Saturday, November 21, 2009

Showing the Game

Space Monkey and I wanted to show the game to K-girl. We wanted to show movement, the shooting phase, the close combat phase, and keep it simple. I put together the following two armies, trying to be as balanced as possible.

Warriors of Chaos
Exalted hero with shield
He would show the power of a hero and how Armor Saves work.

16 marauders
No upgrades; they would show the power of ranks and numbers and how S3, T3 troops can perform while also showing how fragile unarmored troops are.

(12) Chaos Warriors w/Shield
They would show what 2 attack, S4, T4 troops with good armor save can do.

(5) Chaos Knights
They would show the power of fast, hard-hitting troops (HA!)

Dwarf List
Gave him a shield; would show how slightly different power levels of heroes can have major impact.

20 Warriors
See Marauders above

10 Thunderers
They would demonstrate the shooting phase, the power of S4 Armor-piercing, and the downside of Move or Fire

(10) Miners
They would demonstrate the power of S5 Weapons when you will strike last anyway

This would demonstrate the power of allowing no armor save and the unpredictable nature of stuff that can mis-fire or just plain deviate from where you planned it to go.

The first game would be K-girl and I as Chaos. I handed her the Exalted Hero and the Warriors, not wanting to overload her. I showed her how to put them in ranks of 5 (to maximize the rank bonus as long as possible against the hail of Dwarven lead) and how to "hide" the hero in the unit. They went on the left flank.

I took the Marauders and Knights, putting them on the right flank.

Space Monkey put his Cannon and Thunderers in a line across the center of the field, his Miners opposite the Warriors and his Warriors opposite the Marauders/Knights.

We won the roll to go first.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 1
The value of this game was not, and when teaching someone the game, should not, be in winning or losing but rather showing the basics. So I explained to her the option of Walking forward or Marching forward. She wisely advanced the Warriors 8".

I did the same with the Marauders, then decided to show her how to wheel, so I wheeled the Knights twice, also effectively hiding them from the Thunderers. With marches and wheels demonstrated, we passed the turn.

Dwarf Turn 1
Having learned from his shaky past (:-)), Space Monkey had no movement but went straight to shooting. We showed her the rule that guess-range weapons go first. He then aimed at the Marauders, hoping to bounce-through against the Knights. His shot flew to just short of the Marauders, then only hit 2 ranks of them. This was good, though, as it allowed us to demonstrate the rule on always removing casualties from the back row, even though the Cannon Ball hit in the front.

He then fired on the Marauders with the Thunderers which allowed us to show how to figure to-hit rolls. About 3 more fell, which allowed us to show her the Panic test and Will of Chaos rules. So far, so good.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 2
She already knew she needed to march. I then marched the Marauders forward, and then showed her how to use them as a "screening" unit, advancing my Knights so if he chose to fire at them with the Thunderers, he would have but 3 guys shooting.

Dwarf Turn 3
He knew the Warriors were now in charge range of his Miners, so we showed her the :turn" maneuver, and explained his strategy in a 1-1/2" retrograde movement. This moved him slightly out of charge range with his Miners, but would allow them to flank charge the Warriors if the Cannon crew held for even a single turn.

His cannon shot then flew well over the head of the Warriors, doing no damage. The thunderers continued to chip away at the Marauders.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 4
Here we had a slight delay as we explained her options; she could declare a charge on the cannon, which was almost certainly in range. She asked a good question about the wisdom of just walking forward so she could go after the Miners. We pointed out that would allow him to charge her instead AND allow him another full turn of shooting...which is good for the Dwarfs and Bad for the Warriors of Chaos.

I would be charging the Warriors with both my Marauders and Knights.

She finally elected to charge and of course made it by about a half inch, which showed she would have failed had she charge the Miners.

We showed her the "charge in order you declare charges" rule...and it turned out the Warriors were about 8-1/16" inch away. Maybe less than could have slid a piece of paper between the end of 8" and the tape. If I had straightened my lines at the end of the previous turn, i would have made it. However, this allowed us to show her the effects of a failed charge. Besides, with the Knights charging in, did it matter?

Since the Knights cause Fear we were able to show her a Fear test which the Warriors naturally passed. The Knights charged in.

We worked out that combat first to show her how it worked. The Knights had 10 attacks needing 3s to hit. They only hit 3 times. Uh-oh...and then only 2 of those wounded. Then the horses hit just once and wounded none at all.

With him having three ranks, we had already lost, not to mention being outnumbered.

We showed her how now only 3 Dwarfs got to attack back since the other two had been slain. They could not touch the Knights, but still we lost...and failed the Break test.

And ran about 15".

So we were able to show failed test, breaking, flee and pursuit AND pursuit into fresh enemy as he clipped the Marauders.

On the other flank, her Exalted Hero hit 3 times and slew 2 Cannon Crew and her Warriors finished off the last one. This allowed us to show her the "friendly unit destroyed" break test, but both the Thunderers and Miners passed.

We then over-ran and hit the Thunderers.

Dwarf Turn 4
The only un-engaged unit he had was the Miners, who moved to get an angle on the Chaos Warriors. Close combat saw the Thunderers take a few casualties, break...and flee 2". The Warriors pursued right off the board which allowed us to show her that rule.

The Dwarf Warriors and Marauders had a pointless combat that saw little damage done, and the Marauders passed their break test which allowed us to show her multiple-turn combat.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 5
Since he had turned his Miners, we would be getting the Warriors charged next turn, so she just reformed to face them. The Knights...failed their rally test, rolled another massive 15" run, and fled the board after having done two casualties and taken none. Yeah, they ruled the field....

Meanwhile, the Marauders got to strike first but could not wound, the Warriors did wound, broke the Marauders, and over-ran them.

Dwarf Turn 6
He charged in. This brought the Thane into combat with the Exalted Hero, which allowed us to demonstrate the Challenge rule.

His Thane wounded twice, but she saved both with Armor, showing her the power of a good save. She then managed to get a wound through on the Thane. Her Warriors took a casualty and did one back. We showed her combat resolution which, thanks to outnumbering, favored the Warriors of Chaos. The Dwarfs held, though.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 6
In the challenge, the Exalted hero slew the Thane. The Warriors slew 3 Miners, leaving just one to attack back who failed to hit. The Miners broke, the Warriors ran them down.

Dwarf Turn 6
The Dwarf Warriors were almost to the WoC deployment zone after their pursuits of the Knights and then Marauders, so that was game.

The Knights were 200 points, the Marauders 64, giving him 264 points of a possible 571ish.
the Dwarfs, meanwhile, with same starting total, had 160 points left on the field so about 410-264, a difference of 143 points (we did not count the bonus for killing his general) and spit-balled the result, calling it somewhere around a minor or major victory. We wanted to emphasize the point was to have fun, not win or win by a lot so deliberately downplayed the victory.

It also allowed us to show her how quickly and easily a game can swing. When the Dwarfs had suffered but 2 casualties by the time the Warriors of Chaos had seen their elite Knights and very much not-elite Marauders flee, it looked like the Dwarfs would win via massacre, but a couple turns later, the fortunes were completely reversed.

This was about as good an outcome as you could have for an introductory game. It allowed us to show a lot of rules, get her used to movement and close combat.

Now, if only I had remembered to have her roll on the Eye Table when she slew the Thane....

Game Two: Flipping sides
Since she had experienced moving, this time I gave her the Thunderers and Cannon while I took the Warriors, Thane and Miners.

I showed her how a cannon set up in the corner could still control the whole field, as could Thunderers. This time, we went by rules for set-up. We rolled higher, so had to set up first. She put her Thunderers against the left side of the field. Next to that went the Cannon, then I put the Warriors on our right flank and the Miners between the Cannon and Warriors so they could either refuse the flank if the shooters were heavily attacked or the right flank if the Chaos Warriors rambled through the Dwarf Warriors.

Space Monkey put his Knights opposite the shooting flank and everyone else on our right flank, leaving the middle of the field open. He won the roll to go first.

Warriors of Chaos Turn One
He showed her how fast cavalry can move if not hampered by using infantry as a screen, moving them forward a full 14". He then marched on the other flank (he also had the Exalted Hero with the Chaos Warriors, just as we had).

Dwarf Turn 1
She wanted to move the Thunderers, which gave us a good opportunity to show her the Move or Fire rule. She wisely elected not to move. The Dwarfs hung out getting a sun-tan and getting ready to shoot.

From having watched Space Monkey, she knew she had to fire the cannon first. We explained the options; shoot it towards the Marauders, hoping to penetrate ranks and get some Warriors too, or go after the Knights. She (wisely, in my opinion) went after the Knights. And with a good guess, got the cannonball to hit one, slaying him.

She then fired with the Thunderers. 3 wounds on the Knights, three rolls needing 3s to save. They could have needed 2s and still died as Space Monkey managed to roll triple 1s. OUCH! 4 Knights dead on turn 1!

On the bright side (?), the last one passed his break would have thought with Insane Courage at the rate at which Space Monkey was dialing up the ones. But no.

Warriors of Chaos turn 2
The obligatory charge declared, but the Thunderers passed their Fear test and fired...and this time only 3 wounds. Which was 2 more than they needed, as he failed 2 of them, again rolling ones.

Wow, two games in a row the Knights are eliminated without doing a single casualty! How awesome are those Knights? I know I fear them... :-)

Anyway, he moves his remaining 2 units faster than walk but slower than march. A hasty calculation on my part puts them about 7" away.

Dwarf Turn 2
I move my Miners back an inch and a half to make sure the cannon has a clear shot. Another good guess slays 2 Marauders and 2 Warriors. The Thunderers shoot, but can only take out 1 or 2 marauders.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 3
He sets his Warriors to demonstrate the power of the flank charge, then charges his Marauders into the Dwarf Warriors. Their furious charge slays one or two, the Warriors cannot wound in return, but pass their break test.

Dwarf Turn 3
The Miners get the flank charge on the Marauders.

The Thunderers, with no target, get to move. She is going to wheel, but I show her how a reform will be more effective. She does so, reducing the front rank to 6, but they now have an angle to shoot next turn.

The Cannon shoots at the Warriors...but mis-fires. Those ones must be contagious, because she rolls another one, blowing up the cannon.

The Thane does a number on the Marauders, and between he and the other Miners, 3 Marauders fall. The Marauders whiff completely, and the Warriors do several more casualties. Needing Insane Courage, the Marauders roll a 3 and break.

This allows us to show her the "restrain" rule which the Warriors pass...and the Miners fail.

They pursue a whopping 3"...neither catching the Marauders nor avoiding what we feared. This gives the Chaos Warriors a flank charge next turn.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 4
They have the Miner flank which takes the Thane out of combat. He kills a couple Miners, they break, he pursues and catches them. He also gets past the view of the dwarf Warriors.

And the Marauders rally.

Dwarf Turn 5
I suspect he will advance the Marauders next turn so do not advance the Warriors. The Thunderers shoot but miss spectacularly despite the Chaos Warriors being two inches in front of them.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 6
He declines to advance the Marauders, thus effectively ensuring the Dwarf Warriors and Chaos Marauders will remain untouched. He does, however, charge the Thunderers. Here we see the power of the Warriors of Chaos. Between the Exalted Hero and the Warriors, they kill 8 Thunderers who naturally break. And his pursuit roll falls short.

Dwarf Turn 6
Forgetting the less than 25% rule, we allow the Thunderers to rally. Either way, game over.

200 points for the Knights...a given this day...and 32 points for half unit of Marauders, 232 points total for the Dwarfs. Had the Marauders been caught, would have been exactly what they got in the first game...

Chaos scored all but the Warriors again (though at the time we also thought they did not get 75 for Thunderers since we rallied them) so about 410. Again we did not count the "slain general" bonus, so a difference of 178 points, again coming down per our guess between marginal and solid victory.

Looking back
Overall, I think it proved an excellent introduction. Were the armies balanced? The results were similar in both games, with Chaos pulling out fairly easy wins. Yet both times, the dwarfs had the early advantage as they easily dispatched the unit I almost did not include for fear it would be game-breaking, the Knights.

It was actually the Chaos Warriors who proved an unstoppable Juggernaut.

She got to see how moving, shooting, combat, and LD-based tests worked. She had lots of fun and wants to paint up some of her own guys. And that, to me, means regardless of whether the armies were properly balanced or not, the fun factor was, and that means it was a success.


zealot said...

Cool report! 40k players thinking of getting into Fantasy could def benefit from checkin this out.

Darth Weasel said...

ah, thank you. We are trying to find easy ways to introduce people to what can be a very complicated game. Seemed like good way to do it, and she realy liked it so I count it a success