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Author Topic: 1250 Beasts of Chaos Vs Kharadron Overlords: The Lurkers Below  (Read 4057 times)

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Offline Wyddr

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1250 Beasts of Chaos Vs Kharadron Overlords: The Lurkers Below

The swamp stank with a kind of rot that was unnatural, even for the deepest bog. Kraggoth the Seer wrinkled his nose at the air, as did his herd around him. Everyone was uneasy.

A wretched halfhorn tugged at the hem of his robe. "Goblins, master. There are goblins in these lands."

Kraggoth wrenched his robe from the wretched creature's grasp. "What does it matter? We find the temple and only then will we leave."

"But...but..." the halfhorn moaned. Kraggoth struck him with the butt of his staff to shut him up.

He didn't like this anymore than the ungors did - this foetid swamp, the incessant patrols of the sky-duardin, the obvious presence of insane, moon-worshipping cults of the goblins. All for a bit of arcane lore that Kraggoth did not see as worth the risk -  an endless spell of great cost and rarity. Were it up to him, he would have devoted his herd's attentions elsewhere. At the bone-empire, perhaps, or the home bases of those blasted airships.

But Kraggoth was not in charge of his own destiny - not anymore. He could feel his heart beating, but not in his chest. Instead, it pumped on the belt of the Tzaangor Shaman Ychrrigal, who now lorded over Kraggoth and all of his herd. The feeling of being under the creature's clawed talon irked him to a murderous rage, but he could do nothing but obey. Ychrrigal wanted the Wildfire Taurus, and so Kraggoth would get it, even if reluctantly.

A whistle from the tree cover - airships sighted. Of course there were. With a vicious grimace, Kraggoth gave his followers the order, and they melted into the shadows of the swamp.

He might be reluctant, but he was not incompetent. These arrogant duardin would fall into his trap just as easily as all the others...


Just before Christmas, I got in another game in our little Path to Glory campaign (took me this long to write this b/c I was on vacation). Here were our lists:

Allherd Warband (no Battalion)
Grand Strategy: Desecrating Brayherd

Great Bray Shaman (General: Twistfray Cursebeast) w/Bleating Gnarlstaff, Wild Rampage
Doombull w/Brayblast Trumpet

20 Gors w/Shields (Veterans: Exemplars of Valor)
10 Ungors w/Spears (Veterans: Wilderness Stalkers)
10 Ungors w/Spears

6 Tzaangor Englightened
6 Bullgors w/Man-splitter Great Axes (Veterans: Toughened Hides)


Barak Zilfin Exploration Party (No Battalion)
Grand Strategy: (The one where he needs ships left)

Arkanaut Admiral
Aether-Navigator

10 Arkanaut Company (w/all the guns)
10 Arkanaut Company (Veterans: Tough as Old Boots)

6 Endrinriggers

Flagship Arkanaut Frigate w/Skycannon, Magnificent Omniscope
Arkanaut Frigate w/Skycannon, "Khazzar Fairwell" Scuttling Failsafe

Artycle: Honor is Everything
Amendment: Always Take What You Are Owed
Footnote: There's No Reward Without Risk

Mission, Terrain, and Deployment
The mission we rolled is called "The Lurkers Below" and its a sudden death mission (starting turn 3) played the long way down the board where, if you control all 3 objectives at the end of your turn, you win the game. The trick is that you need to control yours before you can control the central one and you need to control the central one before you can control the enemy one, so you sort of have to move up the board in a straight line (or so it seems). No objectives can be claimed on turn 1, either, so the game is going to take at least 2.5 turns to finish.

I liked my odds for this mission, since the Overlords and their hyper-mobile ships are great for flitting around and taking individual objectives, but they are pretty bad at board control. I was willing to bet I could steal their objective out from behind them as they moved up the board.

The Overlords were the defender on this one, so they were in charge of terrain. There was a LOT of terrain on the board to start with, and my opponent left most of it, I guess hoping that it would it trip up my ambush (which it sort of did!). My quest for this mission was "Capture the Endless Spell," so I spent a glory point to have one terrain feature be Arcane. It was a little temple ruins in the southern edge of the board, appropriately enough. I would have to finish the game with my Great Bray Shaman right next to or on that terrain piece.

In deployment, my opponent stuck the admiral and the endrinriggers on the Flagship frigate and the navigator and one company on the other frigate. The second company was on foot, and all of them sort of clustered at the center of their deployment zone, as far forward as they could manage.

For myself, I stuck the herdstone atop a hill in my own DZ (yes, I know faction terrain isn't supposed to be on other terrain pieces, but it just looked so cool!) with the 20 gors in front of them and the veteran ungors behind a house in the north. Everything else was going to ambush, since the nature of the mission and the fact that we were playing the narrow way down the board, it would be pretty damned hard for my opponent to avoid my herd hopping out of the shadows to stomp on him.

Deployment


Beasts Deployment
Overlords Deployment
The board overall
The Arcane Ruins

Turn 1
I deliberately didn't take a battalion this game so that I would have to go second. I figured between the mission and my ambush ability I could dampen his alpha-strike capacity and it would set me up for a potential double turn later in the game.

Therefore, with nothing much to shoot at or do, the two frigates motored forward, with the flagship hanging back and the company ship surging forward. They used their Honor is Everything artycle to double the scoring value of the foot company, meaning it was 20 guys sitting on that objective, rather than 10. I was out of range of everything, so no shooting.

Notably also, there were no battle tactics for the Overlords to reasonably complete, so they scored no points this round.

Top of Turn 1


Fat prizes in an orderly line - just how Kraggoth likes them.

The airships flew low, skimming just above the trees so their scouts could see through the perpetual gloom of the swamps. Kraggoth watched them come with disinterest. Time was he would have been excited, perhaps even afraid at the prospect of facing down so many well-armed ships, but with the loss of his soul, he was jaded to even this.

He waved lazily to the Bloodkine of the bullgor regiment. "Just leave one a live, will you? One to tell the tale."


I spring my ambush in the second half of the round. I select the battle tactic "Reduced to Savagery," meaning I would need to kill a unit that I targeted with one of my Rituals of Ruin. This I hoped would be the lone Arkanaut Company. I used the Blood Taunt of my Doombull to pull them off the duardin's home objective and expose them to be ambushed and hopefully destroyed.

The ambush is set up like follows: the Bullgors are supposed to hit the flagship and kill the Endrinriggers with mortal wounds while the Englightened will keep Unleash Hell off our back and maybe kill off the ship. Kraggoth himself will take up a defensive spot inside the arcane ruins and supervise from there.

In the backfield, I bring on the Doombull and blow the Brayblast Trumpet to bring on another 10 gors. Those gors and another 10 ungors would charge the foot company, along with the Doombull, and grind those guys to paste in exchange for a battle tactic. It's a great plan!

Now, here's how it worked:
The Englightened get into combat just fine. The Bullgors fail their charge, even with a re-roll (I only needed a 7!). The Doombull, because of obstacles and placement and my own bone-headedness, is a full 10" from all targets and can't make it in. The ungors charge the foot company and eat the Unleash Hell point-blank, but they survive with 4 guys. The Gors then charge in and also whiff their Gor Stampede, meaning the company doesn't strike last. Ugh.

I unwisely decide to split my Enlightened attacks between the ship and the endrinriggers. I kill 2-3 Riggers and do only a handful of wounds to the ship, and then the endrinriggers come back and kill 2 Enlightened.The flagship is still very much in play.

The combat with the foot company goes very badly, too. The Gors whiff, killing nobody on 18+ attacks, whereas the always solid ungors stab one dwarf in the eye. However, the company is able to slaughter many of the gors and the rest of them just run away (which is why I think getting a "free" 110 point Gor unit just isn't that overpowering - the guys just aren't that great!). The ungors, brave little wretches that they are, stick with 1 guy and the Allherd rule recovers them back to 5 strong.

Overall a lackluster round and it's looking bad - my bullgors are exposed without being able to attack and none of my guys did the damage they had to do.

Bottom of Turn 1


Coming after the company
Coming after the ship
Surrounded on all sides!
The Arkanauts stand firm!
6 Bird-men vs 1 Warship
Failed Battletactic!

Current Score
Overlords: 0
Beasts: 0

Turn 2
Just when things look really down, we roll for priority and I WIN! Double turn, baby! Now I get to retry my failed ambush. My battle tactic is "Trampled to Mulch," which requires me to kill somebody with mortal wounds caused on a charge. This is very good odds for my Bullgors, who are 100% going to charge into combat this turn.

The Bray Shaman has his attempt to cast Wild Rampage dispelled, but he does get off the Warping Curse on the foot Arkanauts, killing a whopping 5. The Doombull charges them and kills another 3, which wipes them out (they only started with 9 models, due to casualties from earlier games), which would be enough to earn that battle tactic right there.

The giant Gor herd moves forward and charges the lead frigate, eating the Unleash Hell and losing just 1 guy (my opponent's dice were pretty cold), so that then the bullgors can charge in peace. The big guys do enough mortal wounds on the charge to kill off the admiral, their attacks take out the remaining Endrinriggers, AND they do enough damage with the gors to reduce the lead frigate to only a handful of wounds.

The Enlightened do a lot of damage to their frigate, but lose some guys in the process. All Frigates are locked in combat, the general is dead, and general mayhem reigns aboard the Enterprise and the Endeavor.

Top of Turn 2


(freeze frame, duardin voice over) "You're probably wondering how I wound up in this mess. Well, the fact is, I'm not a very good navigator...
Maygog the Mighty goes STOMP   

Alarm bells clanged and steam whistles shrieked as mud-covered beasts shimmied up grappeling lines and leapt from tree branches to the deck of the Enterprise. Navigator Ernik Norrison slammed the door to his cabin and locked it just as he watched the first mate get his head cloven in twain by a crude butcher's cleaver in the hands of what looked like a goat crossed with a bear crossed with a very angry man.

What do to? What to do? Retreat to the Endeavor? No - Norrison could see through the stern portholes that the Endeavor was on fire and being accosted by somehow even *less* pleasant creatures. They were doomed!

Any training or preparation or even good sense seemed to fly right out of Norrison's brain. He started grabbing charts from his navigation table and stuffing them down his shirt based on the notion that maybe, just *maybe* the beasts had attacked just to learn where they had come from. As though they hadn't already known. As they they hadn't already been lying in wait for them, as they always were.

The stern porthole broke open to a thrown rock. There, silhouetted by the fires of the burning Endeavor, was a shrieking gor, trying to scramble inside to gut him. Norrison grabbed the nearest heavy object -  massive brass sextant - and brained the creature with it, wincing as he heard delicate lenses crack. The gor moaned and vanished from the window, falling into the darkness below.

The porthole remained open, the stinking air of the swamp filling the cabin like a choking fog. Outside his cabin, Norrison could hear his shipmates being slaughtered by the filthy animalistic hordes. He looked back at the open porthole and ran to it, looking outside for a place to land if he jumped.

Perhaps it was cowardly, but he told himself that he couldn't let these aethercharts fall into the wrong hands. Yes! That was it. He was valuable! He needed to get word back to the base!

He pulled a prudencey chute from underneath his bunk and started clipping it on. Outside, something with an axe was starting to chop at his slender cabin door...


In the bottom of Turn 2, it seems fairly obvious that the game is mine. He has two damaged ships, a single Arkanaut Company, and an Aether Navigator to bring to bear against my whole force. Still, my opponent is resolved to play out the turn to see how it goes. He can't really move without giving up all his shooting, his Command Points are mostly gone, so all he has left is shooting.

It's a pretty heavy shooting phase, too. I lose most of my Bullgors and all of my Enlightened to shooting + morale. In combat, I lose a couple gors, too (though they come right back thanks to the Allherd). However, my own attacks are sufficient to destroy both ships, forcing the Navigator and the Arkanaut Company into an emergency disembarkation. There isn't sufficient room for the company to get out, so they all die--torn to pieces by the blood-hungry gors that surround their ship. There is enough room for the Navigator to leap to a rope bridge above the enemy - the fleet's lone survivor.

Bottom of Turn 2
(hmmm...forgot to map this one out--well, just imagine it like last round, but with fewer models on the board)

Things have not improved
Norrison takes a leap of faith
Imagine a smoking wreck here

Final Score
Overlords: 1 Battle Tactic (Eye for an Eye)
Beasts of Chaos: 2 Battle Tactics and 3 Objectives

The howls of the beasts echoed well into the night. Norrison stumbled through the mud and through the thick brush, his pistol jammed with who-knew what glop, his legs tired and his eyes burning from tears and terror. They were after him! They would find him!

The longer the night wore on, though, the clearer it became. No, no one was coming after him. The wicked creatures were making blood sacrifices to their dark idols tonight, and some fat, cowardly aether-navigator stumbling in the dark was of no consequence to them. They didn't care about his stupid charts. They never had. All they cared about was fear and madness and the terrible sounds of death and violence. The taste of blood on their fangs.

They should not have come here. None of them should. This place was not fit for civilized beings. If he got out of this, he resolved never to return. Take a job at his uncle's accounting firm in Barak Zilfin, live out his days working a boring day job of arithmetic and fresh parchment. Not this. Never this again.

That is, if he survived...


Post Mortem
Another devastating ambush! I messed up the initial attack with some bad placement and bad dice, but the double turn more than made up for it. My opponent had some bad dice, too, but the main thing he didn't do was screen the ambush. It's just not feasible to prevent the ambush from happening at all, so its essential that somebody playing against the beasts wait it out or screen it so that their key units can't get hit. He didn't do that--moving forward was a big mistake on turn 1, and it exposed his flanks. I'll expect my opponent to be more cautious in the future.

As for myself, the bullgors continue to be an awkward unit to manage, but that's mostly because my dice just haven't been that hot with them so far. They're staying -  they have too much potential to not - but dammit they need to make that ambush roll at least *once.* Beyond that I have very little to complain about. My units performed pretty well, I found a new endless spell, and won a convincing victory. On to the next one!

Thanks for reading and thanks, as always, to my opponent!
 

Offline Irisado

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Re: 1250 Beasts of Chaos Vs Kharadron Overlords: The Lurkers Below
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2024, 05:41:15 AM »
That was short and very bloody.  That was possibly the best, or most lucky, double turn that I've ever read in a report.  It made a significant difference.  I still think that you would have won without it, but the game would have lasted longer and it would have been more difficult.  Still, your dice were lousy in the first ambush, so achieving a double turn essentially compensated for those dire rolls the turn before.

The Beasts of Chaos are tougher than they look.  I remember Beastmen being pretty squishy and rather lacklustre back in the days of Warhammer.  How times have changed.  Congratulations on your victory and thank you for the report.  I love how Kraggoth's character is developing all the time.
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Offline Wyddr

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Re: 1250 Beasts of Chaos Vs Kharadron Overlords: The Lurkers Below
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2024, 08:32:21 AM »
That was short and very bloody.  That was possibly the best, or most lucky, double turn that I've ever read in a report.  It made a significant difference.  I still think that you would have won without it, but the game would have lasted longer and it would have been more difficult.  Still, your dice were lousy in the first ambush, so achieving a double turn essentially compensated for those dire rolls the turn before.

Yeah, it's a good thing that double turn came along. I don't think it's a foregone conclusion I would have still won without it (odds were slightly in my favor just from a board control perspective, but only very slightly), but yes - I had two swings at the ambush, basically. What happened in turn 2 is more along the lines of what should have happened in turn 1.

It is completely beyond me why the Bullgors (who only need a 7 on 2d6 to successfully charge out of ambush!) always completely choke when ambushing, even with a re-roll. Deeply frustrating. Like, honestly, I would be okay with every other unit failing their ambush rolls so long as they succeed. 

Quote
The Beasts of Chaos are tougher than they look.  I remember Beastmen being pretty squishy and rather lacklustre back in the days of Warhammer.  How times have changed.  Congratulations on your victory and thank you for the report.
 

Tough isn't quite the right word, here. Of my opponents (Nighthaunt, Bonereapers, Overlords), I'm arguably the squishiest army in general - worst armor saves, lowest Bravery, no ward saves, etc. - but they make up for it in numbers and the ability to be where you need them to be, when you want them to be there.

Oh, and the Bestial Might rule for the Allherd (where you get 1d3+3 models returned to all gor/ungor units), which means if my basic units aren't wiped out, they will probably return to full strength pretty quick.

Quote
I love how Kraggoth's character is developing all the time.

One of the things I like about Sigmar is that it lends itself to unified narrative much better than 40k, where everybody dies every single game and the logic necessary to face different opponents with the same army are much harder to rationalize.

In a fantasy setting, you can have a region (in this case the area around the Krondspine in Ghur) where several factions could plausibly be operating and you could literally *walk* across it and encounter them all, and also you're only rarely getting super-mega-nuked off the board (and even then NOT by disintegration beams or heavy artillery or whatever), so the idea that characters can exist across battles is more plausible.

Thanks for reading!

Offline Irisado

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Re: 1250 Beasts of Chaos Vs Kharadron Overlords: The Lurkers Below
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2024, 04:17:06 PM »
Yes, tougher was definitely not what I meant :D.  I meant harder to beat.  In the past, Beastmen did not seem especially challenging to defeat.  Their rules now make them more interesting and more difficult to predict for an opponent.

That narrative side to Age of Sigmar does appeal to me I must admit.  It was always an exercise in concept stretching to justify some of the more unusual match ups in Fantasy Battle.  This is a very good point.
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Offline Wyddr

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Re: 1250 Beasts of Chaos Vs Kharadron Overlords: The Lurkers Below
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2024, 10:00:43 PM »
Yes, tougher was definitely not what I meant :D.  I meant harder to beat.  In the past, Beastmen did not seem especially challenging to defeat.  Their rules now make them more interesting and more difficult to predict for an opponent.

The ambush thing is really very cool. I think it's potentially easy to counter, but it requires the enemy to cede board control early (they need to keep screens up and wait out the ambush), which isn't tenable, depending on mission. If you play too aggressive early against the beasts, you're going to get stomped, I think.

Quote
That narrative side to Age of Sigmar does appeal to me I must admit.  It was always an exercise in concept stretching to justify some of the more unusual match ups in Fantasy Battle.  This is a very good point.

I played Dark Elves in WHFB for just this reason - their piratical raids could have them showing up just about anywhere.

Of course, I never had more than 1-2 opponents in WHFB, so it didn't really matter in the end.

Offline Roboknee77

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Re: 1250 Beasts of Chaos Vs Kharadron Overlords: The Lurkers Below
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2024, 04:12:12 PM »
Thanks again for he write-up, Wyddr.

It has been a busy couple of weeks and hadn't had the time to dig too much into this.  I got my butt whooped.  And setting screens against you will definitely become a priority.  This is only the third game we've played and sometimes it takes me a couple of games to learn something and put it into action.

I haven't got much to say, this game went very quickly.  I hope someday to have a double turn where it matters.  I don't think I've gotten one in the current Path to Glory.  I also think I need a little space heater to warm up my dice before game.  Or maybe a fan to blow on yours to cool down all your armor saves.  ;)

 


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