Tuesday 10 February 2015

Game 70 - Dwarves - 2013/05/12

Battle 6 - Dwarves - Blood and Glory

It was not use to motivate myself to write the last battle report but things need to be done properly and here it is. I had a great pleasure to meet Adam, who is current ETC captain of the Australian Team but absolutely top bloke in the first place. I saw Adam's army a few times before but I have never had a chance to play against him. I also found myself supporting him during last years Masters (a tournament for best players in Oz, participants are allowed to play only based on invitation) as he had a very interesting Dwarven army. He also did great with!

We played a modified Blood and Glory scenario:
As per the rulebook with the following exceptions;
Change the text under GAME LENGTH to
"The Game ends at the end of the 6th game turn, even if an army has reached breaking point"

When calculating Victory Points, the following are worth an extra bonus 200VP (cumulative)
- your opponent reaches or is bellow 2 Fortitude of there Breaking point
- your opponent reaches or is bellow 1 Fortitude of there Breaking point
- your Opponents army has been Broken
- if you were the first person to Break your opponent

This time Adam had another Dwarven force which more or less looked like this:

Dwarves  - Army List

Runelord on Anvil of Doom
Thane, Rune of Challenge
Dragon Slayer
Dragon Slayer

10 Crossbows, GW
10 Crossbows, GW
10 Crossbows, GW
15 Hammerers, Full Command
15 Hammerers, Full Command
15 Longbeard Rangers, GW, Thrown Axes
10 Miners
5 Miners
10 Slayers
Grudge Thrower

The war machines had usual runes inscribed, making them very reliable and dangerous. S5 grudge thrower in particular. Thane also had a rune that allowed him to deploy with Rangers.

Not your typical corner-hammer designed Dwarven army. Could castle if needed but then had enough aggressive elements not to do so. Miners and Anvil can be potentially troublesome. I also had to be careful with a rune of challenge.

However, since I spotted no organ guns I decided to go for a full out assault as I knew my elites can win against Dwarven in on-on-one combats. And I had more units so I wanted to use that to my advantage.

As always, however, terrain had a lot to add to any plans.


Don't be fooled by friendly apparition! Behind that smile hides heart of stone, will of gromril and razor sharp mind! :)
Deployment of the armies after vanguard and scout moves.
As expected the terrain had a big impact. While it allowed Dwarves to prepare their defensive positions, the river significantly reduced maneuverability of my army. I had to squeeze the units, never good idea against cannon and grudge throwers. I decided to try to get to Dwarven lines as soon as possible anyway.

I managed to win the roll off and surprisingly I had the first turn.

Outcasts - Turn 1
Elves sprint towards the Dwarves

Full out assault

Elven army moved at a double to cover the distance towards the enemy as fast as possible. Only on the left flank the shooters opened fire, managing to destroy all the Slayers despite their good defensive position. On the right flank Dragon Princes were forced to charge and lost one of their numbers due to stand and shoot reaction from the Rangers but didn't make it to combat anyway.

Dwarves - Turn 1

Dwarves remain motionless
Dwarven shooters warm up

The shooting is not yet that efficient as it could be killing a few Elves here and there but it was enough to spook the steeds of one of the heavy cavalry who had to withdraw to regroup.

Outcasts - Turn 2
Fatal charge of the heavy cavalry
The beginning of the end

Bob surveyed the battlefield as they marched towards the enemy. Double line formation in the center looked good and he hoped it will keep enough pressure on the Dwarves. Then he spotted the heavy cavalry that moved way too fast and he realized that Caledorians could not resist and decided to charge all by themselves! "You fools!" thought Bob "there will be no glory in that charge and you will endanger entire flank! Stop you idiots!" But it was too late ...

Elven knights foolishly charged rangers all by themselves. They lost one of their numbers due to axes thrown at them and they were quickly overwhelmed by great weapon wielding veterans. What is more it opened the path for a catastrophic flank charge.

Dwarves - Turn 2

I was so angry at myself I could not keep my hands steady!
Dwarves punish the Elves for their mistake

Rangers used the great opportunity and charged the flank of the sea guard who tried to hold but failed and was run down. Victorious Rangers pursued into the flank of a nearby Swordmasters.

In the meantime, the war machines and crossbows had a good target practice. Both eagles and entire White Lion unit ceased to exist.

Outcasts - Turn 3
Elven assault crumbles

Fight for survival begins

It was a very good time for some cavalry charge but this time Caledorians could not make it and Swordmaster fought alone. They too could not withstand the pressure and fled.

Elves were in a huge trouble now, their assault stopped, their formation in tatters and with no good option to fight back.

Dwarves - Turn 3
Can it be worse? - Yes it can!

A killing blow!

The situation looked very bad. Bob had only one duty now, try to protect their general. He saw the Dwarven rangers approaching very fast and ordered the regiment to retreat to safety. But as always the unit is as fast as its slowest member. "Archie, hurry up!" shouted Bob. Then he paled. Seriously? Wearing THAT kind of shoes for a battle? Now he knew why they struggled to keep up the pace with the rest of the army. Suddenly withdrawing didn't seem such a good idea anymore.

Rangers charged the sea guard with both elven characters. They tried to flee to safety but were caught by surprisingly swift rangers. Leaderless and without cohesive formation, high elves started to panic.

Outcasts - Turn 4
Only blood, no glory
Remaining elven units decided to die in combat

There was only one decision to be made for the rest of the elven army. Die fighting or die due to enemy artillery. Elves chose to attack. Lions fought hammerers and if they had enough time they might have prevailed but another regiment was ready to attack their flank.

Reavers caught retreating crossbows but it was not good enough as they failed to attack the war machines behind them.

Dwarves - Turn 4
Elves are pushed back behind the river
All hope lost

Hammerers charge fighting Lions who hold a little bit longer. All hope is lost (not much of it remained anyway) when another well placed rock killed entire unit of Swordmasters. Few survivors of the elven army were pushed behind the river.

Outcasts - Turn 5
Elven army disintegrated
Dwarves control the battlefield
Not much is left to do for defeated Elves and only here and there some of them still fight.

Dwarves - Turn 5
Dwarves start celebrating
Mopping up

Not much was left from the elven army but Dwarves meticulously picked up the stragglers. Very few elven warriors survived to tell the tragic tale of that massacre.


After-battle thoughts

Ouch! That was a very painful lesson and a great example of how not to play warhammer. Adam definitely didn't need any help to defeat me and certainly not by making such a stupid mistake. I honestly have no idea what I was thinking. :( After that game I felt so embarrassed ...

We discussed a little bit with Adam about some options. First, the redirect with Dragon Princes. The thing is that with good positioning they would be the only target. If I held it might not be very helpful but it would be better anyway, as it gives me time. Even better (I think) would be to flee with them. If I angled well it would force rangers to move out of the table. I could not count on the charge with rangers, however, as they had throwing axes (S5!) and could do just that to eliminate annoying knights. Then again, it would cost time. Basically, that stupid charge cost me the game and there is no mistake about it.

Now, what to do if a mistake is made. How to recover? How to keep your head cool? I am sure I failed here too.

First, the question. Would you flee with sea guard? If yes, they would run through entire army. With BSB nearby I had a chance to pass resulting panic checks but it would still create a lot of confusion. Second, if you fled with sea guard, would you also flee with Swordmasters since they would be attacked anyway? My idea was to try and kill a few rangers on their way so that at least they would decrease in numbers. However, out of 5 attacks I had to the flank and 5 hits I rolled 4 1's. You see, I didn't think I could hold but some casualties would be nice. Also, flank charge with Dragon Princes (who needed something close to average to make contact) would also help. Again, if not to slow down then at least to kill some Dwarves.

Ok, another round. My recovery "plan" failed miserably. Would you press with the attack? Or would you start a withdraw? Would you flee with sea guard and characters? I could stand and shoot. Not much but always a chance to kill some Dwarves. Then I was hitting first. But I was afraid I was about to lose my fragile characters anyway. Maybe it was just a bad decision too? BSB could try and kill either some rank and file troops or even fight in a challenge. S3 is not great but then rangers had not that much armor. Maybe dying in combat was simply better fate anyway?

I think all these are valid questions and at every turn there were important decisions to make. I made wrong ones and that is why I not only lost but also lost so badly. That makes me even more disappointed at my own performance. You see, what I want from my games is that they are a challenge for my opponents too. Adam is a very experienced player and he didn't need that help. It also made for a poor experience, I think, from the gaming point of view when the game becomes one sided.

I just hope Adam had a good time anyway. I also think it is about time to start my own Book of Grudges, with special chapter dedicated especially for Dwarves as they seem to have that way to beat my squishy elves into a bloody pulp. I am looking forward to meeting Adam again and maybe I will have my chance for a proper rematch!

Thanks a lot, Adam. It was a great pleasure to meet you and I believe I didn't miss that lesson! :)

Thanks for reading!


  1. This may seem like a dumb question but why did the dragon princes have to charge? Was it a "we must kill dwarves in a frenzy" thing? I don't have the dwarf or high elf army books.

    Using the knowledge that they may be forced to charge, there are precautions that you could take. The Eagles could be staggered in front of the dragon princes more than 6" away to avoid panic tests but blocking DPs charge. Then when the time is right, declare a charge with the Eagles into any unit to in range (purely sacrificial) first to clear them out of the way. You could combo charge the Rangers with Eagles and DP unit/units or charge your screening Eagles (or eagle if one gets shot up) into the quarrellers on the hill if you have range which clears out room for DPs to charge Rangers or move in a way where they are no longer obligated to charge.

    When you saw that DP had to charge Rangers the second time, why did you decide against reforming to refuse the flank charge and get a better defensive position? One unit of DPs into 15 stand and shoot Rangers with great weapons is a tough matchup so you probably have to expect to break in that situation and start to change plans.

    As far as fleeing goes, I'm thinking flee would have been the right move. It would have caused a lot of panic tests, but there is a chance that you hold with almost everything (thanks to BSB rerolls) and it looks like those units that fleed would have popped out on the other side of your formation which could actually be very interesting. Almost a redeployment of sorts and since it was early enough in your game, you may have been able to use that to your advantage!

    I think your eagle placement could have been better. They can't fulfill their support role unless they are near the units they need to support. A central deployment with them could have allowed them to get in the way of those Rangers and save you some major headaches. Just a few thoughts.

    The last two games have been tough ones but a loss to a good opponent that you have a record of so you can work through the battle again and learn is worth 5 or 10 wins in my book. Losses actually promote more thought and discussion than winning. They say great generals are forged in fire and you are certainly a great general, and I think a big part of that success is constantly learning/studying your reports and others such as SmithFs.

    Thanks for the report, Swordmaster!

    1. Hi Dan,

      It was just an example I can make really stupid mistakes. I feel embarrassed even today. There was absolutely no reason for me to do so and I simply could not make a better gift for Adam.

      What is more I didn't even realize how grievous mistake that was until I lost combat and Adam reformed. My stupidity didn't end here as I didn't flee from the charge hoping against hope for some abysmal roll on my opponents part that would not allow him to reach my exposed flank.

      As to the eagles I wanted to protect them from cannons. They would have died immediately given a chance for them to shoot at the birds, hence the protection. I sacrificed time for better position and while they died eventually they served the purpose of drawing the fire when needed. If I didn't make that stupid mistake with Dragon Princes that would have given me the chance to attack Dwarven line in a much better shape.

      While I don't mind losing to a better player and learning from that game last two battles were lost mainly due to my indecisiveness and horrible mistakes. However, I decided to post every single game I played as such disasters serve as a good warning, so good for the readers to see how not to play warhammer :)


  2. Ah, now I understand why you placed the Eagles where you did. Most armies have better targets for cannons than Eagles, but your army really doesn't other than perhaps the bolt thrower. This is something I forgot to consider which is why I love reading your reports. Always something new to think about.

    I'm glad you right up all of the reports. You've created a Warhammer encyclopedia of knowledge!

    1. Haha! You are too kind Dan! :) But thanks for that, will do my best to keep the reports coming!