[WFB] Seventh Heaven

Apparently I am obliged to break up this ocean of armchair development and list building exercises with some actual narrative of games played, failures endured and lessons learned. No big battle report – because a) no pictures were taken and b) I honestly don’t think anyone actually enjoys blow-by-blow reports any more, we’ve all lost the knack for them – but since I’ve actually played a game this week, let’s have a practicehammer post for a change.

After the last game – the one that I… hold on… takes a while to get this out… bear with me… lost – I had the general feeling that it was a lack of aggression what done it, and Shiny counselled wedging my Sorceress into the enemy lines to march-block and fling Dark Magic at things from shorter distances. At the time, I pooh-poohed this suggestion (she’s expensive, too useful to die, and made of squish, you know, and the lads have things like short bows and Ratling Guns that she’s actually a bit scared of…) but I figured what the hell, it was Dave and his Goblins this week, and if I’m being cautious about fighting Goblins I probably need to give my Dark Elves back to the Evildoer Shop.

So, the new plan was for the two Warrior units to take point, with the Witch Elves and Executioners slightly further back in the customary flanking position. The Dark Riders went in front of the Witch Elves, both to screen them a little bit and also so they could rush the Goblin lines and blow out some Fanatics on the first turn. The Shades did something similar on the other flank, although I did have to set them up in the open (which I’m slightly worried about doing, since all it would have taken was the Goblins going first and that’d be the Shades gone, in all likelihood). Finally, the Sorceress went on a flank, positioned well away from the Ring of Hotek and ready to march block half Dave’s army on the second turn (once the Fanatics were safely out and in front of his army).

Dave has evidently also been thinking about his deployment; having finally gotten over his tendency to put Goblin archers on hills, where they may have line of sight and extra ranks to fire with but will never, ever be in range of anything, he’d stuck two long lines of them at the front of his army, with Spearmen, Shamans and Trolls following up behind. Now all I need to do is persuade him that Spider Riders need shortbows and musicians, not spears and standards…

My general approach to this game was “when in doubt, go balls out and get stuck in”, the exact opposite of the jockeying for position I’d pulled in the last game. It (mostly) worked. My Dark Riders and Shades not only blew out Dave’s Fanatics in the first turn, but also managed to wedge themselves deeper into the army and shoot up one of his Shamans and Battle Standard Bearer; the left flank, with the Witch Elves on, saw a unit of Spearmen fluke out and kill Dave’s Giant (thank you Cauldron of Blood and your bucket of extra attacks), rush on into the Great Shaman’s unit and decimate it, and then turn around to eat his token Black Orcs for breakfast.

Let’s stop here for a brief interlude about how awesome Witch Elves are.


Unfortunately, the continued awesomeness of one Khainite unit is counterbalanced by underperformance from the other. My Executioners haven’t been doing too well for themselves lately. This is mostly due to poor positioning and play on my part – the ‘balls to the wall’ thing doesn’t work too well when the balls are a unit of Dark Elf Warriors, the wall is made of Stone Trolls and a Goblin Big Boss, and the ensuing result isn’t even a gooey stain but actually a backwash of goo, blood and scrotal detritus that sprays the bloke standing behind…

That analogy got lost a bit. Anyway, mistakes were made. The Spearmen should have just walked up and stood in front of the Trolls and gone ‘charge us, charge us’ – even if they’d lost and fled, they’d have done so on the Goblin turn, allowing my Executioners to counter-charge, get to strike first, and actually do some damage. What actually happened involved the Spearmen charging, whiffing, fleeing, and the Trolls running into the Executioners, killing six and breaking them too. On my turn, the Executioners rallied, which of course put them in the perfect place to get charged again and wiped out. So yes. That was not the time or place for pure, unrepentant aggression. Lesson duly learned.

Since I’m going to be rejigging the army list for 8th edition anyway, I’m coming to the conclusion that the Executioners need both the charge, which I haven’t been able to achieve as often as I should, and something that swings faster than them in case they don’t get it. In 8th, this might be achievable with a Death Hag packing the Banner of Hag Graef (of course, that’s more character points, more fragile Haggery in the Heroes slot, and robbing the Cauldron of its contribution, which in turn would make me wonder whether the Cauldron was worth taking, just for a blessing every turn), or by sticking the Assassin back in so that something in there can chuck some attacks out and do some damage even if the Executioners are caught on the hop and don’t get to fight.

Of course, they’re far too cool and expensive to simply be delivery systems for the Assassin, so the actual solution is probably ‘replace them with another, non-rubbish unit’, but until I convince someone to re-employ me, I’m going to have to work with what I have. Of course, the second I do have a decent income again, I’ll be kitbashing at least two units of Black Guard… assuming I don’t just decide to play another, slightly tougher army. I keep looking at Beastmen, and there are signs emerging that suggest this to be a good idea: Shiny’s never actually seen them on the board, I’d have a lot of fun scratch-building and converting Chariots and Cygors and things, and there’s some talk about doing an escalation-type regular thing if we all decide to do new armies later in the year.

That sounded a bit like theory. Sorry, Shiny. I don’t think I can get through a post without thinking about the future at least a bit.

[WFB] Meta Gaming: The Thing That Really Bugs Me

I’ve been thinking about Warhammer a lot recently, as you’ve probably noticed, and something occurred to me this morning while I was over in Stelek’s neck of the woods.

Fixing Dwarfs, Warriors of Chaos and most of the armies with limited tactical capabilities would be so very very easy: bring back Dogs of War, and ignore the whinging gobshites who droned on (and on, and on) about them being a CRUTCH for WEAK PLAYERS who didn’t know STRATEGERY, and didn’t seem to twig that that’s what mercenaries are for – helping your army do stuff it can’t usually do.

A good general identifies their weaknesses and takes steps to mitigate them, and if that means paying some forriners to bring their fancy pew-pew and boom-sticks along, so be it. A poor general is one who ignores the facts and buggers on regardless, entering an engagement they can’t win, and frequently gets poems written about what a noble idiot they are.

Nothing has annoyed me more about Warhammer than the player base’s rejection of the Dogs of War. They were a bloody marvellous opportunity for the thinking gamer, they let painters get some variety into their collections and, because they were optional, the player who wanted to retain the thematic purity of their army and didn’t care that they were missing out on things that could help them win games… well, that player could do that.

Except, of course, those players did care about winning games, they’d just fooled themselves into believing that they didn’t, and so they kvetched and moaned when people who’d got their priorities straight turned up with a full toolbox and proceeded to drill them a new one.

(I know that they did this because I’ve been one of those theme-over-effectiveness types myself, and I’ve whinged that whinge that comes from making a decision and following a goal and realising that I care more about winning than I think I do.)

And, of course, their defeats were the fault of the stupid, broken Dogs of War and the stupid WAAC players who used them, and nothing to do with the ill-defined priorities of the people who’d missed the opportunity they represented. Everything is always everyone else’s fault – and no, the irony is not lost on me here.

The point is, though, that I think Warriors of Chaos (for instance) could be massively improved by spending their Rare slots on, say, Menghil’s Manflayers and a unit of Ogre Leadbelchers, or Ruglud’s Armoured Orcs; that gives them shooting, scouts and skirmishers, three things they don’t normally have, three things they desperately need, and three things their existing Rares are very bad at giving them (because the Hellcannon is just one shot, and an expensive shot at that; two Hellcannons means you have the firepower to encourage your enemy to close with you, but not enough of any army to fight them effectively when they do). That would make the army more fun to play, and I don’t think it would compromise the theme hugely: indeed, I remember when playable Chaos forces included Dark Elves and greenskins all the time (hello Realms of Chaos… hell, hello fourth and fifth edition with your lovely Allies rules).

What are those Allies rules in the core book like, I wonder?

[WFB] Addendum: Shiny Says:


Reading Game Over.  Nice.  HOWEVER, I thought you might like to edit in the details of my army, for completeness.  If not, meh, ’tis your blog, you can say I brought an army of gayness and penguins if you like.

Chieftain – Weeping Blade, heavy armour, Enchanted Shield

Warlock Engineer 1 – Warlock-Augmented Weapon, Warpstone armour, Warp-energy Condenser.

Warlock Engineer 2 – Warlock-Augmented Weapon, Pipes of Piebald, Dispel Scroll.

30 Clanrats – spears, shields, full command, Warpfire Thrower.

30 Clanrats – shields, full command, Ratling Gun.

30 Clanrats – shields, full command, Ratling Gun.

Rat Swarm – 5 bases.

25 Plague Monks – full command, Banner of the Under-Empire.

Do I get the Face too? I did not know that…

There you have it, folks.

Incidentally, Shiny, yes, you do get the Face.  You know that thing you do about where you spend whole minutes complaining about everything that’s rubbish about your army and what the others have that’s better/invincible, and greet every die roll with “as usual” and an eyeroll?  That is the Face.

Also incidentally, we’ve been talking about how to improve the Skaven army in the act of expanding to 2000 points.  Maybe Shiny would like to write up his take on that conversation?