Saturday 20 June 2015

Game 108 - Dwarves - 2014/05/11


I have just returned from a local tournament hosted by ANU Wargaming Society. It was a small event that attracted attention of 18 players. I really hope that number will swell in future years, as they guys did fantastic job and it was a great pleasure to attend again! It was 2 day tournament with 5 games at 2400 points total. It had scenarios, some of them modified. I will explain them when I write the report from the particular battle where they were used. There was also a nice addition to the players pack that allowed to take allies. One could either enter with monolithic army or get main force at 1800 with allied contingent at 600. Both forces had to be composed according to the rules as if they were separate armies. Only alliances from trusted allies were allowed, as per rulebook.

Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to play against allied force and I didn't field one either. But I know some armies were composed according to the rules for allies. 

As it seemed it could have been my last tournament in Canberra (at least for time being) I wanted to use the opportunity and grudge one of the players I met plenty of times but have never had an opportunity to play against. It was of course my fault and I am sorry I didn't organize myself better to play earlier or in fact, regularly.

Game 1 - Dave - Dwarves - Battle Line

Dave is a very well known person in the Australian community of warhammer players as he is one of the most active tournament organizers. Thanks to him (and his helpers!) the biggest and longest event in Oz, CanCon, took place in January. Fortunately, there are also some other TO's in the local scene, so he can have fun with rolling dice and pushing mandollies forward too!

Not only he kindly agreed to accept my grudge but he also brought a brand new Dwarven army! It was my first encounter with Dwarves after they got their book revisited. Dave had a lot of alternative models as well as new ones in his army and I can't wait to see all these great miniatures and fantastic conversions painted!

Below is his list with all the details (Many thanks to Dave himself who also provided all the lists of my opponents so I have all the items right for a change :)).

Dwarves - Army List

Dwarf Thane, General, Great weapon, Master Rune of Gromil, 2 x Rune of Iron  - 146
BSB, Shield, Master Rune of Grungni - 153
Runesmith, Shield, 2 x Rune of Spellbreaking, Rune of Stone  - 118

28 Longbeards, Shields, Full Command,  Ancestor Rune - 442
10 Thunderers, Shields, Musician - 140
10 Quarellers, Shields, Musician - 140
28 Hammers, Shields, Musician, Standard - 440
28 Slayers , Musician, Standard - 356
Gyrocopter - 80
Gyrocopter  - 80
Grudgethrower, Rune of accuracy, Rune of forging, Rune of penetrating - 170
Grudgethrower, Rune of accuracy, Rune of forging, Rune of burning - 135

Army Total: 2400

After some deliberation I decided to take only painted models, although I was considering some changes to the core unit set up. I decided against unpainted models because I really enjoy playing against painted armies and I wanted to make sure my opponent had such a force assembled on the other side of the table. I perfectly understand when somebody does not field painted force. It is a process and many armies are simply new ones. New players in particular were encouraged to come along so there was no painting score in this event. However, one could be still selected for a best painted army award and I admit I wanted to see if I can get a shot at this one too! Last but not least, it is also well known that painted models simply fight better :D

Outcasts - Army List

Larry the Loremaster, Book of Hoeth, Talisman of Endurance  – 315
Bob the Battle Standard Bearer, Heavy Armour, Shield of the Merwyrm, Golden Crown of Atrazar – 124
Noble, Barded Elven Steed, Heavy Armour, Shield, Star Lance, Dragon Helm, Potion of Foolhardiness – 136
Noble, Barded Elven Steed, Heavy Armour, Lance, Enchanted Shield, Dawnstone, Potion of Strength – 145

15 Archers, Full Command – 180
15 Sea Guard, Full Command – 210
5 Ellyrian Reavers, Musician, Bows, Spears – 105
5 Ellyrian Reavers, Musician, Bows, Spears - 105

5 Dragon Princes, Banner of Eternal Flame – 165
5 Dragon Princes – 145
10 Swordmasters, Bladelord – 140
10 Swordmasters, Bladelord – 140
10 White Lions, Gleaming Pennant – 145
10 White Lions, Standard of Discipline – 155

Bolt Thrower – 70
Great Eagle – 50
5 Sisters of Avelorn – 70

Army Total: 2400

As you can see the main change was in the Characters section. Larry and Bob got some new equipment and two (at the moment nameless nobles) were also added to the army. I got rid of the musicians in many units and I also made some compromises here and there in order to accommodate new additions. It is still WiP army and I am sure I will try to tweak it again, after learning a few things during that tournament.

Now that we know how the armies look like let's have a look at Dave's choices with some more detailed description:

Thane General - with the defensive tool kit he sported 1+ armour, was T6 and had 3 wounds. Quite economic yet efficient version of a general that does not die easily but still provides Ld10 bubble. His Great Weapon can bite too, in particular on the charge. I could also be sure that at least he will hate my own general so these 3 attacks may hit more often.

BSB - with 3+ armour save and 4++ ward from the banner he was quite well protected too. In addition he helped nearby troops by waving his flag high and proud but also giving regiments in 6" radius 5++ against shooting and missiles. As if the toothpicks I had at my disposal were to impress Dwarven warriors much any way :)

Runesmith - Another well protected character with 2+ armour save and 5++ parry if charged (fortunately for me only for one turn). 2 runes of spellbreaking ensured that once a game that powerful spell could be dispelled and what is more it can be destroyed on a 4+ roll.

All in all quite very reasonable and good price for value set of very useful characters.

Longbeards - anvil unit of the army. Dave chose shields for 4+/5++ saves if charged or 4+/6++ if attacking but thanks to the new rules they have S5 then. Against fragile elves they can deal a proper damage for sure and deflect many blows. The trick to defeat them would be to surround them from as many sides as possible but not from the front where they can use their shield wall. Even then their Ancestor Rune means they can take a single break test on d6 so they might hold their ground and let the other regiments to counter.

Shooters - Both thunderers and quarrellers provided some needed support and small arms fire. With Shields they are again well protected against my longbows and could withstand the charge for a while too!

Hammerers - well, who else to be a better hammer for the Longbeard anvil than Hammerers? With 2 attacks each and S6 or even 7 on the charge these guys can hit really hard. Being Stubborn means they are also extremely good at war of attrition. Such units can only be destroyed if engaged on both flanks and even then the grind match might prove to be very bloody. If I were to isolate them I would also need to make sure they are separated for as long as it takes to kill them all. Probably both units of Swordmasters at full strength might do the job.

Slayers - the unit that can hold against anything but due to lack of armour very vulnerable to shooting and I wanted to use that to my advantage and make these arrows count for something. Of course I was sure they would stay close to BSB to benefit from 5++ ward but it is still better to shoot at them than other two blocks. And I needed to shoot at them also because I might not have enough time to kill them all. Besides, they can hit back hard this time and with their additional Deathblow attack. Since these are resolved with any bonuses for weapons the slayers have I could be in trouble against their S5 attacks. Yet another unit that can hit back no matter what.

Gyrocopters - a priority to be destroyed, possibly with shooting attacks in the first place. They can mess up my movement phase greatly and their steam cannons can inflict a lot of damage on my small units. I wanted to advance in 2 waves to make sure I don't provide safe landing zones for them or to force Dave to risk their loss if he wanted to land behind my lines.

Grudgethrowers - tooled up war machines. Both are super accurate. Both are well protected from unlucky misfires. One has flaming attacks (which does not bother my troops that much) but the other hits with even higher S that can further demolish my small units. It was obvious I had to start the game with Archers and Sea Guard deployed in 2 ranks!

The plan still depended on the terrain and deployment. I expected that Dave would deploy defensively and try to use his fire power to discourage my troops from advancing. I was also taking into account a possibility where he would advance along one of the edges. In both cases I had to move around his flank or flanks fast but at the same time not recklessly and try to pick up gyrocopters and shooters first before engaging any of his big blocks.


War of the Beard - yet another episode!

Deployment of the armies after shy vanguard moves

When I saw the terrain I expected Dave to deploy in the corner with the hill. The option of deploying in the opposite half and use the building was also a good idea. I was a little surprised he chose the middle but it didn't make my life any easier and suggested he might actually move forward too. I had to be careful!

Surprisingly enough I won the roll off and Outcasts were to move to their first battle!

Outcasts - Turn 1

Moving forward - but don't rush, just yet!

Elves move forward in a controlled fashion. Three big blocks of Dwarven infantry seemed like a castle wall or a rock. But Elves knew that even the most solid rock may be moved by water and started to send little streams of units on the flanks first.

Shooting and magic was not particularly spectacular but it was enough to get rid of one of the nasty gyrocopters and confuse Thunderers with miasma so that their shooting abilities were severely limited.

Dwarves - Turn 1

No need to move when the enemy comes to you!

Gyrobomber attack!

The Rock remained steady. The grudge throwers threw their boulders but even with runes of accuracy they sailed long and wide. Gryobomber made a bomb attack at the cavalry but the bomb also scattered. Fortunately, it hit nearby Lions who suffered some minor casualties.

Outcasts - Turn 2
Dwarven flanks are under attack!

First charges!
Dragon Princes on the East levelled their lances and attacked quarrels. They greeted them with crossbow bolts and quickly locked the shields. Even in small numbers such formation ensured the safety and only few Dwarves were killed by Elves. They also held easily as they remainded steadfast.

Lone Gyrocopter was a little too close to rampaging Lions the Chracians didn't miss the opportunity and charged Dwarven pilot. He had to hold or flee the battle entirely and decided to fight but was not a match to expert axe wielding Elves.

On the Western flank Reavers advanced carefully, Dragon Princes moved through the woods at moderate speed and the rest of the units focused on the Thunderers. They suffered quite a large amount of casualties but as expected, stubbornly refused to move anywhere.

Dwarves - Turn 2

The flanks are still holding

Hammerers change their formation

Dwarven castle reforms slightly to extend their formation and block the clear path towards the artillery. Quarrellers keep fighting and hold the cavalry for one more turn. Unfortunately, grudge thrower engineers can't hit a barn door and more grumbling is heard from among the ranks of the Longbeards.

Outcasts - Turn 3
More charges on the flanks!

Light cavalry charged stubborn Quarrellers and this time Dwarves broke. But Dragon Princes refused to restrain as they wanted to pursue and catch the survivors to make up for their poor performance where they failed to brake the small enemy unit on their own.

On the West second unit of Dragon Princes charged remaining Thunderers, destroyed them and overrun towards the grudge thrower. Nearby Slayers where the target of Elven shooting and somehow the runic standard carried by the Longbeards was not protecting them at all!

Dwarves - Turn 3

Dwarves tighten their ranks

And their artillery finally hits somebody!

Dwarves kept solid formation, only Slayers reformed to be ready to counter the cavalry that seemed to be ready to charge the grudge thrower.

Dwarven engineers, ashamed due to their performance so far, measured the distance accurately and this time a boulder landed right on the top of the elven noble and reduced him and his mount to a nice bloody pulp!

Outcasts - Turn 4
Outflanking continues

Elven cavalry in the back yard!

It was too crowded for the heavy cavalry to get the momentum for the charge and they simply reformed. Other units closed the distance and on the Eastern flank reavers managed to sneaked into the back yard, directly putting grudge thrower in danger!

Larry the Loremaster was trying to engage Dwarven thanes in some mindwars. Previously he did so with the Dwarven BSB but his runic standard protected him. This time Dwarven general was the target and he even got the wound but the magical feedback was not possible to contain and Larry as well as a few of nearby warriors were wounded.

The shooters kept peppering Slayers with bolts and arrows and a few more orange hair fanatics died in not quite honourable way.

Dwarves - Turn 4
Dwarven Rock rolls forward!

Dwarves march towards their enemies. (Edit: I haven't noticed that I didn't reform DP properly on the map so that they cannot see the Slayers and are lined with reavers as above pictures shows. Ups! Sorry!)

Young thane decided it is time he and his unit carries fight to the enemy. Longbeards grumbled that it is a trap. Some other grumbled that it is about time to do business. A few grumbled about those who grumbled. But the unit moved forward in perfect order.

Nearby Hammerers also moved towards their chosen enemy while Slayers reformed once more and blocked some Elves advancing behind their backs.

Dwarven Engineers, seeing that they are about to fight themselves, loaded their grudgethrowers one more time. One of the boulders sailed sure and hit Larry the Loremaster straight into his head! However, instead of explosion or some simple splat-like-sound there was a crack of the barrel and some stinking liquid washed poor Elf from head to toes. As it happened, the Engineers by mistake loaded their last barrel of the finest Bugmans XXXX. More grumbling was heard from the ranks of the Longbeards but at least they had fun looking at an Elf whinging about destruction of his perfect hair and dress!

Outcasts - Turn 5
Artillery is destroyed!

Elves charge again!
Elven cavalry charges both grudgethrowers and finish them both in a vicious combat. Reavers and Swordmasters combine their efforts to destroy the Slayers but they cannot finish them all yet. Even with the help of the Iceshard Blizzard!

Other units manoeuvre to use the fact that the Dwarven blocks are now isolated and picked Longbeards as a target.

Dwarves - Turn 5
Breaking through?
Longbeards overrun to increase the distance from the elven cavalry

Longbeards charged the lone eagle and overrun to gain as much distance from the enemy. Hammerers also charged the only visible target, White Lions, but failed to reach their enemies.

It was now clear the Elves were in a position to attack Longbeards from all sides. Would that be enough though?

Outcasts - Turn 6
Charge from 3 sides!

Elven speed vs Dwarven Shieldwall!

Many Eelven units charged against Longbeards. Swordmasters with Bob the BSB were a little late and although they could have made it to the combat, Dragon Princes galloped passed them and there was no way they could participate too. Ah well.

Elven Noble challenged Dwarven thanes and BSB picked up the gauntlet. The brave Dwarf fell, however, as Elven Noble aimed true with his magical lance. Half of the regiment perished when Elves swung their blades. The attacks back were miserable in such tight formation but one Sea Guard fell and the Longbeards remained steadfast.

Dwarves - Turn 6
Vicious combat continues!

Ancestors protect!
Hammerers tried desperately to catch some enemies but White Lions didn't fancy meeting them head on. Longbeards fell in droves to the merciless blades of the Elves. In particular Swordmasters were responsible for majority of casualties. Only Thane General and three veteran warriors remained standing. However, when they invoked the power of Ancestors they were filled with bravery and decided to hold on!

Seeing such a determination, Larry the Loremaster decided his enemies fought well enough to be granted his mercy and he ordered the army to disengage.


 photo output_RxNgiP_zpsgg8j2j5x.gif
Turn-by-turn summary animation

After-battle thoughts

That Ancestor Rune was worth its price in gold! Longbeards suffered horrendous casualties but held as if they were unbreakable! I must admit I was actually happy Dave made that roll as after his bad luck with grudge thrower (nothing like rolling a 1 to wound when you hit enemy general!) he definitely deserved some epic moment and the dice gods smiled upon him :) It is also great for story writing! Everybody likes to read about heroic deeds when a few prevail against many having the odds against them!

I was definitely very happy with the victory I have achieved. Dwarves are always hard army to play against. I have great respect for the Shieldwall. It helped a lot in that game and was the main reason I didn't attack with the Archers from the front. However, looking at the situation again I think I could have made that last charge better.

You see, I declared the charge with three units from the rear area. 2 heavy cavalry and Swordmasters. I allowed heavy cavalry to charge in but if I added Swordmasters instead of small DP's then I think that would have been a better move. I didn't count on breaking steadfast and I assumed we will have 2 rounds of fighting. In that scenario more Swordmasters in the fight is definitely better even if DP's have re-rolls and better armour. I also wonder if adding Archers, just for the sake of adding more attacks, would have helped. In general I think it was a powerful charge on its own but could I make it more powerful? I guess so, at least with 2 Swordmaster units.

I missed musicians on 2 heavy cavalry units. Once, when I failed test for restraint I could have simply reformed and move again. I was "lucky" to lose the noble and my small unit had the frontage narrow enough to wheel and move full speed. Second situation was with the unit on the other flank. It was funny because we both thought they are going to charge the grudge thrower but there was not enough space to wheel. So I had to reform only. It was only because the Slayers were in wide formation that they could not charge me shortly after.

I think Dave should have corner with the hill. Not necessarily to castle. But if he moved with one flank secured by table edge it would have made my double envelopment impossible. I also think, after looking at the maps, that he should have reformed hammerers and move them towards the centre. In that way his units would have supported each other better.

In any case I am very happy Dave honoured my grudge and we finally had a game against each other! Once again, well done on that last break test! I am sue the Ancestors are proud! :)

Thanks for reading!

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