Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2012 Gathering in the Desert Battles

I really meant to post up my battle reports for the Gathering last week but, I got lazy. Here is a quick over-view of each of my games along with a few photos.

Game 1 "Artifact" vs Moria Goblins (Jeremy)

The first game of the event was a cool themed match between my Dwarf army and Jeremy's Goblins. The scenario was "Artifact" which is a modified "Seize the Prize" scenario. There is an objective in the center of the table and you need to dig it up and carry it off the opponent's table edge.

Being the first game of the event and facing the Cave Drake I must admit to being a little distracted. During the deployment phase I was really only thinking about how to not get smashed by the Drake. I actually did not start thinking about the scenario until about turn three when Jeremy's Wargs dug up the artifact. By the time this had happened I had over committed my army on the right and allowed a big gap to open on the left in front of the Drake. With the Wargs now racing for my baseline behind the Drake I had to make a quick redirect of my force to block. This is not very easy to do with Dwarves.

I did manage to tie up the Drake and the Wargs for several turns of hard fighting. This allowed me to deal a lot of damage to the Goblins on my right as well as redirect my center. I actually managed to take the artifact away from the Wargs but this was not going to last long. Jeremy took it back and was only a few inches from getting off the table. By this time both armies were broken so it would come down to some key courage tests. In the end Jeremy was able to pass a courage test with one of the Golbins with the artifact and exit the table. This was a fantastic game and a good start to the event.

Result - Minor Loss

Game 2 "Domination" vs. Corsairs (Chris T)

Game two was a modified Domination scenario. In this scenario there are three objective markers place diagonally across the table. The armies are them deployed diagonally from opposing corners. Chris had a truly stunning Corsairs army with a budget Wraith on a horse. I have played against Corsairs several times so I knew most of the tricks. I also knew the army was much tougher than you might think.

The first few turns were uneventful, just moving towards objectives and some very ineffective Dwarf volley fire. With the slow speed of my army I knew I could not contest all three objectives so I focused my efforts on the center and the left. Chris would take the right objective and hold it uncontested for nearly the entire game. This meant I was down one objective from early in the game. As our armies closed the gap the shooting of the Corsairs started to take a tole. Crossbows and throwing weapons accounted for 12 dead Dwarves before I took any of his models out of action. It makes thinks tough when you spot someone 12 kills and you are starting with almost equal size armies.

Chris really did a great job managing his throwing weapons and shooting but once the Dwarves made contact he had a really tough time getting past the high defense. I slowly started to make up ground and both of our armies broke on the same turn. I was truly stunned by this as I had been losing all game but now I felt like I had a chance. In this scenario once one army breaks the game may end suddenly. If the game had ended on the turn we broke Chris would have walked away with a major victory. But the game didn't end then, instead we had two bonus turns and this would prove to be the decisive factor. Chris' army's low courage meant that he lost lots of troops to failed courage tests. In fact, he lost all the troops holding the right objective leaving unoccupied. Two additional turns of fights and courage tests allowed me to capture the left objective. We both had too many troops and characters to capture the center so it remained contested.

Chris was a great guy to play against and was a great sport. On several occasions during the game he reminded me of re-rolls for my banner. This is something that I always forget to do and it did make a difference. Most people are more than willing to let you forget to do things during the game and I can understand why this happens. It is my responsibility to know my army and to use it to the best of my abilities. It was refreshing to play someone who was more concerned about having a good game rather than just getting a win.

Result - Minor Win

Game 3 "Emissary" vs. White Hand (Mike W)

The "Emissary" mission is a modified "Storm the Camp" scenario. In this scenario you must escort an special emissary model across the table and into the opponent's camp. The emissary only moves 6". This modification helps slowdown the cavalry armies and gives the foot armies a chance. I our game speed was not going to be an issue. It was going to be a slow slug-fest.

Mike and I had the same basic plan - block in the center and the left and shift the emissary around the right. The terrain was better on my side of the table for this tactic and my emissary made good progress. On Mike's side it was a different story. I was able to bottle him up and force him to move his emissary back to wards the center and then ultimately towards his left flank. It was at this point that Mike started fighting for the draw and gave up on the win. Unfortunately, I did not realize just how big of shift he was making towards my emissary and by the time I figured it out he had blocked my advance.

This was a really fun game but it was a brutal and pretty evenly matched.

Result - Draw

Game 4 "Bilbo's Treasure" vs. Cirith Ungol (Chris L)

This is a scenario that is inspired by a scenario that Tim and I worked on for Legends of the High Seas. You start the game with 6 numbered objective markers evenly distributed across the center of the table. At the start of the game you roll a d6 to determine which objective marker is the treasure. You must make contact with the marker to reveal the number. Once you locate the treasure you must take it off the board by any table edge to win the game. Turns out this game would be the perfect storm of bad luck and karma realignment.

To really understand the issues it is important to understand that this was a new version of the scenario. We have played a "Bilbo's Treasure" several times but the older version seems to result in a kill'em all sort of game with few people playing to the objective. This year we wanted to change this up a bit and encourage people to play it differently. Unfortunately Tim and I never played tested the changes and they were a disaster. So the karma came in with the crappy scenario that I had ample opportunity to address before the event and didn't.

So, start with a crap scenario and then draw one of the top players. I have been to 5 tournaments that Chris has been in and he is always one of the top contenders. He brings solid armies and knows how to use them. Chris' army included an orc drummer which gives all orcs within 12" of the drummer a 3" bonus to movement. This means he is nearly as fast as a cav army and almost twice as fast as me. Basically, I would have no chance to get to the objectives ahead of Chris, even the ones on my side of the table.

By the end of turn three Chris had contacted all six of the objectives and I, as expected, had not made it to any of them. My only chance was for the treasure to be under one objective that I was charge distance from (5"). If it was there I would at least have a fighting chance. Any of the other 5 and it was game over. Well, it wasn't the one I needed it to be, so the game was effectively over. There was just no way for me to catch an army that moves 9" a turn with an army that moves 5" a turn, especially when he had a 2" head start.

I think our game lasted about 20-25 minutes, which was not the quickest game but it was pretty fast. I think there was only one game out of 9 that went the full time. The thing that bugged me the most wasn't my game and how it turned out. What really bugged me was how many bad games happened with this scenario. I must admit to feeling a bit guilty for not putting in the extra time to make sure the scenario worked.

Chris was a good guy to play, I just wish we had had more of a game.

Result - Major Loss

Game 5 "Head of the Snake" vs. Isengard Scouts (Pete)

"The Head of the Snake" is a scenario that Tim and I came up with a couple of years ago and is a modification of the "To Kill a King" scenario. The major difference is you only get a minor win for shooting out the opponent's king. To get a major win you must kill the opponent's king in hand-to-hand combat with your king. This is one of my favorite scenarios and is a blast to play.

Pete was a last minute player that was playing one of Tim's ringer armies. Pete was, therefor, not familiar with the army and was mostly out to have a good time. This was fine with me as game 4 had made sure I was in no position to compete for the top.

We drew the Osgiliath table which has loads of terrain. Dwarves love loads of terrain with lots of choke points. Pete started off his attack with the Warg Riders on each flank. With their speed we were in contact very quickly. In the center our leaders and large numbers of troops headed for a fountain in the middle of the table. I made fairly short work of the Wargs. I was also making short work of the Uraks. In fact, I was killing his army out so fast I was worried I would get him to 25% before I killed his king. I did get into combat with his king and after a couple of turns of combat I had a wound on him but then my fears came true. I got him below 25% and the game ended. The official result was a Draw but I should have gotten a minor win based on some rulings from other games. Oh well, it was still a blast and was probably the best game of the weekend. It was nice to finally play someone who rolls dice worse than I do.

Result - Draw


AHunt said...

Nice battle reports. It may have taken you a week but you're still the first one up, that I've seen. Sounds like some good games. Definitely great looking armies on great looking tables.

Dagreenskins said...

Great battle reports. It was a great event and I am looking forward to doing it again.