I had certain ideas about how it would go. I hoped to weight things slightly towards the underdogs (any force outnumbered/outpointed by whoever it was facing would receive a minimum 6+ Ward, stuff like that) but still figured the 2 dominant forces would be the Warriors of Chaos and Dwarfs...not necessarily in that order.
The first turn figured to be dominated by shooting. With the table so crowded, it would take a while for the Warriors of Chaos to bring their numerical superiority to bear.
Sure enough, the first turns required some sacrifices of troops and position to present opportunities for turn 3 or 4. They are having to physically obliterate every opponent because, outside of some goblins, NOBODY is running.
The Orcs and Goblins could have wreaked havoc if they had rolled higher, but having to endure Dwarf and High Elf shooting before they started, then getting waffled by High Elf charges really hindered them. Now they are cramped in and will find it difficult to get off the combo charges they desperately need.
On the bright side, the Fanatics have been wreaking havoc.
The High Elf Force was all but demolished in their first turn. Failing a restrain test meant their spearmen had to fight the Chosen on turn one instead of turn 2 which in turn forced the Dragon princes to charge in a desperate, all-or-nothing charge. If they could have somehow defeated the Chosen, it would have completely demolished the WoC battle plan on that flank and the Dwarf army might even have made a move to help as a form of self-preservation.
Instead, the only armored troops the High Elfs have are at the far end. If the Chariot can hold out for a round, they might rally and help there...but that flank is facing some powerful troops in their own right in the Giant and Troll.
The things that went really right were for two of the three weakest armies.
First off, Orc magic was unbelievable with fully 3 units attacked by the ongoing Gork spell, sweeping a unit into action in a favorable position, and just generally wreaking havoc.
Second, Wood Elf shooting did surprisingly well. On the one hand, over half the wounds they did were saved. On the other hand, they still caused 9 wounds with just a single round of shooting.
Turn 2 presents some tremendous tactical decisions, particularly for the Dwarfs.
Do they simply maintain their defensive position around the pyramid, counting on their shooting to whittle down enemy forces and the bonus Ward Save to keep them alive?
Or do they go aggressive:
- Charge the Marauder blocks in an attempt to keep the WoC army bottlenecked as long as possible.
- Swing the Slayers/Warriors who were facing the shattered High Elf army around to block off the WoC army?
- Conversely, swing the other way, make some charges, and try to rapidly wipe out the entire Orc and Goblin army, allowing them to reduce their fronts and concentrate more force but later on the WoC?
- Either way, they simply MUST move towards the Wood Elf army who otherwise will simply sit back and pick them off with bow-fire. The deadliest close combat Wood Elf troops are almost all occupied with WoC and Orcs and Goblins, so it might be a good opportunity.
The WoC will continue their blunt force trauma straight ahead advance, bringing pure power to bear everywhere.
The High Elfs might just try to form a small, tight defensive square and hope nobody notices them.
The Wood Elfs will keep shooting and counting on their shock troops to win that way.
But the Orcs and Goblins...ah, what a choice. Hide behind their wall as they slowly but surely lose a shooting war, then charge in once their bow-packing screen is dead? Or go all Waaaaagggghhh and charge in with true Orcy disregard for chance to win and good planning?
Oakheart Wylde looked grimly on the battlefield. The short men had chosen wisely...there were no trees for Wylde to hide his brethren in. The mighty Treemen and Treekin would be hampered by not having the strength of the forests to look upon.
He glared in anger as the strange men on his left flank sent a giant after his treeman and with hatred as the cackling squig hoppers moved towards his other flank.
He would prefer a different field. He would prefer not to be so far from his beloved Purewater Breezewalker. But that was what he wished. This was what was.
One gesture sent Wardancers, treekin, and Dryads to help their embattled brethren. A second unleashed massive flights of arrows. He could not worry now about what he wished...it was time to win the battle.
He smiled as he watched the skilled Glade Riders plunge ahead to block off the human horsemen. At pointblank range they unleashed their bows, slaying 40% of the hard-riding foes. A few Dwarf Warriors also fell under the skilled bow fire of his Waywatchers and Glade Guard but few...too few. Curse those Dwarfs and their stout armor. The Wardancers crashed into the battle alongside the mighty treeman. Their graceful moves entranced the deadly but stupid Squig Hoppers long enough for the Wardancers to cut down 5 of them.
However, the Treeman reeled momentarily as one Squig Hopper penetrated his defenses. Nevertheless, the strength of the Wood Elf charge was too much for the few remaining Squig Hoppers. They tried to flee but were run down.
Seeing the onrushing Wood Elfs, the Night Goblins released their deadliest weapons. With a maniacal chuckle, a Fanatic burst forth from their ranks, penetrating the thick bark that protected the treeman. It only slowed him momentarily, however, and the Treeman, pitch seeping through his bark, joined the powerful wardancers in assaulting the Night Goblin Spearmen. Oakheart smiled, knowing the devastation about to be unleashed on the greenskins and turned to see how his other flank was faring.
The smile disappeared as he saw the Treekin crash into the Chaos Knights. One Knight fell under the onslaught...but so too did a Treekin. Oakheart knew he needed a better return in that battle.
He saw one of his Dryads take a piece out of a cursed Chaos Spawn only to die from the riposte.
Then the giant swung his mighty club at the treeman guarding that flank. Oakheart's heart jumped into his throat...that blow could kill Jahn E Treemayne...but the mystic wards surrounding Jahn deflected the blow, and his own attack staggered the giant.
Alaquippa smiled as he gazed around the field. Surely, this would be the greatest Waaaaggghhhh ever assembled...just look at all the enemies there for him to defeat!
Pointy Ears to the left and right, stunties straight ahead, and beyond all that masses of humans, ogres...plenty of enemies. This battle would be regaled for all history. He would be the greatest warlord of all time.
Sitting Lightning sidled up, chewing the bone through his nose. "The Shrine of Mork is befouled by the pointy ears. We should cleanse it."
Alaquippa guffawed loudly, drawing the gaze of every orc and goblin near him. "I care not for some moldy old shrine. Look at the glory to be found before us!"
"Fine," snarled Sitting Lighting, "I shall see to it myself."
He turned to build an attack when the Dwarf line opened fire and the High Elf line moved forward.
Without waiting for Alaquippa to give orders, the greenskins swung into action. With a might roar, the giant and chariot roared off to rend squishy elf flesh apart.
Meanwhile, on the far flank, the irrepressible Squig Hoppers bounded forward, unmindful of the massive and deadly Treeman in their way. Alongside them, the spearmen rode up to heave their javelins at the Waywatchers nearby.
The orc and goblin shamans swung into action. The foot of Gork descended again and again, smashing apart an Organ Gun, denting the cannon next to it and killing a crewman, killing a handful of Dwarf Warriors.
The squeakier magic of the goblin shaman slew only a Dwarf Miner and for a moment silence descended over the battlefield...but then the hand of gork swooped down and swept forward a unit of Spearmen.
Startled, three maniacal fanatics sprung forth, wheeling their wild destructive path through the stoic Miners.
Close behind them, flung by the ghostly hand, the spearmen crashed into the Miners, the third wave of destruction to hit them in mere moments.
Alaquippa gazed from combat to combat, watching as the chariot took a dent and his Troll began bleeding as the Giant jumped up and down on a White Lion, squashing him to a pulp.
The spearmen struggled to wound the Miners, but the few attacks the Miners could do back did little more. For a moment the Miners wavered...the blast of magic, arrows, fanatics and Spearmen appearing to be too much. But then the Dwarf battle Standard stepped up and they remembered they were Dwarfs. There would be no running from goblin scum.
(The Dwarf gunline, reduced by 6 Thunderers and an Organ Gun)
1 Organ Gun & Crew
1 wound to cannon & 1 crewman dead
1 White Lion
1 Wound on the Treeman
2 Night Goblin Spearmen 1 wound apiece on the chariot and troll
Lord Aelna Rua stared grimfaces at the forces arrayed around the field. He had believed only he had learned what lay within the pyramid, but here were gathered mighty forces from across the globe.
He quickly began to regret bringing only a skeleton force. It would require shrewd planning to survive this battle. He turned to instruct his mages on how we wished them to use their magic when suddenly the Dwarf cannons and handguns roared too life.
Before he could react, warhounds were charging the flank. With the precision so drilled into them it was second nature, the spearmen swung around to repel the threat. He smiled at their precision and skill as they dispatched a few of the dogs...
And then frowned as they foolishly charged headlong into the elite ranks of infantry whose advance had been hidden by the reckless charge of the warhounds.
Before he could stop them, the Dragon princes wheeled and charged into the combat to support their brethren.
It horrified him even as pride flowed forth from him. That was why he had brought these Elves with him..their courage and togetherness.
That sense of pride only grew as he watched the Dragon Prince Champion bellow out a challenge which was promptly accepted. With all the skill at his command, the Dragon Prince cut down his foe.
The smile quickly faded as Aelna felt the line behind him move. Too late to stop it, he turned and saw the White Lion Chariot charge headlong into a unit of Dwarf Pirates and his own elite White Lions charge into some Night Goblin Spider riders.
He spun to his war machines, mages, and bowmen. "Fire! Fire! Fire!" he screamed.
His battle plan was already in shambles, but he would support his courageous warriors anyway.
Magic flashed forth, only to see enemy mages counter almost everything his own tried.
He watched helplessly as a massive bolt from his Eagle Claw bounced off the horrifying Shaggoth, but the other bolt thrower and the ranks of archers managed to fell 4 of the handguns that had taken such a toll on them moments before.
He turned back to see how his Dragon Princes were faring in time to see all of the Spearmen cut down. The Dragon Princes broke and ran, closely pursued by the Chosen warriors.
He was not sure if he was elated or terrified to see his well-disciplined archers swing in to intercept the Chosen, allowing the Dragon princes to escape, but it would doubtless mean the end of that unit. On the left, things went better as the Spider Riders died in droves and fled, allowing the White Lions to charge into the Troll behind them.
He hesitated briefly, debating what to do. Already outnumbered, his battle line had crumbled in the first seconds of the battle. Was there any way to bring order out of chaos and rescue the situation?
Varangia smiled. They were not the first to arrive. Though this meant a delay in his seizing of whatever artifact lay within the curious structure ahead, it meant he could indulge in his favorite pastime...war.
A gesture of his left hand saw that flank surge forward, led by the fierce looking but weak warhounds. They charged fearlessly into a wall of spears.
Varangia knew the spearmen would handily dispatch the dogs, but it mattered not...they were expendable. If they drew the elfs near his Chosen, it would be well worth the loss of a few dogs. In the center the mindless Forsaken committed to a suicide charge against a block of the Dwarf Warriors.
Varangia shrugged internally. That was not who he sought...surely, somewhere on this field full of warriors was an enemy worthy of his engaging in hand to hand combat from which he knew he would emerge victorious and covered in glory.
Off on the right he saw his Giant charge one of the fearsome treemen. he made a mental note to follow the progress of that battle. A treeman would suffice if no better target for his war-skills arose.
The mages to his left and right began their fierce chants. He smiled as he saw one of the hated cannons of the Dwarfs disappear in a spectacular burst of magic. He would respect Dwarfs if they had the courage to fight up close and personal at all times instead of hiding behind their missile weapons.
He watched dispassionately as the Forsaken slew 2 Dwarf Warriors and had one of their own number fall in return.
Off on the left the Spearmen slew 3 dogs and took no casualties in return. The dogs fled, as they had been trained to do. He watched carefully...if the Spearmen were disciplined, they would brace to receive the charge of his Chosen...but no, they chased after the bounding wardogs. He smiled as the plunged into the waiting arms of his Chosen. Soon, the left flank would be his.
With a roar of wings, the Gyrocopters took to the skies, searching for their best target. Ah, there...a realtively undefended rock lobber among the Orc lines. They flew over and unleashed their mighty steam cannons, but the machine appeared unharmed.
Meanwhile, the mighty Dwarf cannons roared to life. One cannon ball nearly decapitated a flying Wizard of the north, another tore through massed Glade Guard.
The thunder of the Dwarf Handguns joined the fray. Rigal nooded in satisfaction as saddles emptied, infantrymen crumpled, and lines wavered...then silence descended over the battlefield as the first offense ended.
Rigal gazed down from the crest of the pyramid, wondering what his gunfire had done.
Grimly, he counted the casualties. They spoke well of the accuracy and hitting power of his ranged weapons...but the fallen enemies were fewer than he would have liked.
He nodded to his standard bearer who advised the Dwarf lines to brace for impact.
RigalRocksplitter nodded his head in satisfaction. The map was correct...a large pyramid, no doubt left behind by the Old Ones, rose high above the desert floor.
How it had remained undiscovered for years despite being in the middle of open space mystified him, as did the lack of any growths.
Even more curious, a Goblin shrine was within easy walking distance of one side, and what appeared to be a Grudge pony statue eternally straining to move a coach was also in the clearing.
He shrugged and began ordering his men to set up camp. They had arrived too late in the day
to begin investigating the shrine.
With the patience inborn in every Dwarf, he knew tomorrow would be soon enough. With the ease of an old campaigner he began arranging his men in a defensive perimeter around the mighty pyramid.
His recently humbled twin Lagir objected. "Why do we have to cover all four corners? No one knows we are here."
Rigal allowed the contempt he felt for Lagir to bleed into his voice. "These type of things have a way of drawing attention to them self once they are discovered. Just because we are the first to arrive does not mean we shall be the only. Set the perimeter."
Wordlessly, Lagir moved off to relay Rigal's orders to the various captains. Soon the Dwarf army settled in for the night, leaving the watch to the misfortunate souls selected for sentry duty.
In the late hours, the prudence of Rigal showed through as the sound of thousands of footsteps and hoofbeats sounded from all directions, coming to a halt only a few hundred yards from where the Dwarfs were camped.
The stalwart dwarfs were unperturbed. Quickly they began to don armor, striving to be silent. They were silent...for Dwarves, that is. But silent for Dwarves rivals the most ferocious thunderstorm for din and it was soon obvious to the approaching armies they had been beaten to the prize.
Soon campfires flickered to life on every side of the pyramid and an uneasy silence descended as the various aspirants to possession of the pyramid waited for sunrise to reveal the situation.
As the first rays of light broke upon what would soon be a bloody field, he climbed to the apex of the pyramid.
South of the pyramid were hundreds of Orcs and Goblins. Rigal nodded speculatively. Surely they were drawn here by the mork Shrine.
To the north were vast hordes of Northmen...Marauders, Warriors of Chaos, the fearsome Knights, a few Dragon Ogres.
Even the typically fearless and stoic Rigal blanched as he saw the sheer number of Wizards. He knew from long experience how much carnage they could wreak.
Swiftly he did some mental arithmetic. Even if the Dwarfs could concentrate all their forces on the northmen, he did not have enough at his command to withstand the fearsome warriors...and though he knew he would break the Orcs and Goblins, he still had to devote forces to doing that.
Slowly he turned and looked to the West. There he received another surprise. Wood Elf armies seldom strayed far from their beloved forests, yet here was a force large enough to contain Treekin and even two of the massive, terrifying Treemen.
A quick glance to the East revealed yet more Elfs, these from the haughty, royal courts. He grimaced as again he say some of the powerful, High magic using mages the elves were famed for.
Slowly he shookhis head. If he could concentrate his forces on any one of these armies...any two outside the massive Chaotic army, he could lead his Dwarfs to victory. But surrounded on all four sides...things looked grim.
His best hope was clear. Somehow he needed to pit the enemy armies against each other. But how?
Anger was always near the surface with Rigal Rocksplitter, clan chief of the Hidden Caverns. When he heard of the defeat of a scouting party near the village of...he neither knew nor cared the name, come to think of it...by the pointy-eared, effeminate elves, it got his blood to boiling.
It also gave him an opportunity to show his superiority over his twin, Lagir Rocksplitter. Always the twins competed...for the affection of their parents, for pre-eminence among the dwarfs of the Hidden Caverns, for the respect of the longbeards.
And hearing that the pointy-ears still held the village where Lagir had met defeat brought a smile to his face. He would avenge the defeat suffered by the forces of the Hidden Caverns...and make Rigal look inept in the process.
He assembled his forces and marched forth to wreak his vengeance.
Lately I have been playing a lot of 1K games, most of them with forces set up to be deliberately underpowered. The beauty of it is..against armies built the same way, it results in incredibly fun, entertaining games WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THOSE GAMES.
At the same time, there is something missing...having no fliers, little to no magic, and using sub-par units almost exclusively takes a certain something away from the overall flavor of the game.
I think both types of games have a place...
Well, we had a day set up where Fixed Dice and Liam would face off over 3K of awesomeness, but Kev would have just a short time to play...so Fullur and I decided on a re-match of the game referenced in the flavor at the opening of this post. In retrospect, I think the first time we played I counted on him needing 5s to wound and me having 5+ saves or better to eliminate the need for tactics. This time, I set up a bit more strategically.
First, I won the choice of sides and took the more open side this time. Second, I lined up 20 Thunderers across to whittle down his forces a bit as he came across the field, then backed them up with the Grungi-runed Hammerers to provide a ward save against High Elf shooting. The Warriors angled to face his Knights where they were set up, and this time I set the Rangers further back into the forest.
The plan was simple: make him come to me (good Dwarf strategy), whittle down his numbers with S4 shooting, when he inevitably wiped out a unit of Thunderers, I would have Hammerers to withstand the charge and then wreck the pointy-eared close combat blocks.
Meanwhile, the Rangers would pseudo-march block his White Lions and hopefully evade them for the entire battle instead of letting him wipe them out in one spectacular charge.
I won the roll and...what? went FIRST? There is a nickel in the Stupidity Fund. For whatever reason I thought his archers had 30" range so I was going to march forward, then when he climbed the hill, I would get first shot.
Dwarf Turn 1 I moved the Rangers back 1-1/2" in the forest...yeah, that would be a fast move! :-) Then marched everything forward.
High Elf Turn 1 He pretty much followed my plan for him, bringing his Dragon princes around the left flank, advancing the Lothern Sea guard and Repeater bolt thrower on top of the hill, moving his White Lions towards the forest and marching his Spearmen forward.
Dwarf Turn 2 I retreated the Rangers another 1-1/2". I let fly with 20 thunderers and watched gleefully as something like 8 Spearmen went down. Ah, yes...this was dwarf-like!
time to take some casualties off the table!
High Elf Turn 2
And now my nefarious plan began to evidence. His Swordsmen were too far from me to see me in the forest due to the 2" rule...but had to stop 1" away. Slowness, they name is High Elfs...
However, he cleverly advanced his spearmen in such a way that only one unit of thunderers would be able to fire. Very crafty, young padawan.
His shooting began to tell, now, as a few Dwarf Thunderers fell to his Repeater Bolt Thrower and Sea Guard.
Dwarf Turn 3 I continued my stall on the right flank, advancing to the rear another 1-1/2" I also reformed my right-most Thunderers to face outside the forest. Perhaps I would be able to enfilade his White Lions in a turn or two...
I also set up my Hammerers, anticipating his Spearmen would break my Thunderers, but planning to flank charge them.
My shooting was point-blank but far less lethal.
High Elf Turn 3
For the briefest moment, Fullur thought he was using the Warriors of Chaos. His Spearmen and Dragon Princes charged the Thunderers and Dwarf Warriors respectively.
He began shooting down my Hammerers and I continued to fail save after save (in the entire game I successfully made I believe 2 of nearly 30 5+ save attempts...)
Close combat went better than expected. He failed to wound a single Thunderer...and in return I did him the courtesy of wounding not one spearmen. I broke to combat resolution and my ploy worked to perfection...he was stuck right in front of the deadly Hammerers.
The Dragon Princes did a couple wounds, but the rank bonuses and outnumbering allowed the warriors to survive the charge.
Dwarf Turn 4
Fullur once had a great line where he made a bizarre tactical decision but explained it by saying, "I did not want to get charged by Dwarfs..that would just be embarrassing."
Fullur...welcome to embarrassment. Not only did he get charged by Dwarfs...he got FLANK CHARGED by my Elite Hammerers. Bwoohahahah.
Another 1-1/2" strategic advance towards my base battle line by the Rangers, another re-form of the Thunderers to get maximum firepower in a turn or so, a successful rally by the thunderers, and it was time for combat.
First, I went with the Hammerers. He struck first, killing 2. Whatever.
I struck back with a fury, hitting 4 times. I needed "2"s to kill.
Yes, all four dice rolled less than a 2.
Frankly, this was among the most dis-heartening moments I have ever had in Warhammer.
Unlike what I often do with the Warriors of Chaos (or, for that matter, the Dwarfs), I did not just "point and shoot". I actually put thought into my plan, deployment, and maneuvers. I set up things to get the combats when and where I wanted them. I even planned for poor rolls so they would not matter.
And then they did anyway. One brutal, unbelievably bad roll put all my plans in danger of failing.
If the Hammerers broke I would not have enough forces to bring his Spearmen to bear, he could happily retreat and shoot me to death. And should, by the way. The game was his.
I do not mind losing in games where I plan poorly, either through list-building or simply playing point and click (strong units, charge. Everyone else, stand around showing off your paint job).
I do not mind when my opponent does something clever and/or outplays me.
I HATE losing to a 1 in 1296 chance when I am actually trying to garner some sort of draw or win. And frankly, I did not have a lot of confidence in the ability of the Warriors, without their full rank bonus and with a wound on my T6 Thane (from a horse, no less), to win against the Dragon Princes.
Now, do not get me wrong...I do not mind losing. In fact, I actually wish I lost a bit more than I do outside of campaign games. But I want it to be reasonable losing, not to ridiculous horrific rolls.
Nevertheless, all my bad feeling was lessened when the combat turned out to be a draw.
On to the Dragon Princes V. Warriors round 2.
This time I was more successful, slaying two of them (after making one of my rare successful saves), and he ran. I ran as well...and ended up an inch behind them.
High Elf Turn 4
he advanced his White lions, started shooting down my heretofore untouched Thunderers before his White Lions emerged from the forest, rallied his Dragon Princes, and he rolled his General behind my Thunderers.
I knew at this moment I could not touch his General in the game, and lost another Thunderer to his S5 shots, and time to go back to close combat.
Another draw between my elite Hammerers on his flank and his 2 guys fighting spearmen. Not good.
Dwarf Turn 5
Outside the forest, the Rangers made a full march move away from the forest. My Warriors charged his Dragon Princes, mostly so they would not get a strength bonus.
Yes, that is two successful charges by my Dwarfs this game :-).
This time, I did a couple casualties to his Spearmen, they finally broke. I also broke his Dragon Princes and followed them off the table.
High Elf Turn 5 Things looked grim. His White Lions finally emerged from the forest, right in front of the Dwarf gunline.
He rallied his Spearmen, then went to work again shooting everything...Repeater bolt Throwers, Sea Guard, and his General, at the gunline preparing to take down the White Lions. Sure enough, he got them down to just 5 men.
Dwarf Turn 6
I turned the Rangers to face the inevitable charge from his White Lions, charged and finished off his Spearmen, and brought the Warriors back on the table.
Then I shot down 3 of his Seaguard, but did just one casualty to his White Lions.
I broke and ran down his Spearmen, and now it was time to see if I could withstand a furious last second attack by the reeling High Elfs.
High Elf Turn 6
Sure enough, his White Lions charged my Rangers...only to lose one of their number to my Throwing Axes.
His furious shooting from RBT, Sea Guard, and general combined to finish off the Thunderers who had been waiting for his White Lions.
The Close Combat was intense. He had 7 attacks. I did not have the advantage I hoped for...my rank bonus and outnumbering were nearly offset by his War banner, so he only needed to do one casualty to tie the combat and 2 to have an excellent chance to win.
He did about 4, I could only do one back. The Rangers broke and the game was over.
The Survivor shot...from the winning side.
And there were some living pointy ears, as well.
In the end, it ended up being I think a Marginal Victory...and that was just about perfect.
This was a very entertaining game. There were moves and counter-moves. At one point he held off a charge I thought he was going to make because he wanted to break off his General from the Dragon Princes.
I was able to set up charges and counter charges, maneuver to get shots at units I wanted to shoot at.
He was very creative in a couple of maneuvers, such as his Spearmen wheel that invalidated half of my front line.
At one point, it looked like another High Elf victory, at another like a crushing defeat for them...but both of us seized the momentum back and in the final turn he pulled in enough points to turn it from probably a solid victory into a marginal.
I would love to see more games like this in play and outcome, regardless of size.
Overall, outside of one soul-crushing moment of discouragement, this was among the most entertaining games I have played in a while.
Rigal looked proudly at his force. The pointy-ears had fought better than he anticipated, but ultimately Rigal's forces held the field. He could not wait to get home and rub his success into the face of his brother.
"Sir, we fought for the village, should we not at least enter it?" asked his lieutenant.
Rigal shook his head. "Let the pointy ears have it. We have a victory feast to attend to."
He turned to go and his foot kicked loose a scroll trod under the hoofs of a Dragon Prince steed. He bent down an picked it up.
It unrolled quickly and easily. He gasped as he saw what it revealed. A smile lit up his face.
Even better than putting his brother to shame was what the map revealed...he instantly knew it for what it was. The path to untold wealth, power, and fame. This would make him the most powerful dwarf the world had ever known...
A bit of background. Lately I have been trying to build alternate armies...armies with more of the troops I find ineffective ion the context of the overall army.
An example would be Marauders. Yes, with light armor and Great Weapons they are way cheaper than a similar troop choice in say...an Empire army would be.
Unfortunately, without the artillery, archery, fliers, and other support, they are far less effective than troops that are almost unarguably inferior.
What I mean is...I would take the Marauder's stat line and abilities up against any Empire troop and feel good, yet my Marauders are cheaper. However, the Empire can whittle down my forces before we contact, a feature I am sadly lacking.
Also, my own army has better troops even for the cost...a single Chaos Warrior with Shield costs 1 point more than 3 marauders, but wins that combat almost every time.
Of course...when I am serious, I never take Chaos Warriors, either, because they are worthless in 7th edition.
They are too slow to catch the troops they can deal with and not rugged enough to take on the troops willing to let the Warriors catch them.
Sure, I will take Chaos Warriors 6 days a weak and thrice on Sundays over Saurus, Zombies, Ungors, or even Ogre Bulls....but the only time the Warriors get to fight in 7th is when Grail Knights smash them on the charge or Cold One riders run them down....
But I want to build an army with the worthless Chaos Warhounds, a block of Marauders, a block of Warriors...and play an army built to face them. So I made a series of 1K armies with a few ground rules.
- No more than 1 Elite Unit (except High Elves who are SUPPOSED to be elite). - no more than 20% of the points in heroes...and max one hero. - At least 2 blocks of foot sloggers
The idea was to have two armies look to engage their infantry and use cavalry as *gasp* support instead of as really the only effective tool some armies have.
Enter Space Monkey. He had a couple models he really wanted to get on the table since he had recently painted them.
So he put together his own 1K High Elf army, came on over, and the battle was on. I was going to play an Orc & Goblin army I had built but he wanted to face my WoC and...well...I have put more time, effort, and time and effort into the WoC than all my other armies combined, so yeah...it is on like Donkey Kong.
He specifically wanted to try out Cavalry and March-blockers. So I deliberately set up to be march blocked. From his perspective, looking at what was coming, here is what he saw from left to right:
5 Chaos Knights. Fast moving, tough, hard-hitting.
20+ Chaos Marauders; slow-moving, relatively soft, not overly hard hitting.
5 Chaos Marauder Horsemen; fast-moving, squishy, not very hard-hitting.
He protected his bolt thrower behind a stream, though it also limited the field of fire.
He placed his 5 Dragon Princes on that wing, then his Dragon Mage and Eagle-riding Noble, and finally his Lothern Sea Guard.
Warriors of Chaos Turn 1
I did not build this army for flexibility or tactics. I really had no way to deal with agile opponents...say, an Eagle or Dragon who could fly around. In fact, the army Space Monkey had taken is almost exactly what I face every time I decide to build an army like I want...
I had no way of catching the Dragon or Eagle, and even if I caught the Dragon I was likely to lose the combat...plus, between the Repeater bolt Thrower and the Dragon, there was a lot of "no armor saves allowed" stuff...
Then again, he already told me his goals. Experiment with march blocking and play with cavalry. Full speed ahead!
High Elf Turn 1 He advanced his Knights slightly, bounced his swordmasters up to get my Knights to charge them, and then burned down a couple Chaos Warriors with some magic. Oh, and shot down 2 of the Horsemen with his Sea Guard.
Warriors of Chaos Turn 2 His eagle march-blocked my Chaos Warriors, Marauders, and Horsemen....but he did not realizing march-blocking did not prevent charges.
From one standpoint, it is irrelevant whether I charge his Dragon Princes or they charge me...he gets to go first. However...if I charge them, I have a 1+ armor save. If he charges me it drops to 3+...so I would rather charge them.
My General headed off in the general direction of the dragon, hoping he would charge me, i would survive and maybe get a lucky wound through, then have him fail a T test and die. The Marauder horsemen moved to take a few throwing axe pot shots at the Eagle.
They whiffed completely, as expected.
Ah, the glorious cavalry-on-cavalry charge. Strength against strength. Robbed of his Lance strength bonus, he saw my Chaos Knights actually make their saves, while I did in two Dragon Princes in return...probably one more than I should have. But not out of line.
High Elf Turn 2
He debated for a while, then decided to charge the Warhounds with his swordmasters. I think we all know how this turned out...Chinese food for all! (I would apologize to those offended by that joke except...well...I think it is pretty funny and if you are offended by it...you obviously have not heard my "Mom's cremation" series.)
Knowing the wall of fire spell meant my Chaos Warriors probably would not move, he used his Dragon and Eagle both to march block the Marauders and I reminded him to use the dragon's breath.
A few Marauders fell to that, a few more to bow fire, and then his Repeater Bolt Thrower shot at the General and hit. I thought the S was 6, he thought 4, we flipped a coin, went with 4...I saved it.*
Meanwhile, his Swordmasters were pretty pathetic, only knocking off 3 Warhounds...still more than enough to break them. He rolled to re-strain...failed and charged into the front of the Chaos Warriors.
Meanwhile, his Knights saw their best efforts saved...but an Elven Steed slew a Chaos Knight. The angered Knights put down two Dragon princes, the last one broke, and I pursued.
Warriors of Chaos Turn 3
I wanted out of bowfire from that RBT, so my General and Knights all charged his Sea Guard. They shot at the General but could not hit, and I hit his flank with the Knights. The Warriors charged into the Swordmasters and the Horsemen again pelted the Eagle with an array of spitwads, germs, and incompetent shooting.
Chaos Knights and Exalted heroes against Lothern Sea Guard is a pretty good match-up for the WoC...and I pursued, over-ran, and was well away from that RBT.
The Swordmasters put down a couple of Chaos Warriors, but in return had four of their own die, the last one broke and fled. Since I had, instead of my typical khorne, gone slaanesh, I was able to restrain pursuit.
High Elf Turn 3
He was down to a Dragon Mage, Eagle, and Repeater Bolt Thrower. He made a wise choice and charged his Dragon Mage into my Marauder Horsemen. Due to slaanesh, they were able to stand...not that it would matter much.
With the Flaming Sword of Ruin, he easily dispatched the horsemen and over-ran. Fortunately, slaanesh meant no panic for the Marauders.
Warriors of Chaos Turn 4
At this point, for me the game was really over. I had no reason to subject myself to more Repeater Bolt thrower fire, I had no way of catching either the Eagle or Dragon, so time to hide behind hills and forests.
Not very brave or Chaos-y...but then again, I had intentionally prepared an army that could not fight stuff like this, then elected to face one because it was the type of army my opponent preferred over the lists I had built.
And honestly...if I had recently painted a dragon, I would want the same thing.
High Elf Capitulation...sort of...
With targets for only one turn, we decided to end it there. He had the results he was looking for.
For Space Monkey, the game was a rousing success. He saw the power of march blocking, cheap troops like Eagles, and got to use his Dragon in close combat.
For me, the game was a modified success. I loved the Knight v. Knight and Swordmaster v. Swordmaster combats (though the Knight one would have been slightly better had he charged up front)...but really wanted to go head to head Marauders versus Lothern Sea Guard.
Furthermore, the outcome was a bit lopsided. He got full points for the Horsemen, half points for the Warhounds and Exalted hero, while losing the Dragon princes, Swordsmen, and Sea Guard entirely.
nevertheless, it was a very entertaining game, and thus we posed for the classic "We survived the battle" photo op.
* Regarding the shot on the General. I actually did not think he had a line of sight because of the combats and positioning...but if he DID have line of sight, it SHOULD have been S6, no armor save, and D3 wounds...a potentially devastating hit.