Wednesday, 2 July 2014

The Game Of Fantasy Battles

Deployment on Charles' game table: clear hint the game takes place in Britain by the presence of a mug.
This blog has been going for six months now.  Finally, I can feature my first battle report of Warhammer Fantasy Battles!

As previously noted I started with fantasy games - Man O' War and Warhammer Fantasy -  before drifting into 40K.  I haven't owned a core book to WFB since 4th ed, but part of this blog was about me trying to start Fantasy again and assemble a wee Chaos Dwarf army.

The paucity of posts will betray my Chaos Dwarfs aren't yet ready to see the table, but frequent game opponent and RPG chum Charles has two armies so offered me the chance of a wee demo game on Sunday which I took him up on.  I could take his Tomb Kings army, he'd use his new High Elves and I could learn the rules by playing.

Charles' magic hands arrange his troops in time for turn one.

Charles purposefully built the armies to include a mixture of stuff to demonstrate different rules - so I had troops, chariots, monstrous cavalry, a war machine and a monster while he got to show cavalry, fast cavalry and awesome magic.  This might not have been the most balanced of arrangements, but it allowed me to see quite what the rock-paper-scissors arrangement was. 

He occasionally made some clearly purposeful bad decisions to show why they were bad decisions - i.e. "why you don't try to attack a monster like this" or "This isn't going to well because a war machine is immune to that".  Another nod to my inexperience is the little index cards by the terrain explaining the various rules.  As a game-teaching experience I found it quite well thought out.

Our deployment was fairly unremarkable  In the center of my field I put my huge sphinx and brass-snake-riders, with a squad of archers lurking at the back as bodyguard to my Lich.  The flanks was where I hid away my war machines, with the chariots to act as a screen for the catapult.  His own force was arranged in a line, with heavy cavalry & an Elf mage at the centre.  He placed a unit behind the tower with a clear eye on occupying and harrasing me from the building as quickly as possible.

And so he did,.

Things did not go his way from the start, alas.  While the unit he planked in the tower was nigh-indestructible, the other units had to contend with a lot of power placed to the front.  Being the faster army he tried to use his speed to mount a pre-emptive strike but his heavy cavalry lost their momentum against my monstrous snakes and got themselves bogged down in a doomed battle

Some Elves suddenly become very chalkosophiophobic

My war machine harangued him from a distance but inflicted minimal wounds - it was the only thing worth throwing at the tower but it wasn't really accurate enough to frighten them.  The chariots had to throw themselves out as sacrificial lambs to stop the light cavalry reaching the catapult, which they did well but leaving themselves exposed.

The WMDs of the ancient world.

Unfortunately, the chariots could then be eaten up by the balance of an infantry unit who then approached the catapult.  War machines don't do close combat and it found itself chopped up..... though at this stage I'd inflicted pretty grevious wounds on him.  The mage and his guards were dead;  the light cavalry and heavy cavalry obliterated; only the spearmen in the tower and this part-unit remained.  My left flank of monstrous sphinx and spiders lapped around.... wasn't this in the bag?

A loss worth taking.

Well, not exactly.  My Lich, mentioned way back at the start, was the army general who had animated the whole force with necromantic magic.  The fast Elves were able to get that small unit over to him in a desperate attempts to kill him.  If they did this the whole army would suffer damage - it could potentially be a tabling, even with the large injuries I'd dealt up to that point.  Neither magic nor arrows seemed to dissuade them from charging across the field.

Charge Of The Pointy-Eared Brigade

Thankfully, Charles couldn't successfully close into melee without some extreme luck - he'd need a double 6 on charge range.  And..... that's exactly what he got, forcing me to deal with him up close.  His army battle standard fluttering in the breeze, three brave Elves got into close quarters with more than a dozen skeletons and laid terrible vengeance upon them.... including the Lich.  He perished, and with him casualties popped up everywhere including losing the magical casket that had survived the whole battle safely behind lines.  I might have killed more Elves in revenge but the damage was done.

The forces of Law make sure they die fighting.
Before this turn I was squarely ahead - 620 points to something like 300 or so, an undisputed victory.  Unfortunately that final skull getting crushed tipped the balance and scored a huge pile of points for Charles, bringing him to 585 points.  620 to 585 is a small enough difference in WFB rules to be a draw, so the Elves can go home knowing that any Tomb King claim of dominance in pyrrhic. 

It was an enjoyable day and definitely taught me more about the game.  I own the 8th ed WFB rules but there's a mile of difference between reading and playing them.  This extra knowledge will hopefully help me make better decisions - I was unsure about including Bull Centaurs but getting to try the snake monstrous cavalry has made me swither.  Similarly, I wasn't sure how big a deal a magic user would be - in 3rd to 6th ed 40K they weren't anything special - but seeing how key the Elf and Tomb King casters were has confirmed it's something I can't ignore.

Plus, after painting so many guys in plain armour, who wouldn't want to paint something more like this?

He ate so many Elves.

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