Friday, April 9, 2010

To Kill A King

Well, it's yet another rematch between my brother's Haradrim army and my Goblins.

I swapped my giant spider for three wild wargs, other than that we have the same armies as previous posts.

We randomly chose a mission and four battle board segments. No lava this time! The mission: To Kill a King. I groaned, Durburz the Goblin King is not in the same class as Suladan the Serpent King!

We whacked down scenery until we had the following board set up, he rolled and won to choose corners. Setting up inside the ruins would allow him to use the archways as defensive positions and keep under cover of my archer volleys. My corner had a small hill, so I put Durburz up on it with goblins around on lower levels, meaning he'd have to fight his way up to me.

My strategy was going to be fairly defensive, having lost so many games to my brother I was desperate for a win, and this time I was going to try using my archers as much as possible. I had enough for volleying fire and figured I could try to take out his Hasharin with my troll and Wild Warg Chieftain then just arrow the rest of the forces to death!

Turn 1: We both rolled 5s for priority so rerolled, both rolled 4s! Rerolled again and I got a 4, he got a 5 so round one to the Haradrim.

He kept Suladan in the ruins with some backup and marched the rest of his troops forward, I did similar. My goblin archers volleyed 13 arrows high into the air, as they arced down three arrows hit the charging cavalry, one arrow thunked home in the neck of a horse, sending the rider falling. The spearman stood and shook his fist in the direction of the archers.

Turn 2: A tie roll for priority again, so it shifts to the Goblins. The majority of the Serpent King's forces seem to be taking up defensive positions, the archers climb the stairs of the ruins. The Hasharin, leads a group forward, hoping to cut through the troll and goblins to assassinate the Goblin King. The cavalry ride in the other direction, hoping to outflank to take on the archers.

This time, again, the goblin archers let fly and score a lucky two hits, slaying a spearman and his mount. This is the luckiest I've ever been with archers!

The whittled down cavalry ride through some large stalagmites.

Turn 3: Priority Haradrim. More marching, the goblins change targets, aiming towards the group of advancing troops with the Hasharin among them. Among the black feathered arrows, one hurtles towards the Hasharin himself! Fate is on his side and with two points of fate the arrow hits his pendant, hanging in front of his chest. A very lucky man!

The Haradrim archers survey the battlefield, but are out of range and without sufficient numbers for volleying.

Turn 4: Goblin priority. The forces are almost within melee range! The goblins volley again, but all their arrows miss! The cavalry use the massive dwarven pillars to keep out of arrow line of sight.

The Haradrim forces are now within smell range of the troll. Still they hold fast to their advance!

Turn 5: Priority Haradrim. Cavalry charges goblins, which surround it and slay it mercilessly, glad to finally have some blood on their weapons. The goblin volley targets the enemy forces in the middle of the board, one arrow thunks home, but it's just a flesh wound, a scar that the Haradrim raider will remember for the rest of his (very short) life. The Haradrim have positioned themselves so that the mighty cave troll can only attack a lowly spearman. He's very soon an ex-spearman. And not because he lost his spear.

Top view at end of turn. You can see the tripod, which is why most of these shots came out so much better than last time. At top of board, the two ranks of goblin archers, the one remaining cavalry and the wargs gathering for the kill. The Haradrim archers, bored with their defensive position, move forward to get within range of the enemy.

The troll, spittle flying, lashes the spearman before smashing his head with the mighty mallet.

The wargs gather under the growled instructions from their chieftain, ready to pounce on the cavalry man, hungry for horseflesh dinner with haradrim for dessert.

Turn 6: Priority to the goblins (now and for all of the important turns!)

The goblin volley this turn proves successful yet again - those training videos (How to Win Friends and Influence People while Shooting them Accurately) seem to have worked. Another spearman falls with an arrow in his throat.

With priority theirs for the taking, the warg pack pounces on the poor cavalryman who dies screaming within earshot of the laughing goblin bowmen.

Within earshot also of the Hasharin who takes on a duo of goblin spearmen and, poisoned blade flashing, kills them both easily, slashing the throat of one while gutting the other in a graceful pirouette. A Watcher of Karna takes on two goblins and beats them back, but fails to injure them enough for a kill. A lone Haradrim spearman, with the screams of the cavalryman echoing in his head, fights against four goblins, and beats them back!

The cave troll smashes a watcher against the ground, adding a lot of red to the black robes.

Turn 7: Priority to the goblins (again!) The goblin archers take aim and kill a haradrim archer. A haradrim archer returns fire, felling a wild warg, sending it snarling and thrashing around for a minute before it realised it was dead.

The melee is messy. Two Haradrim spearmen take on two goblins, who stab the men in the ankles. One falls and is speared through the throat, the other hops backwards cursing! The Haradrim chieftain launches into the four goblins assaulting him and uses his skill in one massive sweep of his weapon, tearing the throats out of two goblins and sending a spray of blood over the other two.

A Watcher of Karna takes on a goblin and slays it without even trying, striding forward towards the Goblin King. The Hasharin also disposes easily of his foe, decapitating it with twin flashes of steel.

It doesn't all go the Haradrim's way, however. Two goblins team up against a single Haradrim spearman and spit him though the belly, chittering and giggling manically as he dies messily and noisily. The troll smashes a Watcher of Karna into a nearby rocky outcrop, shattering the black clad man's spine. The lucky spearman from last turn is assaulted by six goblins this time, the previous four combine with their two kin to swarm over the man and stab him multiple times as he tries desperately and futilely to fend them off.

Turn 8: Priority goblins (yup, yet again). At this stage, we note that in the previous game I essentially win when I get priority this many times in a row with my troll in melee combat. In all I end up with 6 priority wins in a row. Hard to fight against that bad luck!

Having said that, I don't pull any punches! The goblins will fight unfairly if they have to - as a matter of fact, they prefer it that way!

A Watcher of Karna, six feet in front of the goblin archers, is amazed as every single arrow flies right past him. The goblin archers, used to volley firing, have evidently forgotten how to aim at close targets!

A Haradrim archer shoots at a wild warg, who shrugs off the arrow lodged in its haunches, takes two steps, then twitches and falls to the ground shaking. The poisoned arrow takes a few seconds to infiltrate the bloodstream fully, but eventually the warg shudders for the last time, eyes bulging and tongue lolling out as it dies painfully from the scorpion poison on the arrowtip.

A packmate lunges at another bowman and rips out the man's throat. The Wild Warg Chieftain uses his point of might to slay another bowman, tearing him open with his massive claws and roaring defiance at the humans.

The haradrim chieftain smashes into two goblin archers and uses a point of might to beat them back and slaughter one of them, hoping to disrupt their volley firing. In two other melee fights of goblin vs. human goblins lose, but only take minor wounds.

A Watcher of Karna takes on two goblins and kills one that is trapped up against a rocky outcrop, with nowhere to run except onto the flashing blades of the black Haradrim.

With priority, the troll and four goblins assault the mighty Hasharin and even with all his great skill, the numbers and strength of the mighty troll are too much for him. Durburz roars defiance across the battlefield to Suladan, who's assassination plot has fallen with his chief assassin.

Turn 9: Priority Goblins. It's time to mop up the surviving Haradrim on this side of the battle. The goblin archers take a step back from the Haradrim Chieftain to make way for the Wild Warg Chieftain. The wild warg beats back the Watcher of Karna, but his flashing fangs and steel like claws fail to find skin, slashing the black robes instead. The Wild Warg Chieftain takes on the Haradrim Chieftain and win the fight, fate is with the Chieftain as he takes two mortal wounds, one of which is deflected, barely, as the Warg's claws get tangled in the Chieftain's bowstrings.

The Haradrim archers take aim and kill a goblin spearman, a poisoned arrow puncturing his back as he is busy lending support to the fight with the troll and a Watcher of Karna. He dies from the poison much more swiftly than the warg, but no less dramatically, tongue puffing up and stifling his pitiable screams before he collapses, green skin turning a shade of blue.

Fairly predictably, the lack of a goblin supporting spearman doesn't sway the fight and the Troll clubs the Watcher to the ground while the goblin supporters stab at the dying man.

Turn 10: Priority Goblins. One of the Haradrim archers flees the battle, his lack of courage a spit in the face to Suladan, who tells his guards to Stand Fast! The rest of the men are too engaged in battle to give thought to running!

The Wild Warg Chieftain leaps upon a Watcher of Karna, the already torn robes are no protection and even though they are almost evenly matched (both rolling 6s) the Chieftain's mighty claws knock the blades from the Watcher's hands, fangs are close behind and they crush the man's windpipe, splattering blood across the field of vision of his packmate, causing enough distraction to allow the spearman to fend back the attacks of the wild warg attacking him.

The Haradrim chieftain uses a point of might to take on two goblins and win, spitting one of them through the chest. The Haradrim archers shoot at some goblins and hit! Even the poison on their arrows isn't as nasty as what the goblins had for lunch, however, and it has no effect on them. A very lucky Haradrim warrior survives a battle with the mighty cave troll!

Turn 11: Priority Goblin (sick of that yet? My brother sure was!)
Another Haradrim archer flees the battle, leaving only one behind.
The wild warg combines with his chieftain to slay the spearman on the rise, the blood runs to stain the feet of the nearby statue. The Haradrim chieftain somehow manages to not die against four goblins and the cave troll!

The rolls to wound:

Turn 12: Priority Haradrim! At last!
The courage roll for the Chieftain is a three! After surviving so long, he decides to run to fight another day and flees the battlefield. In the future he'll tell the story of surviving against the Cave Troll to his children (who also turn out to be cowards and live long enough to hear the story many times.) The goblin army regroups and begins marching to where the archers can fire at Suladan.

Turn 13: marching continues.

Turn 14: Still more marching.

And from the other side of the board... the wargs have come around the back and wait for a chance to strike.

Turn 15. More marching.

Turn 16: Priority Haradrim.

After they move into position the wargs dart forward at the last remaining archer and kill him!

Suladan is standing right next to them and is splattered by the blood!

Turn 17: Priority Goblins. The wargs retreat out of range of Suladan, but taunt the banner bearer on his steed to attack if he dares. He doesn't.

Suladan instead rallies his forces and charges towards the advancing goblins!

Totally taking them by surprise! They aren't in a nice big pack yet, still in several groups.

Turn 18: Priority Haradrim. Four archers manage to get into firing positions and kill a Watcher of Karna with a lucky shot that ricochets off the ruined wall! Suladan, yelling mightily, charges at four goblins, wins on a tied roll of sixes and uses a point of might to send two sword and shield wielding goblins to their maker. The Watcher of Karna next to him takes on two goblins and slays one, swords flashing next to his King.

Turn 19: Priority Goblins. A messy melee develops. The Wild Warg Chieftain rears above the banner bearer, beyond him four goblins raise their bows and shoot at the banner. The arrows flash through the banner, tearing a hole in it and one of the arrows lodges in the Warg Chieftain - wounding the massive creature!

In it's rage, the Warg Chieftain brutally slays the banner bearer along with his companion spearman and growls revenge at the goblins, who tremble in fear - knowing that should they survive the battle, they may not survive long afterwards now.

Suladan slays another goblin, but there are no other kills this turn.

Turn 20: Priority Haradrim.
Suladan makes a run for it! With longer legs than the goblins and his other Serpent underlings fending off the faster wargs (a spearman making a lucky kill!) he decides to take matters into his own mighty hands and charges towards Durburz. 5 archers all take aim and miss, arrows clattering in the rocks all around Suladan.

The Warg Chieftain, injured now, fails to wound his opponent, a Watcher of Karna defends Suladan's back and kills a goblin.

Turn 21: Priority Goblins. 2 archers fire at Suladan, who has managed to find some cover behind towering rock outcrops. They hit, but only make a hole in his back banner. The Haradrim spearman slays the goblin that he faces and the Watcher of Karna wounds the Wild Warg Chieftain.

Turn 22: Priority Goblins. Suladan uses a point of will to yell "Stand Fast" to his few remaining troops as he charges onwards across the battlefield. 7 archers fire at the Serpent King, two more arrows puncture holes in his banner. Another goblin spearman falls. The goblins are getting closer to breaking! I'm starting to think my major victory might slip from my fingers!

Turn 23: Priority Haradrim. They are all courageous and charge valiantly at the goblins - Suladan continuing his mad sprint. 12 goblin archers take aim, 6 arrows bite home, two puncture the mighty king, leaving him limping, but still alive!

The Watcher slays another gibbering goblin, leaving three until they break.

Turn 24: Priority Haradrim. 9 archers fire at Suladan, one arrow thwacks into the Troll's shoulder! No wounds to Suladan though. The goblin archers are doubly worried now, after hitting the Warg AND the Troll.  The last of the Haradrim fall beneath the Warg Chieftain and a swarm of goblins.

The troll gets so close to Suladan that he can feel the spittle on his cheek. You can see Durburz atop the small hill, feeling slightly worried now.

The last of the Haradrim force, just the King is left now.

Turn 25: Priority Haradrim. 1 Archer hits Suladan, but no wound! Yet another hole in the banner, which is more hole than banner at this stage! Suladan is almost within striking range of Durburz, if the goblins can't stop him next turn it could be a King - vs - King battle to the death for the match! If Suladan kills another few goblins it'll go from a Major victory to a Minor victory...

Turn 26: Priority Goblins. Poor Suladan, with priority to the goblins, the Cave troll catches up with Suladan from behind, with a goblin pack swarming down from bodyguard duty to his front.

The dice are rolled...

It's close!

But not close enough... Suladan falls beneath the vicious troll and Durburz's bodyguard, while he cackles from above, taunting his enemy to his dying breath.

Three goblins away from forcing a minor victory, and after an amazing charge across the whole length of the board, Suladan added quite a bit of zest to the last half of the game! Still, the goblins were totally victorious.

My initial plan seemed to work pretty well, used the goblins for swarming, used the archers for volleying, which was way more effective than it has been in past games. The game really was hanging in the balance when his Hasharin was one turn away from breaking through the goblin lines, he could have beat Durburz pretty easily, he has done so on more than one previous occasion.

So what stopped it? The goblins just kept winning priority, over and over and OVER again, letting the troll beat up what it wanted, when it wanted, with solo goblins holding up all the other troops and keeping them separated. So probably less about skill than about lucky priority rules in the end. With only one point of might, the Hasharin was not so keen to use it in a first move when he figured he'd get priority at some stage.


Well, hard to pick a man of the match for this game. The Wild Warg Chieftain certainly rampaged across the board, the Cave Troll did a lot of killing, including the Hasharin. But in terms of sheer entertainment, Suladan's recklessly wild charge across the table was fabulous to behold and, for my money, worth a Man of the Match award!

You can picture it in movie format with dramatic music, arrows swishing through the air, cave troll hot on his heels, brave foot soldiers throwing themselves in harm's way to keep his path to the enemy king clear. Very cool stuff =)

Victory shot (just before some goblin archers were eaten by the Wild Warg Chieftain and smashed by the Cave Troll for those stray arrows during the battle).

Stay tuned for possibly a three in a row next time!


  1. Unbelievable! (Charry thinks the dice for rolling priority should be checked...)

  2. Wow! Great board, great terrain, and a great game! Thanks for sharing!

    I'd love to see a how to for your rocky outcroppings. Looks like wood of some sort...

  3. Thanks David, I'll whack a how-to guide up next time I make some more of them.

    They're just bark from a tree in the yard, it's rough on one side, but smooth on the other. I just glue the smooth sides together.

    Then it's a spray undercoat of black followed by a heavy drybrush of codex grey then a lighter drybrush of fortress grey.

    If I'm feeling really keen I add a very very light white drybrush around the edges. I'm usually too lazy for that =)

    Whole process is super quick!

  4. wow, i read most of your battle reports today and i have to say: that out of all the battle reports that ive seen (which is alot) you have some of the best. would it be ok for me to copy them onto a doc to show others and so i can look back at them later (cause you also have great terrain that i want to copy and make)

  5. No worries Anonymous, all I request is that you keep the web address of the blog on the print out =)
    Always happy to answer any specific questions too if I've missed something out.