Monday, 27 February 2017

Clash of Kings Australia 1 - Game 5 - Ogres - 2017/02/27


In the first game of day two of the Australian Clash of Kings (and fifth game of the tournament in general) I had a pleasure to play against a veteran of Canberran wargaming scene - Tony. H has been attending the tournaments for last fifteen years and I played against his Orcs army once before. This time Tony brought Ogres that looked even meaner and more dangerous than the Orcs my Elves fought against before. And the reason for that was that the army was full of very dangerous shooters that could be quite good in melee too!

Ogres - Army List

6 Shooters, Horde, +1 to hit
- Army Standard with Boomstick
- Red Goblin Blaster
6 Boomers, Horde, Piercing
- Warlock, Lightning Bolts
- Mammoth
6 Boomers, Horde, Elite
- Warlock, Lightning Bolts
- Giant
6 Braves, Horde, +1 CS
- Warlock, Lightning Bolts

I always imagined that Ogres are hulking brutes that apply the direct force to win battles. They simply can hit so hard that if they landed one clear punch it could be enough to knock out the opponent unconscious. The army Tony brought to the table certainly reinforced that image, in particular from the point of view of my own force. It was yet another example of a battle that featured two armies with a significantly different styles and approaches to warfare so I was naturally very curious if I can offer a challenge for Tony's Ogres.

Let's have a look at the units in the army then:

6 Shooters - excellent range and Piercing (2) mean that it is difficult to stay out of range and whatever they hit they will certainly do some proper damage. With the artifact that adds +1 to hit they were quite good at hitting anyway and even if something was in cover the sheer amount of attacks should count too. The good thing for the opponent is they also have to Reload their weapons so landing in their flank zone should be a good idea for increasing chances of survival. 

They don't quite have a typical weakness of the shooting horde, i.e. being poor in melee. Even if one can send some fast unit to disrupt them, they can counter charge effectively. 

2 x 6 Boomers - another type of Ogre shooters, Boomers seem to be more flexible as they can keep maneuvering and not lose their ability to shoot. They can also be very good at getting rid of units that may be fast enough to avoid Shooters. These three units were the core of the army and if I could damage them that would help my own forces greatly.

I have learned before that I can potentially go for a shooting duel, provided I can focus my own fire on a single unit. As Boomers have shorter range than my units I may have a chance to hurt them before they can shoot. I was definitely looking for opportunities to do so in this game.

6 Braves - a very reliable unit that cannot be wavered. They may not be well armored for Ogre standards but they have tons of attacks so they can easily attempt frontal charges and wipe out units in a single round of melee. I definitely cannot allow them to do so and attacking them from a few directions is what I need in order to avoid deadly counter charges.

Red Goblin Blaster - a completely different type of a unit, the Blaster is a very annoying element for Ogres' opponents. They can be used to mess up with the enemy movement and to trigger the blast that can potentially harm a few units at the same time. I had to watch it carefully and hopefully shoot it down before it could do any damage.

Mammoth - this beast was a new enemy to tackle for me. A bit faster than Ogres, it further boosted the melee potential of the army. Good defense and nerve, good amount of attacks that can do a lot of damage. It would be more difficult to harm it due to narrower frontage but at least wider flank allowed for potentially deadly combined attacks. But first I would need to distract it from the front!

Giant - Giant is even tougher to bring down due to a very high nerve. Good in attack as with Strider the giant can pretty much ignore any penalties due to terrain. With smaller frontage it can maneuver easier. A bit randomness of the attacks numbers makes it less predictable in melee but it matters less if it attacks from the flank. Obviously, I would need to avoid that! Giants took a lot of effort to bring down so I would prefer to block it rather than fighting. 

3 x Warlocks - these three would bring even more ranged attacks to the fight and especially when close to Berserker Braves. Being Nimble allowed them to be very flexible in choosing targets for the Lightning Bolts too. They could easily focus their attention at a single target or spread the fire against three different ones, depending on the circumstances. At the same time they are the most fragile of the Ogres so one of the options was to shoot at them as soon as possible and eliminate them. 

Army Standard - a bit more of the shooting with the artifact and the only source of Inspire that affected any unit in the army (Warlocks inspire only Braves). More versatile as can add a few more attacks in melee too. But similarly to Warlocks, lower nerve made it a bit more vulnerable.

In general, I faced the army that had better ranged attacks even if some of them were of a shorter range. It had fewer elements than mine (11 vs 15) and only one source of inspire affecting all the army. Only two elements had defense 5+, the rest was 4+ so that was another thing I wanted to use against the Ogres. 

Deployment and Scenario

Armies ready for battle!

Deployment and allocated loot counters.

Knowing that if I get too close too soon I will be obliterated, I decided to stay out of range of all the Ogre units that had ranged attacks with the exception of the Shooters. I also wanted to have a bit of more space for maneuver and to see where the enemy deploys. That extra space would allow me to choose the flank where I would position all the loot tokens and to move units accordingly. So that I could intercept and slow down the advancing enemy and give the best chance for my Palace Guard troop that would get the loot.

I decided to give the tokens to the unit on the right as they would advance in the relative safety and covered by Drakon Riders and Storm Wind cavalry. At the same time I positioned the shooters to cover the center of the battle field as I anticipated that the middle token would be quickly taken by the Ogres. So I wanted to shoot at them when they advanced.

Tony spread his tokens a bit and that meant that I would need to focus on carrying my own treasure to his half first and then try to either block Giant or Braves from reaching mine or to snatch the middle one instead. I also wanted to use the right flank corridor to advance my fast elements quickly and to start harassing the Shooters.

I got the first turn again!

Outcasts - Turn 1

Advancing on both flanks.

Center pulls back a little.

Elves moved forward on both flanks but while on the left they approached the enemy in a shy way, on the right Drakon Riders moved forward at full speed. Only the Sea Guard could shoot but it was not successful in harming the Blaster.

Ogres - Turn 1

Ogres change formation.

The power of Ogres' shooting!

Although a bit surprised by Elven plan, Ogres adapted to the situation quickly. The Shooters aimed at the Storm Wind cavalry and despite the protective proximity of a hill, they got wavered! Warlocks turned to aim at the Drakons and inflicted quite a significant amount of damage to waver them too! That was quite a good round of shooting and the Boomers where not even adding their contribution.

Outcasts - Turn 2

Elves move forward even faster!

And shoot back too!

The abrupt stop of Drakon Riders and Storm Wind cavalry on the right was not what Elves expected but they had to act quickly to recover from that blow. First, Palace Guard regiment rushed forward to support the troops with the Loot.

Then entire center of the Elven battle line moved to bring their bows into range and shot at one of the unit of Boomers and inflicted enough damage to waver them!

Finally, Drakon Lord, Drakon Riders and Palace Guard troop all ignored the monsters on the left and moved fast to threaten the Ogres from a opposite direction.

Ogres - Turn 2

Warlocks clear the flank.

Ogres shift attention to the left.

Badly damaged Storm Wind and Drakon Riders where easy prey for the Warlocks and the Shooters who simply finished them off. That allowed the rest of the army to shift their attention to the left and Bommers wavered second unit of Drakon Riders.

At the same time Giant was happy to run with his loot towards the nearest pond as it seemed Elves where not interested in it at all.

Outcasts - Turn 3

Elves exploit the opening.

Elves attack through he center.

The situation looked grim for Elves as they lost some of the fast and hard hitting elements but they still had options and were determined to make the most out of them.

Wavered Drakons could only reform to cover the advance of the other units but it was all their companions needed. First, Palace Guard troop charged from the woods against the exposed flank of the already wounded Boomers and routed them!

Second, encouraged by the early success, all the Elven shooters aimed at the second unit of Boomers and routed them too! That was quite an unexpected turn of events and while the battle was far from over it definitely gave Elves some hope!

Ogres - Turn 3

Which way to go?

Ogres' Lightnings are still powerful!

Ogres suddenly had a big gap in their battle line and tried to patch it with the Braves attack that punished Palace Guard for their intrusion. Mammoth too charged grounded drakons and routed them. Warlock and Army Banner managed to pin down Drakon Lord too while the Shooters reformed to be ready to get rid of him soon.

Outcasts  - Turn 4

Elves press their advantage.

Elven shooters did it again!

Yet another unit, this time Braves, exposed the flank to the Elven attack and Storm Wind cavalry didn't waste their time to exploit that opportunity. However, they didn't rout the enemy and now had to face the retaliation.

In the meantime, Elven units moved forward, claimed the loot from the very center of the battle field and shot at the Shooters. Surprisingly, this unit was also routed as the Army Banner was too far to inspire them to be a bit more brave.

Last but not least, a few well placed fireballs stopped the Blaster in its tracks for a while that gave nearby Palace Guard time to move away.

Ogres - Turn 4

The battle enters decisive stage.

Warlocks fire at the Place Guard regiment

As expected, Berserker Braves routed Elven Knights very quickly and nearby Ogre heroes blasted Drakon Lord for good. Their companions were not that successful in harming Palace Guard regiment though.

Outcasts - Turn 5

Elves have the path to the enemy territory open.

Elves gain the advantage!

Elves exchanged blows with the Ogres and finally they had the chance to press the advantage and open the path to the enemy territory for good. Palace Guard charged one of the Warlocks while the other was shot at by the fast cavalry and Sea Guard. Both perished and the only element to stop Elves from reaching the objective was a lonely Red Goblin Blaster.

The War Chariots had a clear path to attack the wounded Braves and this time even the Berserkers could not hold the position. What is more, they also lost another loot piece!

Ogres - Turn 5

Warlock and Army Banner try to blast some fast cavalry.

With just a handful of elements left there was not much for Ogres to do apart from trying to blast the enemy with some Lightnings but this time fast cavalry held their ground.

Outcast - Turn 6

Army Banner is down!

Elves now decided to make sure nothing unexpected happens and finally finished off the Blaster and Army Banner of the Ogre army was also shot down.

The battle was decided but some more action was still to be seen.

Ogres - Turn 6

Fast cavalry is destroyed.

The last Warlock could not change the course of the battle anymore but he claimed yet another victim with his powerful spell.

Outcasts - Turn 7

Last charge of the War Chariots.

War Chariots charged the Warlock but somehow their attack was not as powerful as it usually could be and the Warlock survived the charge!

Ogres - Turn 7

Warlock moves to safety.

The Warlock used the opportunity and simply withdrew from the exhausted Elven troops, taking with him the only remaining beasts of the Ogre army. Time to get some reinforcements!


Turn-by-turn animation summary.

After-battle thoughts

I would like to thank Tony for yet another great game! He is a fantastic opponent and it is always a pleasure to play against him. Thanks, Tony!

I was very happy with the result of this game and I must admit I didn't quite expect I can pull it out. I played against Ogres before but not against such an amount of shooting. I was concerned with the fact that I may be too passive in such situation and still allow the Ogres to shoot many units down.

We had a little time to discuss the game after the last turn and Tony told me he didn't anticipate that I would position Palace Guard with the tokens on the right flank. That forced him to change the plan. I still made a mistake with that fast advance of my units as I forgot about the fact that Warlocks can actually move and cast spells and that the Drakons would be in range. What I could have done was to position Storm Wind on the hill and Drakons behind them so that at least the fliers would have not been affected.

I also think that it was a mistake to pull back the units turn 1. I could still move in and be out of range of the Boomers but be able to shoot. As my subsequent turns showed, if I could focus the fire on a single target I had a good chance of doing some significant damage. And that would also make decision making more difficult for Tony, as he would need to choose between many possible targets.

There is no doubt that a few mistakes resulted in some dramatic situations. For example, wavered Boomers missed small Palace Guard when reforming and allowed them to charge the flank. The same happened with the Braves and Storm Wind cavalry. Tony usually has a lot of time left in his games so I don't think the time pressure was the reason for such overlooks. Perhaps the fact I have few more and not looking that dangerous elements was a factor?

In addition the fact that his two powerful monsters, the Giant and the Mammoth were a bit shy in engaging in any melee helped me too. My understanding was that Tony wanted the Giant to secure the loot as he is tough to kill with defense 5+ and high nerve. But the Giant could still help once on my half of the table, especially when I risked a lot by ignoring him and trying to get rid of the shooters.

That means I still need to refine the plan as I am sure next time Tony will be prepared and I will have even harder nut to crack!

Thanks for reading!


  1. A lot of time and energy went into writing and drawing this all up - well done!

    1. Hi Beardy Hammer!

      Thanks a lot for stopping by and your comment. The report takes some time to prepare but I really like it. It is often the time when I can reflect on the battle and think about other options, not used during the game.

      If in addition it is entertaining read for other players, I am very happy!

  2. Great game!

    That is a very heavy shooting list. How big of a role did inspiring play in this match? I figure having 4 sources yourself helps against this type of build but I'm curious as to your opinion. Also very unusual to see only one inspiring source on his side. It seems like a risky build, but very powerful as well.

    Thanks for the report!

    1. Thanks Dan!

      I tried to keep sources of inspire close because I know my units are a bit fragile. However, I don't recall the situation when it actually mattered. He either wavered my units (drakon riders, lord or storm wind) or the damage was so big I could only hope for a lucky double 1's.

      Having said that I am glad I have Army Banners around as they can still be helpful with their Inspire. It just didn't work in this game.

      Ogres, on the other hand, seemed to be quite good in that department. I really had to focus the shooting to inflict enough damage. Of course, more sources of Inspire would have helped. The best example is with the Shooters, when I did some damage but I had to roll high to rout them. I was hoping for a lucky waver but they were gone. With Inspire nearby they would have most likely stayed.