Another game of Warhammer to describe, in case anyone is out there reading. My longest friend, and the man with whom I originally played Warhammer back in the early 90s, Furycat, started an Empire army at the same time I picked up the Beastmen. He hasn’t actually played that many games (even by the low standards of the rest of the group) because he is much more of a fan of Warhammer 40K. Anyway, to mollify me (since I’m on rather a Warhammer phase at the moment), he made a list to try out. I didn’t bother changing my list at all since their outing against Justinmatters‘ Skaven.
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)
Furycat took the following list. Since he hasn’t played much, I think most of the stuff in here is things that sounded cool. There are a few magic items here and there that I haven’t remembered either, since I didn’t make detailed notes about his list.
Luthor Huss (LH)
Warrior Priest on foot (WP)
Wizard, level 1, Lore of Fire
7 Empire Knights, lances, full command (K)
39 Spearmen, full command (S1)
39 Spearmen, full command (S2)
10 Handgunners (H1)
10 Handgunners (H2)
10 Swordsmen, full command (Sw)
2 Cannons (C1 and C2)
As usual, we rolled up our spells. The Fire wizard took Cascading Fire Cloak, both Bray-Shamans take Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma (as it’s the signature spell, it’s just too good to leave behind); one gets Enfeebling Foe, and the other The Withering. Incredibly, the table hadn’t been interfered with since the last game, so we just shuffled a couple of bits and added the Penguin of Doom to be a statue or whatever. The hill on the West was an Anvil of Vaul, but the other two were just normal (booooring). One marsh was a mist-wreathed swamp and the other an Earthblood mere, but since we didn’t go near them during the game, that didn’t matter too much. Finally, the statue was an Altar of Khaine, giving frenzy to anyone nearby. We rolled and got the Watchtower mission, but since that would have involved moving all the terrain, we re-rolled and got the Meeting Engagement. Furycat went first, but ended up with the Wizard, both Handgunners units and a cannon delayed in the pub. One set of Spearmen stayed in reserve to keep the Wizard company (it’s slightly ambiguous in the rules if you can choose to do this, but it’s not really important). Only a single Bray Shaman is too drunk to deploy at the start for the Beastmen, so a unit of Gors stays by the table edge to wait for him to amble on.
Empire turn one begins with the Spearmen restraining the urge to run headlong at some Gors (they were just in range; it is my lack of skill with Battle Chronicler that makes it look otherwise) which was probably wise, then shuffle back a bit to avoid getting more of same next turn. The late comers amble on to the North board edge, and the Swordsmen reform to face South at the Ungors. In the magic phase, the Wizard puts Cascading Fire Cloak on the Spearmen, and both Priests try to cast Unbending Righteousness on their units; Luthor Huss’s spell (or prayer) is dispelled. Finally, the only Empire ranged weapon that had the foresight to start on the board (a cannon) puts a disappointing single wound on a chariot.
The Beastmen, needless to say, race forward as quickly as they can. The raiders head West to avoid being in range of the Altar of Khaine’s effect, since the last thing they want is to be forced to charge anything. The Shaman finishes the remains of last nights kebab and shuffles into Gors 1 with a guilty look on his face (perhaps it should be a sheepish look). The wounded chariot has to head South a bit to avoid a cliff face on the hill – in my defence, Justinmatters is very good at making scenery look real, and I couldn’t see the cliff side from my part of the table. Both Bray Shamans attempt to put Miasma on the unit of Spears with the Warrior Priest, and both times it is dispelled. Enfeebling Foe work on them though, and finally, one of them fails to roll the 3 needed on his last dice to dispel Unbending Righteousness. The raiders pepper the cannon crew with arrows, and improbably cause a wound.
The Swordsmen try and fail a long charge into the Ungors, and everyone else just shuffles and readies their spears for the inevitable charges next turn. Luthor Huss and his knights back up a little to guarantee they won’t be charged by Gors next turn, and thereby improve their chances of lancing a few of them later. In the magic phase, the Wizard predictably dispels Enfeebling Foe, and both Priests successfully put Hammer of Sigmar on themselves; Beastmen fail to dispel anything at all. Between the Eastern Handgunners and the Northern cannon, the wounded chariot is blasted to smithereens. The other cannon tries a somewhat underwhelming grapeshot on the Ungors, to no effect. In fact, it was so poor it makes me wonder if we read the rules correctly.
Now it is time for the big beastmen show. The Bestigors crash into the Spearmen, although an optimistic charge by some Gors fails to join them. Both the surviving chariot and the extra hand weapon Gors cross the river (which turns out to be a river of blood, and we completely forget to roll for fear, of course) and get into contact with the other spear block. The raiders run round the side of the Swordsmen, looking for a go at the cannon. The winds of magic roll 6,1 and with the extra dispel dice generated by the Priests, I’m not likely to get much out here. Instead, Cascading Fire Cloak and Unbending Righteousness are dispelled (I’d have done Hammer of Sigmar on the Warrior Priest too, if I’d remembered about it). The only try at an actual spell, Enfeebling Foe on the Spearmen with the Priest, is irresistably dispelled. Ungors continue to fire arrows at the cannon, but normality is resumed and nothing happens. Fortunately, close combat is more decisive. The extra hand weapon Gors go frenzied with their Primal Fury and chop the Wizard into bits (note – this is where the game started to become less fun – more on that at the end), along with a whole bunch of Spearmen. The humans fight back admirably, taking out the chariot entirely and killing a couple of Gors. The Spears lose by plenty, but they are Steadfast, so they stay for more of the same. The Bestigors cut down more than a full rank of Spearmen for hardly any losses (apart from the Priest, who accounted for a couple on his own); the Spearmen need 1,1 to stick around, and unbelievably they pull it off. Cue much undignified bitching from me.
The Empire know they’ll have to start killing off some Beastmen if they’re to get anywhere in this game, so Luthor Huss leads his knights into a unit of Gors. The Swordsmen wheel in anticipation of a flank charge on the Bestigors, and everyone else stays still to shoot their move-or-fire weapons. An Irresistable Soulfire kills 4 Bestigors, and Luthor Huss tries the same but it is dispelled. The cannon tries another disappointing grapeshot on the Ungors, killing one, and some Handgunners chip in at long range to kill another. The other cannon just misfires on the bounce and so has no effect. The Spearmen in the North do a lot of damage to the Gors, a handful of survivors flee and are run down for their trouble. The knights kill many Gors for only a single loss, but the Gors are Steadfast (and near the Beastlord and BSB) so stick in there. The Bestigors are whittled down a bit more (mainly by the Priest, the Spearmen themselves don’t do much killing) but shred another boatload of Spearmen. They’d need 1,1 to stay again, and they don’t have what it takes this time, so they flee (but escape).
At this point, Furycat throws in the towel. In some ways, this is a bit of surprise – he has plenty of units left, and he’s done a fair bit of damage to me. On the other hand, he hadn’t been enjoying the game since the incident with his Wizard. We had a lengthy discussion afterward, joined by Justinmatters, in which Furycat stated how he doesn’t feel he can do well with the Empire other than by playing what he feels is the cheesy way, which I infer involves taking nothing but artillery and camping on a board edge. I don’t know either Empire or Warhammer Fantasy well enough to refute this. Since then, he’s made up another list, so I guess he is willing to have another go.
Regarding the specific episode in which the Wizard was taken out by attacks from rank and file guys, it is possible that I’ve understood the rules wrongly, and that you can’t just allocate attacks to whoever is in front of you. But I think I’m right. As for what can be done about this, I am not sure. Anyway, Furycat thought that the Wizard would be safely protected inside the unit, and that he would in effect have 39 ablative wounds before he got stabbed, and was miffed to find that this was not the case.
For my own part, it isn’t much fun playing against someone who isn’t enjoying their game. Still, I learned that even with a chariot for company, 12 Gors isn’t enough to take on a horde of Spearmen. Kind of obvious really, but you never know until you try. I also learned that one should not rely on spells, because all the extra dispel dice generated by the Warrior Priests cause havoc with the magic phase.