Monthly Archives: June 2011

Beastmen (2200 points) vs Empire (2000 points); 31May11

Here is the second battle involving my Beastmen from turn 11 of the Border Princes campaign, this time facing Furycat‘s rampant Empire forces.  In a rare event (for our campaign) I accurately predicted the attack on my territory and in an equally rare event actually did something about it; specifically, fortifying the army to give me a 10 % points bonus.  Since we’re increasing the points value we play at I decided to experiment with an extra Bray Shaman wielding the Lore of Shadow.  I’m wondering if the ability to reduce enemy movement (using Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma) might improve my ability to dictate the combats I want to get into.

Almar Short Horn – Great Bray Shaman, level 4, Steel Claws, Jagged Dagger, Talisman of Preservation, Lore of Beasts (GBS)

Messine the Bloodhungry– Wargor, BSB, Beast Banner, Gnarled Hide, heavy armour, shield, (BSB)

Kazzin Blue Cloud – Bray Shaman, level 2, Chalice of Dark Rain, additional hand weapon, Lore of Shadow (BS1)

Lorik of Dragon Rock – Bray Shaman, level 2, Dispel Scroll, additional hand weapon, Lore of Shadow (BS2)

39 Gors, additional hand weapons, full command (G1)

20 Gors, additional hand weapons, full command (G2)

8 Ungor Raiders, musician (UR1)

7 Ungor Raiders, musician (UR2)

2 x 5 Harpies, scouts (H1 and H2)

2 x 2 Razorgors (R1 and R2)

29 Bestigors, full command, Banner of Discipline (B)

Furycat has previously mentioned his disdain for BS-based (i.e. non-artillery) shooting, and took that to the next level here.  The Pegasus-riding Captain had evidently shown his worth in a previous outing and got a run out again.  Finally, and perhaps most significantly, some Wizards made it into the order of battle; replacing the Warrior Priests who have done the Empire so proud this far into the campaign.

General of the Empire, Sword of Sigismund, Armour of Meteoric Iron, Dawnstone, shield (GE)

Wizard Lord, level 4, Armour of Tarnus, Rod of Power, Lore of Life (WL)

Battle Wizard, level 2, Seal of Destruction, Lore of Light (BW)

Captain of the Empire, BSB, full plate armour, Talisman of Preservation (BSB)

Captain of the Empire, Pegasus, Aldred’s Casket of Sorcery, Pigeon Plucker Pendant, lance, full plate armour, shield (P)

23 Greatswords, full command (G)

30 Halberdiers, full command, Banner of Eternal Flame (H1)

30 Halberdiers, full command (H2)

30 Swordsmen, full command (S)

2 Helstorm Rocket Batteries (HRB1 and HRB2)

Mortar (M)

The mission came up as Dawn Attack with the full 10 pieces of terrain.  In the centre was a Dwarven Brewhouse with a wall running South East to some Khemrian Quicksand and a Mist-Wreathed Swamp in the East.  In the North West were some Flaming Barricades with a Grail Chapel to the South and Wyrding Well (cunningly disguised as a statue in the maps) even further toward the bottom of the map.  Finally, we have a suspiciously clean-looking Charnel Pit in the North East and two mysterious forests lie in wait for us.

The Wizard Lord takes Throne of Vines, Regrowth, Shield of Thorns and Lifeblood (somewhat surprising me since he could have had Dwellers Below, which I found very annoying in a previous battle against Aramoro) and the Battle Wizard has Net of Amyntok and Speed of Light.  In the Beastmen camp, the Great Bray Shaman has Wyssan’s Wildform, Flock of Doom, Savage Beast of Horros and Transformation of Kadon.  One of the Bray Shamans has Enfeebling Foe and the other has Withering; both take Miasma of course since it’s the reason they’re in the army in the first place.

I win the roll off to pick sides and select the ‘South’ since I happen to be on that side of the table at the start.  All our games are based on such high strategy.  Furycat is most displeased at the random nature of deployment for this scenario, though I have never had a problem with it.  On the other hand, I don’t have a bunch of artillery to screen from Harpies and ambushers, so I suppose that is to be expected.  Anyway, I also get to decide who goes first and not surprisingly choose that it should be me.

The game begins in the best possible fashion (for me) with the ambushing unit of Gors showing up right next to the Helstorm in the West, and the Harpies move into positions where they can attack the rest of the artillery.  Everyone else just moves up at top speed as usual, aiming for the gap between the buildings (note that this also has the not-coincidental effect of bring much of my army into range of both my general and BSB).  Finally, the Razorgors isolated in the East move up to try to tempt the Pegasus rider into keeping his Casket of Sorcery well away from my Shamans.  In the magic phase I get 4,3 dice, and start off with a rare magic missile spell killing a couple of Halberdiers in the centre with Flock of Doom.  I try a couple of cheeky single-die casting of the basic form of Miasma on the same unit of Halberdiers; one fails and the other is easily dispelled.  Finally, Withering on the same unit again is dispelled and destroyed using the Seal of Destruction.  Oh well, I only cast it to try to suck up a few of Furycat’s power dice next turn.

The Captain charges his Pegasus into the Razorgors right in front of him.  The Wizard Lord notices the Razorgors sniffing hungrily at him and decides to abandon the Halberdiers to their fate, joining the Greatswords instead.  Otherwise there isn’t much more than shuffling to clear the battle lines.  The magic phase only generates 2,2 dice, and successive rolls of 2,1 mean that Speed of Light on the Pegasus rider and Shield of Thorns on the Helstorm fail.  I thought that the idea of casting Shield of Thorns was quite a clever way of dissuading the Harpies from charging the artillery, so it was handy for me that it didn’t work.  For a change I remember to use the Chalice of Dark Rain which shuts down both Helstorms; the mortar shot scatters off the big Gor unit, killing a couple at the edge.  In the combat, the Captain turns one of the Razorgors into a giant pork kebab on his lance, and although the other one manages a wound back it is sent packing… straight into the Khemrian Quicksand where it fails its dangerous terrain test and is sucked down to an unpleasant fate, taking all three of its wounds with it.  Hilarious.

The ambushing Gors and both units of Harpies charge into the artillery in front of them – I’ve gotten away losing only 2 Gors from the lot so I’m happy for that to continue.  The surviving Razorgor herd crash through what turns out to be a Wild Wood into the Halberdiers so recently vacated by the Wizard Lord.  Both Bray Shamans leave their units of Raiders who move to direct any potential charges into awkward directions, and the big herd of Gors continues to march round the building in the middle.  With 5,5 power dice I start off again with a Flock of Doom on the unengaged Halberdiers killing a couple (but probably not enough to make a difference), then reduce the Swordsmen’s move by 3 with Miasma.  A casting of Enfeebling Foe on the Halberdiers fighting the Razorgors is dispelled so I put Wildform on them instead – I’m not bothered about the strength but an increase in toughness puts them up to 6s to wound the giant pigs.  The Mortar and Western Helstorm battery are both spiked straight away, but the central one puts up more of a fight and a single surviving crewman refuses to flee from his winged assailants.  The Razorgors kill off a bunch of Halberdiers without taking any wounds back, but the State Troops easily hold steadfast.

After some deliberation, the unengaged Halberdiers charge into the baiting Ungor Raiders, who flee… a mighty 2″ and are duly run down by the onrushing State Troops.  The Halberdiers have only a little while to savour their victory before they notice the Bestigors right in front of them, licking their goaty lips in anticipation.  The Pegasus charges the Harpies, who hold (they would have fled off the table and I’m hoping that any pursuit takes the Captain out of the game for a turn too).  Furycat rolls 2,2 for magic dice again.  Throne of Vines is let through (the Lore attribute heals one of the Helstorm crewmen back to fight the Harpies) but yet another low roll means that Regrowth on the Halberdiers fails to cast.  It seems that they could have used the help as another rank of them are crushed by the Razorgors.  In the far East, the Captain and his Pegasus predictably kills most of the Harpies but obligingly fails to restrain his hotheadedness and follows them off the table.

The Bestigors crash into the hapless Halberdiers, intent on showing them that beating up Ungors is a privilege, not a right.  Meanwhile, the Gor units move to get closer to the tasty humans waiting behind the building and the surviving Harpies move to get in the way of the Greatswords.  I begin the magic phase (6,3 dice) by trying to put Miasma on the Swordsmen in case they decide to try helping out against the Razorgors, but it is dispelled.  I do manage to get Enfeebling Foe off on Halberdiers fighting the Razorgors, but Wildform on the Bestigors is also dispelled.  They turn out not to need it, wiping the floor with the Halberdiers and running the rest of them down when they break.  The Razorgors fare less well, as a poor round of combat means that they lose on static combat resolution to the Halberdiers’ musician and flee from the fight (annoyingly,the Bestigors’ pursuit had taken the Great Bray Shaman out of inspiring presence-range).  The Halberdiers reform to face the (suddenly much more) nervous Harpies.

And indeed, the Halberdiers charge the Harpies, who hold (I was tempted to have them flee, but thought they’d serve me better by dying for the cause).  The Battle Wizard puts an Irresistable Net of Amyntok on the BSB’s Gors; the miscast is a calamitous detonation which blows up 7 of his Swordsmen bodyguards (but I roll a 1 to wound the Wizard).  In an epic display of fumbling, the Halberdiers only manage to cut down a single Harpy, but the rest of the flighty beasts flee anyway, losing no-one to the Greatswords as they go through them; apparently none of the elite soldiers was quick enough to swing his mighty weapon at them as they went through.

Sensing blood, both units of Gors declare charges; the ambushers on the remains of the Halberdiers and the big unit on the Swordsmen.  I duly fail both, including a roll of 1,1 for the BSB’s Gors which was the only roll low enough not to make contact (admittedly, they don’t take any damage from the Net of Amyntok so it’s not all bad).  Both fleeing units rally, though the Razorgors are a long way from doing anything useful.  The Wild Wood goes berserk, killing a few from both Gor herds and the Bestigors.  Dang terrain.  After rolling 6,3 magic dice I try again with single-die casting of the basic form of Miasma on the Swordsmen; once again one fails and the other is easily dispelled.  I do get through a critical Wildform on the big Gor herd.  Finally, the Wizard Lord remembers his Rod of Power (he must have been distracted by all the huge weapons on display in the Greatsword unit) and stores a couple of dice for next turn.

The Captain spurs his Pegasus to charge the Harpies, who flee but are caught and cut down anyway; this does have the handy side effect of leaving the Pegasus directly in front of the ambushing Gors for next turn.  Meanwhile, all three combat blocks declare charges on the BSB’s Gor herd, but due to the vagaries of unit placement, Furycat finds that the Greatswords are blocked by the Halberdiers.  Both the Swordsmen and the Halberdiers make contact though.  Yet another poor roll for the winds of magic gives the Empire only 4,1 dice to play with, but with 2 extra from the Rod of Power it seems that they could make something good from this one.  Speed of Light is let through on the Swordsmen, but Throne of Vines is dispelled.  Shield of Thorns is let through on the Halberdiers (killing a Gor at the end of the magic phase) and finally Enfeebling Foe is dispelled from a few turns ago.  Sadly, Speed of Light doesn’t help the Swordsmen much against T5 Gors, and the Halberdiers don’t fare much better.  In return, the S5 (Wildform plus Beast Banner equals don’t mess with these guys) Gors wreak havoc across both Empire units including killing off the Battle Wizard.  Needing 1,1 to hang around (for both units), Furycat is unable to muster the necessary dice rolls, apparently having used all his low dice rolling on his magic phases, and they both duly flee.  Note: we forgot that the building was a Dwarven Brewhouse at the time, so they should all have been stubborn.  Oh well, at least we both played it the same.  Anyway, Furycat has seen enough at this point and offers me his hand in surrender.  Victory for the Beastmen!

From my point of view, this was a very satisfactory game.  However, I know that Furycat was not happy with the random deployment required of the scenario, so that did sour our enjoyment a little.  Everything went swimmingly for the Beastmen, though of course with a 200 point advantage I would be expected to win.

I was impressed enough with the extra Bray Shaman that I will try it again.  One possibility is to use the Shard of the Herdstone on one of them to try to get a few more dice out of the magic phase.  Overall, I wonder if I might be better using Lore of Shadow on the Great Bray Shaman and Lore of Beasts on the Bray Shamans though.  It comes down to the choice of which is preferable out of Wildform and Miasma, and I am a big fan of both.  More games are definitely needed to see which gives me the best results.

The other major lesson is that, as good as Wildform is, having the Beast Banner is just so much more amazing.  Gors with S5 and T5 are ridiculous, and even if one can’t rely on magic (and Furycat can attest to that after this game), having S4 and T4 is pretty fine.  It took 4 turns to get them into combat, but the big unit of Gors annihilated the Swordsmen and Halberdiers in short order once they got started.

Categories: Battle reports, Border Princes, Campaigns, Warhammer Fantasy Battle | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Painted Tuskgor Chariot

Here is the painted Tuskgor Chariot I put together a while ago.  Funnily enough, I don’t think I’ve actually used a chariot since I built it, but the table top beckons for it again now the work is done.  Anyway, enough text.  Bring forth the pictures!

This is the view my foes get as the mighty chariot crashes across the snow into them, slavering hounds (er, Tuskgors) first.

A little close up on the hounds.  Sorry Kuffeh – I couldn’t quite get the yoke to fit right (though it’s a lot better than the dry fit I did for the unpainted photo).

Here are a couple of side-on shots showing the glorious whole.  I tried to make little furrows in the snow where the wheels would have already rolled, but it’s barely visible in real life and doesn’t show up at all in the photographs.

Some close-ups of the crew.  I’m very happy with the painting on these chaps, and the Bestigor is a delightful sculpt.  I’m really looking forward to painting my unit of enraged goaty lumberjacks, which is just as well since they’re next on the desk.

Categories: Painting and modelling, Warhammer Fantasy Battle | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Beastmen (2400 points) vs Orcs & Goblins (2200 points); 17May11

In turn 11 of our Border Princes campaign, Justinmatters‘ Orcs & Goblins have made an aggressive move to attack the home territory of the Beastmen.  Unfortunately for them, there are several armies of Beastmen heading to what they previously thought was the main area of fighting, i.e. the Old Silk Road.

Loris, Kin of Beasts – Great Bray Shaman, level 4, Steel Claws, Jagged Dagger, Talisman of Preservation, Lore of Beasts (GBS)

Mund – Gorebull, BSB, Armour of Fortune, Gnarled Hide (BSB)

Rannin the Wild – Gorebull, heavy armour, shield, Berserker Sword, Talisman of Endurance (G)

Ammunin of the Clouded Moon – Bray Shaman, level 2, Dispel Scroll, additional hand weapon, Lore of Shadow (BS)

30 Gors, additional hand weapons, full command (G1)

20 Gors, additional hand weapons, full command (G2)

30 Ungors, full command (U)

2 Tuskgor Chariots (TC1 and TC2)

6 Minotaurs, full command, Ironcurse Icon on the Bloodkine (M)

23 Bestigors, full command, Banner of Discipline (B)

Justinmatters busted out this rather hard-core looking mob of brutality backed with artillery.

Grimgor Ironhide (GI)

Black Orc Big Boss, BSB, Martog’s Best Basha (BSB)

Orc Shaman, level 2 (OS)

49 Big ‘Uns, additional hand weapons, full command (BU)

2 units of 23 Black Orcs (BO1 and BO2)

6 Spear Chukkas (SC1 to SC6)

2 Rock Lobbers (RL1 and RL2)

Oh dear…  Anyway, the mission  we roll up is the Watchtower, and I congratulate myself on my cleverness for bringing a 20-strong core unit to go in it.  Justinmatters duly wins the roll off to start as defender (not that it helps since he only has a single core unit, and it has the best part of 50 guys in it), and so the Gors go into ambush.  Oh well.  In addition to the actual Watchtower, we get a forest, two sets of Khemrian Quicksand and a normal building.  It must be a bit deserty this far East in the Border Princes.  The Orc Shaman takes Gaze of Mork and Bash ‘Em Lads as usual, the Great Bray Shaman has Wyssan’s Wildform, Curse of Anraheir, Pann’s Pelt and Transformation of Kadon and finally the Bray Shaman has Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma and Enfeebling Foe.  Justinmatters’ deployment is super quick since he only has 5 drops so we’re swiftly onto turn one.

The ambushing Gors arrive in the West and move up to threaten the artillery battery over there.  Everyone else moves up, with the big Gor unit looking to get into the Watchtower.  I’m pretty confident that I can restrain the Minotaurs from being forced to charge frenziedly forward, so I’m looking to dissuade any assaults on the Watchtower by keeping them around to counter charge.  In the magic phase we get 5,4 dice, and my first shot is a three dice Irresistable Curse of Anraheir on Grimgor’s Black Orcs.  Improbably, the magic feedback is warded by the Great Bray Shaman and fails to wound the Bray Shaman, so I suffer no problems apart from the loss of a few power dice.  I was sweating a bit on losing the Great Bray so early on, but I got rather lucky.  Miasma on the other Black Orcs is easily dispelled.

Grimgor Ironhide’s Black Orcs fail their animosity and a few of them are beaten senseless by the big guy.  Realising that they are the only ones who brought any ranged attacks, the Orcs & Goblins are in no hurry to advance, so there’s not much more than shuffling around in their lines.  We roll 4,3 dice for the winds of magic, so the Orc Shaman gets in on the Irresistable Force business with a Gaze of Mork on the Minotaurs (two wounds caused) and gets away with only Frenzy and Stupidity for his troubles.  So much for scary miscasts.  In the West, the three Spear Chukkas let fly at the Minotaurs, dropping them to just 5 left.  Justinmatters was a real gentleman at this point since I forgot about the Ironcurse Icon until we were done rolling; he allowed me to put one of the casualties back (but only 5 were left even including this generosity).  One of the Rock Lobbers misfires and won’t fire next turn and the other scatters off the Bestigors onto the Gors, killing a couple.  Finally the Spear Chukkas in the East turn four Ungors into kebabs.

I realise that the Minotaurs aren’t going to be in fighting shape for much longer if they take another shooting phase like the last one, so I throw them into Grimgor Ironhide’s unit to try to bring them down to a more manageable size.  Over in the West the ambushing Gors begin what is destined to be a long run of spiking warmachines by charging into the first Spear Chukka.  Everyone else moves round the Watchtower except for the Gors who move into it and hunker down for what they hope is a long haul.  We have 5,4 dice to use in the magic phase.  The Bray Shaman starts things off by surviving a calamitous detonation while casting Miasma (-2 to all four stats) on Grimgor’s Black Orcs with Irresistable Force.  A casting of Wildform on the Minotaurs is dispelled but Curse of Anraheir is put on their victims.  The Gors predictably sweep the Goblin crew from the Spear Chukka and pursue into the next one in line, hardly pausing to trample the little artillerymen’s corpses into the ground.  Due to some rules-abuse by me the front line of the Minotaurs, consisting as it does of three unique and individual snow-flakes, takes a few wounds but doesn’t actually lose any models.  In return they sweep a host of Black Orcs, and are a single kill away from stopping them being steadfast.  Sadly (for me) it is not to be, and the break check is easily passed.

The unengaged Black Orcs jump into the flank of the Minotaurs, and over on the far side of the scrum in the centre, the Big ‘Uns fail a fairly optimistic charge into the Ungors.  The magic phase sees the Shaman put Bash ‘Em Lads on his unit with Irresistable Force; the miscast has no effect (it was a handful of hits on the caster that were easily shrugged off).  The artillery fire kills a couple of Ungors and Gors, but nothing of any significance.  The combat goes very much the way of the Black Orcs, especially with Bash ‘Em Lads in effect.  The Minotaurs kill a few of their foes but they are killed down to the Bloodkine, BSB and standard bearer.  They fail to roll the insane courage they would have needed to stick around,  so the Bloodkine flees all on his own (the BSB and standard bearer hurl themselves suicidally into the fray, apparently for no effect) and fails a dangerous terrain check going through the Big ‘Uns which cost him his last wound.  Well, so much for the Minotaurs.  The Gors, meanwhile, crash through the second Spear Chukka and straight into the third.

Well, now it’s time to try to keep the Orcs away from the Watchtower.  The Ungors and the chariots move around to try to redirect the Orc blocks, while the Bestigors hope for a good opportunity to flank the Big ‘Uns once they’ve finished smiting the Ungors.  The 6,4 magic dice allows the Great Bray Shaman to put the Curse on the Shaman’s Black Orcs (since they’re surely going for the Watchtower next turn), but Wildform on the Gors is dispelled.  The Bray Shaman puts Enfeebling Foe on the Big ‘Uns, mainly in the hope the Justinmatters would either not have enough dice to dispel it next turn, or simply forget to do so.  Finally, the Gors spike the last Spear Chukka from the Western side of the field.

The Big ‘Uns kick the turn off by usefully getting ‘Plan’s a Good ‘Un’ which allows them to shuffle in such a way that they’ll clip both the Bestigors and the chariot if (when) they run down the Ungors; who they charge into immediately.  The Shaman’s Black Orcs charge the Watchtower, but Justinmatters plans fall slightly when he remembers that Grimgor Ironhide isn’t allowed to leave his bodyguard of Immortulz.  He originally had the cunning plan of getting his general into the other (larger) unit of Black Orcs and smashing my tower defenders with him.  Instead, Grimgor’s unit reforms to face the chariot.  Enfeebling Foe is dispelled by the Orc Shaman who then Irresistably casts Bash ‘Em Lads on his own unit (again).  The miscast finally catches up with him, and his head disintegrates, so that’s all for Orc magic for this game.  In true Orc style, Justinmatters forgets about shooting for this turn, but he is too much of a gentleman to go back to it after the event, so I get away with a round of not having my guys squashed with rocks or impaled on huge spears.  Predictably the Ungors don’t last long against a horde of enraged Big ‘Uns, and the Orcs’ pursuit does indeed contact both the Bestigors and the chariot.  Dang.  Over at the Watchtower, the Bash ‘Em Lads-fuelled Black Orcs kill a good number of Gors, but the Gors do me proud by getting both frenzy and hatred on their primal fury and fell a lot of Black Orcs in return.  The Gors still lose, but they pass their break check and repulse the assault.

The ambushing Gors charge into the Rock Lobber, losing a couple of their number to what turns out to be a venom thicket, and the chariot in the West moves to direct Grimgor’s unit further away from the main action.  I roll 6,1 dice for magic, and although Enfeebling Foe on the Big ‘Uns is dispelled, both Wildform (on the Gors) and the Curse (on the Big ‘Uns) do work now that I have magical supremacy.  The Big ‘Uns make an unbelievable mess of their attacks (literally doing only a single wound to the chariot, nothing on the Bestigors) and are scythed down in droves in return.  They can’t muster the 1,1 they would need to hold and are duly mown down by the triumphant Tuskgor Chariot.  The Gors kill off their fourth warmachine and reform to face the centre of the board.

Grimgor Ironhide and his depleted followers charge into the chariot sitting in their face; the other Black Orcs charge the Watchtower.  The Spear Chukkas combine to smash the chariot and another scattered shot from the Rock Lobber kills a couple of Bestigors.  Grimgor Ironhide chops the other chariot into matchwood before anyone else even realises they’re in combat and overruns close to the ambushing Gors.  In the main event, the Black Orcs kill plenty more of the Gors but they are losing their own at an awkward rate too.  The Gors again pass their leadership test to remain in the Watchtower.

The Beastmen turn 5 is the quickest on record.  I move the Gors out of the Watchtower and replace them with the Bestigors.  Justinmatters realises that his depleted Black Orcs aren’t going to have what it takes to dislodge them from the Watchtower and offers to concede the game.  I agree (after all, I’ve worked to set things up that way) and I’m happy to accept, especially since it is way past my bed-time by this point.  Victory for the Beastmen!

The main lesson from the Beastmen perspective is that even 800 or so points or so of Minotaurs aren’t a match for more than 1300 points of Black Orcs and characters.  When I selected the list I had good plans for them running over a couple of support units to rack up their bloodgreed attacks, but circumstances quickly put a stop to that.  Firstly, there weren’t any support units anyway.  Secondly, after the initial round of shooting left them down close to half strength I didn’t fancy keeping them out in the open to get skewered by another round of bolt throwers.  Finally, the Watchtower mission is all about the objective – there’s no point trying to conserve units, provided that you have the strength to get a unit in there to win the game.

Minotaurs aside, I was happy with the way the game went.  I was able to keep the big hitters away from the Watchtower for long enough to allow me to get some good defence into position.  In fairness to Justinmatters, the Big ‘Uns deserted him in his hour of need (though in my opinion the Bestigors would have had them anyway considering the hexes they were suffering from) and he was playing down by 200 points right from the start.

Categories: Battle reports, Border Princes, Campaigns, Warhammer Fantasy Battle | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Border Princes Campaign (Turn 11)

We’ve finally completed all our battles from turn 10 of the Border Princes campaign we’re running in our little group of geeks.  The turn started off with hopelessly one-sided thrashing of my beloved Beastmen by a combined force from the Empire and Bretonnians (here), led by Furycat and Aramoro respectively.  Things improved significantly in the remaining two battles against my erstwhile allies, Justinmatters‘ Orcs & Goblins (victories documented here and here), including one where I was able to overturn a small points disadvantage.

Turn 11 begins with a letter from the Bretonnian general to his counterpart in the Empire, formally announcing the end of their previously steady alliance.  As a result, the only alliances left are those between Forkbanger‘s High Elves and the Bretonnians, and the High Elves and the Beastmen; apparently doing actual fighting is beneath Elven dignity.  Anyway, this results in a massive free-for-all, with battles up and down the central areas; the total is two battles between the Empire and Beastmen, two between the Empire and the Bretonnians, two between the Orcs & Goblins and Beastmen and one between the Orcs & Goblins and the Empire.  In other words, it’s all a big mess.  The only other move of significance is an army of Beastmen failing to make their fear check to take the Geistenmund hills (cowards, the lot of them).

For those keeping track of such things, here are the current scores (before any battles this turn).  I can’t be bothered counting up the permutations of who’ll gain or lose banners since there are so many battles to deal with.

Beastmen: 28 points (24 territories, 1 of which is special); 9 banners
Empire: 27 points (23 territories, 1 of which is special); 8 banners
Orcs & Goblins: 22 points (18 territories, 1 of which is special); 7 banners
Bretonnians: 21 points (12 territories, 1 of which is Malko); 4 banners
High Elves: 17 points (13 territories, 1 of which is special); 4 banners

Finally, a few rules changes.  We’re increasing the base army size to 2000 points (with fortifications / support giving the same 10 % advantage as always) based on some testing from Aramoro and Forkbanger showing such larger games don’t take much longer to play.  We’ve also agreed to shorten the campaign to 15 turns (from 20) since I think that it’ll start to become a big grind in the centre of the map if the campaign goes on too long.  And I’ve decided to stop tracking which armies are led by which characters; it’s annoyingly bureaucratic and adds nothing to the fun.

Thanks for sticking with us so far; there are plenty of battle reports on the way.

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Painted Bray Shaman

I’ve finally finished painting the Bray Shaman I put together about eight months ago.  In an attempt to make him stand out more from the rest of the herd I tried to make his skin a little lighter, although now that I’ve done it the difference seems to be minimal.  Oh well.  I’ve put a bit more work into him than my rank and file Gors, and overall I’m very happy with him.  He probably deserves some extra credit for his performance on the table top since he’s currently doing service as a field promotion to Great Bray Shaman.  Anyway, pretty pictures:

The front-on shot.  The skull on the end of his Braystaff isn’t quite as ludicrously outsized as this photo suggests; it’s just foreshortening due to my (lack of) camera skills.

Damn mould lines… and especially after a comment from Forkbanger on precisely that subject.

I’m quite satisfied with the way the cloak looks.  It’s not so much that it looks that amazing, but rather that it looks vastly better than it did before painting.

Next on the painting table: a Tuskgor Chariot.

Categories: Painting and modelling, Warhammer Fantasy Battle | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Beastmen vs Warriors of Chaos (2000 points); 07Jun11

It’s been ages since I played a game of Warhammer that wasn’t part of our ongoing Border Princes campaign.  But after seeing the constant stream of fabulous Warriors of Chaos miniatures posted on Forkbanger‘s blog, and particularly after he mentioned that he’d only managed to play them so far against one opponent, it seemed like a good idea to get in a game.  We selected 2000 point lists, each based on a previous list we’d used in order to keep that ‘take-all-comers’ feel that I generally prefer in my gaming.  My unruly herd:

Great Bray Shaman, level 4, Steel Claws, Jagged Dagger, Talisman of Preservation, Lore of Beasts (GBS)

Wargor, BSB, Beast Banner, Gnarled Hide, heavy armour, shield, (BSB)

Bray Shaman, level 2, Chalice of Dark Rain, additional hand weapon, Lore of Shadow (BS1)

Bray Shaman, level 2, Dispel Scroll, additional hand weapon, Lore of Shadow (BS2)

39 Gors, additional hand weapons, full command (G1)

20 Gors, additional hand weapons, full command (G2)

2 x 6 Ungor Raiders, musician (UR1 and UR2)

5 Harpies, scouts (H)

2 Razorgors (R)

29 Bestigors, full command, Banner of Discipline (B)

Forkbanger took this bunch of lunatics:

Sorceror Lord, level 4, Disc of Tzeentch, Mark of Tzeentch, Bloodcurdling roar, Blood of Tzeentch, Lore of Tzeentch (SL)

Festus the Leechlord (F)

The Troll King Throgg (KT)

20 Chaos Warriors, Mark of Tzeentch, shields, full command (TW)

17 Chaos Warriors, Mark of Khorne, additional hand weapons, full command (KW)

5 Trolls (T)

Chaos Warshrine, Mark of Tzeentch (CW)

Hellcannon (H)

I’ve never played against Warriors of Chaos before, but I can see from the look of the army that it’s entirely bad news to be in its way.  We roll up the Meeting Engagement, and an improbable series of rolls gives us only mundane terrain (except for the mysterious forest and rivers that is).  The Sorceror Lord takes Flickering Fire of Tzeentch, Baleful Transmogrification, Pandemonium and Treason of Tzeentch, while Festus has Curse of the Leper and Rot, Glorious Rot.  Good names for spells one and all.  Over on my side, the Great Bray Shaman has Wyssan’s Wildform, Amber Spear, Savage Beast of Horros and Transformation of Kadon.  Both Bray Shamans have Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasm, one has Enfeebling Foe and the other gets Withering.  The Warriors of Chaos set up first; King Throgg and the Tzeentch Warriors are late.  For the Beastmen the Bestigors and one unit of Raiders think that they had time for one more drink before setting off for the battlefield.  I briefly consider setting the Gors up to ambush but decide they’d be more use in the battle line.

The game begins with the Hellcannon rampaging in the general direction of the Harpies (but not far enough to get stuck into them).  The magic phase is a mighty one with 6,5 dice plus a channel for the Warriors of Chaos.  Curse of the Leper is put on the BSB’s Gors (let through) then Rot, Glorious Rot is dispelled.  Pandemonium is let through.  Treason of Tzeentch goes on the same unit (failed to dispel) killing 13 of them.  Ouch; they do pass panic though.  Flickering Fire (let through) puts a wound on the Great Bray Shaman and kills another 2 Gor and finally Baleful Transmogrifcation fails to hurt the Razorgors.  The Sorceror Lord lets out a Bloodcurdling Roar which kills another Gor from the BSB’s herd… it sounds like a particularly bad way to go, having your blood curdled.  Finally the Warshrine blesses the Khorne Warriors so that they cause fear.

The Razorgors charge the Sorceror Lord, and after a bit of consideration I decide that the Harpies aren’t going to get a better target this game than the rear of the Warshrine; both make it.  The BSB’s significantly reduced herd swift reform to 5 wide.  The wind of magic give me an almost-as-impressive 5,5 power dice.  I dispel Pandemonium but fail to make the roll to dispel Curse of the Leper on two dice with the Great Bray Shaman.  A boosted version of Miasma with 3 dice goes on the Khorne Warriors with Irresistable Force, but the miscast sucks all the remaining power dice from the pool (though luckily nothing else bad happens).  The Razorgors put 2 wounds on the Sorceror Lord for no loss and he flees but luckily manages to get away; the Razorgors contact King Throgg and his sons.  Meanwhile a spectacular pillow fight ensues between the Harpies and the Warshrine; no one is hurt but the Warshrine flees and is run down.

The Khorne Warriors restrain their frenzy to avoid charging the Gors, and the Hellcannon’s crew/minders manage to keep it under control.  Not surprisingly the Sorceror Lord rallies, telling his minions that fleeing like a little girl was ‘all part of the grand plan of the Changer of Ways’.  The winds of magic calm down somewhat to 2,2 dice.  I scroll Rot, Glorious Rot on the BSB’s herd and manage to dispel Flickering Fire.  The Chalice of Dark Rain somehow stops the Sorceror Lord from Roaring (perhaps all the nasty maggots etc got in his mouth?) but the Hellcannon kills another few Gors.  Throgg vomits copiously over the Razorgors, easily killing them, although they do kill one of his Trolls at the same time.  The Harpies, caring sympathetic souls that they are, panic and flee from the sight of the Razorgors dying so horribly.

It’s time to get stuck in properly now.  The BSB’s Gor herd charge the front of the Khorne Warriors and the Bestigors charge their flank through what turns out to be a normal wood.  The smaller unit of Gors consider moving to redirect the Tzeentch Warriors but I realise that there’s nowhere useful to send them so I just charge instead.  The Harpies rally.  In the magic phase, I only roll 1,1 power dice, so that narrows my options – I need to dispel Curse of the Leper on the Gors.  Unfortunately for them, I roll 1,2 and it stays on.  The Khorne Warriors don’t need a second invitation to annihilate the toughness 2 Gors and wipe them down to only a single rank.  The Bestigors kill a few but I still lose combat by a huge margin.  The Gors fail to roll the 1,1 they’d need (even on a reroll) and so flee leaving the BSB to his fate.  The Bestigors are steadfast so they hold; the Warriors reform to face them.  The other Gor herd loses a few to the Tzeentch Warriors but hold.

The Hellcannon charges the Harpies who fail their terror test and start fleeing again.  It tries to redirect into the Bestigors but they’re too far away.  The Trolls charge the flank of the Gors.  We get 4,2 magic dice and the first thing that happens is Curse of the Leper ticks again on the Gors, wiping out the pitiful remnants of that once-proud herd; one of the Raider units panics at this and flees.  Festus puts Curse of the Leper on the Bestigors with Irresistable Force, the miscast blows up a couple from each unit.  Treason of Tzeentch and Flickering Fire on the (non-panicing) Raiders are both dispelled.  The Bestigors lose again to the dwindling number of Khorne Warriors, though they do chop Festus into a mucous-y paste.  The Gors are no match for Tzeentch Warrior, Troll and King Throgg and the tiny number of survivors are run down by the Warriors.  The Trolls fail to restrain pursuit, leaving them facing the wrong way.

My fleeing units both rally.  The Raiders (i.e. my only movable unit) move to direct the Tzeentch Warriors away from the main action.  I roll another 1,1 for the winds of magic and fail again to dispel Curse of the Leper (note for clarity: we both inexplicably forgot that it just went away when Festus died; I doubt it affected the result).  In a rare need for me to mention a Beastmen shooting phase, the Raiders manage to put down one of the Tzeentch Warriors.  The Bestigors finally wipe out the Khorne Warriors but there are only about 10 of them left.

The Hellcannon rampages again, this time it hits the flank of the Bestigors.  The Tzeentch Warriors charge the Raiders.  There are 5,1 dice for the magic phase.  Pandemonium is let through but Baleful Transmogrifcation and Flickering Fire on the unengaged Raiders are both dispelled.  The Raiders are annihilated by the Tzeentch Warriors (apparently shooting one down with a short bow just makes them angry), and the Hellcannon rips the Bestigors to shreds, thunderstomping most of the survivors for good measure.  I’ve seen enough (and I’m running out of units, while having no chance to do much in return), so I surrender.  Victory for the Warriors of Chaos.

It was a very good fun game, though I think that the result was not in doubt after I failed to dispel Curse of the Leper on the Gors in turn 2.  I think that if I was going to play the game again I’d still have made the choices I did, with the possible exception of charging the small unit of Gors into the Tzeentch Warriors – in retrospect that was a fight that was only going one way.

As far as lessons learned, I think that the main point is about the unpredictability of magic.  On the one hand, I could learn that sometimes it just doesn’t go your way (I only got a single spell off in the entire game) and live with the fact that it’ll cost me games from time to time.  Alternatively, I could try to rely on it less.  Since I find magic one of the fun parts of the game, I suspect I’ll be going for the first option.  Of course I also got to find out some things about Warriors of Chaos which is useful in its own right.

Categories: Battle reports, Warhammer Fantasy Battle | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Tavern Talk – Painting; Beginners and Beyond

Kuffeh asks:

A new starter to the hobby has approached you, their army has been selected (insert your own preference if needs be) and rather than ask you questions about how to game or army composition they instead ask you about painting.  Your reply is….

Basically, what tips would you give to a new starter in the hobby.  Everything from paints, to basing. What are your top tips?

The simple question here to start with must be: what do you want to achieve with your painting? If the answer is ‘to have awesome-looking miniatures’ then my advice would be to go see Forkbanger, so that’s nice and easy. If the answer is ‘to have a table-top standard army’, then that’s much more in my area of expertise.

I very much like simple, straightforward paint jobs so the first part is to decide on a colour scheme. It is important that it is one that you like, that isn’t going to require skills way beyond your ability and that you can live with painting on dozens or even hundreds of miniatures. I like to have an idea in my head of how I’d like the army to appear on the table, so then I can make sure I have the paints I want to use.

So the first purchase (or borrow) should be paintbrushes. There are many different brands out there, all with different qualities to recommend them. Although I have a load of paintbrushes, I find that I only really use three: a relatively big one for painting almost the entire miniature, a relatively small one for doing very fine detail (eyes in particular, but some miniatures do have other comparably tricky parts) and an old one I don’t mind wrecking that I use for drybrushing.

Next, we need paints. After picking out a colour scheme, it is a simple matter of finding somewhere that sells the colours of paint needed, and handing over money to purchase them. I’m far too lazy to mix paints, so my preference is to use a colour that looks good straight out of the bottle. For each part of the miniature, I like to have a dark(ish) base coat, a lighter coat for highlighting and then a wash or ink for shading. So in the case of the skin of my Beastmen, I use Astronomican Grey as a base coat, Badab Black wash to shade the recesses a little and the Codex Grey to highlight.

Now that we have all the required tools, it is time for the fun part of actually applying colour to our toy soldiers. I’m really untidy when painting, so I usually apply the base coat for whatever part I’m doing, then wash, then drybrush the area. If I get some colour on part I’ve already done, never mind. Once all the whole miniature is painted, it’s easy to go back and tidy up any mistakes. The important thing to remember is that even though any mistakes look horrendous when holding the miniature about 3″ from your eyes, or when blown up to giant size in a photo on a blog (as regular reader will know), they’ll look a lot cleaner when they’re in a unit of 30 guys on a table top 3′ away.

Finally, a little sand on the base will go a long way to completing the whole look, but even painting the whole base black will make the miniature look tidier by hiding the inevitable paint splashes.

So in summary:
1. Pick a colour scheme you like.
2. Get some paintbrushes.
3. Get paints that roughly reflect the picture in your head of the colour scheme you picked in part 1.
4. Paint the miniature, and have fun doing it.
5. Congratulate yourself on a job well done, then watch as they mysteriously perform better on the table top than unpainted miniatures.

In true Blue Peter style, here’s some I made earlier.

Categories: Painting and modelling, Tavern Talk | Tags: , | 4 Comments

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