Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Battle of Three Armies

I met up with some friends tonight to try out the newly released edition of Kings of War. It was also the first outing for my new Dwarf army. I'd been slaving away for hours on Ebay to put the army together and was eager to see how they performed.

My Dwarven 1000 pt army was joined by an equally sized Dwarven army brought by another local gamer. Together we stood against a Liz-orc force (Lizardman figures using the Orc & Goblin lists).

We rolled the Loot scenario for the game. 3 markers were placed along the midline of the board and who ever made it off with the most of them won the game. The number of units lost didn't matter in winning.

The battle lines are drawn, lizards on the left, dwarves on the right, with my dwarves on the near side of the table.

One flank of my forces: Ironclad Horde, Cannon, Berserker regiment, and Halfling Ranger troop. Off to the left of the picture are my Ironguard Regiment, another Cannon strategically placed on a hill, and another Halfling Ranger troop.

My Halfling Rangers have the Vanguard special rule which allows them to make a double move before the game began. So one unit quickly positioned themselves on a big hill in difficult ground with a commanding view of the whole left flank.
The other Rangers quickly advanced within 1" of an objective marker, in hopes we'd go 1st and grab the objective.

Unfortunately, the Lizards got the 1st move, and a mounted hero grabbed the loot marker on his way to charging the Rangers.
Surprisingly, the Rangers held out for a few turns while the rest of the Dwarves slowly rushed forward.

But the Lizard hero handed the loot to the Saurus Horde behind them & they quickly turned tail and run.

My Rangers on the hill soften up the advancing lizards...

while my Berserkers work themselves up for charge.

The 1st battle on my side of the board found my Ironclad Horde charged by regiments of Salamanders (Fight Wagons) and Kroxigors (Trolls).
Like the legendary Dwarves at the Hot Porridge Gates, they threw back their attackers and prepared to give as good as they got.

On the other side of the board, my partner's Brock Riders completely destroyed the Lizard cavalry (Gore Riders) in the 1st round of combat, much to the surprise of the Lizard commander.

Unfortunately, this opened their flank up to a charge by both a Giant and a dinosaur-mounted bolt thrower. The Brock Riders took 15 hits and barely held on by 1 point.
A Dwarven Greater Earth Elemental shambled into the fray, and a general scrum of heavy hitters surged back and forth for the rest of the game, all around one of the loot markers.

Back on my side of the board, all my dwarf infantry advanced into contact. Berserkers vs Saurus warriors (Orc Ax), Ironclads vs Fight Wagons again, and my Ironguard veterans caught the Kroxigors in the flank.

The Halfling Rangers continue to target the Skink (Goblin) archers in the back field as they cheer the Berserkers on.
The melees surge back and forth for a short time. But weight of the Beserkers' and Horde's attacks quickly make short work of their opponents.

After running over the Saurus warriors, the Berserkers caught a unit of Skink archers in the flank. There was nothing left of the archers after the Berserkers rolled 50 dice in attacks.

The Ironguard and Kroxigor were more evenly matched, both with good armor, so went at it hammer and claw for a bit longer. But victory was always assured for the steely Dwarven veterans, and they wiped the green gore off their boots before marching on.

During all this time, the 4 war engines were pounding away at the Saurus Horde that had the loot, to try to slow it down so the infantry could catch up to it.

Then suddenly, a Kroixgor hero picked up a 2nd loot maker. The hero made a juicier target, so the order was quickly given to switch targets and cut the hero down before he escaped.

It became a desperate race between the plodding Dwarves and the slithering Lizards. The units with the loot ran for the back field, while all the other Lizards threw themselves at the Dwarven onslaught to slow them down.

The Lizard Horde made it off the board with the loot without too much trouble. But the artillery was able to Waver the Kroxigor hero enough times that my partner's Ironclad regiment almost caught up with him.

The Ironclad unit was about 2" too far away to charge the hero with the loot. The Dwarves probably would have won that melee & at least tied the game. But at the last minute we remembered the unit's Throwing Mastiff.

With a grunt and a yelp, the canine missile arced through the air, landing square on the hero, savaging him mercilessly. But the hero missed being Wavered by 1 point and was able to make it off the board, with this tail still in the mastiff's jaws, thus ending the game.

The 3rd loot marker was still being contested on the right flank as the Battle of the Titans raged on. The heavily wounded Giant was holding his own against the Greater Earth Elemental.

But the Dino-bolt thrower, Lizard cavalry, Dwarven Brock Riders, and an Ironclad crossbow unit littered the battlefield around them.

The Lizards achieved the objective by getting the loot off the table, but they only had a banner bearer and the wounded Giant left on the board.

My only loss was the plucky Halfling Rangers who held off the Lizard hero on a Slasher beast. My partner lost the Brock Riders and a crossbow troop.

So I'm sure you agree that the real winners were the Dwarves, causing 4 times as many points in casualties as they took.

The game ran 8 turns and was great fun. The new edition changes made some subtle but significant differences.

For example, there's no shooting penalty for long range any more. This means the Dwarven crossbow limitation of move or shoot isn't as much of an issue now. If well positioned, they can pretty much sit in 1 place and continue to fire all game. And with the armies starting 24" away, there's usually targets within the 1st move of the game.

Adding Thunderous Charge (+1 damage) to the cavalry makes the units act like real cavalry. & having Thunderous Charge invalidated when charging through difficult terrain, or when you took damage last turn, makes it even more so.

2 gamers stopped by and watched our game for a while. Both had lots of questions, both had been long time WHFB players, and both were getting ready to try KoW out as a replacement. I also heard KoW is getting some regular play at another local store too. So the new edition is very well timed.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Conquest Sac 2015: Conan

I attended our local convention over the weekend, and both ran and played in some fun games.

I ran a print & play version of the Conan boardgame from the very successful Kickstarter. Both games went very well. 2 people showed up for each game, & they each played 2 heroes.

Conan is similar to Fantasy Flight Games' Descent dungeon crawl, in that it uses an active GM (or Overlord) who runs the heroes' opponents, and tries to win the game themselves. A number of interesting mechanics, like an minion activation track, limits the actions of the Overlord to prevent them from quickly swamping the heroes with too many minions.

The scenario played was the classic "rescue the princess from the [insert evil-doers here] before she's sacrificed." This time the evil-doers were the Picts from the Hyborian world. The heroes were supposed to enter a Pict village, search the huts for the princess, & kill & bring back the head of the Shaman leader, all before a large Pict hunting party returns and they'd be overwhelmed (8 turns).

Board layout as the Heroes advance into the village

For the 1st game, I misread the Overlord set up, and didn't give myself enough activation points, reducing my available minion options by about 30%. So the heroes ended up winning relatively quickly. They pretty much wiped out anything that moved, including both the Giant Snake and the Shaman, by the end of turn 4.

Snake Treats

I got the number of activation points correct in the 2nd game, making for a definite nail biter. The players came up with the plan to allow lots of minions to gang up on Conan. Then the magic user hero cast a fireball on Conan's location as a way to kill off most of Conan's attackers, knowing that Conan would be able to survive. Unfortunately, after doing this twice, Conan was seriously depleted. And he was made into a quick lunch for the Giant Snake once it showed up.

Setting up Operation Fireball

The heroes finally found the princess they were trying to rescue and were trying to play a retreat from the village. But the evil magic user quickly fireballed the rescue party, killing the princess, & thereby preventing the heroes from completing their main objective.

The Mage Hero brings down friendly fire, killing almost all the minions, but wounding Conan

Both sets of players said they really enjoyed the game & unique mechanics & would be looking into it once it was released. For myself, I greatly enjoyed it to. It's always fun to run a game as a GM, and see how the scenario you've designed turns out. But being given the ability as the Overlord to direct the heroes' opponents, and getting to roll dice yourself, makes it all the more fun.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Happy Birthday to Me

Having reached the 50th birthday milestone, I decided to throw a big party. So I hosted a Kings of War 500 pt tournament for my friends at a local game store.

Here's most of the participants

I also put together party gift bags for the attendees. It contained custom dice to ensure that I'd win all the games, a tape measure, a fresh-off the laser cutter exclusive Wooden Wars English Civil War Pikeman, all together in the classic dice bag.

Here is one of the Pikemen painted by the Creator & Lasenator himself, Tom Foss.

In preparation for the party, I finished off a few projects: 2 GW trees, and a laser cut Christmas decoration from Cost Plus.

I also wanted to come up with a something new to run in the since I'd only played Kings of War with my Vik-orcs (Vikings figures using the Orc army list). So I quickly painted up an all Werewolf force from the KoW Undead list.

I had been collecting werewolves for a while to go with my fantasy Viking army. They would have been stand-ins for Trolls in the GW Beastman list.

For KoW, I ran 3 units of 3 werewolf figures each (the smaller werewolves were bunched together to represent 3 full sized werewolves).

Unfortunately, as nasty as they werewolves are, units of 3 figures still have a relatively low morale. So while they could run circles around the enemy & tear them up pretty well, once the enemy got in contact & started to do damage, the werewolves broke surprisingly fast.

The tournament was a big success. There were 14 players, from ages 10 to 62, & all had a great time. We had 6 different tables running at any one time, and the small army size meant we were able to get about 4 games in each during the 5 hours allotted. A couple of people who hadn't played the game before are now converts & want to play in our upcoming KoW campaign. & it seems like the game was so balanced, there was no definitive winner, but a 4-way tie with 3 wins each. & everyone one at least one game.

The party finished off with a huge spread of ribs, chicken & briquette from a local BBQ place, & my wife made the gaming classic treat, Igor Bars

It consisted of a layer of pan chocolate chip cookies, caramel with peanuts, rice crispy treats, & brownies, topped with melted chocolate, M&Ms & Reese's peanut butter cups. Insulin shots were available at an extra $20 charge.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Kings of War Nona-Decimation

We played another Kings of War game at our regular Friday night meeting. This time I played my Vik-orks (or Vik-dorks as one friend calls them) against LeadFool's Kingdom of Men army, at 1000 pts each.

I had: 1 Ax Horde, 2 Morax Regiments, 1 Gore Rider Regiment, 1 Krudger hero & 2 Flaggers

LeadFool had: 1 Spear Phalanx Horde, 1 Pole Arm Horde, 1 Penitent Horde, 1 Cannon, 1 Hero with Ensorcelled Armor, 1 Army Standard Bearer with a Breath Weapon magic item, & 1 other Hero or Standard Bearer

The humans deployed their foot bunched up together in 1 line, with their cannon on my right flank & the characters throughout the line.

Here is the view from my Gore Riders on the right flank.

And from my Ax Horde line

On my left, the human general (lead)foolishly rushed forward & found out what 20 dice of Moraxes can do. The general was dead by the 2nd turn.

On the right, a big melee developed between my Gore Riders, & their mounted Flagger vs Penitent Mob & their hero.

Unfortunately, the humans were the attackers & the Gore Riders got mauled quite significantly, but didn't break.

With the Moraxes extended on the left flank, the evil Human Spear Phalanx Horde skulked forward, and my unit got to find out what 30 dice of Spear could do. They immediately flew off to Valhalla.

Now that my Gore Riders had distracted the Penitent Mob, my Morax unit on the right flank were able to charge the crazies from behind, rolling 60 dice of hits. The Penitent Mob disappeared, regretting they didn't get to go to Valhalla too.

Up until this point, my small archer units that had been screening the Ax Horde, were holding up them up because they kept getting Wavered & couldn't move out of the way. Finally, the Horde had had enough & just ran though them.

This unfortunately put them in range of both the Spear Phalanx & Pole Arm Hordes, which both charged them. Luckily the Humans trembled before my MIGHTY HORDE and caused minimal damage.

My Morax horde on the right flank had been able to reposition & everyone, including the annoying archers, charged into the fray. 40 Morax dice on the flank took out the Pole Axe Horde. But the Ax Horde wasn't quite as Mighty as 1st thought, and did only moderate damage to the Spears.

Those evil Spears returned the favor to the Ax Horde & took them out in the next combat. & the Cannon finally found its range, & was able to Grapeshot my remaining Morax unit off to Valhalla too.

So to review the current forces at the end of turn 4:

Vikorks: 1 Krudger Hero, 2 small archer units (1 damaged), 2 Flagger banner bearers, 1 severely damaged Gore Riders unit

Tricksy Humans: 1 damaged Spear Phalanx Horde, 1 Cannon, 1 Hero, 1 Banner Bearer with Nasty Breath Weapon.

Here are most of the remaining troops

Of course my forces charge in unabated. Unfortunately, LeadFool thought units of 5 or smaller figures didn't multiply flank or rear attacks, so wasn't expecting 15 attacks from my archers. The combine attacks finished the Spear off.

Finally the Gore Riders, limping along, found a juicy target, and got avenge their comrades deaths & rolled 48 dice against the evil Cannon crew.

And it was now that the Standard Bearer with the Nasty Breath Weapon earned his keep. Over the last few turns, he ran back & forth across the field to take out the poor Gore Riders & both of the archer units.

So this was how it stood at the end of turn 7. We both only had 2 characters left. 150 pts Vikorks vs 165 pts Humans. The 15 point difference was merely the cost of the horses to mount the Humans.

My characters were a complete disappointment, due to both me forgetting their Inspiring rule for the whole game (allowing them to reroll break tests), and all 3 of them together only causing 2 pts of damage the whole game. I think I rolled a 1,1 or 1,2 at least 4 times during the game for either Flagger hit rolls, or break tests for the enemy.

I think the MVP of the game was LeadFool's Banner Bearer with the NASTY BREATH WEAPON. The 70 point character took out more than 3 times its points. I'll definitely watch for Human characters whistling & aimlessly roaming the battlefield next time.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Major Wargaming Accomplishment

I've been working on a fantasy Viking army for probably over 10 years. My original intention was to use them as a Beastman army for Warhammer Fantasy Battle. But recently my gaming group has latched on to Kings of War by Mantic Games, which we believe to be a much better army scale fantasy game (at least in terms of the rules). So now I'm running them as the Kings of War Orc list.

I am now regularly playing with my Vikings for the 1st time. & I was getting a bit embarrassed by the painted figures not being completely based. So over the holiday break, I made a major push to base about 120 figures that were painted, & finish the movement trays I'd bought.

Here, in all its glory, is my fully based & trayed Viking army.

Left: Kings of War Orc Ax Krudgiment (Old Glory Dark Age Rus)
Right: Goblin Mawbeast Regiment (variety of GW & West Wind wolves)
Rear: Orc Gore Riders Regiment (West Wind Dwarf Wars Highland Dwarves on Goats)

Front: Micro Studio Arts Chaos bases which match most of the movement trays, used as KoW Wavering markers
Middle: Orc Archer Half-Regiment (Old Glory Dark Ages archers)
Rear Left: Part of Dark Elf Gargoyles Troop (GW Battle of 5 Armies Giant Eagles paints 25mm Ravens)
Rear Right: Orc Morax Regiment (Old Glory Viking berserkers)

Left: Orc Greatax Troop (Old Glory Valkyries)
Right: Same Old Glory Rus unit as above
Rear: Orc Giant (Mega Miniatures Boobarian, yes that's really what it's called)

Front: More chaos bases for Wavering markers
Middle: Orc Archer Troop (Old Glory Dark Ages javelin skirmishers)
Rear Left: Orc GreatAx Regiment (Old Glory Barbarians)
Rear Right: Orc Krudger Army General (Reaper figure), Wip the Half Cast Orc Magician (D&D plastic mini), rest of Gargoyle unit from above

Left: Orc Greatax Regiment (Old Glory Viking Huscarls)
Right: Orc Ax Krudghorde (Old Glory Vikings)
Rear Left: Another Orc Giant Boobarian
Rear Right: Orc Troll Regiment (Children of Valhalla Giant, Dreamblade plasic mini, D&D plastic mini

[Insert picture here that I forgot to take of another Gore Rider Regiment & Goblin Mawbeast Regiment]

So, that's all my painted figures, completely based & all on movement trays, with 1 tray left over. The whole army comes out to be 2160 points as Kings of War Orcs. It'd be almost 2500 if I included magic items & turned some of the figures into an appropriate number of heroes & bannermen for this sized force.

While this is an awesome accomplishment that I'm very proud of, I have only finished off the already painted figures. I still have about another 70 infantry, 20 large monsters to use as trolls, 2 more giants, 10 more wolves, plus 3-4 character figures that need to be painted. So maybe I should make that my main project for 2015.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Kings of War 1st Try

My friend Skrapwelder & I played our 1st game of Kings of War from Mantic Game. It's a simplified, somewhat abstracted army scale fantasy game. I found myself having to unlearn some basic wargaming assumptions to understand the rules. But the simplification and abstraction means it's pretty fast and very little to argue about.

We brought 500 points army list. Skrapwelders was Undead, mine was Vikorcs (Orc list using Viking figures). The lists were:

Undead: Liche Queen character, Wraith Troop (5 figures), Ghoul Regiment (20), Zombie Swarm (40)

Vikorcs: Ax Horde (30), Morax Troop (10), Archer Troop (5), Gore Riders (5) (I choose not to buy a character to have more points for troops)

This is our position after set up. My archers have the ability to make a move before the game begins, so they were trying to flank the zombie horde.
The arrows show the initial moves. I was shocked to find the Wraiths move 10" normally, which means they charge 20". They surprised me by crossing in front of the zombies, catching my archers in the flank & routing them on the 1st turn. So much for whittling the zombies down with bow fire.

The view from my Ax Horde after the archers have just been seen off by the dark shadows over on Weathertop.

On the right flank, my Gore Riders charge the Ghouls, while my Moraxs mess around in the rocks off to the left.

Finally the Moraxs are able to flank the Ghouls and obliterate them in 1 round.

As the Ax and zombie hordes fight back and forth, damage piles up on my forces. But the Liche Queen is able to keep the zombies healed, so it's a loosing battle, especially when the Wraiths attack in the flank.

After blowing through the Ghouls, my Moraxs & Gore Riders aren't able to reposition fast to reach my Ax Horde before they rout.

As revenge, my Gore Riders the disolve the Wraiths in a single attack.

At this point, we had to roll to see if the game ended with this turn, or continue one more turn. With my Gore Riders poised to attack the zombies in the flank, I was confident I could take them out, so wanted the game to continue. Little did I know...

Skrapwelder went 1st by predictibly charging his zombies in my MorAx, & then did the 2nd surprising thing of the night. His Liche Queen Zapped my Gore Riders with a huge bolt, & he rolled high enough on the Nerve test that the Riders melted away. & the zombies chomped through the Morax, destroying my last unit.

I went from thinking the game would end in at least a draw if not a victory for me, to a solid loss. But that 1 Zap spell could have easily gone the other way & I could have destroyed his zombies instead.

Overall, a very good 1st game. We both made sure to read the rules a few times before the game, & we only came across 2 additional questions that we couldn't answer ourselves. So pretty good for a 1st try. Also, the game probably took less than 90 minutes including lots of discussing & looking up rules.

So it gets the "Definitately want to try it again" recommenation. Next week, we'll probably try 1000 pt armies.