Posts Tagged With: Empire

Ogre Kingdoms vs Empire (750 points); 24Nov13

It only took us about 4 months get through the first round of our escalation campaign!  Not a bad effort for us to play only 6 games each.  Anyway, it’s not like we’ve been playing only this one game system, or indeed that we’re in any hurry.  As with the 500 point level the opening game is me vs Furycat; a match up that saw my only defeat in the opening round.  My army is as per this post, but for convenience, here it is again.

Miss Madras, Firebelly (FB)

Heidi’s lasses, 6 Ironguts, musician, standard bearer (IG)

Helena’s lasses, 6 Ogre Bulls Cows, standard bearer (OC)

Helga’s lasses, 3 Leadbelchers (LB)

Blackcat Bone, Sabretusk (ST)

Furycat had added a Witch Hunter and retinue of Free Company militia as well as bulking out his other units.  It is probably worth noting that Furycat has long been a proponent of how bad Free Company are, but put them in for story reasons.

Warrior Priest, Opal Amulet, Great Weapon, heavy armour (WP)

Witch Hunter, Potion of Foolhardiness, brace of pistols (W)

25 Spearmen, champion, standard bearer (S)

2 x 5 Archers (A1 and A2)

24 Halberdiers, full command (H)

20 Free Company (FC)

5 Pistoliers, musician (P)

We’re still using Battle Line until the next escalation.  Our reduced strategy gives us a Scree Slope in the South West, a building in the North West, a forest (which turned out to be a Venom Thicket) in the North East and finally a river (a Raging Torrent when we actually entered it).  I still fail to roll any of the Lore of Fire spells I like and hence end up with Fireball as usual.  Luckily Fireball is pretty good when all units are tiny.  Furycat wins the roll off and opts to go first.

Ogre_Kingdoms_vs_Empire_24Nov13_Deployment

The Pistoliers saunter round the hill to be in maximum irritation position for the Ironguts.  The Archers find out that the forest is a Venom Thicket and the Halberdiers decide that they don’t fancy spending a couple of turns trudging through it being bitten by nasty little things so reform to head around it.  Both sets of Archers fire at the Leadbelchers, and, despite needing 6s to hit and 5s to wound, manage to put 4 wounds on them out of 10 shots.  Luckily for me the Leadbelchers don’t panic.  After that, the paltry single wound that the Pistoliers manage to put on the Ironguts seems a bit weak.

Ogre_Kingdoms_vs_Empire_24Nov13_Turn_1_Empire

It may have become clear to anyone who has read this blog for a long time that I find Pistoliers very annoying so the Firebelly leaves the Leadbelchers and starts incanting at the riders.  We roll 2,2 magic dice and mid-sized fireball is sent to wipe out the Pistoliers which makes me happy indeed.  The Leadbelchers plink off a single militia man.

Ogre_Kingdoms_vs_Empire_24Nov13_Turn_1_Ogre_Kingdoms

The Free Company and Spearmen both charge the Cows, making it but losing a handful of guys to the Venom Thicket.  For some reason, the left hand Archers charge the Leadbelchers.  Sadly, they roll terribly in the Raging Torrent, panic and flee again; presumably leaving the Leadbelchers looking rather bemused.  The Warrior Priest summons up 3,2 magic dice; Shield of Faith is dispelled but Hammer of Sigmar does go off.  The Archers who aren’t running like children fail to match their amazing volley of last turn, then we’re onto combat.  Bizarrely, everyone in the massive central scrum roll hopelessly but the end result is a narrow Ogress win which sees the Spearmen sent packing.  To rub it in, the other Archers also panic at this point; the Cows reform to maximise contact with the Free Company.

Ogre_Kingdoms_vs_Empire_24Nov13_Turn_2_Empire

The Ironguts chase the Spearmen and Archers away making scary faces as they do so.  I roll a mighty 3,2 magic dice and put them all into the biggest Fireball at the Halberdiers which kills off a good chunk of them; the Leadbelchers kill off a couple more.  Those fleeing Archers are right in the way of the Warrior Priest’s unit and I’m quite happy for them to stay there.  The combat between Cows and Free Company continues to grind away at both units though the Free Company are taking most of the punishment.

Ogre_Kingdoms_vs_Empire_24Nov13_Turn_2_Ogre_Kingdoms

The Spearmen and right hand Archers rally, meaning that the Halberdiers are spending another turn just looking at the stupid peasants dithering in front of them.  Furycat rolls up 3,1 magic dice and gets Shield of Faith through (failed dispel) but I am able to stop Hammer of Sigmar.  The Free Company have finally had enough and break; irritatingly for Furycat a single militiaman also survives the run through the Venom Thicket, meaning that the Witch Hunter won’t be likely to rally.  The Cows restrain themselves and face the Halberdiers.

Ogre_Kingdoms_vs_Empire_24Nov13_Turn_3_Empire

It’s probably worth noting that there’s no good reason to throw the Cows at the Halberdiers here.  I’ve got ranged attacks and would be better to stand off and soften them up a bit more.  On the other hand, that’s pretty boring for both of us, so in they go.  The Firebelly rolls up 1,1 magic dice and kills off a few of the fleeing Archers on the left with a small Fireball.  The main event is the combat though; the contact is quite small due to the presence of the Archers, and if there’s something that Ogres are good at it’s concentrating force into a narrow area.  The Cows win by the closest of margins but Furycat rolls high on his break check and the humans flee and are run down.  With only the Spears left against practically my entire army, Furycat has seen enough.  Victory to the Ogre Kingdoms!

Ogre_Kingdoms_vs_Empire_24Nov13_Turn_3_Ogre_Kingdoms

It was quite a strange game with the dice going hot and cold all over the place.  The Archers blocking off the Halberdiers meant that I could have focused all my attention on the rest of his force even if the Spearmen hadn’t rolled terribly and fled in the first combat round.  I didn’t do anything too clever and still got a heavy victory, though in fairness Furycat has knowingly selected some fairly weak units.  It’s always fun to play against Furycat whatever the game system.

Categories: Battle reports, Campaigns, Escalation campaign, Warhammer Fantasy Battle | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Ogre Kingdoms vs Empire (500 points); 01Aug13

Furycat and I got our slow grow campaign kicked off with the first of the battles at 500 points.  We’ve played out most of the match ups at 500 points just to see if the game breaks too badly (it doesn’t, but only because we’re trying hard to stop it) so there were no surprises here.  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)

Furycat has a list with its own fluff, which I imagine he’ll post eventually.  Anyway, this list is:

Warrior Priest, Opal Amulet, Great Weapon, Heavy Armour (WP)

20 Spearmen (S)

2 x 5 Archers (A1 and A2)

17 Halberdiers, full command (H)

5 Pistoliers, musician (P)

I’m not sure if we had agreed not to randomise missions at this escalation, or if we just forgot to do it, but we ended up with Battle Line.  We have a similarly half-baked plan to reduce the number and effects of terrain, but still ended up with 5 pieces.  A Mist-Wreathed Swamp in the North East and an Idol of Gork in the North West were both placed with the principle of ‘I don’t want that affecting my army!’.  More benignly, we had some Ghost Fences in the centre, a forest in the South West and a Temple of Skulls in the South East.  As usual, we forgot about them all anyway, so nothing actually affected the game.  My Firebelly swapped something useless (I think it was Cascading Fire Cloak) for Fireball.  The Empire win first turn and take it, with the Pistoliers Vanguarding into my face.

Ogre_Kingdoms_vs_Empire_01Aug13_Deployment

Basically everyone moves forward behind the screening Archers, with the exception of the Pistoliers who inevitably park themselves safely out of any charge arcs just to the right of my Ironguts.  The Warrior Priest mucks about pointlessly with his spells (mainly just to remind me what the spells are, I suppose) and then the ranged units open fire with an embarrassingly ineffective volley at the Ironguts, managing a single wound between the lot of them.

Ogre_Kingdoms_vs_Empire_01Aug13_Turn_1_Empire

There’s a long charge on from the Sabretusk at the Western Archers, and they have to hold because fleeing through the Spearmen is a big risk with no BSB available; the stand and shoot reaction takes a wound off my cat before it makes contact.  The Ironguts move out the way and the Leadbelchers align to get shots on the Pistoliers and screening Archers.  We roll 3,1 magic dice (we’re using D3s for the first couple of escalations) and they all go into a mid-sized Fireball which kills four of the unengaged Archers.  I was hoping to get them all and start forcing panic checks.  The Leadbelchers shoot down two of the Pistoliers but again they pass their panic check, then the Sabretusk and Archers flail hopelessly at each other.

Ogre_Kingdoms_vs_Empire_01Aug13_Turn_1_Ogre_Kingdoms

There’s a bit of shuffling at the back, and the Pistoliers move to safety again, but the main move is the surviving Archer getting up to right in front of the Ironguts.  There are 3,3 magic dice and both Hammer of Sigmar and Shield of Faith are cast.  The Pistoliers wound a Leadbelcher with some more terrible rolling, and the Sabretusk eats an Archer but the others hold.

Ogre_Kingdoms_vs_Empire_01Aug13_Turn_2_Empire

I consider my options here.  The sensible thing to do is ignore the bait Archer (or, even better, shoot him to death) and concentrate on finishing off the Pistoliers so that I can make my advantage in range count.  However, I’m already sick of hearing how bent Ogres are with this army book [turn 2 of the first game of the campaign; possibly not a good sign], so I go for the high risk, high amusement option.  I declare the charge with the Ironguts at the Archer (knowing that Furycat will have him flee) and hope to be able to redirect into the Spearmen; I need an 8 to pass the leadership check and another 8 to make the charge.  Sadly, the Archer only flees a pitiful distance and the window to the Spearmen doesn’t even open up in the first place, a possibility which I admit I hadn’t even considered.  So they end up trampling over the poor chap, staring down both combat blocks with easy charges to make.  Oh well.  I decide just to roll with it and move the Leadbelchers up in support; this means I have to leave the Pistoliers to their own devices for a while which is always a problem.  Magic only gives 1,1, power dice so the Firebelly cooks a few Halberdiers with Fireball, and the Leadbelchers follow up with an inspiring round of shooting which leaves the Halberdiers looking a bit more manageable.  Sadly, they don’t panic.  The Sabretusk finally gets his act together and eats a couple more Archers but the incensed survivors polish him off.

Ogre_Kingdoms_vs_Empire_01Aug13_Turn_2_Ogre_Kingdoms

Not surprisingly, the Halberdiers and Spearmen both make their charges into the Ironguts.  The other units just move to annoy the Leadbelchers a bit.  With 2,1 magic dice, the Warrior Priest puts them all into Hammer of Sigmar which I am not able to stop.  The Pistoliers shoot down a Leadbelcher and the unit panics, fleeing through the Spearmen.  The Ironguts put up a decent fight against their foes, but end up down a bit on combat resolution and are run down by both units.  In retrospect, I knew that I’d probably lose them so I should have focussed attacks on the Warrior Priest in the hope of getting him out of the way rather than killing rank and file to fruitlessly try to bolster my own combat resolution.

Ogre_Kingdoms_vs_Empire_01Aug13_Turn_3_Empire

Well, I’ve only got one unit left, and it’s fleeing.  Luckily, they rally.  The magic phase only gives me 1,1 magic dice, so I put them into a small Fireball which kills another Pistolier.

Ogre_Kingdoms_vs_Empire_01Aug13_Turn_3_Ogre_Kingdoms

The Spears and Halberdiers turn round to face again, the Halberdiers swift reforming to head back a bit more.  The remaining Pistoliers and Archers stay in safe places to take more wounds off my Ogresses.  The winds of magic give 3,2 dice; Hammer of Sigmar is cast but I dispel Shield of Faith.  Another Leadbelcher is killed (no panic), leaving me with just two models on the table having achieved almost nothing.

Ogre_Kingdoms_vs_Empire_01Aug13_Turn_4_Empire

The last two Ogresses move forward.  Justinmatters (who is watching) wonders why I don’t charge with them, until I show him the flame template.  I roll up 3,2 magic dice and put them all into the medium Fireball.  It goes off with Irresistable Force; the Calamitous Detonation wounds both of my miniatures and wipes out the Halberdiers except for the Warrior Priest (who wards his hit on the Opal Amulet).  He decided to make a tactical retreat.  That was satisfying.  Then the Firebelly lays down the perfect breath weapon attack on the Spearmen, killing off 10 of them.  That was even more satisfying.  Unfortunately, they don’t take either of their opportunities to join the Warrior Priest running away.

Ogre_Kingdoms_vs_Empire_01Aug13_Turn_4_Ogre_Kingdoms

All the remaining units (except the Priest, who rallies) charge the Ogresses. Remarkably, all three fail their fear checks and I have a glimmer of hope that I might actually pull this out after all.  Sadly, an unholy run of 5s and 6s from Furycat puts that notion to rest as the Leadbelcher is killed anyway and the Firebelly (down by a lot on combat resolution) is unable to must Insane Courage and is run down.  Victory for the Empire.

Ogre_Kingdoms_vs_Empire_01Aug13_Turn_5_Empire

That was a good game, and it felt like we both had chances to win it.  I could have been comfortable if I’d played the safe option with the Ironguts on turn 2, but I don’t mind taking a few risks if they might end up with entertaining results.  I would have liked to start the campaign with a win, but at least Furycat gets to do that instead.

Categories: Battle reports, Campaigns, Escalation campaign, Warhammer Fantasy Battle | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Border Princes Campaign (End)

Finally, it’s the end of the Border Princes campaign.  We finished playing the games about 5 months ago, but real-life intervened and posting the results has suffered.  Still, better late than never.

The most important battle in terms of final standings is the last ever Siege of Malko, in which Aramoro‘s Bretonnians managed to hang onto the city despite repeated assaults from the Empire.  Furycat was significantly hampered during this final turn as it coincided with the release of the updated Empire army book (a significant decrease in power if ever there was one); the Empire were defeated in every game they played this turn.  The overall story of turn 15 ended up as one of the Empire’s star waning while Forkbanger‘s High Elves’ waxed.  From a Beastmen perspective it’s been a highly successful turn, pushing back forces from the Empire (here and here) and completing the rout of Justinmatters‘ Orcs and Goblins (here).  The only relative fly in the ointment is a draw in the Old Silk Road, a battle in which both the Beastmen and Bretonnians think that they are defending the territory on behalf of their mutual ally, the High Elves.  Considering that, it is probably fitting to be a draw.  The last ever battle of the campaign is a force of Orcs and Goblins holding out their outpost in the Northern mountains against the High Elves; in fairness to Forkbanger he could have played it safe in the last turn but opted for a far more amusing charge into some Black Orcs (sadly for him it didn’t work out).

BorderPrincesMap-Turn15 end

So, at the end of the campaign, our final scores are:

Beastmen: 50 points (38 territories, 3 of which are special)
Empire: 27 points (23 territories, 1 of which is special)
High Elves: 23 points (18 territories, 1 of which is special)
Bretonnians: 16 points (7 territories, 1 of which is Malko)
Orcs & Goblins: 7 points (7 territories)

To my great surprise (counting from our original plans to run the campaign) the runaway winners are the Beastmen.  Furycat’s Empire limp over the line in second as a catastrophic final turn is not taken full advantage of by Forkbanger’s High Elf forces.  Aramoro’s Bretonnians hang onto fourth by dint of holding Malko leaving Justinmatters’ Orcs and Goblins bringing up the rear.  Furycat will get his prize in due course.

Thanks very much to my friends for playing along with the Border Princes campaign for so long, and especially to Aramoro for doing the maps.  And, finally, thanks to everyone who read the saga of the Border Princes.  I hope you’re inspired to try something bigger than ‘just another game’.

Categories: Border Princes, Campaigns, Warhammer Fantasy Battle | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Beastmen (2200 points) vs Empire (2000 points); 12Jun12

As we bring the Border Princes campaign to a close, I have one final game against Furycat.  Overall, it feels like honour is even between our forces, but now the new Empire army book is hamstringing him significantly, so it’s time for me to change things up and make it more of a game.  Furycat is a big fan of the video battle reports from Oncebitten360, and although I don’t care for the format of video battle reports in general, I checked them out on recommendation.  So, in homage to Oncebitten360, I decided to forego my usual Great Bray Shaman in favour a Doombull with all the trimmings and frankly ludicrous block of Minotaurs.  I’ve never really felt like I can get Minotaurs to work well in the past so I’m keen to test it out.

Doombull, Axes of Khorgor, Ramhorn Helm, Dawnstone, Gnarled Hide, Heavy Armour (D)

Gorebull, BSB, Beserker Sword, Talisman of Endurance, Heavy Armour (BSB)

Bray Shaman, level 2, Dispel Scroll, extra hand weapon, Lore of Shadow (BS1)

Bray Shaman, level 2, extra hand weapon, Lore of Beasts (BS2)

40 Gors, extra hand weapon, full command (G)

40 Ungors, full command (U)

Tuskgor Chariot (TC)

6, 5 and 5 Ungor Raiders, musician (UR1 to UR3)

5 Harpies, scouts (H)

9 Minotaurs, full command, Ironcurse Icon (M)

Furycat has been struggling to get a list that suits his style, but I gather that the plan here is that the Lore of Heavens will provide a massive bonus to Knights, especially if the boosted version of Harmonic Convergence is cast.

Wizard Lord, level 4, Dispel Scroll, Lore of Heavens (WL)

Captain of the Empire, general, Helm of the Skavenslayer, Dawnstone, full plate armour, shield (C)

Captain of the Empire, BSB, Shrieking Blade, barded warhorse, full plate armour, shield (BSB)

Warrior Priest, Enchanted Shield, barded warhorse, heavy armour (WP)

Master Engineer, frilly shirt (M)

9 Knights of the Inner Circle, lances, shields, full command (IC)

5 Knightly Orders, great weapons, standard bearer, musician (KO)

45 Spearmen, full command (S)

5 Archers [Detachment to Spearmen] (A)

24 Greatswords, full command, Standard of Discipline (G)

Celestial Hurricanum (CH)

3 Demigryph Knights, standard bearer (DK)

Helblaster Volley Gun (HVG)

We randomly get Blood and Glory as the scenario, and a variety of surprisingly mundane terrain to fight over.  In the North is a Wyrding Well and in the far East is a Sorcerous Portal that we instantly forget about as usual.  The Wizard Lord gets Iceshard Blizzard, Curse of the Midnight Wind, Comet of Cassandora and Chain Lightning; sadly forgetting that the whole point of coming along was to bring Harmonic Convergence.  The Shadow Bray Shaman takes Melkoth’s Mystifying Misama and Enfeebling Foe; the other one has Wyssan’s Wildform and Curse of Anraheir.  The Beastmen happily take first turn, with one herd of Raiders ambushing.

As usual, there’s nothing too subtle in first turn movement for my Beastmen: everyone marches forward.  The Raiders in the West move to tempt either the Inner Circle Knights or the Demigryph Knights into charging through the forest.  I roll up 3,1 magic dice, but fail to cast Miasma on the Inner Circle Knights and the follow-up (Wildform on the Gors) is easily dispelled.

As I hoped, the Demigryph Knights charge into the baiting Raiders (the forest turns out to be a Wildwood, but it doesn’t attempt to beat them up).  However, the Greatswords and the Inner Circle Knights both fail their charges, on the Ungors and the Tuskgor Chariot respectively.  The Wizard Lord leaves his Archer companions to their fate, which apparently is to be a speed bump in front of the Gors.  The Spearmen also move up to face the inevitable charge from the Minotaurs, but crucially they can’t fully align so their flank is hanging slightly to the West.  The winds of magic give us 5,1 dice to play with and I let Chain Lightning through on the Tuskgor Chariot.  In retrospect, that was probably a poor idea as it jumps across half of my army, reducing the Chariot to a single wound, killing the Beasts Bray Shaman and taking off wounds from the Gors, Minotaurs and Ungors.  Ouch.  At least I dispel Iceshard Blizzard.  The Helblaster and the Archers plink a handful of Gors, but it’s not enough to matter.  Finally, the Demigryph Knights make short work of the Raiders and reform to face the line of battle.

It’s turn two and there are targets in charge range, so I happily send the Gors into the Archers, the Minotaurs into the Spearmen and the Ungors into the Greatswords.  I’m not expecting much from the Ungors, but against the Greatswords they’ll be steadfast for long enough to get something else in to help out.  The Harpies charge the Wizard Lord (who flees), fail to redirect into the Engineer and then roll 1,1,1 for charge distance anyway.  Idiots.  I consider charging with the Tuskgor Chariot, but with only one wound left it’ll do me more good keeping those pesky Inner Circle Knights out of my hair for a bit longer.  The same goes for my remaining Raider herd (once the Bray Shaman has run off, of course), moving into the path of the Knightly Orders.  I generate 6,2 magic dice and am greatly helped by the fact that the Wizard Lord is running for his life.  Miasma (-3WS) and Enfeebling Foe (-1S) both go on the Greatswords after two failed dispel attempts.  In the combat phase, the Gors blend the Archers into a fine red mist, and their overrun allows them to charge the flank of the Spearmen.  To no-one’s surprise, there aren’t many Spearmen left after the attentions of a horde of Gors a Doombull, a Gorebull and bunch of other Minotaurs.  Furycat decides that there’s no way back and throws in the towel.  Victory for the Beastmen!

Well, that was one sided.  Furycat discussed this for a while after the game and, while I think he might have been able to kill off a few things, he probably wasn’t going to pull a win out.  I did consider not even writing this battle report up as it was so short, but in the end I decided that I should do it in the interests of completness.  There’s probably not much to learn for any Beastmen readers out there (except that so many Minotaurs is probably overkill), but if anyone can make suggestions on how the Empire could have been played then I would be delighted to read about them.

Categories: Battle reports, Border Princes, Campaigns, Warhammer Fantasy Battle | Tags: , , , , | 11 Comments

Beastmen (2200 points) vs Empire (2000 points); 10Apr12

It’s the final turn of the Border Princes campaign, and my first game is against Furycat’s Empire. With the advent of the new (i.e. 8th edition) army book for the Empire, I had no idea what to expect, so I just went for a minor variation on my usual army, i.e. lots of bipedal goats of varying sizes.

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

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

Bray Shaman, level 2, Dispel Scroll, extra hand weapon, Lore of Beasts (BS)

39 Gors, extra hand weapon, full command (G1)

20 Gors, extra hand weapon, full command (G2)

37 Ungors, full command (U1)

2 x 5 Ungor Raiders, musician (UR1 and UR2)

5 Harpies, scouts (H)

23 Bestigors, full command, Standard of Discipline (B1)

24 Bestigors, full command, Manbane Standard (B2)

Furycat purchased the new Empire army book on the day of release and has been vocal about its shortcoming in the time since, but this was his first opportunity to put anything to work on the table [note: in the time it’s taken between us playing this game and me actually writing it up, Furycat has posted some thoughts on the current Empire army book, which I highly recommend reading]. I didn’t actually take a copy of his list, but it was (roughly):

Templar Grand Master, knightly stuff, Runefang (G)

Wizard Lord, level 4, Lore of Shadow (WL)

Luthor Huss (LH)

Captain, BSB, protective stuff (BSB)

Witch Hunter (WH)

60 Spearmen, full command (S)

8 Inner Circle Knights, full command (K)

20 Crossbowmen, standard (C1)

Celestial Hurricanum (CH)

Steam Tank (ST)

As previously mentioned, we’d agreed that we would play Storm of Magic games (the basic scenario) to replace Battle Line if we rolled that. Furycat’s not keen on Storm of Magic as it’s too random for his strategic ‘may the best man win’ tastes, but he accepted that we’d go for it if that came up. And it did. So after agonising over his list for hours, he had to go back and pick another 500 points of monsters or crazy magic items; I got 550 points. Luckily we had Aramoro and Forkbanger respectively on hand for advice since they’ve played quite a few games of Storm of Magic.

So the Beastmen added:

Zoat, level 4, Lore of Life (not that he has any choice) (Z)

4 Royal Unicorns (RU)

The Zoat was selected because it gave me chance to use the Lore of Life for the first time. But that wasn’t the main reason: after all, wouldn’t you choose a Zoat if you could? I guess the Royal Unicorns were told that Ghorros Warhoof’s magic hat was actually the skull of a completely different horned horse-like creature of the forest, and not at all the one formerly belonging to the Prince of Unicorns.  Anyway, the Empire were joined by:

Chimera, some upgrades (C2)

Truthsayer, level 3, Lore of Life (T)

Apart from the four Arcane Fulcrums, we had the usual mish-mash of deadly to forget to use. This time there was a mist-wreathed swamp in the East that no-one went in (not that I blame them), a Sinister Statue that never fired at anything and a few forests and assorted obstacles. For simplicity, I’ve used the same tower picture for all four Fulcrums, but in reality we used the excellent models that Forkbanger has painted. Magic got messy. The Wizard Lord had Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma, Enfeebling Foe, Withering and Pit of Shades while the Truthsayer took Regrowth, Awakening of the Wood and Dwellers Below. Over on my side of the table, the Great Bray Shaman had Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma, Enfeebling Foe, Withering and Okkam’s Mindrazor; the Bray Shaman had Savage Beast of Horros and Wyssan’s Wildform and finally the Zoat has Throne of Vines, Flesh to Stone, Regrowth and Dwellers Below (after all, everyone else seems to think it’s amazing). Finally, the Witch Hunter takes the somewhat redundant step of accusing the Great Bray Shaman of heresy.

The game begins with the Steam Tank generating three steam points and zooming a terrifying 15” into some unfortunate Raiders. The Knights canter up to 13.1“ away from the Gor herd, presumably to reduce the odds of taking a ridiculous long charge, and the rest of the centre moves up to keep pace. The Lore of Beasts is Ascendant but it’s manipulated round to Light (which also does nothing, so no change). The winds of magic give us 13 power dice to 9 dispel dice. I dispel the Hurricanum’s bound spell and Shield of Faith fails to cast. Magical Duel from the Truthsayer is dispelled but Bridge of Shadows is let through, moving the Chimera behind the Gors, facing their rear and Hammer of Sigmar is also let through. Saving dispel dice doesn’t help as Dwellers Below is Irresistibly cast on the Great Bray’s Bestigor herd. Helpfully, he doesn’t jump down a magical hole this time, though 10 Bestigors do. Magical Feedback does nothing, but then it’s on to the event we’ve all been waiting for – the cataclysmic miscast. We are not disappointed, as all the wizards are turned into frogs [note for simplicity: I put a little starburst next to the Wizards for each magic phase in which they’re a frog]. After that, the rest of the turn can’t help but be a bit of a let down, as the Crossbows kill a few Ungors and the Steam Tank runs over the Raiders (though neither herd nearby panics).

Following the standard Steam Tank abatement plan, the surviving herd of Raiders charge into the side of the metal behemoth, and the Unicorns fabulously charge the suspiciously froggy Truthsayer perched on top of his Fulcrum. Sadly, he does stop being a frog in the magic phase, along with the Zoat. I have 12 power dice to Furycat’s 9 dispel dice, and Metal is the Ascendant Lore. Throne of Vines and Magical Duel are both dispelled, but Regrowth does get me back some of the Bestigors. I try getting in on the six-dice Dwellers action, but it is Irresistibly dispelled. To no-one’s surprise, the Raiders do nothing to the Steam Tank, but the Unicorns have a great run at the Turthsayer. Only one can attack him due to the Fulcrum, but it wounds him twice, he fails both 3+ wards and then fails stubborn 8 leadership and flees for his life. Improbable, but highly satisfying.

Now that the Steam Tank can fight back, it spends three steam points to grind those pesky Raiders into a thin paste. The Chimera and the Knights both charge the Gors, and Furycat is suspiciously careful to line up the Grand Master for a shot on the Wargor. Failing another leadership test, the Truthsayer continues his sprint for the table edge. Both the Beastmen Shamans return to normal form, but the Wizard Lord obligingly stays amphibious. The Lore of Beasts is Ascendant, and there are 13 power dice to 7 dispel dice. I let the Hurricanum through on the Harpies, and it kills 4 of them between the bad weather and the Lore attribute; the last one doesn’t panic. Hammer of Sigmar is dispelled, but I can’t stop Shield of Faith. A couple of shots from the Witch Hunter at the Great Bray Shaman both miss despite his rerolls to hit, and the Crossbowmen shoot a few more Ungors. In the main event, Furycat is delighted as the Grand Master easily kills off the Wargor with his Runefang, and a whole lot of other Gors go with him. They do manage to put a wound on the Chimera and drag three Knights off their horses though. The result is that the Gors lose heavily but are steadfast. Following the Truthsayer’s shining example, they fail their break check anyway and flee, getting run down by the Chimera while the Knights reform. To add insult to injury, the Great Bray Shaman’s Bestigor herd and the Ungor herd panic and also head for the pub. So where there was once a mighty battle line of bleating goat men, there is now nothing but some triumphant Knights and a scattering of fleeing victims.  Looking back, I probably had this coming to me after the Truthsayer’s antics.

With nothing much else useful to do, the Harpy charges into the Witch Hunter, the Bestigors who aren’t fleeing like little girls charge the Knights (a match up I’m much happier about, even with that Grand Master in there) and the Gors in the far West try to show that they’re contributing a little and charge the Wizard Lord, who sadly stops being a frog. The fleeing Bestigors pull themselves together, but the Ungors continue running right up to the table edge. Death is Ascendant and I have 17 power dice to 10 dispel dice. This should be good. Furycat sensibly dispels Wildform on the Bestigors, but I follow up with Hunters Moon (sort of like a super version of Wildform that affects your whole army) with Irresistible Force. A Calamitous Detonation does nothing of note, but the cataclysmic miscast is a Power Siphon, allowing the Wizard Lord to put Miasma (-2 WS) on the Bestigors in combat. The Zoat tries again for Dwellers Below, getting Irresistible Force this time and sucking 30 Spearmen (but sadly not the Captain) into a hole in the ground. Not bad. The Magical Feedback wounds the Zoat and then we get ‘Was it just me or did the world move?’ on the cataclysmic miscast table. It’s a slight let down that the only movement is the Bray Shaman swapping to the previously empty Fulcrum as the other two Wizards get teleported to the exact place they started. The Wizard Lord gets to enjoy his reprieve from frogginess as the Foe Render does nothing to him and the Gors bounce back from the Fulcrum; elsewhere the Witch Hunter makes short work of the foolish Harpy. In the main event, the Grand Master does his thing (i.e. kill one Bestigor for each of his attacks) and Luthor Huss turns into the Incredible Hulk and kills some more. In return the Bestigors smite the Knights down to just the champion and hold (they lost anyway despite a good round of combat).

The Spearmen realise that they can just see the corner of the Gors peeking out from the Fulcrum and charge in for a ridiculously minimised combat. The Steam Tank goes for it with 5 steam points and tonks over to the engaged Bestigors. It needs to make 14” on three dice and I breathe a sigh of relief as it makes it 13” across the table. Apparently the Truthsayer left the gas on at home as he fails yet another chance to rally and finally leaves the table. With the Lore of Fire Ascendant we have 9 power dice against 6 dispel dice. I dispel Miasma on the Bestigors in combat, Scroll Withering and dispel Hammer of Faith. With no dispel dice left to stop it, Furycat rolls 1,1 casting Shield of Faith (needing only 3) with Luthor Huss. There’s some sort of pathetic pillow fight between the Spearmen and Gors with only 3 casualties in total but the Gors are scared off by the size of the Captains moustache flag and run away (they get away thanks to swiftstride granted by Hunters Moon). Meanwhile, the three amigos kill off a few more Bestigors but are all cut down mercilessly in return. With that, Furycat has seen enough. Victory for the Beastmen!

That was a highly entertaining game, with ridiculous leadership checks defining both sides. I admit I was highly surprised that Furycat agreed to play Storm of Magic at all, but it turned out to be abnormally… normal. Still, the odds were in my favour all the way with a points advantage combined with Furycat’s unfamiliarity with his new army book.

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Border Princes Campaign (Turn 15)

Well Border Princes fans: it’s taken me entirely too long to post this, the start of the final turn of our long-running campaign.  The map has been produced after a long series of events: losing the notes, improbably finding them again, failing to understand what we’d written, then working it all out again.  It is probably telling that we actually did the map moves in April.

Be that as it may, turn 14 of the Border Princes campaign was full of blood and thunder (but mostly blood).  Aramoro‘s Bretonnians managed to hold Malko for yet another turn, forcing back more Empire assaults than you can shake a frog’s leg at.  Otherwise it’s business as usual in the far West as Furycat‘s Empire push the Bretonnians inexorably toward their home territory; High Elf interference from Forkbanger‘s armies is largely ineffective, though they do make some inroads south of the Old Silk Road for the first time.  There are some skirmishes throughout the main contested area; a block of landed bordered by the Old Silk Road in the North, the Central South Road in the West and the Lower Thunder River in the East but they ultimately don’t affect who owns which patch of bloodstained land (a victories for the Empire over the Beastmen and High Elves are documented here and here, respectively, while a victory for a gimmicky High Elf army against a rather gentle Empire army is here).  In the North, Justinmatter‘s Orcs & Goblins defeat a contigent of High Elves who have found themselves far from the action.  Finally, despite a sound victory in the Iron Claw Orc Camp, the Orcs & Goblins are ousted from their lands with their home territory in the hands of the Beastmen (here, here and here).

Turn 15 is the last turn, and it begins with the Orcs & Goblins breaking their alliance with the Empire.  It’s largely symbolic gesture, as they have only two banners left on the table and they’re both trying to get away from the hideous braying of the Beastmen looting their home territory.  All the nations make a final push for glory, but the main battle in terms of deciding both first and last place is yet another assault on Malko by the Empire against the Bretonnians.  I like to imagine that they’ve long since done away with the castle and are now fighting over mounds of bodies, such has been the bloodshed on that territory.  The Beastmen mop up in the far East, consolidating total control over the lands of the greenskins.  The rest of the battles are mainly grinding along the Old Silk Road as that is where the majority of the banners are located.  Of note, defeats in turn 14 to a banner each of Beastmen and Bretonnians (both by the Empire) has them retreating to the same location (the actual Old Silk Road territory).  We rule that they’ll fight there rather than move again, but as the land is owned by their mutual ally (the High Elves) it’s completly irrelevant to the scoring; whoever wins will simply be defending their ally’s territory.

Here are the current scores, before we get on to any battles are fought. There’s no point working out permutations for number of banners next turn, as there will not be one.

Beastmen: 47 points (35 territories, 3 of which are special)
Empire: 30 points (26 territories, 1 of which is special)
High Elves: 24 points (19 territories, 1 of which is special)
Bretonnians: 15 points (6 territories, 1 of which is Malko)
Orcs & Goblins: 7 points (7 territories)

With only a single turn of battles to play, the scores are starting to widen out.  Nonetheless, there is still plenty to play for.  Of note, if the Empire can finally take Malko and have a good overall swing they are in with an outside chance of taking a clear first place.  On the other hand, a bad turn for the Empire coupled with good work from the High Elves could see them leapfrog the moustachioed powerhouse into a highly unexpected second place.  Malko is also key for the Bretonnians as holding it will see them leave the Orcs & Goblins in last place.  As for the greenskins themselves, events are out of their hands.  I intend to publish one further map so that the final scores are documented for completeness.

As it’s the final turn we agreed to add Storm of Magic games in as one of the possible scenarios, replacing either Battle Line or Watchtower depending on the preferences of the two players.

Thanks for sticking with us so far.

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Beastmen vs Empire; 2000 points (14Feb12)

Well, it really has taken me ages to get this battle report written up from turn 14 of the Border Princes Campaign; my opponent this time was my arch-nemesis / best friend, Furycat and his mustachioed Empire army.  I mostly just stuck with the same army as my previous outing against Justinmatters, the narrowest of wins against Justinmatters‘ Orcs & Goblins.  Still, with the reduction back to 2000 points, I ditched the under-performing Lore of Death Bray Shaman and the Razorgors, shuffled a few things around and fit in a Chaos Spawn.  I’ve never tried one before and to be honest I’m not really sure what to do with it, but it’s not many points so I figured it was worth a go.

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

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

Bray Shaman, level 2, Chalice of Dark Rain, additional hand weapon, Lore of Beasts (BS)

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

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

2 x 5 Ungor Raiders, musician (UR1 and UR2)

40 Ungors, full command (UH)

2 x 5 Harpies, scouts (H1 and H2)

Chaos Spawn (CS)

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

Furycat tried out double Lore of Light wizards, which seems pretty sound on paper.  I like the Lore of Light a lot, although I don’t actually play any armies that can take it (unless I go for the Wizarding Hat, which is still a pretty long shot).

Arch Lector of Sigmar, War Altar, Dawn Armour (AL)

Wizard Lord, level 4, Lore of Light(WL)

Captain of the Empire, BSB, Armour of Meteoric Iron, Dawnstone (BSB)

Battle Wizard, level 2, Dispel Scroll, Lore of Light (BW)

30 Flagellants, Prophet of Doom(F)

20 Crossbowmen (C)

48 Halberdiers, full command (H)

10 Outriders (O)

5 Pistoliers (P)

2 Helstorm Rocket Battery (HRB1 and HRB2)

The scenario is the Meeting Engagement.  There’s a Sigmarite Shrine in the centre and an Earthblood Mere in the far East; the fence in the North West is just that (i.e. a normal common or garden fence).  The rivers and forests lay in wait for us, of course.  There’s a ford in the middle of one of them, which is under the Ungors in the first picture.  Note that the third river just got place in the corner as we were both pretty tired of laying out river by the time that one came round; funnily enough I made a bit of hash of setting it up in Battle Chronicler too but don’t worry about that as it’ll never be remotely near any units.  The Wizard Lord rolls Speed of Light, Light of Battle, Birona’s Timewarp and Pha’s Protection while the Battle Wizard has Net of Amyntok and Banishment.  Over on my side of the table, the Great Bray Shaman has Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma, Enfeebling Foe, Penumbral Pendulum and Okkam’s Mindrazorand the Bray Shaman has Wyssan’s Wildform and Savage Beast of Horros.  A frankly preposterous series of dice rolls sees the Great Bray Shaman, the Wargor and Bestigors late to the battle, while the Crossbowmen, Halberdiers and Captain are similarly detained for an extra round in the pub.  The Beastmen set up first and go first.  Note the placement of the Harpies to stymie the vanguard move of the Outriders; the small Gor herd and one of Raider herds are ambushing.

The Gors helpfully ambush in the West, setting up to either threaten all the units set up over there or be mangled by Outrider machine gun fire depending on Furycat’s preference.  Everyone else moves forward, though the big Gor herd takes a slow approach to give the Wargor a chance to join them.  The Harpies move to give themselves options next turn and (more importantly) get out of the way of the Flagellants while the Chaos Spawn tests the river and finds out that it’s full of blood.  Cute.  We roll 6,4 magic dice, but start off auspiciously with the Bray Shaman getting Irresistable Force putting Wildform on the Ungors.  The resulting calamitous detonation does remarkably little damage (improbably, only a single Raider dies).Despite using 3 dice, I fail to cast the upgraded version of Miasma on the Pistoliers.  This pretty much sets the tone for my magic in this game.

The Pistoliers feel lucky and try the other river, which helpfully gives them Pha’s Protection as it’s a river of light.  There’s minimal other movement (why bother when the Beastmen will come to you?) but the delayed units sheepishly slink onto the table carrying letters from their mums.  The winds of magic are pretty wild with 6,6 dice – I prepare for a lot of stinging.  I let through the Net of Amyntok on the ambushing Gors as it’s only a 50-50 chance of doing anything useful.  The War Altar tries to cast Banishment on the Harpies but fails and then the Wizard Lord casts the bubble version of Speed of Light which I fail to dispel.  I do manage to stop Banishment on the Harpies though.  The Pistoliers shoot up a Harpy in the East but the Outriders annihilate the other flock in hail of bullets, panicking the first lot off the table (luckily, the Gors hold).  The Helstorms remind me why I hate them so much as a single hit takes out 11 Gors from the big herd.

The ambushing Raiders are right on the money, arriving on the Empire table edge just at the right time; any earlier and they’d probably have been panicked off the table again by the Harpies.  The ambushing herd of Gors tries to charge the Battle Wizard, who smirks at them from under his funny hat as they fail to shrug off the Net of Amyntok.  The Ungors charge into the Halberdiers and are joined by the Chaos Spawn as it ambles slowly over.  This time, I only get 3,2 magic dice; Enfeebling Foe on the Halberdiers is dispelled and Wildform on the Ungors is scrolled.  They lose slightly to the Halberdiers and remember that steadfast is only useful if you’re more than leadership 6 or near a BSB; heading back for my lines.  The Spawn is unbreakable, so it sticks around for more punishment.

There’s not a lot of movement apart from the Flagellants moving backward to keep the Gors on the other side of the river for a bit longer (so much for crazed fanatics!) and the Wizards fleeing from the might of the ambushing Raiders.  The Pistoliers cross the river again just to show that they can and are rewarded with Pha’s Protection once more.  There are only 6,1 magic dice this time; Net of Amyntok is let through on the small Gor herd again but the War Altar’s casting of the same thing on the Wargor’s herd is dispelled.  The Bray Shaman uses the Chalice of Dark Rain but one of the Helstorms still lands a direct hit on the big Gor herd, killing another load of them.  In fairness, the rest of the shooting is minimal.  Finally, the Halberdiers put the Spawn out of its misery.

This time, the ambushing Gors escape the Net of Amyntok and hit the flank of the Flagellants.  There’s never a good time to mix it up with flail-wielding lunatics, but if you have to then it’s best to get in somewhere the flails won’t have too much effect.  The Raiders charge the Helstorm, creating my favoured situation for artillery: in combat with something cheap.  The Ungors pull themselves together now that they’ve gone back to the Great Bray Shaman.  I get 4,3 magic dice to play with and the Bray Shaman gets Irresistable Force again on a 3 dice casting of Wildform on the Ungors.  He doesn’t get away so lightly this time, joining the Hierophant from Furycat’s Tomb King army in a hole in reality (side note: after half a dozen games with Tomb Kings, Furycat’s Hierophant has been sucked into the warp more often than not, and has yet to feel the sweet caress of turn 4).  Enfeebling Foe on the Flagellants is dispelled.  The Gors kill a few of them anyway, but being unbreakable, they don’t care at all and reform to face.  Still, even though you can’t beat the frenzy out of them, I’m a lot happier now that they’re too tired to swing their flails.  The Raiders kill one of the Helstorm crew but the others hold anyway.

In a move I didn’t see coming, the Outriders charge the flank of the Gors, none of them dying to the fence as they cross it.  The Halberdiers charge the Ungors again and the Wizards shuffle about for no obvious reason.  It’s another good magic phase for the Empire with 6,4 dice available.  I let Speed of Light through on the Halberdiers then the Wizard Lord puts an Irresistable Birona’s Timewarp on the Flagellants.  The calamitous detonation wounds both Wizards and gets rid of the last magic dice.  The unengaged Helstorm helpfully misfires (and can’t fire next turn either), lighting up the battlefield with pretty fireworks, while the Crossbowmen continue to plink away at the Gors.  Once again the Halberdiers narrowly beat the Ungors and once again they bodge their break check (despite the presence of the general this time) and once again they get away.  Over on the other side of the table, the Gors lose narrowly to the combined efforts of the Outriders and Flagellants and hold, but it’s a blood bath over there. I didn’t actually write it in my notes but I have a vague memory that Furycat opted not to sacrifice any Flagellants this turn (reasoning that they would be re-rolling to hit anyway from ASF) and then epically failed his wound rolls.  Finally, the Ungors finish off the Helstorm crew which improbably panics the Wizard Lord off the board.

The big Gor herd charges the flank of the Flagellants and gets Birona’s Timewarp from the river to match the one on the Flagellents.  The triumphant Raiders charge the Battle Wizard, who flees.  They fail to redirect and stumble unwisely right in front of the Crossbowmen.  The Bestigors charge into the Pistoliers and the Ungors rally yet again.  I roll 5,2 magic dice but start off with 1,1 on an unboosted version of Miasma on the Crossbowmen so that’s that.  The Bestigors smite the Pistoliers into the ground and over run out of reach of the Halberdiers.  Meanwhile, the small Gor herd is wiped out (which inconveniently strands the Outriders out of combat) and the Flagellants take horrendous losses; they reform to face the big herd.

The Arch Lector, tired of just pulling dispel dice out of his cassock (not that he’s needed them), decides to get in on the fighting and spurs his mobile pulpit into the Bestigors.  The Halberdiers continue their game of ‘tig’ with the Ungors and the Outriders canter back to the safety of their fence.  With another big magic phase (6,5), I use all my dispel dice to stop a 6 dice Speed of Light on the Flagellants from the freshly-rallied Battle Wizard.  Net of Amyntok is put on the Gors and the Arch Lector Soulfires a single Bestigor.  The Crossbowmen kill three of the Raiders right in front of them, but this doesn’t bother the plucky little buggers.  In combat, the Gors finish off the Flagellants and reform to 5 wide.  For the third time in a row the Ungors lose a close fight against the Halberdiers and flee, although this time the Halberdiers reform to face the Bestigors instead.  The Arch Lector runs over a few Bestigors with his War Altar but otherwise not much happens in their combat.

The Raiders try again to catch the Battle Wizard, but he flees again.  The Gors attempt to charge the Crossbowmen but fail to escape the Net (note: it looks from Battle Chronicler that they’re miles away, but they were in credible charging range).  The winds of magic only give me 3,1 dice; I put them all into Mindrazor on the Bestigors but it’s dispelled.  The Bestigors all bounce off the War Altar’s ward save, so everyone stays right where they are.

The Halberdiers charge into the back of the Bestigors – this is going to get ugly (if you’re a Beastman).  The Battle Wizard fails to rally and keeps on running, and everyone else is toting move-or-fire weapons so they’re going nowhere.  There are only 2,1 magic dice; the Arch Lector puts them all into Birona’s Timewarp on the Halberdiers but it gets dispelled.  The Outriders and Crossbowmen reduce the Gors to just the Foe Render and the Wargor (though they do hold) and the Helstorm fires a wild shot in the vague direction of the Ungors.  The Bestigors fare surprisingly well against the Halberdiers (they still can’t get through the ward save on the War Altar though) but they still lose and flee.  Then it got complicated…

So, the losers flee from the biggest unit – clearly the Halberdiers in this case.  For some reason, I’d always thought that the fleeing unit got away clean if it rolled higher on distance than all pursuers, but that doesn’t seem to be explicit in the rules.  The upshot of this is that the Arch Lector is almost certain to catch them as he effectively has a 100 mm head start on them (evidently the War Altar can be rotated much more easily than it looks).  So the first question is: is this correct?  To complicate things even further, the fleeing Bestigors ended up in a River of Light so we agreed to see what spell was cast on them.  Of course, it was Light of Battle, meaning that they rallied immediately.  We played it that they got this and then the Arch Lector charged them again, as if he’d pursued into a fresh unit.  Second question: is this correct?

Determined to go out in a blaze of glory, the Foe Render and the Wargor (or Butch and Sundance) charge into the Crossbowmen… they needed an 8 to make it… they didn’t.  The Gor was pincushioned for his troubles too.  The Raiders charge into the surviving Helstorm, more to stop it shooting than anything else, and the others charge at the Battle Wizard who very narrowly manages to stay on the table after he flees.  I get 4,4 magic dice and start off by reducing the Outriders’ BS by 3 with Miasma (let through).  Enfeebling Foe is dispelled but I get Mindrazor on the Bestigors.  It doesn’t help, as I still can’t put a single wound through the ward save on the War Altar; according to my notes I’d managed more than 15 by this point).  The Raiders do manage to kill one of the Helstorm crew, but the other two hold.

The Halberdiers fail a fourth charge on the Ungors, and the Battle Wizard rallies now that the Arch Lector is back in inspiring presence range.  There are only 3,1 magic dice; Pha’s Protection and Healing Hand on the Arch Lector are both dispelled and Armour of Contempt fails (not that he’s likely to need it).  The BSB is shot down by the Outriders despite needing 8s to hit, 5s to wound and rocking a 2+ save (admittedly, down to 4+ from black powder weapons).  I finally kill off the War Altar but the Arch Lector holds firm, and the game ends.  We go to our calculators and the results are Empire: 1250, Beastmen 732.  Victory for the Empire!

Another tight game against my most challenging foe.  Furycat played well and took some bad luck in his stride (notably, the Wizard Lord panicking off the table), still coming out on top.  There are a few lessons here for me though.

The biggest one is surely familiar to all Beastmen players.  Scroll back up and check the map for my turn 1 (don’t worry, I’ll wait for you).  That is a prime example of how not to play Beastmen.  My herds are spread out right across the table; you could drive a bus between most of them.  Beastmen benefit hugely from keeping packed close to get the BSB and general’s leadership bonuses.  Almost as bad, it also meant that I was coming piecemeal across the table, allowing my units to be dealt with one at a time.

Otherwise, I made quite a mistake right at the end by playing aggressively with the Wargor and Foe Render.  There was no good reason to give the Crossbowmen an extra round of shooting by going for an optimistic charge; instead I should have run as far away as possible from the shooting.  Even though there were only 2 in the unit at the end, they were worth 643 points (including the bonus points for the BSB); more than the difference between victory and at least a draw.  The even more annoying thing is that I even considered these factors in the same turn when I moved the Ungors back to keep them away from the Halberdiers.  Still, I suppose it was more Beastmen-y to charge headlong into the teeth of the guns crossbows.

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Border Princes Campaign (Turn 14)

After a busy turn of combats in turn 13 of the Border Princes campaign, there’s been something of a mixed bag of results. From the perspective of the Beastmen, a narrow defeat to the men of Furycat‘s Empire was avenged by an equally narrow victory. My dreadful performance trying to invade Justinmatters‘ Orcs & Goblins’ home territory was made up for by two good results elsewhere (here and here) and a general good gaining of their ground. Further West, Aramoro‘s Bretonnians held Malko again (no report yet) and otherwise there’s a victory each in the skirmishes around the Old Silk Road West. Finally, an Empire army makes short work of an invading High Elf force from Forkbanger with a handful of hapless Gors along (briefly) for the ride.

Turn 14 is just as busy. The marauding Orc & Goblin banner that has been hoovering up territory in the Blackfire Mountains is finally intercepted by the High Elves and will have to fight their way free. All along the Old Silk Road there are more border clashes between the Empire, the Bretonnians and the High Elves, with the Empire fighting two battles against each of the others. That includes the regular scheduled clash in Malko as the Empire once again throw themselves at the heavily fortified Bretonnians. Foolish humans, they should be tearing down the walls of civilisation, not hiding behind them. The Beastmen rush South from the Old Silk Road to get to grips with another Empire force, but a bizarre merry-go-round develops around the Lower Thunder Road as various armies from both the Empire and the Beastmen chase each other futilely as the Benny Hill chase music plays. Finally, the Beastmen overrun of the Orc & Goblin homelands continues, with four battles in the offing. One of them is another attempt on the HQ territory while another is in the Iron Claw Orc Camp so we’ll get to play with some funky extra special rules.

Here are the current scores, before we get on to any battles are fought.  With 11 games to play, there are far too many permutations for me to bother to work out anyone’s potential gains and losses.

Beastmen: 36 points (28 territories, 2 of which are special); 10 banners
Empire: 31 points (27 territories, 1 of which is special); 9 banners
High Elves: 20 points (16 territories, 1 of which is special); 6 banners
Bretonnians: 17 points (8 territories, 1 of which is Malko); 3 banners
Orcs & Goblins: 15 points (11 territories, 1 of which is special); 5 banners

So with only the battles from turn 14 plus the whole of turn 15 to go, Furycat is almost assured of overall victory with the sweet plastic prize it brings.  In the fight to be best of the rest, Justinmatters’ Orcs & Goblins are sliding dramatically down the rankings having been top dog for the early phases; in effect they traded a voracious assault by the Empire for an equally ferocious over-run at the hands of my Beastmen.  Forkbanger’s High Elves are the big winners of the late stages of the campaign, taking advantage of some good alliances to keep their lands safe while picking off isolated territories.  Aramoro’s Bretonnians are still desperately fighting to avoid trading their onions for sausage as the Empire unrelentingly attack them across all fronts, but holding onto Malko will probably decide their fate in the campaign.

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Beastmen (2200 points) vs Empire (2000 points); 14Nov11

After a good thumping at the hands of Furycat‘s Empire in my last game, I was looking forward to getting my own back in turn 13 of our Border Princes campaign.  I decided to go for an army with many, many bodies in it; not actually as many as possible in the point limit, but enough that I was reduced to using the chariot as a unit filler for Bestigors.

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

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

Bray Shaman, level 2, Chalice of Dark Rain, additional hand weapon, Lore of Beasts (BS)

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

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

2 x 5 Ungor Raiders, musician (UR1 and UR2)

30 Ungors, full command (U1)

5 Harpies, scouts (H)

24 Bestigors, full command, Banner of Discipline (B1)

24 Bestigors, full command, Manbane Standard (B2)

Furycat decided to finally bust out his long-theorycrafted Lore of Fire army.

Arch Lector of Sigmar, War Altar, Dragonhelm, Luckstone (AL)

Wizard Lord, level 4, Sword of Justice, Power Stone, Lore of Fire (WL)

Captain of the Empire, BSB, Armour of Meteoric Iron, Dawnstone (BSB)

Battle Wizard, level 2, Seal of Destruction, Lore of Fire (WB)

Battle Wizard, level 2, Rod of Power, Lore of Fire (WF)

2 x 30 Swordsmen, full command (S1 and S2)

20 Crossbowmen (C)

50 Halberdiers, full command (H)

2 Mortars (M1 and M2)

Great Cannon (GC)

Yet again, we get Blood and Glory as our mission, with the maximum 10 pieces of terrain.  There is a Scree Slope and a Wizard’s Tower in the West and a Dwarven Brewhouse in the North, but the rest of the terrain is either normal or lying mysteriously in wait for us to blunder into it.  All three of the human mages take Fireball, with the Wizard Lord getting Flame Storm, Fulminating Flame Cage and Piercing Bolts of Burning, and the others taking Flaming Sword of Rhuin on one packing the Rod of Power (in the East in case Battle Chronicler isn’t clear) and Burning Head on the other.  The Great Bray Shaman gets Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma, Enfeebling Foe, The Withering, and Okkam’s Mindrazor (turning down Pit of Shades due to the happy absence of any Steam Tanks) and the Bray Shaman has Wyssan’s Wildform and Curse of Anraheir.  The Beastmen get the first turn and take it gladly.

The game begins well for the Beastmen with the ambushing Gors showing up in the West, though the Raiders had their map upside down and appear in the East, far far away from the action.  Other than that, it’s a simple movement turn: everyone moves forward as fast as possible.  There’s not much point holding back when I can’t do any damage at range.  We get 5,3 magic dice, but it doesn’t do much as Enfeebling Foe (on the Swordsmen), Miasma (on the Crossbowmen) Amber Spear (thanks to the Wizard’s Tower, on the Wizard Lord) all dispelled with dice and Withering on the Swordsmen stopped with the Seal of Destruction.  Thankfully it doesn’t get destroyed.

There’s a little bit of shuffling in the Empire line to face charges cleanly, but the overall line remains rather solid-looking.  The Empire get 4,4 power dice and start it with a very high 4-dice casting of Flame Cage on the Gor Horde.  I could try to dispel it, but I doubt I’ll match the roll even using all my dice, so I leave them to their fate. One of the Battle Wizards fails to Fireball the Bestigors, but the Wizard Lord shows him how it’s done by killing a few of them with Piercing Bolts of Burning.  The Battle Wizard in the West tries to save his life by Fireballing the Harpies breathing down his neck, but it’s dispelled.  I accurately predicted that Furycat would try that at the end of the phase, so I kept dice back for it, reasoning that the Harpies flapping around in the backfield would be more useful at this stage than a handful of Gors in a big unit.  The Bray Shaman uses the Chalice of Dark Rain and all three of the Empire artillery pieces obligingly fail to fire.  The Crossbowmen do better though, killing 4 Bestigors on their own, despite needing 6s to hit.

The ambushers charge into the Great Cannon, the Harpies flap into the Wizard, the Bestigors in the West crash into the Swordsmen and the Ungors scurry over to the War Altar.  Sadly, the other Bestigors don’t quite manage to contact the Crossbowmen (and lose another couple to the stand and shoot reaction), and the Gors sit still cursing the Flame Cage surrounding them.  This turn, I get 5,5 magic dice.  Flock of Doom on the Wizard Lord is dispelled, but Enfeebling Foe on the Swordsmen fighting the Bestigors is let through (-1S).  Withering is dispelled on the Arch Lector; it’s like the spell casters are saving the dispel dice for themselves.  The ambushing Gors get Wildform, mainly for the anticipated contact with the Swordsmen next turn.  Indeed, they handily spike the cannon and overrun into the waiting Swordsmen.  At this stage, it’s all going perfectly for me, but it doesn’t last.  The Harpies flap hopelessly at the Battle Wizard, wounding him for the loss of one of their own, and the Bestigors are even worse.  They fail to kill a single Swordsman between them, lose a few and are run down by the wildly celebrating State Troops.  At least the Ungors hold the Arch Lector in place, although they don’t actually wound him.

The glorious Swordsmen reform to face the flank of the Ungors to extricate the Arch Lector from the endless tar pit he’s found himself in.  Furycat rolls 4,4 magic dice, and starts off with Speed of Light and Flaming Sword on the Swordsmen fighting the Gors.  Flame Cage fails to cast on the Bestigors (rolling 1,1) but Soulfire blows up a few Ungors after the Great Bray Shaman failed to dispel it.  The unengaged Battle Wizard blows up 4 of the Raiders in the East, though the plucky musician holds.  Finally, a Healing Hand on the wounded Battle Wizard is dispelled.  Both Mortars miss by a long way, but the Crossbowmen continue to prove their worth, pincushioning anther few Bestigors.  Despite all the augment spells being thrown around the Gor vs Swordsman turns out to be a grinding draw, but the Harpies do pull down the Wizard on their second attempt.

The Harpies flap into the Mortar in an attempt to atone for their performance against the feeble Battle Wizard, the Bestigors charge the Crossbowmen at the second time of asking (but lose another three to stand and shoot) and the Gors, enjoying their freedom of movement, hammer gleefully into the Halberdiers.  With 6,2 power dice, a Curse of Anraheir on the unengaged Swordsmen is dispelled, but the Wizard Lord can’t muster the strength to dispel Mindrazor on the Ungors.  It nearly comes good, as they take the War Altar down to a single wound; they reform to face West in anticipation of the Swordsmen next turn.  The Harpies continue their display of ineffectiveness, losing two to the Mortar crew but holding.  Even worse, the Bestigors lose to the Crossbowmen (what is it with Bestigors this game?) but hold.  To make up for it, the Gors go absolutely crazy on the Halberdiers, losing only about five after some dire dice from Furycat and killing around 30.  The survivors flee and are run down; I can’t really blame them after that display.

Not surprisingly, the Swordsmen charge the Ungors.  There’s no other movement since just about everyone is in combat, but the Battle Wizard realises that the Wizard Lord is on his own in a pub, and heroically heads over to join him.  The winds of magic blow weakly at 2,1 but after channeling with both magic users and pulling a couple of dice out of the Rod of Power gives the Empire 7 power dice to play with.  The Wizard Lord kicks off what is shaping up to be an unpleasant magic phase with an Irresistable Flame Cage on the Gors; the resulting detonation wounds him but leaves the Battle Wizard untouched.  Speed of Light on the Swordsmen is dispelled and Soulfire toasts another Ungor.  The Mortar finally kills something in the shooting phase as a scattering shot clips the Gors and blows one up; they’re doing better in close combat.  Indeed, the engaged Mortar crew beat another Harpy to death for no loss, though the survivor does hold.  The Bestigors and Crossbowmen carry on grinding each other down.  At least the Great Bray Shaman is getting good value out of the Jagged Dagger today.  Over in the West, the Gors kill a few more Swordsmen, but they hold.  Finally, the Ungors bust the War Altar to great cheers from me, but otherwise lose narrowly and are run down by the Swordsmen.  Still, they did take a few with them.  The Arch Lector turns to face the Great Bray Shaman, intent on swapping insurance documents.

After much deliberation I reform the Gors; the explosion from the Flame Cage kills 15 of them, but fortunately they hold.  We roll 5,4 dice for magic. Curse of Anraheir on the Swordsmen is dispelled, as is Savage Beast on the Great Bray Shaman.  Enfeebling Foe does work on the Crossbowmen; I’m down to only a few Bestigors and have had enough of having them picked off by these scrubs.  By this point the Great Bray Shaman has racked up so many power dice from the Jagged Dagger that I might as well use some, so I put the upgraded version of Miasma on the unengaged Swordsmen, mainly to discourage them from charging the Gors.  The Bestigors kill a few more Crossbowmen, but they’re stubborn thanks to the Brewhouse, so they’re not going anywhere.  Over in the corner, the Gors finally lose combat to the Swordsmen after failing to get Primal Fury for five rounds in a row (they did 4 wounds, which were all saved), and are run down when they break. Oh well, at least they got the cannon.  The last surviving Harpy still can’t muster a hit on the Mortar crew, who finally put it out of its misery.

The Arch Lector, apoplectic at the loss of his ride, charges the Great Bray Shaman.  The Swordsmen in the West fail to swift reform, instead lining up a charge on the Wizard’s Tower.  The other Swordsmen decide that they don’t fancy the look of the Gors so much when they’re hexed, and just move toward them.  The Empire get 3,2 power dice and start things off with a Flame Cage on the Gors.  I’ve seen enough of that spell for one game and dispel it with all my dice.  Instead, the Arch Lector tries a couple of cheeky single die casting of Soulfire (works but does nothing) and Armour of Contempt (fails anyway).  One of the Mortars finally gets a good hit, killing a few more Gors, but the other scatters hilariously onto the Brewhouse, killing the Battle Wizard just as he was heading to the bar.  The Bestigors kill all but the last Crossbowman (who hold since he’s stubborn) and reform to two wide facing the Arch Lector.

The Gors notice that 1) there’s a pub right next to them and 2) there’s a Wizard Lord in it drinking their beer.  They charge wildly at it.  For some reason I fail my stupidity check and charge the last surviving ambushing Raider at the Mortar.  The other Raiders leave the Wizard’s Tower to keep themselves safe from the Swordsmen; they’re careful to let the Bray Shaman stay in library-ransacking range.  We roll 2,2 power dice, and I put three of them into the Curse on the Swordsmen in the centre.  Sadly, with a roll of 2,1,1 nothing happens apart from the Bray Shaman looking embarrassed.  The Great Bray puts the upgraded Miasma back on the Swordsmen, -3 to their statistics this time.  Then I use a few more Jagged Dagger dice to put Withering on the Arch Lector, but it’s dispelled Irresistably.  Dang.  The heroic Raider does manage to kill one of the Mortar crew, but he’s killed by the others.  In the Brewhouse, the Wizard Lord issues a challenge to try and reduce the number of incoming attacks.  The Wargor happily retires to the back of the herd and sends his minions in to do the dirty work.  The herd moves into the pub and starts arguing about whose round it is.  Finally, the last Crossbowman is killed off and the Arch Lector is wounded, though he does hold.

Both units of Swordsmen realise that it’s all going to come down to the battle in the centre, so they start making their way over to it.  The Arch Lector, as the last surviving caster on his side, gets 6,1 magic dice and starts with an Irresistable Soulfire which does nothing except end his magic phase.  The Mortars try and blow up the Raiders, but one misses and the other misfires (and won’t fire next turn either).  In close combat, the Arch Lector realises that he’ll have a much better chance by killing off the Bestigors, and kills the last two; the Great Bray can’t manage a wound on him in return, but does hold.

It’s the last turn, so I’m going to have to make this good if I’m to win.  Sadly, I can’t actually do anything useful, so it’s all down to the Great Bray Shaman.  I have 5,3 magic dice and start off putting Withering (-3T) on the Arch Lector.  Savage Beast on the Great Bray Shaman is dispelled (I was anticipating that it would have been handy in the next turn at least).  I then use the remaining dice from the Jagged Dagger to put Enfeebling Foe (-2S) on the Arch Lector; I don’t think it’ll be needed, but I might as well use the dice.  It’s worth it, as he duly tears the Arch Lector to shreds.

Furycat knows he’s only got one meaningful target this turn: the Great Bray Shaman standing in the beer garden of the Brewhouse.  Both Swordsmen units charge in, and (after another miss from the Mortar) fail to kill him.  The Shaman does a few wounds to them, but still loses heavily to static combat resolution.  Luckily, he’s in range of the Brewhouse which allowed the Crossbowmen to be such a pain in the arse, and easily holds.  We total up the victory points since neither of us reached breaking point, and it’s very close.  Victory to the Beastmen!

Another great, tight game against my arch-nemesis Furycat.  Midway through turn 2 I thought this was all over and I had it in the bag, but a couple of catastrophic combats let the Empire back in (in fairness, they were only in a hole because of their terrible dice in turn 1).  Then there was a really interesting game of interfering with movement and it finally came down to the battle of the generals.

I quite enjoyed this list with the two herds of Bestigors, after a little worry that it might leave me short elsewhere.  However, both herds had a rare off-day and didn’t really do much apart from hand over victory points.  The Harpies were even worse.  Although they did more than earn their points by killing the Battle Wizard, I was looking for them to roll straight through the Mortar too.

One thing I definitely should not have done was throw the single Raider at the Mortar crew.  It would have taken improbable luck to kill off the crew on its own, and I just wasted the victory points.  Especially since there was half a board he could have lurked in.  Those victory points could easily have made all the difference in such a close game as this.

Categories: Battle reports, Border Princes, Campaigns, Warhammer Fantasy Battle | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Beastmen (2200 points) vs Empire (2000 points); 16Oct11

Here is the second of the five battles in which I’m involved for turn 13 of the Border Princes campaign.  This time I’m up against Furycat‘s unstoppable Empire force.  After some consideration, I decided that I’d just stick with more or less the same army as my last few games, mainly adding in some Minotaurs that are in my mind because they’re on the painting table just now.

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 (BS)

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

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

5 Ungor Raiders, musician (UR1 and UR2)

5 Harpies, scouts (H)

4 Minotaurs, standard bearer (M)

2 Razorgors (R)

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

Furycat selected a fairly warmachine-light army though he did include a Steam Tank and Arch Lector on War Altar, which I never like to see across the table.

Arch Lector of Sigmar, War Altar, Hammer of Judgement, Dawn Armour (AL)

Wizard Lord, level 4, Lore of Life (WL)

Captain of the Empire, BSB, Armour of Meteoric Iron, Dawnstone (BSB)

Battle Wizard, level 2, Dispel Scroll, Lore of Shadow (BW)

2 x 30 Swordsmen, full command (S1 and S2)

12 Crossbowmen (C)

30 Greatswords, full command (G)

Helstorm Rocket Battery (HRB)

Steam Tank (ST)

In a common event for Furycat, we get Blood and Glory as our mission, with five terrain pieces.  In the North is an Anvil of Vaul, the South has a matching Scree Slope and there’s a Nehekharan Sphinx in the West.  I win the roll off to select table sides, and choose the one with the Scree Slope – I hate it when I have to charge onto them, and there’s no reason for anything other than a straightforward castle from the Empire.  The Great Bray Shaman takes Wyssan’s Wildform, Curse of Anraheir, Amber Spear and Savage Beast of Horros, with the Bray Shaman getting Withering and Melkoth’s Mystifiying Miasma.  Over in the Empire camp, the Wizard Lord has Flesh to Stone, Shield of Thorns, Regrowth and the ever popular Dwellers Below with the Battle Wizard taking Miasma and Okkam’s Mindrazor.  The deployment is fairly tactical, but basically revolves round me trying to force the Steam Tank somewhere far from either horde, and failing abysmally.  I even deployed both of the potential ambushing units, though given the central deployment of the Empire I probably wouldn’t have ambushed anyway.  The Empire get first turn and gratefully take it.

The Steam Tank generates four steam points and trundles forward.  Otherwise, there’s not much more than shuffling as they await the incoming herd of Beastmen.  There are 4,1 magic dice, and the Battle Wizard kicks things off by reducing the Bestigors’ move with Miasma.  The Wizard Lord throws all the remaining power dice at the upgraded version of Dwellers Below on the Gor horde, but it fails.  The Helstorm continues in a similar vein, misfiring a shot and preventing itself from firing next turn either.  The Crossbows take a couple of wounds off a Minotaur.

After some consideration, the Minotaurs charge the Steam Tank.  They aren’t a good match up for it (indeed, I expect them to die) but I’ve got to do something to stop it getting in about my lines on its own terms.  With 6,3 magic dice the Great Bray tries to cast Amber Spear on the Wizard Lord.  He isn’t feeling lucky on his Look Out! Sir roll, and throws enough dice to get Irresistable Force on the dispel.  Withering on the Steam Tank is similarly dispelled, but Miasma (-1BS) goes through on the Crossbowmen along with Wildform on the Minotaurs.  I’m hoping that the extra toughness will keep them in the game a bit longer.  Sadly, they fail to do anything at all to the Steam Tank, though they do become irritated enough to become frenzied.

The Steam Tank plays it safe by generating 4 steam points.  The Wizards get 6,2 magic dice with which to justify their existence, but it’s all bad from that angle.  A single die casting of Banishment at the Harpies fails, Miasma on the Bestigors is dispelled, Shield of Thorns on the Helstorm fail and Mindrazor on the Western Swordsmen also fails.  The Crossbowmen shoot a couple of Gors despite the hex on them.  One of the Minotaurs is ground into paste by the Steam Tank, but they do manage to wound it a couple of times.

Both the Gor horde and the Razorgors declare charges on the Swordsmen in the East.  Sadly, I’m an imbecile.  I move the Razorgors first, which blocks the Gors from making contact, so they stumble forwards instead.  The Harpies charge the crew of the Helstorm, presumably catching them just as they remove the last bit of rocket from the loading mechanism.  In the centre, one of the Raider herds moves into blocking position to keep the Greatswords out of the way for a turn while the rest of the army carries on moving forward.  We get 5,1 magic dice.  Amber Spear on the Battle Wizard is dispelled, as is Curse of Anraheir on the Greatswords, though the Minotaurs do get Wildform again.  The Razorgors kill a couple of Swordsmen and improbably hold after losing to the musician, and the Minotaurs once again fail to hurt the Steam Tank.  The Harpies are doing their thing at least, wiping out the Helstorm crew before they’d finished reading the firework code.

Generating another 3 steam points, the Steam Tank continues to play it safe, and there’s no other movement to speak of.  The winds of magic blow a pitiful 2,1 dice.  Flesh to Stone on the Swordsmen in the East is dispelled, but a good roll gets Shield of Thorns on them.  Of course, the main point of this was to use the Magical Lore of all living things to heal the inert lump of metal that is busy grinding my giant cow-men into the floor.  Having said that, the spell does hit the Razorgors for 11 hits, but incredibly fails to wound them.  It doesn’t matter, since the Swordsmen are on fire, killing one of the Razorgor and losing no-one to the other; they reform to face South.  The Steam Tank grinds away at the Minotaurs a bit more, leaving a single one alive.  Improbably, he holds having needed a four to do so.

The Raiders in the centre charge into the flank of the Swordsmen to open the path for the Bestigors to get stuck into the Greatswords.  Sadly, needing only a 5 to get there, I roll a 4.  At least the Raiders will be able to support the Gors charging the Swordsmen.  In fact, they only need a 3 to make contact but roll double ones, leaving the Raiders wondering if they showed up to the wrong battle.  To make matters even worse, they turn out to have strayed into a Wild Wood, though luckily it doesn’t beat them to death for their ineptitude.  Still, at least the Razorgor rallied.  Meanwhile, the Bray Shaman sends his own Raider escort in the direction of the Steam Tank, neglecting to mention that he wouldn’t be joining them.  This turn I have 6,1 magic dice to use.  A casting of Amber Spear on the Wizard Lord can’t be dispelled…but I roll a 1 to wound.  Withering on the Swordsmen is scrolled and Wildform on the Raiders is dispelled.  The astute amongst you will have noted that I forgot to dispel Shield of Thorns on the Swordsmen in the East.  Not surprisingly the Swordsmen make short work of the Raider, but in a bit of luck the single survivor doesn’t move flee far enough to get between the Greatswords and the Bestigors.  Meanwhile, the plucky Minotaur puts another wound on the Steam Tank.

Once again the Steam Tank generates 3 points, determined not to blow itself up.  The Arch Lector moves up into the face of the Gors.  Continuing Furycat’s total inability to roll well for the Wind of Magic, we get just 3,1 dice. Flesh to Stone on the Greatswords and Regrowth on the Swordsmen are both dispelled.  After some rules discussion we decide that the Steam Tank probably can fire its steam gun at a unit it’s not in combat with, and sprays the Gors with hot water for no effect (all that looking up rulebooks and FAQs and it had no effect anyway…).  It does finally squash the Minotaur though.

The Bestigors get their act together and charge the Greatswords (they were still close to messing it up though, needing a 7 and getting a 7), and the Harpies charge the rear of the Crossbowmen, intent on atoning for their previous ineptitude (here and here).  Sighing, the Raiders move to start plinking away at the Steam Tank before it goes on another rampage, and, once again, the Razorgor (now singular) charges the Swordsmen.  I have 4,2 magic dice, but Curse of Anraheir on the Greatswords and Wildform on the Bestigors are both dispelled.  The gods of storyline dictate that this one must be fought without magical advantages… and they clearly favours the Bestigors.  The Greatswords are hammered mercilessly but they’re stubborn so they don’t care.  Meanwhile, the Razorgor is killed by the Shield of Thorns (we forgot about this in the magic phase, but it doesn’t matter) and the Harpies kill off a few Crossbowmen, who hold but fail to reform to face.

Once again, the Steam Tank generates a nice safe 3 steam points and prepares to make some more goat pate.  The Arch Lector, bored of hanging around handing out his huge leadership bubble, decides to go and make use of his ward save by running over some Gors.  With 5,1 magic dice, the Wizard Lord manages to get Flesh to Stone on the surviving Greatswords (healing the Steam Tank, of course), but Pha’s Protection on them and Miasma on the Bestigors are both dispelled.  The Steam Tank squashes the Raiders without incident.  Issuing a challenge as he rides his portable pulpit into the Gors, the Arch Lector finds that a surprised-looking Foe Render is pushed under his wheels.  The remaining Gors, blinking in shock at the fact that a bald screaming man is apparently trying to beat them to death with a book, hold.  The Bestigors can’t quite do the damage to finish off the Greatswords, and the Count’s Champion survives on his own and stubbornly holds up the entire Bestigor herd.  Finally, the Harpies chase off the Crossbowmen, who obligingly end up directly between the Bestigors and the Steam Tank.  They reform to face the Battle Wizard, who shuffles nervously under their gaze.

The Harpies charge the Battle Wizard, and there’s not much other movement.  The small Gor unit and the Swordsmen in the West are apparently quite happy to stare at each other through the forest for the rest of the game.  I get 5,3 magic dice and have Savage Beast on the Wargor, Wildform on his Gors and Miasma on the Eastern Swordsmen all dispelled.  Those Swordsmen do get Cursed though.  The enraged Great Bray Shaman tears apart the awkward Greatsword and his herd reforms to face the Swordsmen in the East.  The Harpies pick up the Battle Wizard, and failing to restrain themselves, fly off to the middle of nowhere with his body for company.  The Wargor puts a bunch of wounds on the Arch Lector, but a combination of rerolls and ward saves mean that nothing gets through.  To add insult, the horses then wound him back despite his toughness 5 and 2+ save.

There are no charges, and not much movement, but the Steam Tank (with 4 Steam Points) moves between the Bestigors and the Swordsmen.  The Crossbowmen rally and reform to face the Bestigors.  The Wizard Lord summons 2,2 magic dice and throws them all at Dwellers Below on the Bestigors.  The Great Bray Shaman can’t dispel it, then compounds his error by selecting ‘die’ when faced with the choice of ‘save or die’.  He is duly dragged down to some terrible fate, along with a handful of his drinking partners.  The challenge between the Arch Lector and the Wargor continues in a rather dull fashion.

There aren’t many options left to me now.  The Bray Shaman charges the Crossbowmen, but they flee to safety.  Instead, he uses his 6,3 dice to put Withering and Miasma on the Arch Lector, though the Withering is dispelled.  Once again, nothing happens in the combat, and the game ends.  Neither army reached its breaking point so we tally up victory points.  Victory to the Empire!

It was a very tense, fun game, but I’m irritated by my poor play.  There was a golden opportunity for me to massively swing the game in turn 2, when the Gors could have charged the Swordsmen but my decision to move the Razorgors first stopped them getting into contact.  I’m confident that the Gors could have done huge damage to the Swordsmen instead of the Razorgors killing a couple here and there.  I compounded the error with the Razorgors by throwing the survivor back into the Swordsmen, a combat it couldn’t have won alone, which amounted to just handing over its victory points.  I’m very frustrated by my decisions here.

The funny thing is that after the game my annoyance was focussed on the Great Bray Shaman being one-shotted by Dwellers Below.  As it happened, the victory points swing for that was almost exactly the margin of Furycat’s victory.  Still, that’s one of the reasons I try to write these battle reports in detail: it makes me think about what I did in the game, and hopefully I can learn from my many mistakes.  All that being said, Furycat played his game well and beat me deservedly, not to mention at a 200 point disadvantage.

I am not certain how best to deal with the Steam Tank and the War Altar.  Both are unbreakable and near-unkillable (barring a few specific spells), and they are tailor-made to interfere with big units.  Still, I suppose that this is simply showing me a weakness of my game: relying on hordes.  Perhaps I should use smaller units so it matters less if they get gummed up with such a foe.

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