So, as I have been promising for a month or so now, the battle reports for the scenarios in the Age of Sigmar starter set!
The Story So Far
For those of you not up to speed with the Age of Sigmar, when the Warhammer World was destroyed, Sigmar created a bunch of realms (the Mortal Worlds) where everyone lived happily. After a few thousand years, some started grumbling (Dwarfs and Orcs started to have a barney, Nagash went his own way, Elves got selfish, etc). Sigmar tells them they are not all that, and locks himself away in his own little heaven. A bit later, he has a rethink and, as Chaos takes over each of the Mortal Realms, Sigmar creates an army of Stormcast Eternals. The starter set depicts the moment they are first unleashed (this is covered in the first novella as well).
A bunch of Stormcast Eternals are transported (by lightning) to the Realm of Aqshy where an awful lot of Khorne worshippers live. The Eternals need to clear a Realmgate of enemies, from which a whole bunch more Eternals can arrive, and then the relentless march to victory can continue.
The scenarios in the starter set re-enact the big battle that took place outside that Realmgate.
Lord-Celestant Vandus Hammerhand arrives on the battlefield on a bolt of lightning and while his men all start fighting, he finds himself going toe-to-toe with Vekh the Flayer (a Bloodstoker) and a whopping great big Khorgorath.
This is a very basic scenario designed to get you into the swing of things, so don’t expect a great deal of tactical manoeuvring. As it turned out, though, it was still a bit of a laugh.
The two forces do not start very far apart and as the Chaos side goes first (they set up first), close combat happened very quickly. The Khorgorath shot its bone tentacles as it closed in, and gave Vandus a bit of a smack, resulting in two wounds. In return, Vandus walloped the Bloodstoker with his hammer, taking off two wounds. There were no Battleshock tests in this scenario, as all units had just one model a piece.
In his phase of the turn, Vandus’ Dracoth breathed on both enemies, but while the Khorgorath nimbly (?) dodged the attack, the Bloodstoker was reduced to one wound. The Dracoth then promptly ate him, while Vandus gave the Khorgorath a mild headache. The Khorgorath gets his revenge and leaves Vandus on just 4 wounds.
At this point, it became a race to the zero wound level. Chaos got the first phase of the next turn, and the Khorgorath’s attacks left Vandus on just one wound, while its armour resisted all of Vandus’ attacks.
In his phase, the Dracoth’s breath weapon missed again, but Vandus smacked the Khorgorath silly with his hammer, doing 4 wounds.
In the third turn, with Vandus on just one wound and the Khorgorath not looking much better, it all came down to who snagged the first phase. As it happened, the Khorgorath was just a bit faster, and finished off Vandus with its bone tentacles. Not quite how it happened in the novel, but Vandus was now limping off, heavily wounded (don’t worry kids, he will be back!).
The Darkening Sky
Elsewhere, the flying Prosecutors had entered the battle, and were trying to reach the Realmgate in order to open it. A bunch of crazed Bloodreavers were trying to stop them.
This battle matched three Prosecutors against two units of 10 Bloodreavers. The Prosecutors could win by either wiping out the opposition or by having at least one model on the far side of the table in one of their Hero Phases (so, they had to move there the turn before…).
The two units of Bloodreavers were separated on the battlefield and, grabbing the first phase, the Prosecutors tried to take advantage of this, flying over to one, throwing celestial hammers at them (achieved nothing) and then charging. Three Bloodreavers went down immediately and the Prosecutors took a wound.
In their phase, the second unit of Bloodreavers ran as fast as they could in order to help out their mates (or stop them stealing all the fun).. One Prosecutor had his wings pulled off by the Bloodreavers already in battle, but five were cut down by the Eternals. The rest promptly fled with a very bad Battleshock roll.
Chaos grabbed the first phase of the third turn, and charged, easily pulling the wings off another Prosecutor and wounding the last (they only start with 2 wounds each!).
The Prosecutor got another two Bloodreavers in return but they held. As his phase was the last this turn, the Prosecutor decided to try something tricksey.
He retreated and ran, heading for the table edge and banking on getting the first phase of the next turn (which would win him the game). This is what actually transpired, and the Prosecutor sighed in relief – with just one wound left, there was no guarantee he could have taken a charge from the remaining Bloodreavers…
The Eternals had almost reached the Realmgate but now had to hold it while it was activated. This job was left to the Lord-Relictor Ionus Cryptborn (of whom I have heard a rumour that he is actually Arkhan the Black – anyone know anything about this?) and three Retributors, three big, burly Eternals armed with massive hammers.
This battle took place as three waves, with the Chaos forces having three turns in each wave to cross the table and give the Eternals a smacking. Any losses for the Eternals would be carried over into the next wave while the Chaos forces would get replenished.
The first turn for Chaos was predictable – they ran as fast as they could, the Bloodreavers using their horn to outpace the rather nastier Blood Warriors.
In the first wave, the Bloodreavers managed to charge in, and got an absolute mincing from the Retributors hammers – those things cause two Mortal Wounds on a hit roll of 6, and 2 wounds on a normal strike. That first round of combat was just carnage. The Blood Warriors could not get in but, in their turn, the Retributors charged them and, though they took a wound, managed to finish the Blood Warriors off – however, the Eternals did get a new respect for the Blood Warriors’ No Respite rule, which basically means that if you kill them, they get all their attacks again, and their Gorefists, which can bounce back Mortal Wounds…
In the second wave, the Lord-Relictor began by healing the wounded Retributor while the Chaos forces ran across the battlefield again. Gaining the intiiative, the Eternals charged the Bloodreavers in the second turn, where they once again did their mincing thing. However, this time, the Bloodreavers held (though 6 ran due to Battleshock) and the Retributors took 2 wounds. When the Blood Warriors charged in, a Retributor went down to their attacks, while the remaining Blood Reavers pulled down another. All of a sudden, the Eternals position looked precarious, and there was still another wave to go…
The Lord-Relictor finished off the Blood Reavers and though the remaining Retributor finished off the Blood Warriors, he went down to their No Respite (told you it was nasty).
This meant, in the third wave, there would only be the Lord-Relictor facing an entire Chaos horde…
The frothing Chaos masses obviously put the Lord-Relictor off, as he failed to heal himself. In the second turn, despite careful manoeuvring, the Blood Warriors failed to get into battle, which suited the Lord-Relictor just fine – he much preferred to face Bloodreavers and there were enough of them that he could be completely surrounded and therefore the Blood Warriors would be unable to reach him! All he needed to do was survive…
Unfortunately, this was when the Lord-Relictor started getting very handy with his hammer and Bloodreavers started falling in droves, an average of three every combat phase. He did, however, manage to heal himself.
In the third and final turn, enough Bloodreavers had gone down that there was a clear path between the Blood Warriors and the Lord-Relictor. He sent a lightning bolt their way, nailing one, but they were then able to charge.
In the final scrum, the Lord-Relictor was reduced to just two wounds, but managed to outlast the Chaos force. They duly retreated to fight another day.
We are going to get the rest of the battles done over the next few days, and the forces involved will be getting steadily larger as the Realmgate is opened. The next fight sees a fairly big horde of Chaos fighting against a meatier Eternals force – but due to the last battle, the Eternals will be missing their Retributors which is a shame as those big hammers are nice!
Verdict Thus Far
These are just simple scenarios designed to teach you the rules, and there is way more to this game than what is included in the starter set. However, the verdict thus far… We are having fun, which is really what you are looking for in a game. The turns are flowing very quickly and, notably, there were no rules disputes/arguments/weird interpretations worth speaking of which, considering these are among our first games with Age of Sigmar, is worth mentioning.
The elephant in the room is, of course, the lack of army balancing/points system but, taken on the face of these scenarios alone, the game remains worthy of a look. We will explore further…