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vrijdag 9 december 2011

Game Night! 9/12

Hello and welcome to Game Night! This is my weekly report of my actual gaming action. Much like a real game night, this section focusses on playing actual battles, whether it´s through army builds, tactics or battle reviews. Something fun to read over the weekend.

For today´s installment of Game Night! I have the following planned for you. First and foremost, my last battle in the Fantasy Campaign I played in. As you might remember, I played this game a couple of weeks back, but I have only now found the time to do up a proper Thunderstomp-style report!
Secondly, I’ll be talking you through part of my Ogre Army Builds. I have, obviously, already done a part 1 of that series, the Smashmouth Ogres. Part two focusses on a different type of Ogre army: the Gunslingers.  Lastly, and I know I might be a bit late when it comes to this, I am getting ready to play my first ever Storm of Magic game and I’ll look at some possible additions to my normal Skaven army.

Alright, a lot of stuff to cover, so let’s get going!

Fantasy Campaign – Final Turn

Deviant Art
As I have talked about before, two mates and I decided to start a Fantasy map campaign last summer. It was a good way for us to get better acquainted with the rules for 8th, to get to grips with playing a new army, and a good way to see how we’d handle a fairly simple map campaign.

Map Campaigns are fun but they require consistent dedication from all players involved. As a group you need to decide how to run the campaign in such a way that it is enjoyable for everyone, all campaign long, how to make it complex enough that players have multiple tactical options to choose from (i.e. more than one way to eventually win the campaign), but at the same time keep it balanced enough that no one feels disadvantaged by the rules.
Since we hadn’t played in a map campaign in a looooong while, we decided to run a trial campaign. We made up some simple rules, came up with some simple objectives, drew a simple map, and off we went!

Basically what we did is make a map composed of 60 territories. Next we divided these into four equal parts, placing a Primary and a Secondary Objective in each part. Each player could claim one of these parts as his own. The neutral part of the map then got another Primary and a Secondary objective. Finally, we made 10 (old) Risk style mission cards, with each having 2 Primary and 2 Secondary objectives on it. Each player got one of these mission cards. These would determine the eventual winner.
If, at the end of the game, a player claimed a Primary Objective mentioned on his mission card he would get 5 points. If he claimed a Secondary Objective he would get 3 points. For every objective he claimed that was not on his card he would get 1 point. Whoever had the most points would win. Simple, no?

The final campaign turn saw some fierce battles. As mentioned here there was a multiplayer battle for a Secondary Objective, won by yours truly. Unlucky for me, that objective wasn’t on my mission card so I’d only get 1 point for that, but at least neither of the other two players got points for that Objective!
There was also a large battle in the center of the map, with my Skaven facing off against High Elves for a Primary Objective. As it turned out both of us had that Primary Objective on our mission card, so whoever would win this battle would get 5 points and deny our opponent 5 points!
In typical Skaven fashion, I had the numerical advantage. Casualties in the previous turns had been lighter for me than for the High Elves, which meant I would be fighting with a 3500 pts force, while the High Elves had a depleted 3000 pts to work with (I think he had less than 2500 pts to put on the table).
So barring us having to play the Watchtower scenario, where a small force still has a good chance to win, or maybe a Battle for the Pass Scenario, where it would my Skaven three turns at least to get within charge range of the Elves, I felt pretty good about my chances of winning.

Three guesses which scenario we rolled!

Yep, Watchtower.
This is what we fought over. No, really.

I was the defender, but I didn’t have an infantry unit small enough to be deployed in the tower! So it would be down to whoever claimed the tower when the battle ended. That player would also be in an excellent position to win the overall campaign. So the High Elves were still very much in it. Also, I had battled the High Elves numerous times during the campaign, so we both had a pretty good idea what our armies were capable off and how to deal with each other.  Regrettably I have to admit to losing more battles to the High Elves than winning, but I was determined to win this one!

Here are the armies, and remember that we had to make these armies at the start of the campaign, with hardly any chance to change their make up during the campaign. So we were pretty much stuck with units, even if they turned out not to work out too well during the campaign (Doomwheels and weapon teams, I’m looking at you). Also, I was going for a Moulder themed force overall, and due to Army Banners merging for this battle, I ended up with three Hell Pit Abominations in one force. I know, I know… Wasn’t on purpose, honest.
Anyway, the armies:

Grey Seer, Bell
Engineer, lvl 2
Plague Priest, Furnace

37 Stormvermin, Ratling Gun
40 Clanrats, Mortar
38 Clanrats, Mortar
49 Slaves
21 Slaves
4 Rat Ogres
2x5 Gutter Runners
5 Jezzails
30 Plague Monks
3x Abomination

High Elves:
Wizard Lord <Shadow>
Wizard <Death>
Wizard <Death>

30ish Phoenix Guard
25ish White Lions
2x5 Swordsmen
30ish Spearmen
3x10 Archers
2 Chariots
2x5 Dragon Princes
(I might have forgotten a unit, but all the important ones are here)

The scenario, as mentioned, was The Watchtower.
Damn Lions!

Memorable Occurences:
> I do not like White Lions! It’s always something with those blasted High Elf Elites. If it’s not small units of Swordsmasters killing of my HPA, which happened in an earlier battle, it’s half a unit of White Lions chewing their way through a big chunk of my army, without me being able to do anything back. In this battle the Lions managed to see off my Plague Monks and Priest, and then the Stormvermin, all with me hardly doing anything back in combat! Honestly, if it had been a smaller battle those White Lions would have won it for sure. As it was, I had plenty of army left to work with, but those darn Lions stuck around right to the end.
> Need a tip to get rid of Skaven Characters right quick? Use low level Death Mages. Spirit Leech works wonders to get rid of the pesky rodents, and with them only being able to use their unmodified Ld, you’ll be all but guaranteed to  be rodent-free within a turn or two! Try it now in our two-for-one special! Special rates apply.
> Seriously, I have learned to severely dislike High Elves with Death Magic. My engineers seem to die as soon as such a wizard gets in 24” range, as this battle again showed. One casting roll, failed dispel, and poof, one wizard less for me! Darn near lost my grey seer to that too!
>  Luckily for me, I managed to pass 8 out of the first 9 ward saves my grey seer had to make. Ridiculous, right? But with spell damage and Elven shooting I was in severe danger of losing my seer by T2. Still, he lived and all was well in the world.
> The Screaming Bell actually was worth it’s points this game. Usually it’s a fairly overpriced piece of kit, as I’m sure you’ll agree. But since we only had very limited access to magic items in this campaign (I was only allowed one magic weapon or one magic armour), I got one just to give my seer a 4+ ward save. Which proved golden. Also, I managed to demolish the watchtower while there was a unit of phoenix guard in there. Which meant we were fighting over rubble by T5.
> Phoenix Guard in a building are right tough to shift. It took me ages to get the buggers out after they moved in T2. Luckily I had managed to get off a Plague spell before they went in, so there weren’t 30 odd in there, but only 15 odd. Still, that’s a lot of 4++ models that need to die before they get out.
>Hell Pit Abominations are not the best units to force a unit out of a building, especially if you think a monster counts for 10 models in an assault party. Took me to T5 to realize that monsters only count for 5 models, and by that time I’d already lost one HPA to rounds of deadly halberd attacks.
>With all the trouble I was having trying to shift the Phoenix Guard from the Tower, I almost lost the battle! By the end of T4 there were still a few Guard left in the Tower and we had to roll to see if the battle ended. Tension all round, as the fate of the Campaign hinged on this roll. My mate rolled, the dice spun and there was one big sigh and one big yelp of joy. No 6, the battle would continue!
> After that we basically took turns occupying the tower (or rubble, actually). In my turn I would kill his troops and move my troops in, only for them to be kicked out by a small unit of Elves in the HE turn. Good thing for me each Game Turn ended after my turn, so I was in possession of the Tower when we had to roll for end of battle after T5 and T6. And it ended after T6!
>Skaven Victory!

>That was closer than I would have liked. Actually, it was great fun. It was probably for the best that we’d rolled a Watchtower scenario, since that gave the HE a proper chance to win the game. Having 1000 pts fewer than your opponent is never fun, but at least in this scenario, you’ll still have a chance.
> In the end, what probably gave me the upper hand was magic. Even though I lost my Engineer early on in the battle, after that his magic never really seemed to work (either because his rolls weren’t good enough or my ward saves were great) and my magic did well enough. There weren’t any of the real big spells that went off and changed the game, but there were enough spells to have an impact on the game. And this time it turned out in my favour.
> I’m not sure what it is, but Doomwheels never seem to work out for me. I have yet to have a battle where they do more damage to the enemy than they do to me. Honestly, if it wasn’t such a cool model I would never use it.
> I am happy to report that my HPAs didn’t have that big an impact in the battle. Sure they killed stuff here and there, but they didn’t affect my opponent’s strategy too much (he told me) nor did they really impact the fight for the Tower. You might argue that I just didn’t use them properly then, but I was feeling a little bad for having three, so I’m glad they didn’t do too much.
> So, as it stands now, I have possession of both my Primary Objectives, none of my Secondary Objectives, and two extra Objectives, for a grand total of 12 Points! Now all I need to know is what the others have.. They’ve already pretty much said I have won, but I’m not so sure. Of course, we can’t properly check until one of my mates is back from holiday, so we’ll have to wait a bit to make sure!
> I’ve had great fun with this campaign, but there was a lot of stuff that we could have done better. I’ll probably talk about that at a later time though, because it’s time for the next part:

Ogre Kingdoms Army Build Part 2 – The Gunslingers

After looking at the Smashmouth Ogres I think there is one other themed Orge force you can make that is pretty different from the ‘norm’, yet still pretty fun: The Gunslingers. No, not the rugged heroes from the old West, nor the main character from that famous series of books. I mean a Gunslinger like this.
That’s right, another American Football vid, this time featuring a more contemporary hero.

No, not a Gunslinger like this!

I chose this name for the force because it is basically a shooty Ogre army. Not every model can shoot, but a lot of them can, and they can put out a lot of hurt, if all goes well. That’s pretty much the same as with old number 4. His style of play was defined by risky throws, throws which could pay off big, but which also on occasion would go horrible wrong. That’s probably what will happen with this army too.

It’s no secret I like Leadbelchers. Heck, I wrote a whole article on their use, and it’s the most viewed article on this blog! Go check it out if you don’t believe me (see what I did there?). So the idea for this army was to basically build it around a core of leadbelchers and go from there. Here’s the list:

Slaughtermaster, lvl 4, Ironfist, Hellheart
BSB, Heavy Armour, Ironfist, Banner of Eternal Flame

2x40 Gnoblars, Trappers, Standard Bearer
7 Ironguts, Musician, Standard Bearer, Standard of Discipline

8 Leadbelchers
6 Leadbelchers
3 Leadbelchers

2x Ironblaster

Which all adds up to just a shade under 2400 pts.
This is what the ideal force of Gunslingers should look like

The plan for this army is to act as a sort of mobile fire base, with the Gnoblars up front protecting the Ogres with their Trappers. The Leadbelcher units will pick and chose their target according to their own numbers. The small unit will target fast cavalry, skirmishers and similar small units, while the bigger units will focus on the bigger enemy units. The Ironblasters are there to take out some of the bigger stuff your opponent has, like monsters and whatever else you usually use your cannons on. Finally, the Thundertusk is there to provide even more firepower and help surrounding units in combat a bit. Try keeping it near the Ironguts so that any enemy fighting the Guts will also strike last.

The advantages this army has over more conventional Gunlines is that it’s mobile and it’s made up of Ogres. The whole army can pretty much move 6” a turn and still shoot at full force, so you can change position, to a degree, to remain as effective as possible. You can turn and shoot units running up the flanks, or move forward to get in range of enemy units deployed far back and still retain full offensive force.
Secondly, this army won’t fold over in combat. Sure, Leadbelchers aren’t the toughest Ogres out there, but they are still Ogres, and as such can take a bit more punishment than, say, an empire soldier. Probably nothing that will win you the battle in itself, but something worth having nonetheless.

And there you have it, the other of my two slightly unconventional army builds for Ogres. I have to be fair, I think the Smashmouth Ogres will probably perform better than these Gunslingers, but I think this will be a fun change for any Ogres Player. I’ll be sure to try these out as well!

Storm of Magic – What to take?

Is this what a Storm of Magic should look like?

This is so going to give my evil plan away…

I have planned, for the first time ever, a game of Storm of Magic. My Skaven will square off against Balephons colourless (for now) Tomb Kings sometime in the near future, to fight for dominance over numerous Arcane Fulcrums. The exact date hasn’t been set yet, but I of course have been busy trying to think of what to take in my army, and what to take for those 25% extra points I can bring.

Now I haven’t played any Storm of Magic battles yet and neither has Balephon. I, however, have the upper hand, because I actually own the book! So at least I theoretically know what it’s all about. This also gives me the ability to look at all the Scrolls of Summoning  so that I can decide what to take that will help me win the battle!

Now, I’m not sure what my Skaven army will look like for the game (other than I’ll be bringing plenty of wizards) but as far as I can see, there are three important elements any Storm of Magic army should include: Wizards, units to protect Fulcrum, and Wizard hunters. I think that’s as good a place to start as any when  deciding what kind of monsters to bring. (I have already decided not to bring any pacts, btw. They look like fun and I might try them another time, but really I just want to field more monsters!)

At first I was severely tempted to include a Dragon. We’ll be playing a 3000 pts game, so I’d have enough points to include a level 2 Emperor Dragon. Would be just the excuse I need to paint a Dragon as well. Very tempting, but in the end I decided not take one as it’ll just be one single model, and I want to try out different things.

Further skimming over the pages in the book saw me noticing that Manticores have Killing Blow! So, a big monster that flies, has lots of fairly high strength attacks, and has killing blow? Sounds like an ideal wizard hunter to me! I’ll take him with a 4+ save, thanks very much.

Next I noticed the Fen Beasts. I bought three of these during the Original Albion Campaign and have used them as Chaos Spawn occasionally since, but Storm of Magic might be the perfect excuse to use them as proper Fen Beasts again. Looking over their rules I noticed Toughness 5, Stubborn Ld 8, and Regeneration. Three of these would make a fine Fulcrum guard, I would think. Especially if I up their Regeneration save to 3+ with Lifebloom Silt! (Don’t bring flaming attacks, Balephon! After reading this, that would be cheating!)
I love these!

Having taken three Fen Beasts it didn’t feel right to not take one of two creatures who, fluffwise, could create them. Both the Truthsayer and the Emissary are in the book, and I decided to take a Truthsayer. I feel the fluff for them joining armies of Destruction is a bit weak, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to include Life Wizard in my force! Regenerating Skaven, here I come!

And that put me up to 680 of the 750 points I could use. What I did with the remaining 70? Well, I’m allowed some secrets, right?

And that’s it! Have a great weekend!