Thursday, 18 May 2017

A New King

I have had the Kings of War 2nd edition Rules for a few years now, but haven't really done much with them until now.  I think this has largely been due to playing other types of games than mass battle fantasy.
I have been playing a bit of 9th Age recently and have found the game to be ok, but a bit overcomplicated and still needing a lot of work to balance it out.  I decided that it was time to give Kings of war a try, and Andy, the club 9th Age promoter agreed to give it a try with his Empire army.  I loaned him the books and he seemed quite keen to give the game a try.
I used my Dark Elves and Andy opted to use the league of Rhordia list as it provided the closest match to his Empire army.  I just managed to squeeze out a 2000 point army, mostly thanks to the generous use of magic items. In the end I had:
1 Regiment Spears
2 Regiments Buccaneers
1 Regiment Crossbows
1 Regiment Drake knights
1 Regiment Blade Dancers
1 Hydra
2 Bolt Throwers
1 Troop Gargoyles
1 Troop Heralds of Woe
1 mounted Dark Lord
1 Mounted Army Standard
1 Mounted High priestess with Bane Chant.
Andy Brought (from memory):
2 Regiments of House Guard
2 regiments Household Knights
1 Regiment Honour Guard
2 Troops Crossbowmen
1 Horde Dogs of War
1 Halfling Iron Beast
1 Baron
1 Army Standard Bearer
1 Wizard
1 Halfling Master Engineer
1 Battle Shrine

As it was our first game we decided to do the basic Kill! scenario.
The game feels pretty much like 9th Age, with deployment being one unit at a time and then rolling for first turn. Andy won the role off for first turn but opted to go second.
Our forces were spread pretty evenly, but with a definite bias toward the Dark elf left flank, which is where I deployed most of my troops, facing off against the bulk of Andy's infantry. Andy elected to put both units of Knights on his left flank, while the Honour Guard and Iron Beast guarded his right. 

Early game saw us both trying to get to grips with the rules, although after the first turn we pretty much had it down (or so I thought, see below).  There was some exchange of fire, with the Dark Elves inflicting some decent casualties with their war machines and crossbows, but not really enough to break any enemy units.  In return the humans decided to concentrate their fire on the elven crossbows and between their crossbows, the iron beast and the lightning bolts of the  battle shrine managed to shoot the elven crossbows of the table in a couple of turns.

I misjudged a few distances here as well, assuming that humans had a move of 4 inches when it was in fact 5, which casued me to be on the receiving end of some charges I didn't want.  The Dogs of War crossbows charged into one unit of Buccaneers, wiping them out, while a unit if Household Knights managed to get the drop on my Drake Knights, causing some damage.
I also rather recklessly charged the hydra into the Iron beast, inflicted some damage but more importantly exposing the Hydra to a flank charge from the Honour Guard. Charged in the front by the Iron Beast and in the flank by the honour Guard the Hydra was predictably smeared all over the field. I never even got the chance to use any of the Hydra's special abilities.

Mid game and I managed to get some revenge, with the Blade Dancers wiping out the Honour Guard, the Drake Knights destroying both units of Household Knights and one unit of Buccaneers and Gargoyles destroying a unit of Household Guard.

Late game and the Remaining unit of Buccaneers and the Gargoyles managed to kill one unit of crossbows, before the Buccaneers were run over by the Iron Beast.  The Blade Dancers were killed by the Dogs of War and the Dark Elf spears managed to Kill a unit of Household Guard.  My Drake Knights were killed when the human general charged them in the rear as I had forgotten to reform them after destroying the Household Knights.  With that we called it a day as I only had one unit left on the board and it was nearly destroyed, leaving Andy with a solid win.
So our first test of Kings of War went quite well, with Andy saying that, while it lacked the depth of 9th Age and he still preferred that he quite enjoyed the game and would definitely be willing to play it again.  He said that he liked the level in variety in the lists as in 9th Age you can quite often find yourself hemmed into one type of play as nothing else is viable.
As for myself I quite enjoyed the rules, for a few reasons:
  • Unit basing is great, as there is no messing about with frontage etc. to try and squeeze out an advantage.
  • The morale rules are very easy and you don't have to worry about routing/rallying units.
  • Putting together an army is pretty quick.
  • The Game looked good, with some good sized units moving about, and a good number of them as well.
  • It is very easy to pick up the rules, but I thought that there was a lot of things that I could have done differently in the game.
  • At no point in the game did I think that I had no chance of victory, as the way the game is set up you can have troops behave very differently with just a few tweaks to their profiles (although I wasn't really sure what to do about the Iron Beast though!).
  • Despite the extreme nature of IGOUGO in the rules I never felt that I was not involved in the game, and always paid attention, even in my opponents turn.
One thing we forgot was to disorder units after taking damage in combat, although I don't think it would have made a huge amount of difference to the game.
My main misgiving about the rules has always been the extreme way the turn are done, with one player doing nothing in their turn apart from removing units, but in the end it did not bug me as much as I thought it would and adds another element to game as you try and force put your opponent into positions where he cannot inflict too much damage in their turn.
The game felt like a game of Warhammer, with a lot of the same consideration with regards to positioning, unit facing and trying to manoeuvre for the charge but in a much simpler and straight forward way.  Magic was nice and simple and characters on foot play more of a supporting role rather then being powerhouses able to take on whole units.
All in all I was impressed with the game and will try and make it a regular feature of my Monday night games.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Oliphant Rampant

I have been thinking about giving Middle Earth Dragon Rampant a try fro a while now, and decided that we could give it a bash and use my Haradrim to see how the game copes with them.
I have Oliphant's, picked up from various places and have only used them on the table once. This is largely due to the Strategy battle Game making them virtually impossible to kill, making for some very one sided games.
So I opted to do the charge of the Haradrim at Pellenor fields, from the Return of the King.
I decided that the Oliphant's would be greater war beasts, with a missile attack to represent the archers in the Howdah, and cause fear to represent their size and impact. This brought them up to 10 points. In the end the Haradrrim forces looked like this:
2 Oliphants
1 Heavy Riders
2 Oliphant
2 Heavy Riders
1 Elite Riders
The Rohan force also consisted of two commands, led by Eomer and Erkenbrand:
Elite Riders
3 Heavy Riders with Bows
Elite Riders
3 Heavy Riders with Bows
1 Light Riders
The scenario was very straight forward.  It was a pitched battle, last man standing wins. We included no terrain as the battle was to take place on the Pellenor Fields just outside Minas Tirith.
We made a couple of minor changes (ie I got the rules wrong!) before we started.
We decided to randomise initiative at the start of each turn, with each side then alternating between commands until everyone was finished. We also decided that is an Oliphant started the turn battered and failed to rally rather than retreat it would rampage in a random direction, attacking any unit it contacts.

Early game and the Haradrim Left flank and Rohan left flank were both fairly well behaved, with an orderly advance. The rest of the forces were a bit more scattered though, with a disorderly advance from both sides right flanks.

Mid game and the forces of Harad managed to get the drop on the Rohan inflicting some heavy casualties, mainly thanks to the Oliphants and the Serpent King.  there were a fair few failed activations during this part of the game, and in end Eomer and his forces were removed from the game, as were the Haradrim force containing the two Oliphants.

Late game saw the Rohan make a sort of resurgence, with them inflicting heavy casualties, including the death of the final Oliphant. Alas it was not enough to save them from the Serpent King, who managed to remove the last vestiges of Rohan resistance, meaning a Harad victory.

So the Rohan lose (again!). I don't think my Rohan have actually won a game in years.I think everyone enjoyed the game, and it was quite close in the end, however I don't think Dragon Rampant is really suited to this pitched battle sort of game and it would benefit from some other objectives and terrain to liven things up a bit.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Mordheim Season 3, the penultimate chapter.

The second to last game of our Mordheim campaign saw everyone making a dash for the entrance to the ruins inhabited by the evil necromancer. All six played were present for this, and it was gong to be a bit of a scrap as we were all trying to get to the same place.  There were some wandering monsters on the board as well.  This consisted of 6 wandering dryad, a couple of animated suits of armour guarding the portal and a wandering tree spirit.  The dryads were going to be fairly tough, as were the suits of armour, but the tree spirit was going to be the toughie, as it had 10 wounds.
Ian won the last game so got to choose his deployment and got a free move before we started, all very welcome to his short legged Dwarf's.  The rest of us were deployed randomly, with my Undead and Dave's Marienburgers coming off worst, being deployed at the far end of the six foot table, with every other warband in between.
Early game saw everyone make a dash for the portal, with very little intention of fighting each other until they really had to.  The dwarfs encountered a dryad, which they finished off with no problems, as did the Skaven and the Protectorate of Sigmar. My Undead also encountered one and I decided that Dire Wolves should be able to handle it. Fetch! shouted the Vampire and off the dogs went. Unfortunately they fluffed it and were both taken out of action for their troubles, leaving the Vampire to go and sort things out. 
Elsewhere on the table the Skaven had finally caught up with the Protectorate of Sigmar and given them a good going over, forcing them to abandon the race for the portal. Everyone else was racing for the portal.
Mid game saw an almighty scrap break out in front of the portal as both the Skaven and the Dwarf's tried to force their way through the defenders, and each other.  Casualties were heavy on all sides.
When the Undead and the Witch hunters broke cover in the middle of the board the Undead decided to take a few pot shots at the witch hunters pet Halfling, annoyed at the sniping that they have had to endure at the hands of the annoying so and so for the last few games.  Miffed by this the Witch Hunters decided to about turn and attack the undead. In the ensuing fight a couple of undead were felled but a larger number of witch hunters went down, forcing them to withdraw.
The undead then decided to let the fight at the portal run its course and went after the Marienburgers as they had also decided that it might be fin to take some shots at the Undead.  The undead managed to see of the Marienburgers but not before suffering another casualty, enough to push them over their break value and forcing tests.
At the portal the fight had finished, with the Skaven fleeing the field after some very heavy casualties and the dwarfs forcing their way through the portal, leaving one of their number to his fate at the hands of the big sentient tree.  This left my undead on the field by themselves and they decided to have a bash at the tree, as it was almost down to its last few wounds. I just needed to get across the table without failing a break test. In typical fashion I had a great run of passed tests, making it to within charge range of the big tree, and just before I got to launch my assault I failed my test, fleeing the field.
So not a bad game, with my undead seeing of two enemy warbands. I lost a dire wolf and the Necromancer in this engagement, probably finished of by the vampire due to his failure to do anything even remotely useful for the whole campaign.  He really has been absolutely useless, failing to cast a single spell since about game 4.
I hired another necromancer, and another zombie to bring my number back up to 15. This time the necromancer has the re-animate spell, which allows him to summon zombies back into the game once they have gone out of action.  Considering the zombies are so slow they hardily ever see any action I don't anticipate getting much more use out of this necromancer either.  The undead spells in Mordheim really are pretty useless.
With the campaign running down I have decided to forgo the option to raid anyone so we can go straight to the final chapter, and currently my money is on the dwarf's to take the final game.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Isen Fords

I haven played any games of GW's excellent Lord of the Rings skirmish game recently, so a few of us got together and played out the first Isen Fords scenario on Monday night.

We actually managed a pretty accurate result, with the Fords holding (just!) but Theodred having his head caved in by a Troll.  The game was a draw, and a lot of fun.   Rohan had some terrible luck though, with their reinforcements arriving very late.
Both sides deployed.

The thin green line.

Death to the straw heads!

Battle is joined.

The fords are holding, just.

The cavalry arrive (mote Theodred has been skulking at the back the whole time, coward).

Isengard nearly force the ford.

Cavalry bolster the defence. Drat!

Theodred meets his end at the hands of the Troll.

Erkenbrand also comes a cropper.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

9th Age, Game 3.

The latest game of 9th Age. 4500 points Dread Elves vs Empire.  Despite the best efforts of my dice I managed to pull of a win, although Andrew was fielding an experimental army that I don't think was as strong as his usual selection.  I removed the Corsairs, except to proxy for other models, and added in a large unit of Executioners. It made a big difference to how the Dread Elves performed. The spearmen are a big improvement over Corsairs, and I don't think the Corsairs will make it back into my list until they do something to make them a bit more interesting.  Also the fist use of my new mat, which enhanced the look of the game a lot. 

The Battlefield

Empire Deployment

Elf Deployment

Witch Elves about to get run over by Steam Tank

End of Game

Final Dice roll, Andy thought he had escaped with a double 6 flee move.  Double 6 pursuit move from me means no more good luck fro the rest of the year!