Saturday, February 5, 2011

Watchtower Battle, High Elf versus Lizardmen

As a general rule when playing wargames, I have gone with armies that fit my tactical acumen. Typically that means mobile, hard-hitting, rugged warriors.

Space marines in 40K. Bretonnians, Warriors of Chaos in Warhammer.

From time to time I branch 40K I used to be developing an Eldar army. Man how I loved the Warp Spiders. Great fun to play with. I loved some of the stunts I could pull off with them.

In Warhammer, I have experimented with Wood Elf, Orc and Goblin, Dwarf, Chaos Dwarf, and Lizardmen armies, but pretty much always come back to the WoC. Except for their lack of shooting, they are the perfect army for me. My preferred tactics work well with them.

Too well. I end up becoming rather predictable. By the time the second or third unit for each side has been set up, I more or less know when and where combat will be joined. I know what I want to happen and am able to get the guys I want to the place I want.

It does not ALWAYS work...but the percentages are with me.

So I wanted a more flexible army that fought in a different style.

So not too long ago I painted up most of a High Elf army and a month or so ago my brother and I started a 1k game between my High Elf and his Lizardman army.

When we first started playing warhammer Fullur was struggling. Tactics eluded him a bit, he struggled with force composition...but he kept using the same race and has progressively gotten better and better to where now he is likely to win any game he starts to play. His recent record has been among the top records in our group. This is something I am ecstatic about...

Anyhow, we rolled up the Watchtower scenario and I won the right to place a unit in there. Unfortunately, poor army building meant the unit I WANTED to put in Lothern Sea Guard...was too large. So I put nothing in instead.

I deployed to get as much shooting at him as possible while he deployed to get his Skink block at the tower quickly with the Saurus coming up behind.

We played the first few turns a couple months ago, so memory might be hazy, but what I recall is

He killed 3 of my Dragon Princes with his Razordon. I tried to bring them back with regrowth, not realizing I only got 1 per 2 when I rolled a 3, I only brought back one. They were slain by the kroxigor the next turn.

Meanwhile, his skinks got into the tower. But the next turn my Swordmasters charged in. This just in; elite High Elf Always Strike First with superior weapon skill, re-rolls to hit and needing 2s to kill versus...well...skinks...just might be a mis-match.

It was one of those epic charges I love so much about fantasy battle. Fortunately for me, I was on the right side of it. I do not think his skinks even got to swing back before they were mowed down and I took the tower.

This allowed my Wizard Lord to hurl Purple Sun at his Saurus block, killing just 5 or 6, but enough to force a break test...which, amazingly he failed, but only ran 4". Next turn he somehow failed to rally...and again fled just 4".

Meanwhile, his Carnosaur riding Scar-vet charged into my big block of seaguard. I challenged with my champ, he killed him with a few points of overkill, my ranks & banner won the combat.

Over the next few turns this combat would get more and more involved as my Eagle charged the back of his Carnosaur, his Terradons charged the rear of my eagle, his Kroxigor unit tried to reach the combat. Failed its charge, my Repeater Bolt Thrower

Each turn he would kill my champ, on my turn I would get my champ back with a successful Life was a real meatgrinder.

Back at the watchtower his salamander ate its handlers and got the result where it just shoots at the nearest enemy every Swordmasters in the building.

All game I had avoided shooting at his Engine because I did not want to remind him it could use Burning Alignment. Instead I shot his kroxigor unit, whittling them down to 1 krox. He was wheeling another skink unit through the forest to get at my Repeater bolt thrower.

Finally his krox made it into the combat. I actually did a wound with my spearmen, my eagle killed his last terradon, he whiffed his attacks. Then he remembered his killed a Sea guard...and by that thin a margin, his Carnosaur stayed in the fight. Without that one extra wound he would have broken.

His Krox did break. By now, however, the Skinks were into my Bolt thrower and now he started using burning alignment.

Then came the fateful moment.

He cast Chain Lightning at my Swordmasters. He was using a level 2 and rolled poorly. I used my Level 4 and the same number of dice...and failed to block it.

It did several casualties.I then rolled under his total, so he got harmonic convergence off on his carnosaur.

Then Burning alignment hit hard. Then the Salamander ripped mighty gashes through others. I was left with just 2 Swordmasters and my level 4...having started the turn with 9 or 10 Swordmasters and the level 4.

He killed my champ with his carnosaur.

My turn; I tried regrowth with most of my power dice...and rolled poorly. He dispelled it. I used the last of my dice trying the transformation of kadon...and he dispelled it.

For all intents and purposes, it now came down to me hoping to roll a 5+ at the end of the turn to end the game.

In close combat his skinks finished off my warmachine crew. Harmonic convergence was cast with irresistible. He took a s10 hit...and rolled a 1. Ha ha ha ha nice! But then he failed the roll to keep his wizard around and died anyway.

We were not sure if Harmonic stayed in play after caster died, so we ruled it did. (It was a typical Starving Crazed Weasels rules discussion; he argued it did not since that would favor me and I ruled it did since it would favor him. Since I am bigger, older, and my flatulence reaks worse...I won the debate.)

It then made it so all his carnosaur/veteran attacks hit...and meant any that failed to wound would get a reroll. He tore a mighty hole through my Sea guard. Still, I was steadfast...oops. Broke. Got run down.

I was now down to 3 Sowrdmasters and a Wizard against a Kroxogor, a Scar-vet on Carnosaur, 15ish Saurus, 10 or so skinks, a salamander...

Yeah, so...I rolled a 2 and the game continued.

He charged in with his Saurus, killed me, and for the first time I can remember I got tabled.

I have come close twice against the dark elves, but each time had a couple irrelevant models left. This...this was devastation.

The thing is, the game completely turned on turn 4 when all his magic went off and mine all got stuffed...but I lost the game earlier than that.

Plain and simple, I got out-played.

I know WHY I put the Swordmasters in the tower...their S5 could hurt the Saurus I expected him to attack with. The S3 Sea Guard? Not so much.

BUT I needed to stick my largest, most resilient unit in the tower. that would be the Sea Guard. Instead I tied them down in a pointless battle they had little chance in. Basically they needed to get the Carnosaur to fail a LD8 check on 3 dice...a highly unlikely occurrence. Sure, I won combat after combat...but I was using my resources improperly.

Meanwhile, he concentrated more than sufficient force at the only place it mattered...the building. Even if I got lucky against his Scar distracted me from defending the tower.

His use of magic was outstanding. Mine? Not so much. I should have done regrowth a turn earlier, concentrated on buffs instead of Purple Sun...or even gone the Transformation route to kill his Carnosaur/Scar vet thus allowing my Sea Guard to help out around the tower.

I got outmaneuvered, out-strategized, and just generally outplayed.

That meant when just a couple small things did not go perfectly for me, I had no chance to recover. He, meanwhile, when things went wrong (Saurus breaking twice without seeing combat, his handlers getting eaten, his Kroxigor failing a charge and then breaking) had the right troops in the right location so those failures did not matter.

Well done, Fullur. I look forward to our next game!

1 comment:

John said...

Enjoyable report - Watchtowers a fun scenario. Good to see you back posting again :)