Saturday, 26 February 2011

On the Painting Table: Beastmen Gors!

Continuing my slow build of my brand new Beastmen army...

This is my first official core choice and as such is my first real step to getting a useable army.
The best element for me about Beastmen is the background. I don’t know what it is exactly, but If anything it’s an attraction to the principle of the beast running rampant without pause for morals or decorum, with no though for the harm they do to others.
And I quite like the models too.
The flesh was done with Kommando Khaki inked down with Gryphonne Sepia and then highlighted back up with Khaki and then Deneb Stone. The fur is brown with two black ink washes.
For the weapons I painted them boltgun metal and inked them with black. Simple as.
As I’m building the army slowly I’ve based these chaps on a five by ten movement tray. I’ll use that for something else eventually; probably these guys will end up as a twenty strong unit. But I want to get playing ASAP.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

A History Revealed at Last

At long last, after months of research and hard work, I have completed the history of the Dwarfs of Horn Hold and the Wood Elves of Bloodroot Forest.
You can find it on its own page above or by clicking here.
It’s an epic tale that goes back thousands of years, interspliced with “real” Warhammer history and following the dark story of hatred and vengeance between two of the greatest warriors of their respective nations.
I’ll be following this up soon with rules for the two Special Characters but for now, sit back and settle in for a long read.
This has been a very difficult but rewarding journey for me and I very much hope you enjoy it.
And get a load of this magnificent model! How cool is that!?!?!

There will be more about him in the near future...

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

On the Painting Table: Chaos War Hounds

My next unit is complete for my Beastmen army. Chaos War Hounds!

I suddenly remembered I'd bought some of these for my Necropolis game and based them on coins. I still want to use them for that (where they appear as Ghoul Hounds) but it struck me that I could put them on a movement tray and use then as they are. And they look fine. They even have a nice staggered look that agrees with me.

When I made them I was careful to fill the gap down the length of the body with powdered Multi-purpose filler. I didn't want to use the horns (as I was going for a non-demonic thing at the time) so I filled the holes too.

As far as colour, I went through three shades of progressively lighter grey before reaching white for the upper highlight. Fur looks really nice in white and I'm pleased with the result.

Now annoyingly, these don't count toward my minimum core unit limit with is a particular problem considering I have so many Rare choices already. But they look good and they fill a gap in the army list.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Tactical Review: On the Plains near Spikehole


I gave Tim a whooping!  A whooping that won’t be forgotten for a long time (at least by me anyway).
The Skaven are fast becoming my second favourite army they are durable, tough and quick.  With a unit of Gutter Runners they are a match for anyone I think.  The plague furnace was truly epic and it wiped out a horde of zombies in one turn of combat, creating a truly awesome +25 combat resolution in my favour.  I love these little rat men.  To be fair both Tim and I played really well, we both rolled well and Tim’s magic was always a threat it was just the number of Skaven far outweighed that of the Undead. 
Chuffing ‘eck! I got my ass kicked but good there! Why does this keep happening to me?
Could it be because I am a terrible player? Maybe…
So what did I do right? And what wrong?
 First of all I utilised my Black Coach, Vargulf and Cairn Wraiths well. They worked well together and with the addition of Vanhel’s Danse Macabre giving rerolls to hit and Always Strikes First, they did me very proud.
In the centre and at the other side of the battle things did not go well, but I’m not sure how I would have acted differently – even now. Mike’s Plague Furnace unit was unbeatably good and I found myself playing fearfully around it. His Skaven leadership values, enhanced by their rank bonus withstood my fear and I got nowhere near as many spells off as I could have done with. I was experimenting with the lesser used spells available which meant I wasn’t summoning extra zombies so much. That certainly would have helped me I think.
This was the first game we’ve played where the Skaven really had a horde, but at 3,000 points, the Vampire Counts didn’t have any more troops than usual. The extra points were swallowed up by Nagash, meaning I was overwhelmed on numbers.
At 700 points, Nagash is a tricky model to have. I’ve been using the excellent stats on Zombie Squig’s Dark Hordes of Nagashizzar site but he has failed me twice in a row now. Partly this is due to inexperience on my part but maybe his points need tweaking a bit. Also, although powerful characters are cool, I always wonder whether it would be better to have 175 zombies or 87.5 skeletons.
In this battle, Nagash was doing well actually. He got killed through the extra wounds caused by combat resolution in a double combat. If he hadn’t been in combat alongside a unit of zombies he would have been fine because he did very well himself. A lesson learned for the future.
I want to keep using Nagash from time to time but the need to play 2,800 point games when I do and the limitations he imposes can be annoyingly limiting.
With only two Vampire Counts armies left I have to play it safe from now on I think.

Monday, 21 February 2011

On the Plains near Spikehole

Skaven (Mike) vs Vampire Counts (Tim)
Calamity was befalling the Undead Nation.
When Fortress Malefic had fallen to the Skaven the strength of the Vampire Counts within the Border Princes was severely weakened. Although the greater strength of their armies lay hundreds of miles away to the south in the Land of the Dead, without a stronghold to act as a staging post and strategic headquarters, full scale war was not tenable. Worse, the Vampire Counts were soon going to run out of time. With supply lines disrupted there was only so long before the armies of the Vampires could no longer support themselves.
However Nagash had a plan that he had already been manoeuvring towards. Calling on his Tomb King allies for support, the Vampire Counts would launch an all but simultaneous assault to both retake Fortress Malefic and capture Spikehole, the Skaven capital. In these actions, the Vampires would not only cripple the Skaven forces but triple their own power. With the support of the legions of the Tomb Kings there was no stopping them.
With his southern armies marching on Fortress Malefic commanded by Rebecca, Nagash himself led a vast horde of shambling zombies and creeping ghouls toward Spikehole.

But the vicious ratmen knew of their approach. They had long anticipated it and prepared for it, bolstering their forces with reinforcements. And the Skaven did not wait for the Vampire Counts to arrive. A gargantuan army of ratmen scampered from the depths of Spikehole and formed ranks in the marshy fields before it: a larger army of Skaven than had ever been seen before within the Border Princes.
The armies met, locking in battle quickly, and Nagash’s powerful minions immediately seized the initiative: a mighty Vargulf bounding forward to rip into the enemy ranks, the deadly Black Coach speeding alongside it and eerie Cairn Wraiths gliding nearby. As they tore into the rats, Nagash confidently summoned his powerful magic while ordering his zombies forward. He laughed, knowing his period of weakness was over.

But the laugh crackled and fragmented as he saw the Skaven Plague Furnace plough into the huge unit of zombies. The corrosive fumes coming from the censers, coupled with the frenzied attacks of the Plague Monks ripped the zombies apart far faster than the vampires and Nagash could bring them back. And the Skaven were doing so much damage, the unnatural instability of the zombies was causing them to break up. In seconds, almost fifty zombies were obliterated by the Plague Furnace and its deadly worshippers as the Plague Priest onboard screeched in triumph.

And while this was happening, Clanrats and Gutter Runners were hacking undead limbs from their bodies; giant rats crawling all over the remains. Suddenly Nagash realised that he might not win; suddenly he realised he could not risk himself: he had to fight more cautiously; avoid being locked in combat with the Plague Furnace and its unbreakable troops.

The Vargulf, Cairn Wraiths and Black Coach were still slaying more than their share of ratmen but across the rest of the battlefield the army was being wiped out. And then worse: almost indomitable by himself, Nagash was brought down – not through wounds and combat but by the same instability that had crippled his zombies. Overwhelmed by numbers, he could no longer maintain his corporeal form and had to slip way on the dark magic winds.
And without Nagash, the entire army started to crumble.
Instantly the battle was lost, and worse, within minutes the army of the Vampire Counts was utterly annihilated; wiped from the map as though they had never been.
And with them all hope.
Nagash would reform – he could not be so easily defeated – but the loss of one third of his armies was devastating. More than anything, the Vampires needed to capture a capital fortress. Not only had they failed but now they only had two armies remaining. Their chances of maintaining any presence at all within the Border Princes, with nowhere to generate new forces now, were now close to zero.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Total Balls Up

Orcs (Gill) vs Tomb Kings (Tim)

The Tomb Kings had been mauled badly by the Spider King’s Chittering Horde but they remained one of the greater powers within the Border Princes and their implacable surge north continued, moving closer and closer to Gaping Jaw, the Orc capital and home of Bull Rogue, the towering Warboss.
In the western part of the Devil’s Pathway they controlled all land as far north as the Old Silk Road and it was here, at the road itself, where they met their enemy.
And from the very first moments it began to go horribly wrong.
The Tomb Kings had concentrated their troops into a narrow frontage in the hopes of engaging the Orc army piecemeal, but the concentration was too great. As they started to march forwards, the ranks became snarled, one unit getting in the way of another. Added to this, the proximity to the old wall that ran along the edge of the road hemmed them in, making manoeuvring almost impossible.

Quick off the mark, the Orcs swept forward, closing the pincer on the undead faster than could be reacted to.
The Tomb King Hierophant stalked behind the lines, utilising his immense magical power but there was only so much he could do. Magically moving his forces was useless in such a snarled narrow pass and then Phallicbone, the Orc Shaman, brought down pummelling magical force from the heavens. Narrowly surviving, the Hierophant managed to conceal himself in the midst of a regiment of Skeletons but disaster! Riding his towering War Wyvern, Bull Rogue crashed into the earth only feet away as the rest of the Orc horde closed and hacked the Liche High Priest into splintered bone.

Once again, the Tomb Kings were balked, their forces thrown back… and the Orcs were triumphant.
The Tomb Kings were not as implacable as they had believed. And the Orcs were becoming more and more the greater power.

Friday, 18 February 2011

March of the Orcs

And for no other reason than that I took these pictures and they're there, here for your viewing pleasure, please find some pictures of a lot of Orcs (but not all the ones I own) walking down a road.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Tactica: Tomb Kings!

For more Tactics articles, click here.

So I just finished rebasing my entire Tomb Kings army – quite a task… but an enjoyable one. There were a lot of damaged skeletons and I ended up increasing the size of a couple of units at the same time but I really like the way they look on the new bases. It’s a real contrast to the bone and I think they’re one of my nicer armies now.
Let’s take a look at both the models and some Tomb King Tactics:
The Casket of Souls is an interesting piece on the battlefield. If it is "cast" successfully it can do tremendous damage to low leadership armies... unless they roll well. In my experience, the threat of it can be as powerful as its actual effects. Opponents will hold back dispel dice to make sure it doesn't work and sometimes deploy their entire army in a terror-stricken attempt to avoid getting a look at it. The benefit to magic is that you can get through a lot of other spells that the opponent ignores while waiting for the dreaded casket.
Deploying the Screaming Skull Catapult alongside it is handy because the Liche Priest casn use his incantations to have it fire twice.
Fighting against Tomb Kings, I find the best way to battle against it is to just ignore it for deployment and movement purposes. I hold back 2 dispel dice (which added to my magic level of 4 usually does the trick). Don't forget they have sunk a lot of points into it and you can use the same amount of points to kick ass.

Ah, now the Liche Priests... The one pictured here on the left by the way is a conversion I did YEARS ago for my Mordheim warband. He looks pretty angry.

The rules for Liche Priests are the most broken rules in Warhammer. One way is in the Tomb Kings favour. The other isn't.

If a Liche Priest Hierophant is killed the entire army crumbles. And they are far too easy to kill. Put him in a unit and an enemy charger can allocate attacks against the priest with no way to avoid it. Leave them out and spells and sneakiness will generally catch them eventually.
On the other hand, because Liche Priests don't use Power Dice, unlike other armies, having more wizards isn't a limiting factor. In my 3,000 point army I have magic users: four liche priests, two princes, a tomb king, two units with bound items and a casket of souls. My opponent still only has a maximum of siz basic dispel dice. That means I can overload on magic and completely overwhelm my enemy. There's no way they can prevent even half of what I want to get through.
But that doesn't protect my Hierophant so I still get my asss kicked.

I need to be careful here or this article will be less Tactica: Tomb Kings and more Gripe: Tomb Kings. But the new edition Fear rules have terrifically undercut the power of undead armies. Seems there was a time when Fear was chiefly the province of the undying ones but nowadays Fear-causing units are cropping up everywhere. Since the Tomb King army book came out we have two new entire armies that cause fear in the shape of Daemons and Ogres. Something needed to be done I guess. Shame it went so far.
Having said that, fear is still semi-useful, forcing the opponent (if they fail; a leadership test ) to fight with Weapon Skill 1.
Here’s the tactical advice. Ready? Don’t forget to make your opponent make the fear checks. The number of times I have done that makes me cringe with shame and disgust.
We have a Tomb King here and (what I use as) a Tomb Princess below. Their incantations can be extremely useful. Tomb Kings are extremely slow. They can’t march but incantations can get them going quick enough. The thing to go for here, I think, is to remember that they are a close combat army. And they can be resurrected. Get them into combat, set up some surprise magic phase charges, and bring them back to life in a slow war of attrition. You can also get sneaky, using the movement phase for a reform and the magic phase for further movement or a good charge.

The Screaming Skull Catapult can be very very cool IF you remember the panic tests that opponents have to make if wounded (possibly with -1 to the roll if you paid for Skulls of the Enemy). As I mentioned, placing it next to magic users can get it an extra shot in the magic phase. I don’t have any but archers follow the same principle of course.

Heavy Horsemen. First problem: they aren’t all that heavy. At all. Compared to really heavy cavalry like Empire knights. They are relatively fast though so work well as flankers, giving a supporting charge on an existing combat where your otherwise crap troops can get a helping hand.
Notice I’ve got a very weird unit layout. I thought long and hard about this. Eight come in the box which is no good for a rank bonus anyway. Even if it had been ten, in my experience at least one cavalry model gets killed before combat resolution so you lose the rank bonus anyway. In that case, having a wide enough frontage to get maximum attacks seems in order with a couple of spares behind to cover casualties. Don’t forget, horses don’t get supporting attacks from the back rank, so points are a bit wasted on them if you aren’t careful.

Light Horsemen are best, I find, for doing a bit of shooting – with some extra shorts courtesy of your friendly neighbourhood Liche Priest or Tomb King. Do remember that they count as Fast Cavalry- so they get their free 12” move after deployment; and because they can shoot in two ranks it’s possible to deploy them in quite a narrow unit, as I’ve done here (also I only had six).
On a side note, look how cool that champion is, rearing up on his horse. He is actually also an old Mordheim character of mine… named Gregory if you’re interested. 

Tomb Guard are tough, and (if you don’t cheat like I did and use the armoured skeletons from the normal set) they’re lovely miniatures.
Being an expensive elite unit you need to make sure they earn their points back. With Killing Blow, going after enemy elite is the way to go here. Hit them hard and heal them back.

Tomb Swarms aren’t amazingly tough. But they are rather annoying for your opponent. Because you deploy them as a marker at first where they might turn up, like the Casket, that can be a good dose of psychological torture for the enemy. And they can charge on the turn they appear.
Having said that, on a misfire, nasty things can happen. I tend not to use them unless I have the points spare.

I do love these guys. They’re my favourite unit. I give them the self-healing banner and pop in a Tomb Princess on a chariot. The model there is a very old Undead Rhino that I’ve converted by adding a Lahmian Vampire Countess sitting side-saddle on the edge of the howdah.
The key things to remember here are the bow shots and the fact they also count as fast cavalry. This is a rule I didn’t spot for many a year but it gives a lot of freedom of movement and a nice Vanguard move at the start of the game. 

As far as deployment goes, my current tactics revolve around the following:

Stick the casket of Souls in the centre of the board and the slower units to its side. Then the faster units. The entire other side of the board is empty. By deploying from the centre outwards, your opponent won’t necessarily realise you’re using the Refused Flank.
Stick the Catapult and any archers close to the Casket Liche Priest.
Placing of the Hierophant is the trickiest bit and here I can’t help you. Roving behind the units on horseback providing magic where needed? Watch out for spells that can target any unit! Inside a unit? Watch out for charging units that don’t make challenges! If they challenge, you can hide in the back rank. If they don’t they can allocate attacks freely on your guy and pretty much win the game!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

On the Painting Table: Beastmen Giant

When I set out to paint my Beastmen giant (originally a toy from Papo) I had a bit of a quandary because the original colour scheme was already really nice. Having said that I knew that if I was going to be using a toy as a proxy, it would look a bit lame if I just stuck it on the base as was. But I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to meet and (hopefully) beat the original colour scheme if I redid it.

In the end though, I gave it a shot. Rather than starting from black I actually painted over the existing colours, slowly transforming it into a creature of my own design. I began with a brown ink wash over the fur before highlighting it gradually back up with bronzed and then elf flesh. I’m really pleased with the effect but it’s a bit too subtle to be appreciated in these pictures unfortunately.

He’s a different look than might be expected from a Beastmen giant but I like that about him. I’m planning to write him into my background as a unique character, a dark lord of the Beastmen grown to massive proportions (rather than the usual blundering beast). I’m also planning to reWORD the giant rules for my own satisfaction, so that they have the same game effects but reflect his imagery and weapons more accurately.

So Yell and Bawl becomes Roar. Pick up and... might become Devour, etc. I’ll play around with it until I’m happy but the basic rules, points and stats won’t change.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Rage of the Brutish Horde of Bull Rogue

In the early days of the war, the Orcs and Goblins had been battered; floundering under assault from all sides.
Now things were different.
They had won every single battle in recent times and now their ranks were swelling, the Waaagh energy coursing through the land, drawing more and more Orcs to battle. In the south, close to the easternmost tip of the Black Gulf, the Legion of the Spider King was sweeping the Tomb Kings before them. In the north, the bigger Orcs had already smashed away the front line of the Dwarfs. No army could defeat them.
Or so it seemed.
In the foothills of the Vaults, the bitter war between the Dwarfs and the Orcs was continuing, the front expanding and contracting as the Orcs pushed north. The Brutish Horde of Bull Rogue, primary warboss of the Orcs and Goblins of the Border Princes, was massing, concentrating its power into a grand assault across a broad plain.
The Dwarfs of Horn Hold were waiting however.
Rows of Thunderers and Quarrellers opened fire at the approaching horde, cannons – both conventional and flame – powering death into the greenskin ranks. First one, the two giants were decapitated by howling cannonballs. Another cannon shattered a pair of onrushing wolf-drawn chariots into splinters before they could do any harm.
But still the Orcs came.

The mighty Thanes of the Dwarfs stepped forward, girding their troops for battle, and as the orcs roared into close combat they stepped forward to meet them.
Dwarf axe clashed with Orc choppa; snarling, biting, clubbing, slashing: the Orcs’ and Dwarfs’ hatred pushing them to never before seen levels of brutality.
But the Orcs were winning. Insufficient damage had been done by the missile fire, even though it had been truly devastating. There was no time even for a heroic last struggle.
The Orcs swept over the Dwarfen lines, leaving not even a single survivor.
And pushed on north toward Karak Hirn itself!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

On the Painting Table: Chaos Spawn

Building a brand new army can be a daunting task and it’s very tempting to splash out initially on expensive units to quickly accelerate toward a playable points total.
This can lead to problems though.
I currently own a Doombull and a Beastmen battalion – none of which are completed, while I’m well on the way to overfilling up my Rare allotment. Rare troops can only be a maximum of 25% of the total points. The real restriction here, especially on a new army is that I need to have at least as many points in Core as I have in Rare – but that means painting a heck of a lot of infantry models, that right now I can’t be bothered to do.
But who cares. For now, I’m just enjoying what I’m doing. It’ll become a playable force eventually.
Here are my first completed models: Chaos Spawn.

I bought these models in a 40k Apocalypse boxed set. I own 10 of them, but of course the army restriction prevents me having more than four in an army under 3,000 points.
They’re nice models and I particularly like the background: devotees of the Chaos Gods who have been gifted one too many times with mutation and are now mewling mindless monsters.
Next up is going to be a giant. And just wait until you see him. He isn’t a GW model but he is kind of cool. I’ll unveil him when he’s done. For now, imagine the combination of giant... and lion.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

New "Chaos" Dwarfs from Mantic!

Click here for more Chaos Dwarf articles.

The new Abyssal Dwarfs will soon be available from Mantic Games, which make me, for one, very excited. Coinciding with Chaos Dwarfs being released soon from Warhammer Forge, this is an exciting time to love little men (in more ways than one). I’ve already added the Chaos Dwarf capital to my new campaign map.
There are several units about to be released, most of which are pretty darn cool. Let’s have a look at them.
The first unit we have are the Black Souls. These seem to be the basic warriors and I have to say I am liking them. Mantic have a reputation for producing some really nice GW-compatible miniatures for reasonable prices (the zombies are amazing) and these seem to be in line with that. I don’t like everything mantic have produced but I’ll definitely be getting these.
Next up are the Decimators for a bit of long range support. Again, they’re pretty nice. I wasn’t quite so sure about the mouth on the leader but it’s starting to grow on me.

The Immortal Guard are an elite unit. Several of my friends aren’t too keen on the mantic Abyssal Dwarfs but I don’t know why. They’re great!

Apart from this. I’m afraid I’m not a fan. But we can’t have everything. I plan to fill my army with these guys and use the occasional expensive but fantastic model from Warhammer Forge.
But what about rules?
Warhammer Forge will be releasing rules in the upcoming Throne of Chaos book , but in the meantime there is a great fan-written army book available HERE. In fact on this site is an amazing array of different army books for obscure Warhammer armies like Araby, Cathay and Amazons.

Click here for more Chaos Dwarf articles.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Tactical Review: Vengeance of the Chittering Horde


Well… I am loving my spider goblin army!
The Spider King has the magic weapon that increases several of his stats (WS,S,I as I recall) and I find him to be very cool. I love the spider imagery and I really cannot wait for the new gigantic spider coming out with the new Orcs & Goblins army book in March. Having a horde of 50 spiders with “netters” is a lovely durable unit that does a lot of damage. If only the second one had made it into combat.
But what would I have done differently?
On the right side of the field I cleaned up but the chariots and Tomb Guard proved very tough. For a more decisive victory I guess I would have thrown more flanking forces in to drag them down on combat resolution.
The main thing that I would do differently though is to communicate better with my opponent. Poor old Mike had to put up with four Goblin chariots that had the rules and points cost for three wolves and four goblins but looked on the table like this:  

These were inherited from a friend and in the comfort of my home I pay the points for, and use them as the beefed up versions. I did tell him in the first turn but pre-deployment would have been better. Sorry Mike!
All in all, a very enjoyable ass-kicking game.


Well I took the field with the Tomb Kings for the 2nd time.  I had the knowledge of the magic this time and had the Casket of Souls of course – which just meant that Tim kept back 2 dice every magic phase so that he could dispel this, as he also had a level 4 Shaman. 

The problem that I found was that I was completely outnumbered from the start.  The core Tomb King army is pretty weak and with WS 2 it’s difficult to make inroads into the opposition.  The Casket of Souls is completely useless if you can’t open the blooming thing and for the points cost you could have another couple of core units. 

I don’t like the Tomb Kings, the magic is next to useless against a magic heavy army and the movement is pathetic.

However Tim played a really good game. He utilized his quick-moving chariots and gave me a thorough spanking.

And I do love a good spanking.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Vengeance of the Chittering Horde

Spider Goblins (Tim) vs Tomb Kings (Mike)
When last they met, as the Tomb Kings had tried to batter their way into the centre to form a bridge between their realm and that of the Vampire Counts, the Forest Goblins of the Sleeping woods had ravaged their lines, routing them. And there it might have ended.
But the Spider King wanted more.
At first it had been about the Tomb Kings invading their lands along the banks of the river, but now he had a thirst for the clatter of brittle bones shattering under his sword and the swords of his minions.
The Tomb Kings were withdrawing through the hills toward their fortress at Barak Varr to prepare for a new assault, but the sound of hairy skittering legs came down on the wind. Behind them, across the hill line, appeared hundreds of chittering spiders; and after a pause, they surged down the slope.

The Tomb Kings reformed their line to meet them, preparing their incantations for the coming assault but the King raised his mummified hand to bid them stay. He wanted to lure the Goblins in so that they fell under the evil light of the Casket of Souls. As he’d hoped, sections of the Goblin advance fell to bickering, slowing their progress, but the wolf and boar chariots charged forward, impacting hard against the chariots of the Tomb Kings. At the other side of the field the Spider King led his Spider Riders hard into the deep ranks of a unit of skeleton spearmen. More chariots smashed into them as well and in moments, the skeletons were smashed to their components.
The Tomb Guard marched forward to meet fifty crawling giant spiders, hacking them down with their tomb blades but there were so many, there was no way they could hold out for long.
The Tomb King’s gambit of holding back so that the casket could do its magic wasn’t working. Phallicbone, the Orc Shaman kept his focus on it, using his magic to hold the lid closed. Devastatingly powerful though it was, the Casket could do nothing if the souls trapped within could not escape.
Then the Spider King and his horde of gigantic spiders slammed into the side of the casket, snapping the bones of the Casket Guards and pulling the Liche Priest upon it of his plinth. They surged past it, overtaken by a chariot that crashed into the Liche High Priest who was maintaining his army through the power of his will and kept on going, the goblins howling with glee as they effectively crippled the Tomb King force.
A towering giant reached down into the front rank of a unit of skeleton swordsmen and plucked up the Tomb King himself, just as the king bravely stepped forward to meet him. Requiring a supply of tooth picks, the giant shoved the king into his bag so he could break him up later and use his bones.
Meanwhile on the other flank however, the Tomb Guard and Tomb Princess on her Rhino chariot were holding strong. The cowardly goblins were fleeing from them piecemeal and even  the mighty horde of spiders were being taken apart.

But it was not enough and it was far too late.
The Spider King and all his spiders swept round and descended on the survivors from all sides, many of them still lagging behind, yet to come to battle; still bickering.
The Tomb Kings were routed once more and now they were perilously close to Barak Varr. Suddenly the Goblins had a chance to not only fight back against the undead, but possibly defeat them.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Tactical Review: The Deserted Town of Cleft Falls


This game had two firsts for me. 

1.       Setting the game board up.
2.       Playing Tomb Kings.

Although Tim explained how Tomb King magic worked several times and gave me a crib sheet he’d written several hours before the game I still found it a bit tricky, and because he had a magic-heavy army I only managed to get one incantation cast all game.  I don’t blame Tim though. He’d never played Tomb Kings under the new rules so was expecting me to get more off and is already talking about me having a lot more magic in our next game. I know how committed he is to his opponent's getting a fair shake and I did have more points than he did! He was also very sorry that he hadn't explained it as well as he could have. He shouldn't be so hard on himself though. I know he always does his best to give me a good game. Still onwards and upwards as they say. 

The scenario was pretty simple, kill the good guys!  My only problem was getting close enough and being unable to march was beginning to cause problems.  The Empire was magic heavy and immediately took out a chariot and a rank of skellies, fortunately my catapult managed to find the range and splat one wound for the lady magic user.  You should have seen Tim’s face! It was a picture that his precious lady (with the big cleavage) was nearly flattened like a pancake.

I think it was round 3 that I managed to attack a building that Tim occupied, I managed to win that and subsequently make them panic on the following turn after another round of successful combat.  In round 4 I managed to get my Tomb Guard into close combat, again they won and caused the enemy to flee.   On the other side of the table my Tomb Priestess was slain by Marcus von Drak along with the remaining chariot. 

The game was completed at the end of round 6 with Tim’s long swords not moving a single inch and his multi-shot mounted unit causing little or no damage all game.  Somehow I managed a victory on a swing of 35-40 victory points towards the mighty Tomb Kings but in reality it was a hard fought draw.

Tim will be drawing up a tactica for the long swords and the multi shot mounted unit on how not to play them.  I think it will be a funny read as this is the second time that a) the long swords haven’t done anything and b) the multi shot mounted unit haven’t been used effectively.  He can’t be blamed for that though. We changed the scenario objective after he’d deployed and he was following advice from a tactics article he’d read.


Well… I feel as though I really haven’t cracked Empire.

The challenge with an army that has shooting and assault elements is knowing when to commit the close combat units. Too early and they can get in the way of the shooting but too late and they become a stupid waste of points. Or maybe they should be committed straight away.  Who knows? I certainly don’t.

I’ve read quite a few tactics articles that suggest holding in place while shooting then counter-charging. Obviously there is an elusive subtlety to this that I have yet to master.

Practice is what I need I think and lots of it; but next time I think I will send my combat troops forward and flank-deploy my shooters… see how that goes.

Meanwhile, I was happy with the magic balance. A fourth level fire wizard is amazing and backed up by a second level beasts wizard would have been great too if I’d managed to get off my Transformation of Kadon spell. Unfortunately I kept going for the more powerful version and kept failing the roll.

Maybe next time.

This was a particularly good game where it was unclear, even when we finished, who had won. That’s how it should be.

Actually, after a recalculation I've just realised that killing Mike's general tipped the balance over into a victory for me so perhaps I should take all this back.