It’s been a while since I got in a game of Warhammer Fantasy, due to holidays and playing other silly games, but yesterday I managed to fit in a 1500 point battle against Justinmatters’s Skaven army. Thanks to the Isle of Blood box, he has plenty of models to choose from, but we ultimately were both pushing quite a bit of paper around the table too. Justinmatters is a skilled painter, but so far all he has to show for it is a few brown sprayed rat men. Not that I’m doing better, of course.
My list was a variation on the one I used against Aramoro‘s Brettonians here, but I decided to give Shadow magic a try, among other minor changes. The bracketed letters are the key for the Battle Chronicler maps. The small unit of Gors is ambushing.
Beastlord, Armour of Destiny, Steel Claws (BL)
Wargor, BSB, Gnarled Hide, heavy armour, shield (BSB)
Bray Shaman, level 2, additional hand weapon, Lore of Shadow (BS1)
Bray Shaman, level 2, additional hand weapon, Lore of Shadow (BS2)
18 Bestigors, full command, banner of eternal flame (B)
19 Gors, shields, full command (G1)
19 Gors, shields, full command (G2)
12 Gors, additional hand weapon, full command (G3)
2 Tuskgor Chariots (TC1 and TC2)
5 Ungor raiders (UR)
Justinmatters opted for this (roughly – I’m not sure about some of the Skaven stuff).
Plague Priest on Plague Furnace, level 2, Plague Censer (PF)
25 Plague Monks, additional hand weapon, full command (PM)
5 Plague Censer Bearers (PCB)
23 Clanrats, spears, shields, full command (CR1) with Poison Wind Mortar team (PWT1)
20 Clanrats, spears, shields, full command (CR2) with Poison Wind Mortar team (PWT2)
25 Clanrats, spears, shields, full command (CR3) with Ratling Gun team (RG)
20 Skavenslaves (S1)
20 Skavenslaves (S2)
2 rat swarms (RS1)
2 rat swarms (RS2)
We roll up spells. My Bray Shamans (er, Bray Shamen?) both swap a spell out for Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma, BS1 gets Okkam’s Mindrazor and BS2 gets Enfeebling Foe. The Plague Priest takes Pestilent Breath and Plague. The terrain set up was even lazier than usual – furycat and I had played a highly entertaining game of 40K the previous evening (he won, for the record) so we just took all the futuristic stuff off the board and went with it.
The scenario was Dawn Attack. The Skaven won the dice off and set up first, and were duly hamstrung by continually rolling units to be on flanks, which caused some problems throughout the game. For my part, I mainly got to put my units down where I wanted them.
I fail to do the Warhammer Fantasy equivalent of stealing the initiative, and off we go. About half the Skaven head forward to get to grips with the Beastmen, and the rest mill around trying to get where they want to be (i.e. usually on the opposite side of the battlefield). The slaves find that they are in a fungus forest, but wisely don’t eat the mushrooms – they mve out to avoid the temptation next turn. The Plague Censer Bearers gingerly dip their toes in the water of the river, and it turns out to be a river of blood. I’m not sure why they couldn’t tell that just by looking at it – maybe all rivers in the Old World look like blood? The Doomwheel trundles rapidly forward, then zaps a couple of wounds off the rat swarm behind it with some static electricity. It must be going across a nylon carpet. Apparently Skaven magic is short ranged, since the Plague Priest declines to cast anything.
The Beastmen begin their turn by declaring charges on the Doomwheel by the Gors and one chariot. The Gors are too slow, and clip-clop gently forward, but the chariot rams the giant rodent ball [rules mistake here: we forgot that the Doomwheel causes Terror]. The rest of the Beastmen duly surge forward, and the ambushers continue their good run of form by showing up behind the Skaven lines. The winds of magic are mighty, as 6,6 is rolled. Miasma goes on the Plague Monks, but is dispelled on the Doomwheel. However, this allows the Shaman to use Enfeebling Foe on the big machine (this plan sounded cleverer in my mind, before I found that most of the Doomwheel’s attacks are of a fixed strength anyway). A few impact hits and chopping later, and the Doomwheel flees, only to be run down by the heroic charioteers. The over-run isn’t quite enough to contact the rat swarm though.
Ouch! The rat swarm charges into the chariot to stop any more impact hits from messing up the Skaven plans, and the Plague Monks are frenzied, so they declare a charge on the raiders [another rules mistake – I think they might be able to take a leadership test to avoid doing this]. They are nowhere near close enough to pull off a charge (especially since they were Miasma-ed) so they push the Plague Furnace into the river. The rearmost Clanrats turn to face the ambushers, as does their attached Ratling Gun team. The Skaven get 5,4 for magic dice. Plague on the Gor unit nearest the river is dispelled (but only just – we had to check if a tie was good enough), and Pestilent Breath fails to wound the couple of raiders who are foolish enough to be in range. The Ratling Gun pumps out an outrageous number of shots, killing 4 of the ambushing Gors. The rest of them remember that they were supposed to be washing their hair, and leg it straight back off the board. Easy come, easy go. A good shot from the Plague Wind Mortar chokes a couple of Gors from G2. The Tuskgor chariot cuts up a few of the rat swarms, but there are still enough wounds left to soak up the Instability damage.
The raiders declare a charge on the Clanrats, and the Bestigors behind them try to charge the Monks. The raiders don’t make it, but they are fast enough to get out of the way of the Bestigors, who rampage into the disease ridden rat men. Everyone else continues the advance, except for 5 of the Gors in G1, who are eaten by a Wildwood they unwisely stray into. You would have thought that forest creatures would know which trees to avoid, but apparently not. The magic phase gives us 4,2 dice to play with, resulting in the enhanced version of Miasma going on the Monks again. Enfeebling Foe was tried too, but it failed to cast. In the close combat phase, the Beastlord cuts the Plague Priest to shreds, and the Furnace itself takes 3 wounds from the Bestigors. Otherwise, a few Monks die, taking a couple of Bestigors with them. The Plague Monks lose by a fair margin, but they’re unbreakable as long as the Furnace is there, so they stick around for a bit more. The chariot squashes the last couple of rats in the swarm it was fighting.
The furthest forward Clanrats (CR2) charge the flank of the Bestigors, and the rat swarm charges the raiders, taking a couple of wound to a stand and shoot reaction. One unit of slaves charges G2, who hold, since they can’t wait to beat some ratty face in (especially puny ones that they can probably win against). Finally, the Plague Censer Bearers charge the Tuskgor chariot. There’s no magic, since the Plague Priest is down, and both Plague Wind Mortars miss their intended targets (however, this did explain why the slaves charged the Gors – I didn’t realise the Skaven could shoot into combats involving slaves), so it’s on to the combat phase. We start on the West and move over. The raiders go totally ninja and take the rat swarms down to a single wound (yes that’s right, 5 raiders managed to take out 9 wounds of swarm between stand and shoot, combat and instability). The Beastlord and his drinking buddies smash the Plague Furnace to flinders, and cut up a load of Clanrats and Plague Monks for good measure for the loss of only a handful of Bestigors. The Plague Monks (who are no longer unbreakable) turn and flee, but the Clanrats are made of sterner stuff and settle in for a long slugging match; the Bestigors reform to face them.
Justinmatters decides to call it at this point. I don’t really know anything about Skaven, but it looks to me like there are a lot of rats left on the table. We call in Furycat for a second opinion, and Justinmatters agrees to see how the rest of the combats go. We move onto the Plague Censer Bearers, and two of them choke on their own fumes before the rest of them are splattered by enraged goatmen and spiky boars. Needless to say, that wasn’t the encouragement Justinmatters needed to continue, so the result is a victory to the Beastmen.
A fun game for me, but I think Justinmatters was finding it hard going from the deployment phase onward. It didn’t help that neither of us could seem to roll anything but 1s and 6s for most of the game. The real killer for the Skaven was that both the Plague Monks and the Clanrats fighting the Bestigors ended up in the river, and so couldn’t claim rank bonuses, which would have turned the big combat in the middle. The Doomwheel getting vapourised in turn 1 was also important, of course, and might not have happened if we’d remembered it caused Terror. With luck, Justinmatters will chip in with his thoughts.
For my own part, I was happy enough with the way I played, but I need to think about how to avoid the Bestigors getting flanked. I was impressed enough with the Lore of Shadows to use it again – maybe I should try it in tandem with the Lore of Beasts. After all, Wyssan’s Wildform is still hard to beat as a signature spell. As for the large numbers of Gors, I didn’t feel like they had much of a chance to do anything apart from be eaten by trees, shot by machine guns and choked by gas bombs. They’ll be back…