Rather than getting on with any of my EEFL painting pledge this afternoon, when my daughter went down for her nap, I continued to procrastinate and instead dug out my dwarves to take an army shot and take stock of where I am at with them (similar to what I did with the Herd of Khazbar). So without further preamble…
Throng of Karak Silvertop
Lords and Thanes
Runelord and Runesmiths
Ungrim, Daemon and Dragon Slayers
Rank and File
So we’re looking at the following to be finished:
Josef Bugman (part-painted)
White Dwarf on shieldbearers (Bugman and Gotrek)
Master Engineer (part painted)
3 Runesmiths (1 part painted)
40 Miners (10 part painted)
2 Doom Seekers (part painted)
1 Grudge Thrower and 3 crew
1 Gyrobomber/coptor (will also be magnetised to switch)
So the tally stands at:
Edit: it works out to be around 10k of dwarves under 8th edition rules (but probably only 9k fielded legally and that is using the 50% lord/thane wits allowance).
After a particularly shit week at work I had been immensely looking forward to my whfb game when I then received an apologetic mail from my Friday night opponent who was ill. Annoyingly, although he emailed early in the day, I only picked it up late afternoon so was unable to book in another fantasy (or even 40k tryout) game so late.
On the club FB page (yep I stooped that low to find a game!!), I was invited to join a group playing something called Scythe. Not having played many board games which weren’t more MB brand style (monopoly etc) with the odd sprinkling of GW (bloodbowl and Heroquest) and after reading a number of reviews of interesting board games on the blog Start Your Meeples, I accepted the invite.
It can be played with between 1-7 people and is a hex based board. The aim of the game is to achieve 6 stars for completing different tasks (these vary from deploying all 8 of your workers, to your 4 mechs, to maxing your popularity or winning a battle). In total there are something like 10 different tasks and depending on your faction, some are easier to complete. There are 7 different factions to choose from (we randomly picked) and each have different strengths (Such as to fighting or resource management). Once someone has achieved 6 tasks then the game ends and you get money based on resource remaining, number of stars gained etc. The player with the most money wins.
After getting your faction, we were then dealt a random action board. They are in essence the same, in so far as you use them to mark which of the four actions you will choose to do each turn (and you generally can’t do the same action two turns in a row). However the difference in them is basically down to the resources required to complete actions or bonus rewards (I’m guessing this helps for replay ability). The choices are:
Move or get money
Trade (to gain resources/popularity)
Bolster power level or attack cards
For each action there is a secondary option you can also do if certain requirements are met. This could be using resources to deploy buildings or to buy mechs (to name two). So you really want to try and manage your options so you can do both tasks under the one action (easier said than done).
To expand on the secondary mech deployment option, it cost me 3 oil resources to deploy one mech (the resource number could be reduced via a secondary upgrade option under the trade section). Each mech allows different bonuses to unlock, such as crossing rivers or extra movement (it varies between factions) and allows you to transport multiple workers. Finally deploying 4 mechs is one of the tasks that gives you a star.
Gameplay is really fast with only two basic options for players each turn but there is a real depth to the gameplay and tactics given all the options available (most of which I haven’t even covered) with many of them linking together to maximise efficiencies. I will say that after 5 or 6 turns (and help) I had picked up the basics and by the end of the game (coming 5th out of the 6 of us) I know next time, I’ll be more competitive.
More importantly I thoroughly enjoyed playing this game, met a few members of the club I hadn’t played before and it has opened my eyes to the potential joys of non traditional board games. I would definitely play this again, especially given the change of pace vs my normal fare, which is perhaps the best accolade I could give it. (Though I’ll caveat that by saying due to limited play time and love of miniatures, I’d choose to play whfb over this every time).
In a couple of Fridays I’ve booked in a game vs Alistair (and his OnG list) in my comp group. However, instead of a comp game, I offered him a friendly so he could get some more practice in (because I’m nice like that 😀), which he gratefully accepted. As such I decided to not to bring Beastmen and instead bring a comp legal alternative list.
I very nearly bought my wood elves but the list I wanted to use is potentially very filthy and as he is still learning the 8th edition rules I instead decided to use the opportunity to try out a whole chunk of the Dwarf book that I normally just don’t take or have never used.
As such the following list is a bit random and contains elements that are not considered the most competitive (e.g. the Runelord). It will also be a bit of a unit review, as I’m also going to look at why certain units aren’t normally taken (at least by me) and as such this will be far longer than my normal list post.
Drugin looked round at his first command shaking his head in disbelief. Knoffles had final decided that after years of carrying the hold banner, he had gained enough experience to lead his own force and then not only lumbered him with this motley crew of engineers, testing their newfangled experiments, but sent the old Grumblers and Buggerit to babysit him. The thought was nearly enough for him to shave his head and join Ethelred and the Brotherhood of Doom! The only saving grace was a unit of the deep delvers, the Ironbreakers, had been rotated up to serve as his bodyguard and that he had also been joined by his brother Barlek who had been given the honour of raising the expedition standard.
The Throng of Karak Silvertop
Drugin Silvertop – Thane (General) – MRo Gromril, Great Weapon, Oath Stone, Fiery Ring of Thori – 161pts.
The general will go in the unit of ironbreakers where the oath stone ability of allowing parry saves to the flanks and rear, will synergise well with their permanent 5++ combat parry save. With 3 S6 attacks and a S4 breath attack, it should allow him to boost their combat output and the 1+ save should help protect him against any challenges he has to accept. I will say that the oath stone and ironbreakers isn’t an original idea at all but isn’t one I’ve ever used. The breath weapon is my own twist on the build (though I’m sure someone else has done this before too)
The BSB will go on the edge Longbeard unit so that the 6″ bubble of the 5++ ward vs shooting is able to cover the slayers. He is also reasonably protected with a 3+ save and 4++ ward.
Buggerit the Old – Runelord – Gromril Armour, shield, Ro Stone, Ro Spellbreaking, Anvil of Doom – 323pts
The first of what is considered a non competitive choice. He is reasonably well protected with a 2+ save. The anvil then bestows a further 5++ ward and (with the lord’s MR2) a 3++ ward vs direct damage spells. An additional +2 wounds from it taking him to a total of 5 with his base T5 is nothing to be sniffed at either. He also gains an additional 2 WS5 S4 attacks from the guards (in the same way as a lord on shieldbearers) and the anvil allows you to automatically gain a power and dispel dice in each magic phase (I believe this is on top of your channel). I’ve also given him a dispel ‘rune’. So far so good.
The anvil also allows you to cast 3 bound spells and this is where you start to see why it isn’t taken. The first gives a unit immune to psychology (which is a bit meh in an army that, as standard, has an LD of 9), the second is a 24″ range, 2D6 attack, S4 magic missile (which in some armies would not be bad but in an army that is normally stacked with 30″, S4 xbows as well as warmachines, is also lacklustre). The final one adds +1 to the save of any unit (this is by far the best option but it is unlikely that you will cast it often as I’ll cover below).
There are several issues with the anvil. The first is although you get added protection and attacks, it is classed as a warmachine, rather than a ‘mount’ and so you don’t want it in combat and it can’t join units (so the AP buff of the Runelord is wasted). This means it is susceptible to being sniped and also to the characteristic ‘test or die’ spells. So you are basically paying 170pts (+ the difference of cost between a Runesmith and Lord) for 3 spells, one of which you will only likely use to draw out dispel dice and any halfway competent opponent will not dispel anyway. So you are really only going to cast 2 of the spells and as they are bound spells, any enemy wizard will already have an advantage in dispelling them as they will add their wizard level to it. So to reliably cast one, you will have to throw (probably 2) more dice than your opponent and they should easily be able to tell which one you will want to cast (missile at range, armour in combat) and will be saving dice to stop that. To put it in another perspective, for the cost of just the anvil, you could easily take a fully runed up warmachine that will be hitting from turn one, more reliably and that is why you rarely see these on the battlefield. That said, they are a great model (both new and old) and against Alistair with his two L2 shamans, it may not be a bad choice.
This is the ultimate slayer, a lord who gets 4 WS 7, I5, S4 attacks as standard. Each unsaved wound vs monsters causes D3 wounds and he forces rerolls on successful ward saves. Like all slayers he can choose to use an additional hand weapon for an extra attack or a great weapon to boost his Str to 6 (hint don’t).
He has two weaknesses, no saves (like his brethren) and a lack of base strength to get through armour. You could argue that the latter shouldn’t be an issue with his preferred target of monsters (who in the main do not have a huge save), ability to always wound on a 4+ and option of a great weapon should a Str boost be needed. The issue with this is, with a movement of only 3, most monsters will be able to easily avoid him (especially as many of them fly!). The great weapon also means he will strike last and with the lack of defence he may not get to strike at all!
So I have looked to minimise his weaknesses. Rather than running him solo, he will be bunkered in the slayers. This will give him a lookout sir roll and unless sniped will mean he is reasonably safe from shooting, especially with the BSB 5++ ward. He still has the option of charging out/leaving the unit if he wants. I’ve also given him a Rune axe. The two runes of cleaving give him +1 Str and AP, so a base strength of 5 and a -3 to armour saves. If he gets a charge off, it becomes 6 and -4. Not too shabby. The Swiftness rune gives him always strike first (ASF), which does exactly what it says and against anyone with an initiative of 5 or under he also gets rerolls to hit. They say attack is the best form of defence, we shall see but I have high hopes for him. I will add that 200pts for a dwarf lord isn’t too expensive either.
The Old Grumblers – 24 Longbeards – musician, standard, heavy armour, shields, Ro Stoicism – 367pts
Even after I don’t know how many games using them, I’m torn on whether I like Longbeards. If armed with great weapons (GW), then I’m more inclined to take GW warriors instead as you get more for your money and the drop in Str from 6 to 5 isn’t too bad. With a standard initiative of 2 for both of them, you are likely striking last anyway so taking GWs with the always strikes last rule, doesn’t really matter too much. So if I take them I’m more likely to arm them with shields to get the 4+, 6++ saves but then I feel they need a runesmith to give them a -2 to enemy armour saves as I want them somewhat offensive rather than just an anvil unit, as with dwarves you don’t get enough units/troops in a normal list to have a dedicated tarpit.
They do have a few advantages over normal Warriors. They are elite troops so rock a WS5 as standard, meaning nearly every enemy unit will only hit on 4+, whereas they have a good chance of hitting on 3’s. They are also immune to psychology so ignore fear/terror/panic tests. They also have access to a 50pt magic standard which, if you don’t have the Groth rune somewhere, is almost certainly going to be the stubborn rune (as it is in my list).
In this list, I won’t have a runesmith in the unit to provide the additional offence (just the BSB) so this will be more of a test of their staying/grinding power. One of our group opponents, is also running 3 large blocks of shieldbeards (as they are affectionately known), so this also gives Alistair some experience of the unit.
Guild Experimental Weaponry team – 10 Thunderers – standard, heavy armour, shields, handguns, veteran with brace of pistols – 150pts
Guild Experimental Weaponry team – 10 Thunderers – heavy armour, shields, handguns, veteran with brace of pistols – 140pts
The final units in the core selection are two units of Thunderers. These have a 4+ save and a 24″ AP Str 4 ranged weapon. The veteran is armed with pistols to allow them to pretty much always stand and shoot, something I feel is needed for them.
I’ve gone with Thunderers as I normally take xbows as I prefer the longer 30″ range over the increase in armour penetration and xbows have the option of great weapons and/or shields, allowing them to be an offensive unit (whereas Thunderers can only take shields). Only one unit has a standard for our scenarios (and I didn’t have the points for the second unit to get one, choosing instead to take a champion with pistols in each instead to try and ensure they always get a stand and shoot reaction).
With a 3+ save, 5++ ward in combat, LD 10 and the stubborn rune, this unit will fight to the last Dwarf and should stick around for a while. They have pretty much the same stat line as the above Longbeards but have improved saves. The rune of warding will give them a nominal 6++ vs direct spell damage. The thane on oathstone ensures the 5++ combat ward wherever they are charged, so they will make ideal flank guards or objective protectors. They are also an ideal target for the Anvil’s +1 save boost and the only unit bar the Thunderers that could benefit from the immune to psychology. My one concern is that the unit size is a bit small.
The Brotherhood of Doom – 24 Slayers – standard, slayer axes – 298pts
If we are judging units purely on fluff, these guys are hands down my favourite unit but they are also pretty effective too as I found out when I used them in the 2016 club tournament. So what do they bring to the table?
They are both immune to psychology and unbreakable, so basically never have to take a leadership test and will never run away. This is huge. It means you have a block of dwarves that will have to be completely wiped out and can effectively tarpit anything and operate outside of the bsb/generals bubble (it is also one reason you find excommunicated beardless dwarves using small darts of them, the shame!). As with black Orcs, they can also choose each round whether to use additional hand weapons (AHW) or great weapons (GW). I would personally only use the AHW’s if they manage to charge (as with all dwarves they get +1 to Str when the charge and this would take them to Str 4) and then only against T3 opponents. Against everyone else I’d use the GW to get a Str 5 attack. When a model dies in combat, it gets to make a final attack back. Contrary to what I’ve seen written in some places, it is a single attack, no matter your base attacks) and using AHW’s doesn’t boost the number, though you DO get the Str bonus for a GW (or runic item effects). This rule helps to overcome the glaring lack of armour.
So this unit pretty damn good, so why is it not seen more? Well firstly, it is highly susceptible to missile fire. This is why the Grungni banner with the 5++ ward vs missiles, is almost a must take with the unit. It also has the same limited movement as all dwarf units so it is hard to get favourable matchups. The final reason is down to choices. They come out of the same section as cannons, Gyrocoptors, hammerers, ironbreakers etc. That is a lot of quality competition vying for slots and is probably the main reason for their exclusion.
The Valkyrie – Gyrocoptor – 80pts
I won’t go into detail about the Gyrocoptor here as I have many times before. Suffice to say it is invaluable in a Dwarf list and if you haven’t taken a minimum of one (but better two or three), you need to go back to your list and revise it. Yes they are that good.
Flame Cannon – Ro Forging – 165pts
Another warmachine I’ve never taken though I’m not sure why. It is at heart a Str 5 flaming breath weapon that auto hits models that fall under the flamer template and causes panic tests on models/units that suffer wounds. And on top of that each wound caused is actually D3 wounds so it is excellent vs Ogres or other multiwound models. It also has a range of between 2″ and 22″ (much further than the standard variant due to the dwarf special rules) but it works out further than 22″ as that is the spot from where the template is laid down (though the distance is variable as it is 0-12″ + the roll of an artillery dice). It is for this reason that the Flame Cannon has been given a Ro Forging to reroll misfires or distances if required.
Gyrobomber – 125pts
The final entry in the list is the ‘coptors big brother and is another first time entry in my army list. It shares the same stat line as it’s smaller sibling (which feels odd, you’d think it should at least have an additional wound) but drops the steam gun for a clatter gun. This fires 4 Str 4 AP quick to fire (so no move and shoot penalty) shots and has a 24″ range. So it will hit on 6’s at long range and 5’s at short, so don’t expect anything ground-shattering from it but unlike the ‘coptor, the gun is not where it’s strength lays (unsurprisingly the clue is in its name after all). If it moved over an enemy unit it can drop a bomb. You place the large 5″ template and roll to scatter. Anything under the template takes a Str 3 hit (with a model under the centre hole taking a Str 6 hit with D3 wounds). Then on a 4+, place the smaller 3″ template in the same location and roll for a further scatter (though only D6″ distance) and anything hit takes damage as per the first hit. Against low toughness horde armies (looking at you Goblins), this could be devastating if you are lucky with rolls.
The main issues as I see them are threefold. (1) You cannot add runes, so you are at the whim of the scatter dice. Other armies suffer from this all the time but as dwarves you are used to better. (2) It is only Str 3, so in most cases the best you are wounding on is a 4+. This is offset a bit by the large template. (3) The bomber is still just a 3 wound model. This isn’t a lot and as it will be operating over enemy lines, it could easily be isolated and shot down.
This is more of a WIP than a true hobby update. As I stated in a previous post, I have the following beastmen left to paint (and build) but I’m going to take a hiatus from them at present. So instead, I thought I’d post a few shots of the whole army as it is.
Minotaur Standard bearer
Note: These were taken before I finished the Ungor Raiders (and the Wargor and Gorbull BSB models are not shown as they are not built as yet).
And yes the Herd are displayed on an extra large, wipe-able, child friendly, giant toadstool.
Listening to a podcast the other day got me thinking about the differing elements that come into play when putting together a new army. This process normally starts even before your first purchase and will begin with:
Why would you choose a specific army?
I feel there are 3 main factors that influence this:
1) you love the models in the range.
2) you enjoy or want to try the perceived play style of the army
3) you like the background fluff.
You could argue that there is a fourth option: Cost, but i cover that later.
I personnally feel that 1 is a no brainer, why would you spend money on something you don’t find appealing? However it may not necessarily be the primary reason.
The other two are more conditional and will likely depend on the system you play. In warhammer fantasy (and to a lesser extent 40k), I was heavily invested in the fluff. When I decided to start collecting Dwarves the fluff was my primary reason for doing so. Yes there are great models out there too but it was the image of implacable holds in the mountains and the remains of the doughty race inhabiting them that made me want to play them. In a similar vein I could only ever play Space Marines or Eldar and went with the former, mainly due to the cheap second hand market.
Conversely I started to collect Beastmen because their style of play was inherently opposite to the Dwarves. Rather than hang back and shoot shit, it was run forward and smash face.
My other two current armies are both elves (wood and high) and these were picked up over the years because I loved the models.
So you’ve decided on your army, so what next?
Purchasing your models is likely to be the next step and here you reach your first dilemma and this will probably be based on two considerations: available cash and whether this is your first army.
There’s no beating around the bush, this plastic crack addiction can be expensive. As such a slow burn project buying a unit at a time is much nicer on the pocket and if you already have an army (and have the patience to do this) it’s quite doable. However if you are like me (and I hope for your sake and sanity you aren’t!!) and suffer from a lack of patience or it’s your first army, then you will likely buy or want to buy a larger number of models, at least enough to play a smaller game.
If you are buying GW models be prepared to spend a pretty penny. I won’t deny that a lot of their models look fantastic, however they are at the top end of the price range. However there are a lot of other companies out there that make great models and if you are still buying for use in warhammer fantasy, then for some armies you won’t have a choice but to use them (or ebay) as GW have discontinued large chunks of the old world range. At a later date i’ll post some of my favourite companies and the ranges I recommend for them.
Build or build and paint
So now you have made some purchases, what is your preferred method of putting them all together?
You again have several methods, you could build one unit at a time then paint that unit. If you are doing a slow build this might be a preferred method. I personally love putting together models and take immense pleasure from putting them together so am more likely to build everything before painting. However this has the drawback of leaving you with the daunting task of then painting it all in one hit. Just the thought of that is depressing so I now try and mix up building with painting.
Now you are ready to paint you again have a plethera of choices. Have you decided on a paint scheme for the unit? Do you paint a test model first to see if it works? Sometimes for me, the hardest decision is whether to undercoating black, white or a different colour? I’m a bit of a traditionalist and normally use black or white. Which I use will depend on what colour scheme I am likely to use. If it involves a quantity of light colours (white or yellow for instance), it will be white as it makes the colours stand out more (and I don’t have to use repeated layers!). If the model has large amounts of armour, then i’ll probably use black. One of my mates tends to just use black as he says it makes shading in crevices better and it is easier to see if he’s missed painting a section.
The one time I use a different undercoat is on space marines where I have been using Caliban Green as the base. As the majority of the model is that colour, it makes painting it easier (and no they aren’t painted as Dark Angels).
For me the last decision to make is normally around how to base them but this is because most of the time I haven’t put much thought into this and just do a basic flocking. Very occasionally for me and for many others, the base is something that is looked into after a model is purchased but before it is even built (I tend to only use them on larger models such as chariots). A good base can really make a model or even bring an army together with a specific theme. Most model companies provide plain plastic bases with a purchased model, however there are a multitude of firms that sell sculpted bases. Anything from fairly basic with rocks on to plinths. One of my favourite bases (and themed armies using them) was a pirate ogre army with bases looking like the decking of a ship. There is also at least one firm that sells different textured rolling pins that allows you to create your own bases using that to imprint green stuff and it looks really good.
I’m sure i’ve missed out lots of other options but the point of this post was just to make you think about what your process is. Do you use a tried and tested method or do you switch it up each time?
It’s funny how things work out. You finally manage to get a game against someone you’ve never played before (in this case Luke C) and then in the space of a month (or so) you get to play an almost carbon copy game. The difference, this one was my first game in our club competition.
Having played Luke so recently, we both had a good idea of each other’s lists and it is fair to say that of my three opponents, he was the one I was most worried about. Not just because he is a good player and knows the elements of his list inside and out, having played Dark Elves a lot but because of the mobility and potential number of his scoring units.
Khazbar stood still, snout betraying no emotion as Bashor vented his anger at another loss on the nearest of his lieutenants. As he watched the last vestiges of life throttled out of the Wargor, he knew Bashor was probably imagining his face but the ever present shadow cast by the Doombull prevented that ire being turned on him. The gift of flight and further links forged through his magic had guaranteed that Cattleclysm acted as his personal bodyguard and even Bashor wasn’t far enough gone to challenge that hulking brute. Inside Khazbar was practically dancing with glee as the Beastlord’s hold over the herd started to slip. A few more losses were all it would take. Soon, he thought, soon they will come back to the fold.
To make a change we rolled map pack 3 which consisted of 2 woods (of which the central one ended up normal and the one closest to the edge, a venom thicket), 2 marshes (the one in between the woods turned out to be quicksand) and 2 normal hills.
Luke rolled as player A and after setup, it looked like this:
Scenario and pre-match rolls
We ended up with ‘Secure’. Gain 1 VP for each piece of terrain held at the end of the game (2VP’s if in your opponents half). This was the worst possible scenario I could have rolled against Luke. He had 6 separate scoring units vs my 2 and he was far more mobile, so I knew I had to be super aggressive.
For spells, Khazbar (Beasts) conjured up: Wyssans, Curse, Transformation and Pann’s Pelt.
Wazzock (Shadow) got: Miasma.
The (Life) Sorceress bought: Throne, Regrowth, Flesh to Stone and Dwellers.
Luke won the roll for sides (and following my normal philosophy) opted to stick on the side he was sitting.
The scenario followed Battle line deployment rules (alternate unit placement) and after deployment and vanguards, it looked like this:
Turn 1 – Beasts
As I knew I had to, I started the game aggressively with one chariot attempting (and failing) to charge the Dark Rider unit directly in front of it (who elected to stand and shoot to no avail). (I will say Luke was a gent and allowed me to retract a charge from the other chariot when I misread a rule. In the scheme of things it probably made no difference but I like to mention and acknowledge such things).
Choosing not to contain his natural rage, the Doombull flew into the second group of Dark Riders. In a surprising turn of events for both parties (or not, considering the pathetic show of rolling and forgetting of rules – in this case impact hits), only 3 riders were hurt during the making of this combat and easily held their ground. (Luke again offered me the chance of retracting the charge as the cold ones were poised to charge the Bull in the next turn. I was happy with this as he has a 2++ ward vs their fire attacks. Again Luke ever the gent, pointed out that his Dark Lord didn’t have flaming attacks due to magic weapons trumping that rule. However, apart from the fact that I’m a believer of learning from your errors, I also wanted his riders gone so they were unable to claim objectives and my Bull still had a very good chance of killing his Lord with his (now) 8 attacks).
In the final charge, the central Razorgor was unleashed at the riders in front of him and in an unexpected bonus, tore them apart when the cowards elected to flee.
The rest of my forces just moved forward, the Gor unit losing a few models to the marsh (which also wounded the BSB).
Magic was all about movement (or preventing it) with Curse cast on the Peg Master and Miasma on the Witches.
I was actually very pleased with the result of this turn. 2 Dark Rider units had been taken out of the scoring equation, meaning he now only had a 4 to 2 advantage. He either didn’t realise my intent, perhaps thinking after last game I wanted the riders dead at all costs or just didn’t care.
Turn 1 – Dark Elves
To no ones surprise, the Cold One Knights charged into the Doombull. The Lord managed to score two wounds on the bull and in a phenomenal display of rolling, Cattleclysm missed with 7 of his 8 attacks. Despite the Sorceress moving over and casting an unboosted Flesh to Stone on the unit (I dispelled Throne), the 1 attack did wound the Lord but he still lost combat and was duly run down. Bugger. That was not how that was meant to go. Luke obviously was not reading from the same script which frankly was just downright inconsiderate of him. To make matters worse, his Knights over-ran into my badly positioned raiders unit.
The Dark Riders on the other flank thought they would return the favour and charged the chariot that had failed to charge them. They were somewhat more successful inflicting 2 wounds on the chariot. In return the chariot, completely forgetting they had primal fury (as they did for all the entire game), failed to removed a single model. Still at least they were now locked in combat.
The Executioners partly moved into the wood to dispute it (and avoid their rank bonus being negated) but the Peg and Witches didn’t move due to the aforementioned magic effects on them.
Turn 2 – Beasts
Determined to remove the Dark Riders engaged with the wounded chariot, the other chariot charged in to assist and promptly sank in the quicksand. (Annoyingly we both knew and stated it was going to happen. After the Doombull combat we both sensed it was one of those games where you could see a trend in dice rolls… On a positive note, the chariot already in combat managed to kill a rider taking them beneath scoring strength. So that was something).
The Knights steamrollered the Ungor (taking revenge for the last game where the plucky fellows had unhorsed one with a lucky bow shot and then held them up for the rest of the game) and with that flank now secured, turned to face the centre.
With a big intake of breath from me, the Harpies charged over the swamp and into the lone Sorceress. I had expected the Harpies to fail, due to the distance involved, land in the marsh and have a number die due to the terrain (yep already I had a positive mental outlook). Shockingly the bird women made the charge and instead failed to do anything apart from lose one of their number, as the horse bludgeoned her to death with its hooves. With the Cold Ones now looking at their rear, the life expectancy of the Harpies was starting to look a little short!
Meanwhile the Gor unit moved out of the marsh and into the woods the Executioners were holding, in order to dispute it, of course losing a bucket load more of their number in the process.
The Bestigor also moved into the woods in front of them to capture that.
The central Razorgor moved to block the Witches whilst the other moved up to threaten the executioners flank.
Magic was quite uneventful with Wyssans cast on the chariot and Curse on the Witches.
Turn 2 – Dark Elves
The Knights charged the Harpies and after trampling their remains into the ground, reformed with the marsh guarding their flank.
The Peg Master charged the remaining unit of Ungors and not to be outdone by the Knights, made short work of them and turned to face the Gor’s flank.
The Executioners changed facing slightly so they no longer presented their flank to the Razorgor, the woods taking a few of them in compensation for their trespass.
The chariot/rider combat continued with another Dark Rider dying.
The notes got a bit sketchy here but I know I failed to dispel Throne and scrolled Flesh to Stone (but not sure on who or why, though possibly the Knights in preparation for my next turn).
Turn 3 – Beasts
The Bestigor let out a bellow but instead of making an easy charge on the Cold One Knights, stumbled forward, an entire rank of the horde succumbing to the lethal plethora of roots and branches. Children of the woods indeed. I had a feeling I was going to pay for that.
The Gor also tried their luck and like the Bestigor, fluffed an average charge, though their target was the Executioners. They were a little more sure footed than their heavy armoured kin and only a handful were killed by ‘tree to face’. If the Razorgor, that successfully made the its charge, had been capable of thought it would have been worried about the distinct lack of support from the Gor. As it was, any thought was quickly extinguished by the multitude of Draichs that butchered the poor little piggie.
In the magic phase, Throne was dispelled but nothing else was successfully cast.
To fully twist in the knife, in a turn of failures, the Dark riders managed to finish off the remaining chariot, leaving them free to do what they do best; interfere and get in the way.
Turn 3 – Dark Elves
The Cold Ones Knights charged the Razorgor that had been holding up the witches and made short work of it. They then reformed to face the Bestigor on the edge of the woods, the spy in the unit surreptitiously removing the message that had been concealed on the body of the animal.
The Master on Pegasus charged into the flank of the Gor cutting down 4 of their number for the loss of 1 wound. The Gor not only survived the attack but reformed to bring their overwhelming numbers to bear. The master looked round for support but found none in his immediate vicinity.
The remaining dark riders from the 2 units, moved up to block the Bestigor to prevent them from both: repeating their attempted charge on the Knights and moving out of the woods in order to regain steadfast.
In a stroke of luck (at least for me), the Sorceress failed to cast Throne of Vines ending the magic phase.
Turn 4 – Beastmen
Khazbar continued his magical molestion of the witches and again cast Curse on them to discourage any movement.
In a combat that could only go one way, the Gor horde decimated the Dark Master and the Pegasus he had been mounted on.
In a ridiculously stupid move (not sure what I was thinking), the Bestigor finished off one the single Dark Rider in front of them and then over-ran into the final remaining unit of Dark Riders. (If I had been thinking clearly I would have instead moved Khazbar out of the unit and used him as chaff to block the witches. This would have meant only the Knights and Dark riders would have been able to charge the Bestigor, a combat that might have gone either way).
Turn 4 – Dark Elves
The Sorceress cast Dwellers onto the Gor unit and although a number were dragged under the ground, they held their nerve ensuring the woods were disputed between them and the Executioners.
The Witch Elves and Knights then joined the Dark riders in charging the Bestigor. The Witch Elves alone wiped out the unit before they could strike back and ran down the two lords (giving Luke his secondary mission of ‘cut off the head’). The witches overrun moved them into the woods, capturing the terrain and thus winning the game.
It ended 2-0 to Luke as he had captured the wood in my half.
In terms of competition points in was:
Luke: Win (15) + Mission (6) = 21 points
Me: Loss (5) + Mission (6) + Painted army (2) = 13 points
That was a game that started well and then rapidly fell apart. Although I couldn’t say I was ever close to victory, a draw had definitely been achievable if I’d put a bit more thought into moves.
Luke said he had not been expecting all my charges in the first moves of the game. I think it actually threw him slightly as he’s not used to other players wantonly attacking Dark Elves on the first turn, they normally avoid them. As I said to him, every time I’ve held back with Beastmen it’s put me on the back foot. And it’s far more fun to play them to their fluff, the raw unbridled savage hordes!
I hate to blame dice (though I will add them as a contributing factor) and I probably didn’t help stack odds in my favour but I did roll appallingly this game. The first turn Doombull combat and failed Chariot charge started the trend, though they weren’t critical moments. However the turn 3 failed charges by the Gor and especially by the Bestigor were all potential game defining moments where the poor rolls cost me. It was not by any means a foregone conclusion on either combat but I would have placed money on the Bestigors coming out on top.
I did blunder with the Gor unit. I would have been better off holding the marsh and staying within 3″ of the wood to dispute it as at least it would have netted me a point, prevented the number of casualties from terrain and meant the executioners would have had to do something bar sit there all game. I just have a weakness for combat.
The number of troops lost due to dangerous terrain was ridiculous but putting myself in situations where i had to make these rolls, so they could go against me, was entirely of my own making. I will have to be a bit more ‘caring’ if the lives of my troops going forward (pfftt who am I kidding, they are fodder to be used to further my own plans for world domination moo ha ha ha ha).
I can take nothing away from Luke’s victory, he played the better game and was again great fun to play against. As things stood, if we had played past turn 4, he likely would have tabled me before the end of the game.