Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Battle Board Rematch!

After losing to my brother for the fifth time running, I demanded a rematch! (Glutton for punishment I know.)

He used the same Haradrim force as last time, I mixed things up a little. Last time I just wasn't satisfied with the drums. Sure I got a re-roll, but with my pitiful fight score, he still kept winning on ties and with lots of spearmen he seemed to get lots of 6s =)

Anyway, I played mix and match and ended up going with:
Durburz the Goblin King, a Cave Troll, the Wild Warg Chieftain, a Giant Spider, 15 goblins with sword and shield, 16 with spear (1 extra for the King) and 13 with bow. 48 minis all up (max allowed at this level, 461, is 50 so just under.)

We rolled for the mission and got "To the Death!" Subtle mission huh. The mission calls for a crowded board, so we piled on all of the scenery I have. I'm in the process of making some more rock pillars, stalagmites and some mining equipment but since I used all my grey paint on the board I've gotta get down to the shops before I can finish them off.

You can see in the bottom left corner just peeking into the photo next to the tape measure are a stack of cards. My brother used his computer nouse to whip up some playing cards with all the stats of our different mini types as well as a photo and any special rules. Makes it really nice and quick to find info and saves flipping through books - also it looks cool!

Well we split our forces into two squads each. I rolled a 2 for one and a 5 for the other, so I had one group of guys right up at the front lines (you can see a batch of goblins - no special characters, just 12 shields and 12 spears in the middle right). The Cave Troll and Wild Warg Chieftain deployed near the hill next to the stone arch towards the left of shot. The other group, my archers, King and Spider were up the back corner.

My brother's forces were all in the front lines, he's got some Watchers of Karna with spear support on the left, in the middle is his cavalry and near my goblin horde are Suladan, Hasharin and the remaining forces.

In turn one I moved my goblin horde to a defensive position in the archways of the ruins, his powerful guys advanced towards them.

Another shot of the same area from a different angle. Unfortunately most of the shots I took for this game didn't turn out. My hands weren't steady enough or something, so they're mostly very blurry.

On the other side of the map, his cavalry charged forwards on the right of a big lava patch, his Watchers to the left of it. My troll and WWC leapt to the top of the small rocky hill to get a good view of the map. This put them in good striking range of several enemy groups. 

My 13 archers unleashed a hail of arrows, four hits and two wounds. The first arrow killed the steed of one of his cavalry, the second arrow impaled the rider.

Turn 2 saw the Goblin King leading a small group of goblins towards the Watchers on the edge of the board. The giant spider headed towards the cavalry group. The goblin horde continued defensive maneuvers. With priority to the goblins, the troll and WWC pounced down from the hilltop to engage the cavalry units nearby.

The goblin archers launch another swarm of black barbed arrows, two thunk home, but only cause flesh wounds. The 6 haradrim archers fire back, hit two goblins, even with a re-roll for poisonous arrows they only manage to injure some archers rather than killing them.

The Wild Warg Chieftain uses a point of might to win the battle against two cavalry and kills them both, swiping the riders from their saddles and allowing the horses to gallop away frantically. The troll rolls badly... but not as badly as the Haradrim and clobbers a spearman and another of the hapless cavalry.

On the edge of the board, a Watcher of Karna kills a goblin, who blocked one blade with his shield, but neglected the second deadly blade which lanced through his neck. Next to him a goblin pushes back another Watcher, but fails to cause any wounds.

Turn 3, priority goes to the Haradrim - the last time it will for quite some time. Nicknamed "suicide Bob" a Haradrim archer rushes the WWC AND Troll! Saving his courage roll, he valiantly sacrifices himself for the greater good. You can guess how that ended up for suicide bob.

The 13 goblin archers manage to kill two haradrim archers, whose own shots flew high, missing entirely.

Meanwhile, the giant spider is swarmed and killed mercilessly! Arachnophobic cavalry joins up with a Watcher of Karna to wade through the ichorus mess left afterwards. The Goblin King kills a spearman, kicking the lifeless body into the lava afterwards. On the edge of the board a Watcher takes on four goblins, wins the battle and kills one of the surprised goblins. Next to him, his colleague takes on two goblins, but fails to kill either of them.

On the other side of the board, Suladan and his forces set themselves up for next turn's charge.

Turn 4, Priority goes to the goblins. After a delay in actually getting into action, Suladan and the Serpent army strikes at the defending goblins. Their fortifications don't help them against the deadly heroes. Suladan kills his goblin easily, the Hasharin next to him also slays a goblin, and in the next archway a Watcher dispatches yet another defender. 

The goblin archers launched black tipped arrows high into the air, volleying down on the Haradrim banner bearer, the positioning guided by the loud excited shouts of the defending goblins. Unfortunately their directions are about what you'd expect and none of the shots come anywhere near the banner bearer. For the rest of the match, there is a banner bearer shaped outline on the ground made from arrows.

Over on the other side of the battle, three archers and a spearman combine forces to wound the slavering warg three times, fate is with him this day and he takes two wounds, reducing him to near death. Durburz dispatches a cavalry troop while the troll smashes a Watcher so hard he his flung back into the lava pit, disappearing into a charcoaly smear.

The melee on the side of the board results in a Watcher killing a goblin, his companion whoops with excitement, but in doing so drops his guard and a goblin spear flashes inwards, piercing his black heart.

Turn 5 - Goblins win priority. The goblin archers, out of targets now (!) begin to move forward towards the ruins. Suladan continues slaughtering his way through goblins. The Hasharin has a momentary lapse in attention as he tries to direct other troops, a lucky goblin spearman thrusts through his defences, but fate is with the black clad murderer and he escapes unwounded. 

Further back in the ruins, however, some of the goblin horde succeed in surrounding several of the Serpent army, killing one Watcher with four black spears. Fighting furiously next to him, another Watcher beats back four goblin swords, and slays two of them! Another Watcher kills a goblin hiding in an archway.

On the other side of the board, the Warg Chieftain, sorely wounded, fights ever more savagely, killing one of the spearmen that injured him. Durburz dispatches one of the Haradrim archers, laughing at the pathetic human. Nearby the Troll kills another, pulverizing the body beyond recognition. On the side the Watchers, dismayed at the way the battle is going near them, fight more defensively, but to no avail as one of them is speared through the kidneys and lungs by two eager goblins.

Turn 6, goblins win priority (again!). This turn sees our first "official" death by lava. The troll and goblins win the fight against a poor Haradrim archer, who had been cornered near a lava pit. They didn't manage to wound him (I know, how bad was that rolling) but the knockback left him at the end of the turn on the crusty top of lava, his body weight breaking through the thin surface and plunging him, screaming, into the superheated rock.

The Warg killed a Haradrim spearman, continuing his revenge on the ones who wounded him, tearing out the man's throat in a bloody mess. Five goblins ganged up on a Watcher and sent him on a permanent voyage, the black clad man died bravely, fighting to the last. A Haradrim bowman, filled with fear, fought like a man possessed, seeing that he is the last man around, knocking back the Goblin King. 

On the other side of the board, the Men are doing a far better job of killing the gibbering goblins. Watchers, Suladan and Hasharin all slaying goblins with ease, working mechanically and systematically, blades flashing.

Turn 7 - goblin priority. The last human on the left side of the board is dispatched easily, the archers continue marching across the board. Suladan's troops, scared by the frenetic fighting, go to run away, he calls to them to "Stand Fast" and a quiver in his own voice almost undoes it all, but rallying his formidible willpower he forces the Serpent Horde to continue their assault. 

Some of the goblins begin to retreat from Suladan, back towards their own king.

Though retreating as fast as their short legs can carry them, some of the goblins know that the humans will catch them sooner or later! One Watcher of Karna steps from the shadows to assassinate a fleeing goblin - the only casualty of the turn.

Turn 9 sees goblins with priority again! The remaining goblins begin to swarm towards the remainder of the Serpent horde. There is no combat this round. Suladan stops chasing the goblins that are fleeing towards the King and instead turn towards the lightly armoured archers!

A view showing some very surprised, but grateful goblins, who were sure that they would die this turn!

Turn 10 sees priority to the Haradrim for the first time in aaaages! Suladan rallies the troops and they charge towards the archers, who step back in fear, but draw their bows and at closer range than they'd like they manage to send 6 arrows thunking into the brave men - two arrows find particularly painful marks, slaying a spearman and a Watcher in the glow of the lava pit.

The rest of the goblins move in towards the few remaining humans, sensing a Major Victory in the wind!

Turn 11, priority back to the goblins. The archers back off to the left, while the rest of the goblins charge forward. The troll leads a few around the top of the lava pit, Durburz leads a swarm of goblins down towards the archers, hoping to surround the men.

Suladan then abruptly changes course! Rolling an 11 for his courage, he forces his troops to move back and around towards the mighty Cave troll!

The archers now face a dilemma, they could shoot at the exposed back of the Hasharin, but worry that they'll inadvertantly kill their own companion, so instead they aim at a spearman. It turns out their thoughtful actions were misplaced, after all the prevaricating they all miss anyway! 

The troll kills the brave spearman that charged him. Suladan uses a point of might to swing a massive overhanded blade, splitting the goblin in front of him right down the middle - shield included! A watcher kills his opponent, as does the Hasharin.

Turn 12 - priority to the Haradrim. Knowing that their time is short, the Haradrim, led by mighty Suladan, charge recklessly into the fray. The goblin archers take proper aim this time, and fell the banner bearer, who falls with four black arrows in his back, not too far from the banner shaped outline created previously!

Suladan, busy directing his troops, almost falls to some spearmen, but fate is with him. The Cave Troll kills the next suicidal spearman that charged at him. A Watcher kills a spearman, dual blades flashing in a hypnotic rhythm before stabbing forward through the bulbous goblin eyes. The mighty Hasharin sweeps his cloak around him, almost disappearing from sight before a whirl of poisoned blades lance out, resulting in the death of three goblins!

Turn 13 - priority stays with the Haradrim. Yet another brave spearman sacrifices himself against the massive Cave Troll, who has no pity and clubs him into a nearby wall, smashing his spine. The Watcher takes on three goblins, and while he beheads a goblin, his spear supporter steps forward to lance another goblin through its black heart. Suladan disdainfully steps forward to slaughter a goblin, kicking its decapitated head into the lava pit nearby. 

The Goblin King leads six goblins into battle against the Hasharin, knowing that numbers will prove the match for the assassin. The Hasharin, backlit by the redness of the lava pit laughs at the pitiful goblins, his fighting skill more than a match for them all. Using a valuable point of might he wins the fight and slays two goblins with shields.

Having slain five goblins in a single turn, the goblin horde is now broken - hopes of a Major Victory lost amidst flashing blades and red lava-glow.

Turn 14 - the goblins win priority. Durburz rallies the troops, telling them to Stand Fast and Attack! The troll kills the last Watcher of Karna. The Hasharin is charged by a single spearman, whom he kills easily, annoyed at his awesome skills being so wasted. Suladan, charged by the Wild Warg Chieftain, Durburz the Goblin King and some goblin support rolls a 6 and ducks beneath Durburz's blade, pirouetting around and slashing open the mighty Warg's throat, ending his murderous reign.

Now the Hasharin and Suladan look around the battlefield, they are the last men standing, but there are far fewer of their foes left than there were just a few turns ago - there is still hope yet!

Turn 15 - Haradrim priority.

Suladan launches an attack at the Goblin King, knowing that tying him up in battle may dismay the horde enough to cause some to flee. 

The Hasharin steels his nerve and turns to face the troll, the troll roars mightily, sending disgusting blobs of saliva into the air and terrifying the assassin, causing him to stand scared on the spot.

Archers fire at the Hasharin, wounding him, in his cowardly state fate abandons him.

Suladan's plan works, six goblins run screaming away, leaving their King to his fate. The remaining goblins ignore the cowering Hasharin and those that are close enough engage Suladan. Against the Troll, the Kings and other swarming goblins, the brave Serpent King has no chance, they leap upon him, pinning him down while the Troll smashes his body with the mighty hammer he wields. The smashed and broken body of Suladan is further maimed by the laughing green minions of Durburz. 

Turn 16 - the goblins win priority and swarm all over the Hasharin, who stands no chance against such overwhelming odds. Tossing the corpse into the lava pit, the goblins win a Minor Victory!

Posing for the post-victory shots...

What a match!
I was so sure I was going to just wipe the floor with the Haradrim after the first few turns, but boy are Suladan and the Hasharin good. Today they were just on fire! (Well, literally after they died.)

Between the two of them they killed close to half of my entire force!

A great game, made greater by a (rare) victory for me =)

Again I have it reiterated to me that goblins can do well if they swarm attack, on a map with such a lot of scenery it was a bit tricky to arrange, but it all worked out in the end. The troll did a great job, but could have killed more if it wasn't for the brave but suicidal solo spearmen that kept him busy until the end.

The Wild Warg Chieftain again did a great job, although the Giant Spider was pathetically dispatched without accomplishing much, although it did split his force up a little. Durburz is great for his Stand Fast when the force is broken, the goblins and their low courage really make the game shift once it gets down to that part of the match.

Anyway, there you have it =)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Inaugural Battle Report

Well, my brother came around today and we battled on the new board.

To start with we chose our forces, he had 461 points worth of Haradrim, so that's what we played to.

At the top of the board you can see his army if you squint really hard =)
Suladan the Serpent King, 1 Hasharin, 1 Chieftain with bow and spear, 1 Raider with banner, 2 raiders with war spears, 3 raiders with bows, 6 Watchers of Karna, 9 warriors with spears and 6 warriors with bows.
30 troops, so I had to kill 15 to break him.

At the bottom of the board is my goblin horde. Just because I've never had a chance to use them yet I've taken goblin drummers instead of my usual cave troll. Later I think I regretted that choice.

Anyway, I've got Durburz the Goblin King, A Wild Warg Chieftain, 2 Wild Wargs, the drummers, 14 warriors with sword and shield, 15 with spear, 13 with bow.
48 troops, so he had to kill 24 to break me.

To set up the board I have six cards representing the 6 boards, we chose them at random to select scenery.

The mission we also randomly chose - Take and Hold.

In the ash wastelands of the south, water is very hard to come by. A well nearby a mushroom farm has been targeted as an objective by the nomadic Haradrim. Unfortunately for them, a recent tunnel has opened nearby, unleashing a swarm of goblins.

Same time, different angle. The rules of Take and Hold are that you randomly get troops put onto the board. For each troop you roll, sometimes you get to put them on, sometimes your opponent chooses the side they enter from, sometimes they just don't make it. When a force is broken, whoever has more troops within 3 inches of the well wins!

My tactics were going to be swarm forward with the troops, try and counter his cavalry with my wargs and get my archers up on the walls to shoot down.

I'm not sure what happened with the colours here, but in Turn 1 we basically just had guys appearing all over the place. 

Turn 2 was just as exciting as Turn 1, with some initial movement. As you can see below, the random reinforcement rule meant that some of the Watchers of Karna appeared behind some of the goblins who had randomly appeared on the left. Not good news for the goblins!

In the top part of the map, three Haradrim archers draw bows and fire at the two goblins that appeared from nowhere. Their shots thunk home, but only into the raised shields of the little greenies. In the bottom of the map a wild warg and two goblins gang up against a lone Haradrim archer who must have misplaced his map to appear on the wrong side of the well. He is beaten back, but suffers no fatal wound.

In turn 3 there is some charging forward and all troops from both sides have arrived.
The cavalry are filling gaps in the ruined walls.

After the cavalry move into position, the goblin archers all take aim, draw back their bowstrings and unleash a hail of arrows. As you can see from the dice, they must have gone to the stormtrooper school of marksmanship. No hits, let alone wounds.

The lone Haradrim archer is lucky to avoid being killed, but retreats back perilously close to the lava pool. We ruled that you could walk infantry over the raised lava stepping stones as difficult terrain, but couldn't end your turn on it without succumbing to the intense heat. Also, the lava itself was fatal.

A melee broke out with two watchers of karna and five goblins. One watcher went one on one with a goblin swordsman. Swinging both deadly blades in a rushing arc, the watcher fails to take into account the diminutive size of the goblin, who stabs at the black clad knees, forcing the watcher to step back rapidly.

The other watcher faces four goblins, but whirling in an insane flurry, beats back all four, mortally wounding a spearman!

The goblins at the top edge of the board are becoming surrounded, but manage to fend off all attacks. One of the rolls is a tie, but the mightier Haradrim warriors win on ties (something that ruins many a turn for the poor goblins).

The beginning of Turn 4 shows the main Haradrim force moving towards the center. The goblins up the top are being surrounded again. The main goblin army arranges itself around the drummers while the archery line forms up for another shot. The watchers towards the front, faster than the shorter goblins, engage all but one archer who runs towards the center. 

Inside the ruins, 9 archers now let fly! There are three hits, but nothing serious enough to cause a wound. The warg chieftain and an accompanying wild warg savage a horse and rider to the ground, killing them both. 

Surrounded by a warg and three goblins, the brave (and previously very lucky) finally succumbs to the many puncture wounds.

Three watchers and a spearman make short work of four goblins, the short, green, gibbering goblins are no match for the flashing blades.

Up in the top corner a stalemate continues as some very lucky goblins prove hard to kill.
In turn 5 the main Haradrim force reaches the well, the main goblin force lines up around the drummers. The watchers, having slain all the nearby goblins, head towards the drummers.

Finally, in turn 5, the goblin archers manage to loose four arrows that hit the banner bearing rider. One arrow sinks into the neck of the hapless horse, slaying it instantly. The banner bearer leaps free of his mount and brushes off the dust, planting the standard defiantly into the ground and encouraging his fellow riders.

The inspiration of the banner bearer spurs on one rider to spear a wild warg to the ground, spear pinning the writhing body until it dies. Meanwhile the Wild Warg Chieftain beats back two riders and uses all might to slash and dice one rider before sinking slavering fangs into the neck of a second.

In the top corner, two trapped goblins are speared through by four Haradrim warriors. The last remaining goblin attacks a warrior, but is beaten back.

One goblin had charged a watcher, to try and buy time for his green skinned colleagues. Also he would have been to slow to run away anyway, but let's go with the bravery option =) His brave charge ends in tragedy as a watcher callously slices both blades through the goblin's neck.

In turn 6 the banner bearer runs around to hide in a most cowardly fashion behind a rider to escape the archers. Inspired to save his brave companion, the banner bonus allows the rider to wound the wild warg chieftain, who fate has deserted for the moment.

The main forces close towards each other, the lone goblin at the top ties with the spearman he is fighting, but again the Haradrim fighter wins on a tie, failing to wound the goblin by the narrowest of margins.

Turn 7 begins with the goblin at the top beginning to run, outnumbered five to one!

The goblin on the hill shoots at an archer near the well and the arrow spears the man in the eye, killing him! Not even flinching as the man next to him falls to the ground screaming and dying, his compatriot draws back his bow and *thwack* the goblin, who is in the midst of a victory dance, is speared right through the heart, dying instantly. Suladan attacks a goblin defending the archway, but rolls horribly, fumbling his weapons as the goblin, emboldened by the drum beat, pushes the King backwards, not even close to causing injury (apart from one to the Serpent King's pride).

Off to the side, the Warg Chieftain destroys the luckless banner bearer in a flurry of fur and blood to horrible to show here.

In turn 8, the Goblin King is set for an approach to the well from within the ruins, the Serpent Horde swings around the rocky arch to assault the drummers. Failing priority, the lone goblin is caught up by several Haradrim warriors now somehow he manages to hold his own, beaten back but not wounded.

Here is the melee before any blow is struck. You can see the goblin archers are up on the fortress walls now, with easy shots down towards the Haradrim below.

Ouch! Four goblins and a warg die in a single blaze of slaughter. The only upside for the goblins is a tense fight between a mighty Haradrim chieftain and Durburz the goblin king. They both roll 5s, the king uses might, the chieftain also yells mightily, but the King has the fury of seeing so many followers slain and wins the roll-off, using another rare point of might to slay the chieftain. 

Four goblins pounce on a watcher... with the beat of the drum in their veins they outroll the watcher, and then roll four 1s, coming closer to stabbing each other than wounding the black-clad Haradrim. In many smaller skirmishes, goblins continue re-rolling from the drums, but the Haradrim warriors roll 6s, and win ties, so no help there!

Turn 9 and the Haradrim win priority (again - 9 out of 13 turns they won it), this spells the doom of the lone goblin towards the top of the map, having faced overwhelming odds from turn 1, he has kept five warriors tied up, but no more.

The goblin archers atop the walls kill a spearman near the well, leaving it with only one man guarding it. Meanwhile, in another turn of pure carnage... Durburz attacks, but fails to fell his opponent. The Hasharin faces a goblin, who rolls poorly, but the drumbeat lifts his spirit and he tries again, rolling a 6! The Hasharin laughs at the goblin, uses a point of might and slays him forthwith. The last rider tramples another goblin into the dust, a watcher vs. three goblins fights them off and removes the head of a swordsman. The Warg Chieftain has had a long walk from the edge of the battlefield but now looms at the edge of the ruins.

Here's a closer look at the poor goblins, dropping like flies. At this point, although the goblins seem to be taking the majority of casualties, percentage-wise both teams are nearing 50%! The Haradrim need only lose two more to break, the goblins 3. It's still anybody's game!

Turn 10: The goblin archers atop the wall launch a flurry of arrows towards the well, felling the spearman there. If the forces break, the game could be over with nobody in charge of the objective!
Suladan lances through to the goblin drummers, who face him bravely, but fall beneath his mighty blade. Durburz kills his foe, causing Suladan to taunt him, having killed twice as many enemies in a single turn. The mighty Warg Chieftain tears down a Watcher of Karna.
Both sides are broken!
At the end of the turn a roll is made, the battle continues!

Turn 11: The battle swings. Haradrim win priority and Suladan calls to his troops to Stand Fast! He rolls a double 1! Then uses his entire store of will to enforce his decision to stay and fight. If the drums had still been going he would have cut and run! Using the impetus of the courageous Serpent King, Durburz is charged. Busy with combat, he has no time to spend on rallying troops. Unfortunately this results in EIGHT goblins deciding that life in the tunnels is better than combat. 

Suladan continues to slaughter goblins, in all eight goblins run and four more are killed without mercy.

The only bright spark is the Warg Chieftain continuing to bite the faces off Watchers of Karna, stunting severely their ability to watch anything!

Turn 12 sees the goblin archers descend to the ground, scurrying down the walls towards the well as Durburz urges them on, himself charging forward, bellowing mightily. Unfortunately the deadly Hasharin launches at him, poisoned blades flashing. The king wins the fight! The Hasharin uses a point of might to tie the attack, then wins - counterattacking the King and causing two wounds. Fate departs from the King, who takes both wounds and dies, cursing and spitting to the last.

Turn 13 and the last of the goblins die, Suladan uses his remaining might to slay the incredible Warg Chieftain after winning a tie and no fate can help the mighty beast as he falls.

Victory goes to the Haradrim Serpent Horde. With tears streaking from my face (hence the camera blur), they pose triumphantly.

With less than a third of his force remaining, my brother ignored the email that I'd sent him. I'd invited him to play on the new board as long as he'd let me win. He didn't. Cheater =)

I think with such a small point force, the 100 points for the drummers might have been better spent on my usual troll. The Warg Chieftain cops a lot of flack for being overpriced, but I love both the model and he always acquits himself well in battle when I've played!

It was really fun playing on the board, and the odd way that you couldn't start with your army how you wanted was also pretty cool. We both enjoy games that have a bit of a twist.

Stay tuned for a rematch in the future =)

Oh, and just for kicks afterwards...