility to get their troops where they needed to be and, except for changing targets with the Glade Riders, I more or less maximized my firing. By retreating 2.5" per turn, I stayed within the 15" to give me that viatl S4 with my bows and also, with him being march blocked, it meant he was only getting 1.5" closer to me each turn. All day I can take that trade as it will take him about 8 turns to catch me. Good luck with that.
I think it did concince me that I need to dedicate some troops in each army to being March-block hunters. They will have to be mobile but with punch to keep people from march-blocking me. It is so hard to win if you ar close-combat oriented and can never bring the enemy to contact.

This left him little option. In our post game discussion, he said he might have put the 2 units of bowmen side by each which may or may not have caused me more problems. As it was, they only lost a half turn of firing and were about as effective as Night Goblin archers can be against fast moving, tricksy elves.

Overall, a fun game with the desired outcome. And I get to add a rare choice to my War banner. I might go with a Treeman for those games where I cannot keep out of Close Combat...


John said...

Another nice write up mate - could you post some info on the rules you are using for your campaign would be interested in reading them

Darth Weasel said...

the campaign rules are mostly here:

In this particular campaign, we are using the Diplomacy map from Avalon hill and changed the points values to 500 for supply centers and 250 for non-supply centers.

Also, we changed the survival post-battle to a percentage roll based on whether casualty is core, rare, special or hero, modified by if you won or lost and how big the win or loss was.

Since there are so many open territories, anytime someone rolls into an unoccupied terrirtory, they face a random army we own but are not using at a random points value; 1=100, 2=150, 3=175, 4=200, 5=225 and 6=250 in non-supply centers, the 500 values are similar but start at 250 and top out at 500.

Fullur said...

There may have been one or two things I could have done to give me a better chance at doing damage. I think the two most critical would have been marching at every opportunity and splitting off my general earlier to deal with your march-blocking. Of course, had I done that the two turns where the Orcs bickered would have kept them from moving at all, so the value of that second option is debatable.