A Tale of Felix & Gotrek

Something I penned a little while ago…

 

 

A wickedly barbed arrow hissed through the air as it ripped straight through Felix’s faded red cloak. Cursing out loud, he ducked another missile shot by the Goblin bowman just a few yards down the dark corridor.  He glanced over to his companion and saw that the bright red-crested Trollslayer was in the thick of combat, his huge axe rising and falling amongst the horde of greenskins that threatened to overwhelm them both.  An arrow had dug its way into Gotrek’s right arm and though blood flowed freely from the wound, the powerfully built Dwarf seemed not to notice.  His axe never slowed as Goblins fell to the floor screaming, clutching stumps of limbs or trying to hold various parts of their bodies together.  Behind the two adventure seekers, the wet flagstones of the corridor were littered with Goblin dead and dying as they pushed forward, intent on reaching the heart of the Goblin’s stronghold, now just a hundred yards ahead, Felix was sure.

A wild-eyed Goblin, taunting Felix in its guttural language, stabbed forward with its crude and rusting scimitar.  The runes on Felix’s sword glowed brightly as he felt his sword snake forward almost under its own will to casually nudge the scimitar safely to one side, before Felix gathered his strength and leaned forward on the blade, pushing his weapon into the heart of the Goblin warrior.  Another arrow aimed at him caused him to flinch as it shot past his ear.  He felt the force of air of the arrow and he fixed his stare on the Goblin armed with the bow.   It was laughing maniacally at him.  Felix had been through too many scrapes with death and disaster to end up spitted on a badly made greenskin arrow.  Hefting his sword he swung it in a wide arc that felled another Goblin as he started his march to the bowman.

Gotrek was enjoying himself.  Bleeding from a dozen small wounds and sword cuts, he never slowed in his steady advance along the corridor.  This was no challenge for someone seeking a glorious death, but surely somewhere in the Goblin stronghold he would find a worthy foe.  Live or die, Gotrek would be remembered for his purging of the greenskins today.  He barked a short laugh as another Goblin stepped in front of him, nervously holding out a club and preparing to strike.  Gotrek flexed his great muscles and swung his axe down, cleaving the trembling Goblin almost in two.  Taking another step forward he prepared for his next victim, not noticing as his foot fell in a growing puddle of noisome Goblin blood, congealing from his many victories in this fight.  He gave a cry, not of fear but annoyance as he fell heavily on the floor.  Almost immediately the Goblins were upon him.  From somewhere far off he heard the manling cry out his name before he felt innumerable stabs from Goblin knives and swords.  He axe was torn from his mighty grasp as he tried to throttle his nearest assailant, but the sheer weight of all the Goblins pressing around him bore him down.

‘No!’  Gotrek shouted the word, deafening the nearest Goblin whose face was being pressed on top of the Dwarf’s by the weight of its foul behind it, all eager for their part in the kill.  By Grungni, all the Ancestors and the foundations of Karak-Kadrin, I will not die here, Gotrek thought.  This was not a glorious death, this was ignominy, brought about by the blind forces of chance.  There was no way he was going to die here, not if he had anything to say about it.

The Trollslayer gathered his energies and focussed on his muscles, ignoring his protesting wounds as he first arched his back and then forced himself up on to his knees.  His left hand shot forward and grabbed a Goblin’s neck.  After a quick twist, the Goblin fell lifeless to the floor. Inch by inch, Gotrek fought off the massed press of Goblins as he raised himself to his feet.  With a huge bellow that shocked the greenskins into a split section of inaction, Gotrek concentrated all his anger, all his pain into just one thing.  The death of his enemies. The need to kill.

The smarter Goblins turned and started to flee when they saw the pure blood lust in the Dwarf’s crazed eyes.  The braver or slower-witted ones recovered from their shock and readied their weapons to fight the unarmed Dwarf.  One gave a cry and charged forward with his spear, but Gotrek grabbed the shaft as it was thrust forward and pulled.  The Goblin, already unbalanced by his momentum, rocketed forward until it was stopped dead by the Dwarf’s fist.  Even over the sounds of combat, everyone in the corridor heard the crunch of bones as the Goblin’s skull was shattered by the hammer-blow.  A sword dug deep into Gotrek’s arm but under the influence of his battle rage, the Dwarf barely noticed the wound as he sprung upon the Goblin and pounded his huge piston-like fists into the unfortunate greenskin’s head, chest and body.  The other Goblins gave each other uncertain glances, then began to back away from the enraged Trollslayer, chattering hurriedly amongst themselves.  Gotrek neither knew nor cared what they were saying as he rushed forward again to seize another Goblin with his bare hands.

Felix was limping now as he approached the bowman.  An unseen Goblin spear had cut a deep furrow in his thigh and though the owner of the weapon had fallen beneath Felix’s rune-covered blade, he was in some not inconsiderable pain.  He took consolation that Gotrek was now back into the fight, as he had been sure he would fall next when he saw the Dwarf disappear under a veritable mountain of greenskins.  He should have known better, he thought ruefully.  He and Gotrek had been through too much in their chequered pasts to die in a place like this.  It would be within the heart of this stronghold where their fates would be decided, one way or the other.

The Goblin readied his bow once more, but Felix was very close now and the Goblin could do little more than stare at the runes on the human’s blade that glowed with a mighty sorcerous energy.  He fumbled with his weapon and the arrow he was preparing to skewer Felix with dropped from trembling fingers to clatter on the flagstones at its feet.  With a final look into Felix’s angry eyes, the Goblin turned and fled back down the corridor.  Felix snarled as he started to give chase and immediately wished he had not tried to run as pain shot up from his thigh.  With a glance over to his companion, he saw that Gotrek had driven off his own enemies and was now pounding a Goblin senseless into the floor with his hands.  Limping over, Felix picked up Gotrek’s axe from under a Goblin body.  As soon as the Trollslayer had worked off this bout of battle rage, they would be ready to continue.  Continue to the heart of the stronghold and the prisoner they sought.

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Siege!

As part of our ongoing Warhammer Fantasy (8e) campaign, we played a siege game this weekend. Alan, Amy and Ed would be fielding a combined Vampire Counts, Skaven and Chaos Warrior force inside the castle, while myself, James and Andy would be assaulting with a combined Wood and High Elf army.

For the rules, we used the siege mechanics from the Blood in the Badlands campaign book (worth picking up, incidentally, if you see one on eBay).

The besieged forces sets up first, with a few pre-games shenanigans taking place. The Elves had elected to engage in a rapid assault which meant less starvation inside the castle but life would be more difficult for their reinforcements. Two walls had been made distinctly less stable by elven undermining, while pre-battle artillery caused the deaths of a handful of Wood Elves and Dryads.

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The basic plan for the elves was to have Dryads, Treekin and Treemen lead a frontal assault on the walls and gates while Wood Elf archers kept the heads of the defenders down. Units of Sea Guard would occupy the defenders on the flanking walls while flying units (Dragon Mage, Frostheart Phoenix and High Elf Prince on Griffon) would cause trouble in the courtyard.

Simples!

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Victory would be decided in one of two ways. The defenders would gain an automatic victory if their reinforcements could enter the castle by the gates. The attackers would gain victory by taking three objectives inside the castle (on the towers) or, if they only had two, by causing more casualties. Anything else was a win for the defenders.

 

Turn One

During the first turn, the Frostheart Phoenix grabbed a few skeletons from off the left hand wall, while Rat Ogres placed in a tower were pelted by arrow fire from the Sea Guard – this successfully killed all the Packmasters in the unit who had decided to peek over the battlements to see what was going on. Wood Elf Waywatchers managed to nobble a Necromancer who also leaned out too far.

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Meanwhile, the treefolk started their advance as Wood Elf archery, assisted by Flaming Standards, started to whittle down the defenders.

Return fire form the castle saw various globules of plague and poison arc high into the air from various Skaven war machines, but the high point was a Doom Rocket fired at a unit of Glade Guard whose casualties forced them to flee the field of battle. It should be noted that the gate section of the castle, containing Warlock Engineers and Clanrats was bombarded by one of their own Poison Wind Mortars…

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Turn Two

Orion and the Treekin both assaulted the gates and front wall respectively, and carried the day, sweeping zombies and rats from the battlements. An Elven banner now flew from the gate section! The Clan Rats had very few options with where to flee and ended up outside the walls on the flank – an interesting image of a horde of rats pouring off the walls! Dryads tried the same on the tower containing Chaos Warriors and, predictably, got spanked for their efforts.

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Meanwhile, the High Elf flying detachment cleared the walls in a single swoop and landed in the courtyard, ready to cause trouble in the next turn.

The defenders had lost the front sections of the castle, but were still strong elsewhere, and now a Chaos Lord on his Dragon, accompanied by a Chimera, were now flying over the battlefield, looking for choice Elven units to descend upon.

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In their turn, the defenders inside the courtyard utterly mobbed the Phoenix, which now found itself in combat with a massive horde of Zombies and a Hellcannon which had failed to control itself!

 

Turn Three

The Vampire Counts lead Necromancer had decided that being on the walls while Wood Elf Waywatchers were about was not conducive to a long and healthy life, and dropped down into the courtyard. The Dragon Mage watched him dive into the Garden of Morr inside, but his path was blocked by the Mortis Engine. Summoning his courage (I never like getting this model into combat!), he charged and tore the war machine apart.

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Outside, seeing the assault was beginning to lose momentum, the Wood Elf Archers started to advance, ready to back up the attack if weight of numbers was needed. Meanwhile, the Chaos Lord charged the Treeman in front of him as the High Elf Archmage used Walk Between Worlds to send Dryads straight into the courtyard.

The Treeman lasted for two rounds of combat, but its end was fairly inevitable. Meanwhile, the Chimera had flown behind the Archer line and was now threatening their rear. The other Archer unit turned to fire upon it, reducing it to one wound but the Archmage, having seen how the wind was blowing, had already left the Archer unit he was hiding in to, umm, oversee the assault in finer detail. Yes, that was it. Overseeing. Definitely not getting out of Dodge before the Chimera crashed into the rear of that unit.

With a lack of targets, the Dragonmage grabbed a few Skeletons from a wall, while the Prince on the Griffon charged into the second Hellcannon with his Star Lance, seriously damaging it. The Phoenix continued to hold against the horde it was fighting, damaging the Hellcannon it faced in the process.

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Turn Four

While the front walls were held by the attackers and, frankly, carnage was taking place inside the courtyard, the towers holding the objectives were no closer to falling. The Frostheart Phoenix continued to hold against the mob attacking it, while the Chaos Lord on the Dragon turned around and attacked Orion in a confrontation that would continue to the end of the battle.

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The Dragonmage had watched the High Necromancer scuttle into one of the crypts in the Garden of Morr – just what he had been waiting for. Summoning every scrap of magic he could find, the Dragonmage hurled a massive fireball into the crypt (counts as a building, so re-rolling failed wounds) and incinerated the evil wizard. All the other Necromancers had, by this time, fallen, so the Undead part of the evil alliance were now literally crumbling.

However, the Dragonmage’s elation was short-lived. A unit of Ghouls had left their tower and now charged him in the rear, slaying his dragon. The Mage managed to get away, but the Ghouls were hot on his trail and there were not too many places to run inside the courtyard…

Outside, the Chimera was finally brought down by arrow fire and the once-fleeing Clan Rats reorganised themselves as they were charged by the Sea Guard.

Finally, there was a low cry of elation (along with some excited squeaking) as the defender’s reinforcements arrived – a unit of Hexknights and Chaos Warhounds. If they could just get into the gates (and they had the movement to do it), victory would go to the defenders straight away. However, first Orion had to be knocked off the gate section…

 

Turn Five

Orion took the opportunity during a lull in his battle with the Chaos Lord to throw his spear – it was an accurate throw that saw the Chaos Lord skewered and plummet from his mount. The Dragon was somewhat upset by this and went into a frenzy, giving Orion everything he could handle.

The High Elf Archmage unleashed a Fiery Convocation on the Stormvermin holding the tower (they had swapped positions with the massively battered Chaos Warriors) but despite killing a couple of dozen rats, he knew it was too little and too late.

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The reinforcements were, at least, taken care of. The Chaos Warhounds were shot to pieces by Wood Elf archery while the magical attacks of the Dryads quickly put paid to the Hexknights.

However, as the sun began to set on the battlefield, it was clear the castle was not going to fall. Both sides had suffered greatly (in fact, I have a feeling the Skaven Warlord was the only surviving General!), but the three towers remained in the hands of the defenders. Granted, one set of those hands belonged to Rat Ogres suffering from Stupidity, another set were Skeletons that were literally falling part, and the third were a bunch of Skaven who frankly could not be trusted, but they were held all the same!

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A good battle, and it is always nice to pull the castle out now and again. Now I just have to build that Chaos Dreadhold to make for a ‘proper’ evil castle!

 

Flocks of Disruption

As recent posts here will have shown, I am far into Age of Sigmar at the moment (Sylvaneth force going together right now!), but we are still in the latter stages of a Fantasy Battle campaign and a new campaign will be starting soon.

I have  yet to decide whether to do HIgh Elves or Dark Elves in the new campaign… but just in case it is Dark Elves, I thought the odd reinforcement here and there might not go amiss. I don’t want to spend too much time or energy here, as I really want to concentrate on Age of Sigmar at the moment, but the odd unit here and there won’t hurt and will get me away from my current 2,000 point mono-build force.

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Being elves, Dark Elves tend to have very expensive units, so when a bunch of Harpies popped up on eBay, I swooped in – the idea of a chaff/cheap disruption unit for an elf force is quite novel for me.

I had originally intended to go for a block of ten, but twenty were going cheap on eBay, so I went for all of them and was trying to decide whether to have a block of twenty or two blocks of ten. Then I had an epiphany.

That is completely the wrong way to go with Harpies. Twenty of them comes to 300 points, which is quite an investment, especially for a unit that has no armour, is Toughness 3 and cannot benefit from ranks. So, I decided to go the other way – have multiple blocks of five.

This makes them far easier to fit into an army (I imagine I will typically go for one or two units which, at 75 points a throw, is easy to slip in) and won’t cause too much concern if (when) they get annihilated. This will allow them to be used as true spoiler units. Most enemies are not going to be too worried about them, but they are decent enough to add a Flanking bonus in an existing combat (and mobile enough to get there), can disrupt formations trying to march, and remain potent enough to cause trouble to any lone war machine or wizard.

However, they can be taken further…

If a wizard is buried in a unit, they will have the ability to sweep in, charge the entire unit but concentrate two Harpies on that wizard – together, they will have a decent enough chance to take him out (Initiative 5 means they will likely be striking first against, well, everything but elves) and even if they don’t and just get hammered by the rest of the enemy, all I lose is 75 points. Maybe they just knock one wound off the wizard – fine, next turn the second wave gets in.

Perhaps they get lucky and do not break after the first round of combat. In that case, a 75 point unit is holding up something likely far more costly. If it is a war machine they have charged, they are stopping it firing for at least a turn, even if they are finally beaten back.

Those are the plans, anyway. My Dark Elves need something to divert the enemy away from the heavy hitters in the force, and these guys are going to be at least part of the answer…

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Age of Sigmar Meets Island of Blood

A short while ago, Games Workshop sent retailers a set of War Scrolls they could give to their customers, allowing them to use the models from the Island of Blood starter set with Age of Sigmar. I think they are now part of the Age of Sigmar app but, if you missed them, you can grab the file here – Island of Blood

Anyway, they looked like a couple of nicely contained forces so I arranged a lunch time battle in the office with Skaven player Amy. I had read the Island of Blood novella, so we figured the rats had landed on the secret island, and were headed towards the Big Mystical Gem, when they encountered a force of High Elves blocking their route. This seemed like a good excuse to use the Breakthrough scenario in the Age of Sigmar hardback.

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Amy set up her rats first, nicely clumped together in the centre of her deployment zone, obviously intending to use them as a battering ram. Things went less well for the High Elves, as they had a random deployment rule which ended up with their forces on the flanks – and just the wizard standing in the middle to face off against the whole Skaven army!

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You can just see the wizard in this photo, doing his best to hide in the trees, as close to a flank (and some friends) as he could get!

 

Turn One

Amy chose to take the first turn, with her Warlord encouraging his rats to run as fast as they could, slipping through the massive hole in the High Elf line. The war machine supporting them went at a slower rate, and the Plague Mortar lobbed a shell up high, missing the Swordmasters by a fraction.

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For their part, the High Elves tried to close in to plug the gap as quickly as possible – at this point it felt rather like the Skaven had been advancing in a column and the High Elves had just launched an ambush. All part of the narrative, as they say.

The High Elf Lord exhorted his troops forward (re-roll charge ranges), but both the Swordmasters and Sea Guard both failed their charges against the Rat Ogres and first lot of Clan Rats respectively. Meanwhile, the Lord had sailed forward, tried to rally the spirits of the Ophidian Archway to mob a Rat Ogre (and failed), then charged the second block of Clan Rats, probably wondering why he was the only elf doing any work at this point.

As it turned out, his Griffon was not too keen either and while the Lord dispatched three rats, the Griffon did nothing!

After that, the Clan Rats just mobbed (and wounded!) the Lord, but three failed their Battleshock roll and ran, while bow fire from the Sea Guard forced another four to run from the leading Clan Rat unit.

The high point in this turn came from the Reavers – they swept round the archway and unleashed a hail of arrows into the Plague Mortar, killing both crew. They were then able to advance a little further forward to threaten the rear of the Skaven line (they get to move an additional 2D6 inches either before or after they shoot – has the potential to make them really annoying).

 

Turn Two

The High Elves managed to grab the first round of the second turn, and pressed their advantage. The wizard cast Shield of Saphery, which basically gave all elves close by an additional 6+ save (over the next turn, it worked just three times, not brilliant). Meanwhile, the Reavers continued their sweep and put a couple of arrows into the Skaven Chieftain, before backing off out of his charge range.

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The Sea Guard shot some ineffectual arrows at the Rat Ogres, before the Swordmasters rushed in, then ploughed into the first block of Clan Rats themselves.

Meanwhile, the High Elf Lord thought he would be clever, using his Predatory leap to jump over the Clan Rats and attack the Skaven Chieftain directly. They traded wounds, before the Skaven scurried away out of combat, leaving the Clan Rats and Warlock Engineer to pile in on the Lord! By this time, the Lord was looking seriously wounded, but there was better news coming in from the front – the Swordmasters had lost a couple of their number to the Rat Ogres but had slain one (with the Packmaster) and driven the other off, leaving a Rat Ogre-shaped hole in the Skaven line.

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In the Skaven’s round, the Warlock Engineer unleashed a blast of warp lightning at the Lord, which caused a great deal of damage, before the Chieftain did his trick of running in, doing a couple of wounds, and then scurrying off again. This time, though the Lord was ready, and another Predatory Leap saw the Griffon bound over the heads of other Skaven to land straight on top of the Chieftain, grinding him into Rat Paste. The elation was short-lived though as the Warlock Engineer then ran in and with one swipe, ended the life of the High Elf Lord.

Just a little further away, the Warp Fire Thrower’s crew pumped up their war machine, but only a dribble came out of its nozzle – enough to kill a Sea Guard.

At the end of this round, there were Battleshock tests all over the place on both sides. However, only one unit of Clan Rats decided they had had enough, and everyone else held their ground!

 

Turn Three

The Skaven claimed the round this time as well, and the Warp Fire Thrower was cranked up again – this time to kill a mere two Sea Guard (seriously, that thing could have been a lot nastier).

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Both sides were looking distinctly short on troops, and there was an absolute bloodbath as Sea Guard, Swordmasters and Clan Rats all piled in to each other. Both rats and elves fell in this clash, but neither side was ready to throw in the towel. The Warlock Engineer, thinking (quite rightly) that the elves would be angry at him nobbling their Lord, slinked off towards the woods…

In their round, the Reavers continued their sweep right round the battlefield and bore down on the Warp Fire Thrower crew, ending their miserable lives with arrows while the Swordmasters finally dispatched the last Clan Rat in the middle.

 

Turn Four

The Reavers moved up to flush the Warlock Engineer out of his hiding place, and we decided to call it there. A victory for the High Elves. but a heavy, heavy cost paid for defending the island. After all, it is not as if the Skaven can’t just call upon a new Chieftain to lead a new attack…

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Summary

These are two nicely balanced formations, and even their special abilities are quite complimentary – the Skaven Chieftain, for instance, can fight in close combat and then scurry away. But if the High Elf Lord is close by, he won’t be getting far!

The Reavers were the only wholly intact unit left on the High Elf side and, to be honest, one blast from the Mortar or Warp Fire Thrower could have ended them immediately – in fact, two blasts from the Warp Fire Thrower could have finished off either the Sea Guard or the Swordmasters, and then the High Elves would have been right on the back foot.

Both sides have some interesting units with some interesting rules, plus a sprinkle of abilities that makes the other side think ‘uh oh.’

Anyway, if you wanted to delve into Age of Sigmar and have the Island of Blood forces, I would recommend giving them a spin. The two formations make for a interesting, fun and not overly long game.

Warhammer Fantasy Mighty Empires

For the past couple of months or so, we have been playing through a Mighty Empires-based Warhammer Fantasy campaign. There are six players, covering Chaos Warriors, Vampire Counts, Skaven, two Wood Elf forces, and me with my pink High Elves.

The elves have mostly been working together. Mostly. As always with this kind of campaign, there have been all sorts of shenanigans, civil wars and back-stabbing. However, last weekend, things came to a head.

We started on the Mighty Empires hex-based map with just one hex a piece, representing our capital cities. All players were dotted around the edges, aside from Ed, who chose to occupy the city nestled within the mountains in the centre of the map with his Chaos Warriors. From these initial starting points, we began to spread out.

It all began well, as a loss meant you just did not get to expand too far in that campaign turn. However, as empires started creeping towards one another, things changed dramatically.

You seem, in this campaign, you can only take a hex off another player if you defeat them on the table first.  This made who challenges who for a fight very important.

A couple of us twigged that if you could creep up to an opponent’s capital, you could ensure they would never challenge you, as a loss might mean they lose their capital city – and bad things happen when that occurs, as I will explain.

Anyway, for various reasons, Alan (playing Vampire Counts) kinda got himself boxed in early on, with the High Elves (yeah, that would be me) taking strategic hexes all around his borders, but for one – this was ‘plugged’ by Amy’s Skaven, meaning that if he wanted to expand, he had to fight one of us.

Another facet of these campaign rules is that, generally speaking, you can only take one hex off a player each turn. However, if multiple players mob another, they can take a hex each, meaning an empire can be seriously gouged.

This was attempted against my poor, poor High Elves in the latest round of the campaign, when Alan’s Vampire Counts challenged me, closely followed by Ed’s Chaos Warriors and Amy’s Skaven. If the High Elves lost this, they would be toppled from the campaign chart and would find themselves under serious threat of being wiped out.

It so did not go that way. I’ll skip the actual battle, and go straight to the ending where the High Elves won. As Alan had challenged me first, I opted to take a hex off him. This is how the campaign map currently looks.

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The High Elves are pink. And yes, that would be Alan’s green flag in the middle. Kinda reminds me of Rimmer playing draughts with the Scutters in Red Dwarf…

The victory conditions for the campaign are that after a player has lost his last city, a siege game is played (using the rules in Blood in the Badlands, quite a good campaign book for Warhammer, if you can find a copy). This will be played in about a month’s time, and everyone is quietly building all their secret weapons and working out their ploys. It will be a 6,000 point game with the Vampires, Skaven and Chaos Warriors locked up in their castle, with the Mighty Elven Alliance preparing to knock down their doors.

Victory for the elves will mean us winning the entire campaign. Defeat will mean a long trudge back to our empire as the undead retake their city, while all armies prepare for another round of war…

I’ll see if I can get a few snaps while we play and do a battle report after!

All Elves Together

Polishing off a few little bits and pieces at the moment, and as all Elves are together now (End Times plus Age of Sigmar), this somewhat opens out a lot my choices.

First off were some Cold One Knights that I had lying around for a while.

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But nervous about the Stupidity rule, but it is fairly clear they will do the damage once they get in.

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I also added Tyrion. I wasn’t going to do this chap (was having my Elves led by Malekith) but it gives another option, he goes with Teclis, and I know he will annoy a couple of players in our campaign…

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The Dark Elves did get a try out in Age of Sigmar this weekend, but it did not go well for Malekith and his friends (someone else was commanding them while I typed up the last battle report). Howeverm, this game did set some doubts in my mind as to whether Age of Sigmar really does scale up well for larger forces. Needs more of a look.

Age of Sigmar Battle Report: Vampire Counts vs. Wood Elves

So, all the Warscrolls for Age of Sigmar appeared this morning. After a bit of painting (the lads turned up for our regular painting day), Alan (Vampire Counts) challenged Andy (Wood Elves) to a fight. James and I were umpires (like any of us knew the rules!) and recorded this battle report.

Alan simply opted for the Deathrattle Horde ‘formation’, which gave him;

 

Vampire Counts

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Grave Guard x 10
Skeletons x 20
Skeletons x 20
Skeletons x 20
Necromancer
Cairn Wraith
Black Knights x 5
Dire Wolves x 10
Wight King

 

Wood Elves

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Glade Riders x 10
Treeman
Glade Guard x 20
Dryads x 15
Glade Lord

 

Seemed a reasonable set up.

They began by rolling for random terrain (both presence and effects), then deployed. Andy noted that the undead outnumbered him quite a bit and requested a Sudden Death victory condition, which ended up being Blunt. Alan selected his Black Knights – if they went down, Andy would win the battle instantly.

 

Turn One

Andy got the choice of who went first and nominated Alan. Alan promptly summoned a unit of Vargheists on a hill and pushed his undead forward in a general advance.

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Andy responded by sending his Glade Riders after the Black Knights, who had taken to skulking behind a forest and rushing his Treeman forward to engage the Vargheists. Everything else shuffled forward.

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Two Black Knights went down to the Glade Riders shooting, which caused Alan some concern, while the Treeman’s strangleroots took out a couple of Vargheists, with a bit of help from the Glade Guard and Glade Lord. However, the Treeman failed his charge and there were no Battleshock fails this turn.

 

Turn Two

The Wood Elves went first this turn, and the Drayds and Glade Guard advanced further while the Treeman moved closer to the Vargheists. The Glade Riders shot another Black Knight, while the Treeman’s strangleroots killed the last Vargheist. However, it failed to charge the Cairn Wraith lurking behind them.

Now it was the Vampire Counts turn, and Alan suddenly felt a lot better about his Black Knights when he realised that, because they had a standard bearer, they automatically regain D3 Knights every turn (pretty much all Undead can do this). One roll later and his knights were back up to full strength! More confident now, he rushed the knights forward, intending to sweep away the Glade Riders.

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In the centre of the battlefield, more Vargheists were summoned, while the Dire Wolves and Cairn Wraith ploughed into the Treeman. However, the Vargheists failed their charge on the Glade Lord.

The Treeman’s stomp caused the Wraith a bit of a wobble (-1 to hit rolls this turn), but the Treeman still took a couple of wounds (don’t worry, he had another 10 to go). In his attacks, the Treeman killed 4 Dire Wolves. On the flank with the cavalry, the Glade Riders and Black Knights lost two men each.

 

Turn Three

The Vampire Counts went first again (and got all their Black Knights back to full strength!). This time, looking for a bit of variety, the Necromancer summoned a unit of Crypt Horrors.

The undead shuffled their units in a vague (slow) attempt to support the black Knights, while the Vargheists charged the Glade Lord and Archers, wounding him and killing two Glade Guard. The Battleshock rolls this turn caused another two Glade Guard to run, while the cavalry duel resulted in just one Glade Rider going down.

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In his turn, Andy’s Spellweaver casted Blessings of Life, bringing a single Glade Guard back, while his Dryads abandoned the Archers to their fate and started heading towards some marauding Skeletons. The Spellweaver made a break for it too, and started running for the Glade Riders, no doubt hoping to get close enough to the Necromancer to stop some of his summoning spells.

While the Treeman killed the last of the Dire Wolves, the Dryads failed their charge, while the Glade Riders (or, more accurately, their horses…) killed another two Black Knights and the Glade Lord finished off the Vargheists.

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Turn Four

The Vampire COunts had first turn again, and brought back two Black Knights. At this point, the Wood Elves were wondering if the knights were actually unkillable. Elsewhere, the Necromancer summoned a Tomb Banshee to the battlefield. She promptly screamed, wounding the Treeman (who has a very low Bravery score, it turns out). The Crypt Horrors kept the pressure on by charging the Treeman, killing it in one round of attacks.

On the opposite flank, the Skeletons managed to charge the Dryads, and the two units broke into a general, swirling melee that would last for the rest of the battle, without result.

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The Spellweaver healed the Glade Guard again with her Blessings, who promptly turned their attention (and arrows) to the Crypt Horrors, slightly wounding one. The Glade Riders (their horses) killed two Black Knights, while the Skeletons and Dryads ground away at one another.

 

Turn Five

The Vampire Counts gained first turn again and the Necromancer, fancying his luck, tried to summon a Zombie Dragon – he failed, but only just. More critically, only one Black Knight was brought back by their standard.

The Tomb Banshee screamed at the Glade :Lord, but failed to make an impression, while the Skeletons and Crypt Horrors advanced up the centre. The Cairn Wraith charged the Glade Lord and wounded him, but the Banshee failed to support it.

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In the Wood Elves turn, the Glade Riders manage to kill just one Black Knight, but their horses (the heroes of this battle, frankly) ploughed in to score six wounds, which went through the Black Knight’s armour, killing the last of them – Major Victory for the Wood Elves!

 

Summary and Views

It cannot be denied. We liked this game. We liked it a lot, and we were not really expecting to. Yes, the lack of points is an issue and we will have to come up with something to handle our games if Games Workshop does not (kinda hoping for Scenario Scrolls to make an appearance). However, the game itself… we cannot really fault. It is simple, it works, and all the frilly bits are on the Warscrolls. There were no great rules debates during the game, other than those caused by our own ignorance (it was our first game) and those will disappear as we get to grips with the mechanics.

We were a bit surprised at the power of horses (two attacks each!), but they did get lucky rolls and probably reflect the use of cavalry quite well. We don’t see any issues developing there (other than me wanting to get Cold One Knights on the table!). The relative strengths of the other units seemed about right, from the Skeletons to the Treeman.

Undead armies could be quite potent due to their ability to summon, well, anything you have models for but, frankly, it does not seem to be as bad as it could be.

Overall, if you ignore the lack of points issue (and yes, I know that is a biggie), I would give this game a solid A grade.

The guys are already setting up a Vampire Counts vs. Dark Elves game as I type this, and I am looking forward to getting involved myself!