Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Chivalry Dost Live Yet...

The Ogre Tyrant manoeuvred his armies into the Elven lands. They had already seized the elven capitol, and were now pursuing the refugees. "I want blood, and an easy victory!" the ogre tyrant roared.

Some of the fleeing elves were captured by a small patrol of humans, and brought before their leader in the small encampment they had at Hanging Rock. They pleaded for their lives. They told their tale, of the Tyrant in search of an easy victory. They caught Old Man Ulric on a good day. Whilst he was on a quest to free his son from the clutches of the hated Lizard foe, he could not let the weak be ridden over in so roughshod a manner. To do so would mean that while he may find his son, he would sacrifice his honour to do so. Ulric wouldn't have that, and knew that, wherever he was, William would agree.

As the ogres advanced into the field where the elves had finally stopped running, they noticed the foe looked more numerous. Were those humies over to the right flank? Why was there steam rising from both flanks of the host before them? The ogre advance slowed to a crawl...

This mattered not to Ulric, as he spurred his horse towards the enemy. The elves followed his lead, and two mass forces of cavalry advanced towards the now stationary ogres. The elves seemed cautious, wary that the humans may not keep their word. Ulric rode with the confidence of righteousness. It probably helped that there were demigryph knights ready to pounce should anything attack his flanks, but that was for the benefit of his men. Ulric needed no such reassurances, as he had by this point become convinced of his own invincibility.

A large horde of ogres, lacking the comprehension to understand why their general was being so cautious all of a sudden, went charging after a lone human wizard on the left flank. As they crashed after him through the forest they ran straight into the Steam Tank that Ulric had loaned to the elves to bolster their flank. The Tank battened down the hatches and held the ogres there while the elven infantry, somewhat left behind by the cavalry advance, flanked the ogres and routed them.

The Steam Tank on Ulrics flank seemed to be having trouble brewing enough steam, and after an emergency vent the boiler remained stable, but the tank was still somewhat slower than usual and unable to aid Ulrics attack. It was no matter. Ulric and his hammers smashed through a mammoth creature, before charging into the Tyrant and his guard. They slaughtered the bodyguard, and the Tyrant turned to flee. Ulric and his knights were faster, and caught the rotund creature before he could make it two steps. They dragged the crying sobbing creature away from the field of battle. With Ulrics steadying influence occupied, some minor scuffles broke out between the elves and the rearguard of Ulrics army, but it was largely irrelevant. Ulric carried the field that day, and the elves were spared and allowed to escape, to regroup another day.

Ulric made camp in the lands of his victory. His horses needed rest, and it wasn't a bad position to perhaps raise a small holding to regroup and continue the search. He released the chastened tyrant, but not without extracting a suitable bounty from the Ogres Overlord. He also felt that the leaderless elves needed some help to regroup, so he ordered their Loremaster to be released from his dungeon. The grateful elves gifted a beautiful suit of armour to Ulric as thanks for his generosity. Ulric would stick with the tattered old armour he'd worn for the past 30 years - if Mrs Von Lichtenstein couldn't get him to change it, and her complaints were mostly down to the smell and the appearance, he'd be damned if some pointy ear would get him to change it now. But the gift was well received nonetheless, and placed in the armoury to await a suitable recipient.

To top the day off, a squire arrived with news from Roughguts. Sir William had been located. He was being held in a castle near the Marshes of Madness. Roughguts was amassing an army to attempt to free him.

"God Speed old friend" uttered Ulric "God Speed"

A gift from the ogres...

Monday, 20 October 2014

Growls in the Gatehouse

As Geheimnisnacht arrived, the armies forging Empires in the Badlands formed up. Bitter differences between man and Lizard were put aside, to stand alongside the ancient Elves and Dwarves against the horrors that stood against them. Warriors of Chaos, far from the north. Ogres from the East, and Dark Elves from the West. As the armies ranked up and eyed Fozzriks Gatehouse between them, vile vermin started to spew from the north, between the Elves and the Dwarves. Astounded to see the ratmen abroad above ground, the Dwarves turned most of their wrath from the men of Chaos and onto them. The Elves, with an allied force of Lizardmen to their left, did the same. The ratmen were swiftly dispatched, and the fulcrum they had debased was secured.

Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the battlefield, a mighty ruck had broken out between the men of the Empire and the ogres. However the narrow confines of the terrain, combined with a floating fortress and an uncooperative Steam Tank, left the enemies spending much of their time eyeing each other up as they champed at the bit waiting for their turn to fight.

With the forces of good dominating the winds of magic, mostly down to a combination of the Lizards Slaan controlling the casting, and the Dwarves using their knowledge to deny the enemy much power, the forces of good were in a solid position. The skaven had broken and fled, the ogres were being butchered to a (very fat) man, and the Dark Elves had not had chance to get out of their corner. The warriors of Chaos had turned the tide against the dwarf forces despatched to them, but with the skies darkening far too quickly, even for Geheimnisnacht, everyone felt trouble brewing.

At this point, a lone truthsayer took on a gamble and teleported into the Gatehouse. Exploring the (thankfully abandoned) building he found some treasures, but nothing more. Roughguts, knowing he would not be able to make it to the tower with the gathering stormclouds, left the truthsayer to his task, and set some ogre mournfang to rout.

Roughguts returned to the battlefield, and surveyed the scene. Sir Ulric and his hammers were going hell for leather against some Dark Elf knights, who seemed to have a very similar trinket on one of their heroes. No matter how many blows they struck against each other, they would shrug them off. The few that were felled with seemingly fatal blows soon got back up and back into the saddle. Crazy old Sir Ulric was having a smashing time, singing bawdy songs about rotund maidens whilst bashing his enemies brains out, several times in a row - Roughguts left him to it. Let the old man enjoy himself. But of the truthsayer who had teleported into the Gatehouse, no sign. Roughguts swooped across the battlefield, and found him hiding in some woods in the lee of the gatehouse. When asked why he had abandoned the fulcrum, the truthsayer just said "big, scary... nasty sharp pointy teeth..." and kept rocking back and forth in the foetal position. Roughguts sensed he would not get much more out of the man on this day, but from what had been said (and he had no reason to doubt the words, cryptic as they may have been) Roughguts held back from the tower.

As Morrsleib hung full, every surviving wizard on the battlefield felt a surge of power. The winds of magic flurried and swirled around the Gatehouse, as one of the very fabrics of magic was torn from the veil. The sky darkened still further, and the world felt chill. Roughguts sensed something epic had taken place, though he knew not where. The truthsayer stopped rocking, and softly breathed the words "He is Risen..."

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The Try-It Table


As some of you may know, I run a small local wargaming group. Recently we had quite the surplus of club funds built up, and with adequate scenery I decided to splash out on some of the starter sets for other game systems, to try to broaden the clubs horizons at a time that GW felt a little stale.


Of course, shortly after that GW released Codex: Imperial Guard (no I won't use the new name) and Codex: Orks, plus kicked off the Fantasy End Times with my old favourite Nagash... so well done GW for reinvigorating my interest.

This does however leave several boxsets that haven't seen the love they deserve. With this in mind, I plan to run something in the new year, once I have finished running the Fantasy Badlands campaign, called the Try It Table. I will, each week, set one of the gaming tables aside to be solely used for "other" games. I intend to pick a game each week and either run it myself for any interested parties, or get someone who is into that game to do so.

I plan to start with X-Wing. I know this quite well, we have a few players who are into it, and between myself and my friend Rob we have enough rebels and imperials to run two games simultaneously. It's also a quick and easy game to get into, with plenty of well known background, and is very accessible.

We also have Dystopian Wars (which hasn't quite taken my fancy but we do have three players on that one) and Warmachine (again, not for me but we do have a few people who have played in the past and there is some base interest around the club.

 

Then it's onto the stuff that seems more of a gamble. Flames of War seems to be of interest to only two members thus far, though I am vaguely interested... though it has to be said I tend to window shop at Flames of War when GW feels stale to me, so right now with GW kicking out lots of shiny I'm not  paying flames much attention. At the bottom of the scale is Dropzone Commander. I've heard good things about this game, but so far I seem to be the only one to have shown any interest - though this isn't helped by me not exactly being able to explain how the game plays to anyone yet.

Now in anything like this it is always easiest to get people into it if you already have some people that know what they are talking about. With the earlier mentioned stuff we have that, so I don't see any problems there. With Flames we don't, but we did have a former Portsmouth resident drop in who seems to know his stuff, who kindly offered to run an intro game for us if he is ever in town visiting his folks when we meet - an offer I shall gratefully accept should it ever become available, though with real life obviously being a priority I won't hold the guy to that.

That leaves DZC as the ginger stepchild of the family - unloved, locked in the basement and fed nothing but fishheads from the one person who remembers they still exist.

The new year will be the new games time to shine. I know my club, it generally needs someone to make people get out of their usual habits and do something different. At the moment I have my hands full with the campaign, but that finishes just after Christmas. Then the Try-It Table will become a mainstay of Tuesdays. I'm confident on the early games. I'll give the rest a good go too though.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Enduring the Storm

With a Storm of Magic Loremaster game against Stephen and his High Elves, lead by his Loremaster, I knew we could get into a long game. So I made a plan and stuck to it. I decided to hit Stephen with an angry tree. Then hit him again. And again.


Basically this plan revolved around a Truthsayer with the Living Deadwood Staff. All forests were blood forests. They hit harder. And I could summon them, either with the staff itself or with the Life Cataclysm spell The Gardeners Warcry. I would then use whichever lore happened to bein ascendency (I had 5 level 1 wizards of various lores, meaning I had 6 of 8 lores covered) to throw a random hex at the target. Ok, that unit is -1 initiative... oh, and it gets hit by 4D6 str 7 hits. A minor afterthought...

My opponent on the other hand seemed list from one turn to the next as to what to do. At the end of the game I asked him, what was your plan before this game. He had none. Now I know no plan survives contact with the enemy but having one is better than having none. He complained that Storm of Magic was confusing with so many spells. I pointed out that I had just defeated him using only one Storm of Magic spell... plus a bound item that was practically the same spell. After that it was just regular spells to activate the forests I had just buried him in. I wonder how many other people have been overwhelmed by Storm of Magic for much the same reason. I like it as a game variation, and while I wouldn't want to play that way every week (some of the double miscasts can be utterly game changing, and thus there is more of a random element than a regular game) they are fun for variety from time to time.

Anyway, campaign wise this puts me up a couple more relics, and I am sat on Steves mine and his wizards tower. I'd like to expand my territory to take them, but I imagine he'll throw relics at me to keep hold of them, as the poor guy is swiftly running out of territory. I have a nice little empire tucked away, but with Neil suddenly emerging as runaway leader on mine count (and mines are the key to victory in this campaign) I think next turn I'll be running my armies full pelt north to try to steal some off him.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Ominous Signs

So, just to let you know, Stephen the newest Fantasy player at the club, who can barely buy a win in the campaign, beat me AGAIN. Now the first time, I could see it was a bad combo of a sneaky trick he had as a random event roll combined with the worst possible mission (playing lengthways down the table and several key parts of my enemy being forced into reserve) In the summer campaign game, he won by stealing the initiative. Literally. He'd placed a scouting unit next to my Helblaster. Ok I thought, that's some easy points turn 1. No, he seized. Now by the odds, that's still easy points turn 1. They have ten shots needing 3s followed by 6s. He got 7 hits. About average. He got 4 wounds. What the ACTUAL fuck?!? Dead helblaster. I figured I'd ignore the unit till his Bolt throwers were dead then turn something to deal with them. It took 5 turns of shooting by my three cannons to kill his three Bolt Throwers... And do bear in mind that two of the Bolt Throwers were killed by Bolts of Magic fired by one of my wizards, so ten cannon shots to kill one Bolt Thrower. Meanwhile that small skirmish unit chewed it's way along my line, eventually eating about 600 points of my army. In a game I lost 1200 to 1000 that is a big chunk.

Annoyingly, despite all that, I was still looking at pulling off a win as I'd got my knights into a slugging match in the middle. His ward save was mostly keeping him alive, so I was slowly chewing through him, but my armour save was deflecting nearly all of his hits. Until his wizard miscast. The wizard that was in the front rank and had flukily survived several punishing blows from great weapons due to his sodding ward save. He miscast big, putting a large template on his head at Str 10. For his infantry with a 3+ ward, painful but not devastating. For my knights however... It took them all out. The few wounds that went into the surviving characters for the remainder of the game took out the BSB. Were it not for the explosion (which didn't even have the good grace to kill the sodding wizard, I had to do that myself eventually) the BSB and the unit would have survived the game, meaning I'd have lost about 400 less points than I did... enough for a victory again.

So in summary, my opponent beat me by rolling a 6, followed by four 6s, and then a double 6 followed by a double 1. Motherfucker...

However, I am set for Revenge. I had told my opponent I would be heading for the mine he nicked off me to regain it. But then the flying fortress passed over, and I didn't fancy sending my cavalry army (which only has a couple level 2s) into a Storm of Magic game. So I turned away from my mine he captured, and have gone to try to steal his mine instead. The mine he had captured from me duly collapsed. Because he rolled a 1. Karma for you right there motherfucker... :-P

In the fight we have lined up, I get to force some of his units into reserve, so a fitting revenge. However he does get to pick the scenario. To make sure he doesn't get too much advantage from this, I have committed an extra 500 points to the battle. That should hopefully do the trick. Unfortunately I shall have to include some infantry, as it is almost inevitable he will go for the Watchtower against my cavalry based army. I shall just have to make sure I include a small unit of something else, so that if I get the win and get a regiment of reknown again, I don't end up stuck with a large block of infantry in the middle of a cavalry army, like I did until Stephen was gracious enough to beat me the other week (one of the few upsides of the whole affair, losing that sodding regiment)

Overall in the campaign The Dwarf player is still steaming ahead in relics, one of the Dark Elf players is on about half what he is on (and that's second place) while Everyone else has between 9 and 11. That's made things very interesting as we enter Autumn...

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Back in the Badlands... the story so far

As midsummer approaches, it is worth looking back on the badlands campaign to see how things are progressing.

Sir Ulric has had a smashing time gallivanting around and beating up other peoples, particularly ogres. However his extensive travels have had a slight negative effect on his army - they are running low on horses and now have an entire regiment of infantry cluttering up the camp, which is slowing everyone down. So Sir Ulric is establishing a small forward base in the far west to station more cavalry at, so as to continue his adventures in the Autumn.

Meanwhile the Church of the Martyred Monk has been running the growing Imperial encampment with ruthless efficiency, digging up everywhere for the bones of their prophet (little knowing that Sir Ulric has already captured the land where the prophet died, and hastily removed the evidence west, where he is establishing a mine to hide said evidence at the bottom of) The constant digging has unearthed a lot of treasure, making Pontius Pillock, the leader of the church of the martyred monk, quite the rich, powerful, and VERY well protected man. The various trinkets secreted about his person gives Pontius a 1+ rerollable armour save, a 4+ rereollable ward save, WS 10 (so enemies are usually gonna be hitting him on 5s) and he heals a wound every turn!

Meanwhile Roughguts has been very quiet, we believe he is not risking riding out too far until the Talisman of Preservation that was in his travelling luggage arrives... like passengers at Luton, stillllll waiting...

The High Elves to the immediate north of the Empire encampment have taken a bit of a battering, mostly at the hands of others to be fair, though the Empire have sneaked in and nicked a couple of abandoned territories of theirs from time to time. The Dark Elves to the East that started out in such a bad position have been growing steadily, even making a brief incursion into an Empire mine... only to realise they were surrounded and now had a new job.

The Empires historic ally of the Dwarves are growing out from their basecamp in a seemingly unstoppable tide. The hated lizards have borne the brunt of some of this, and are starting to flee East into the hands of some Chaos Warriors, as being the lesser of two evils. Ironically. There is also a Dark Elf encampment feeling a similar squeeze...

To the NorthWest a chaos encampment has surfaced, which was steadily growing, but as armies start to flee from the Dwarves they are finding their own lands increasingly overrun.

Finally, the ogres are pretty much where they started, making the occasional trip out but usually being hastily driven back. However they have made such a mess that no one seems to want to actually go in and claim any of their lands. Must be the smell. With two characters injured and one only just released by the Empire for a hefty ransom, you'd think people would go in for the kill. But like I said, there is that smell to consider... Speaking as someone who has gutted a few ogres in this campaign, Sir Ulric had only this to say... "I thought they smelled bad on the outside"

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Never headbutt an Imperial Knight...

So, the last couple of weeks I've been playing with some new toys. Having had a look through the new codex I felt the changes to the codex were mostly well balanced, and while there were some things I would miss (Marbo) there were new additions or improvements that made it worthwhile... besides, I'm thoroughly expecting a Catachan supplementary codex to correct that little problem, which is where Marbo should be anyway - was silly that he was in EVERY single guard army going...

So, feeling there wasn't all that much difference in the new codex, I felt rather than having to relearn it all, I just could have some fun with the new toys. So I write a list... It had some of those shiny new Bullgryns... ten of them in fact. Led by Yarrick. That's quite a points sink if I'm honest, and put in a couple Vendettas for anti-air/anti-tank, some artillery (2xBasilisk, Manticore, Wyvern) it left me relatively few points for scoring units... I loaded 4 units of vets (two with chimeras, the other two with camo cloaks to follow the Bullgryns and benefit from a 3+ cover save. The army lacks scoring units, both in number and survivability, it also lacks mobility. But it just felt like it would be fun to march across the field yelling "Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough!"

Well last week I got stuck in a massive combat just past the relic with half a tyranid army while my vets tried to smuggle the relic itself back to my lines... if it weren't for those sneaky Trygons popping up and cutting off their retreat they'd have made it. Once he'd done the obvious and killed my scoring units, I killed his. In the end he earned a draw by killing Yarrick in turn 5... and turn 6... and turn 7... He could still potentially have gotten up, kinda wish I'd gone second in that scenario now...

The Boys and Yarrick did last a good while. They were locked in combat for about 6 rounds of combat, holding up a Tervigon (taking it down to 1 wound) a Hive Tyrant (taking it down to 1 wound) two Hive Tyrant bodyguard thingies, killed half a Warrior squad and a termagant brood. And this was him charging me! If there hadn't been so many instant death causing Boneswords in his Tyrants squad it would have lasted all bloody game...

So anyway, last night I took part in a team game, Guard/Guard vs Marines/Eldar. The Eldar had a Wraithknight, the Marines had an Imperial Knight. I had been planning to assault a unit of WraithGUARD that fell out of a wave serpent we shot down, and had positioned myself for just that... however a bit of softening up shooting from my colleague took the squad down to one solitary wraithguard who was a very long, through difficult terrain, assault move away. So at the chance of getting charged by the Wraithknight, I thought it best to charge him instead. The first round went well, lost one Bullgryn and took it down to 2 wounds. I could happily maintain that rate of attrition. Unfortunately HIS teammate recognised the threat, and reinforced... with the Imperial Knight AND Lysander. Yarrick accepted the challenge from Lysander to protect the Bullgryns (though if I'd known that losing your Warlord in a challenge to Lysander gained him D3 extra VP as his warlord trait, I would never have accepted... this is where when my opponent said "I don't need to roll my warlord trait is fixed" I should have said "What is it?" Oops.) And the knight fluffed his attacks. Unfortunately my Bullgryns fared little better, only putting 6 wounds on the Wraithknight... statistically enough, but he made all his armour saves. Darn. So while that round was a miraculous draw, with both characters injuring each other but fighting on, the next round the knights did better and stomped all over me.


The game ran a little long and we had to call it at turn 5... We still had a solid bastion of fire around our objective (2 troops choices and 4 heavy support in Big Guns never Tire) and while there was a Knight looming, he was now the only realistic target for most of that firebase - most of the game we'd ignored his inv save and targeted other units. However they had two objectives in their deployment zone, putting them ahead... though if the Basilisk hadn't scattered the shot in the final turn we could have killed the 1 guy holding one of them, which would have reduced the margin of victory somewhat.

In the end;

Super Heavy Alliance had 2x warlord, 2x objective (for 6) and D3 for killing Yarrick.
Guard Alliance had 1x FirstBlood, 2x Warlord, 1x objective (for 3) and were just annoyingly out of Linebreaker... next turn Gadget!

SHA scored 9-11 (we were saving the D3 roll till after the game in case it was a knife edge critical... it wasn't)
GA scored 6.

As I said, them having two of the three objectives in their deployment zone when we an army lacking in mobility (my teammate had only one chimera mounted squad, plus two 5 man scion units deep striking... very little that could get into their deployment area to take/contest, we had to rely on obliterating) and if I'd known Yarrick was such a potential VP loser I'd never have accepted Lysanders challenge, things would have been a lot closer...

All in all though, a cracking fun game that felt a lot closer than the scoreline suggested... And against an army as brutal as that with a badly designed just for shits and giggles list, I'll take it.


PS. One special note has to go to the Manticore. It did bugger all against the Tyranids, but has featured in every list I've had since I played Jamie and it blew up a Landraider AND took two hullpoints off/immobilised a rhino with 1 shot in my first turn. Well the marine player was Jamie. My first turn in this game, the Manticore blew up a Landraider Helios and took two hull points off a rhino. Admittedly the other three missiles did bugger all, same as last time, but I think I'm seeing a pattern here... one shot a Landraider, rest on your laurels for a couple games...