On the spur of the moment, we both realised we were free today so, not having had a game last week, we decided to have a whack at it, both having 982 point armies now =)
We went for Domination! Four objectives to hold...
The ruins with the Harad encampment in the North East, a well in the South East, ruins with a Dwarf encampment in the South West and supply crates slightly to the North West of center.
The Harad army...
A mighty War Mumak with gnarled hide, a bad attitude, rappelling lines and a good supply of large stones. There are six Watchers of Karna, a good supply of bowmen, spearmen, a couple of raiders, Suladan on horseback, The Betrayer on horseback and an evil Hasharin. 30 models in all.
Not a lot to say for this one, my strategy is pretty simple: infantry try to hold an objective, cavalry try to hold an objective, watchers hold another, and the Mumak holds the last one. My plan is to defend with everyone except the Mumak, who will stomp around the board squashing my enemies!
The Dwarven army...
All of my guys. 24 warriors, 24 rangers, 6 Iron Guard, 6 Khazad Guard, Etako Ironfist, Brynmor Deepminer, 5 Vault Wardens and another banner bearer. 73 all together.
My plan was to split into two groups, leave some defenders in my base and sweep forward, letting my numbers win the scenario rules. The archers would concentrate on the Mumak crew. Simple huh =)
Turn 1. Marching forward. Etako leads the rangers and most Vault Wardens towards the well. Brynmor leads the warriors towards the crates.
The Mumak looks as though it is heading towards the well. Etako tells his men to advance towards the well, they grumble, but the bigger they are, the harder they fall.
Turn 2. Priority Haradrim.
The Mumak lines itself up and charges forward between the lava pools.
To put itself in firing range of the stoic dwarves... The evil men's bows twang and arrows arc out, some splashing with a sizzling hiss into the lava, but one bringing the first casualty of the battle in the form of a lightly armoured (for a dwarf) ranger.
The dwarves, incensed by the unjust archery take aim themselves and fire back, arrowtips glowing in the red light. Although the targets are hard to see among the swaying howdah, one arrow flies true, skimming past the others that lodge harmlessly in the wood and cloth to find flesh...
And in the last bit of excitement for the turn, the dwarven warrior archers let fly at an exposed Betrayer, some incredible rolling, but only the horse (we think it's name was Binky - thank you Terry Pratchett) suffers, a lucky escape for the Nazgul.
Turn 3. Priority Dwarf.
The evil ringwraith focuses on an archer dwarf who hears hissing voices enticing him forward. Not hearing his mates yelling at him, he stumbles forward in a daze all by himself. Suladan then spurs his horse forward and charges right at the hapless archer! The dwarf's head clears just in time for him to see the ruler of the Haradrim bearing down on him, just in time to attempt a defence... just in time to die to Suladan's flashing blades.
Meanwhile another ranger falls to Mumak firing platform archery and, retaliating for their comrade, seven dwarf warrior archers kill another horse.
Etako leads his men up the hill towards the well, they desire revenge, but he keeps them on task, the mission is more important than individuals. Brynmor leads his group towards his objective. The Hasharin leaves the safety of his base camp and heads towards battle and glory.
Turn 4 - Priority Haradrim.
The Betrayer continues his evil magics, Brynmor is surrounded by loyal guardsmen, who are not afraid of anything. The Nazgul focuses his dark powers into a dart of pure, black evil and sends it flying, spearing a heavily armoured Khazad Guard through the heart. All the nearby dwarves hear a sibilant hissing "fear me now, dwarvessss".
Suladan leads his remaining horsemen on a charge into the archers and leading dwarves. Mercilessly he slays three of the archers himself! One horseman is brought down by a horde of dwarves.
Rangers take fly with arrows and throwing axes, but the thick hide of the Mumak absorbs the axes without even noticing them and the howdah intercepts all of the arrows. In return, massive rocks are thrown from above, crushing two rangers, an archer and an axeman. The beast is bearing down towards the dwarf-held ruins.
At the end of the turn it is pretty clear who is going where...
Shortly after the photo was taken, the Hasharin realised he hadn't moved so made a quick sprint forward, not wanting to miss any of the action!
Turn 5 - Priority Haradrim.
Yikes, what a turn for the Haradrim to get priority! We decide that the lava can be walked between by the Mumak, so long as the majority of the body is on solid ground, only a tiny part of the base was really over the lava pit. Unfortunately for me, that means it's trample time!
The remaining 6 dwarven ranger archers are trampled beneath the huge feet of the Mumak, trunk and tusks swinging bloodily through their wrecked bodies. To add insult to injury, rocks are thrown to the side, killing some of the rangers that dared to throw axes the turn before. To add injury to injury, massive rocks are thrown from on high and due to three sixes being rolled, the Vault Warden is crushed beneath his own shield! The only ray of sunshine here is that his funeral cairn is already in place.
7 throwing axes crash into the Mumak's thick skin, and two manage to find sensitive locations. In the tendon's of the thick legs. The chieftain atop the great beast manages to keep it under control, stopping it from stampeding.
Suladan and his horsemen charge into more dwarves, knocking them to the ground and causing further casualties. One horseman is brought down, but more dwarves are killed too, even worse, it's archers. Too late I realise that I've gone against my original plan, my archers are needed to kill the guys on top of the Mumak and instead I've let them be trampled to death by Suladan's horse and the Mumak itself! Oops!
Turn 6 - Priority Dwarves.
4 Watchers of Karna rappel down to the ground near the dwarven ruins. One of the black-clad men falls to a throwing axe from one of the defending rangers. Rocks from above smash into the ruined walls, knocking bricks free, but missing the defending dwarves.
The warrior archers, seeing their colleagues crushed, hearing their screams ringing in their ears, take aim and fire high, high into the air, the chieftain far atop the Mumak screams in pain and surprise as an arrow lodges in his shoulderblade. Not a fatal wound, but enough for him to call curses down upon the few remaining archers. He urges the mighty beast around and heads towards Brynmor's beleaguered army and the last remaining archers.
Suladan calls a Heroic Fight and darts across the battlefield, slaying two more dwarves. The Hasharin finally enters the fray and slides up next to a 2-handed dwarf, dodging the massive swing by a hair's breadth and slitting his throat. (Quite dramatic actually, we tied on the first roll, both re-rolled for our banners, tied on the second roll too! Hasharin's better fighting skill won out in the end!)
One more horseman falls to dwarven steel and skill, but at great cost. Laughing at the pitiful, shorties, the Nazgul concentrates again, hisses, and slays another dwarf with an evil dart of pure blackness.
As you can see, a ray of sunshine broke through the cloudy skies and lit up... well... the empty part of the board, but it was still dramatic. Etako's band heads towards the lightly defended Haradrim ruins, leaving some Vault Wardens behind to guard the well.
Turn 7 - Priority Haradrim.
The unexpected sunlight kinda ruined some of the photos on a busy turn!
The raiding watchers of Karna are brought down by a combination of throwing axes and clever spearwork. The dwarves are avenged against the rock-throwers!
Another watcher meets his fate near the lava pits, two rangers combining attacks, camouflage cloaks helping them confuse the evil man.
The Betrayer again uses a Black Dart to slay a dwarf, Suladan calls another Heroic Fight, uses his last might and kills an archer then spurs on towards the dwarven banner bearer, slaying him mercilessly!
The Hasharin sets his eyes on the leader of the dwarves and leaps at Brynmor! Only to be met with a loud *clang* as a shovel meets him flat in the face, stunning him. The evil, black clad, black hearted man sees cute little yellow birdies before his eyes - a fate worse than death! Except that he's wrong. Seconds later he finds out that death is worse after all.
Turn 8 - Priority Dwarves.
The Harad Chieftain manages to urge the Mumak through a narrow gap between ruined walls and lava to trample the last surviving archer. Throwing axes bounce off the tough hide of the beast. Rocks are thrown to kill another ranger. Suladan, worried a little by the proximity of the great beast, holds his own against two dwarves. The Betrayer is assaulted by three dwarves (three others failed their terror rolls and stood cowering, with hissing voices in their heads) and is hit twice by axes, but fate is with him and he lives. If you can call his black existence living.
Turn 9 - Priority Haradrim.
Suladan reigns in his terrified horse and charges at the rangers that had killed the Watcher near the lava. His horse barrels into them and knocks them into the lava. Suladan laughs lustily at the screams of the dying dwarves as they sink and burn, pleading for his help at the last.
The Mumak tramples forward! 3 dwarves with shields, 2 Khazad Guard and Brynmor are beneath it's feet. The hero holds his ground, taking a nasty gash from each tusk, but fate is on his side and neither prove fatal. His brave stand halts the Mumak in its massive, gore filled, dwarf stomped tracks.
The Betrayer turns and attempts to transfix the mighty hero, focussing his black gaze... Brynmor meets the gaze with his impregnable mask and stares the Ringwraith down! Returning his attention to the Mumak, Brynmor swings Lemya, the mithril imbued hammer smashes hard into the legs of the massive beast, causing it further wounds. The wounded chieftain again manages to calm the beast, keeping it under control.
The Betrayer, in his anger at being thwarted by Brynmor turns his sword towards an Iron Guard and dwarf with a shield and the furious, black anger is too much for the doughty dwarves, the Iron Guard falling beneath the fell blade.
At the top of the battle, Etako's force is almost at the walls of the Haradrim ruins, but the trampling of so many dwarves has broken the force. From now on a 1 or 2 at the end of the turn will be the end of the game.
The die is rolled... if it's a 1 or 2 the dwarves get a minor victory, holding three of the objectives! The die comes up with a 5. The battle continues!
Turn 10 - Priority Haradrim.
The Betrayer moves out of the Mumak's way, turns, then launches a black dart at Brynmor, who stiffens in pain, grievously wounded. Shortly thereafter, while twisted in pain, the Mumak crushes him and a fellow two dwarves beneath it. The death of Brynmor causes four dwarves to flee the battle, the hissing voice of The Betrayer echoing in their ears.
There are now more Haradrim at the objective than dwarves!
Suladan charges the dwarven ruins and kills the ranger guarding the entrance. The remaining few defenders wonder if they will be able to stop the seemingly unstoppable Serpent King.
Etako's dwarves are finally at the ruins, another turn will see them swamp the defenders and take another objective!
End of turn... a 2 is rolled. The game is over... models are counted. It's a draw!
What a battle!
Here are my brother's closing remarks...
That was a fun match! Lots of squashing beneath giant Mumak feet! I think I would have moved the Mumak around a bit differently if I had thought through the start of the game, I headed him ‘left’ from where he started, with the idea that his tough shield defenders could be squashed by the Mumak – as my regular guys would have little hope of doing so. Then I realised my Mumak was surrounded by lava! One stampede, and my enemy could simply march the giant elephant into the lava pits and destroy it! It also made it hard to navigate the Mumak, as you turn it then march it forwards in a straight line, so avoiding the pits was difficult.
My second change of plan would possibly be that instead of dropping off the Watchers at the opposing base area, I should have just stomped through the walls and squashed his defenders, and then dropped off the watchers to hold the area. I keep forgetting that against his axe throwers, my watchers tend to drop very quickly – if he gets priority, as they have quite low defence.
My third mistake was that I put all my heroes at the front of my cavalry formation and charged off across the map, without thinking that my Betrayer is best behind others, casting spells from a distance. In the first volley against him, his horse went down, and I was simply lucky that the one-wound Betrayer wasn’t slain as well! Next time he’ll be behind rather than out the front :)
I’ve got to say though, I really enjoyed stomping on all those dwarves! Once the Mumak gets going, it’s hard to stop!
Wow, what a great game! I thought I was going to win for sure, then the Mumak started trampling people. Then I thought "I've still got more than enough dwarves to hold the objectives." Then I was broken. Then Etako STILL wasn't at the top objective yet. Wow, back and forth like crazy!
I was kicking myself afterwards for being less than tactically sound with my archers. Even though I *knew* that I should make sure they were reserved for Mumak-riding killing duty, I kept on getting distracted by other targets.
I love battles with the Mumak, every time I wounded it (not often), I was ready to make it stampede into a lava pit or off the board, but the Chieftain was holding a tight leash today! Instead it just squashed my already short dwarves into even shorter dwarves! Terrifying but still fun =)
Some people say that the 12cm (we use metric) walking distance of the dwarves doesn't mean that much compared to the longer human strides. Well, Etako would beg to differ, his entire force took the whole game to march from one corner to the other and just couldn't get there in time!
If I'd run from the Mumak a little more instead of standing to fight I wouldn't have broken so early and Etako would have made it, but that's not how dwarves work!
Great fun with a big army. Relatively quick too, 10 turns! I like scenarios with victory conditions that aren't just "fight to the last man" sometimes.
The Mumak might not always pay off, but when it does - great fun!
Anyway, hope you enjoyed reading as much as we enjoyed playing, sorry for the briefer than usual write-up too, but pretty whacked tired today.
End of game shot: