Saturday, April 28, 2012

1k Orcs & Goblins v 1k Empire

Welcome, stranger. You come to hear how the Orc band of

You might wonder why I, the once-respected chronicler of the Bretonnia Empire have been reduced from the noble halls of my forefathers to chronicling the crass, brutal ways of a small, nigh-irrelevant tribe of orcs rather than toasting the noble deeds of mighty knights.

I myself cannot answer tha question. Perhaps it hearkens back to a drinking session at court. A beautiful maiden that rumor held to be closely related to the King was visiting. Those of us unmarried and hopeful of a prosperous match were taking turns trying to impress her.

As the night waxed late the ale flowed freely and the lies even more so. Libations removed inhibitions and loosened tongues as we began trying to tell stories of our personal might and valor that eclipsed those of our rivals for her affection.

It is possible our stories verged beyond the realm of truth into the impossible. Noble after noble rose to his feet to tell tales of triumph and chivalry against ever more impossible odds. Each story grew more fantastic until, in my turn, I told a tale of defeating hordes of enemies single-handed.

So tall had grown the prior tales that mine, and my hubris, led to an attempt to eclipse them all by including all manner of foes ranged against me and a battle won against impossible odds such that none other might rise after me and put my deeds to shame with a greater tale.

As I wove my story I defeated goblins, trolls, orcs, beastmen, and even managed to best three doombulls in a final confrontation.

The passion with which I wove the story combined with the potent ale to end my nigt in ignominous fashion as I pitched forward in a stupor.

 I awoke from my sleep to find myself  facing a fell wizard. Though I saw not his lips move, yet I knew his intent. As punishment for my extravagant boasting, I was cursed to wander the world telling tales of those truly heroic in battle.

And so have I been. I never know when I will next be swept away to appear in the camp of some battle about to be commenced. At times I take on the appearance, mannerisms and sppech patterns of those I join. At others I retain my own sensibilities.

I feel as if there is a mystical force protecting me. Perhaps I am doomed to this existence forever. Or perhaps I can find peace when I am able to atone for my verbal indiscretions. I know not.

What I do know is I found myself in the camp of Alaric, a minor Orcish chieftain. As is their way, he loved to fight. He sought ways to be involved in more battles. The prior chieftain, whose name I never learned, had just died in single combat with Alaric for his failure to find enough enemies to fight.

Fresh off this, Alaric actually concocted a rather clever plan. The nearby plains were known to have a shrine held in high esteem by the forces of the Empire. Should they hear the Orcs were defiling it, they would doubtless come forth to fight over it.

Alaric donned the warpaint he and his band are so fond of and headed off to desecrate the shrine. His plan worked to perfection as a vainglorious captain of the Empire called Fetterman chanced to be nearby. Hearing of the approaching orc band, he formed a battle line.

I should grieve over his battle plan. On some level I know this, yet I find myself instead entering a sympathetic state with Alaric.

Fetterman anchored his battleline with the left flank of his greatswords against the chapel, the shrine just ahead of them. To allow his handgunners line of sight, he spread them out on the right flank, but this forced his flank protecting detachment swordsmen to stand behind, rather than beside the greatswords.

Furthermore, he put his knights in the center of his line, in front of the greatswords.

On his left flank  he anchored his archers against the building with their detachments again behind them. And on his extreme left he put the fearsome Helblaster Volley Gun.

Thus his deployment left his flanks vulnerable to fast moving Orcs who, should they be willing to risk the foreboding forests, could approach rather close without giving his missiles time to fire while his centre was quite crowded.

Alaric, meanwhile, ordered his Shaman Suevi to the far left flank, placed his boar-riding wild orcs on the left with that forest protecting their right flank. He protected the left flank of his foot-slogging band of orcs with the forest and put his fast moving chariot on his right. He and his lucky standard bearer, the ferocious Ariamir joined the orcs on foot.

As soon as the orcs go within range Fetterman began moving his forces forward. The archers on his left advanced to get a better firing position. His knights and Greatswords advanced and then the battle began in earnest as the volley gun blasted forth almost simultaneously with the handgunners on the right.

As smoke roiled over the flanks of he battlefield, the orc chariot disappeared in an explosion of iron, wood and orc as the volley gun shredded it in one go.
he flight of arrows seemed impressive, but killed just one of the foot Orcs who were heard to knowingly cackle about how "good my warpaint protects me".

Apparently the warpaint on the Boar-riders was not so good as two of them fell to the black-powder weapons.

Paying no attention to their falling brethren, the orc army surged forward. The Savage Orcs smashed into the knights as the Boar Boyz equivocated a bit, starting to charge the knights before slowing and aimlessly milling around.

Suevi eyed the greatswords and summoned the might of his magic, bringing the foot of Gork smashing down on them, slaying three.

As the combat commenced, Alaric saw most of his efforts blunted by the mighty armor of the knights, yet still felled one. At his side Ariamir proved he was more than just a good luck charm as he slew three knights single-handed.

Seeing himself alone and with not a single Orc having fallen to the mighty knights, the remaining knight took to his heels.

Startled by the ease of their initial victory, the orcs chased him for just a handful of steps before suddenly pausing.

Now it was Fetterman's turn to charge as he led his Greatswords and one detachment of swordsmen in a charge against the fierce unit that had just shattered his knights.

I have much to say about Fettermans' lack of skill in deployment but nought but good to sa of his courage for that was indeed a courageous maneuver and upon it the entire battle would hinge.

The handgunners had reloaded and their guns took down two more Boar riders as the archers advanced around the shrine, one dtachment garrisoning the building. The mighty volley gun was silent as it had no targets, so the crew began shifting it to better position.

Alaric went after Fetterman himself who would have died but for the strength of his armor. As it was, he reeled from the blows and blood poured forth from him.

Again Ariamir proved his skill as even the mighty plate armor of the great swords could not keep him from killing two of them. This time the rank and file proved effective, killing or badly wounding another 6 Greatswords to the loss of but 4 of their own.

The carnage proved to be too much for Fetterman. He began to flee. Seeing their mighty greatswords slain or fleeing, the remaining Empire forces took to their heels.

This indeed ended the battle. The orcs held the field covered in human blood and orcish glory. And so began the rise to power of Alaric, Ariamir and Suevi.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Warhammer; 1000 Beastmen v. Tomb Kings

Click on the pictures to see the parts cut out by the post margins....

Well, as you can tell from post links...been a while. Close to a year since I have played. A lot of things have gotten in the way, but I still love the game. Chance came up to play my brother Fixed Dice. We elected to take...lower tier armies, lets say.

Battle report below a line of asterisks, the rest is all preliminary stuff about thoughts  on army building, etc.

His preferred army is the Dark Elf and mine is the Warriors of Chaos. I would argue we play those choices rather well, knowing the ins and outs of what works for the respective choices within our play group.

This time he would be playing his secondary army, the Tomb Kings and I would be playing my secondary army, the Beastmen.

At 1000 points it is tough to fit much in. The Beastmen the way I play them revolve around a horde of Gor buffed with Wyssans Wildform and beast banner to become a tough, hard hitting instrument of death and destruction.

Unfortunately, at 1000 points I cannot fit in my level 4, Herdstone, and barrage of level 1's giving me free power dice. So I looked to a Doombull...and that was too many points.

Nor could I fit in all 5 minotaurs I have painted.

So I started with a Beastlord with Crown of Command and, at the last second, through on the Brass Cleaver. This gave me a LD 9 stubborn general who could dish out several high weapon skill, high strength attacks.

Next I went with a Wargor for my BSB, gave him the ubiquitous Beast Banner, and planted them both in the Gor unit which ended at 29 Gor. So I had above average strength and WS, each front line guy dishing out 3 attacks...well, okay, 2 guys were dishing out 3 (extra hand weapon and the Frenzy offered by the Wargor), 2 were dishing out 4 and one was dishing between 5 and 8. So I had potentially 19-23 attacks S4 or better. That is a pretty stout unit.

4 Minotaurs and, to give me the requisite 3 units, I threw together a 30 point Ungor unit. This was pointless, as Ungor have a 16" range with a low strength bow. They figure to hit less and a third of the time and wound less than half the time they hit. So IF they shot 5 times 6 turns, they figure to hit ten times and wound 5 or less. They are unlikely to shoot more than once or twice so they are the epitome of throw-away points. Honestly, they are something I would normally never take.

Fixed Dice showed up with 2 20 strong and one 21 strong unit of skeletons, 3 chariots, and a  Necrophinx (sic) backed by a level 4.

Just looking at his army I thought I was in trouble. I assumed the skeletons had bows and I knew I would struggle against the sphinx and against his Hierophant's magic. I had to get across the table fast and hit hard when I got there.

We rolled for scenario, got battle for the pass, and, in a rarity, ignored it. Re-roll produced Dawn Deployment. I won the roll and set up first. I rolled both the gor and Minotaur units in the center and the Ungor to the right. As it turns out, I put them where I would have put everything anyway except the Ungor who would have gone behind the fence to my left. As it was, my Gor unit anchored its flank against a building, the Minos against a fence, and a forest directly ahead would give me time to redeploy if he out-deployed me.

He then set u his three skeleton units on my behind a fence, one behind the forest, the other opposite my Gor. His Chariots went on the right (all directions as I look at it) and his Necrosphinx anchored the right side of the line.

So as I looked at it, his best unit was looking at my weakest unit, his center could hit both my units that mattered head on, and he could flank me with his guys on my left flank.

Meanwhile, he could sit back and shoot at me, softening me up as I crossed the field and magicing me to death to boot if he had direct damage spells. Advantage; Tomb Kings.

He failed to seize the initiative and I thought about it for a bit. I figured he should go first, but then thought that might give him an extra turn of magic and shooting. I decided to take the turn and charge ahead full speed.

I wanted the charge with my minotaurs. For some inexplicable reason, I therefore moved my Gor less than I could. I parked 13" from him, figuring he would need an 8 to reach and therefore probably fail. My Ungor advanced in a vain attempt to prevent his necrosphinx from charging my gor in the flank in combination, and my minos advanced and angled to countercharge his skeletons if they hit me in front of the Gor.

Tomb King Turn 1
He revealed the one small flaw in my otherwise brilliant plan for world domination. He had a different plan than I did. His skeletons (as I now knew) had no bows...and he had no intention of advancing. He tried to charge the Ungor with his Necrosphinx. I was able, thanks to my nearby banner, to stand and shoot...and hit twice, wounding him once. He did not save. He did, however, fail the charge.

Wow, the useless Ungor I took by desperation and did not want have wounded THE nastiest model on the table. I apologize, Ungor. Well done.

Meanwhile, he rolls a 5 and 4 for magic, then channels, giving him 10 power dice to my 5 dispel...and he being a level 4...this could be painful.

He casts righteous smiting on his entire army (healing his Necro...grr...), and the additional attacks mean his bowfire gets 4 hits, but only one Gor dies.

Beastmen Turn 2
I move forward to get into charge range. My Ungor look to see if they can protect the Gor flank from the necro. Not really but they advance, fire their bows...and wound his chariots twice. They have demolished my super low expectations, already outperforming the most optimistic expectations anyone could ever have for them, dealing out 3 wounds to tough opponents.

Tomb King Turn 2

His Necro needs snake-eyes to hit the Ungor this time. His Chariots charge the Gor front. The theory is the Necro will wipe out the Ungor, flank the Gor, get to fight twice and with his Chariot impact hits, Sphinx, and regular attacks, he will do LOTS of damage to my Gor unit.

Again my Ungor outperform themselves, hitting just once with their stand and shoot...but that one wounds. Yep, the Ungor have now put two wounds apiece on the necrosphinx and his chariots. Best 30 points I have ever spent.

At this point I am pinning my hopes on the Gor takg all that punishment, passing my stubborn 9 break test, and the minotaur swinging the battle in my favor by smurf-slapping (Minotaur-slapping?) his Chariots in the flank next turn.

Things grow bleaker when he rolls 6 for power dice and again channels. His righteous smiting goes off irreversibly.

An so the chariots and Necro are back to full strength, in the key turn of combat he has extra attacks for all concerned...

The silver lining is he got Calamitous something or other, does a wound to his Hierophant and "kills" 4 skeletons (he regenerated 2 of the 6 wounds). So even though my awesome Ungor have done the more impressive wounds, at this point he only actual damage done to him has been done by him, he got the charges he wanted and the game is about to tilt heavily in his favor.

My Ungor fight bravely, hitting him twice, but failing to wound. Oh, well, they had a good run. He has 6 attacks, can hit just twice. 2 dead Ungor. Disappointing, but irrelevant...I will be running almost certainly. His Thunderstomp then rolls a pedestrian 2, killing 2 more. One Ungor left.

Who promptly rolls a 3. With my nearby Beastlord, I lost by 5 and need a 4 to stick around. His poor rolling starts to unravel his plan at the seams. There is no way that Ungor should have lived, much less held him up.

His chariots start to make up for it, doing a whopping 12 impact hits. 7 Gor make their way to the graveyard. He is going to win this combat anyway...

I have higher initiative so go first.

Beastlor opens up a can of whoop-smurf on their candy smurfs. He hits 6 times, 5 of them being wounds that go through, finishing off one chariot and leaving a second with just one wound.

The Wargor hits 3 more times, but does just 1 wound. Still, he is already down to one chariot.

The Gor get ridiculous; mustering 11 attacks, 10 of them hit. They then make up for this great success by dealing just 3 wounds...but that is enough to finish off his chariot.

I then roll insane courage...which means my over-run is a whopping 2". Oops.

Still, what could...and possibly SHOULD...have been a disastrous turn for me turned into a disastrous turn for him. The Ungor standing left my Gor free to try to rampage through his skeletons while the Sphinx was occupied by 30 points.

Beastmen Turn 3
The minos want to charge his middle skeletons that are hiding the Hierophant, but awkward angles make it too tough, so they charge the guys behind the fence instead. The Gor charge the skeletons straight ahead.

For the first time ever, my Minos get their impact hits. It helps as they put down three bundles of bones. The obstacle lowers me by 4 potential hits...but I still wound 7 more skeletons.

He then hits back with 8 successful strikes and 3 wounds. Armor save of 5+; no saves. Parry save of 6+ I roll 5, 6, 6. 2 saves. I then hit with all three stomps, his remaining skeletons crumble and I advance 4" with Bloodgreed.

Meanwhile, the Gor kill 7 skels, the Beastlor dedicates 2 attacks to the champ, wounding once and killing him, and getting 3 rank and file. The Wargor chips in a couple wounds. He kills 3 gor in return and crumbles. I again advance something like 4". I just cannot overrun. Grr.

His Sphinx finally kills the final Ungor, but that unit MORE than did its job. Even though he healed every wound they did, that unit occupied his Sphinx for 3 full turns. Go Ungor!
Tomb King 3
His Necro charges the Gor rear. He thinks for a long time about what to do; charge with the skeletons in support or no. Ultimately he wants to A) keep his Hierophant out of the combat (wise decision probably; my Beastlord would have been rht there trying to kill him) and B) not give me the easy combat resolution, as we both just saw the Gor rip through him by a (Wargor and Beastlord aided) 14-3 margin. He refuses to charge with them.

He then rolls 3 for Winds...they failed him at the key moment. A power-stone aided Cursed Blades makes his Necrosphinx potentially even more deadly, though.

I "make way" with my heroes, a potentially risky enhanced Killing Blow could do a lot of harm to my cause. But with no Wyssans Wildform or other boost, the Gor do not seem like much of a threat.

The Beastlord does okay, hitting just 3 times, but all three go through for wounds. The Wargor hits twice but cannot wound and the Gor cannot wound.

He tries the super slay on the Wargor, hitting him but then rolling a 1 to wound. He attacks my general with the rest but only one hit...and that one is poison, denying him the chance to killing blow, and needing a 6 to save, I do so...he crumbles to resolution.

Beastmen 4
I reform both he mionotaur and the Gor to face his last remaining skeleton unit. It is just mopping up at this point; if his chariots and necrosphinx could only take off 11 Gor and 5 Ungor and his other unit of skeletons could only put one wound on the minotaurs, he stood little to no chance against the inevitable combined charge.

Tomb King Turn 4
He starts to move, then says, "I am just trying to avoid and survive at this point."
"Want to call it?" I ask.
"Sure," he says and I agree. All that is left is seeing if he can run 8" per turn between regular and magic movement and if I can catch him before the end of turn 6.

Mopping up
So what happened here?

First off, he remembered construction rules wrong. He thought he had to have 50% core points. As a result, he built and army where he had no intention of ever using half of it.

Second, his Necrosphinx woefully underperformed. While it did have the only success he experienced, taking 3 turns to kill 5 Ungor whilst taking 2 wounds in the process is...ridiculous.

As a result, he really had no way of actually damaging me. Maybe if he had somehow gotten two skeleton units to simultaneously charge the Gor and had a very fortuitous combat round he MIGHT have won that combat...but that would have counted on me A) being a complete tool with my Minotaurs to allow that, B) failing a re-rolled LD 9 stubborn test to flee IF he even managed to win the combat...which, without help from Chariot impact or Necrosphinx Thunderstomp and power attacks was not going to happen.

Meanwhile, he had no direct damage spells, so although his magic phases helped by giving him a few extra attacks and healing numerous was a factor but not a game-changer.

Meanwhile, my Brass-Cleaver, Frenzy-fueled and Banner of the Beasts aided Beastlord ran around making Chaos Lords look wimpy, tearing up everything in sight almost single-handedly. The minos melted an entire unit of skeletons in a good defensive position in one turn. The Ungor looked like a real tarpit unit.

Everything went very, very right for me and it resulted in a surprisingly easy win.

After the game we talked for a while about the Tomb Kings.

I pointed out that with the Beastmen, I knew their effective range of zero inches, if you breathe on them they die...but I also knew their strengths. Decent toughness, an ability to put out large numbers of decent strength attacks. I knew what they needed to do to win.

What do Tomb Kings need to do to win?

The upshot is...we found some things that MIGHT work, but they rely on A) having lots of points and B) EVERYTHING going right.

In other words, when I look at the Tomb Kings book, one word comes to

And that is in comparison to the Beastmen, typically regarded as one of the lowest-regarded books out there.

On the bright side, he enjoys playing them, so we will hopefully get in a few more games with and against them...though none with a power house like the Warriors of Chaos.

And now time for the traditional "We survived" Group Photo.