Saturday, December 26, 2009

Small Campaign Report:Wood Elf Versus Lizardmen in a Treasure Hunt

My Leaves of Asrai War banner moved into a new territory, intent on recovering a mystic item they had heard of. Unfortunately, a small Lizardman force had gotten there first and acquired it.

Springing into action, Windstar rushed to set up a battle line, intent on stopping the Lizardmen from departing with the treasure.

In his rush to get there in time, he left behind the Treeman who had joined up with him after the recent battle. Fortunately, the Lizardman general had hurried ahead of most of his forces as well and several did not show up in time to take part in the battle.

Hastily Windstar ordered the Glade guard to deploy in a line with a hill on their left and forest on their right. The Glade Riders flanked out wide right while Windstar and the Waywatchers advanced up the left flank.

Only a few skirmishing Skinks and a small unit of Skinks in tandem with their over sized Kroxigor brethren stood between the Wood Elf army and seizing the treasure.

Special Rules:

This game was fought using the rules for Treasure Hunt from the 1995 battle book. I selected a slow arrival, just a 4 needing all my units. Fullur was a bit more aggressive, selecting a 9. He would win the game by getting his General off through my deployment zone. I intended to win by leaving no opponent on the field...

Wood Elf Turn One

Windstar gestured the hard-riding Glade Guard forward and led his band of Waywatchers towards the woods on the left, even as the long line of Glade Guard advanced up the center of the field.
The Glade Riders fired first, doing heavy damage to the skink skirmishers. Windstar nodded in satisfaction as his Waywatchers and the Glade Guard concentrated their army on the unit of Kroxigors and Skinks, doing heavy damage.
Seeing the deadly bow fire of the elf army, the skirmishers had enough and fled from the field, leaving only the Kroxigor-led unit and the Skink Chief carrying the treasure.

Windstar smiled in glee. Soon he would possess it!

Lizardman Turn 1

The Lizardman force marched forward as swiftly as possible. The Skink Priest tried to cast the Portent of far, but the Wood Elf forces felt the gathering magic and dispelled it.

Wood Elf Turn 2
Windstar's battle plan showed his wisdom as the fast-moving Glade Riders circled behind the Kroxigor unit.
Again the hail of Wood Elf arrows took a heavy toll, even felling one of the mighty Kroxigor.
Lizardman Turn 2
Too late the Skink Priest realized the danger his army was in but he was caught. The Glade Riders were between him and reinforcements, the Waywatchers were pinning them down from the side, and ahead were the numerous Glade Guard. He saw no way out, so as swiftly as possible tried the one thing he had left...pushing through the Glade Guard and trying to flee the continuous fire of the Wood Elf army.

Wood Elf Turn 3
Windstar frowned. He had thought the bow-work of his highly trained and discipline army would force the Lizardmen to drop the item and flee or at worst surrender, yet here they were continuing their implacable advance. They were as resolute as Dwarfs! Despite the mighty archery of his men, he knew the Kroxigor could do tremendous damage if they were to attack the Wood Elf line in close combat.
Again the hail of arrows flew forth, cutting down the last few skinks and a Kroxigor even as the Glade Riders shot down the Skink Priest. But one Kroxigor was left. He held up his hand, ordering his men to cease fire, assuming the Kroxigor would rather surrender than die.

Lizardman Turn 3
Windstar watched in horror as the kroxigor took the opportunity offered by the cessation of bow fire to charge his lines. With mighty swings of its stone axe, the Kroxigor decapitated two Wood Elfs before one of the Glade Guard managed to finish off the already wounded Kroxigor.
Windstar looked at the field. Overall, acceptable losses, he supposed...for the loss of but two Glade Guard, he had captured a mighty magic item. With eager anticipation, he approached the body of the Skink Priest to see what the Wood Elf efforts had won...

This was a curious battle. I already had a points advantage, even before half his forces did not show up. It was pretty certain from the beginning I would come out victorious.

The problem came when I got overconfident that his Krox would not reach me and diverted some fire to the General instead of everyone shooting the Krox. It had long-term negative consequences, as losing two glade guard, on both of them I failed their survival rolls, so will not have them available for future battles.
At the same time, it was well worth it as I can now take a 100 point magic item and, more important, was provided a second home where I can create specials, rares, etc.
Overall, I really liked the alternative scenario. I was crushed that my Treeman did not arrive...yet I almost prevented it.
Before I rolled the dice, I had a feeling I was going to lose a unit, and almost reversed the order i rolled for my Glade Riders and Treeman. Had I done so, the Treeman would have arrived and i would not have had the Glade Riders.
As it was, the Glade Riders were awesome and in this scenario, not sure the Treeman would have been the right choice anyway.

Beware the power of Wood Elf bows!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Painting Schedule of Chaos

I cannot imagine why this post would interest anybody but me. I just want some sort of benchmark to see where I started and how the year ended.

Since I am picking up the better half after I get off work tomorrow, I am probably done painting for the year. For no apparent reason, I decided to look back and see how I did...but only one army.


Se, on March 26th, I elected to go with Hordes of Chaos since Chad would be playing the Wood Elf army, Cris the Vampire Counts, Rick or Josh the Dwarfs, and the other the Goblins.

Played a proxy game on March 30th.

By April 5th, I had received 12 painted Chaos Warriors and a couple painted Chaos Sorcerers from Ebay.

On April 29th, the first units I painted myself for Chaos took part in a battle..2 Knights in our Warbands Escalation experiment. Below you can see them in action against the Ogre Kingdoms from that escalation campaign.

I have mentioned previously and often a few things. I really do not care much for the assembling and painting aspects. To me, every second spent assembling or painting is a moment spent NOT playing or reliving classic games. So I was curious how much I got done on my Chaos army between the moment I decided to play them and today.

For round numbers, we are going to say it has been 9 months...long enough for a man and woman to have....several lunches together.

In that time, I have painted the following:

10 Chaos Warhounds

24 Chaos Warriors

36 Chaos marauders

5 Chaos Horse Marauders

20 Chaos Knights

3 Chaos Dragon Ogres

5 Forsaken (really Pink Horrors, but...whatever. Warriors of Chaos do not get those, and Forsaken have no model I am aware of)

A Dragon Ogre Shaggoth

Galrauch, the First Chaos Dragon

A Mounted Chaos Sorcerer

Sigvald the Magnificent

Chaos Lord on Juggernaut

Of those, the following are based in what will be my "correct" basing...the Black sand/silver rock alignment:

16 chaos Marauders

5 Chaos knights

12 Chaos Warriors

5 Chaos marauder horsemen

3 Chaos Dragon Ogres

5 are based using green sand (Chaos Knights)

So the totals:

108 painted

46 based

I also did my first conversion, creating "great Weapons" for the Chaos Warriors by giving them weapons from the Chaos Knight kits. Good looks at that unit are available here, and the pictures expand upon clicking.
Overall, I am quite pleased. This does not count the Dwarf, Wood Elf, or Goblin figures I painted as well, nor the modified Standard bearer and Sorcerer on Disc that are 90%+ completed...just actual Chaos figures started and finished this year.
Except for one unit of Knights that I went with Gold and Silver armor, the army stuck with the theme of black with red tones...whether the "red tones" were actually red, were purple, orange, or some combination thereof.
I am more confident in modifications, have worked out how I want to base them, and even found some level of confidence in assembling even metal figures using epoxy (though the work Space Monkey is doing is still vastly superior!)

Here is a look at the marauders about 30% painted (left), Sigvald and my first Warriors mixed with a sorcerer and some Chaos Warriors from ebay with Sigvald leading them (center) and 10 of the Knights with some Marauders in the back right corner. Pretty fair look at my painting from beginning up to about a month ago as far as quality.

Last but not least, looking ahead: what do I want to accomplish in 2010?
In a perfect world...
I would like to acquire and paint for Chaos the following:
Chaos Lord on d-mount.
Wulfrik the Wanderer
2 - 3 more units of Chaos Marauder horsemen
24 more Chaos Warriors
48 more Chaos marauders
a Chaos Chariot
a Giant
a hellcannon
- create a realistic Warshrine
Obviously, this is highly unlikely to happen as it represents about 401 dollars, not counting figuring out some stuff for the Warshrine.
It would, however, give me lots of flexibility in army building:
Hordes of marauders in small units to harass, seize table quarters, screen, etc.
the option of an all-cavalry army
a nearly all monster army option
and many, many more.
A more realistic goal would be to finish basing every Chaos model, finish painting and basing the Dwarfs, and fine-tune their forces to make them playable.
As well as maybe picking up a couple Warhawks, a couple Treekin, and maybe a spellsinger or two to complete the Wood Elf army.
I do need to keep a record of what I paint next year, though. I doubt I will match this years output...but hey, it could be fun trying.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Small Campaign report: Lizardmen versus Empire

Previously, I had faced the Empire with Chaos Dwarfs, playing as a neutral party. (Part of the reason I quit playing the C.D. list....for the way we play, they are indeed over-powered. We all like to smash into close combat which greatly negates the restrictiveness of 12" range weapons. And I would much rather have close combat based games than shooting games, which is strictly a personal preference and should in no way influence how anyone in or out of our group build their lists).

This time, he had grown his force slightly and I would be playing the Lizardmen, about 400 points worth again kindly built for me by one of my brothers. And, as mentioned in my previous post, the goal would be to inflict as many casualties as possible while losing.

I kept some notes on this game, but they do not include what the scenario was, so....

On my side of the field, I had a stream entering and leaving the left flank with forest about half way across the field and a hill on the far side where I expected him to place his cannon. Skink skirmishers like streams, forests do not inhibit them, seems like a good place to place them. And yep, his cannon went up on the hill.

I then anchored a block of 20 skinks with javelins and shields against the right flank of the skirmishers with a house on my right. To the right of the house I placed another block of 19 Skinks with Javelin and field. The middle of the field was wide open, so the plan was to advance 12" per turn, throw some javelins, see what happened.

My right flank saw another forest about half way across the field with rough ground almost in his deployment zone. Another nice place for 10 Skink Skirmishers with blow-guns. Last, my Skink Priest went with the left-most skirmishers.

He, meanwhile, placed a cannon on the hill on my left flank. (all position references to flanks are from my point of view, so for him it would be the opposite...example, when I say the cannon went on the hill on the left flank, for me it would be left flank, but for him it would be right flank.)
Anchored on the cannon were a detachment of archers, then a big block of spearmen with free company protecting their flank. This would allow the archers to command the field from the hill while the free company and spearmen advanced in tandem.

His Knights went on the right flank, angled toward the center with rough ground to protect their flank.

Lizardman Turn 1
I marched everything 12" forward, cast portent of Far on my skirmishers...a pointless maneuver if ever there was one. But hey, I got some magic off (he did not bother dispelling since it clearly had no effect).

Empire turn 1
He advanced the Spearmen and Free Company, trying to stay within 3" of the Archers, knowing I would charge and wanting to get the Archer stand-and-shoot by staying within 3".

Group Suggestion
I know "pre-measuring" is not allowed, but when we are specifically trying to say...keep within command radius, as he was doing here, I suggest we allow it to be measured prior to ending the move to ensure they are within command radius. I will certainly allow it, everyone else is left to their discretion, but that is my stand.
His Knights made a slight advance as well.

He tried the Conflagration of Doom with his 2nd level Battle Mage, rolling an 11. I used all 3 Dispel Dice to get a 13 and stop it. He then got Sword of Ruin off, making his Wizard a potent close combat model.

Now, against the Chaos Dwarfs, the cannon either missed or mis-fired something like 4 or 5 turns in a row. This game, it would be no different. His guess was impeccable, the ball flight perfection. 2" would hit a Skink, 4" would hit 3, 6" would go through all the ranks, as would 8 or 10. When it stuck in the mud, we knew it would be a long game.

His Archers somewhat made up for it with 5 hits in 10 attempts and 2 Skinks slain from the block of 20. I was already down a rank...
Lizardmen Turn 2
Had I known more about javelins, I would not have done this...but I did not, so CHARGE! The left flank block of 18 skinks charged the Spearmen. He had not told me why he was advancing so slowly, so I did not know he was trying to stay in range of the archers and he scrupulously refused to fire them since he was about an eight inch out of command range. He did, however, get the counter-charge with his free company.

Meanwhile, I advanced both units of skirmishers to get some shots off and slow-advanced my right flank block.

My left-most skirmishers fired at the cannon. Only one hit a crewman, and that failed to wound. 3 Blowpipe shots wounded Knights, but he saved them all. Then the Javelins were unleashed on the knights, twice wounding but he saved them both.

Poison, by the way, is awesome. Not needing to roll the wound about half the time when I hit at all was pure awesome.

He easily dispelled the Portent of Far now that it mattered.

His free company hit 6 skinks, killing 3. I hit just one Spearmen, but did kill him. The Flaming Sword of Ruin allowed his Wizard to kill a skink, the Spearmen then went ballistic; in 11 attacks, 10 hit, 7 wounded. So I decided to be ridiculous as well and, with a 5+, saved 4 of 7...

Still, I needed insane courage. No, flee...5". He kindly rolled snake-eyes to fail to catch me.

Empire Turn 2
Every now and then, there is a spirit-breaking turn in this game. Allow me to introduce you to Empire Turn 2.

His Knights charge my big block on the right, who stand and shoot. he again fails to catch my fleeing skinks.
His cannon this time over-flies the target. 0-for-2.

His archers hit just 2 skink skirmishers and kill just one.

Time to resolve the stand and shoot. All 5 javelins wound, he makes 3 saves...which means he failed 2. Time for a break test. He 11. He flees 9"
Suddenly an easy game for the Empire just got tougher. But they should rally next turn...

Lizardman Turn 3
My skirmishers, for no apparent reason, elect to charge the Cannon. My javelins kill a couple members of his Free Company. My blowpipes put another one down. I am controlling the right flank, his Knights are fleeing, and I took the cannon out of the battle...

I put down one of the cannon crew, he cannot wound back, but passes his break test.

Also, my fleeing skinks rally.
Empire Turn 3
His archers charge the fray around the cannon, his spearmen charge the freshly rallied skink block. His Knights...roll another 11, which means the keep running, he rolls a massive 9 and flees the table.

On the bright side, for Conflagration of Doom, he rolls triple 6s. It does just one casualty, though, and I beat him in the roll-off to see if it continues. This meant I had 3 Dispel Dice for his Flaming Sword of Ruin, but he was unsuccessful in casting it anyway.

At this point, he remembered he had not ever placed his Scouts. I insisted he put them on at least far enough to shoot this turn, so he put them on my right flank and shot down a skirmisher. His Pegasus-riding General flew behind them and shot down another.

On the hill, all 4 archers hit, kill 3 skinks. the skinks kill a second cannoneer, the last one enacts a small measure of revenge by downing another skink. I flee, he cannot catch.

Lizardman turn 4
I briefly consider charging his general with my skirmishers, but elect not to. I als debate using javelins or charging the free company, ultimately deciding my 2-rank bonus makes the charge better and in I go.

My big block again rallies.

My left-flank Skirmishers fail to rally and leave the table.

My right flank skirmishers fire at the General, wounding him 4 times. He saves all of them, fortunately.

I do put down 2 members of the Free Company, in return they wound 3 skinks, only one of whom saves. His Free Company flees and outrun me.

Empire Turn 4

General charges Skirmishers, the spears charge my big block for the third time. His Archers kill 4 of the Skinks in my big block to the right.

His cannon, after firing short, firing long, and being engaged in combat, manages to...mis-fire.

In close combat, 4 skinks die to his spearmen, break, he does not pursue...and since the roll to pursue would have been the same as his try to restrain, we check and he would not have caught me anyway. Again.

His general puts down 2 Skirmishers, who break, he over-runs them and hits the back of my big block that was chasing the free company.

Lizardman Turn 5

As usual, my big block rallies. The General kills 3 skinks, I wound back one time but he saves it. The skinks break, flee, run into the 5-strong Free company which means they are destroyed.

Empire Turn 5

His spearmen do something new...engage in combat with my big block. Okay, so they have done so thrice, failed to catch them thrice...whatever. :-)

All his spearmen and the Wizard hit, 5 wound, 4 skinks die, they skinks break, flee off the table.

At this point all I have left is the Skink Priest hiding in the forest, so he flees as well and we call it.

Wow. It looked so bad for the Empire. The cannon was...ineffective would be a kind word, for the second game in a row. The Knights fled without ever seeing combat. He could break my Skink Blocks at will, but could never catch them.

At one point it looked like the Skinks would win by massacre, as his Cannon had a real chance of breaking which would have forced the archers to test, with his Knights already fleeing and his free company down to just 5 guys.

Fortunately, the game turned, the superior army won in the end, and the detachment system again proved its worth.

We need to get Fullur some dice, as his rolls are simply abominable.

the Skinks were a lot of fun to play, and the poison makes them potent. Sure, they are not often going to wound if it does not take effect, but you make an opponent make enough saves and some are bound to fail (see knights, 10 wounds, 8 saved...2 failed. The right amount at the WRONG time.)

All in all, I enjoyed the game and glad it turned out as it did.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

For no apparent reason...

I usually do not post pictures of my WIP or completed models. I chose not to for several reasons.

First, I am not a particularly good painter. I have an unsteady hand, often get confused about what something I am painting is supposed to it armor? Cloth? Something else?

I do not shade, highlight, blend, or any of the other advanced techniques. As often as not, I do not even have a color scheme in mind.

I just sit down with paint and paint brush, pick a color, paint it, decide what would be good to go on next, and away I go.

The overall army theme is black as one primary and some shade I consider in the "red" family as the case of these Knights, Purple Metal Flake. I really like the look of the Gold and Copper Testors paint. I tried the Gold metal Flake on the lance on the looks sickly green to me so I am probably done with it.

But here are the first models I have not just painted but actually attempted to base in...hmmm...14 years?

The theory is coming from Chaos, the land is black and the stones silver.

Below are about the first models I have ever modified. I took Chaos Warriors and gave them weapons from Chaos Knights. The Spears I had to cut off part of the shaft to fit on, the swords and so forth are about 40% larger than standard. I even free-hand applied some runes to the standard, but forgot to put on the top. *Sigh*

And my favorites, the Chaos Dragon Ogres. Green Metal Flake skin, Red metal Flake armor, with copper ornaments, silver blades...the height of shiny and reflective.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Campaign Battle:Tomb Kings versus Ogre Kingdoms

Played in I believe 4 games Saturday, 3 for our Small Campaign and one for our big campaign. If I ever start writing a campaign history for the big campaign like I am in the early stages of doing for our small campaign (the intro is at the bottom, the beginning of the tale of Captain Nemo above it, so you actually need to read the bottom post first if you really want to waste your time reading my fiction, then this battle will have a place.

Part of the campaign philosophy is resource building, and part of it is attrition. Essentially, the idea is for each person to have a few turns to build a power base before we start fighting each other. Each territory allows x amount of troops to be maintained, and you always fight SOMEONE when you enter a territory...but if none of the other players owns it or is moving there, then we fight random armies.

Since our starting War banners have 2250 and the size army they will face ranges from 1750 all the way up to 3500, most of the time the players will face armies smaller than their own, though there is always the danger they will face a larger army.

So one of the players NOT involved in that territory plays a randomly rolled size/type army. We know going in we will most likely lose, so the goal is to give the opponent the best game possible and, in our own interest, to cause as many casualties as possible in hopes they will be "permanent" casualties that will slow the opponent by making his army smaller.

The object then for the real player, as opposed to the "neutral" player, is two-fold;

1, be sure to win the battle so you get the points for the territory you will capture!
2, minimize the casualties you take.

Obviously, the closer you are to home, the easier it will be to replace casualties. The further from home you get, the harder it will be to replace the odd Chaos Knight or Wood Elf Spellsinger if they fall in battle.

I had never played the Tomb Kings and wanted to give them a shot.

Funny thing is, in our gaming group people have a very low opinion of them even though many people on the tournament scene consider them mid-tier.

And that brings me to another side-bar, of the type I am unfortunately famous for.

Types of players.
We like to think of ourselves as a pretty laid-back group. A daemons of chaos army with 2 bloodthirsters and a host of their other power units would be looked upon with much suspicion. On the other hand, a host of Night Goblins with minimal to no fanatic and war machine support is considered great fun, if hopeless and anyone ever played it.

A level up from us would be the people with 70+ shot armies (any of the 3 Elf armies, the Dwarfs, etc) or 12+ Power Dice type armies that are much tougher lists to play both as and against.

Another level up would be the comped tournament scene where double-Steam Tank lists might win every game and finish towards the bottom of the standings, as tournament organisers seek to balance the inherent flaws in the army books that allow some pretty powerful builds.

And at the top would be the no-holds-barred, bring that 4-Dragon High Elf list with 8 Bolt throwers and the rest all Knights.

Why do I sketch out these things?

because how you play has a direct and decisive link to how good an army is.

For example, our group has at least 3 views on tiers:
1) High Elf, Dwarf, Dark Elf, Wood Elf
2) Lizardmen, Warriors of Chaos, Empire, Skaven
3) Vampire Counts, Bretonnians
4) Ogre Kingdoms, Orcs and Goblins, Tomb Kings

1) Dark Elf, Dwarf, Wood Elf
2) Lizardmen, Warriors of Chaos, Vampire Counts, Dwarf
3) Bretonnians, Empire, Skaven
4) Ogre Kingdoms, Orcs and Goblins, Tomb Kings

1) Dark Elf
2) Wood Elf, Warriors of Chaos
3) Dwarfs, Bretonnians, Lizardmen
4) Skaven, Empire, Tomb Kings
5) Orcs and goblins, Ogre kingdoms

Those lists may not be 100% the feeling, but they are pretty close to what I have picked up in discussions. Now, if you are familiar with the tourney scene, you might notice a few huge discrepancies:
- Vampire Counts a low tier? Dwarfs and Wood Elfs mid-to high tier? WoC that high? NO Daemons at all?

And that brings me back to the original point. The way we play, certain armies simply are ineffective, and others are hugely effective.

Does not mean our tiers are right or wrong, nor that the way we currently play is right or wrong. Just means the altered perceptions/expectations make for some interesting match-ups.

Well, my brother Fixed Dice was good enough to build the 1750 Tomb King list and I went to face kev's Ogre Kingdom 2250 War Banner

Tyrant -Cathayan Longsword, Sword of Battle, Gut Maw, Daemon-Killer Scars, Sword Gnoblar x2

Bruiser BSB - War Banner, Lt. Armor, Ogre Club

Bruiser - Sword of Might, Cathayan Longsword, Bullgut, Sword Gnoblar x2

Bulls x3
Bulls x3

Gnoblar Fighters x20 - Handweapons, Sharp Stuff
Gnoblar Fighters x20 - Handweapons, Sharp Stuff
Ironguts x5 - GW, HA, Bellower, Unit Standard
Ironguts x4 - GW, HA, Bellower, Unit Standard
Leadbelchers x4 - Lt. Armor, Leadbelcher Cannon
Maneaters x2 - Cathayan Longsword, Lt. Armor


Ironically, I know his list better than mine, but mine was more or less:
Tomb Prince with flying cloak and item giving him 4+ Ward
Liche Priest on skeletal steed
Liche Priest with Casket of souls
10 skeletons
31 skeletons
20 tomb guard with full command
Tomb Scorpion
Bone Giant

The field had a big corner hill on the left with rough ground half way across the table and about 12" in from the edge, a forest and other assorted terrain on the right that essentially closed it off meaning the game would be fought in the middle and left flank.

For scenario we rolled and he chose Break-through, which meant he needed to get 3+ US5 units off my side of the table for outright win, or if not then standard VPs.

Unlike most games, I figured with 500 fewer points and playing as the Tomb Kings, this would not be a particularly good game, so I took neither notes not pictures. Check out butts vente vente, as some might say (hindsight is 20-20 is the more normal phrasing).

Knowing he had to come to me and with the Casket of Souls planted on the hill to my left, I put the Tomb Guard next to it, then the 31 Skeletons with an 11 wide front, then the 10 wide archers in line to their right, with the Tomb Scorpion behind the archers and the Bone Giant between the Tomb Guard and Casket.

On my left flank he put a couple units of Bulls, a Slave Giant all angling to circle the rough ground. In the center he had Leadbelchers behind about 8 bulls or Ironguts or something. Beside them he put his Scraplauncher, then his Maneaters were more or less opposite the 10 archers on my right flank.

Tomb King Turn 1
Since I had planted the Casket on the hill, I knew my best chance for an upset would be doing mass damage in the first turn or two. I advanced the Bone Giant towards the left, hoping to cut off and bottle up his Bulls. If I could engage one unit, it would keep about 6 Bulls and his Slave Giant bottled up and allow me to concentrate on the rest of his force. It had a chance of nullifying the points disadvantage.

I advanced both units of Skeletons 2": If we both started at the 12" in deployment line, 1" would have been plenty but our group habitually throws the opponent off by stepping back a quarter inch, half inch, even a full inch or two to make shooting impossible or at least more difficult. The Tomb Scorpion started circling the right flank.

Time for the magic phase. I was going to take it slow since I did not really know the army. First, I did the one that lets the skeletons fire: he feared the Casket, had but 2 Dispel Dice, so let everything go but the Casket.

And so began some of the most effective shooting I ever hope to see.

Everyone has their own theory. Some spread out their shooting. I try to wipe out units because I do not trust even LD3 units to fail their tests. So I fired the 11 at his maneaters and got off a wound. Then the 10 guys got an extra firing and also wounded it. I was pretty ecstatic.

I still had some magic left, but at this point the only option was moving stuff. I advanced the Bone Giant a bit more, then made a huge mistake.

Not because I thought it was a good idea or because I needed to, but just because I still had an incantation to use, I moved my 31 skeletons back to their original location...and thus out of range for the shooting phase. Idiot.

Unfamiliarity with the army. Boo hiss.

Well, then it was time for the casket. I rolled...2 "4" results, a respectable 8 total. He picked up his two dice, rolled, the first one fell...a "4". The second one fell...a "4". yep, 4 out of 4 dice rolled a 4.

Oh well, in the shooting phase, the 10 Skeleton unit made me forget my blunder by actually putting enough wounds on the Maneater unit to kill one...and the other promptly failed its panic test, turned, and ran right off the board!

Great start for me, lousy start for Kev.

Ogre Kingdom Turn 1
His bulls came up and the front unit got past the rough ground, but just as I hoped the back unit was stuck behind the rough ground and the first unit. Everyone else came right up the middle. He had no Magic, and the Leadbelchers were covered, so he only fired with the scraplauncher.

After some hasty calculations, he said, "I think you are 18" away, so I will guess 16" and it will scatter on to you." Then he aimed it at the 31 skeletons, measured, and sure enough, 16" put the template where the edge was about a quarter inch shy of touching. And naturally on the scatter dice he rolled a "hit" result. Otherwise it would have scattered 10".

Not a very effective turn for the Ogres, though really, there was not much else he could do. He was doing everything right, but the results were not panning out. Which, by the way, is why we all think the Ogre kingdoms are below average. Their results are pretty sub-standard.

Tomb King Turn 2
Bone Giant charged the Bulls. I moved the Tomb Scorpion around the 10 skeletons, then retreated them 2". I wanted to make him take as long as possible to get the charge on me.

Magic: First I tried to give the Bone Giant an extra attack. He decided he could not stop the Casket again, so stopped that instead, then stopped some movement thing I think, but both the 31 and 10 archers fired again. With a few exceptions, I was hitting ridiculous, needing 5s to hit, on 11 dice I got 7 or 8 hits about 4 or 5 times. A couple of times I got only 1. But overall, I am sure the dice favored me in the shooting phase.

Anyway, in the Magic shooting, I put a wound or two on his Bulls, then used the Movement one to move the Tomb Scorpion into his Bulls. Normally I would not make that charge...but in this game, my goal was to inflict casualties, not make combo-charges and win.

The Casket went off and was absolutely devastating. Almost every unit took a couple of wounds, and the Scraplauncher took so many it was utterly destroyed (and I just noticed...we neglected to have units within 6" take LD tests...which is just as well, as it was a close-run thing anyway)

Shooting was good to me again, as I think I took out 1 or 2 Bulls in this turn. That is pretty good for shots needing 5s to hit and 5s to wound, then he having 6+ or 5+ saves. He did make a fair few saves in the game, but he failed a fair number as well.

Anyway, close combat was cool.The Bone Giant hit on all 4 attacks despite needing 4s, (yes, he should have had 5 attacks...*sigh*...not knowing the army) but of his second 4, only one could hit, it wounded, but I could not hit again. Still, 5 wounds in one charge...I was not complaining. I did take one wound back, but he failed the LD test and fled through the unit behind it. Which failed its test and fled. With them bouncing into and through each other, they ended up fleeing about 12" on a 3" and 7" roll, which meant I caught neither, but I was just fine with that. I was not just bottle-necking that flank, I was rolling it up.

Meanwhile, the Tomb Scorpion did a couple wounds, but lost to his Battle Standard and outnumbering. Might even have taken a wound?

Ogre Kingdom Turn 2
With his own right wing (my left) in shambles and the Tomb Scorpion threatening to jam up the middle, he had to take some desperate charging the Scorpion in the flank with Gnoblars. His Slave Giant then charged my Bone Giant.

Everyone else tried to advance up the middle, but it was really a choke point, held up by the rough ground on my left and battle involving the Tomb Scorpion on the right.

In close combat, his Giant did the one where he auto-wounds me and I get no attacks. So I lost the combat there. The same result was rolled the next turn.

Meanwhile, his Gnoblars surprisingly failed to wound the Tomb Scorpion (it has become a running joke that Gnoblars are the deadliest OK unit as they have killed the Dark Elf special Assassin, the named one, and held up Slayers and Dwarf Warriors, killed a Chaos Warrior, and just generally been awesome).

I then had a choice; try to hit an Ogre or hope I could slay 4 Gnoblars to draw the combat if I was not wounded by the Ogres? I chose that route, but could only slay two of the little boogers. His Ogres duly failed to wound (almost not even hitting!) but he still won the combat by 3 or 4, the Scorpion crumbled to Combat Resolution. His Gnoblars then over-ran, trying to get clear of the Bulls, but their poor roll put them squarely in front. He was still bottled up.

By now I was wishing I had been taking notes as things started to run together in my head. So I will summarize:

The center of the field saw his Goblars pin him in place for my shooting while his left-flank Bulls managed to keep running and run right off the board. His Slave Giant and my Bone Giant beat up on each other for quite a while, until his Giant broke and, thanks to some Gnoblars, escaped my pursuit which instead hit the Gnoblars.

At some point I got the one through that heals, got it through twice and got the Giant down from I think 4 wounds to just one.

Meanwhile, his Gorger came on, but the Casket went off and one-turn killed it. Kev was quite unlucky with big, important units like his Gorger and Scraplauncher doing nothing, both being destroyed by the Casket.

Naturally the Giant beat the Gnoblars, who ran, allowing me to charge his by now badly wounded Giant. I finished it off.

At some point, my Tomb Guard flank-charged his big unit. I whiffed completely. He did a couple or 6 wounds back, one the combat, and got his big hitters facing me. Next turn he did like 15 casualties, the unit melted. He finally was on the board! Well, okay, he had the Scorpion points, but this added about 371 points or so, giving him maybe 500?

The only other success he had was the bull unit that had beaten my Scorpion got around the Gnoblars, charged the 10 Skeletons, wiped them out. He elected to leave the table with them as this happened on turn 4 and he did not think he would need them, but that was before his Giant broke.

Also at some point he finally got to fire with the Leadbelchers, getting a whopping 24 shots...but only doing like 2 or 3 casualties.

Tomb King Turn 6
I hastily totaled up the points I had given up. Not many. He really, really needed to do lots of damage to win. I was winning, and pretty handily at this point. Actually, I was winning by enough that he probably needed to get three units off the board to win or else completely wipe out my Giant, 31 man unit, and find a way to kill my Tomb Prince or Liche Priest.

So I moved my 31 skeletons back 2", hoping he could overrun them and get off the board. Later, a couple measurements showed that move took them out of his charge range, so I undid that move to ensure he got the charge. On the dark side, that meant I was more than 12" from the table edge, so he was absolutely going to have to score big on his turn.

Ogre Kingdom Turn 6
To be honest, at this point I was feeling somewhat bad. Yes, I wanted to do a few casualties. But the toll was too heavy...
-2 maneaters
- Slave Giant
- 2 3-Bull Units
- several other Bulls or Ironguts to shooting
- A full unit of Gnoblars

Even worse, though I did not know the exact standings, I had a sinking feeling that I was winning. The only points I had given up this point were the Tomb Scorpion, Tomb Guard, and 10 Skeletons...maybe 600 points?

Time to do what the Starving Crazed Weasels do best; cheat in our opponents' favor :-)

This is when I undid the move of my 31 skeleton block to ensure he got a chance at them. He was going to do nothing with his Gnoblars, until I pointed out they could get lucky with sharp stuff and might do 5 wounds (I forgot he only needed to do 2 to get at least half points). Also, we debated if some or all Gnoblars could throw, with him arguing 2 ranks, me arguing all ranks. I won.

That is one reason I love this group. If we were actually hyper-competitive, we would have been on the opposite side, as both of us were arguing for the good of our opponent. Funny stuff.

So of course he charges with both Leadbelchers and the big unit.

The Gnoblars through their shiny stuff and, when the dust cleared, did 2 wounds...taking me to 3, giving him 1/2 points for the Giant. Huzzah!

I have seen the Ogres in battle several times. I have not been impressed. Until this one.

His Bull Charge took out about 7 or 8 guys. He declared a challenge. I asked how many attacks he had. With Sword-Gnoblars, 8. I pointed out that if I accepted the challenge, the most Overkill he could get was 5, whereas if I refused it, he would have the potential to get the full 8. I actually thought little enough of Ogre effectiveness to think the chance of the extra three might matter. Silly Weasel.

So I moved the champ to the back and he proceeded to kill5 rank and file...I should have stayed in the challenge :-)

Then his other guys went to work. When the dust cleared, he had done something like 26 casualties. The last couple Skeletons crumbled.

Who Won?
When we totaled up the points, we then used the chart for the smaller of the 2 armies, 1750. There are two ways to look at it:

1) If you interpret the rules strictly, We had a draw.

2) If you interpret them the Starving Crazed Weasel way, had he scored just 5 more points he would have scored a minor victory. Since you need a minor victory to take over a territory...we "discovered" 5 points he had earned and gave that to him. Because that's how we roll.

Yet his post-battle scsualty rolls were despicable.

Even though I mistakenly used the "Massacre" chart instead of "minor Victory" chart, he had 20% better chance...and STILL lost the Giant, a couple Bulls, a Maneater and mAybe (?) the Scraplauncher.

Post-Battle Thoughts
Okay, this was a phenomenally fun battle.

I was helped by some spectacular rolls, no mistake about that as my shooting was far more effective than it should have been, the Casket took out two dangerous units in timely fashion (if his Gorger kills my Liche Priest on the Casket, he was my Hierophant, and my army would have crumbled very badly), and the Bone Giant was awesomeness personified.

He was single-handedly responsible for 6 Ogre Bulls, a Unit of Gnoblars, and the Slave Giant. He also single-handed defended an entire flank.

On the flip side, I badly-mis-played the Scorpion, forgetting he would take wounds from CR. I should have combo-charged him and the Tomb Guards. As it was, the Tomb Guards stunk up the joint as they attacked the wrong unit at the wrong time.

I have played against the Tomb Guard and as them. When I was against them, I could not do enough casualties to overcome their healing abilities and, despite inadvertently cheating (I was taking 5+ Ward Saves with Dryads and 6+ with Wardancers even though the magic weapons of the Tomb Guards cancel them out) was taking more casualties than I was doing anyway.

I think this speaks back to my initial discussion of tiers. In my hands, the Tomb Guard is a very sub-standard unit, but in the hands of someone who plays them correctly, they are excellent.

After the 2nd turn, the Casket was a non-factor as few of his units faced it, so had no line of sight and it was not problematic. However, when they were facing it and it went off, it made me go blind from overexposure to awesomeness, as if I were watching a Panda do Kung-Fu.

On the other side, there is very little Kev could have done different. I think about the only things I would have done different had to do with the Leadbelchers. If they had been able to shoot more than once, they might have been more effective, though their 12" range and the way the field got bottle-necked mean even that may not have been possible, and had they been anywhere else, he might not have gotten his mini-DeathStar unit into action. So it is probably not a good quibble.

Which says an awful lot about the Ogres.

Played about as well as they could be against an army 500 points lighter, they struggled all game long.

It is definitely a match-up I look forward to seeing other people play, as the Tomb Kings have some fun little toys like their Chariot units and Ushabti to go with the fun Bone Giant.

Good times had by all.

Except the dead models. They had no fun.

Oh, and final point? Had the Gnoblars not done those 2 wounds in the last turn...just sayin'. Sometimes games turn on seemingly small, insignificant things.

Tournament Results

Here is link to the top finishers. If you want, you can easily hit the other post and match their placement up with their lists.

Also, I put in some links on the right to forums for the various armies we play. If there are others you would like added, let me know.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Warriors of Chaos Versus Vampire Counts

We were going to play 3K and I had a couple things I wanted to play...Prince Sigvald, since I had the model painted, and Wulfrik with a big band of Marauders.

In any game, I pretty much always take my BSB build with the Banner so I have stubborn units.

Knowing I would be facing the Vampire Counts, and fearing the Wind of Undeath, I needed some Dispel scrolls...4 sounded about right.

21 Chaos Warriors with full command and War Banner should have me taking on and crushing any big blocks of skeletons, ghouls, zombies, etc. he might have roaming around.

24 marauders with Light armor, shield, standard bearer and Mark of khorne coming on with Wulfrik should be able to go Vampire Hunting.

5 marauder Horsemen with throwing axes should allow more Vampire hunting.

10 Marauders could be home to my Scroll Caddies.

I also wanted to try out the Chaos Cannon and a big block of Knights..9 of them with my BSB gives me a rank bonus.

A Chaos Warshrine is something I always think costs far too many points for what it does and my beloved Great Weapon wielding Shaggoth rounded it out.

Then he changed the total to 3500.

So I added a Sorcerer Lord with 4 Dispel scrolls, changed one of my Scroll Caddies to dude with Infernal Puppet, and time to go.

He basically spread out in a line. His General was Mannfred on some flying mount or other. I did the same, except the Stone Thrower....err, cannon was up on a hill.

Warriors of Chaos Turn One
Wulfrik rolled on, and I brought him on behind the enemy. Perfect! They are all march-blocked and, if they do not turn, I will charge their rear and do lots of damage. If they do turn, Wulfrik and Co. Will do lots of damage.

I move everyone except the cannon forward, some very little...because Sigvald promptly fails his Stupidity test and moves forward 3". I want to keep everyone within range of the Banner so it limits my advance. On the bright side, the Cannon passes its test.

Magic goes better as my Sorcerer Lord gets Infernal Gateway off with Irresistible Force. Good start as I dial up 7 hits on his Blood Knights...but then they turn out to be only S3. He takes just 1.

Then I fire the cannon and I hit almost dead center on a unit. 16 are covered. 9 of them are slain but...the one directly under the hole somehow survives! The Warshrine, inspired by Sigvald's talent, managed to give me an "Eye is Closed" result.

Vampire Counts Turn 1
He makes no movement at all. Then comes time for the magic phase.

He raises back 8 of the Grave Guard I hit with the Cannon. He adds 6 Skeletons to a unit. I use a scroll to twice dispel Wind of undeath attempts. He then adds 3, 6, and another 3 Ghouls. Finally, one of his Corpse Carts brings back the last Grave Guard I had hurt. Then another 8 Ghouls pop up in the unit he had not been adding to.

So yeah...turn one I do 10 casualties, and after his first turn, he has 26 more models than he had when my turn started. This could become a problem.

Warriors of Chaos can cause a lot of casualties, but not so many that seeing your opponent raise 35+ models per turn is not going to cause some HUGE problems. It would be imperative to start whittling down his Power Dice ASAP.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 2
Sigvald and the Cannon both pass their tests this turn.

And now his not moving shows its flaw. Wulfrik's unit could not charge...but he could charge out of them!* So he charged Mannfred.

This presented him a problem. If Mannfred fled too far, he would be in my charge range next turn...or off the board completely. If he did not flee, he would face the fury of Wulfrik...which he elected to do.

For a second consecutive turn, I get Irresistible Force on Infernal Gateway, and this time 7 Blood Knights are wiped out, essentially rendering that unit a non-entity with just one member left.

The Warshrine is useful this time, adding +1S to the Knights.

The Cannon slays just 5 Grave Guard this time.

Since Mannfred was close to his Corpse Cart which had done the Miasma of Vigor or whatever it is called, he got to strike first. I saved one of 2 wounds, so Wulfrik still lived. Then I did 2 wounds to him and he died to Combat Resolution.


That removed something like NINE power dice from him. I had Marauders, Chaos Warriors, and Knights ready to charge his units, his Blood Knights were all but gone, and I now had more Dispel Dice than he had power dice.

Furthermore, he would be losing guys to the dead general thing every turn so we called it a game.

1) I made a HUGE mistake with Sigvald. I had a cramped deployment zone and, having taken Sigvald specifically to make use of any Difficult terrain, I then did NOT start him and his unit in the forest, leaving plenteous room for the rest of my army, I put him in the open, which forced me to deploy my Marauder Horsemen wide left, essentially out of the battle.

2) having no fear of Mis-cast due to Infernal Puppet is awesome.

3) I need to remember special Frenzy on units I do not normally put it on, remembering to roll on the Eye table when I win appropriate combats, etc.

4) The Stone Thrower is much better than I actually sticks a third of the time, not a sixth. I might try that again.

5) Regardless of it having been an illegal death for Mannfred, he was only going to live one more turn anyway. I had my Marauder Horsemen and Shaggoth deployed to where they could cover anyplace he could reach. The lesson here; if you have a key part of your army (like, for me, the BSB), put him in a unit that can protect him unless you are positive, positive, positive that you can protect him.

6) Wulfrik can be very powerful or very weak. When he works, he is worth the 185 he costs, maybe even 10 - 15 points more. When he doesn't, he is worth 40 or 45 points at most.

* As I typed this, I realized the Marauders had khorne...which means they were frenzied...which means they should have charged the rear of his Grave Guard. Which means Wulfrik could NOT have charged. Though I would actually have charged his Vamp who was off to the side. Oops.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tourneys across the pond

I was perusing some random sites and came across a link to this which I found interesting. It is a high-level tournament with sliding scoring based on the power of your army.

Check out the restrictions here.

Few things to think about;

1) they REALLY hate magic, since you are allowed MORE Dispel Dice than you are Power Dice.
2) they are encouraging close combat through their limitation of shooting (which should favor Warriors of Chaos and Dwarfs, I would think, as both do quite well once the swords are at each other)
3) The better the army, the lower Rare choices, indicating a perception that Rare > Special
4) High Elf armies are perceived to need a bit of help despite being Tier 2 (repeatable Rare choice)
5) They like Tomb Kings more than we do, as they put them in tier 2 AND restricted them. Weird.
6) Ogres get a bit of help
7) I am a little disappointed. I think in their format the WoC should get a little nerf, but got no mention. I am crying here.

Will be interested to see how it turns out.
Few things to note about the lists they are bringing:

1) Other than the VC and Tomb Kings, only one person is bringing 20+ model unit, and that just one time. Mostly, they are 10 strong at most, with a few exceptions.
2) One guy is not even bringing a Lord-level choice (Yay for the WoC!)
3) Despite my personal belief on Grail Knights, the Bret general is bringing just 7.

Chaos Dwarfs Versus Vampire Counts

Game 3: 1000 points of Chaos Dwarfs.

Took a Slavemaster with the hailfire gun, 25 Dwarf Warriors with Full Command, banner to give them Magic Resistance, and an Eruption Gun, 10 Annihilators, and 3 Inferno Golems including the Face of hashut and an Eruption Gun upgrade. He won the first turn.

Vampire Count Turn 1
General advance. Could not stop his Corpse Cart giving Miasma. Could not stop his Wind of undeath, but only took one casualty. He put the spirit host in front of the Warriors about 7".

Chaos Dwarf Turn 1
Basically, moved the Warriors forward (and would have been short had I charged), no other moves. I had some shots with my Eruption Guns so I took them. The one on the Golems promptly mis-fired and put a wound on the Golem. The other one rolled 2 shots, did no wounds.

Vampire Count Turn 2
Charged Spirit Host into the Warriors, marched everything else forward. Varghulf circled behind my Golems. Magic was not so good this time as Wind failed, nothing else of note. He did no wounds with his Spirit Host, it died to Combat Resolution. Decision time.

If I over-ran 6-8", it would let me flank charge his zombies when my Golems charged. Less and I would be in bad shape, more and I would have no LOS. I chose not to...and failed my restrain roll. Fortunately, I advanced about 7".

Chaos Dwarf Turn 2
Charge! With the Golems in the front and the Warriors in the side, my hope was simple; do enough casualties to force the entire combat to melt to combat resolution. If I failed, he would then flank my Warriors with his Grave Guard and rear-charge the Golems with his Varghulf.

(By the way, this is the type of play I prefer to make, as opposed to the plays I made in the "power-gaming" embarrassment. High-risk, high reward. If it works, I am in good shape for a marginal win, if it fails I am at risk of a huge loss).

Shooting was good as the Blunderbusses showed their over-powered potential, hitting about 2/3rds of a unit and slaying I think 9 of them. (I should note it also showed their limitation, as this would be the only time they fired in the game, doing a total of 9 casualties through shooting).

The Eruption Gun I fired at a Corpse Cart, again rolling 2 shots and doing no damage. *Sigh*. I know they are better than that.

The Close Combat did not go all that well. His Miasma meant he hit first. No big deal, I think he only wounded one, and I saved that.

But I could not do much either. My General could not even hit, the rest of the Warriors did one or two casualties, the Golems did maybe one more? I won the combat, but only by like 10 despite having his flank and ranks and outnumbering.

I know 10 sounds like a lot...but I should have won by about 15 which would have been enough to wipe out the unit and get me away from the inevitable.

Vampire Count Turn 3
Charge! Mannfred led the Grave Guard in. His zombie screen charged the Annihilators whose stand and shoot did not one casualty.

His bound spell Dust hand or something like that was introduced to the Magic Resistance of the Banner. Yes, it paid off!

He did a couple casualties, again my General could not even wound a zombie, the Varghulf (who also charged) did a couple wounds to a Golem, the Warriors broke, the Golems (being Stubborn) stayed.

Meanwhile, the Annihilators proved decent in hand to hand (they should, having a stat line equal to the Warriors) and did 3 wounds, the rest of the Zombies crumbling to combat resolution. I needed to pursue about 4-5" but went 10"! Grr.

Chaos Dwarf Turn 3
The Annihilators had no shot due to the over-run so reformed. The Eruption Gun did not move, the Warriors Rallied, but only because of the +1 the Musician gave them. Rolled a 10. Did a wound to the Varghulf with the Golems.

Vampire Count Turn 4
His Grave Guard charged the Warriors. His Corpse Cart charged the Golems.

Typical combats; somehow the Corpse Cart did not damage and I destroyed it, took a wound from the Varghulf. Warriors and General did no casualties, lost combat by 4. Somehow did not flee.

Chaos Dwarf Turn 4
Charged into his Grave Guard for no apparent reason. Did another wound to Varghulf, but lost another Golem. Did maybe one casualty to his Grave Guard, took a couple wounds. Passed break test.

Vampire Count Turn 5
The Varghulf and Golems continued their long-running duel, though this time it was the Varghulf taking the break test 9and passing). He was down to 1 wound after this round.

The Warriors and Grave guard did a couple casualties apiece and the Warriors passed their break test again.
Curse of years cast successfully.

Chaos Dwarf Turn 5
More combat, not much accomplished. Failed to dispel curse of years.

Vampire Count Turn 6
The game hung in the balance. At this point, I had lost over half the Golems, less than half of the Warriors and not much else. He had lost a Corpse Cart, a unit of Zombies, and half wounds on the Varghulf.

Now it started to swing. On the verge of putting his Varghulf down, instead it was the Golem who finally fell. He again broke the Warriors but, with the Eruption Gun holding him in the combat, could not pursue.

The Curse of years, however, proceeded to do about 11 casualties, taking the Warriors well under half strength, thus giving him points for them and, if I rolled an 11 or 12, full points for them and the General! Suddenly things were swinging.

Chaos Dwarf Turn 6
The Warriors rallied. So that saved me about 300+ points between half points for them and for my general. My Eruption Gun finally fled, but I was okay with that. I dispelled Curse of Years. game.

Surprisingly, I ended up with a few more points...because I captured a standard of his but he did not get one of mine. His loss of the Corpse Cart was devastating.

Fortunately, the points difference was less than a hundred, and that is a clear draw.

This was a much better game. Both players got stuff done, the outcome was in doubt a few times, and that was cool.

I think the 12" range of the blunderbusses is a pretty good limitation on them. The Eruption Guns have been a marked disappointment, as the BS3 combined with the pedestrian strength make them pretty iffy.

On the other hand, the Warriors were surprisingly good. I lean somewhat towards starting to play the Dwarfs as opposed to the Warriors of Chaos. They are capable without being crushingly dominant the way the WoC are against all but one army in our group. We will see.