Wednesday, 13 November 2013

The White Rider

Sometimes despite your best efforts things just don't go to plan.

Ian and I had decided to play Lord of the Rings and I was looking to do something a bit different than our usual Rohan/Isengard bashes.

I had recently completed two Nazgul on Fell Beasts ad we decided to find a scenario that would enable us to use them.  The one I found recreated the movie version of Faramir's flight from Osgiliath in the Return of the King.  In the movie Faramir and a few other stragglers are desperately trying to reach the safety of Minas Tirith, all the while being hounded by the Nazgul. In true Tolkien fashion Gandalf rode forth from the white city and helped to rescue Faramir.

For the purposes of this scenario we used a 6x4 foot table, with no terrain, to represent the plains of Pelargir.  At one end of the table was Gandalf, riding out from the city. At the other end of the board was Faramir on horseback, escorted by 4 knights of Minas Tirith, all being chased by 2 Nazgul on Fell Beasts.  

Gandalf rides forth!

Faramir runs for Minas Tirith, hotly pursued.
This was quite a departure from our normal games as it included 2 fell beast and also had three very powerful characters, all of which were spell casters. I really had no idea how to go about playing this, as it was about to become painfully obvious.

The first time we played, Faramir and his escort fled down the table and the Nazgul both decided to black Dart him on the first turn, which killed him outright!  We decided to reset and start again.

Game two was a bit better, and this time I sent some sacrificial knights to stall the nazgul, which they barely managed but in the end it was not to be and the nazgul managed to kill both Gandalf and Faramir!

Game1, Turn 1:  Faramir nailed by a Black Dart.  Start Again!

Game 2:  Still not going great for the good guys

Gandalf buys the farm.

We decided to have a third try and this time swapped sides. By this time we were starting to work out how to get the best out of Gandalf so this  was going to be tricky.  In the end I refused to use the Black Dart until I absolutely had to and even then it did not help. In the third game Ian quite comfortably managed to get Gandalf and Faramir to the gates of Minas Tirith, as well as managing to slay a Nazgul with a nameless Knight of Minas Tirith!

In the end I had one of those nights.  Everything went wrong for me.  I lost just about every fight, and every 50/50 roll-off went Ian's way. Also Ian was very successful at getting off his spells or resisting mine while mine were a disaster.  Just one of these nights I guess.  Still good fun and nice change from our usual Lord of the Rings fare.

I was at Targe at the weekend with my youngest as well, and had quite a good time, but that is a post for another time.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

New Dark Elves

I finally got a chance to try out the new Dark Elf army book that was recently released by GW for Warhammer 8th Edition.

Ian and I had decided to play at 2000points, with a random scenario picked from the main rulebook.

The new Dark Elves now hit a bit harder, but have also got a bit more expensive.  I decided to take a selection of units to try out against Ian's chaos.

I ended up with:

21 Witch Elves
21 Corsairs
10 Cold One Knights
5 Dark Riders
5 Shades
1 Chariot
2 Repeater Bolt Throwers
20 Crossbowmen.

As the scenario was random I took a fairly balanced army. 

In the end we generated the Dawn assault, which forced random deployment of out armies.  the deployment worked out fairly well for me as most of Ian's army ended up on my right, with his heavy cavalry exposed in the centre.

My army performed pretty much as I expected. My witch elves got butchered by a unit of chaos warriors, my shooting was fairly underwhelming against all the armour. The lighter elements of the chaos army were quickly overwhelmed, but the stand out unit for me were the Cold One Knights. They single handed broke the chaos army, wiping out one unit of chaos knights and then getting revenge for the dead witch elves. In the end I managed a fairly comfortable victory, with only one unit of chaos warriors remaining on the table at the end of the game.  Having said that Ian had some terrible luck and the dice really let him down in some crucial combats.

The dark Elves proved to be pretty versatile, with the combination of missile fire, heavy hitters and manoeuvrability proving to be very adaptable.  They were pretty much always that though so no big change there.  The new rules did not come into play that much as the Chaos Warriors have a pretty high Initiative, which makes the advantage seem a lot less.   The Murderous Prowes (re roll to wound roles of 1) only really came into play once in the game, where is saved the chariot from getting squished by some chaos ogres. 

Cold One Knights crush the Chaos centre

The Chaos line advances

Mid Game manoeuvers

Crossbowmen in Danger

End Game, mopping up.

I did not field any of the fancy new toys as I much prefer to field more rank and file troops, so no Cauldron of Blood. I am not a big fan of the Hydras either so I left it at home.

All in all I did not see much difference and do not think there will be much change in how I play my Dark Elves. Corsairs got a bit better, with the Sea Dragon Cloaks getting better and the stupid slaver rule getting dropped. Hand bows also got a bit better a well.  All in all this is a good thing as it was the Corsairs that were my main reason for starting Dark elves in the first place.  The only new units in the book that I am interested in trying out are the Warlocks and the Medusa.  The Warlocks as the rules look quite interesting, and the Medusa as the model is lovely.  In general the models in this release have been a mixed bag.  The new Witch Elves and Rank and File warriors are both lovely. The new chariots are beyond stupid (one wheel?! What were they on when  they designed that?). The new Dark Riders are nice but the horses are not. The new Hydra is pretty nice as well.  I also like the Blackguard/Executioner models as well, but as always with GW the price puts me off investing in any for now.  Perhaps in the future, but at the moment they are too expensive to justify.
One thing that was interesting was the selection of the random scenario. This really changes how you select your army as you need to cover all the possible conditions you might come up against. I needed to consider an army that was versatile enough to stand a random deployment, had enough banners to survive or a unit that was the right size to be stationed in a watchtower.  It made for a more interesting game and I think we will play like in the future. 

There are a few of us playing 3rd edition as well, but as far as I am concerned it is just another version of Warhammer, with a few different numbers. it is all about the scenario these days.  especially if you are not sure what scenario you are going to end up playing.  If all you ever played was a pitch battle then the game would get pretty boring pretty quickly.