We jump to the multiplayer battle in the Edge of the abyss, and fool, trick and deceive Naked Dwarf, also known as Bearded Fish-Pup, to try Kings of War.
We have been throwing a few Edge of the Abyss challenges around, but no glove has stuck to anybody’s face so far. (There’s that typical nurgley phase when you’re getting your kid to kindergarten that Keef, also known as Sparky Sparkstone, has been experiencing. That or dipping the poor little soul into his Cauldron of a Thousand Poxes.) Now, we tried a new challenge adhesive, and got no less than four gloves sticking into Glovestand’s, previously known as Mr. Easter’s, face, one of which was happily that of Naked Dwarf’s who hadn’t tried Kings of War before. After a tutorial game with three teachers and four armies everything must be rather crystal, mustn’t it?!
The scenario was The Battle to End it All from the Edge of the Abyss campaign that is on right now, and has been a very good spurring us well to get a few games in. The game is simply Kill Points with your team dividing equally the deployment zones instead of mixing your lines up. (I’ll add a disappointed head-shake here to Mantic, who made this campagin focus a bit too much on plain killing).
We played at a 1000 points each:
↑ The Dwarfs of Naked Dwarf. A very symmetrical list with two regiments of Iron Guard, four troops of Sharpshooters and a Berserker Lord on Brock
↑ Keef Ditchards’ Force of Nature – Two hordes of Earth Elementals, a Greater Earth Elemental and some Hunters of the Wild with a Druid with Bane chant and the Green Lady.
↑ My Undead more or less as before: A Horde of Zombies, a Regiment of Skeletons and a Regiment of Revenant Cavalry, a troop of Wraiths, a troop of Soul Reaver Cavalry and a troop of Ghouls. Characters are a Necromancer and a standard bearer. This game I removed the +1 Movement from the Soul Reavers and the Bow from the Standard Bearer to give my Revenant Cavalry Pathfinder. Let’s see how that turns out!
↑ Mr. Easter’s Nightstalkers, Twilight Kin. Two Regiments of Reaper Guard, two troops of Crossbowmen, a troop of Blade Dancers and a troop of Knights. A Witch wearing the Inspiring Talisman, and a Fire-breathing Standard Bearer.
So we have four very different armies. As it’s good against evil, me and Mr. Easter are facing a bunch of stones, rocks and boulders. A slightly intimidating prospect I might add. Let’s see if what little Crushing Strength we have available is enough to break these stones.
↑ The Battlefield. Randomly generated from epicdwarf.com. Symmetry operations according to Schoenflies were conducted by Sparkles.
↑ The Dwarfs do what dwarfs do in any game with dwarfs – castle up. In this case in the top right flank by the hill. (Bottom right in the previous picture.)
↑ Next deployed Mr. Easter’s ‘brave’ elves in the opposite corner. The Knights angled to flank the woods in the enemy deployment zone with an At the Double!. Crossbowmen try to find firing lanes in the hilly country.
↑ And last (as Keef will have his own attempt at enlightening us to his deployment, aka I forgot to take a picture), the Undead deploy opposite the dwarfs. My plan being to anchor the (allegiance’s) battle line with the zombie horde. The revenants don’t mind the woods, so can happily charge through them without penalty (Caterpillar potion). The Soul Reavers appeared to be causing some fear in the dwarfs, so I decided to use them as a distraction unit. The first step would be to try to get them up and threatening both sides of the dwarven hill, causing him to react to them. With this much Piercing(2) shooting they should be easily eliminated, but a cover save early on might give them enough staying power to be annoying until late in the game. Wraiths were to charge up the first shooters they could possibly see.
↑ Good Turn 1. The Dwarf King moves up, as does the Berserker Lord by the hill. On the left flank the Hunters of the Wild take up better position in the woods, singing alluring songs to nearby Dark Elves.
The dwarf guns open fire. Two wounds on the Crossbowmen. The ‘brave’ elves faint (read: waver).
↑ Evil Turn 1. The undead shamble forth. The ghouls are sent forward to distract the gunners. The rest of the army move into the woods. (Here I somehow thought the Soul Reavers would be quicker. Deploying them I was well aware that they couldn’t At the Double! throught the woods – moving them…) Its not too bad though, I think, as they still can do what I intended them to. That is, potentially swing to either side.
Skeletons are Surged forward.
↑ Twilight Kin Turn 1 Moves. Dark Knights move up to flank around the woods, the rest of the army is a bit more conservative, the centre marching up towards the enemy.
↑ Good Turn 2. (Left flank) The Earth Elementals move to support the Hunters of the Wild, that are in threatened by the Dark Knights. The rest rock forward slightly to better respond to the incoming enemy.
A spread of shots are fired through the enemy line. One wound on the Knights a few on the Ghouls. The Knights are wavered, while the braver (!) Ghouls hold.
↑ Evil Turn 2. The evil horde reaches the dwarfish battle line, wraiths first. Running over the hills the ghouls encounter the Dwarf King. The rest of the shambling horde is goaded forward by the necromancer.
↑ Evil Turn 2. The twilight kin try to position their line for charges under a hail of crossbow bolts.
↑ Good Turn 3. The Iron Guard follows to support as needed (right), and the King charges the ghouls (left). The Sharpshooters counter charge.
The ghouls do their work this way too, drawing the Inspiring King away from the combats. Now they’ll probably out of the way too, in contrast to if the King had just held his ground and then blocked any movement over to the left half of the battlefield.
↑ Good Turn 3. The Berserker Lord does a no mean 5 wounds to the revenant cavalry.
The hitting power behind that beard is very good, and he makes character choices seem a bit more valid for face krumpin' than the ones (on foot) we have used so far.
↑ Good Turn 3. In the centre, the King routes the ghouls as expected and the sharpshooters do no damage to the wraiths.
↑ Evil Turn 3. In the centre the Wraiths route the Sharpshooters, while the King is surrounded by zombies and skeletons but fend them off with ease. On the left flank the Dark Knights attack the Hunters of the Wild and rout them, even in the forest.
The Dark Elf line shuffles around, and forward a crossbowmen troop…
↑ Good Turn 4. The Dwarf Lord is in the thick of it assaulting now the Reaper Guard, and routes them.
Somebody’s beard is on fire!
↑ Good Turn 4. The Soul Reavers that are punching through, get an assault in the flank. (The Iron guard managed to wheel past the wraiths, it was a matter of mm:s.) The wraiths are then charged by another unit of Sharpshooters and the Berserker Lord. The Berserker Bare-butt manages to give them a thorough beating (must have had a magical axe) and they fade to clearing on the other side.
↑ Good Turn 4. An overview after the first proper dusting has settled. That is a lot of rock hard units to chew through!
↑ Evil Turn 4. So its best to start chewing. The zombies charge the Berserker Lord, and the skeletons the Iron Guard. The Soul Reaver cavalry go for the Iron Guard.
I was considering here to move the Soul Reaver Cav towards the centre, but was afraid they would not get far enough, quickly enough with all the action close by – and then suffer a rear charge. The initial plan was to leave the Iron Guard and the Sharpshooters on the very rightmost flank out of the action for a the game, possible only as dwarfs have moomin legs. It seems the plan did not work out.
↑ Evil Turn 4. While the Twilight Kin assault Big Rock from every possible angle. The Soul Reavers try to pick off a druid.
↑ Evil Turn 4. With grim satisfaction the undead general sees the chaff drag down the Berserker Lord. An honourless fate for a dwarf indeed.
↑ Good Turn 5. Another full scale counter attack, now its time to make it or break it. The two sharpshooters, lacking targets for their shooting weapons or already facing the enemy close quarters, charge the zombies and the skeletons.
In the centre one horde of Earth Elementals rages into the Soul Reavers to avenge their fallen hero and are supported by the Iron Guard. On the left flank, the Earth Elementals smash into the Reaper Guard together with the Dwarf King.
↑ Good Turn 5. On the right flank the Iron Guard counter-charge the Revenant Cavalry, while the flank guarding Sharpshooters start to reposition themselves to potentially support the centre.
↑ Good Turn 5. On the left flank, the Reaper Guard stand firm against the landslide-like charge of the Earth Elementals – surprisingly causing only 5 wounds. The Soul Reavers also hold well against a botching strikes.
The distracting unit has indeed served its purpose. Still a threat enough to do damage even without charge bonuses its not a foe you can leave to rampage around.
↑ Evil Turn 5. The Dark Elves try to gank the last horde of Elementals. Meanwhile the Soul Reavers counter charge their assailants to their rear.
I was suggested to move them to safety the previous turn, but I think I did the right choice here leaving them to take a few punches and not give the goodies the opportunity to focus their efforts elsewhere. Even if I’d lose them, they would give the rest of the army a moment of respite.
↑ Evil Turn 5. The Skeletons break their foe, the zombies waver their. The soul reaver cavalry is still in hard melee. (The skeletons turn to face left after combat.)
↑ Evil Turn 5. The elves rout the Earth Elementals.
Suddenly the good army felt as if being dismantled.
↑ Evil Turn 6. The good side is then assaulted from two directions… The Revenant Cavalry still hold off the Iron Guard.
↑ Evil Turn 6. The Twilight Kin also defeat the last horde of Elementals, and thus the left flank is cleared.
↑ Evil Turn 7. And then the last clash attempts to stop the remaining two characters, the Dwarf King and the Green Lady. A combined charge of the Undead infantry into the Iron Guard is as useless.
Thus the battle concludes.
1255 points scored by the Evil and 815 by the Good for an
As usual it felt like the battle was swinging back and forth. It seemed as if the good side was getting a good start and effectively prevented us from doing any damage. A few lucky wavers on the Elves, especially the Knights, might have changed the flank a lot. Those dwarf characters were a new phenomenon. Maybe its the fact that Elves sit with Heroes with less staying power and damage output on foot? We certainly got a new perspective.
As for doing the damage – Defence 6 all the way around (more or less) is tough to crack. In that way I am happy Mr. Easter chose that side. I also seemed to be able to successfully tarpit more than damage the Dwarfs,
The next multiplayer game in Kings of War must be a Battle Royale. I think the mechanism of being able to engage only one unit in a charge, and “disengaging” after fighting could keep the battles easier to figure out. Overall, it would be interesting to see how the lighter rules fare in such a demanding environment.