The last regular game in our still-unnamed escalation campaign at 500 points is against Aramoro‘s Vampire Counts. Test games with this match-up have been even more swingy than usual at this points level, but have mainly come down whether I can take on the undead units piecemeal and destroy them outright before they can get themselves back up to strength with Invocation of Nehek. Grinds generally favour the Vampire Counts. My list is as noted previously, but for convenience, here it is again.
Miss Madras, Firebelly, additional hand weapon (FB)
Heidi’s lasses, 5 Ironguts, musician (IG)
Helga’s lasses, 3 Leadbelchers (LB)
Blackcat Bone, Sabretusk (ST)
Aramoro has some fluff for his army which he will presumably post in his own blog eventually. The Vampire in charge, one Barry Von Carstein, has had doubts cast about whether he really is a Vampire at all as test games have regularly seen him miscast in turn 1 and forget his spells, or be poked to death by angry villagers. Vampire Counts seem have a bit of a problem at this point level because they need the expensive Vampire but can’t afford to do much with him. Also the units that they can put on the table are generally aren’t big enough to soak up the incoming damage and start grinding right back at their foes.
Barry Von Carstein, Vampire, Summon Creatures of the Night (V)
3 Crypt Horrors (CH)
20 Skeletons, champion, standard (S)
10 Crypt Ghouls (CG)
5 Dire Wolves (DW)
We’re still on Battle Line, and random terrain gives us two mundane buildings, a set of Blessed Bulwarks and a river that we all know is going to turn out to be a River of Light. Miss Madras rolls up something useless again (probably Piercing Bolts of Burning) and swaps it for Fireball; Barry Von Carstein doesn’t even bother to roll and defaults to Invocation of Nehek (which is apparently critical to playing Vampire Counts). Note that the Firebelly is deployed with the Ironguts this time to (hopefully) mess with Crypt Horror regeneration. I win the roll and force the Vampire Counts to take the first turn.
With no ranged attacks available the forces of the Undead have no choice but to head forward as quickly as possible. The Ghouls move into a building for no apparent reason and the Crypt Horrors threaten a flank charge if I dare to charge the Dire Wolves or Skeletons. 3,1 magic dice allow the Vampire to cast Invocation of Nehek which adds a few Dire Wolves to the unit.
Standing around and pinging a few wounds off in each shooting phase is dull (though effective) so I go for a long charge from the Ironguts into the Dire Wolves. The plan is to blast right through them and over run to (relative) safety. We roll for the river, and of course, it is Light. Net of Amyntok goes on the Ironguts but I breathe a huge sigh of relief as they pass the strength test and also complete the charge. The Sabretusk crosses the river and also gets Net of Amyntok for his troubles; luckily again it passes the strength test which otherwise would probably have been fatal. Rolling a feeble number of shots, the Leadbelchers manage to scratch a Crypt Horror, then the Ironguts annihilate the Dire Wolves. The penalty to hit from the Blessed Bulwark makes it a bit sticky though but the Firebelly personally stomps the last one and the unit overruns out of the charge arc for both the Crypt Horrors and Skeletons, again passing the Net of Amyntok test. Getting stuck there would probably have been the end of the game as I doubt I could have afforded to take both units in the side.
Everyone reforms to make it inevitable that the Ironguts will end up in a sandwich and the Ghouls leave the building to get involved in the game. Barry Von Carstein passes the magic phase as the risk of miscasting makes it not worth casting a spell that’ll only heal a single wound on the Crypt Horrors.
I try to swift reform the Ironguts so that they can move backwards and possibly take both undead units in the front, but they fail and choose to face the Crypt Horrors as I perceive them both as more killy and more important to kill off in a single round of combat. We roll up 2,2 magic dice and the Firebelly kills of the wounded Horror with a medium Fireball then another hapless volley from the Leadbelchers wounds a second.
Needless to say, the Skeletons and Crypt Horrors charge into the Ironguts while the Ghouls continue to slog their way into the action since they don’t have a grown-up around to tell them to march. It’s another 2,2 magic phase and Invocation of Nehek heals the Crypt Horrors. After two rounds of terrible rolling with the Leadbelchers my dice go red hot and the Firebelly immolates the Crypt Horrors with her breath weapon alone. The Skeletons can’t do much damage to the Ironguts and Barry Von Carstein doesn’t make enough of a difference to stop the Ogresses winning due to their musician; they reform to face.
The Leadbelchers move up into the river and get Net of Amyntok again; they shoot a single Ghoul in a third round of stellar output. Barry Von Carstein steps to the fore and criticises the curry-making prowess of Miss Madras. This insult cannot go unpunished and both are locked in mortal / immortal combat. Sadly, Barry may indeed just be pretending to be a Vampire and he fails to make any impression on the Firebelly and is
kicked in the ghoulies stomped for his troubles. The Skeletons pull down one Ogress but are smashed to bone dust by the mighty great weapons of the Ironguts.
We only roll up 1,1 magic dice this round but a well timed Invocation of Nehek heals Barry Von Carstein and resurrects a few skeletons. The challenge gives us no wounds on either side but enough Skeletons fall that the Vampire crumbles to dust. With only a few Ghouls left, Aramoro has had enough and calls it a day. Victory to the Ogre Kingdoms!
Another fun game, but the real lesson here is that it’s better to be lucky than good. If I’d roll less spectacularly with the Ironguts and Firebelly in the crucial first round of combat against the Skeletons and Crypt Horrors I could have found myself on the wrong end of an attrition battle; similarly if any of a number of things had gone wrong against the Dire Wolves I probably would have lost the unit. So next is probably 750 point games, although there has been some talk of a multi-player game, possibly even Storm of Magic. We’ll see what happens.