Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dwarves vs Goblins - Evacuate Battle Report

Hi all!
Finished uni for the year, and still have a couple of months before the new family addition (the keen eyed among you may spot various baby related paraphernalia in background shots).
That means that there's time for a game (hopefully more than one in the next few weeks).

My brother was kind enough to leave his own minis at home and take control of my goblins so that I could have a dwarf vs goblin match.

Basically the dwarves have to try and get from one side of the board to the other. Doesn't sound too hard?
Well there's a subterranean river bisecting the board. It is cold and flows very swiftly. There are two places that are safe to cross. Of course, you can always jump. Roll a die, on a 1 you've fallen into the river. With armour on this means certain death. (Rangers get to re-roll jumps.)

But wait, I hear you say, the dwarves will be halfway across the board before the goblins even get to attack? Well, the evil army starts with half of its miniatures (including the Balrog and Troll) on the opposite edge to the dwarves. The other half come in as reinforcements through three different places, a well and two trap doors. In the movement phase each reinforcement rolls, on a 4, 5 or 6 he is now "active" and can choose to enter the game in that turn, or any subsequent turn. You can bring as many goblins through a trap door or well as you can fit in base contact with it. Dwarves can block entrance by ending a turn unopposed on the trap door or well.

Major victory if the dwarves can get 50% of their forces off the board, minor if they get there with 25% strength. Game is over at 25% miniatures remaining. This is using all my dwarves, 982 points worth, and 985 points worth of evil.

Anyway, there's now been a page with no pictures, how can that be! On with the report...

Etako and Brynmor have been on a deep expedition, trying to find the mithril vein that Brynmor had located some time previously. Reluctant to go, the drunk, shovel-wielding dwarf continued to mumble what a bad idea it was. The other dwarves thought it a grand adventure, though around the camp fires at night, dark tales about how Brynmor had left home with a large force and returned alone abounded... What was it that had killed his comrades?

After months of journeying far below the surface of the desert, the dwarves are on their way back home, tired and without mithril. 

Ahead of them lay a swift running river near some old ruins. Beyond them lay the long, upward tunnel home. Suddenly a chittering sound and a booming roar of fire and something far more evil could be heard above the sound of the fast flowing water.

Brynmor could be heard to sigh behind his face-plate. He raised his shovel in salute to Etako and silently marched forward. As he did so, the dwarves could see a hellish, flaming figure flare into being over the river, small skittering forms shadowy beneath it. Etako's remaining eye bulged... Balrog. 

With a loud cry he urged his fellow dwarves forward, towards home, hoping that some of them would make it.

Turn 1 - Priority Dwarves : Both sides begin the rush for the bridge and crossing points...

The Cave troll heads towards the bridge, balrog towards the crossing.

Turn 2 - Priority Goblins.

As the dwarven army passes some decaying ruins, a sound can be heard from an old, disused well. A goblin captain and eight of his followers bound out! Appearing close to some dwarven archers, who back off and raise their bows, firing in a swift, smooth motion. Due to their surprise, most of the arrows flash off into the distance, but one shaft catches a goblin over his shield and into his evil, squinty eye - slaying him.

A small group of archers and rangers heading along towards the crossing hear an odd swishing sound, moments before two volleys from groups of 10 goblin archers come flashing down from above. Arrows thwack into the ground, bounce and ricochet from the stone, embed themselves in armour and one fatal arrow fells a brave dwarven ranger.

The balrog outstrides the goblins and nears the crossing.

Turn 3 - Priority Goblins.

Arrows fly through the air, goblin and dwarf alike. The goblin, black arrows find a single target and slay another brave ranger, the dwarven arrows are not so accurate.

Near the well, Brynmor leads a charge in amongst the goblins. It's a messy melee, with blood from both sides mingling on the ground in a short while. Brynmor's shovel cleaves a goblin in two as he sprints in, head down and swinging mightily.

Not to be outdone, the goblin captain leaps through the air, bringing his shield crashing into the side of a dwarves head, stunning him long enough for the wickedly jagged sword to slit his throat. Cackling wildly, he urges his followers to more carnage, and a sword and shield goblin teams up with a spear wielding green maniac to spit a dwarf clean through.

In return a Khazad Guard splits a goblin from head to navel with a massive overhand swing of his mighty axe and a dwarven archer swaps his bow for a hand axe, blocks a spear thrust and retaliates with an axe to the head.

Turn 4 - Priority Dwarves.

The balrog nears the river crossing, more goblins emerge from the well, the dwarves reach the bridge... Arrows fly through the air again, but no harm is caused.

Vault wardens lead the charge across the bridge, followed by Etako and the banner bearer. Dwarves with throwing weapons line the river, ready to bring down any goblins they see. The cave troll hangs back, bends down, picks up a piece of masonry off the ground and hurls the chunk of stone towards the Vault wardens. Fortunately his aim is off and the chunk splashes into the river, sending a plume of water into the air to come down on the dwarves heads.

The battle near the well goes almost entirely the way of the dwarves, even though another goblin captain emerges.

Brynmor faces off against the first captain, itching to take revenge for his slain comrade. He beats the goblin back and almost takes off a green-skinned arm, but fails to kill the evil, chuckling goblin. Two other goblins are repaid for their past misdeeds with dwarven axes in their skulls.

The Khazad guard charges towards the spear-wielding companion to the shielded goblin he killed previously and, axe raised for another mighty, cleaving blow, he trips, falls, and impales himself on the raised spear of the goblin! Those face-plates are great for protection, but lousy for peripheral vision. (That was some awesome dice rolling there.)

Turn 5 - Priority Goblins.

Again, arrows fly through the air, forty goblin arrows rain down, not one causing any injury. Six dwarven arrows also fail to cause any damage.

Taking the initiative, the balrog steps onto the crossing point and growls menacingly... you... shall... not... passssss. Dwarves rush forward to attack, two vault wardens, a Khazad Guard and an Iron Guard. A massive, taloned hand glances off armour, knocking the dwarves back. The flaming sword stabs straight through the eye-hole of a Vault Warden shield, incinerating the head of the warden.

The cave troll again stoops to the ground and hurls a massive chunk of stone at the Vault Wardens. 

The lead warden braces himself and, indeed, is hit so hard that he shifts backwards even though supported by his companion. But the sound of the impact is odd, more thunk in a squishy sort of way than in a stony sort of way. The masonry has smashed into the goblin, who ends up as a messy green sandwich between a huge chunk of stone and a solid, mithril shield.

The melee by the well continues in the dwarves favour, with only one out of nine combats going to the goblins. Even with more goblins emerging from the deep blackness, there are just too many dwarves around. Brynmor and a ranger team up against the goblin captain, the ranger feinting, and the huge shovel cleaving through chainmail and bone, sending goblin brains splattering, well, not everywhere because there's not actually much there.

An Iron Guard is surrounded by three goblins, but thrusts and spins and slashes and finds himself standing over the corpses of two dead goblins a few seconds later.

Turn 6 - Priority Dwarves.

Finally the ranger archers take out a goblin archer, stopping one of the volleying groups. Several dwarves leap across the river, one falls short of the far bank, and even though his comrades reach back to try and help him, his armour drags him under the swift waters and he is not seen again.

Gratuitous balrog shot...

The Iron Guard that lived through the last balrog assault is too fearful to attack again, and stands frozen in place. Others rush past him and the balrog faces more doughty dwarves. Unfazed, the massive creature bellows again and lashes out with claw and sword, slaying the other Vault shield and a Khazad Guard, smashing through the mithril as though it wasn't even there.

Meanwhile, at the bridge, the troll hurls another chunk of masonry at the dwarves and hits a shield. Fortunately the dwarf had angled it and the stone ricocheted off into the water. Just missing a group of dwarves who were jumping across! The vault spear stabbed forward simultaneously and spitted a goblin while it was ducking the troll's thrown stone.

An Iron Guard no sooner lands on the far bank then he is set upon by some gibbering goblins. Losing his footing he is knocked back by a shield to the face from a goblin and is stabbed by a spear as he falls backwards into the water, turning the river red for a moment.

The melee by the well continues to be hectic and a jumble of dwarf and goblin fighters, but again the combat goes the way of the dwarves, with another five goblins falling dead.

Turn 7 - Priority Goblins.

Although arrows fly through the air and axes are hurled across the river, only one goblin is killed to projectiles and no dwarves.

More dwarves risk jumping the rushing waters in an effort to reach safety, while goblins begin to line the shores to deny them access.

Even the massive stone hurled by the troll misses and flashes over the heads of the dwarves (and goblins). The  wardens kill yet another goblin as they slowly advance further across the bridge. Another Iron Guard is almost forced into the water, but manages to deflect the blades of the goblins and keep his footing.

Over near the other crossing, the Iron Guard is still shaken by his ordeal and fails to charge the balrog, just standing in place and whimpering. His colleagues rush forward and though some are too scared to advance, a bold Khazad Guard urges a group forward, raises his mighty axe and strikes! The massive axe-head carves a line in the balrog's shin, black blood tinged with sulfur and flame gushes from the wound. (As I'm whooping and carrying on over how awesome my dwarves are, my brother just says: yup, one wound down, nine to go, how many dwarves has it killed now? Killjoy.)

The battle by the well continues to rage, though without additional reinforcements, the goblins are starting to die off. The previously lucky Iron Guard is slain by the spearman that was left alive after his two companions were killed. Another two goblins are felled, one by Brynmor with a disdainful shovel to the face, one by a Vault Warden spear.

Turn 8: Priority Goblin.

In a bizarre archery round...
The four dwarven archers shoot accurately enough to fell three goblin archers! At the same time the volley from the goblins falls down around the dwarves battling the balrog. One of the arrows swishes up through the air, then down, down THWACK right in the balrog's back, wounding it! (Three sixes in a row.) The arrow is lodged right between the shoulder blades in that impossible to reach spot that often gets itchy.

The balrog, roaring in pain, charges forward... it bites the head clean off one dwarf, steps on another, crushing him beneath taloned feet, then with both hands picks up and tears apart another dwarf.

Two dwarves, eager to cross the river, misplace their footing, fall into the river and drown! Dwarves that didn't jump threw axes across the fast-flowing water and two goblins drop dead with axes splitting their skulls. One ranger makes it to the other side, only to find a goblin spear where he wanted his chest to be, and falls back dead into the water. 

The troll hurls another stone, but misses again, while the vault wardens kill yet another goblin. The goblin king fends off one dwarf, while an Iron guard slays a goblin that tried to push him back into the water.

Back at the well, it's mopping up time... In an epic struggle between Brynmor and the last goblin captain, both used every trick at their disposal and all of their might, but in the end, surrounded, the goblin captain died beneath dwarven steel and mithril.

Eight dwarves fell in turn 8, one more turn like that and say goodbye to victory, however, the goblins were also close to breaking, and you know what that means with their low, low courage...

Turn 9 - Priority... tie on 1s... Dwarves.

After the previous turn archery success, this turn was back to normal for the dwarves, but the goblins retaliated, slaying two of the dwarves that had been so accurate last turn! The other dwarves all ran from the balrog, save one brave soul who pledged to give them a chance to escape.

It ended predictably for him...

And that hazy bridge in the background...

The cave troll misses again with his rock and the vault wardens are almost the whole way across the bridge, slaying yet another goblin on the way. The goblin king leaps into the fray and pushes back three dwarves. The last goblin at the well is slain, as are two of the dwarves that had made it across the river.

Turn 10 - Priority Goblins.

With so many dead and dying goblins sending up wails of pain and suffering, 18 goblins turn tail and run. Durburz uses all of his will to keep those around him from running, but the damage is done.

The Cave Troll smashes forward into melee, just as the dwarves start believing victory is theirs. Massive club swinging, he smashes a Vault warden and an Iron Guard to the ground. But it is too late, Durburz admits defeat and calls the remnant goblins back to slink through trapdoors and narrow passageways to fight another day. The balrog, deathlust slaked for the time being, also fades into the deep tunnels to find a stalagtite to scratch that itch in the back of its shoulderblades.

Victory for the dwarves! But at what cost? They return home with half of their comrades dead and no mithril to boot.

The remaining evil army:

The returning good army:

Thanks heaps to my brother, who has never played using the goblins before, so it was a little unfair to begin with, but I don't mind hehe =)

My favorite moments were the troll and balrog friendly fire incidents. Big laughs for them. Also the occasional drowning dwarf was quite amusing, though tragic, of course. Dwarf of the match either goes to Brynmor for kills or the vault wardens on the bridge who slowly, but surely pushed their way across. Dud of the match goes to the Iron Guard who spent about four turns too scared to attack the balrog.

And my brother's thoughts:

A couple things stood out for me in the game. I quite liked watching the dwarves 
sink in the depths of the river when they tried to jump over - and lining my 
guys up on the river bank to make the crossing harder, or fighting dwarves who 
had no where to fall back to, was great :) 

I wasn't so sure what to do with the troll, when faced with the giant shields on 
the bridge. My idea to hold them in position with a goblin, while tossing rocks, 
could have worked out great. In fact, the first rock I threw appeared to kill 
one of the shields, only for my brother to remind me that I had to roll to see 
if the goblin got hit... and the goblin got hit. The rock throwing didn't work 
out, and I probably should have risked just throwing the Troll into a melee, 
which seemed to work well at the very end of the game. However, the tactic did 
manage to block up the bridge, and hold forces there for the entire game!

My man of the match - or rather, goblin of the match - was the goblin archer who 
not only managed to hit the Balrog in the back - but managed to wound him as 
well! I'm sure that thought inspired him to flee the battle when courage tests 
came up :)

Good fun game, hope to get another one in soon!


  1. Great write up! Some of those bridge, and balrog, photos came out great! Love the masks on those dwarven helmets!

  2. I would have to agree, great write up! Although you can see the victor wrote the history... "but one shaft catches a goblin over his shield and into his evil, squinty eye - slaying him" followed immediately by "and one fatal arrow fells a brave dwarven ranger". LOL

  3. Amazing battle script. I especially love the terrain and painting. Could you offer tutorials of terrain and painting please? I have quite a large army and just finished basing a terrain board but have no idea how to create buildings.

  4. Hi Misha, all my WIP/tutorials are on this blog, the board is extensively covered starting back in March.
    The tall rocks are just bark from a tree sprayed black, then drybrushed codex grey then fortress grey on top of that.
    Most of the other scenery is my brothers, he has details on his blog: http://paulslotrminis.blogspot.com/
    The buildings are bought already pre-painted =) I think the company and stuff are on his blog somewhere.
    Thanks for the nice comments =)
    You might also want to try:
    TLA: http://www.terrainguild.com/thelastalliance/index.php
    OR: http://www.one-ring.co.uk/

  5. HOLY CRAP! You've done a pretty good job on that Balrog mate! ive got a galadhrim army

  6. Nice write up. Great pictures and painted models.

  7. I think that Dwarf of the match goes to the vault wardens on the bridge who were so immoveable the whole game!