Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Mordheim, Season 3, game 6.5

Why 6.5? THis isn't strictly one of the games that will make up the 10 game campaign. This is a side show to that, where as the victor of lasts week game I had the option to go and raid someone elses camp.  As Dave had the warband with the highest rating and had been rather successful lately I opted to pick on him, in the hope of bringing him down a peg or two.

The scenario was simple.  Dave set up his Marienburgers in the middle of the table, surrounded by treasure tokens and loot crates, and we all deployed round him. Last man standing wins.  Deployment ended up very similar to last time, with my Undead sandwiched between Andy's Skaven mob and Rory's Protectorate of Sigmar, with the Witch Hunters on the opposite side of the table, and Ian's dwarves sandwiched between the Witch Hunters and Protectorate of Sigmar (PoS).

Early game saw the Skaven and undead make a dash for the table, while the Marienburgers tried to exit assault the Witch hunters, who bottled it and decided to hide behind a hill.  The Dwarves began the long slow plod towards the centre, but still managed to snipe the PoS of the table. 

The Skaven and the Undead managed to reach the centre of table, bagging a couple of treasure tokens. The Skaven couldn't decide whether or not to have a bash at my undead or to go after the Marienburgers, trapping them against the Witch Hunters.  They made a half hearted attempt at the undead, but the prospect of trying pass all those fear tests on the low Skaven leadership put him off and he changed direction and went after the Marienburgers.

By this time the fight between the Marienburgers and the Witch Hunters had reached its peak, with the witch hunters taking down a fair few of the Marienburgers but suffering heavy losses in the process, including their ogre mercenary.  The Witch hunters decided enough was enough and called it a night, trying to minimise their losses.  The Skaven then pile in to the Marienburgers, with the Rat Ogre making an awful mess. Dave decided to fight on though and with some lucky break tests managed to fight on. This cost him dear though as by this time the Skaven and dwarfs were upon them and they were wiped out to a man.

This left the Skaven, dwarfs and undead on the table, and the skaven then decided that enough was enough and also left the field, leaving it to the dwarfs and undead (again). The Dwarfs headed for cover, trying to get into a position where they could use their crossbowman (dwarf?) to snipe at the undead.  They hadn't reckoned on the 18 inch charge of the Dire Wolf though, and it burst from the back of the undead to pin the dwarf missile troops in combat and stop it firing, allowing the other undead to advance, and then charge the dwarf position.  Another dwarf went down to the undead charge and at this point Ian decided enough was enough and legged it, leaving the undead victorious.

So another win for the undead, more through luck in deployment than anything else.  I ended up between the skaven and PoS. the PoS were out of the game pretty quick and the skaven don't really want to engage the undead, and I'm not fast enough to catch them. This left me in a bit of  vacuum, despite getting into the centre of the board pretty quickly.  Everyone else got stuck in pretty quickly, apart from the dwarfs so once again we were left on the board to fight it out.

I suffered no casualties in this game, and got a good haul of loot so my warband is starting to look pretty healthy again.  Most other people suffered one or two casualties, with the Witch Hunters rather amusingly losing their hard fought for Ogre. 

My warband is starting to look pretty good, with the dregs getting quite tough. The necromancer remains a source of embarrassment though as he regularly fails to achieve anything.  We have resorted to sending him to do all the risky tasks in between games, and sure enough while being lowered down a well looking for treasure he picked up a disease and will need to sit out the next game. I'm not sure I will notice him missing, to be honest.

Apart from that the campaign is starting to balance out some more, with Dave's Marienburgers coming out of the game a lot better than they should have considering every model was taken out of action, although his casualties were enough that he warband is now down to a more manageable level. The witch hunters lost their ogre, which makes a hefty dent in their abilities and the dwarfs lost another model, which is keeping them on an even footing.  The skaven remain a worry, as canny use of disposable giant rats are helping to keep them in the campaign. That coupled with their speed and ability to hoover up treasure tokens so they are rapidly moving ahead of everyone else.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Civil War

There is a new version of Basic Impetus going to be released shortly, and as Fraser is a man with connections he obtained a playtest copy of the rules for us to try out.  I brought my Late Romans, opting to use the Eastern Empire list, while Fraser opted to use the early republican list, so geographically ok but a few hundred years apart from each other.
The new Basic Impetus has set army lists, representing a "typical" army of the period, with just a couple of optional swaps that you can do to try and change them about a bit.
My list consisted of:
Heavy Infantry with supporting Archers
Cavalry ranging from light horse archers to heavier Clibinarii
Light infantry with Plumbati and Javelins
Skirmishers with Javelin and Sling.
Fraser had a mix of heavy infantry, representing the Triarii, Hastati etc.
One unit of Cavalry and some skirmishers
The new rules have quite set rules for selecting terrain, with a die role dictating what your options are and taking it in turns to place it.  We ended up with some hill, some broken ground and small wood.
Initiative is decided by a dice roll, adding in any cavalry units you have, with the lose having to deploy first. Having more cavalry I had a good advantage here, but Fraser won the roll off and I had to deploy first, opting to take control of a large hill in my deployment zone with my heavy infantry.
I deployed my cavalry to the right of them, and guarded my left flank with my skirmishers.
Fraser deployed in a fairly solid line, with his cavalry and skirmishers on my right.
Early game saw a cautious advance from my troops, as I had the cavalry advantage. I hoped to turn one flank of Fraser Romans and get round the back of his army.  The only major hurdle to overcome was one unit of skirmishers, which should have been easy for my cavalry to overcome. Alas it was not to be and my entire cavalry flank was bogged down trying to defeat one unit of skirmishers.

Where it all went wrong.....

Left Flank not ding much better

Waiting on the hill to soften the opposition with shooting.  No effect though.
Mid game and things only got worse.  My cavalry were destroyed by the Roman reserves and my left flank also started to disintegrate, thanks to some truly awful dice rolls. 

Right at the end

Definitely not going to plan!

Late game saw the infantry lines engage, with the Republican Romans having a clear advantage thanks to a higher VBU and the use of Pilum. Eventually my army was broken, with Fraser only losing a couple of units of skirmishers, making for a repeat of last week, only with a different system.
So the first attempt at Basic Impetus went badly, in terms of how the game went, but more importantly how were the rules?
The main problem with the main Impetus was that there were too many "trick" that could be done, and the whole movement/interrupting your opponent movement mechanic all got a little bit too precise, making for a game with a very tournament feel to it.  Basic Impetus removes a lot of these issues, as you now cannot hold your troops in preparation of your opponent doing something and then reacting at precisely the most advantageous moment. 
I think we got most of the rules correct (or Fraser did anyway, I just sort of did what I was told), apart from the javelins/Plumbati rules, which only work in the first phase of a combat and we were using them in every phase.
The things I liked: 
Set army lists, no more min-maxing to get the most efficient army
Simplified turn.
Evasion is simplified, due to most units being unable to perform a second move
Stand and shoot
Simplified measurement
Pursuit and retreat rules from combat.
Initiative is very important now, and you get a couple of re-roll included for free, with the option to swap out some troops for a couple more.
Things I wasn't quite as keen on:
No counter charge.  You can evade, or you can stand and shoot, but there is no chance to counter charge. Why? It doesn't strike me as a difficult thing to add in.
Shooting is largely useless, especially skirmishers shooting at other skirmishers, as the -2 dice usually means you cant do anything.  Put skirmishers in front of your main force and you are pretty much missile proof.
Also a minor gripe but why bother with the supporting archers?  I don't think they have ever done anything of any note in any of my games of Impetus beyond providing additional casualties to the main unit, preserving its Impetus and fighting ability.  It is certainly not worth building any kind fo strategy around them. They must have been useful for something or they wouldn't have been fielded. it is a bit of a mystery.
Still I enjoyed the game, and think the rules have some legs. We will give it another go in January and see what happens.