Hrolf Bristlebeard huddled closer to the fire. As evening fell in the foothills of the World's Edge Mountains, the air took on a deeper chill, biting through to the bone. They'd spent all day trying to find a good blocking position to channel the goblins into the pre-ranged artillery batteries farther up the pass.
It was hard to tell with goblins- sometimes a manuever like this was giving them too much credit. This group hadn't seemed particularly cunning and likely would have blundered into the killing field anyhow. As it was, Theggi Goldteeth, an inexperienced young thane, had them out here on a lonely hilltop in the middle of Valaya knew where, to try to prove just how clever he was.
Hrolf shook his head. He didn't like to think so poorly of his superiors, but he'd heard the longbeards voicing similar concerns, and the shadows seemed to be playing some nasty tricks on him. Maybe it was all this nasty fresh air.
This game was a couple weeks ago- the fourth of the day. I'd brought one list for all my games and didn't take the time to shuffle anything, or optimize runes. Mostly it was arrogance as I'd played this guy before and beaten him soundly twice in our warbands league.
Thane w/Shield, Greatweapon, MR of Gromril (forgot to remove shield when I picked the rune)
15 Longbeards- Shield, Rune of Determination and Stoicism, Full command
25 Warriors- Shield, Full command
10 Rangers- GW, Throwing axes, Veteran, Musician
Bolt thrower- Engineer w/BoP
Grudge thrower- Rune of accuracy
12 Thunderers w/shields
His list (roughly):
Wargor w/ Mark of Khorne, Armor of Damnation, Sword of Might, Shield
Wargor w/ Mark of Khorne, Armor of Tortured Souls, Biting Blade, Shield
2x Beast herds w/ Full command, 12 gors, 8 ungors, shields
1x Beast herds w/ Full command, 12 gors, 8 ungors, 2 hws
6x Minotaurs w/ Mark of Khorne, Bloodkine, Standard
2x pack of 5 warhounds
A loud, warbling bray brought the small dwarven band to their feet. Longbeards doused their pipes and threw back the last of their ale. Hrolf peered into the dusk trying to spot the rangers who were supposed to be maintaining a picket. He was about to curse them when they stumbled out of the woods behind the dwarven line, breathing heavily.
"They're circling behind! Be ready!"
I suckered myself into taking a hill in the middle of my deployment zone. It wasn't the best place to make a stand, and I didn't have so much shooting that I really needed it. Left to right, I was:
Bolt thrower, Longbeards w/ thane, warriors (on hill), thunderers (on hill), grudge thrower (on hill), dragonslayer. My rangers were facing the rear.
The board held a LOT of woods making it very easy for him to advance with a minimum of firing. He ambushed one herd and one pack of hounds. He had a pack of hounds on the far left, then two beast herds, and then his characters. The spawn and minotaurs deployed far right of my line, looking to sweep around and roll the line. They would do this with only the stone thrower really able to shoot at them until the last minute.
He won the roll to go first and advanced across the board. The only vulnerable unit was his beast herd in the middle, which did not take enough casualties to test for panic. I had a long range, hard cover shot down the line of minotaurs with the bolt thrower but missed (needed a 6). The grudge thrower pulverised two minotaurs.
The pack of hounds missed their leadership check and entered on his table edge. His herd entered and flooded to the outside of my line by the bolt thrower. The beast herd on the left and the hounds moved close enough to charge the bolt thrower as well. The minotaurs, characters and spawn continued to move in a sweep towards the extreme right of my line. The beast herd in the middle closed to charge range of the thunderers.
The miners failed to show. The rangers wheeled to face the ambushing beast herd. The dragon slayer sprinted off on the right towards the big slew of nasties closing in on the right. My stone thrower missed the big mess of monsters entirely. The thunderers caused some casualties but came up one short of forcing a panic check, so the bolt thrower fired into the middle herd, lancing a gor, and panicking the unit (hoorah!). The longbeards shifted to counter charge the herd that would charge the bolt-thrower next turn.
The bolt thrower is charged by a pack of hounds and a beast herd from the front. I realize now that the hounds were in the front arc, but moved to the flank once the herd filled the front arc of the charge- this actually happened again later, and I put it down to more experience with 40k than fantasy that we allowed this. I think they probably should have split the frontage, rather than be allowed a flank bonus.
The ambushing beast herd also charged into the rangers, while the fleeing herd in the center rallied. Combat saw the rangers lose three, cause one casualty and outrun the herd. The bolt thrower crew was killed except for the engineer who gunned down the foe render. The gunner's pride rule proved huge as he passed his Ld 9 stubborn.
My turn three saw the longbeards charge the flank of the herd engaged with the bolt thrower, and the dragonslayer charge the spawn. The rangers rallied and the miners failed to arrive. The stone thrower missed the minotaurs again. The thunderers gunned down the pack of hounds that ambushed unsuccessfully.
Longbeards in the flank proved too much for the beast herd and hounds who both fled. The herd was caught and destroyed, and the hounds continued fleeing, eventually off the board. The dragon slayer killed the spawn, but had two wargors and the minotaurs about to bear down on him.
Turn 4 (or badness begins)
The ambushing beast herd charges the engineer and bolt thrower. The wargors and minotaurs all charge the dragonslayer. The beastherd in the middle rallies again.
The dragonslayer is slain, though it took all the attacks to do it. (Why, oh why, didn't I challenge?) Overruns take the wargors behind my line and the minotaurs towards it. The minos are now poised to plow along my line, but difficult terrain lies between them and my line. The beast herd kills the engineer and overruns, hitting the longbeards in the rear (very bad).
My turn sees the miners fail to arrive. The rangers turn to face the wargors, while the thunderers turn to face the approaching minotaurs. The warriors turn slightly in place, lost and unsure how to be useful.
The minotaurs charge my thunderers. This takes me by surprise as I expected them to have to clamber over the difficult terrain- however model's eye view had them with LOS and they hit the thunderers (losing 4 wounds on the way in from stand and shoot). The wargors charge the grudgethrower.
The minotaurs win by one, but lose one of their number and don't outnumber the thunderers so no autobreak. The thunderers hold. The wargors slaughter the grudge thrower crew and overrun toward the rangers. The longbeards hold but are forced to expend their rune of stoicism.
During my turn, the rangers charge the wargor general, the miners arrive to threaten the rear of the beast herd (but too late as it would turn out). The warriors turn to ready for a breakthrough from the minotaurs. The rangers inflict a wound on his general, who flees. They fail to catch him and pursue into the other wargor. The longbeards lose again (I still haven't been able to move my thane to the fighting rank so can't lighten the load with some extra casualties). The longbeards break and are caught. The miners panic off the board. The thunderers inflict one more wound, are ground further down but hold.
Turn 6 (Bad to worse)
The only highlight is that the rangers chop up his wargor. His general rallies. The beastherd that has panicked twice hits the thunderers in the flank, doing them in. The thunderers break, are caught- the warriors panic, flee 2" and are caught by the minotaurs. I wasn't actually sure how this ought to work, and I'll post in the relevant forum with the rules question. The rangers see the 25 warriors caught and destroyed, and panic off the table.
I have no turn 6. Boo.
At the time, I was pretty frustrated and didn't feel like there was much I could do. My opponent was frustrating, challenging silly things. (Example: He asked where the rule came from that said scouts didn't count when determing who finished set up first for the +1 to the roll) He played pretty lose with his movement, which was frustrating, but there wasn't much I could do about that.
On further reflection, I realized several things-
1) An oathstone would be great against beasts who are likely to hit you in the flank. The herd in my longbeard rear, knocked out my rank bonus and gained +2 for the rear. That's a 5 point swing on an oathstone, which would have been more useful than either of the runes on the standard.
2) Should have challenged with the dragonslayer. Buying myself even one turn, would have prevented the additional overrun moves.
3) I probably should have fled with the thunderers. They would likely have rallied and could have done more than slowly die and block the 25 warriors from ever getting involved. I'm still not very good at
4) I need to not get sucked into deploying on a hill by default. I think there was a better option for setting up, but I was on auto-pilot during deployment. Ah well.
5) The dragonslayer might have been more useful staying close to the line and gumming up the works instead of blasting off on his own on a totally helpless fight that didn't even draw the frenzied troops in the wrong direction.
6) Taking the time to customize the army for the opponent, I probably wouldn't have gone with those same war machines, but I can't quite figure out what a good alternative would be. Organ gun I guess?
Anyhow, hope it was worth the read!