New 8th Edition (Ed) Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report – Dwarfs Vs Undead

    Vampire Counts Vs Dwarfs – 2000 points

Eager to play 8th Edition Mr Hutch an myself arranged a 2000 point clash down at the store.

Army Composition

Hutch took a  Vampire Lord lvl 4 with the master ability, a 1+ Armour Save and a bunch of other stuff I can’t remember. Using the new rules to his full advantage he also took 4 Wight Kings all with Great Weapons. Two on foot and two with mounts. Lastly for his characters he also took a necromancer as a back up caster in case his lord fluffed a spell. In the new rules if you fail to cast a spell you cannot cast again, so a back up can be worth while.

The rest of his army consisted of 50 zombies, 30 skeletons, 2 units of 6 Black knights , 3 banshees and the Black Coach.


Leading my throng was the Mighty King Borri, being a true Dwarf his army had not changed much from the tried a tested force he had used for the past 3 years. Even with the whole warhammer world telling him to change his ways his will was as tough as bootstrap. However, I told him to make some changes so he did (But only a couple! – Borri)

Borri was the usual nastiness, on shield bearers (making him immune to standard killing blow as he is unit strength 3), with a 1+ armour save (rerollable), 4+ ward, 5 attacks, Strength 5  and always strike First. In the new rules if you have always strikes first and a higher initiative this grants you rerolls on missed attacks. Knowing that Borri seems to have issues with hitting and not wounding I convinced him to take the new Swiftsrike Hammer rather than his favourite Great weapon with plus two attacks.

Accompanying Borri was his kinsman Snorri the Battlestandard and two of his most trusted Runesmiths. Together they had two auto-dispels and the Rune of balance which steals an enemy power die and adds it to your dispel pool. The new rules seems to have toned down magic. So Borri sought to stop the count casting altogether.

Troops wise the dwarf Throng consisted of 25 Longbeards with command, shields and runic banner (+1 to combat res and take 1 combat test on 1d6), 12 Quarrellers with shields and command and 12 thunderers with shields and command.

The special choices consisted of  20 Hammerers with shields, command and the rune of battle (+1 to  combat res) and a cannon.

Cannon crews no longer have to guess range any more so Borri took a cannon with the rune of forging (rerolls misfires) instead of the traditional two bolt throwers.

Lastly Borri took a Gyrocopter, which now due to the no partials template rule meant it was far more deadly. Now all models touched by templates are hot.  Even though flyers only move 10″ now, meaning first turn it would have to march, and forgo shooting, to get into position I was sure it would perform

Terrain and Deployment

We decided to fight a standard pitched battle (now only 1 of 6 battle types) and generated 7 pieces of terrain. I won the terrain roll off and placed a tower in my deployment, knowing that my cannon could now garrison it.  The only other piece of terrain to effect the battle was a field with walls which I deployed in the centre to protect my right flank.

I then went on to win the deployment roll off and decided to deploy my unit first. Starting from the left I deployed the quarrellers to guard the flank, the cannon in the tower,  the Hammers with Borri and Snorri in the centre. Then in the walled field I placed the thunderers with a Runesmith the Gyrocpter and the Longbeards with a Runesmith

Hutch starting from his left set up the two black knights (both with one Wight King each) with the skeletons Vampire count and two Wight Kings behind. Next along the line was the Zombie Horde, the Banshees and then lastly the Black coach on the right, opposite my quarrellers.


The Battle Begins


Hutch won the roll off and advanced with his whole force. In the magic phase he rolled a an 8  (a 3 & a 5) for power dice generation. This gave him 10 with his master ability. This gave me 5 dispel dice from the winds of magic plus 2 form my Runesmiths and 1 from from my runic thieving. So magic phase 1 began with 9 power dice vs 8 dispel.  With such a tight margin Hutch failed to cast any spells.

In my phase I marched the Gyrocopter to the my right and the left of the Vampire’s Skeleton unit. The longbeards advanced to the field wall waiting for the black knight charge.

In the shooting phase the cannon misfired, but thanks to the rune of forging the shot still went off, but it overshot only killing one skeleton. The quarrellers and thunderers  targeted the closest black knight unit and killed 5 of them.

Turn 2 began with hutch charging the shot up black knight unit into Borri’s Hammers. Now with the random 3D6″ chose the highest two plus normal movement (Sounds silly- Borri)  charge they easily made it. The Banshees also declared a charge, but failed and moved forward the highest roll on the 2d6″ plus movement charge they rolled (you only get 2d6 for infantry – Borri).

The rest of the army advanced again and the other unit of Black Knights moved out to my right so they could flank charge the longbeards next turn.

In the magic phase Hutch rolled better and with the extra power die he stole from my magic phase he got off a couple of spells.  Two black knights were resurrected.

In the new combat system charging does not let you strike first any more so Borri got to swing first due to his rune. The Knights all had WS7 due to the nearby Vampire Lord so even with re-rolls Borri only hit 4 out of 5 times. He went on to wound three time, but hutch saved all of his armour saves. The Wight King had issued a challenge which the hammer champion had bravely accepted. He was quickly cleaved in two and 1 overkill wound also caused. In response  I went to roll for my 6+ invulnerable save, but then  Hutch gleefully told me that since my Hammerers were equipped with great weapons they now had to use them. Ouch! I always use to use them with hand weapons and shields so they survive longer.

Hutch then attacked Borri with two Black Knights and scored a killing blow. Unit strength 3 means nothing in the new book so Borri was felled after he failed his ward save. Knew I should have double checked it! (You wont get me next time Hutch, my Runesmiths can make me immune to killing blow for 15 points! – Borri). The remaining knight killed a Hammerer. The Hammers and Snorri then attacked back with full fury and wiped out the knight unit. The Wight King was left on his own and as he lost the combat by 2 was left on one wound.

The Dwarf turn 2 was fairly quick, the cannon overshot again, the quarrellers failed to damage the Black Coach , and the Thunderers/Gyrocopter combo killed 9 skeletons.

In the combat phase Snorri avenged his kin and killed the Wight King in a challenge.

Turn 3 saw the banshees charge the cannon crew killing one, however the crew held firm and the banshees were unable to take the building and were forced outside.

Hutch’s zombies charged the Hammerers, The Black Coach charged the quarrellers, the Black knights charged the flank of the Longbeards and the skeleton unit failed to successfully charge the thunderers. The thunderers and quarrellers  both stood their ground and shot but failed to wound.


In the magic phase Hutch managed to cast Vanhel’s on the Zombies giving them rerolls to hit and always strikes first.  He also cast it on the Black Knights in the flank of the longbeards. However, Ulrik the Runemith used a rune of spellbreaking to stop it.

The Zombies were arrayed in ranks of 10 which now allows the third rank to attack. With re-rolls to hit and ws7 due to the counts trinket they managed to eat 5 Hammerers.  The hammers killed three in return, meaning they lost the combat. But, due to their stubborn rule on Ld9 they held.

The Black Coach smashed through the quarrellers with ease and pursued them off the table. The Black Knights killed 5 Longbeards and I forgot that they would be at minus 1 to hit as they were behind a wall. With only 7 models the Longbeards still had their rank bonus (you know need 10 models to disrupt a units rank bonus). Thanks to this bonus the long beards only lost by 3, but I used the rune of determination to make sure they would not flee. Even if you lose a combat you can know turn and face the enemy if you pass an Ld (test minus the amount you lost the combat by). However, with the unit of skeletons only 4″ away I decided to keep fighting the knights at the flank as they could not negate my rank bonus.

The start of my turn 3 was awesome! The runic cannon killed two banshees, the Gyrocopter than killed  12 skeletons and the thunderers shot 7 skeletons. Wiping out the unit! All that was left was the Count and his two Wight King Bodyguards, right in in front of my thunderer unit and probably far enough away to grant them stand and shoot next turn!

The Zombies suffered without magical enhancements and the hammers won the combat by 6. However, then my right flank buckled and the battle was over. The Black Knights won the Longbeard combat by 5 and the ancient Dwarfs fled and were cut down. The knights finished their move in the flank of the thunderers.

Turn 4 saw the Black Coach move back onto the battlefield and position itself behind the Hammerer  unit. The Vampire and two Wight Kings advanced towards the engaged thunderers and the banshees assaulted the cannon again.

Now with one of my Runesmith’s dead Hutch had magic superiority. He added 18 zombies to the zombie unit, but then miscast. His count took a strength 10  hit, the wight kings were also close enough to take the hit. The count and 1 wight king took 1 wound.
The lone banshee failed again to defeat the cannon crew and was forced outside the tower. The black Knights fluffed it against the thunderers only killing one. The thunders held.

The dwarf turn 4 saw the cannon grapeshot the final banshee to death and the hammerers take a chunk out of the zombie unit. The thunderers and knights failed to wound each other again and they held.

In turn 5 Hutch charged his characters into the thunders and the coach into the Hammerers. His characters and knights made short work of the thunders and overran into the side of the Hammerers. At this point we called it a day as the battle was surely over.



The Aftermath

Hutch had easily won with an 1800 to 830 victory point win. All of his characters (except for the necromancer which spent the battle hiding in the woods) were wounded, but in the new rules you only get points for kills so it did not matter. In fact, in the new rules as long as you have more than 100 victory points than you enemy you win, which seems a little odd. What happens if you play a 4000 point engagement? A 100 point difference should not decide it.

Other than the victory points oddity, the new rules do seem to be a fun improvement, the game did seem to be faster and there is something pleasing about seeing big units on the table.  Not to mention that historically (You do know this is a fantasy game?! – Borri) infantry blocks were huge on the battlefield. I also really enjoyed placing down the scenery. It can really help your battle plan!

I look forward to play testing more. Next week Borri returns (with the rune of preservation!) to fight an Ogre Tyrant.




Empire of Skulls Finale – Empire in Flames

Sunday 4/07/2010

The Empire of Skulls finale will be a Warhammer Fantasy battle legendary battle using the 8th edition rules.

Players can bring a 2000 point force to play in a legendary battle in our store.

Players that took part in the Empire of Skulls campaign can bring their campaign army with a points total equal to the gold they raised. The following rules will apply;

  1. They must keep their lord and heroes with any bonuses or injuries they earned. They may change their magic items and equipment
  2. They must keep the core units they had, but may add to them.
  3. Rare and specials may be completely changed.

More info coming soon on our forum

The Geek Guide to 8th Edition

The 8th edition rulebook sees some of the biggest changes on the Warhammer battlefield for the best part of a decade.  So here for my sanity is a quick guide of the main rules changes.

Movement

  • Charges are now random; infantry now charge their movement rate plus 2d6”.
  • Cavalry and fliers roll 3d6” and choose the highest 2 rolls
  • You can now pre-measure before a charge
  • Charges must move straight forward, but are allowed one 90 degrees turn for free.  Attackers then align with the defenders.
  • March blocking works as before. However, the if you pass a Ld test you can march anyway
  • If you flee through an enemy unit or terrain you are not destroyed. Instead you take a dangerous terrain test like in 40k.

Magic

  • Wizard levels now add to your casting roll and do not generate power dice
  • Players can switch between casters at any time
  • Every magic phase your army generates 2d6 power dice. The highest roll is the number of dispel dice
  • Each wizard may generate an extra dispel/power die for the pool if they roll a 6. You may never have more than 12 power or dispel dice
  • You cast as before, but if your total is less than 3 you fail to cast. Bonuses do not affect this!
  • If you fail to cast a spell the wizard can not cast again this phase
  • Miscasts on a double 1 are gone. However, if you roll an irresistible force the spell is cast as in 7th ed and the caster suffers a miscast on a really nasty table!
  • Dispels work as before your wizards. Irresistible dispels do not cause a miscast
  • Wizards add their level to the dispell roll
  • Bound spells now need power dice to cast. You need to roll above its power level
  • If you cast your bound item or spell with irresistible force the item is destroyed. If the bound spell is casted as an innate ability the model cannot cast again
  • Wizards may use bound items or spells if you failed to cast a spell earlier, however, you do not add your magic level to the roll.

Shooting

  • The first two ranks of a unit may now fire
  • If a model is more than 50% obscured the shooting unit suffer cover modifiers.
  • Strength 1 attacks can now wound toughness 10 models (this applies to combat as well)
  • Models can take armour and invulnerable or regeneration saves. You can not have a ward and regeneration. Bad times for Dark Elf characters and plaguebearers! This also applies in combat.

Close Combat

  • Combat order is done on initiative. You no longer go first if you charge.
  • The second rank of infantry can now fight, but with only one attack.
  • Ranks are still counted in sets of 5. However, if you take a rank of 10 the third rank can also fight with 1 attack.
  • Combat results are done as 7th ed except for,  outnumber is gone, and your rank bonus is calculated on how many you outnumber your enemy by, up to a maximum of 3.You now receive +1 to your combat result on the turn you charge.
  • To negate the enemies rank bonus you require at least 10 models in the flank or rear.
  • If you outnumber the enemy in ranks you are stubborn (now called steadfast in combat). Infantry blocks are now extremely tough
  • You can now reform when defeated in combat. However, you must pass a leadership test that is modified by the amount you lost the break test by.

Special rules

  • Loads of new rules that models don’t exist for. Hmmm….
  • Templates no longer partial. Every model the template touches is hit.
  • Breath weapons are now one use only, however, you can use it in combat to get 2d6 hits at the strength of the weapon
  • Fast cavalry now have a vanguard rule which means they can move 12” before the battle begins. They cannot charge in the first turn
  • Flyers only move 10” but may march
  • Flying cavalry count as fast cavalry
  • Large targets are as before. However, if a battle standard or general is on a large target the range of their abilities is increased to 18”
  • Magic resistance now adds to your ward against magic. So magic resistance 1 adds 1 to your ward save against magical spells.
  • Fear has been toned down. It only affects close combat. When fighting a fear causing unit you must pass a Ld test or fight at Ws 1
  • Skirmishers no longer see 360 and they move as normal troops. However, they get unlimited reforms and may fire on the march
  • Terror causing creatures create fear in fear causing units. If you are charged by a terror causing unit you must pass a panic check or flee.
  • Bows may volley fire. This means half the models behind the first two ranks may fire
  • Scouts may now deploy up to 12” away of the enemy, but may not charge first turn
  • Battle standards now give all units re-rolls for all leadership tests

Troop Types

  • Things such as trolls, ogres and minotaurs now count as monstrous infantry. They now fight in ranks of three and can have up to 3 supporting attacks!
  • They also receive a stomp attack hit at their basic strength. This stomp attack always strikes last and is only for models in base to base contact with the enemy.
  • Cavalry charge with their movement plus 3D6” minus the lowest roll
  • Cavalry may also now assault buildings, but their mounts do not fight and they may not garrison a building
  • Monsters get 1d6 stomp attacks
  • Chariots are now not destroyed by high strength hits. They take wounds as normal

Weapons

  • Lots of changes due to the new special rules.
  • Main change is that using a combat weapon and shield and to the front does not add to your armour. It gives plus one to your invulnerable save instead

War Machines

  • When shooting at war machines the machine is hit not the crew
  • Guess ranges are gone. Now you can just point and shoot!

Terrain

There are now 16 pages of rules on terrain. In the new book the Warhammer battlefield is full of terrain. Here are the highlights;

  • If you march through terrain you generally have  to take a dangerous terrain check as on the current 40k rules. Chariots take 1d6 wounds.
  • Units in forests do not get the steadfast rule. However, lone infantry characters and skirmishers become stubborn in forests.
  • You may now march into buildings and charge them.
  • You can deploy warmachines in buildings. Otherwise most the rules for building are the same as in 7th ed.

The Battle

  • There are now 6 standard battles for Warhammer, which should spice things up
  • Each one of them states you have to have d6 plus 4 terrain pieces
  • To win you need to score over twice the amount of victory points your opponent has scored. Or it is a draw.
  • Victory conditions vary on the battle.
  • You now only score 25 points for capturing a standard.
  • You score a 50 point bonus if you defeat an enemy character with a champion.

The Army Composition

Along with all the rules changes affecting your army choice there are also the following limitations

  • Only up to 25% of your points total may be spent lords
  • Only up to 25% of your points may be spent on heroes
  • At least 25% of your points must be spent on core. You must field at least 3 core units
  • Up to 50% of your points can be spent on special and you can only have up to 3 of the same unit. Unless you play 3000 points or more then the limit is raised to 6
  • Up to 50% of your points can be spent on rare and you can only have up to 2 of the same unit. Unless you play 3000 points or more then the limit is raised to 4

This leaves the commander with many tough decisions. Big blocks on infantry are tough to kill. Lords are in limited by points, but not in number. Artillery are more accurate and shooting units more deadly. Monsters and ogre sized models are scary. While skirmishers/ fast cavalry are fast indeed!

As I say the only way to find out what works is in the field of battle!

If you fancy trying out the new rules feel free to come down the shop. There will be an 8th edition demonstration battle up and running by 23/6/10

The Men Behind The Miniatures

The men behind the Miniatures

Now some what confusingly I’m not going to be talking about the sculptors (these men and women are already so horribly talented people that don’t need me waxing lyrically about them), I am instead going to talk about the Special Characters of our favourite war games.

Every one has a soft spot for one or more of the special characters weather they be the Warcasters of the Privateer Press Iron Kingdoms, one of the multitude of Games Workshop heroes or villain or one of the hundreds of other games you play. What makes them special is not the table top rules nor the abilities or bonuses you get for  taking them, what I want to talk about is the personality of the characters and what makes them so loved or hated.

Working at the shop I’ve met and spoken with so many new people but one thing we all have in common is our love for the worlds the games are set in, the war torn dystopian universe of Warhammer 40k to the steam powered Iron Kingdoms they are all so steeped in detail and turmoil that its hard not be drawn in to it.

For now I want to talk about Warhammer 40k, it was the game that got me hooked and it also opened my eyes to the Black Library and their wonderful novels. It has also allowed me to make a lot of new friends, many of whom still play and the one thing we all have in common is the love of a particular character or faction.

I’m going to use some of the regular gamers as examples to prove my point with their Warhammer 40k collections as proof.

Take Mr Ant Evans (see his blog The Anarchy of Anton!) as an example, he is a sucker for a bad guy and as such plays Chaos but he doesn’t just play Chaos he lives, breaths and dreams the ruinous powers. But what makes them do appealing? His first foray into the forbidden was at the side of a Legion of Thousand Sons (much to my annoyance as I couldn’t beat them ever!) and after speaking to him about them its clear why he fell for the machinations of the weaver of fate.

It was Ahriman of the Thousand Sons that had snared him, a more trajic hero there has never been a warrior mystic torn between duty and conscience he broke faith with his Primarch Magnus the Red and cast a spell to save his Legion but little did he know the consequences of his actions until after the deed was done. A man hell bent of learning of a way to restore his Legion and right the wrongs done to him he wages war only when he must and only when it will benefit him.

This is the reason Ant fell in love with the Thousand Sons it was the back ground the story of tragic betrayal and the driving will of one man to put right his mistakes, the Thousand sons aren’t evil just misunderstood but what came next for Ant sealed the deal and turned his soul black for ever – but that is a story for another time.

Ant chose the Thousand Sons because he loves the underdog but also has a soft spot for the bad guys, but Spencer on the other hand is a genuine good guy in every way, there isn’t much he wouldn’t do if you needed help and that is reflected in his table top choices.

Almost the polar opposite of Ants Legion of automatons Spencer has a respectable force of Grey Knights the shinning exemplars of purity and protectors of humanity. These super human warrior enter each battle fully accepting the fact they will have to give their lives to ensure victory, they are the ultimate good guys, the heroes and the martyrs. Now I know its the hidden darkness of the Inquisition that holds Spencer in its grip but it was the fire like brightness of these pure individuals that drew him like a moth to the armies of the Holy Ordos of the Inquisition.

So we have Ant who plays the ultimate bad guys because of his love of the dark side, because no one gets to have more fun than the villain and because the story grabbed him and wouldn’t let go.

Spencer plays the ultimate good guys because long ago the story grabbed him and wouldn’t let go, because the good guys in the end always win over the bad guys and because something about being a 9ft tall psychic killing machine appeals to him (lets face it who wouldn’t find it appealing).

And then there are players like me, I like to walk the line not committing to being a bad guy but not entirely sure I’m a good guy either some of you might have guess which colours I fly and some of you will already know that I am a Dark Angel through and through.  I don’t know for sure which side I’m on (I’d like to think I know but no one can be sure) and I absolutely love the fact that I can go to war against Ants Legions of Chaos and sing the praises to the Emperor AND I can go to war against Spencer’s Grey Knight still singing from the same hymnal (all be it with a glitter of knowing in my eye).

So what drew you to your army? Was it the back ground or the miniatures? If it was the miniatures what do you think about your faction’s story?

Did you choose your faction or did it choose you?

UK Masters

Tyrants – Trial by fire


This weekend saw the shops hardened band of warriors (Okay so we’re not so hardened I actually saw a bunch of flowers make Kurt cry at one point) attend the UK National Warmachine and Hordes Tournament, we had hit the gym reasonable hard in the months previously and in gaming terms every one was in tip top form (Bar me having in the bottom half of our own Blood and Oil tournament early last month).

Where was I? Oh yes hardened band of warriors, well it breaks down like this (in no particular order):

Stefan Ashwell – Trollbloods

Kurtis Emmery – Trollbloods

Paul Brown – Cryx

Chris Horne – Menoth

Dannie Suthalong – Legion of Everblight

Anton Evans – Cryx

Jack Shenton – Legion of Everblight

Ross Knill –  MacArthur – Legion of Everblight (that would be me)

We arrived in Birmingham on the Friday night and began our council of war which in all fairness was pretty much just us sat drinking beer, we had no idea what waited for us the next morning.

Day one began groggily (as I was awoken by my room mate Stef’s epic snoring), we piled into two taxies and charged (as we were more than three inches away) into the Games Expo.

For the majority of the Tyrants the first game was a rude awakening, we lost…I lost!

Anton along with Goreshade and his merry band won their game! We celebrated and with new resolve attacked the next game, the draw came out and every one made their way to their tables to face off against the unknown. All Except me and Stef as he had drawn one another, I wont go into the detail but I lost…stop laughing!

Anton won again! At this point I believe Dannie scored a win as well, we thought maybe that would be the turning point and the Tyrants would make good on their honorific.

Game three, began and ended with me feeling sorry for myself as yet again I lost. I was robbed in all honesty, robbed by a very nice chap with a nice Khador force but still with only his Caster between me and my first victory…stupid Mercenary solo Rineholt and his free shot over ROF…I might ban him from the shop.

It was at this juncture most of the other Tyrant’s grabbed their win, Anton lost unfortunately but with high spirits we made our way to the hotel and so began another night of serious war planning (Okay drinking but between celebrating and commiserating we had good reason), our glorious leader Dustin arrived to offer his support along with our friend Spencer.

The next day began as the first did, I lost again as did several of the others and I was beginning to lose hope as I was sent with a heavy heart to the bottom table. The shock of it was enough to spur me into action, my next opponent sat down and the onslaught began.

Another Khador force, Winterguard Deathstar with Scorcha and two heavies, it was starting to look like I was going to lose again until a little voice in my head said “Man up” with gritted teeth I threw Typhon into the fray and three turns and six sprays later my opponents force was broken, his caster dead and my victory secured!

My last game saw me on the other end of the hall inspiring some hope that I might not get the wooden spoon, my opponent was a nice chap with a Skar led Cryxian force. It took 98mins but I managed another win, his caster died under a avalanche of Nyss longsword as my swordsmen earned their points and a place in the painting queue.

The dust settled and the Tyrants had aquited themselves well, most had more victories than losses, all had had a good time and played the game with a smile and not once did I see or hear any of them act with anything less than complete decorum.

So it came to the awards, safe to say none of us are Uk Masters this year but our every own Anton Evans walked away with Most Sporting!

We all had a great time and we all made our mark on the tournament scene, well I say we all did…Kurt didn’t win a single game…I’ll be having his Tyrant shirt and dice back if he carries on like this.

Penned by your Glorious Overlord Ross