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Posts Tagged ‘Non-competitive’

The usual table shortage at GW Oxford resulted in suggestions of a team game, which mutated (oh, all right, it was my idea) into a four-way exercise in Carnage: four armies striking out for the table centre, each one out for itself. I had my Consecrators, while also flying the flag for variant Space Marine Chapters were a Blood Swords force and some Grey Knights. What would otherwise have been an Imperium-only barney was disrupted by the arrival of a Kan-heavy Ork warband.
 

 

 

The game got off to a cheerful start as the Orks shot down and destroyed the Blood Swords’ Stormraven before it got the chance to do anything, while pressing forward along the table edges towards the vampire marines and the Grey Knights. The Grey Knights started to redeploy towards my own territory, though cautiously (which was understandable given they were heading for 26 models in Terminator armour and a Dreadnought). Caution did not work as the Consecrator Dreadnought blew up their Land Raider, which disgorged seven of their own Terminators and their Grand Master.

On their first turn the Blood Swords mostly advanced on the Orks, except for their version of Mephiston who zipped into combat with a Consecrator unit. The Consecrators looked hard pressed as the Grey Knights were also assaulting from the opposite direction, but the Lord of Death was squished for the loss of only five men, while extremely jammy dice (and the GK player not playing the right statline) meant that the Knight Terminators assault was held up long enough for a supporting squad to counter-attack and destroy the unit.

This left me in good shape and with a clear path to the objective in the centre. The Grey Knights were taking a beating from the Ork Kans, however, and rapidly running out of men. Meanwhile a Blood Sword Dreadnought launched a savage assault on the Orks, while a Land Raider was air-dropped close to the centre of the action. The Dreadnought killed nineteen models on the charge, until we realised the Blood Sword player was using the wrong rules, which halved the damage. Nevertheless Ork powerklaws ripped it and the Land Raider to pieces quite rapidly.

Mopping-up fire from my Terminators and Dreadnought had wiped out the last Grey Knights by this point and I moved on the objective in force. My confidence took a knock when the Blood Sword Death Company attacked and slaughtered practically a full squad of Terminators for no loss. I had to pull back and shoot them a lot, whittling them down and finishing them off with an assault from the Grand Master and his squad.

The Blood Swords were running out of troops fast, and I hadn’t had many to begin with, while the Orks were still present in force. Both Space Marine armies were contesting the objective while the Orks slowly rumbled into assault range. The Blood Sword player opted to vacate the building temporarily on the (entirely spurious) understanding that the Orks would wipe out the Consecrators and then the two of them would fight it out for the prize.

Needless to say the Ork bikes and kopters pounced on the last Blood Sword survivors as they vacated the objective. ‘You git,’ said the Blood Sword Commander as his army was wiped out, vowing (rather melodramatically I thought) that he would never forgive the pair of us for this. My amusement was shortlived as the Grand Master of the Consecrator 1st Company put rather too much faith in his two-up save and was gunned down by the Ork kopters (and snake eyes on the dice). Hmph.

So it was down to a clash between six surviving Consecrator Terminators and their Dreadnought, and an alarming number of Orks with a pair of Kans. The Consecrator Dreadnought smashed into the two Ork machines and flattened them both, while combat around the objective resulted in a tie. With time running out (this game lasted about three hours), we called it a draw – but favouring the Orks, given the sheer number of them swarming over the objective.

Well, a lesson there for the Imperium of Man not to muck about with internecine squabbles when there are xenos on the prowl, I suppose. As usual Carnage created a great game which no-one took too seriously even if the turns were rather long. The early and spectacular demises that every piece of heavy equipment on the table met were particularly amusing (especially to me as commander of a virtually all-infantry army). It certainly made me reconsider my thoughts of focussing on WFB for a while, and I met a couple of guys I’m looking forward to playing in a rather more conventional context. We all appeared to have a good time, even the two guys who got wiped out early, so I’d call the evening a success, even if I didn’t (quite) win.

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Technically I suppose I should tag this as a non-competitive game, as my opponent had to write a scratch list and borrow all his models from the shop. I only actually wound up playing young Jaffar because nobody else showed up. I’m assuming this was down to the bad weather (though there wasn’t actually any snow on the streets of Oxford. For heaven’s sake, is this the attitude that built an empire?), not that it really makes any difference.

Well, anyway, the big event this week is that – with the NaNoWriMo story finished – I’ve been able to paint up some new models and play at 750 points for the first time. Making their debut appearances in this game were a Troll and two companies of Ghostly Legionaries with a Captain seconded from the Angmar list.

Jaffar used the shop’s Umbar Corsairs, fielding 14 companies of Corsairs in three formations, one led by Dalamyr, with (groan) a War Elephant to make up the rest of the total. As the new list still doesn’t have any shooting in it I knew the big beast would take some beating. The scenario we ended up playing was for control of a monolith in the table centre.

 

 

Corsairs being rolled over by Ghosts and Morgul Knights not pictured.

 

Jaffar decided to deploy and go first and opted for a table-wide deployment, sticking down from left to right (my viewpoint) some Corsairs, the Mumakil, the main Corsair block, and then the weediest of the infantry formations (four companies with no shield). Well aware my best chance was to crush his army a chunk at a time, I abandoned the left flank entirely, stuck the Orcs down in the centre, and filled the space up to the right table edge with the Troll, the Ghosts, and both Morgul Knight units.

Seeing the Knights bearing down on them the weedy Corsairs started backpedalling while Dalamyr’s unit and the Mumak redeployed towards the right table edge. The last Corsair unit stayed on course for the objective. The archers on the Mumak managed to shoot down the Troll on the first turn, which was intensely annoying but only to be expected as it was a newly-painted big model.

I got my own back fairly rapidly as the Dark Marshal’s Knight regiment charged the weedy Corsairs and ripped them nearly to bits, despite being flanked by Dalamyr’s unit on the same turn. This, on the other hand, opened up the flank of the main Corsair formation for the Ghosts to spirit-walk through some woods and charge them. One Heroic Combat later Dalamyr and his boys were looking a bit ragged too.

The Mumak was getting a bit too close for comfort, however, and I think my salvation was Jaffar taking it too close to the same woods the Ghosts charged through. Every time he attempted to charge or trample the Knights it ended up clipping the scenery, damaging it and halting the move. In the end he just got impatient, turned it around and went after the Orcs which were behind it. This suited me as they weren’t doing anything useful where they were (I strongly doubted they would be capable of taking on the Corsairs contesting the objective unsupported) and this removed the main threat to my cavalry and the Ghosts.

With the Elephant heading the other way I could concentrate on finishing off Dalamyr’s regiment. I decided I could do this with the Morgul Knights if they charged simultaneously and marched the Ghosts off to take the final Corsair formation in the flank.

Dalamyr and his men duly bit the dust and the Dark Marshal and his Knights galloped off to support the Ghosts (now looking rather fragile with only six men left). The last of the Umbar infantry fell even as the Mumak trampled the Orcs into the ground and polished them off with bow-fire from the howdah.

We now theoretically had two turns left, in which time Jaffar would have to wipe out all three of my surviving units and get the Mumak within 3″ of the mission objective. This was possible, just about, but extremely unlikely – and as Big Ben wanted to close up the shop and go home we decided to end the game.

Well, I won, which is always nice, but this wasn’t the toughest of games – this was a scratch list and very light on characters. I knew that if I could dummy the Elephant away from the rest of my army so the Morgul Knights could engage the Corsair flanks I would have a good chance, and so it proved.

As far as the new elements of the army go, things were a bit mixed: the Troll’s contribution to the game consisted of walking forward eight inches before collapsing full of arrows, which makes it difficult to assess its battlefield potential. On the other hand, the Ghost Legion did sterling work against the flanks and rear of the Corsair infantry. Given the low Defence and reasonable Courage of the Corsairs, the Ghosts’ Spirit Grasp ability was less important than I’d hoped (but then I was half-expecting to play Goblins), but their Spirit Walk into Dalamyr’s flank possibly won me the game. More Ghosts could well appear in higher point value games.

Well, anyway. Before we get to that point I have three more companies of Morannon Orcs and Gothmog to get ready for the table. Will Gothmog live up to his reputation as the biggest bargain in the game? Will the Ghosts’ low numbers prove their achilles heel? Will the Troll survive past the first turn of a game? Only time will tell.

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Another almost definitively non-competitive game down the store. There was supposed to be a 1K WOTR tournament, which would have been an interesting challenge for my .5K. Fortunately I managed to talk my opponent into playing 750, so I only needed to borrow three companies of Morannons, a couple of upgrade characters, and a Troll. My opponent had three main problems: 1) he’d never actually played before 2) he had to put together a scratch force using whatever he could find in the store cases and 3) he asked to me help write his list.

I suppose I could have come up with something slightly more competitive than a single-character list, but to be honest I was a little perturbed by the volume of enemy cavalry that was clearly going to be on the table. I also wasn’t entirely aware of quite how green he was. And, you know, I haven’t been in the most understanding frame of mind lately.

So, off we went. He stuck a small infantry unit on the left and in the centre, with some archers between them, and loaded up the right flank with two units of Swan knights and some regular knights (his other knights went on the extreme left). Not liking the look of all the enemy cavalry I refused that flank, put the Orcs and Troll in the centre, and the Morgul knights on the left.

Well, suffice to say that he didn’t have enough Might and never managed to get a cavalry charge off, while I was able to pick on and clobber his units one by one (my startling ability to roll stalled charges notwithstanding) – the Gondorian morale was a little bit shaky, too, given their lack of and characters upgrades. The Morannon Orcs punched well above their weight due to my repeatedly casting Strength from Corruption on them and then rolling very well for it – in two successive fights I had Str 8, enough to slaughter even cavalry. Probably best not to get too fixated on that, though. The only real thought that occurs to me is to get banners for my knight units as well as the additional Morannons that are now pretty much a sure thing (provided I can scrape the cash together with things being as they are.)

 

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Ugly, ugly game last night – not the way it looked, or the spirit in which it was played, but just… hum. Basically four of us turned up for WotR games night, two experienced Good players (who really were good players) and two Evil players (who weren’t actually evil, just bad). The Good guys had 1k each, I had 500 points, and my fellow bad guy (who looked about 10 and had his mum and little sister with him) could scrape about 700 points together, even if it wasn’t a strictly legal 700 points.

At the Duke’s instigation a 2K team game was set up. I really don’t like using borrowed figures but wasn’t really able to refuse on this occasion, so ended up bulking up with three more Orc companies, a Troll, and the Witch-King on a fell-beast. My partner grabbed a Mumak and the game was on: Fallen Realms and Mordor vs Gondor and Rohan!

We quickly realised our opponents had adopted the dastardly strategies of Actually understanding the rules and Knowing how to pick a competitive army. (To paraphrase the ad – one company of Morannon Orcs: 20 points. Khamul the Easterling: 125 points. One War-Mumak: 250 points. Actually understanding the rules: Priceless.)

Obviously I tried very hard to avoid taking over my side of the game for all that Boy Wonder seemed to keep looking at me for assurance before he did anything. I tried even harder to put from my mind the fact that my figure case was slightly older than my team-mate.

Won’t bother going into details except to say that we got outmanoeuvered and out-Epic Heroed on one flank and in the centre while on the other side of the board the Gondor army fell back, refusing their flank and leaving the Mumak very little to do beyond providing enemy archers with a place to stick their arrows.

On a more positive note the Dark Marshal survived and the Orc formation (bulked up to double its usual size, and looking much better as a result) didn’t take a scratch – but neither really made a significant contribution to anything that happened on the table.

Obviously all I can glean from the experience is a better idea of the kind of armies I’ll be running into should I ever get to 1K myself, and I clearly need to think about more heroes. Gothmog’s looking more and more essential all the time.

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