Wednesday, July 11, 2007

NEMESIS CAMPAIGN: Battle of Gnarled Oak Grove

This was our second game of the campaign. The first was for the Solsister river and was won comprehensively by my horde of Chaos. That meant I captured location three and could now launch an attack on location two: Gnarled Oak Grove.

I had to tweak my list a little as some readers pointed out that I had illegal wargear on my Lord (he had two pieces of magical armour). So I dropped the enchanted shield for a mundane one and lost the sword of might. This left me enough points for a berzerker sword. I gave the enchanted shield to my exalted and dropped a level two sorcerer to a level one. With the spare points I bought throwing axes for the marauder horse. I now had a shooting phase. Who-hoo!

Gary had made rather more substantial changes following his mauling in our last game. He went out and bought two chariots. Eeek! He also dropped the highborn in favour of a level four sorceress. Oh-oh.

This would be a very different game.

My Chaos Undivided mortals:
  • Sigurt Volsung, Lord on Daemonic Mount, Armour of Damnation, Berzerker Sword, Gaze of the Gods, shield
  • Thaer, Exalted with Book of Secrets, extra hand weapon, Enchanted Shield (Steed of Shadows spell)
  • Angur, Lvl 1 Sorcerer with 2 Dispel Scrolls (Dark Hand of Death spell)
  • Boda, Lvl 1 Sorcerer with 2 Dispel Scrolls (Dark Hand of Death spell)
  • 12 Chosen Warriors full command
  • 10 Warriors full command Banner of Wrath
  • 5 Chosen Knights full command, Warbanner
  • 5 Marauder Horse, musician, flails, throwing axes
  • 5 War hounds
  • 5 War hounds
  • Chariot
  • 8 Furies
The Dark Elves had:
  • Level 4 sorceress with extra power dice (Dark Hand of Death spell, Steal Soul, Doom and Darkness, Drain Life) in chariot
  • Lvl 2 Sorceress, 2 dispel scrolls (Dark Hand of Death spell, Doom and Darkness)
  • Lvl 2 Sorceress, 2 dispel scrolls (Wind of Death, Drain Life) in chariot
  • 2 Repeater Bolt Throwers
  • 10 Repeater Crossbows
  • 16 Spearelves full command
  • 5 Dark Riders
  • 5 Dark Riders
  • 19 Executioners full command Banner of Murder
  • Hydra
Terrain and Deployment
Gary hadn't changed the terrain since our last game so we decided to roll a scatter die and move each piece 2d6 inches in each direction. I won the choice of deployment zone and picked the side with the rocky columns in it. This meant the wood (Gnarled Oak Grove?) was on the other side of the table but a bit further forward than the last game. I placed my units so that I could envelop the left flank and sweep my Knights around behind this wood to get at the pointy-ears rear.

Gary put his hardest hitting stuff near the middle, with a unit of Dark Riders on each flank. He now had more units so he could place his last chariot opposite my knights. Here is how it looked.

The game
I won first turn thanks to the +1 bonus for having the smaller army. I flew the Furies over to the extreme right, trying to tuck them in behind the hill. Everything in the centre marched forward. On my left I tried to be clever by putting the Warhounds in front of my knights to deflect the chariot away. The Dark Elves dispelled all but one of my magic spells without breaking sweat. A dark hand of death spell killed two spearelves.

I had miscalculated with the furies and the dark riders managed to charge them. Gary rolled appallingly and failed to kill a single daemon. I killed an elf in return and the rest of the unit held. The elf shooting wiped out both my first warhound unit and marauders entirely. Suddenly, my centre looked mighty vulnerable.

On my left, the chariot succumbed to stupidity and the sorceress hung on for dear life. The dark riders warily moved forward. The dark elf magic was shut down with the use of two of my dispel scrolls.

The table looked like this at the end of turn 1.

My furies pulled off an unlikely win against the dark riders on the right. The three survivors fled due to fear and the furies pursued but failed to catch them. I marched the rest of my warriors up the centre again. I was now close to charge range for the speedy elf units. Again, my magic was shut down with casual insouciance.

I charged the dark riders on the left with my warhounds. The riders held, confident in their prowess, but they obviously had the same rubber lances as their sister unit and only one casualty was caused on each side. Both units remained in place.

The dark elves began their turn positively by charging with the executioners against my regular warrior unit. I took the charge. The hydra marched up to flame the chosen warriors to no effect. On my right, the dark riders failed to rally and headed for the board edge. The repeater crossbows and a repeater bolt thrower killed four furies. The remaining bolt thrower missed my chariot.

On the left the sorceress in the chariot cast drain life. I let the spell through as I was desperate for the warhounds to be killed so that my knights could see some action. It was risky because I could potentially lose a knight or two. In the end it worked perfectly for me; all the hounds died while the knights all survived. I used my final dispel scrolls to hold the dark elf magic.

All eyes were now on the big scrap in the centre between the warriors and executioners. I issued a challenge with my exalted. The champion answered it and could possibly have killed my hero with a killing blow. He didn't, and my exalted caused two wounds. I saved the single wound the other executioners caused and caused two with my warriors. To add insult to injury, both of our magic users were facing each other. The sorceress rolled a 1 to hit while my sorcerer caused a wound on her. I had won the combat handily and the executioners broke. I rolled a 12 in my pursuit and ran the unit down. Ouch.

It was now my turn and I was in a very strong position to deliver the knockout blow. I charged the victorious warriors into the spearelves, the chosen warriors and chariot into the hydra, the furies into a bolt thrower and the knights into the dark riders. Everything worked in my favour.

The furies killed a crewman who broke. The repeater crossbows stayed, but the sorceress was panicked into fleeing off the board! Sigurt and the chosen took three wounds off the hydra and my chariot took off two wounds - the beast turned to run but was hacked to pieces by both units. My warriors barrelled into the spearelves and forced them off the battlefield. Finally, the dark riders fled but my knights just managed to catch them and run them down.

I caused so much carnage in just this one turn that the dark elf army was too shattered to carry on.

  • Chaos - Thaer the exalted and the warriors who met the charge of the executioners and then went on to defeat the spearelves.
  • Dark elves - repeater crossbows who wiped out the marauders in one turn of shooting.
  • Another bad defeat for the dark elves which left Gary distraught again. He had completely overhauled his list and added the chariots and so seemed optimistic. That feeling continued in the first two turns as the dark elf magic battered my chaos army and I had to use all four dispel scrolls. My attacks up each flank had faltered and my supporting units were killed in the centre. Obviously, the turning point was the defeat of the executioners. My exalted was the difference, with the elf lack of ranks hindering them too. The sorceress running off the board was the final kick in the teeth for Gary. He just doesn't know which way to go from here and was even talking about scrapping the entire army and getting something else.
  • On my own side of the table, it was business as usual for my Chaos Horde. Again I deployed in an effort to envelop one flank while largely refusing the right. I thought Gary's army was more of a threat in this game and was closer to what I expected to play against. My success lies in the fact that I am bringing my warriors into combat by turn 2 or 3 and so far nothing has been able to stand before them. I am sure that if Gary perseveres he will learn how to counter in time.

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