Sunday 23 September 2018

Game 96 - Goblins - 2018/09/23


In the next installment of our sport rivalry in the Kings of War arena, Jeff and I played another game on Universal Battle 2.  And while I stubbornly stick to the very same faction and even the very same army list, Jeff has a completely opposite approach. You can be certain that he almost never brings the same army list to the game twice in a row. And quite often, not even from the same faction.

It was exactly the case this time as well. The only limitation Jeff imposes is that he needs to have the models to field the force in traditional games. However, as he has a large collection of armies available it is not a huge limitation anyway.

This time I was about to face the army from the Goblin faction and as it is often the case, it was nothing I have played against so far. It is probably also the result of not playing against Goblins that much in general but then Jeff tends to bring armies that are often different to what one may expect. 

Goblins - Army List

6 Trolls, Horde, Large Infantry, Crushing Strength (2), Regeneration (5+), Chalice of Wrath
- Troll Bruiser, Hero, Large Infantry, Crushing Strength (3), Inspiring (Trolls Only), Nimble, Regeneration (5+), Blade of Slashing

6 Trolls, Horde, Large Infantry, Crushing Strength (2), Regeneration (5+), Staying Stone
- Troll Bruiser, Hero, Large Infantry, Crushing Strength (3), Inspiring (Trolls Only), Nimble, Regeneration (5+), Mace of Crushing

6 Trolls, Horde, Large Infantry, Crushing Strength (2), Regeneration (5+), Dwarven Ale
- Troll Bruiser, Hero, Large Infantry, Crushing Strength (3), Inspiring (Trolls Only), Nimble, Regeneration (5+), Banner of the Griffin

6 Trolls, Horde, Large Infantry , Brew of Courage
- King on Chariot, Large Cavalry, Defense 4+, Nimble, Bow, Inspiring, Thunderous Charge (2)

40 Rabble, Horde, Infantry
- King on Chariot, Large Cavalry, Defense 4+, Nimble, Bow, Inspiring, Thunderous Charge (2)
- War-Trombone,  Piercing (1)

40 Spitters, Horde, Infantry, Bows
- King on Chariot, Large Cavalry, Defense 4+, Nimble, Bow, Inspiring, Thunderous Charge (2)
- War-Trombone,  Piercing (1)

Although there were two hordes of Goblins, three Goblin Kings and two Goblin war engines, somehow I immediately focused on Trolls. There were a lot of them and I must admit that four hordes of these brutes made me feel uneasy. In particular after last game where regeneration played a significant role too. 

Trolls are as fast as Elven infantry, have a good defense that is further amplified by regeneration. That means that one needs to focus a lot of attacks to go through and then it may still get nullified if the attack is not properly repeated. Trolls are also very good at dealing damage with 18 attacks on a relatively narrow frontage and crushing strength 2. Combination of good defensive and offensive abilities makes them very flexible and it seems they are simply well suited to get into war of attrition with the enemy. 

One of the elements that may be a potential weakness is their nerve 14/17. It  does not get that many damage to have a chance to waver them. However, Jeff took care of that by taking four units. Hence even of some of them get slowed down, others can still be fully operational. In addition, he equipped them with various items that help with it too. Staying Stone makes one unit 15/17, another has Headstrong ability thanks to Dwarven Ale (quite ironic for Tolls to use Dwarven ale too!), and yet another has Fury due to Chalice of Wrath. 

In addition, if any of these units is close enough to Troll Bruiser with the Banner of the Griffin, then it becomes a bit more complicated. The nerve gets up to 15/18 - very respectable on its own. One unit has 16/18 in that case and they also benefit from inspiring presence. 

Not only regular Trolls get tougher but the Bruisers add very nicely to the army potential. Just the fact they are Nimble makes them very dangerous already. It is much easier for a single Troll to maneuver around other elements. And they hit hard too. They have lower nerve though but then, it is often more difficult to combine attacks from more units against a single model.

I had a dilemma because usually I would try to shoot at the tougher enemy and then attack it in melee so that the number of damage adds up. In this case it was problematic because Trolls can quickly regenerate whatever damage is done by shooting anyway. But if I chose another target for my ranged attacks it would be much more difficult to deal with them in melee.

Speaking about other targets I also had to deal with Goblins. Rabble, why not to be ignored, was not the first priority simply because they had to get to melee first. Spitters, however, could shoot and that was an issue. Hence, I decided to use some of my faster units to at least attack them and thus prevent them from shooting.

The same was with War-Trombones that had shorter range but had to be dealt with quickly if I wanted a chance to land behind enemy lines with the Drakons. To achieve that I decided to use my flying hero as he has better chance to get to these war engines. 

Last but not least I had to deal with the Kings. I found them very versatile and flexible because they provide inspiring presence, may hit reasonably well with long charge distance. They are also nimble and can shoot. It means they will be able to keep mobile while not losing accuracy of ranged attacks. That was potential threats for my small units and because of that I wanted to make them a priority too. First for shooting, as they are not as well armored as Trolls, and second for some attacks with fast elements of the army.

If I could deal with Spitters, Kings and War-Trombones fast enough I thought I may have a chance to fight back against the Trolls. In particular if I kept my fliers intact and in the back yard of the Goblin army.

Here is my army list:   

Outcasts - Army List

3 Drakon Riders, Regiment
- 5 Silverbreeze, Troop

- 5 Silverbreeze, Troop
- Drakon Rider Lord, Hero, Large Cavalry, Staying Stone

3 Drakon Riders, Regiment
- 5 Stormwind, Troops 
- 5 Stormwind, Troops
 - Elven Prince, Hero, Mounted, Inspiring Talisman

3 War Chariots, Regiment
 - Elven Prince, Hero, Wings of Honeymaze - 100
20 Palace Guard, Regiment
- 10 Palace Guard, Troop
- 10 Palace Guard, Troop 
- Army Standard, Hero 
20 Sea Guard, Regiment 


Terrain Details

Deployment and Scenario

Deployment of the Armies.

This time we played Invade and that meant I was sure the enemy would advance towards me anyway. I wanted to use that to my advantage by placing fast units on the flanks and the shooters in the middle. I would then aim the ranged attacks at the Kings, use the units on the flanks to stop the enemy elements from moving forward but also to allow Drakons to jump behind the enemy lines. 

Flying Prince, Drakon Lord and Storm Wind cavalry on the left were to distract the shooters and to hunt down War Trombones too. 

If that part of the plan worked and if it worked fast enough I should be able to get the Drakons into positions to help the center. And while the goal was to invade enemy territory, I had to kill some of these hordes to have a chance to win. Otherwise, they would be able to fulfill scenario objectives thanks to higher combined unit strength.

Jeff won the roll-off and unsurprisingly chose to move first. 

Goblins - Turn 1

Steady advance.

Trolls and Goblins alike moved forward. The advance in the center was a bit slower than expected. It was due to the fact that Trolls were obedient and moved at the same pace. 

The Kings used their chariots as shooting platforms and started aiming at the Elves right from the beginning of the battle.

Outcasts - Turn 1

Advance on the flanks.

Elves replied in kind and they all aimed at one of the Kings lurking in the forest. He held his ground but the damage was significant.

Units on the flanks advanced, with the fliers on the left being more aggressive in doing so. 

Goblins - Turn 2

Drakons are the first casualty!

Trolls advanced as normal, getting really close to the Elven lines. But it was on the left flank that more dramatic action took place.

Perhaps due to famous Elven arrogance, Drakon Riders flew a bit too close to the enemy lines and that put them in danger of enemy shooters. Goblins used that great opportunity and simply aimed everything they could in the area at the Elven flying cavalry. That proved to be highly effective as Elves lost their unit!

Outcasts  - Turn 2

First charges.

Despite the unnecessary and avoidable loss on the left flank, Elves committed units to melee already. On the left, Drakon Lord fought against one of the Kings, flying hero destroyed deadly War-Trombone while Storm Wind cavalry attacked Spitters to prevent them from shooting.

At the same time Elven shooters aimed at the already wounded King in the forest and this time his chariot was destroyed for good.

On the right flank, Elven cavalry valiantly charged the Trolls to buy more time for their companions. That allowed Drakon Riders to land behind enemy lines.

Goblins - Turn 3

Goblins Counter Attack.

The units on both flanks counter attacked. On the left it was a stalemate but on the right Elves lost the cavalry. Fortunately for them, Drakon Riders were not wavered by the Goblin King that was shooting at them.

Outcasts - Turn 3

More charges by the Elves.

With no place to maneuver or avoid the enemy, Elves had to attack at last. On the left, they continued the exchange of blows and one more War-Trombone was destroyed.

In the center, three units attacked one horde of Trolls but unfortunately, they only wavered the brutes. The hope was to keep the Trolls busy while Drakon Riders would position to attack from the rear. However, they decided to go after the Troll Bruiser instead and got stuck!

Interestingly, Palace Guard on the right flank managed to do just that while their companions charged the Rabble.

Goblins - Turn 4

Goblins and Trolls start grinding through.

The situation on the left flank turned out to be more interesting than expected when Spitters wavered Elven Knights! 

In the middle, Trolls begun their grinding match. Despite hindered charge, they still managed to waver the Sea Guard.

On the right Rabble got rid of one Palance Guard unit and all Elves have left here was single troop of few Elven swordsmen.

Outcasts - Turn 4

Dragon Lord to the rescue!

As Gobling King failed to harm Drakon Lord, he was now free to move. He chose to leave the fight to the Prince and flew over to help the center.

Palace Guard in the middle withdrew to allow Silver Breeze to shoot at the wounded Trolls but this time Elven horse archers failed to inflict substantial damage. 

Surprisingly, however, lonely Palace Guard troop managed to rout the Rabble all by itself! If only the momentum of the attack carried them past nearby Trolls!

Goblins - Turn 5

Elves take heavy losses.

Elves fought bravely but due to uncoordinated attacks and some bad decisions they were now taking heavy losses. Spitters simply shot down the Storm Wind cavalry, as they had better chances of inflicting damage at a distance. The Elven Prince was no match for the Goblin King and was captured.

In the center, Trolls routed Sea Guard and remaining Palace Guard regiment was surrounded and badly beaten.

On the right, Drakon Riders and Palace Guard troop perished as well, leaving no units to fight back.

Outcasts - Turn 5

Another attack fails.

With very few units left, Elves attempted a very risky attack. Both, Drakon Lord and Palace Guard, flank charged two units of Trolls. Unfortunately, this gamble did not pay off either and both troll hordes were not defeated.

Goblins - Turn 6

The end.

The battle was already won so Goblins and Trolls simply tried to capture as many Elves as they could. After this round of attacks only Drakon Lord and Silver Breeze unit remained.

Outcasts - Turn 6

Last attack.

Surrounded by the enemies, Drakon Lord aimed the lance at the trolls one more time. But even this attack failed and few remaining Elves managed to escape the massacre.


Turn-by-turn animation summary


Ouch! That hurt! Jeff did a great job as he had a solid plan, executed it well and exploited many of my mistakes. Congratulations on the victory!

I must admit I was not happy with my deployment to start with. I think I had my forces a bit too separated so that the flanks were never connected with the center. I have doubts about the composition of the group on right flank either. Even though Palace Guard troops managed to kill two elements of the enemy army, I don't think I used them well this game. It seemed to me that I seriously limited my options for maneuvers on this flank.

I also started the game badly when for some strange reason, even after measuring the distances, I still placed the Drakons too close to War-Trombone. In fact, I should have positioned all my units more than 9" away from the edge of the deployment to avoid being shot at.

The fight on the left flank was going not too bad, even though I had no units to assist the center. What I should have taken into account is that possibility of Storm Wind being wavered. And there was still time to help the Knights. Instead of moving away with the Drakon Lord, I should have kept attacking the King and use the Prince to charge the Spitters. Simply to prevent them from shooting as if they attacked Storm Wind in melee, they would have been hindered. And that meant better chance to survive for the knights. Instead, I lost units and did not rout more than 2 war-trombones.

Another mistake was to attack Troll Bruiser with Drakon Riders. I was worried about them being shot at again but that was not as risky as committing them to this fight. The problem was I got them pinned down and could not help the center. Even in the best case scenario, where I would inflict 9 points of damage against the Bruiser, I would need 6+ with a re-roll to rout him. That is not exactly the best situation and I cannot assume to inflict such damage anyway.

Which is a pity because it would have been nice to see if I could inflict enough damage in the center to turn the tide. 

Let's hope next game I will come up with a better deployment plan, keep the army cohesion throughout the entire game, execute coordinated maneuvers and end with a better result than last two battles! :)

Thanks for reading!

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