I am playing a narrative campaign with a few Dwarf players (friends) and so far we have had eight battles. This is a brief description of the ninth battle. The campaign is described here (always available from the top menu too): Khardon Island
Dearest travellers! Yet again we, the heralds of all things cowabunga, bring you a game of Warhammer Renaissance set on the Island of Khardon. Located off the coast of Araby somewhere, the climate is tropical and even the Skeletons are sweating!
This game is building on the story line of King Gorrin. Last we saw King Gorrin’s forces was back in game 5, where his army suffered a defeat at the hands of the evil Vampire Lord Cantu Cordula.
After licking his wounds and rallying his army Gorrin has decided to reclaim his lost Dwarven brothers before they are turned into braindead slaves for the army of Cordula.
The board featured 4 objectives in the form of piles of dead Dwarfs. These were all made using 3d printing as described earlier.
For each board edge, an objective was placed 12″ in a the centre of the edge as shown in the map below. The objectives were scored as follows:
The objective in your own deployment zone is worth 1 point to you, 4 to your opponent. The objectives in no man’s land is worth 2 points. The game lasts 5 turns, after turn 5 a die is rolled and on 4+ a 6th turn is played.
Each army deploys 12″ from a long board edge. Players first roll off to choose sides, then to see who deploys a unit first. Then they proceed to deploy one unit at a time. The one to finish deploying first gets +1 to the roll to start.
As usual I went for a very compact deployment of my vampire forces. I decided that I would give up the right objective (in front of the giant) and only deployed fast units there. My idea was to go all in for the 4 point objective and then also take the objective on the slayers and crossbowmen side. The centre units of 25 skeletons, and 2 times 20 zombies, would be a solid block to deal with for the Dwarfs. I had gone all the way today and brought a Vampire Lord with a Hydra Sword. I normally don’t use the Hydra Sword because I think it is over-the-top having used it with Chaos. But, I think I would try it at least once for the vampires.
The Dwaf list will be uploaded later Roger, as I do not have the Dwarf list.
The Undead heroes of Cantu Cordula won the roll to start. I didn’t sleep on it, and IMMEDIATELY charged the Ironbreakers with my glass cannon equivalent – the Skeleton Horsemen. True to form they disappeared faster than mildew in an erupting volcano. In hindsight, I wonder if it was my subconsciousness trying to get rid of the Horsemen, since they always frustrate me.
Next the Charles de Ghoulle and his companions charged the giant for a massive …. catastrophe! The ghouls rolled a SINGLE hit, which translated into nothing. The giant in return killed off a few of the ghouls.
To even things out the Dwarf player then attacked the Ghouls (in close combat – oh yeah,… the gyrocopter does get to do this into the swirling chaos of melee, for reasons only Dwarf players can appreciate). But LO and behold – it only managed to hit and kill 1 ghoul. Muahahah! Justice!
Most games of Warhammer can be boiled down to one important scuffle. This was not any different. I managed to tip to my Vampire Lord and his zombies a little ahead of the two other units to his flanks. The idea was to get charged and then countercharge (assuming he still lived). The Dwarfs went for the bait. First the Dwarf spear unit charged my regiment, and I declared a challenge with my Wraith, as the Dwarfs did not declare anything. This allowed my vampire with HYDRA SWORD, to do his thing. I rolled 2 hits, which translated into …. 3 hits total with the hydra sword… what,… the… heck! In the end I barely escaped with the skin on my nose.
Next it was my turn and the two remaining Undead units charged, which spelled the end of the Dwarfs. Numerous things were misplayed in the sequence. I forgot I had a Cursed book so the Dwarfs would be hitting on -1, and also I forgot that my zombies could use my Lord’s leadership, so they would not disappear. I have grown accustomed to these small inaccuracies and I don’t mind too much. I am pretty confident that the outcome would have been more or less the same. The second round saw the Vampire make 17 hits with the sword….. now that is a lot of hits!
On the left flank the Wight Knights tried to topple the Slayers. But sadly no. It didn’t work. The Wight Knights simply can’t do the damage. I might need to try adding a character to the unit for some more damage. It is still difficult to figure out what the benefit is. They did do better with the armour, but not being able to raise them… pfff.
So this game so a lot of unexpected dice rolls, which I guess means that the rolling was pretty average all in all… just very unevenly distributed. When my Giant Bats fell upon the Organ Gun crew they killed two of the Dwarfs and made them roll for break test. The Dwarfs got a 12!!!
But… alas… the Battle Standard was within 12” so they were allowed to re-roll. This then got them a 2! From one end of the spectrum to the other!!!
We were in the closing phase of the game now. My spirit host charged and routed the Dwarf Crossbows, while my skeleton regiment without hero made ready to take on the slayers. Slayers are a huge problem for the Undead, as they are unbreakable and don’t care about psychology. Without a character my odds were not good.
My Vampire lord was stranded without his zombies (we played it wrong) and rejoined the Skeleton unit before going for the objective. I had summoned 5 skeletons on the objective already (which has been clarified by the Warhammer Renaissance author to be a viable tactic). I just needed to kill the Ironbreakers.
Long story short I managed to land my regiment on the objective, and somehow in the process the Ironbreakers got out of the way. I think they killed my Count and his Zombie regiment and then overran to the other end of the board but things are a bit blurry now.
Finally the Giant charged into my regiment on the objective. Luckily for me, characters in Warhammer Renaissance are always allowed to switch place with an ordinary rank and file trooper to join a melee. I used this to bring my Vampire into contact with the Giant, whom he slew in a single round of combat. Voila! That is it.
The game came down to wether there was a Turn 6 or not – the Dwarfs could get 6 points if there was, while I was at 4. However the die roll came up a 2 and there was no turn 6.
We ended at Vampires 1891 vs Dwarfs 1003 victory points. This means that it was in fact a MINOR victory for the undead. I don’t think I played it too carefully, and I also think that more or less the same things worked for me that always work.
Wights are shit, Vampires are great. The Ghouls seemed to have a surprising damage output potential, and I will look into boosting this unit.
My hope for the Vampire army is to add The Black Coach, some Grave Guard, and more Zombies (and ghouls). I think that probably most of these units are not as good as taking the points equivalent in zombies or skeletons.
Listening to the Flail of Skulls podcast has inspired me to think about using Zombies in 10 man screening units. The Zombies don’t have the “always lap around” rule that was in 5th edition, as there is no lapping in Warhammer Renaissance at all. I kind of think it is weird that they are not unbreakable, and I guess that is just a design choice. Fluff-wise I have a hard time seeing Zombies as anything but unbreakable and unrelenting. That is exactly how they are normally depicted. But I get it – it is a game and not a 1:1 simulator.
Since the Dwarfs lost, I get to decide where they go on the map! I chose to push them into the Forest of Eternal Doom.
The whole campaign map now looks like below and as you can see there are quite a few unexplored sites left! The two Dwarf armies are very close to linking up though! Belagor’s army is split in two which makes it a challenge for the Undead to keep controlling everything.