Sunday 14 September 2014

Game 32 - Dwarves - 2012/07/01


Some time ago I was challenged by Dwarven player Targ Ironfist and we finally managed to meet on the battlefield (thanks to UB website :)). I had no idea what kind of army Targ likes to play with so I didn't make any in-depth battle plans before the game, trusting my limited experience with Dwarves should be enough. We rolled for scenario and ended up with Blood and Glory, with no modifications to the rules in the rulebook.

Army Lists and pre-battle considerations

Dwarves are always tough army to play against. The scenario rules made the situation even more difficult since capturing standards and killing characters is definitely not what Dwarves would let you get. As it turned out Targ has quite classic Dwarven force:

Dwarves - Army List

King with Shield Bearers
Runesmith, Rune of Spellbreaking
Battle Standard Bearer

30 Warriorrs, Great Weapons, Full Command
33 Hammerers, Full Command, Master Rune of Grungni
10 Quarrelers, Shields
16 Quarrelers, Great Weapons
10 Slayers

2 x Organ Gun
Cannon, Rune of Forging, Rune of Burning
Cannon, Rune of Forging


I hope I didn't make many mistakes in the army list. I don't have information about all the rules as not all of them needed to be revealed and since we will play a re-match Targ wanted to keep some surprises for me for the next game too. :)

Solid blocks of infantry, some crossbows for support (but these units also can fight well) and strong artillery meant that this time I had to storm a castle. Which is not exactly what my army likes the best, in particular because I didn't have many opportunities to do so often before. But also because the enemy can create tough formation and does not react much to my movement. No obvious gaps, deadly fire zone and tough warriors all it meant I needed some clever plan to get to the war machines before they thin down my troops or eliminate too many entirely.

Outcasts - Army List

My army was very similar to what I played with at Wintercon but with some little additions I was hoping to have a chance to test.

Archmage, Annulian Crystal - High Magic
BSB, Heavy Armor, Shield, Great Weapon, Dragon Helm, Reaver Bow

10 Archers, Light Armor, Musician
10 Archers, Light Armor, Musician
15 LSG, Shields, Full Command
15 LSG, Shields, Full Command

10 Swordmasters, Musician, Bladelord, Amulet of Light
10 Swordmasters, Musician, Bladelord, Talisman of Loec
10 White Lions, Musician, Standard, Banner of Eternal Flame
10 White Lions, Musician, Standard, Gleaming Pennant
5 Dragon Princes
5 Dragon Princes
5 Ellyrian Reavers
, Musician
5 Ellyrian Reavers, Musician

Great Eagle
Great Eagle

Some items seem to be useless against Dwarves, namely Crystal and Amulet but that is ok. This is my tournament army after all so I need to take into account situations like that. From previous games I knew my magic will be properly limited and shooting match might not be easy to win. 24" range of Organ Guns gave me some opportunities to maneuver in relative safety, at least in comparison to grudge throwers but eventually I would need to enter dead zone. I wanted to do that with as many units at the same time as possible or use some opportunities to charge with fast troops earlier.


Deployment of armies after vanguard moves

As predicted Dwarves assumed their famous castle formation with gyrocopter on the Eastern flank to intercept any light cavalry. Rocks in the middle of the battlefield provided hard cover. I wanted to use that to move my archers in and shoot at crossbows as well as have it as protection for my combat units who by necessity had to perform wide outflanking move. On the West I wanted to use both Sea guard units to kill some crossbows and help cavalry and eagle positioned there to achieve good position to attack artillery. And as soon as other regiments on the East are in position too - attack all at once.

Dwarves naturally won the roll-off and theirs was first turn.

Archmage had following spells: Curse of Arrow Attraction, Fury of Khain, Flames of the Phoenix, Vaul's Unmaking and was with Sea Guard positioned further to the East. BSB joined the other regiment.

In Dwarven Army BSB joined Hammerers, King was among his Warriors while Runesmith was alone nearby middle organ gun.

Dwarves - Turn 1
Dwarves do not move much

Dwarven army re-adjusted its formation slightly with only gyrocopter flying far to the Eastern flank. All war machines and quarrelers who had the enemy in range opened fire and as a result half of the unit of the sea guard and one great eagle perished.

Outcasts - Turn 1
Elves begin their outflanking move

Units in the center and on the Eastern flank moved forward with one Swordmaster unit performing rear guard duty in case the gyrocopter decided to go behind elven lines.

On the West units moved slowly, aware of deadly artillery. Sea guard and BSB aimed at small quarrelers unit but due to good armor and runic protection only 1 Dwarf died. Not exactly the reply Elves wanted to send.

Dwarves - Turn 2
Dwarves hold to their initial positions

With no need to change anything in their impenetrable formation, Dwarves move only a little. Warriors move backwards and King moves out of the unit to prevent any back door openings for swift elven cavalry. Ellyrian Reavers are also attacked by gyrocopter and lose 2 due to steam cannon but are not impressed and keep running towards the enemy lines.

Shooting match continues and this time sea guard warriors from another regiment are the target. They suffer some casualties too but hold on. Archers moved a little too much forward and entered the range of organ gun. Dwarven crew does not miss the opportunity and a few archers dies. One unit of Swordmasters could talk about luck when cannon ball arriving from their flank hits only single warrior before bouncing further.

Outcasts - Turn 2

Elves slowed down their advance
 Ellyrian Reavers on the East spotted the cannon and attempted to charge but realized it is still too far away. Dragon Princes followed and infantry tried to realign its formation. Cavalry on the West moved a little bit forward to be ready for charges while sea guard aimed at quarrelers again and this time did absolutely nothing.

Archibald the Archmage was bored. All this running here and there made no sense to him. He was also in bad mood as he could not take his favorite robes for this battle. He was leaning against the door of the house his unit was positioned next to. Then he spotted a poster and as he was well versed in dozens of languages he easily read the title "House Party!!!!" and his good mood returned. Memories of good old days in the student house when he practiced his arts at one of the faculties of White Tower came again and his mood was improving. He didn't think much, opened the door and begun the search for the room where the party was about to start.

Bob the Battle Standard Bearer was really concerned for his companions and decided they should withdraw. Then Archibald disappeared in the house. Bob ordered his troops to run into and drag silly Archmage out before it is too late. When he spotted the poster, seemingly written by human hand in human language but way too neatly and regular. He knew it's a trap.

They run into the top room and found Archibald happy to announce they are the first to come for the party. When he was about to ask "Where are the girls?" some noise and thunder like sound was heard outside the house. "These are not fireworks" thought Bob ...

Dwarves - Turn 3
All machines open fire at a single target

As soon as Dwarven crews spotted the Archmage in the building everything opened fire at it. It was a deadly trap and after heavy barrage no living soul remained in it. Actually, there was no building anymore. The rest of the elven army, still out of position and leaderless decided to withdrew.

This time Dwarves got an upper hand.

After-battle thoughts

Well, that was quick. When in one go I lost 2 banners and a general it was all over, break point was reached and I lost the game. That was a very bad mistake. The reason I made it was because I got the rules for buildings wrong. I thought all war machines can inflict d6 hits against unit in the building. It is only true for template weapons and as organ guns are not this kind of artillery, I entered the trap thinking I am getting some protection (and I needed some against crossbows). It is actually even worse against cannons as they inflict d6 hits instead of one. So what happened is that I lost sea guard to organ guns and characters to cannons. Very harsh lesson but it will be remembered :)

There of course some more mistakes I made in this game:

1. I didn't really play against gunlines before and lack of experience showed. If I wanted to engage enemy units in shooting duel I should have focused all of them on one target, not only sea guard. Thanks to that I could have freed 2 cavalry units to run on the open plain on the East.

2. I am not sure the Western cannon was out of protection of the standard from Hammerers unit but if it was it could be a better target for my sea guard. On the other hand in the similar situation in the game against Dwarves at Wintercon I still managed to kill some of them on a regular basis. Here Targ was saving as if he had 3+ ward not 5+ :)

3. Rocks in the center were as good as they were a problem. I could get some protection against crossbows thanks to them but I could not enter it with cavalry. They were not any problem for cannons and organ guns though so I was still a sitting duck there. Because of that I moved widely but then ignored gyrocopter which I should not.

Well, Dwarven castle formation is a tough nut to crack. It seems I need to design a much better approach to such situation and I must admit that although it can be very difficult I am going to meet that challenge. There must be a way and I am going to find it :)

Last but not least congratulations to Targ. He played patiently, had a solid position and exploited mistakes I made. A well deserved victory no doubt!

Thanks for reading!

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