Last Saturday, Mrs Argentbadger went out to the pictures, so the gamers came round to keep me company. Among them was Andy, who brought with him his very large (and old) Empire army, including such chestnuts as these bad boys. His last games seemed to be many years ago (the current Empire book was news to him) and since he hadn’t played at all in 8th edition, we started a game at 1000 points. I used the same list as here, with the same tragic lack of models:
Great bray shaman, talisman of preservation, additional hand weapon (Lore of Beasts)
Wargor, BSB, talisman of endurance, heavy armour, shield
18 Gors, shields, full command
12 Gors, additional hand weapon, full command
10 Ungor raiders
3 Minotaurs, extra hand weapons
Andy, who has a huge list of painted models to choose from, selected:
Captain with lots of armour on a warhorse with more armour
Warrior priest with a bad attitude
11 Reiksguard Knights, full command
10 Handgunners, sergeant with long rifle
20 Spearmen, full command
Detachment of 10 Swordsmen (on steroids, as you’ll see)
Detachment of 10 Crossbowmen
Hellblaster Volley Gun
The Great Bray Shaman got Wyssan’s Wildform (mmm, my favourite), Amber Spear and Transformation of Kadon (which I almost always get and then fail to use at a useful time). We rolled for scenario, and ended up with a meeting engagement – I think this seems like a fairly good one for Beastmen because you can start fairly close to your intended victims. As usual, we sort-of-randomly selected the terrain from the selection not being used for furycat‘s Imperial Guard during their annihilation of justinmatters‘ Orks. The temple in the middle is a Sorcerous Portal that I can look forward to showering my goats with hexes and fireballs. The swamp is quicksand, although it won’t matter unless I manage to get the minotaurs into it. All the Beastmen arrive on time (apart from the small gor unit, which is ambushing anyway); the Empire Captain is too busy strapping his armour on to take his customary place with the Reiksguard. I deploy first, and we ended up like this:
Andy doesn’t manage to seize the initiative, so a wall of Beastmen lauch themselves forward, intent on usurping the humans’ position in the food chain. The ambushing Gors obligingly arrive behind the hated man-things’ line (continuing my run of excellent luck with them). The Amber Spear skewers a couple of Reiksguard Knights.
In the first Empire turn, the Captain gallops on to the field and joins his knightly bodyguard, who surge forward in the hope of getting some goat kebab. Everyone else holds the line, although the Hellblaster turns toward the suddenly nervous-looking Gors. Disappointingly (for Andy), the Hellblaster rolls terribly and only ends up killing 4 Gors, who pass their panic check and lick their lips. The handgunners take a wound off the chariot, and the crossbowmen kill a couple of raiders (who, it must be said, are only there to take hits for the team anyway). The Portal puts Curse of Rust on the raiders too, but they aren’t wearing any armour anyway, so it doesn’t matter.
The raiders declare a charge on the swordsmen. This is mainly to make them form up into a neat row so they are out of the way of the Minotaurs and the chariot, though it occurs to me now that I also saved the Minotaurs from being flanked by the detachment of swordsmen. I’m not sure if this is strictly right, but Andy didn’t know the rules any better than me, so we just went for it. The Minotaurs try a charge at the spearmen with the Warrior Priest, the chariot has a go at the Knights, and the ambushers run braying at the Hellblaster. Everyone makes it into combat, leaving just the main Gor unit to move up in support. A fireball is cast by the Sorcerous Portal at the Gors, burning a couple of them alive. The Great Bray Shaman puts Wyssan’s Wildform on the Ungor raiders, but it doesn’t help at all, and they get mercilessly stuffed by the swordsmen, who reform to face the Gors. The chariot runs over one of the Knights, and in a spectacular failure, neither the Captain nor the rest of his buddies manage to wound it in return. The Gors go berserk (getting frenzy as well as primal fury) and smash straight through the Hellblaster into the rear of the flagellants. The Minotaurs lose one of their number to a combination of a stand-and-shoot from the crossbowmen and the Warrior Priest’s mace, but the other two finally do what I’ve been hoping for – eat a load of soldiers. The spearmen flee, but they do get away because the Minotaurs are too busy feeding on their fallen comrades.
The Warrior Priest gets the Spearmen to rally, so they turn round to see the Minotaurs getting ready for another charge. The swordsmen crash into the flank of the ambushing Gor unit, and the crossbowmen have nothing better to do than turn to face the rest of the battlefield. In the magic phase, the Warrior Priest puts Unbending Righteousness on himself, so his unit of spearmen are unbreakable. The swordsmen and flagellants kill a few Gors between them, but the flagellants are wiped out by return attacks; the Gors reform to face up to the swordsmen unit. The Knights finally manage to chase off the chariot, but it gets away to the other side of the big Gor unit; to Andy’s disappointment, the Knights don’t roll high enough to get into the Gors either.
The big Gor unit charges into the Knights, grateful that they didn’t get a good lancing, kill 3 of them and watch the rest flee (but they don’t manage to catch them). The Captain is not having a great day. The Minotaurs charge right back into the (now unbreakable) Spearmen, and kill a very large number of them for the loss of only a couple of wounds. Meanwhile, the ambushers and the swordsmen continue to beat each other up. The chariot rallies, and revs its wheels for a possible charge next turn.
There isn’t a lot the Empire can do this turn. The crossbowmen fire long range shots at the chariot, taking it down to just a single wound; the handgunners shoot at the Gors to little effect. The Knights come to their senses and rally (they were probably wondering why they ran away from a bunch of bipedal goats anyway, since they are wearing tons of armour and sitting on mighty steeds). Gors and swordsmen continue to hack away at each other, but the swordsmen are definitely getting the better of this one: there is only one Gor left (though he does hold on for some more punishment). The Minotaurs finish off the Warrior Priest and the last of the spearmen, reforming to stare down the flank of the crossbowmen.
In Beastmen turn 4, the Gors charge back into the Knights, and the Minotaurs hit the flank of the crossbowmen. The chariot rolls well for charging, and makes it into the edge of the swordmen. Unfortunately, the Sorcerous Portal casts Soulblight on it, so it’ll need to be very lucky with the swordsmen striking at I4. The Shaman gets Wyssan’s Wildform off on his own unit, then I finally manage to cast Transformation of Kadon and he becomes a Black Hydra. Not surprisingly, the Knights are wiped out to a man, mostly thanks to the Hydra. The swordsmen roll well and take out both the chariot and the last Gor before they even strike. Even better (or worse, from my point of view), the big Gor unit panics (even with a re-roll from the BSB), running through the handgunners. If they don’t rally, it’ll be game over for the Beastmen. The swordsmen reform to face East. The Minotaur, who is now up to 7 attacks, takes out a big pile of crossbowmen, who flee into the wood.
There wasn’t very much movement in the rest of the game, so I’ll just describe it in words. The swordsmen charge the minotaur and manage to take its last wound before it strikes. These plucky little dudes have killed every unit in my army apart from the big Gor block. Not bad for 10 guys. The Gors rally, lose a few to the handgunners, and then charge them down and wipe them out (the handgunners tried to flee, but they weren’t quick enough).
So, at the end of turn 6, the only units left are the Gors (including the Great Bray Shaman and Wargor) for the Beastmen, and the crossbowmen and swordsmen for the Empire. Victory for the Beastmen!
In future, I need to start remembering that I can use my power dice to dispel remains in play spells in my magic phase. The spearmen being unbreakable on turn 3 could have been important, although as it turned out it probably just gave the Minotaurs a chance to rack up a few more attacks. I was much happier with the Minotaurs this time out. It actually felt like they were doing what I wanted (i.e. eating lots of victims) compared to their usual performances (doing nothing useful or being squashed by Dragon Princes). The chariot probably worked the opposite way to my expectations – I thought against the knights, it would probably die and at best only hold them up until the Gors got to grips with them, and against the swordsmen, I felt like it should be a good option to charge the flank of a unit already in combat. That’s just luck I suppose.
On the whole, a good fun game. Andy will be much more fearsome opponent once he’s read the rules a bit more. It rather felt like we were winging it rather a lot of the time, since I hardly know the rules either.