Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Fantasy Warriors Battle Report #5

It's that time once again, time to break out the minis and have a good ol' fashioned bloodbath (in plastic and metal, of course).

We were once again using our tricked out 1,250 point armies, which I'll detail after the report. I'm quite happy with the new incarnations of our armies--they tend to produce much closer games. The last game saw the Orcs win a Pyrrhic victory against the Dwarves--could I do better this time? Or would the little bearded freaks get the better of me? Read on...

Using a post over on the FU_UK Fantasy Warriors forum as a base, I had cooked up some new scouting rules for this game. The rules in the book are too restrictive, we felt, and frankly not very realistic. Too "gamey", I suppose. The rules are reproduced in full at the end of this report, but in essence they involve rolling a handful of dice and totalling 'em up. Certain elements in your army give you bonus dice, increasing your odds of a high total. Highest total outscouts, or outmaneuvers, as per the rulebook.

As it was, my wizard and wolf-riders gave me two bonus dice and I managed to outscout the Dwarves, although just barely. I set up a table fraught with obstacles in my opponent's deployment zone. A marsh on one flank, a wooded hill in the middle, and a patch of rocky ground on the other flank. A river snaked across the field of battle, crossed by two bridges. I improvised a weighted table (also reproduced below) to determine the river's strength, which came up "4".

Des decided to roll and try to get rid of the marsh and the rocky ground. Dice were rolled and the rocky ground was history. Due to modular nature of my boards, we couldn't remove the board entirely, so we agreed the rocky area would just be cosmetic and not affect movement.

I decided to check the omens--Des declined, claiming the Dwarves are above superstition--and...they came up Good!I steepled my fingers confindently and watched Des set up.

She decided to anchor her left flank against the table edge, setting most of her army on the extreme left of the board. Her Knights held the center and, on the other side of the wooded hill, her speardwarves guarded the extreme right flank.

I set up my forces accordingly, essentially splitting them into two wings. One wing, consisting of my trolls, an archer unit, and a unit of warriors would take on the speardwarves on the flank and try to turn it. The rest of my army would march up and engage the bulk of the dwarves, pinning them.

After we set up I observed that yet again it looked like we were not going to use a whole third of the table. I think in the future, at least until our armies' next growth spurt, I'll lobby for a 4'x4' setup instead of 6'x4'. Increases the choices in modular tiles, at the very least...

One other thing: we were getting a fairly late start on the game, so we agreed on an artificial end time three hours hence. As it turned out, the game ended of its own accord with 15 minutes to spare, so it all worked out in the end.

For orders, I set all my commands on Attack. It's in my archers' best interest to try and get within short range anyway. The time had come up as the first phase of day, so there was no point in trying to wait for the night. I'd just have to do my best with the Bad Light.

Des, for the first time, gave her troops the "classic" Dwarf Army order combo: Hold for infantry and Oppose for missile units. Nonetheless, she kept forgetting she couldn't move her troops throughout the battle and was feeling very frustrated by the Hold order, despite the morale bonus it provides. This, combined with her jealousy of all the units I get to field (no matter how poorly they might perform in contrast to her Elites) led me to observe at one point that maybe she'd be better suited for a more proactive army, like Barbarians. She ruefully agreed, but reaffirmed her love for her Dwarves all the same.

So here's the setup at the beginning of the game:

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(A note on photography: I was playing with settings throughout the evening, as the lighting in our "game room" isn't that great. After the first picture I started fiddling with exposure times, which helped, but, since I'm not a human tripod, made for some slightly blurry shots. Apologies in advance.)

My army moved out across the board. The Dwarven crossbows had been set up on the left flank, with two units out front and the third in reserve. My wolfriders fell under crossbow volleys almost immediately, but weathered the barrages intact (not for lack of potential kills--if my wolfies hadn't had their Saves, they would've been annihilated the first turn).

Here we see a shot from behind the Orc lines looking towards the bulk of the Dwarf army. Orcs pour across a bridge in the foreground as my Warchief and Wizard look on; meanwhile, my wolfriders crest a small rise in the background.

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The two crossbow units emptied their boltcases into my wolfriders, eventually felling two of them. As my boys drew to within charging distance, the missile units withdrew, making for the wooded hilltop, as the reserve crossbows moved up, readying their weapons. Here I paused to remove a Shaken counter my wolves had picked up, allowing the Dwarven murder machines one more round of shooting. I gritted my teeth as another wolf went down; I would have my revenge soon...

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Meanwhile my trolls smashed into the speardwarves on the far right flank after some ineffectual shooting from my Rabble Archers. Dwarves started disappearing like popcorn, but they refused to budge. Clearly I was in for a fight to the finish.

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(A note about archers: I'm seriously thinking about dropping missile troops from my army. My Rabble Archers' only hope of hitting during bad light is to get within short range--six inches!--and even then they only hit on 6s. Regular archers would've been only a little better, hitting on a 5 or 6 at short range or 6 at long. Combine this with the weak power of the bow against the heavily armored stunties, and you have a recipe for a whole lotta nothin'.)

Another view of the battlefield as the Orcs begin to contact the Dwarf army:
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My wolfriders finally made contact with the third crossbow unit and sent it fleeing, but not before it had killed the last wolfrider, leaving only my mounted battle leader. However, an interesting opportunity presented itself as the crossbow unit routed--I had a clear path to the Dwarven warchief.

In the center, my other unit of warriors charged the knights atop the wooded hill and began dying in large numbers, gradually whittling away at the humans in the process, just like a good Orc unit should. ;)

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My mounted battle leader charged the warchief as my spear unit prepared to charge the "bearded buzzsaw", aka the dwarven axe units. The battle truly could go either way.

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As it turned out, the battle hinged on the fight between our leaders. We each inflicted two kills, and each only saved one. Both leaders died, so both armies were due for a Command Test. Of course, the Dwarves were worse off, since they'd just lost their warchief, and the dice rolls reflected this. My whole army (helped in part by the Good Omens) stuck around, although the archer command became Disorganized. The Dwarves, on the other hand, quit wholesale...

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...Well not quite. The allied Humans stood fast! Forming a desperate rearguard, drastically reduced in number, they fought on bravely. I turned my spear unit and charged it into the knights' flank. Attacked from two sides and desperately outnumbered, the brave warriors hacked left and right, splitting greenskin skulls and severing limbs with reckless abandon. The combat ended, we rolled our Combat Tests...and both Orc units routed!

I guess they figured with the battle pretty much in the bag there was no need to die needlessly fighting these crazy knights. The human allies had kept the Dwarf retreat from turning into a full-scale rout. We called the game at that point.

Victory points told the tale: I had won a "decisive" victory, but if the knights had not done what they did I could've had a "major" victory. Ah well. A win is a win. :)

Now for some details on our armies as they currently stand.

My army consists of three commands. I have one warchief, a battle leader, and a mounted battle leader (not pictured), plus a wizard:

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(The leaders are Ral Partha; the warchief has an awesome shield slung across his back with several severed hands nailed to the front. The wizard is Grenadier.)

The warchief commands the Rabble Archers (although maybe not for long...):

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The battle leader commands a unit of orcs with spears and two units of orc warriors, plus a unit of trolls. The warriors are reinforced with a full complement of specials: standard, musician, champion, and leader. The spears, who are upgraded to Veteran, currently have only a standard (a Black Tree Miniatures "half-orc"):

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A note on the shields. For the longest time my plastics lacked shields, having failed to glue them on back in the day. Thanks to em4 Miniatures, I was able to order some replacement shields, so both armies got kitted out properly. I sprinkled in a few GW "Goblin" shields among my orc warriors to add a slight tribal feel as well.

I was using Reaper Bull Orcs for my Trolls, but since the last battle I decided I wanted a more "traditional" Troll unit. Ral Partha came through, and I'm very pleased with the results--more sinewy musculature looks much more trollish, I think:

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The mounted battle leader personally commands a unit of four wolfriders that includes a standard and musician. Very much my army's "centerpiece" unit:

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And yes, that's a hand-painted Samhain logo on the standard bearer's shield. Orcs are totally metal, didn't you know?

Speaking of paint jobs, longtime readers of this blog will recall that all my plastics were originally painted by me when I was a wee lad; I came back and added a wash and some highlights, but kept the basic color schemes. As a sort of tribute to this, I've kept all later paintjobs very simple, along with the basing, which is just simple flocking. The Samhain logo was a bit of my current painting stylings creeping in, but on the whole I think I've done a good job keeping things "back to basics".

The Dwarf army is about half the size of my Orcs, partly owing to the fact that every unit has been upgraded to Elite!

A dwarf warchief and battle leader share command responsibilities with a human allied leader:

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(All three figures are Ral Partha. Des wanted a matriarchal command structure!)

The warchief, like mine, commands the missile units, which, unlike mine, are deadly effective:

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The battle leader commands the infantry, a unit of speardwarves and two units of dwarves with double-handed axes:

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Right now the dwarf infantry can't afford too many specials. The speardwarves have a standard (who I actually painted for one of the axe units, thus the weird contrast in color scheme) and the axe units each have a leader.

The human allies consist of a mere five foot knights, but man do they pack a wallop!

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So that's how our armies look right now. Things are always subject to change, of course, but, like I said, the current configuration lends itself to pretty exciting battles.

Til next time!



Before the battle roll:
  • 1D for each command in your army (not counting mercenaries)
  • 2D for each Scout in your army
  • 1D for each Wizard in your army
  • 2D for each flying unit
  • 1D for each mounted unit
And add your Warchief's Leadership.
The side with the greater score has outscouted the enemy. If one side has a scouting score greater than twice that of the enemy, they have outmaneuvered them.
If the totals are tied, add the following modifiers:
  • +2 per Light Armored cavalry unit
  • +1 per Medium Armored cavalry unit
  • +1 per Light Armored infantry unit
Random River Strength Table
As any river with a mid- to high-level strength is nearly impossible to cross in FW, this table weights results towards the lower end of the scale.

Roll 1D:
1: Strength 1
2-3: Strength 2
4-5: Strength 3
6: Roll again...

Roll 1D:
1: Strength 4
2: Strength 5
3: Strength 6
4: Strength 7
5-6: Roll again...

Roll 1D
1-2: Strength 8
3-4: Strength 9
5-6: Strength 10
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