Monday, 15 August 2016

9th Age Siege - 36,000 points

Here's a report on a rather insane big six player 9th Age siege game we've just played over the past two days. It was 36,000 points or something close to it.

I took 3000 points of Beastmen and 3000 of Daemons, allied with Rhy's 6000 of Warriors of Chaos, and there were 8000 points of opportunistic Orks and Goblins involved commanded by Mike. I think the Orks were on our side, but I'm not sure as they only seemed concerned about looting a Dwarven brewery rather than storming the castle we were aiming for. Defending were Alan's Empire in the castle, and Alex's Dwarves and Dylan's Ogres near the brewery.


Kudos to Alex who pulled the whole thing together and also provided the following background story!

Story: The Siege of Langwald

The province of Stirland shares its borders with Sylvania and Ostermark to the East. It is a relatively poor country in comparison to its southern neighbours, Averland and Wissenland. Its inhabitants are relatively conservative and superstitious, and rightly so! Having to deal regularly with all sorts of horrible fiends and creatures, be they undead, beastmen or chaos mutants, does make you develop a kind of “healthy” paranoia…

The township of Langwald lies to the East of the province and is important enough to be fortified. Indeed, the cult of Sigmar has built a shrine to bring the light of the God-Emperor to these dark places. Quite a few pilgrims come to Langwald to ask Sigmar for protection and guidance.

Lately, a flow of refugees from Ostermark has alerted the town of a ravaging Chaos horde led by Perrin the All-Seeing. In fact, the Chaos Lord has been gifted quite a few extra eyes by his patron deity Tzeentch. His horde has been rampaging through most of Ostermark and is now heading for Langwald.

Major Conrad Seussenhoffer is in charge of the city defence and should make sure that Sigmar’s heirs prevail in the coming battle. Lector Hans Rudel, the head of the local Sigmarites, has made sure to use his influence and gold to send for reinforcements, for the town shrine actually contains a holy relic that cannot fall into the hands of Chaos! That is why Grand Master Rudolf Hetz has been sent to gather help to defeat the Chaos horde. The real question is: what help will he be able to find and will he make it back in time to save the city?

Langwald is actually bordering the end of the Great Forest and so has to deal with beastmen warbands rampaging through the area on a regular basis. In the months preceding the siege, Borok the Boobyfier, the most powerful Beastlord of the Jagerforst forest, has been foretold by his shamans of the coming of a mighty lord of Chaos. It was prophesized by the shamans that joining forces with such a conqueror would bring the attention of the Chaos gods on Borok and the herd.

On the other side of the Haunted Hills, to the east of Langwald, a mighty Dwarfs Throng, accompanied by a contingent of Ogres mercenaries, has settle camp. They are a diplomatic delegation from Zhufbar heading to Karak Norn to settle some old grudges (usual Dwarfs business). But their rangers have reported the approaching Chaos horde heading for Langwald. The empire town is indeed under Sigmar’s protection (and lucky) that its founders have helped Dwarfs from Zhufbar during the Vampire Wars. As the Dwarfs do keep record of everything, it has been established that this debt had not been repaid yet. The lord leading the Dwarfs throng, Gromtig Copperbeard, has decided that the debt should be repaid before carrying on their diplomatic mission to Karak Norn. Befat the Magnificient, leader of the Ogres mercenaries, has accepted to help the Dwarfs beyond the original contract, politely asking for an extra chest of gemstones for his troubles of course. His tribe, the Fine Feasters, are quite excited by the prospect of fighting Chaos warriors, for they are quite fond of the Northerners’ flesh. They think it tastes quite exotic, as opposed to the bland and boring taste of men from the Empire or Bretonnia, the sour taste of Elven flesh or the floury taste of Dwarven meat.

Little do the Dwarfs and Ogres know that they were being watched by enemy spies belonging to an old nemesis: the Greenskins. Ezza Ozzog, Warlord of the Mutherkrusherz tribe, has been foretold by his shaman, Gorgash Stuntysmasha, that Gork (or possibly Mork) have big planz for him! A big mighty klash awaits him and will prove decisive for him to assure his Godz that he’s the smashiest Orc Warlord around! What Ezza did not realise was that his shaman has been intoxicated by shrooms… Indeed, Goblin King Snorko Bogroft has made sure his shamans are actually playing a game of puppets with Ezza’s closest advisors… a game of puppets involving shrooms… lots of shrooms!!! Snorko’s tribe, the Grot Scrubberz, have joined Ezza’s Whaaagh since its inception, which was instrumented by Snorko himself in true Goblin fashion (from the back).

Now, all the forces are converging toward their target. The Chaos and Beastmen horde are marching towards the city they want to defile in the name of the Dark Gods. The Dwarfs and Ogres are rushing to help their old allies (or clients depending who you ask…). The Orcs and Goblins are preparing to ambush the hated stunties and their bigger allies. Finally, the defenders of Langwald are desperately looking to the West in the hope that a relief force led by Rudolf Hetz will suddenly appear to vanquish the Chaos forces… Only time will tell what the outcome of such a mighty clash of armies will be. One thing’s for sure: victory will come at a price which can only be paid with blood!

Beastmen and Daemons

Here's a picture of my forces before the battle. Daemons on the left, Beastmen on the right. Beastmen were assaulting, with the two giants and some infantry ambushing. The Daemons would appear once enough casualties had been caused to summon them.

The Battle

This will be bit of an overview and highlights rather than detailed, as there was too much happening for one person to keep track of it all of course! 

Here's a view down the table. Castle on the left, attackers on the right. In the back is the Dwarven brewery which can be seen better in another couple of photos.

Empire defending the castle.

The Dwarven Brewery with Dwarves and Ogres defending. 8000 points of Orks and Goblins surrounding them on three sides.


My Beastmen ready to assault the castle.

Assisted by Rhys' Chaos.

Another view of the Greenskins.

We start pushing our towers towards the walls.

My Beastlord on his throne shouting instructions ("Left a bit, no right a bit!").

And Shaman casting spells from the next one. Don't know why the pigs are up there.

My Ungors capture and desecrate the Church by pooping on the altar. First victory condition achieved!

Empire start shooting at the towers but without much success.


My first ambushing giant arrives, having climbed over the walls from a different direction. (An earlier joke had them disguising themselves as washer women to achieve surprise, hence the dress it is wearing... yeah I know I'm not well). 

The Giant aims for the Steam Tank.

Flagellants furious at desecration of their church retake it from the Ungors. The Jabberwocky thinks about intervening, but decides they look a bit too angry and thinks better of it.

One of the siege towers is destroyed by Empire Artillery.

Things start to get messy near the brewery.

An Empire relief force arrives on my flank consisting of Dogs of War mercenaries.

Brewery again.

Other end of the Empire Castle.

Trolls push forward their battering ram towards the gate, and other trolls their siege tower. Warriors who have lost their siege tower resort to ladders. Miraculously the Chaos are surrounded by snow where-ever they go...

My Bestigors arrive and storm the ramparts!

As do my Gors.

With aid of my Jaberwocky's Aura of Madness lowering the Empire Leadership, the Bestigors capture the first wall.

The Empire are holding off my other assault though.

The Chaos warriors are assaulting another wall but haven't breached it.

End of the first day.

Day 2. Another giant enters from behind the enemy walls, as do some Ungors out of the sewers.

The newly arriving giant is shot dead by Empire Artillery immediately. The other Giant alternates between missing the Steam Tank with his Thump attack and yelling at it stupidly.

The Dwarves and Ogres have beaten up the wings of the Greenskin attack but there are plenty more coming.


Beast and Chaos forces move to meet the Empire relief force.

The Chariots plunge into the mercenaries.

The Daemons are also appearing, drawn by the carnage.

Bestigors break into the courtyard, but then take many casualties from Empire missile troops in the surrounding towers. My Ungors move up onto the Battlements the Bestigors had vacated, but are then driven from them by Empire rangers entering from outside through the Siege Tower we had carelessly left there... oops.

Some Daemons appear in the courtyard too, and Trolls break through the gate. Greatswords stubbornly hold them both off.  Bestigors attack the Steam Tank to help the Giant out.

Don't really know what was happening at other end of table.

Dwarves and Orks hating each other I guess.

Many Ork units are looking very unhealthy. In the back that looks like Goblin whirling ball and chain fanatics have gone through their own Ork unit. Wouldn't surprise me knowing Mike.

Jabberwocky has skillfully avoided enemy all game, but is now trapped and charged by angry Flagellants and dies. Very sad.

And the Steam Tank dies as the Giant lands a solid Thump attack at last.  The Giant only has a single wound left out of six.

At this point we called the game after six turns. I think the game was something of a messy loss to the attackers, as the Chaos had not managed to capture two thirds of the Castle in time, nor the Brewery. At least my Ungors managed to poop in the church.

Anyway a good way to spend a weekend, with much merriment and beer drunk. Thanks to all the players and especially to Alex for organising it all!


Postscript

The battle was bloody on and within the walls of Langwald. Casualties on both sides were horrendous, much to the pleasure of the Blood God who does not care from where the blood flows. And flowing it was! The relief forces, led by the returning Grand Master Hetz, arrived in time to participate to the bloody conflict and consisted of mercenaries, Dogs of War as they are often referred to. However, the Chaos forces had dark plans to gather allies of their own… And so it was that attracted by the bloodshed and violence, Daemons started to materialise on the battlefield, even within the town itself. No doubt, some agents of the Dark Gods were at work before the siege and made sure that the walls would fall from within if not from the assault of the Chaos horde. It was with horror that Lector Rudel watched the foul creatures appear within his own ranks, defiling the sacred relic that was his duty to protect.

On the other side of the hills, the Dwarfs and their Ogres allies were fighting toe and nail to defend the brewery. The Greenskins tide seemed endless… Although quite a few goblin groups turned tail and ran away after a good punishment from the Dwarfs artillery, the biggest threat came from their bigger cousins. Orcs of all kind, be they crazed savage Orcs or disciplined and fearless Black Orcs, were inflicting heavy casualties on the Dwarfs and Ogres warriors. It looked like it was just a matter of time before numbers began to prevail, and it seemed the ransack of the brewery was at hand…

On the walls of Langwald, the assault from the Chaos forces was still putting a lot of pressure on the defenders. Most walls had fallen to enemy hands but the few that still belonged to the Empire troops were defended fiercely. And in the end, the determination of the men of the Empire was their salvation. The Chaos forces started to withdraw. A few beastmen at first, then the whole herd was called back by Borok. What was left of the Chaos host quickly followed their beast allies. No one in the Empire ranks could understand why the Chaos forces were withdrawing that close to victory. Maybe it was the fierce determination with which the men defending had fought or maybe the relief force was too much for them. However, no one was really in a mood for celebration for this was not close enough to victory. The daemons were still running rampage through the town and needed to be dealt with. Also, everyone could hear the laughter of the Dark Gods in their heads. Such was the carnage left after the battle that it would take a long time for the town to recover, if that was going to happen at all. Everything outside the walls had been destroyed or defiled by the unholy. It would be with heavy hearts and sorrow that men would start to rebuild and clean, if the scions of the Dark Gods did not come back to haunt them later on.

The Dwarfs and Ogres were preparing to sell their life dearly to defend the brewery. But suddenly, a withdrawal signal (if a high pitched noise similar to a goblin being butchered could be named as such) sounded and what was left of Ezza’s host turned around and disappeared in the thick forests from where it had come. Unknown to the Dwarfs and their allies, Ezza had finally noticed the absence of his goblin “ally”, Snorko. Indeed, it occurred to Ezza that Snorko had not been seen at all during the battle, even though he was supposed to be nearby at the start of the ambush… Some heads needed to be bashed back to their proper place…which was under Ezza’s foot!

As dust settled, Gromtig Copperbeard looked to Befat, who was lying against the walls of the brewery recovering from a few injuries sustained during the battle, and nodded. A chest full of gems was quickly dropped at the Ogre’s feet and what was left of the Dwarf throng walked inside the building to celebrate their victory and mourn their dead. Soon enough, the throng would be marching to Karak Norn to settle their first order of business. Temporary help would be offered to the human town if needed. Gromtig had already sent a messenger back to Zhufbar to report on the incident and ask for some “technical” help for the humans (Grungni knows how fragile and unsteady things built by manlings are…).

The town of Langwald was safe for the moment. But the forces of Chaos grow stronger as time goes by. This was just a battle in an age of unending wars…

Friday, 24 June 2016

Epic 4K: Air Marine vs Armoured Tau

An interesting game two nights ago where I used my Marines and Andrew his Tau, and both armies had a fair amount of air assault ability.

My Marine army was what is known in Epic jargon as an "air assault list", meaning its main punch is either teleporting Terminators (3 formations) or Thunderhawk air assault (3 formations), or Drop Podding formations (0 formations this time). It's expensive, elite, and something that I personally have rarely been able to get to work well, despite it having a fearsome reputation. Thus I wanted to give it some practice. :)

4000 POINTS 
Codex Astartes (NetEA Tournament Pack 2014) 
================================================== 

TERMINATOR [400] 
4 Terminators, Captain

TERMINATOR [350] 
4 Terminators

TERMINATOR [400] 
4 Terminators, Chaplain

THUNDERHAWK [200]  (Carrying 2x Assault Formations)

ASSAULT [225] 
4 Assault Units, Chaplain

ASSAULT [225] 
4 Assault Units, Chaplain

TACTICAL [475] 
6 Tacticals, Supreme Commander, Razorback, Hunter

SCOUT [150] 
4 Scouts

SCOUT [150] 
4 Scouts

TACTICAL [375] 
6 Tacticals, Razorback, Hunter

WHIRLWIND [300] 
4 Whirlwinds

WHIRLWIND [300] 
4 Whirlwinds

THUNDERHAWK [200] (Carrying 1x Deavastator Formation)

DEVASTATOR [250] 
4 Devastators


Andrew Used a Tau list with 4 formations of Tigershark gunships carrying drones, plus super heavy tanks, more tanks, and recon.

425Armoured Cadre, 6 Hammerhead Railgun + Command Node, Skyray
425Mechanised Cadre, 2 Hammerhead Fusion, Skyray
          4 Fire Warrior + Ethereal, 2 Devilfish + Command Node
375Mechanised Cadre, 2 Hammerhead Fusion, Skyray
          4 Fire Warrior, 2 Devilfish + Command Node
4752 Scorpionfish + Command Node + Commander 
4252 Scorpionfish + Command Node
150Recon Group, 3 Tetra, 2 Piranha TX-42
150Recon Group, 3 Tetra, 2 Piranha TX-42
150Recon Group, 3 Tetra, 2 Piranha TX-42
1754 Sentry Drone Turrets
1752 Tigersharks
1006 Gun Drones
1752 Tigersharks
1006 Gun Drones
1752 Tigersharks
1006 Gun Drones
1752 Tigersharks
1006 Gun Drones
1502 Barracudas


I also decided to use the random terrain generators in the old Epic 40000 Battles Book (3rd edition Epic). These were a pretty cool feature and work fine for Epic. I rolled up an Agri-world. Differences to normal Epic Armageddon terrain are that the dinosaurs on a patch of ground represent a "Herd". This counts as dangerous terrain for all units except war engines, and has no other effect! Also the woods are "plantations" in this game, which because the trees are planted in more orderly fashion they do not cause a dangerous terrain check for vehicles (something I promptly forgot about though it would have been useful to remember!)

Turn 1

Here's the setup. As the Marines I chose deployment and ended up giving the skimmer heavy Tau quite a nice defensive deployment area behind a river. I figured I didn't want this in my deployment zone as it is impassable to vehicles except at one point near the ruins, and the problems it would cause me would exceed the benefit it would give the Tau by having it - maybe! The river is impassable to vehicles (though not all the Tau vehicles which are skimmers), and dangerous terrain for infantry.

The two Tau Take and Hold objectives are closest to the camera, near my main deployment area. The two Marine Take and Hold objectives are mirrored on the other side of the battlefield away from the camera.

The Tau excel at long range fire, so somehow I'm going to have to close and destroy them before they shoot me to pieces. And at the same time if I mess up the assault my assault troops will be gunned down very quickly.

I have a defensive position near one of the plantations, with both formations of Whirlwinds protected by a Tactical and Scout formation.

My Scouts on my left flank are aiming to distract and slow the Tau and draw their forces that way.

The Tau deployment making full use of the river.

And keeping out of the territory of the dinosaur herd...

Marines win Strategy Roll and I make the Tau move first. They advance a Recon formation to spot for the Scorpionfish tanks, but the Recon kills the Scout squad in range and so the Scorpionfish have to move and fire directly. Oops. Andrew isn't happy with this opening error on his part. My Tactical formation moves up and eliminates the Recon formation in a firefight.

Scorpionfish fail to kill any scouts to add insult to the error...

Tau Tigersharks and Drones descend upon my left flank wiping out my Scouts and also destroying a reinforcing Devastator formation that had just wiped out another Recon formation.

Tau advance strongly on the left, and their Hammerhead Tanks destroy the landed Thunderhawk.

Tau make their point and take the left side of the board decisively. I decline to fly on with my second Thunderhawk given all the AA and waiting interceptors.

The Tau have spread out though, and as turn two approaches I now have some potential targets...

Turn 2

I teleport all three Terminator formations near the two Scorpionfish formations. The Captain's formation takes two blastmarkers and the Chaplain's formation one blastmarker. 

This is quite a risky move, as I will be relying on firefight with Terminators rather than close assault given the Tau vehicles are skimmers. I'm also going in disordered against well armoured skimmers (5+ deflector and 5+ reinforced armour).  Fortunately the Tau only have a firefight of 6+.

First assault is two formations (one the Captain ordering the combined assault), supported by the third formation. It goes in my favour and the Tau formation is wiped out. I retain initiative and the Chaplains formation follows up with another firefight engagement against the second Scorpionfish formation. Support is provided by the other two Terminator formations which have consolidated into support range after the first firefight. 

Another victory and all Scorpionfish and the Tau Supreme Commander are eliminated for loss of no Terminators! Pretty devastating for the Tau.

Tau Hammerheads respond, and wipe out all the vehicles from my Supreme Commanders Formation. Then Tau aim for revenge on my Terminators throwing formation after formation of fire at them. Fortunately the Terminators have Thick Rear Armour ability so the usual Tau crossfire trick doesn't help them. Still weight of fire takes its toll and soon Terminators begin to fall.

My Whirlwinds keep firing barrages at Tau formations keeping up attrition on them.

Time for another air assault, here comes the Thunderhawk with Assault Marines, flying through heavy flak and dodging interceptors to emerge unscathed.

The Assault marines destroy all but one Hammerhead with their engage action, with the two Chaplains Inspiring ability urging them on. Two Assault Squads are lost.

Terminators continue to take much fire and two formations are broken by now.


One formation of Terminators is wiped out, and the other two are broken.

End of turn before rallying.




After rallying, all Marine formations rally, though not all Tau.

Turn 3

Tau win Strategy Roll, but fail to activate with their Firewarriors who just carry out a shoot action. This is still enough to wipe out the two remaining stands of one Assault formation though.

My Thunderhawk flies on and strafes and breaks a gun drone formation, before the Tau interceptors get a chance to do anything.

And my second Assault Marine formation engages and destroys the Firewarrior formation for no loss.


The Tau break one of the rallied Terminator formations and concentrate on the second one.

My Terminators engage and destroy a gun drone formation before they are broken in turn.

But the Tau are out of activations except for Bombers and Fighters, and on my right flank my Marine units which had been hunkered down in cover, now surge forward and claim the Tau Take and Hold objectives. The Tau cannot stop them all.

Tau hold my Take and Hold objectives on the other flank.

Game over. Win to Marines 2-1 on Victory Conditions, with Take and Hold and Break Their Spirit (the Scorpionfish formation destroyed), to Take and Hold Victory Condition for the Tau.

Conclusion

Well I didn't like my chances at the start of the game, but the Emperor smiled upon the forces of righteousness. The plan worked, which was to hit some priority targets hard with assault troops, and then let the Tau exhaust themselves on two Marine hard points - the Terminators and defences around the Whirlwind artillery park. I was relying on Marine armour and rallying ability to outlast the Tau in a battle of attrition once the main Tau power units were weakened/destroyed, and that's how it panned out. However, had the Terminators lost their engage action it would have been a different story. It would have been preferable to suppress the Scorpionfish first of course but in this instance I didn't have time and things were balanced too finely so I felt I had to take the risk!

As usual an interesting tactical challenge, and also as usual very different in nature to that of any other recent game given the diversity of forces you can field in Epic!