Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Campaign:Warriors of Chaos versus Dwarfs

After my first win in the big campaign, I had to decide what to do with my points. I am trying to keep my army to few or, preferably, NO proxies. However, all I had to spend were points for Core. So I got a little tricky.

The points permanently lost were enough to get me a Chariot and Level 2 sorcerer on Disc, so I brought them in from my home territory and bumped up my Marauders to 1 25 man and 2 16 man units, my Chaos Warriors to 2 units of 12 and one of 16, and even added in 2 units of 5 Warhounds each.

Someone needed to step up and build a 3250 point Dwarf army, a task nobody was excited about. It is hard to build a fun Dwarf army. To compete with the 70 shot/dragon + manticore + hydra Dark Elf army and also with the Chaos Knight/Dragon Ogres/Shaggoth WoC and also with the Slann-based Lizardman army simultaneously is tough. All too often, in light of the slowness of the Dwarfs, it becomes one massive gunline.

Really, that is what they HAVE to do to be competitive. Say they were facing the aforementioned Dark Elf army. They have no hero who can reasonably be expected to compete with the Hydra/Dragon/manticore...largely because if one was tooled up to face one of them, it could not even catch it.

So to deal with those, they MUST have a cannon and/or bolt thrower apiece to face them. Add in a thunderer apiece to match the 70 shots they are facing and you would not even have space to put them on the table, but 40 - 50 thunderers seems reasonable. So now, they have fewer shots and need lots of luck with their cannonballs to deal with the monsters, and have enough points left over for smallish warrior blocks...which must convince the enemy to come to face them.

And they need the same build to face the Dragon Ogre/Shaggoth/Knight army. So really, their slowness and pedestrian S means to compete, they need 4 + cannons/bolt throwers, a couple organ guns since the Thunderers take so much space, and then they are left with troops that can compete with Dark Elf infantry but not with Chaos Infantry and certainly not with Chaos Knights or Lizardmen Cold One Knights...so why take them when they are basically free points for any troop that will contact them? (Why would I take my Marauders into them when I know even my Chaos Warriors, much less my Knights, are so much faster I can easily hit them with that instead, and usually from advantageous positions like flanks).

The upshot is, for the Dwarf player to have any chance of winning, he has to take a list that is not much fun...lots of shooting, shutting down the magic phase almost completely. Or...he can take a list with little shooting, get out-maneuvered and lose by a lot.

Since I would be facing them, I decided to make a Dwarf army that, while it probably could not WIN, could certainly do lots of damage on the way out the door and was going to see combat. Lots and lots and lots of combat.

I included 40 Thunderers, 2 cannons, an organ gun and a gyrocopter. While not as shooty as any Elf army, it could still do lots of damage in that phase; cannons for things like Shaggoths/Knights/Dragon Ogres, Thunderers to whittle away at Chaos Warriors and Marauders, and then lots and lots of good close combat troops...Miners and Hammerers to face the Chaos Warriors, Dwarf Warriors to face the Marauders, and Slayers to A) hold up flanks and B)have a shot at damaging anything

I knew I would be facing them and hoped to be able to deploy thusly; wherever he dropped a unit of Warriors, I would drop a unit of Marauders opposite. Wherever he dropped the Hammerers, I would drop Chaos Warriors opposite. Where he dropped Slayers I would drop Knights, Dragon Ogres and/or the Shaggoth.

Then we would run pell-mell towards one another and have some smashing good combats, some lasting 3 or 4 turns maybe.

As it turned out...terrain did not allow it.

On the bright side, while there was a hill on his side of the hill, it was outside his deployment zone. A village to the left and some rough ground to the right meant we would be mostly in the center but the sizes of our forces meant the flanks still needed protection.

For the first time in memory, I A) HAD Chaos Warhounds and B) they would be able to serve their function. No hills meant the screens could actually *gasp* screen! I was excited.

I put them in front of units of Chaos Warriors, put Marauder Horsemen opposite his Organ gun and the cannons, ran Knights down my right flank backed up by more Marauders, put even more Marauders way out to the right.

More Marauders and my Chariot went to the left opposite some slayers and, just behind the forest, some Rangers.

Across the table he had his cannons to the left, then 2 units of Thunderers in a line...hidden on rought ground making them tough to get to. Various close combat units were sprinkled around, another Thunderer unit prepared to take the hill and the final one was off on my right flank.

He won the roll and elected to go 2nd.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 1
I march forward. The Hounds should be able to charge his cannons next turn, the Horsemen to take some shots at or outright charge the organ gun, and the Knights are in range if he does take the hill.

Then, stupidly, I decide to try some magic. All I have is a second level guy, really a glorified scroll caddy. He has as many Dispel Dice as I have power dice...my odds are not good. They get worse when I mis-cast...but I survive the S3 hit.

Dwarf Turn 1
One unit of his Miners units arrives and elects to come on my left flank. He advances the slayers up my right flank, the Thunderers crest the hill and he moves a Thane-supported unit of Warriors up to counter-charge anyone who charges the Thunderers.

Then he flies the Gyrocopter to block the Warhounds. This was a function of not knowing the role of the Copter and not his fault. I should have explained it better.

Now for his shooting phase, the one where the Dwarf army will dominate. His cannon lines up a shot that will tear though warhounds, Chaos Warriors, and maybe even some other stuff. His guess is pretty good...until he rolls a whopping 10 on the artillery dice and it flies right over everything. So far, so good.

Then his Organ Gun opens up on my poor Marauder horsemen...and mis-fires! Yes!

His Thunderers fare better, putting down two Marauder Horsemen and 2 Warhounds. The Warhounds, outside the leadership bubble of my General, roll a 5...and flee. No big deal.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 2
We started with an interesting question. My Knights were just in front of my Shaggoth and frenzied. My Shaggoth could see the Marauders on the hill and wanted to combo-charge them with the Dragon Ogres who were also pseudo-blocked by the Knights. I knew I planned to wheel the Knights and hit the Warriors he planned to counter charge with...could I declare charges on the Thunderers?

We hemmed and hawed, played with the rule books for a while and ultimately decided I could.

On the left, My ranked up Marauders flank-charged his Miners. My Chariot moved into position to counter-charge his Rangers if they flank-charged my Marauders in the unlikely event my +5 S.C.R and Great Weapon attacks did not force his Miners to flee.

Oh, the best laid plans...

The Knight charge goes to perfection and my general gets a challenge with his Thane. The Thunderers....fail their break test and flee. Needing a 9. Ouch. We then debate what the options are for my Shaggoth. Can he redirect his charge to the other side of the hill to hit the Slayers he cannot see until he crests the hill?

It was a classic Starving Crazed Weasels debate. That would be best for me and I was arguing against it while the guy it was bad for and the other observers were arguning I could. So I did. The Dragon Ogres joined the Knights against the Warriors.

Magic...well...was Magic. I failed to achieve the needed score.

I had moved both units of Marauder horsemen into place to throw their axes at the cannons...and completely forgot to even shoot. D'oh. Another nickel in the Stupidity Fund.

Close combat; On the left, my Marauders roll 3 "ones" and a "two", whiffing completely. The Miners strike back, hit twice...and roll double ones. No wounds either side, I have a whopping +6 win, he needs a 3 or below....and stands. Oops...

On the right, it went better. My mighty frenzied Chaos Lord could only muster 2 wounds, both of which were saved. At least the horse got a wound through...and the thane wounded me back. Grr.

The Knights, the mighty Knights, could only muster 2 wounds in about 10 attacks, and only one went through. At least the Dragon Ogres were good, killing 4. He fails his break test, runs into my Marauder Horsemen and is wiped out; the Organ Gun, on a 9, fails their panic test, and breaks. The Hammerers, on a 9, fail their test, and break. Had I not also run into the Marauders, they would have been wiped out. As it was, they lived.

The Shaggoth kills 3 slayers, they do not even get to attack back...BUT THEY DO THEIR JOB. They hold him in position. Being unbreakable, they keep him from rampaging into his other thunderers.

Dwarf Turn 2
The fleeing Thunderers recover. The fleeing Organ Gunners, 1/8" from table edge, recover. The fleeing Hammerers also rally. Clean sweep.

His second unit of Miners failed to arrive, he set up his rangers to charge my Marauders, and time to shoot...though not much shooting left.

First, the cannon....which promptly mis-fires. Then his thunderers manage to kill 5 warhounds this turn.

On the left flank, it goes better for me. THe Great Weapons of the Marauders bite into the Miners, hitting 5 times but only 2 die. Still, it is enough...he breaks, hits his slayers and thus escapes. I hit the Slayers and get the charge on them.

Over on the right, his other Slayers manage to wound the Shaggoth who kills 2 more in return.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 3

I keep advancing up the middle with my Chaos Warriors, though it is obvious by now they will probably never see combat. The Chariot charges into his Rangers. It was a close decision to go Rangers or Slayers, but I actually thought the Marauders could kill the Slayers without help and I needed to hold up the Rangers.

Meanwhile, the rough ground and Marauder horsemen mean my Knights have a wasted turn.

The Chariot is magnificent, doing 3 Impact hits (2 being the minimum it could do...) and the crew killing another 3. Yet somehow he passes his test and now I am in trouble.

Worse, the Marauders show me they are really Marauders, not decent troops. The Champ, in a challenge with the Slayer champ, gets off just one wound, the other Marauders kill nada. He kills 4 Marauders in return and it occurs to me...I am in DEEP trouble over there.

It goes better on the right where the Shaggoth kills 2 more Slayers without taking any more damage.

Dwarf Turn 3

His fleeing Miners rally. Each Thunderer volley slays a single Chaos Warrior. His Slayers kill 5 Marauders . My Chariot kills 2 rangers, the horse kills another, and my Champ yet another.

Ironically, his crewmen from the Organ Gun...which never did anything...got a charge (yes, I am blushing...getting my Fast Cavalry charged in the back by Dwarfs is about as humiliating as it gets...especially since I AGAIN forgot to throw their axes) hit my Marauder horseman, killed one, I break and flee and am destroyed. Yes, the Organ Gun crew did more damage than the gun itself.

His Slayers put another wound on the Shaggoth, who kills one back. On the bright side, that was the last Slayer. Free! And his Thunderers are lined up where I can charge next turn...

Warriors of Chaos Turn 4

Finally! My Chaos Warriors, each unit charges a unit of Thunderers. My Shaggoth charges another. The Knights flank the ones in rough ground.

I mis-calculate, thinking my Wizard has 4 attacks, charges the Organ Gun crew.

For a change, I remember to shoot with my last 5 Marauder Horsemen...and miss 4 of the 5, doing 0 wounds.

His stand and shoot against the Warriors goes better, killing 2.

On the left flank, his Slayer champ does nothing, but the regular guys put down 3 more Marauders. I somehow manage to kill one last slayer. The Chariot and horses finish off the Rangers.

The Chaos Warriors then show the difference between Chaos Warriors and Chaos Marauders, doing a whopping 11 wounds to the Dwarf Thunderers, completely wiping them out. The Gyrocopter breaks, I over-run and hit the cannon.

My Wizard gets off 2 hits, but cannot wound...is outnumbered...breaks and flees. Whatever.

The Knights kill 2 Thunderers, they break, flee, I overrun.

The Dragon Ogres hit the Dwarf Warriors again, kill 5, they flee, hit another combat, and die.

Shaggy kills 4 Thunderers. They are ranked, outnumber...and pass their test.

This turn was pretty cool with lots of spectacular combats....and it pretty much shattered what was left of his army.

Dwarf Turn 4

His last unit of Miners arrives.

His rallied Miners flank charge the Chaos Warriors.

On the left 3 more Marauders die but kill a Slayer in return. I need a 3 to stay...and get it!

In the center, the cannoneers hit the horsemen 3 times, killing one and one dying in return.

The Knights, in battle with the Hammerers, see a challenge; Word of Agony whiffs but Mithridateshits 3 times, but only 1 goes through, the horse sees both wounds he inflicts saved...I save the only wound his Thanes does back.

However, the BSB, champ, and Knights manage to kill 9 more, the Hammerers break and flee...

Warriors of Chaos Turn 5

My Sorcerer JUST rallies, I charge the Chariot into the Miners, the Knights are about to charge, we look at it...this game is done. The Dwarfs have little to nothing left.

Mopping Up

Looking back, the army build for the Dwarfs was pretty close to right. They had the capability to handle almost anything AGAINST AN ARMY THAT CAME TO THEM.

It was a horrid build if facing say...Wood Elf, High Elf, Dark Elf shooting armies, Lizardman Skink/magic army, etc.

So for what it was intended, it was brilliant.

It is somewhat unfortunate the terrain did not allow the preferred combats, but there were still some pretty cool ones. Lots of blood all around.

Watching his cannons and organ guns do a combined 5 Marauder Horsemen damage...all in close combat after the Organ Gun was destroyed...was pretty funny. Watching the Slayers go nuts on everyone they faced was pretty cool too.

Overall, pretty fun game with some interesting stuff.

No comments: