Wednesday, September 26, 2007

HORDES OF CHAOS versus Dark Elves

The Defence of Tor Thana

Game: Warhammer Fantasy Battle 7th edition
Opponent: Gary

After some delay, here is my write-up of the third game in our Nemesis Crown campaign.

I had painted up the Marauders on foot to tabletop standard so I dropped a Sorcerer to fit them into the list. This meant I now only had one level one Sorcerer with just two dispel scrolls. I hoped Gary wouldn't have too much magic.

Gary picked a level four Sorceress with three level two underlings. Gulp! He had dropped most of his magic items and other extras to play with as many models on the board as possible.

This could be tough.

Armies 2000points
My Chaos Undivided mortals:

  • Sigurt Volsung, Lord on Daemonic Mount, Armour of Damnation, Berzerker Sword, Gaze of the Gods, shield
  • Thaer, Exalted with Book of Secrets, extra hand weapon, Enchanted Shield (Steed of Shadows spell)
  • Angur Boda, Lvl 1 Sorcerer with 2 Dispel Scrolls (Dark Hand of Death spell)
  • 12 Chosen Warriors full command
  • 10 Warriors full command Banner of Wrath
  • 16 Marauders, full command, light armour and shields
  • 5 Chosen Knights full command, Warbanner
  • 5 Marauder Horse, champion, musician, flails
  • 5 War hounds
  • 5 War hounds
  • Chariot
  • 8 Furies
The Dark Elves had:
  • Level 4 sorceress
  • Lvl 2 Sorceress
  • Lvl 2 Sorceress
  • Lvl 2 Sorceress
  • 2 Repeater Bolt Throwers
  • 10 Repeater Crossbows
  • 16 Spearelves full command
  • 5 Dark Riders
  • 5 Dark Riders
  • 19 Executioners full command Banner of Murder
  • Hydra
  • Chariot
  • Chariot
Terrain and deployment
You can see the layout of the terrain on the photo below. Again, Gary hadn't touched the board since our last game so I scattered the pieces randomly. It left a very wide open battlefield which would be ideal for shooting and magic heavy armies. Uh-oh.

I continued with the patented Volsung deployment technique - putting down my throw-away units in the centre till I had an idea where the pesky pointy-ears were deploying and then set up the rest of my army hard on one flank. In this case I had a very strong left flank and refused the right, which had the two Dark Elf chariots on it. I hoped to sweep the Knights around the rock spires and hit the squishy Elf centre hard with my Lord and the Warriors. In particular I felt Gary had put his spell casters in a very vulnerable position with only his shooty units near them for defence. Just one or two units in amongst them could disrupt his entire army.

The game
I won first turn despite the Dark Elves having the +1 bonus. I marched the hounds and Marauder horse up the centre to threaten the Repeater Bolt Throwers and all those Sorceresses. The warriors marched too, angling slightly into the centre. My Knights marched up the extreme left flank. My Marauder infantry moved up more cautiously and the furies went wide right behind a hill.

Gary had a unit of dark riders on each flank and marched each up to give my infantry units something to worry about. One of his chariots went stupid and stumbled forward and the other kept pace with it. On the right he moved the Hydra back to plug the gap behind the rocks.

Most of his action took place in the magic and shooting phases. He concentrated on my fast moving units in the centre and killed one whole unit of war hounds, two out of the second unit and three of my marauder horse, as well as drawing out both of my dispel scrolls.

The game looked like this after our first turns.

In my second turn I declared charges all over the place. My furies charge the dark riders on the right - they fled into the middle which left my furies out in front of the Dark Elf infantry and chariots. I think Gary expected me to charge with the marauders but I feared the counter charge from the chariots so I held the unit back instead.

On the right flank my smaller warrior unit charged the other dark riders. They fled too, but this time they stopped in front of another charging unit; my Lord on his daemonic mount who was going to charge out of the warriors and into the repeater crossbows. He went after the dark riders instead who were destroyed, but it did leave my Lord out in front of the rest of my army and feeling a little vulnerable.

I didn't need to worry. My marauder horse charged into the three sorceress who were rather conveniently lined up in a row. Of course I only wounded one, but I took no casualties in return. All the sorceresses passed their break tests. Boo!

Now my three hounds charged the level four sorceress. The repeater bolt thrower crew helped her out but their intervention was in vain. I killed one of the crew and took no wounds so I had won the combat. The sorceress, who was also the army general, failed her break test. She ran off the board. Both repeater bolt thrower crew failed their panic tests and ran too. Now the spearelves failed their panic test and ran off the board. This panicked the executioners who turned tail and ran. A charioteer took this as a bad sign and ran off the board as well.

By the end of the combat phase the dark elves had lost around half of their army. They had no realistic chance of winning the game so we called it another Chaos massacre.

Result: Chaos massacre

So I had won the game and won the campaign. The forces of Sigurt Volsung were victorious and could now hunt for the Crown in peace while the Dark Elves slunk off to their Black Ark in shame. My warriors will be feasting on Cold One flesh tonight.

  • Chaos - Those last three war hounds. 18 points of models caused well over 700 points of damage.
  • Dark elves - Chariots for at least causing me to deploy in a certain way.
  • Yet again, another perfect game for my Chaos army. Obviously it was helped by Gary rolling such appalling panic tests as the centre of his army crumbled, but I still think I had the superior deployment. I could bring my army to bear in strength on the left without much chance of anything getting in around my flanks. On the right Gary actually had the advantage, with two infantry blocks, two chariots and the dark riders facing off against my furies, the marauders on foot and my chaos chariot. He didn't press his advantage though, and all I needed to do was hold his army off the flanks of mine. Even had the battle continued I think I would have been in a better position come turn three or four. Gary's positioning of the sorceresses was baffling to me; they were such juicy targets I just had to go after them, and I knew I could threaten them with multiple units from turn two onwards. Gary's plan was to focus his magic and shooting in one tight area of the battlefield but it failed spectacularly.
  • I would be surprised if I play against Gary's dark elf army again. Our campaign is now finished and we'll probably move on to other game systems for a while. I've never seen Gary so downbeat about an army before, or so angry during a game. It really makes it difficult for me to enjoy the game because if I am losing everything is okay with Gary (and I'm not happy) or I am winning and Gary is angry (and I'm not happy). It has been mounting up for weeks and weeks and came to a head during this battle. I think it is a combination of several things; it is a new set of rules for us and we are still getting things wrong, Gary is playing a finesse army when he normally plays more straightforward forces, we've been playing against just each other for almost a year. This last point is important. Gary and I are experienced players, having been involved in the Games Workshop 'hobby' for almost 20 years. We are both decent players and about the same skill level as each other. For a couple of years we played in out local gaming store against a variety of players, but over the past year (since Gary got a flat and his own table) we have just played against each other. Every game is a real test as we both know each other's games inside out and we know that any mistake we make will be ruthlessly seized upon. At the store it was different. We were strong players there, able to take on most armies and if not win, make a tough fight of it. For the first time in a long while, Gary is losing a lot of games and he doesn't like it. When I was losing against his dark elves in our early games I came up with a different game plan, I scoured the Internet for different ideas and I thought long and hard about the army I was facing. Gary isn't 'into' the games as much as me so he hasn't spent as much time addressing his problems as I did and it is showing. I think he'll get rid of the army rather than persevere with it. It's a shame because I think it is a real test of your gaming skill to succeed with different styles of army and he would become a more rounded gamer if he stuck with the pointy-ears. For myself, I think I could do with a break and/or play some games against different players.
  • Phew! I was going to round up my thoughts on how the campaign ran here, but I've waffled on about so many other things I don't have space. I'll write them up in their own post in the future.

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